Join Ryan Kittleson for an in-depth discussion in this video Making Macros to toggle Anti-aliasing, part of ZBrush: Tips & Tricks.
- [Voiceover] First off, let me quickly explain anti-aliasing, just in case you need a refresher. Anti-aliasing is a softening of the edges of objects as displayed on a screen or monitor. By default, ZBrush displays models that are aliased, or without anti-aliasing. So if we zoom in here we can see that the edge of this model is really blocky, is really pixelated. There's no smoothing along the edges. I want to go ahead and click Actual here to bring us back to normal zoom.
Now for the most part this is fine because you're working on a high resolution monitor and it's not really important that everything look as smooth as possible. However, sometimes I like to turn on anti-aliasing when I'm making presentation renders to show a client for example. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as single button click. So let's make a macro that goes through the steps automatically whenever we want to use it. Now there is actually one button that turns on anti-aliasing. We could click this button here, AA Half, and what this does is it shrinks the document by half and then uses that extra resolution to smooth out the pixels.
Now the disadvantage we see here is pretty obvious. We now have a much smaller area to work in. So let's bring this back to normal zoom. I'm going to create a macro that will set things up so that we can have an anti-aliased view, but also use the full document space. So let's go to Macro, New Macro. Let's make sure we hit No instead of Yes here. Now let's go to Document and let's click on Double. And this is fine.
What this is going to do is actually create double the resolution of the document space. Now it still looks like it's using up the same amount of room on the screen, but it's just expanding everything to be double the size in each dimension. Now we can go click on AA Half. So what this does is it doubled the size and then it cut it in half again, so it's back to the same document size but with anti-aliasing turned on. Here is where we have to work around some quirks of Zbrush. When we resize the document, ZBrush went out of edit mode.
So we have to draw a new instance of the model back into the document. So what I want to do is click and drag a small new version of the model into our document. Now we can turn on edit mode, and I'm going to hit F so it zooms into the full size of the document. Now there's some really weird things going on here. It's really deep under the hood ZBrush type of stuff. And I don't normally want to go into it because it's not really information you need to know so much anyway. But there's sort of an after-image of the model left on the screen.
So let's get rid of that. Let's go to Color and click Clear. Alright, finally let's end the macro. Go to Macro, End Macro. And let's save it to our ZBrush installation folder. Under Zstartup, and Macros and Misc. And let's save this called Aaon. And save that.
Okay, those were some convoluted steps we had to go through just to turn on anti-aliasing. But now that we've made a macro, we don't have to deal with all those crazy things anymore. We just have to click one button and we're good to go. And you can see that the edge of the model looks much smoother now. Okay, now that we've got anti-aliasing turned on we could record a turntable, or we could export a screenshot to show someone the model. And it's going to look nicer than it did before. Now there is one downside to this and if you have a very powerful computer you might not notice it so much but things run a little bit slower with anti-aliasing turned on.
So you could actually leave it in this mode all the time if you don't notice a slow down of if it doesn't bother you. But, for the most part, I like to only turn on anti-aliasing when I want to do something special like make a movie that's going to show to somebody else. So let's make another macro for turning off the anti-aliasing. Let's go to Macro, New Macro. Click No. We'll go up to Document. And we'll drop the resolution by half. And that's fine, we can do that.
Now we can go back to Document and click Actual Size. Now it went out of edit mode, so what we're seeing is an after-image of the model. So I'm just going to click and drag a little version of the model here into the document. And go into Edit Mode. And hit F to focus on the full size of the model. And now to get rid of that after-image let's go to Color and Clear. And now we're done. Let's save the Macro. And we'll just call this AAoff.
Okay, we're done. Let's test it out and make sure it works. Go Macro, AAon. That looks good. It's a little bit too zoomed in. We cold hit F one more time to get a decent zoom so it just fills the whole document there. And let's go to Macro, AAoff. And there we go, it turned off the anti-aliasing. Alright, I know, that was a lot of steps to go through to do something so simple. But now that we have a macro, it's going to be a lot easier to turn anti-aliasing on and off.
Skill Level Intermediate
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