With this article, we begin a series of posts taking a closer look at ZBrush – and specifically what it can be used for. ZBrush is one of the most versatile packages available. From a consumer perspective, it can look a little expensive; however, from a business perspective, it is one of the best value applications available.
While most people consider ZBrush a modeller, they may simply associate it with character modelling. Although this is one of ZBrush’s strengths, in the last couple of years, Pixologic have evolved ZBrush into something much more capable.
ZBrush is a 3D application that is more intuitive to use for most designers than traditional 3D packages. Most designers from product design, industrial / transport design, furniture design, jewellery design and a wide range of other design disciplines are familiar working with materials, moquettes and models. Coming from this background, ZBrush can feel immediately familiar. Plug in a Wacom tablet and you find yourself fully emerged in the virtual equivalent of a clay studio or workshop.
ZBrush is an efficient polygonal modeller – much more so than most 3D applications. It makes very efficient use of model data to provide detail whilst keeping overhead to a minimum. This means that users can continue modelling and adding detail without expecting increases in lag as the depth of data increases.
A couple of the key principles/features:
Dynamesh – the underlying technology that allows continuous reshaping, modelling and extension of the initial polygons. In ZBrush, sculpting results in a contstant, intelligent rebuilding of the underlying model. There’s simply no need to worry about the number of polygons or their integrity under reshaping. Think of it as ‘digital clay’.
Fibermesh – this technology provides very impressive tools in the creation of fibres and fibre-like media such as hair, fur and grass. Fibermesh can be used to create a much wider variety of fibrous or strand-like surfaces and models. For example, Fibermesh is ideally suited to the design of fabrics, soft furnishings, toys and such like; realistic plants can be created to reside in interior design products; in fact – Fibermesh becomes invaluable in a range of situations where existing modellers and renderers fail. Genuine 3D topography is much more convincing than bump maps.
Rendering – with a powerful, and realistic built-in renderer, ZBrush not only makes your pipeline simpler, it also reduces costs further.
Why not take the time to get familiar with ZBrush if you haven’t already? Visit the ZBrush product page and use the download button to trial ZBrush today.