II. Precautions: Non-Medical

  1. Not for Medical Care
  2. The author uses several software packages and programming languages to develop FPnotebook content
  3. For convenience, a dozen pages in FPNotebook are dedicated to quick notes on content creation

III. Technique: Workflows

  1. ZSphere Modeling
    1. Indicated for hierarchical (animal or human) or branching (e.g. Neuron) modeling
    2. Turn on X Symmetry (as needed)
    3. Process (repeat in cycles)
      1. Drag out new zspheres from another zsphere's surface
      2. Move and scale the zsphere
    4. Preview the geometry (A)
    5. Convert to geometry once zsphere hierarchy
      1. Zsphere can be saved as a ztool (and used to create other geometry)
      2. Press 'A' to preview geometry, then click Edit Polymesh3D button (in Tools menu)
    6. Adjust basic geometry with Dynamesh
    7. Create a low poly model
      1. Use ZRemesher and target polycount 5(k) with "adapt"
      2. Continue adjusting basic low poly geometry
  2. Maya to ZBrush
    1. Create a low polygon mesh in Maya
      1. Keep geometry simple (basic form) and straight without distortion and without ngons
      2. Complex objects (e.g. hands) may require more geometry, but keep to low polygon
      3. Keep model size within the size of the default grid
      4. Assign basic materials (e.g. Blinn) to each sub-object within the model
        1. Each object with a different material will become a different subTool in ZBrush
      5. Click Go-Z exporter or export to Obj
    2. Import into ZBrush
      1. Receive the GoZ import as a ZTool or import as obj
      2. Draw out the tool and edit (T)
        1. Model scale is important for brush sizer to work properly
      3. Break the object into SubTools
        1. Tool > Polygroups > Autogroup
        2. Tool > Subtools > Split
      4. Edit each subtool
        1. Start by Tool>Divisions (Ctrl-D) - subdividing 2-3 times
        2. Consider turning off smooth for the first 2 subdivisions to harden overall shape
    3. Export Low Poly Geometry
      1. Create a low poly subdivision levels if lacking on any objects (e.g. Dynamesh objects)
        1. Subdivide subtool twice (may bring object to 50M or more)
        2. Select subdivision level 1 (lowest level)
        3. Freeze subdivision levels
        4. Use ZRemesher set to 5-10k (or with Dynamesh set to 300-800)
        5. Un-Freeze Subdivision levels
      2. Set Subtool > "All Low" (turns subdivisions to lowest level)
      3. ZPlugin > UV Master > Unfold All (or can auto UV map unwrap in Substance)
      4. Set Export (with merge and group off)
      5. ZPlugin > Subtool Master > Export (or export as FBX)
    4. Export High Poly Geometry
      1. Check that mesh sizes are not too large to freeze the export process (e.g. >1 million points)
        1. Use ZRemesher or Decimate plugin tol reduce size
      2. Set Subtool > "All High" (turns subdivisions to highest level)
      3. No need to create High Poly UV (we will only be using the high poly for normal maps)
      4. Set Export (with merge and group off)
      5. ZPlugin > Subtool Master > Export (or export as FBX)
  3. Substance Painter
    1. New Project > PBR Metallic Roughness
    2. File Select > Low Poly FBX
    3. Document Resolution 1024
    4. Auto Unwrap (options: recompute all, margin size large)
      1. Can try margin size small (but this resulted in normal mesh distortion for me)
    5. Bake Meshes
      1. Use high poly mesh FBX in substance painter
    6. Using the above work flow in Maya/ZBrush, each subtool will be its own textureSet in Substance Painter

IV. Technique: Main Interface

  1. Help
    1. Tooltips (hover over buttons; hold down ctrl and hover for detailed tooltip)
  2. Windows
    1. Document/Canvas Window
      1. Tab: Toggles maximal canvas size (inside dividers and top menu)
    2. Window Scrolling
      1. Click in background space between buttons and drag
      2. Hold Shift while opening sub-menus to open up multiple sub-menus simultaneously
  3. LightBox
    1. Bottom of lightbox shows folder path
    2. Hide Lightbox (Toggle LightBox button or press ",")
      1. To hide at start-up, Preferences > LightBox > Toggle "Open At Launch" (and Store Config)
  4. Perspective
    1. Turn on perspective for normal camera proportions (distant objects are smaller)
  5. Scene Navigation
    1. Pan
      1. Alt-RMB-Drag
      2. Alt-LMB-Drag Background (classic LMB navigation)
    2. Zoom
      1. Ctrl-RMB-Drag
      2. Alt-LMB-Drag Background and release Alt (classic LMB navigation)
    3. Rotate
      1. RMB-Drag
      2. LMB-Drag Background (classic LMB navigation)
    4. Constrained Rotation
      1. Shift-RMB-Drag
        1. Rotate to fixed camera angles (or click on the CAM View Icon and Arrows in the upper right)
    5. Frame (F)
      1. Frames current object in document window (fit mesh to view)
  6. Orienting Scene
    1. Toggle Floor Grid Plane (Shift-P)
    2. CAM Head
  7. Tool Appearance
    1. Shift-F
      1. Toggle Polyframe on/off (shows/hides polygon grid on object)

