What is ZBrush?
ZBrush was created by Pixologic Inc around 10 years ago. It is an award-winning digital sculpting tool used for video games, design, film effects, illustration, and other 3D modelling projects. It uses a patented ”pixol” technology which stores lighting, color, material, and depth information for all objects on the screen. The main difference between ZBrush and more traditional modeling packages is it’s sculpting niche. The beauty of ZBrush is that it can also be integrated with Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, Cinema4D and Modo.
On the application’s 10th anniversary, Pixologic released ZBrush 4 (in July 2010). Packed with 3D modelling, texturing, and painting features, this version embraces sculpting like never before. ZBrush 4 lets you sculpt models in both, 3D and “2.5D”! This version is not merely a face lift of its preceding model, but a state-of-the art software that carries a ton of new features that can save you lots of time!
Some of the features I, personally, found really cool:
This one is especially useful for those who use additional modelling & design programs. With the GoZ feature, ZBrush provides a seamless transition to Maya, Max, Modo and Cinema 4D. GoZ was first available in the last release of ZBrush 3.2 for Mac, but in ZBrush 4 it is available for both Mac and PC. So now you can create a character in ZBrush and render it in Maya, or combine with previous works, or for whatever works for you!
ZSketch is a new technology based on the ZSphere which will let you freely create your models without restrictions. ZSketch can be used in three different ways: By using a ZSphere skeleton which will become an armature for the ZSketch ZSpheres By using just a single ZSphere and then, create your model in the 3D space. By adding a ZSphere as a subtool to any mesh, put in sketch mode and draw directly onto the other subtool.
ShadowBox is a tool which is able to create all kinds of 3D primitives based on the projection of shadows toward a center volume (pixologic.com). You can use masks to paint the front, side and bottom shadows of a model onto the dedicated cubic ShadowBox and your model will be dynamically generated inside it! The main purpose of ShadowBox is to create whatever primitive you need with a few strokes, ready for additional sculpting!
Spotlight & Light Box
Spotlight provides you with live interaction with images of your choice directly onto your model for use as texture, sculpting, and references! You’ve got the power to search billions of images with Lightbox all within ZBrush’s interface. You can clone & tile images for a complete imagination power!
The LightBox feature helps you organize folders, tools, materials, alphas, scripts, and many more in one convenient browser window. This is a big time saverfor all those busy artists! One of the other cool features found in LightBox is the mannequin feature (it sounds cool too, eh?!). By using multiple mannequins, you can quickly set up a scene and use it to convert into a sculptable mesh.
With these two new features in ZBrush4 the artist have the workflow that truly makes them feel like they have the world at their finger tips!
There are a ton of more features that I absolutely love, including: new brushes, brush alpha enhancements, best preview render mode (BPR), Transpose Maasuring… and the list goes on! No wonder that ZBrush is quickly becoming the industry standard; it is more than just a tool, it’s like your personal design assistant!
What’s the education presence like for ZBrush? (Source: ZBrush Newsletter)
ZBrush is taught in 3D Animation, Visual Effects,Game Design, CG, Media Art and other classes in topvocational and career schools, colleges, universitiesand high schools worldwide! Its extensive and powerful features unleash students’ ability to create jaw dropping portfolio anddemo reel pieces – grabbing the attention of employersand giving students competitive advantage in the job market. Learning ZBrush equips and empowers students withthe production skills necessary for industry careers andother creative opportunities. ZBrush students are landing jobs at all major studiosand companies.
ZBrush in the curriculum
ZBrush is an accessible, fun and exciting to learn andan essential, comprehensive and dynamic tool to teach.ZBrush is the industry standard. Schools teachingZBrush are creating dynamic, applicable and appealingcourses, attracting more students, serious aboutpursuing professional careers.
Want more of ZBrush 4?
30 Day Trial: http://www.pixologic.com/zbrush/trial/index-110217.php
Video Tutorials: http://www.pixologic.com/zclassroom/homeroom/
Newest Plugins: www.pixologic.com/zbrush/downloadcenter/zplugins