Join Ryan Kittleson for an in-depth discussion in this video Making stitches with insert mesh, part of ZBrush: Modeling Footwear.
- [Instructor] Depending on various factors, sculpting the stitches might not be the right approach. Maybe you don't want to subdivide a mesh to a high enough resolution for it, or maybe you want to apply different materials to the stitching more easily. For these, and other potential reasons, you might want to make the stitches out of their own geometry. Let's see how this is done. Okay, you can see from the reference, that the stitches on the suede quarter are going to be a little bit different. Mostly, this is because we're going to actually create separate geometry for the suede fuzz, so I want the stitches on the suede quarter to stand out.
So let's make every stitch out of its own piece of geometry. To make this simple, we'll make a brush to do most of the work for us. So first, let's make the geometry for one single stitch. I'm going to append a new sub-tool, and we'll just append a cube 3D. I'm going to alt-click on it to make up the active sub-tool. And, let's come down to initialize, because I want to change some things about it. If we hit shift+f, you can see the wire frame, it's actually a pretty complicated, oddly typologized cube.
So, let's just re-initialize this as a single-sided cube, or a single-subdivision cube. So, sending all of these to one, and just click on cube. We might have to hit solo, so we can see just that cube. It was hidden inside the shoe. Okay, good, so we've got a cube with just a single subdivision on each side. Now, simply what I'm going to do is stretch it out. I'll get my move manipulator out. I'll just drag out a manipulator. I'm gonna hold down shift so it snaps straight out. We'll just click and drag on this outside red circle, and we'll drag that out.
I'll hold shift so it comes out perfectly straight. And let's hit d to turn on dynamic subdivision. So, basically a stitch could be as simple as this. If you wanna make something more complicated, feel free to do that yourself. Okay, going into the draw mode, let's make it all one polygroup. Right now, every side has its own polygroup, and that actually causes a glitch when we create the brush, so I'm just gonna hit control+w to make it all one polygroup. And let's look at this from a top view.
I wanna orient it so that it's going top-to-bottom. This'll make it so that it comes out in the brush in the right orientation. And you might want to hold down shift as your rotating your view so it snaps to a perfect top view. Okay, let's make the brush out of it. Go to brush, create insert mesh, and this is asking us if we wanna make a new brush or append it to the existing brush. Let's just make a new one. Okay, so we've got an insert mesh brush with this single stitch. So now, let's turn off solo mode, and let's go to the piece we want to start placing this on the quarter here.
We can turn off wire frame, shif+f. And let's see what happens if we start sculpting on here. So, what it does is it just draws out a single version of this stitch. So, I'm gonna hit control+z to undo that. And let's go into stroke, and let's turn on curve mode. Okay, now let's try it out. Okay, so it's drawing out instances of that stitch. Now let's hit d to turn on dynamic subdivision, so it's going to dynamically subdivide the quarter, and all the stitches. So, that actually looks pretty good. Lemme zoom in really close here, and you can see that the stitches are, kind-of floating on top of the surface.
I wanna have them embedded a little bit more down inside, so let's undo that. I'm gonna go to my brush settings, we'll come down to the depth menu, and let's change embed down to something like, actually probably zero or one, something pretty low. And let's try this again. D to turn on dynamic subdivision, we'll just draw this out, and you can see now the stitch is sort-of embedded right onto the surface. Okay, let's undo this and start making them for real. Now, every time I undo, it undoes the dynamic subdivision as well, so just turn that back on with d.
Okay, so make this with the other sub-tools visible, it'll actually draw the curve onto other sub-tools. So, for example, if we draw one here, it's actually going to create those, and it's gonna fall or try to snap onto other objects. So, to avoid that, let's turn on transparent mode, so now, it actually won't interact with any objects that are transparent. So, dynamic subdivision turned on, and let's start drawing out some stitches.
Then I'm gonna go ahead and let it overshoot a little bit. Oh, it accidentally overshot too far. So, I'm going to actually undo that and try again. Lemme try starting from the top. Okay, d to turn on dynamic subdivision, and you can see we've got a nice little strip of stitches here. You can adjust the position after you've made it. So, for example, you want it to conform to the shape of this a little bit better, you can just grab this and pull it wherever you want it to go.
Okay, to make another row, I'm just gonna click anywhere on the quarter, just to clear that existing stitch, and let's go ahead and make another one. Just kind-of drawing it down very close to the first one that I made. And then we can adjust the position of this one as well. Alright, now I'm just going to click on the quarter, and let's make another one. We'll just drag it out from here, and so on, and so forth. So, I'll let you go ahead and keep making the rest of these on your own.
As you can see, this method is also pretty fast, and it looks good as well. Now, this is sort of a medium-detail solution for making stitches. If you're planning on a really close-up shot, you could make the insert mesh object be made up of smaller fibers. But the way it is now will be good enough for medium-distance shots.
- Creating the sole
- Modeling the basic sole shape
- Making a template for the repeating treads
- Tweaking the sole geometry
- Making the basic upper shape
- Creating the laces
- Making a shoelace brush
- Adding the fine details
- Sculpting specific leather detail
- Sculpting the irregularities
- Making fuzzy suede texture