V. Technique: Preferences

  1. Default Document
    1. New Document with Auto-Fit Window Size (WSIze) enabled
    2. Document > Save as startup document
      1. To reset to initial settings - delete the ZStartup/StartupDocument.zpr file
  2. Default Material
    1. Click Material Button in Brush Palette
    2. Select MatCap Gray
    3. Material Menu > Save as startup material
      1. To reset to initial settings - delete the ZStartup/StartupMaterial.zmt file

VI. Technique: File Management

  1. Saving
    1. Avoid "Save as Document" - does not save tools
    2. Project > Save As
      1. Saves a project (ZProject or ZPR) with all tools in the scene as well as document settings
    3. Tool > Save As
      1. Saves current tool and associated subtools (ZTool)
    4. QuickSave (9)
      1. Saves currently active tool to QuickSave Window in LightBox
  2. Loading Content
    1. Project
      1. When loading a saved project back into ZBrush, the project will replace the current scene
      2. Alternatively, "load tools from project" will add tools from the selected project file into the current scene
    2. Tool
      1. When loading a saved tool back into ZBrush, the tool will be added to the current scene/project

VII. Technique: Tools

  1. Hot_keys
    1. Ctrl-N: Clear Window (Clear Layer)
  2. Creating a new tool
    1. Choose a Tool from the Lightbox or from the Tool Palette
    2. Select the DragRect Brush
    3. Drag out an object with the tool (shift-drag to orient object)
    4. Enter EDIT mode by clicking the Edit Button (or "T")
  3. Primitives
    1. In Tool Menu, select a Primitive (may also select from LightBox) and drag out on canvas as described above
    2. Enter Edit Mode ("T")
    3. Tool Window > Initialize to adjust primitive settings
    4. Click "Make Polymesh 3D" to convert primitive to an object that allows sculpting
  4. Object Editing
    1. Recently used tools with sculpting changes are shown in the Tool Palette Icons
  5. Deformations
    1. Includes object based deformations (e.g. inflate) typically performed on a masked region
  6. ZPlugin > Scale Master Tool
    1. Set XYZ = 2 for best results
  7. Mirror
    1. Mirror (in X, Y or Z)
      1. Under Tool > Deformation
      2. Creates a mirror image of the current object
        1. Example - left side appears as prior right side, and right side appears as prior left side
      3. May be used in combination with mirror and weld
        1. If the left side has the geometry to transfer, first mirror and the left side will be moved right
        2. Then mirror and weld, which will weld together the right side and a mirrored version of right
    2. Mirror and Weld (in X, Y or Z)
      1. Under Tool > Geometry > Modify Topology
      2. Mirroring is from negative side (left) to positive side (right), e.g. -X to +X
      3. If in X, replaces the topology right of center, with mirrored left of center AND welds the 2 together
  8. Gizmo (transpose, "W" to activate)
    1. Move and rotate the gizmo (hold Alt while modifying)
      1. Unlocks Gizmo to move orientation point
    2. Select and Orient Gizmo to Face (Alt-LMB Face)
      1. Click on selected face to center gizmo on face and assume face's normal
      2. Mask areas to fix position, then Alt-LMB the faces to move
    3. Resets
      1. Alt-Refresh button
        1. Reset mesh orientation
      2. Alt-Home
        1. Reset object axis position
      3. Alt-Unmasked mesh orient to center
        1. Center gizmo and reorient to unmasked region
    4. Copy
      1. Ctrl-LMB Drag Object
      2. Release Ctrl and continue dragging to place copies of additional objects
      3. Ctrl-Dragging a masked region or polygroup, and then releasing Ctrl, will set down edge loops
    5. Flatten surface
      1. Mask the surface to flatten and invert mask
      2. Alt-LMB a face on the surface to serve as guide for other faces to match
      3. Use Gizmo scale in axis perpendicular to surface (may need to repeat several scale drags)
    6. Customize
      1. Multiple deformation options which operate off a XYZ matrix
        1. Similar to FFD in 3ds max or lattice deformer in maya
      2. Requires model to be a single subdivision level

