Sculpting a Detailed Rock Asset in ZBrush

One of the most common models that you will have to model if you are doing architectural visualizations, and especially if you are doing assets for environments for the gaming industry is creating a model of a detailed rock or cliff formation. Well once you get to that point you will quickly come to a realization that even though at first glance it looks and sounds really simple, in reality rocks can provide a bit of a challenge and especially if you have never done it before. Well in today’s post i decided to tackle this issue and show you how you can create a fairly detailed rock in ZBrush, then make a low poly model of that and bake out normal maps and AO maps that you can use as a mask. To make it easier to follow i divided this into two videos so it’s easier to understand.

In the first video we will start with a little intro and a general overview of what kinds of a rocks we can see after which we will jump straight in ZBrush. We will use Dynamesh to get the general form, and then from there we will work with the Trim selection, the Trim Dynamic brushes as well as the Trim Smooth edges brush. After this we will take a look at the noise maker option for adding general noise on your model and we will finish up the fist stage of the rock. So if this sounds interesting check out the first part of the video.

In the second video we will continue from the same place where we left off in the fist one, and the very first thing we will do is get out of Dynamesh and Remesh our rock. This is where the “Holy Trinity” rule of Duplicate/Divide/Project will come into play in order to help us get all the details from the Dynamesh model onto the new ZRemeshed model. After all this we will also see how we can use some custom brushes to add in some details on the rock and finish it up. Then in the end we will use UV Master plugin for a quick UV unwrap and we will use Substance Painter to do a quick bake of the maps. But enough with the explanation, go ahead and check out the video for yourself.

After watching those two videos you should have a better understanding of what it takes to create a Rock asset that you can use in your Visualization projects as well as use it as a game asset. To be perfectly honest i wanted to make this video first so i have a base on which i can reference for a future video that i want to make that will cover many of the things covered here but create something more “cool”. But for now this will be all, and like always if you enjoyed the videos and you learned something new then share the post around so it can reach more people.

Creating a Base Armature for sculpting in ZBrush

Here we are back with another post about ZBrush. Today’s topic is a very simple concept and that is creating a base armature on which you can then continue sculpting. Main difference in working with traditional modeling software VS sculpting is that when you are working on a sculpt you have much more freedom to tweak your model as you aren’t constrained by technical issues. Another thing is that it’s a much faster way of making a model and at the same time bringing your concept to life. Well in today’s post we will see how we can build a base in Zbrush on which we can then proceed to continue sculpting.

In the first part we will start with a short explanation on what are ZSpheres and how to use them to get the base that we want to construct. In this video you will learn the basics on working with ZSpheres and how to control the detail level through the adaptive mesh. There really isn’t too much to explain as the video is pretty self explanatory so go ahead and check it out.

In the second one we will continue and expand on working with ZSpheres by adding in how to work with ZSketch and explain the main difference between it and ZSphere. You will also see how you can combine the results that you can get from ZSpheres and ZSketches into one subtool. Again it’s a short and self explanatory video so check it out.

Ok so if you’ve seen the videos you now probably have a better understanding on how quick and easy it is to get a basic armature shape for your prototyping stage. All in all as i have said multiple times in the past, ZBrush is an amazing piece of software that it would be great to have in your arsenal of skills.

That would be it for today and if you enjoyed this post then share, like and comment on it so it can reach more people.

Basics of Retopology

Ok so here we are back again after almost a month of no updates. Today we will go over a topic that is generally overlooked by people that don’t specifically have to do it, and that is Retopology. The first question that we would answer would be what is Retopology. Well Retopology is the process in which you have a pre existing high density detailed mesh, and on top of that mesh you build a new mesh with clean geometry. This is widely used in gaming models where you want to have all the details from your sculpt into the game engine, or another place would be in Photogrametry or even when you go ahead and download a free 3D model that you like but it has crappy geometry that really doesn’t work with your scene.

So having said that in this post i will go over the bare basics of retopolgy in a few different software packages. This will be divided into three different videos covering the Retopology workflow in ZBrush, 3ds Max and 3D Coat.

