Join Eric Keller for an in-depth discussion in this video Managing memory in ZBrush, part of ZBrush 3 for Windows Essential Training.
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While you are working on dense models in ZBrush you are going to notice that ZBrush uses a lot of memory in order to display these models on the canvas. There are controls in the Preferences menu that will allow you to manage this memory usage. By tuning these or sending these limits, you will find that your ZBrush sessions are a lot smoother and easier to work in. I'm going to open the Preferences menu and I'm going to move it over to the tray by clicking on this switch right here. You will notice that there is a sub palette called Mem and I'm going to open this by clicking it and we will see various settings in this sub palette. The one that we are interested is the Compact Mem slider setting.
The way ZBrush uses RAM is, every so often it writes a file to your local disk that allows it to allocate memory more efficiently. You will notice up here in the corner every once in a while I get a message that says, Compacting Mem. So what's going on when you see that message is ZBrush is writing up this file. When it's writing out this file, you may notice that your ZBrush session is paused momentarily. If this happens a lot, it could become quickly frustrating. So what you want to do is raise this setting. The default settings is 256.
Depending on how much RAM you have, if you have a lot of RAM, you can raise this to 512 or even 1024. This is dependent on how much RAM you have on your machine, the higher the level, the less often ZBrush will pause to write out the file to disk. However, the more RAM it will use and the more RAM it will take up on your machine and this is going to affect its performance. So while you are working in ZBrush, you just have to play with it to find the best setting for your machine.
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