VIII. Technique: Geometry

  1. Geometry Subdivisions
    1. Geometry Divide (Ctrl-D)
    2. SDiv
      1. Maintains subdiv history (up and down to modify geometry at different division levels)
      2. Basic modeling at 3-4 subdivision levels, completed high ploy mesh at 6-7 subdivision levels
    3. Smooth
      1. Modifier for smoothing geometry (similar to smooth mesh in Maya)
    4. Dynamic Subdivision (D, Shift-D)
      1. Subdivision preview
      2. Consider for hard surfacing modeling
    5. Dynamesh
      1. Automatically adjusts geometry to evenly distributed geometry
      2. Set Resolution (start low resolution while blocking in, e.g. 300)
      3. Re-Dynamesh: Ctrl-Drag in open area (not on model, which instead draws mask)
      4. Consider "Project" modifier for hard surface modeling
    6. Sculptris-Pro
      1. Subdivides mesh while drawing, dynamically tessalates in the region of increased topology
      2. Cursor with be purple
  2. Subtools
    1. Alt-LMB
      1. Select subtool
    2. N
      1. Select subtool dialog (then click subtool icon or type additional letters to filter)
    3. Expose
      1. Divides out subtools in space so they may be individually visualized
    4. Append
      1. Append another subtool object
    5. Multi-Append
      1. ZPlugin > SubTool Master Menu
    6. Mirror
      1. ZPlugin > SubTool Master Menu

IX. Technique: Brushes and Sculpting

  1. General
    1. Brush window is at far left (double click the far left divider to open)
    2. Undo slider at top of document window
    3. Spacebar - quick panel (heads up display) of commonly used buttons
  2. Symmetry (transform panel)
    1. Leave Mirror Symmetry on
    2. X-Symmetry (X)
      1. Typical for body modeling
    3. Y-Symmetry (Y)
      1. XY Typical for ornamentals (front only)
    4. Z-Symmetry (Z)
      1. XYZ typical for ornamentals (front and back)
    5. Radial Symmetry
      1. Used in combination with X, Y and/or Z Symmetry to surround an object (adjust radial count)
      2. Example: Lathing an object (e.g. bowl or vase)
    6. Geometry > mirror and weld
      1. Duplicate object across specified axis
      2. Copies negative (left side) to positive (right side)
  3. Brushes
    1. Hot Keys
      1. Alt with brush to perform reverse of default brush behavior
        1. Default is typically to build up a surface (ZAdd)
        2. Inverse (alt) typically digs into the surface (ZSub)
      2. Smooth surface
        1. Hold Shift-LMB and brush areas (smooth algorithm 1)
        2. Hold Shift-LMB and start to brush, releasing the shift key
      3. Modify Brush Characteristics (type hotkey and drag)
        1. Brush Draw Size (S)
        2. Brush Z-Intensity (U)
          1. Lower intensities are typically used (3-25)
        3. Focal Shift or Brush Hardness Falloff (O)
          1. Typically set to 0
    2. Soft Brushes (B)
      1. Standard Brush (ST)
      2. Clay Brush (CL) in addition to ClayTube and ClayBuildUp
      3. ZModeler (ZM)
      4. Move (MV)
        1. Hold Alt with LMB to pull or push perpendicular to surface
        2. Curve > Accucurve for hard surface modeling (sharp edges pulled out in hard surface modeling)
        3. AutoMasking > Topological to adjust one portion model without affecting other parts
      5. Move-Topological
        1. Moves contiguous vertices without affecting nearby vertices (e.g. pull model's ear away from scalp)
      6. SnakeHook (SH)
    3. Hard Brushes
      1. Trim Dynamic (bevel edges)
      2. HPolish (smoothes while preserving edges)
      3. Damian Standard (hard edge compared with standard brush)
        1. Draw cracks, pull out sharp edges
      4. MAH Cut Mech A and B (cut brushes)
      5. Slash Brush (or Slash-L Brush)
    4. Insert Multi-Mesh Brushes (IMM)
      1. Brushes with tools within the brush
      2. Pressing M (material) brings up a dialog to select between brushes
      3. Allows appending of objects
      4. Hold down Alt, while dragging an object to create a subtraction boolean
        1. This will first mask all objects except the new IMM object
        2. Ctrl-Drag to unmask
        3. Ctrl-Drag again to perform boolean subtraction of object
      5. May insert by dragging a curve on surface (e.g. rope)
        1. Consider drawing out an object to draw on (and then remove later)
        2. Turn on Stroke > Curve Mode (with Bend and Snap selected)
        3. Drag out the curve
        4. Can also drag the end and curve line to move and shape the curve
      6. Once curve line is defined, may then modify geometry
        1. Click Brush > Modifiers > Stretch (to stretch out geometry to fill spaces)
        2. Remove the underlying object used to shape the IMM (if needed)
          1. Mask the IMM object first (ctrl-click the interface)
          2. Click Tool > Visibility > Hid Pt
          3. Click Tool > Geometry > Modify Topology > Del Hidden
        3. Repair geometry with Dynamesh an Zremesher
          1. Clear Mask (ctrl-Drag interface)
          2. Set Dynamesh to high resolution (e.g. 1200) and Blur to 0
          3. Turn On Dynamesh to resample at high resolution and then turn off again
          4. ZRemesher with default settings
    5. Additional Brushes
      1. Morph
        1. First: Tool > MorphTarget > StoreMT
        2. Next, use any brush to modify the model
        3. Next, use Morph brush to revert brushed areas back to time of StoreMT
        4. Last: Tool > MorphTarget > DelMT
      2. Load brushes from LightBox > Brushes
      3. Save custom versions of brushes that you have modified settings (brush > save as)
      4. Download brushes online