In the first video we will start in ZBrush. Here we will go over the basics of the automated ZRemesher feature, then explain a bit how we can control the ZRemesher with the help of guides and then we will jump over to the manual way of Retopology in ZBrush with the help of ZSpheres. All in all it’s a decent way to do retopo in Zbrush and if this is something that would interest you then check out the video below.

In the second video we will take the same base and start the retopology process inside 3DS Max. Here we will go over the tools in the modeling ribbon, we will see how we can create, modify and move the new mesh around, and also see how we can mix up the retopology workflow with general modeling workflow. So go ahead and check out the video below.

In the third video i decided to make the first video in 3D Coat. In this video i stuck to only the retopology section in 3D Coat as this was the focus on the video, but in all honesty i will probably make more videos about 3D Coat as it truly is an amazing piece of software. In this video we will see how we can create the base mesh, and we will dive in a bit in the options of the different tools and brushes. But enough explanations go ahead and check out the video below.

So with these three videos we basically saw the basics of retopology in different software packages, but if you have access to different softwares then you can do it there as well. Maya, Blender and Topogun are three other softwares that do amazing work when it comes to retopo but i really didn’t want to go ahead and do it for those packages mainly because i’m not too comfortable with using them, which doesn’t mean that they are not awesome.

So that would be it for today, i hope you guys have fun watching these videos and more importantly learn something new. If that is the case don’t forget to comment, like and share it around.

Creating a custom UI in ZBrush

After a bit of a delay in the posting schedule due to an injury, here we are back with another post. I decided to make today’s post about Zbrush, more notably about the UI in ZBrush and how to understand and customize it to your needs. As you can see right away this post is aimed at the beginners so if you are working with ZBrush and are proficient with it then you might find this post not engaging, but if you are just starting out or considering picking up ZBrush then carry on.

In the video below we will start from a totally “vanilla” clean UI and we will go over and explain how we can move buttons and menus around, how to change their size and color scheme. All in all there really isn’t too much to explain about this video as it is very straight forward, but at the same time it is a great place to start if you are getting into ZBrush. The idea here is that this will be the first in a series of posts for ZBrush that will have the task of slowly helping you get into the essence of ZBrush and show you that it’s an amazingly powerful software that can be of immense use to anyone in the CG industry regardless or the field that you are working in. But more about that later on, for now enjoy the video about the custom UI.

I hope you guys had fun watching the video and more importantly you managed to learned something new today. If that is the case then subscribe, like and share it around and don’t forget to come back for more next time. Take care everyone.

Creating and detailing a Beanbag chair in 3ds Max and ZBrush

So here we are in today’s post trying to build upon what i said in the previous Introduction to ZBrush post that you can use Zbrush in your Archviz scenes, and give your models a very high amount of details, and at the same time have total control over everything. Now, since i haven’t covered anything else then the bare, bare minimum of ZBrush, i didn’t want to go overboard and start showing new features and tools that will probably make anyone not experienced with ZBrush straight out quit. I tried and kept it to the basics and managed to get the result that you will see at the end of the video by only using the standard brush, and a single alpha map.

While you are still reading and hopefully i still have your attention, you might want to go ahead and download the free program for baking textures, which in my opinion is the best option that is out there that costs no cash to use.

xNormals download link Clicky clicky here!

Provided that you downloaded the program, lets jump on and actually explain what you can expect to see in the videos.

In the first video we go over and build the base of out bean bag chair in 3ds Max. For this we start off with a plane as our ground and a sphere for our Bag model. With a bit of clever modification of the sphere and the use of the Cloth modifier. I have actually covered a bit of the Cloth modifier in an older post called Modeling a Pillow in 3ds Max so if you want to learn more about it check it out as well. We will also explain how to UVW unwrap the model so that we can apply textures to it. So if this sounds like something that you would like to see, then go ahead and watch the first video.

