Join Ryan Kittleson for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the bump viewer material, part of ZBrush: Tips & Tricks.
- When sculpting in ZBrush, there are times when you might have overlapping detail. Maybe there's muscles on a character, but also scars on the skin. It could be hard to edit one of those details without affecting the other. With bump viewer, you can create the appearance of sculpted surface detail without affecting the real sculpting underneath. So let's see how it works. Okay so I've got a pretty realistic bull model here on my screen. And let's say I want to turn this into a mecha bull. So if it's going to be a robot bull, it's going to have different panel seams on it.
There's going to be little screws or little divots or vent holes and things like that. So that would involve adding those kind of details on top of the anatomy that we've already got sculpted. Now I could add that on by just starting to sculpt it on, and that's fine, but if I want to change something about how the bull is sculpted, the new sculpting would destroy all that mech detail, where it would make it very difficult to work around it. So instead of doing that, let's use the bump viewer material. So we can get this by going to our materials.
And let's go down here under standard materials and pick bump viewer material. Okay, its a gray material, but not too different from what we had before. Now this material is very different from most however because it works by painting light and dark colors, and instead of showing us the color on the screen that gray scale gets displayed as a bump map. So before we start doing anything with this, we want to fill the bull with a middle gray color. So let's come over here to our color palette, and we're just going to slide this over until I get something that's medium gray.
It doesn't have to be exact or anything. Let's go up to color and fill object. Okay from here we want to start sculpting with white and black, and that's going to be viewed as bumping up or pushing in to the sculpted surface. So let's get back to a white color here, now that we've filled with gray. And let's switch this from a sculpting brush so we turn off zsub, and let's turn on RGB. Alright, I'm just going to zoom in here. Get a smaller draw size.
And let's just test what happens if we start drawing on here. Okay, so what you see here is what looks like sculpted detail, but it's actually just a bump map. It's kind of an illusion. It's a little bit of a bigger brush here, you can see that that's bumping up. If we look at it from a really side view, you can see that it's not actually changing the silhouette. It's just an illusion. And if we hold down alt, its going to use the other color, the black, and that pushes it in. Okay, now that I've got that test out of the way, lets just hit control-Z a few times to undo that.
We'll go back to a really small draw size here. And let's just imagine just for concepting sake, where some panels might go on this mecha bull. So I'm going to hold down alt and just click and draw out you know who knows, wherever there might be some seams or panel lines. And really I just use this for concepting purposes. I don't really use the bump viewer for final work, more just for concepting and kind of figuring out where different shapes should be.
Alright, let me just finish this shape here. And just for example sake, we might build in some vents. So let's say there's some vent slits here. Maybe I'll get a little bit bigger brush here and draw kind of a, still needs to be bigger, draw a little bit of an edge on the top of those. So you could do all kind of different things with this. Now just to show you what I mean by using black and white color to view this as bump, let's see what happens if we change the material to let's say skin shade, just a regular white material.
So you can see the entire bull is filled with this neutral gray, and then what we've actually done is just painted with black and white. So we go back to the bump viewer material, you can see now it looks like sculpted detail. Okay now let's get out of RGB mode, we'll go back to Z Add mode. And we'll just see what happens if we keep sculpting some of the muscles with an actual sculpting brush as opposed to with the color. So now you can see we're actually sculpting, we're actually changing the shape of that.
And we can even smooth and it's actually smoothing out the color because I've got RGB turned on in my smooth brush, so let's control-Z to undo that. Now hold down shift to go to my smooth brush let's just turn off RGB in this mode. And now you can see we can smooth out sculpted detail without changing the mech detail that we added on top of it with the bump viewer. Now if you want to smooth out just the bump detail, what we could do is go back to our smooth brush by holding down shift, and turn off Z Add, and only turn on RGB.
Now we can smooth out that bump detail without smoothing out the sculpted detail. Alright, let's go ahead and zoom out. Let's see how this looks. So this could be an interesting start at concepting out any sort of sculpture you want to make when there is two different types of overlapping detail. Hopefully you can see how it's useful to be able to visualize these different overlapping levels of detail, and edit each one without messing up the other.