X. Technique: Masks

  1. Hot-Keys
    1. Unmask (Ctrl-Alt Drag over region to unmask)
    2. Clear Mask (Ctrl-Drag over an empty area)
    3. Mask All (Ctrl-LMB with no items selected)
    4. Lighten and Blur Mask (Ctrl-LMB on masked area)
    5. Sharpen Mask (Ctrl-Alt--LMB)
    6. Invert Mask (Ctrl-i or Ctrl-LMB click in empty region)
    7. Draw rectangular Mask (Ctrl-Drag)
      1. Hold spacebar to move mask
    8. Group Mask into Polygroup and then Clear Mask (Ctrl-W)
      1. Groups masked items into a Polygroup and then removes the mask
      2. If no items are masked, then groups visible items into polygroup
  2. Useful Mask Brushes
    1. MaskPen (default)
    2. MaskCurve (solid line to gradient points to masked area)
      1. Press and release Alt (while holding down ctrl) to add a bezier point
      2. Press and release Alt twice (while holding down ctrl) to insert a straight point
    3. MaskLasso
    4. Transpose Smart (in brush menu)
      1. Useful for exactly placing alphas (e.g. text masks , 2d object masks) - use while holding ctrl button

XI. Technique: Visibility Selection, Clipping, Slicing and Trimming

  1. Hot-Keys
    1. Select visible and hide unselected (Ctrl-Shift-LMB drag)
    2. Select to hide and retain unselected (Ctrl-Shift-Alt-LMB, drag)
    3. Unhide all (Ctrl-Shift-LMB click in background, open area)
    4. Invert Visible, making visible hidden and the hidden visible (Ctrl-Shift-LMB drag in background, open area)
    5. Grow Visibility (Tool>Visibility>Grow or Ctrl-Shift-X)
    6. Shrink Visibility (Tool>Visibility>Shrink or Ctrl-Shift-S)
    7. Group Visible into Polygroup (Ctrl-W if no items are masked)
    8. Isolate Polygroup, making other polygroups invisible (Ctrl-Shift-LMB a polygroup)
      1. Does not work with SelectLasso tool (use selectRect tool for this)
  2. Common visibility selection brushes
    1. Selection
    2. SelectRect (default, rectangle shaped selection)
    3. SelectLasso
      1. Allows for free-hand drawing a margin
  3. Clipping brushes
    1. Clip compresses all geometry into the clip plane (see Trim below as a possibly better alternative)
    2. ClipCurve
      1. Places a cut through an object and smashes all of the clipped geometry into that plane
      2. Best used when clipping simple geometry (otherwise resulting topology is messy)
      3. Limit number of changes in direction of curve to <2-3 for each line drawn
    3. ClipCircle or ClipCircleCenter
      1. Clips polygons outside of the circle
      2. Hold down Alt (with Ctrl-Shift) to clip polygons inside the circle
      3. Behavior changes when the center point of the circle overlaps mesh (unless circle is entirely within mesh)
    4. ClipRect
      1. Behavior changes when the center point of the circle overlaps mesh (unless rect is entirely within mesh)
      2. Consider ClipCurve instead (more predictable)
  4. Slicing brushes
    1. Slice creates a new polygroup from beyond the slice line
    2. SliceCurve
    3. SliceRect
    4. SliceCirc
  5. Trimming Brushes
    1. Trim is an improved clipping brush that removes trimmed geometry and fills the hole with reasonable topology
    2. TrimCurve (best with straight lines without bends)
      1. Press Ctrl-Shift space-bar>polygroup to create a new polygroup from the remaining face after trim
      2. Press Ctrl-Shift space-bar>bradius to create an interesting cut-away and partially sliced surface
    3. TrimRect
    4. TrimCirc
  6. Pointers
    1. Visible objects may be deformed, rotated, moved, scaled as if the hidden geometry were masked
    2. Mask areas to prevent that area from being clipped

XII. Resources

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