In the second video we will start in ZBrush where i will show you how you can import a model that you can start working on right away. We will explain briefly how to control subdivision in ZBrush, and then we will jump straight to sculpting in the details. We will also explain how to use maps (Alphas) to add details to our mesh in a very short time. After all of this is done i will show you how to quickly bake the high poly details by using the xNormals free program (get it from the link above). After that i will also explain how to deal with the issues that can arise from the normal map displacement. Again if all of what you read here interest you, then go ahead and watch the second video.

I really hope that you guys enjoyed watching these two videos as i am slowly trying to show everyone that when you are going after that perfect scene, knowing more software can only make you a better artist and in turn make your work quality better. I will try my best to make more videos for Max as well as blends between using Max and ZBrush while still keeping it as simple as possible so that even a total beginner can understand them, and more importantly follow along with them.

So that would be it for today’s post, if you guys liked the videos then subscribe, like and share the videos so it can reach more people, and hopefully they can learn something from it as well.

As an added bonus here is the alpha map that i used in ZBrush.

Folds Alpha

So Cheers everyone and Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.

Introduction to ZBrush

And finally i decided it would be a about that time to get my feet wet with covering a bit of ZBrush in my videos. One of the things that i have actually noticed is that a lot of people don’t really know what ZBrush is used for, so they discard the idea of learning the software as they can’t find a justification to spend the time to learn it.

ZBrush is used for adding details, and micro details to high density meshes counting polygons in the millions. After that bake those details back onto the original mesh, and retain the details from the high poly mesh.

This is really helpful for the gaming industry, jewelery industry, as well as the 3D printing industry and the architectural visualization industry. Now if you can’t understand why would i choose to place the ArchViz industry in the the same mix with the 3D Printing and gaming industry, then you probably haven’t been in the loop and don’t realize that the game engines lately (Unity and UE4) have advanced so far that it will most probably be the go to destination for future visualization projects. If you want to get a quick idea check out the Paris Virtual Tour video from a while back (This is like year old video, and things have gotten even more advanced now)

Well ZBrush is right in the center of this as it is the go to software for when you want to fine tune your meshes and add details to them. So knowing that i decided to start simple, and make a few introduction videos to Zbrush that will be meant for someone that is a complete starter with the program.

In the very first video i basically start with explaining the UI of the program, as well as explaining how to navigate in the program. Even though this might sound like a silly thing, ZBrush actually has quite a bit of a “weird” way of navigating through it and it takes a bit of time to get accustomed to it. So before anything else, go ahead and watch the first video.

In the second video i go over brushes in ZBrush. In this video you will learn the importance of the brushes, what they do and how can they be used to sculpt and manipulate your mesh. I managed to squeeze in a short intro about the Standard brush, Clay Buildup, Damien Standard (Dam_Standard), hPolish and a few more other brushes. We will also see about the Add and Subtract options that the brushes have, as well as their function. So if this sounds interesting then check out this second video.

And in the third and last video we will cover a tiny bit of everything as we will touch base with the move brush, the transpose tools, we will have a chance to see what Dynamesh is and what it’s used for as well as a bit of masking. Like i already said this is all just a very quick preview on what Zbrush has to offer and it’s only the beginning. So check out this third video in the introduction to ZBrush mini series.

And with that we opened the season for ZBrush tutorials. I will continue to make new tutorials for 3ds Max as well as ZBrush, and a bit down the road we will start to mix them up and combine them together in a work pipeline that will focus on giving you extreme control over the details you want to add while at the same time to cut down on the time it will take you to create them.
What i actually learned from making these videos is that going on about general stuff in ZBrush is generally not a bad idea if you don’t have a time limitation, but when you want to keep it within 20-30 min mark then it should be more focused on one thing which is something i will try to do in future videos.

In all the previous posts when i get to the end i tell you that with that we wrap up that theme, well today with this post we are opening up the doors for more ZBrush videos which i really hope will be a fun endeavor for me, and an educational experience for you guys. So if you liked the videos then don’t forget to subscribe and like them and share them around so they can reach more people.

P.S. I know i kinda screwed up the intro text to the videos as it says New And Amazing intro video, but i wasn’t going to spend another 2 hours rendering just to fix that little screw up, and also i’m pretty sure that most wouldn’t have picked up on that if i hadn’t pointed it out.

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