Join Ryan Kittleson for an in-depth discussion in this video Installing custom brushes, part of Digital Creature Creation in ZBrush, Photoshop, and Maya.
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ZBrush allows you to customize many of its features to fit the way that you like to work. Over the years, I've used that customizability to create a few special brushes that have really sped up my workflow. I'm including these brushes as part of this course to help you get some of the same results that I will be showing you. First of all, if ZBrush is open, go ahead and close it down. Then, you'll want to find your ZBrush program files. On a Mac, you'll navigate to your Applications folder, and then open up the ZBrush folder.
On a PC, you will go to the Program Files (x86), and then open up the Pixologic folder, ZBrush 4R2, ZStartup, and BrushPresets folder. The customer brushes are located in the Ch_01, Exercise Files, folder 01_01, and you will just want to select all of these and copy them, and then paste them over in the BrushPresets folder. Now, you can restart ZBrush.
And just to have a model to work on, let's open up the default DynaWax. Double-click on that and let's open up the Brush Palette by clicking on the standard brush over here. So you can see there is these last three brushes here which are the custom brushes that we just installed. So we've got the crease brush, the customclay brush and the shorthair brush. Let's try them out really quick. Go ahead and click on crease and let's just see how this works. Okay, so you can see that the brush just creates a nice crease on the surface of the model.
To rotate around as a quick reminder, you can just click-and-drag on any open part of the canvas. Let's subdivide this surface a few times so that we get a smoother result. I am going to hit Ctrl+D, and just do that three times. Now, let's zoom in here by clicking-and -dragging on the scale, and let's try that brush one more time. There you get a nice very smooth result. Let's hit B again to open up the Brush Palette and try the customclay brush. There's nothing too fancy about this brush.
It basically just builds up the surface, but in a way that I've customized a little bit to just make things a little smoother. This brush is based on the clay build-up brush that comes with ZBrush. I will show you how you can customize this brush just in case you don't want to install it separately. Go ahead and hit B to open up your Brush Palette, and click ClayBuildup. Now this brush is kind of chunky, kind of rough, kind of blocky. So the way I've customized it is I will go here and turn off the Alpha, and I will also go up to Focal Shift, and just slide this to the center.
Then one last adjustment I made was by going to the Brush menu, going down to Auto Masking and turning on BackFaceMask. This makes it so that if you're sculpting on a very thin object, the sculpting won't pass through from the front to the back of the object. So now you can see you get some nice smooth sculpting with this brush. If you want to save a brush with any customizations that you've made, go up to the Brush menu and click Save As. You can just give it any name you want, and save it into the Brush Presets where we save the other brushes.
And one last brush to check out, hit B, and select the short hairbrush. I am just going to go around to clean part of the model here. Let's shrink the size of the brush a little bit. This brush is good for making short hair like stubble or eyebrows. We're not going to be using it in this course, but I'm giving it away as a nice little bonus. To download these brushes, just go to the free Exercise Files folder on lynda.com. These custom brushes are not necessary for creating great work in ZBrush, but they do help me work faster, and more efficiently.
Feel free to modify them in any way that helps you work better.
- Brainstorming and refining a character concept
- Installing custom brushes
- Optimizing tablet settings
- Posing the ZSpheres in ZBrush
- Sculpting muscles and midsize shapes
- Working with DynaMesh
- Using GoZ between ZBrush and Maya
- Creating topology for animation
- Sculpting fine detail
- Cleaning up a mesh in Maya
- Creating the UV layout
- Lighting and shading
- Painting texture maps
- Posing with Transpose tools in ZBrush
- Batch rendering a turntable animation