ZBrush sets the industry standard for digital sculpting and painting. Its features enable you to use customizable brushes to shape, texture and paint virtual clay in a real-time environment that provides instant feedback. When you use ZBrush you’ll be empowered by the same tools employed by film studios, game developers, toy/collectible makers, jewelry designers, automotive/aviation designers, illustrators, advertisers, scientists and other artists the world over. In fact, we have even received an Academy Award for the technology that powers ZBrush.
In short, ZBrush is an art tool created by artists, for artists. It allows you to create models and illustrations limited only by your imagination, at a speed that allows you to stand out in today’s fast paced industry.
As with anything else in life, where you can go is usually determined by where you begin. Having a great finished model requires a quality base mesh. ZBrush provides an arsenal of tools to assist with this task, ensuring that no matter what you have in mind, there is a way to get the perfect base to then take to the next level. The best known of these systems are explained here.
Whether created in ZBrush or imported from elsewhere, once you have your base mesh it is time to start detailing. ZBrush features a robust suite of tools to accomplish this. Those listed below are just the tip of the iceberg.
Because ZBrush works with tens of millions of polygons in real-time, you can paint directly on the surface of the model without first assigning a texture map or UV’s. This offers significant advantages compared to a standard workflow. The resolution of the texture map does not need to be decided in advance. This is particularly valuable if you find you need more detailing on an area than you thought you would. Instead of repainting a new, larger texture map you can simply transfer the existing surface detail to that larger map without any reworking. You don’t even need to do UV unwrapping before you begin this painting. In fact, thanks to the way that ZBrush can project details (both sculpted and painted) from one model to another you can have a fully painted model before you even have a finalized animation mesh. Instead, you can copy everything to the final base mesh once it has been signed off on.
In order create or use a texture map, a model first needs UV’s. These are 2D coordinates that tell all 3D applications how to apply a texture to your model. With most programs, creating those UV’s has been a time consuming challenge that requires a high level of technical expertise and has little room for creativity. With UV Master you are able to create very efficient UV’s for your model – in most cases with a single click. If you need more control over this automatic process there are features that refine where seams will be placed or increase the amount of pixel space given to certain regions of your model. It’s both intuitive and fast, letting you get back to being creative with minimal fuss.
Whether you are using ZBrush by itself as an illustration tool or as part of a production pipeline for animation, you will at some point want to show your work to others. ZBrush makes this possible through a powerful rendering system called BPR (Best Preview Render).
ZBrush is not only a software, it is also one of the largest communities of artists gathered around any 3D software. Join ZBrushCentral.com and become part of the community. See other people’s works, discover new techniques, find inspiration, have your ZBrush usage questions answered, and of course post your own artwork.
Pixologic also organizes community events with its international ZBrush Summit (held annually in Los Angeles), ZBrushMerge in Japan, ZBrushLIVE seminars and user gatherings. Most of the live events are streamed globally and also recorded for later viewing, allowing you to be part of it no matter where you are located.
ZBrush is available for both Windows and MacOS platforms, and the licensing is dual platform so you can run on both or change between them at any time.
Thanks to its processor-based engine, ZBrush runs well on most modern computers regardless of their graphics cards.
A graphics tablet (such as from Wacom) is strongly recommended. It will give you more control and easier interaction.
Full system requirements can be found here. Be sure to read the entire page, as there is information at the bottom which is meant to help you better understand the reasons for the requirements as written.