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Sun, Oct 21 2012 2:57:41 UTC

Getting started with ZBrush

ZBrush is a digital sculpting software allowing 3D artists to create unique models using a building method similar to clay, as opposed to traditional modeling products. As such, it quickly became very popular with many people, from artists to game designers. In this Getting Started feature, let's see how you can get going using ZBrush, and what resources are available to you around the web.

The first thing you will need to do in order to get started with ZBrush is to go to the Pixologic web site in order to buy and download ZBrush. For you to use the product you will need to pay $699 for a license. This isn't cheap, but compared with traditional modeling tools made for professionals, like Autodesk 3DS MAX or Maya, which cost thousands of dollars, it's a relatively decent cost. ZBrush is a software package used in many industries, from new users to professional game creators and movie makers, and the company has kept a very simple pricing structure. Buying ZBrush is a fairly pain-free process.

The Pixologic site isn't only a place where you can download the application, but it also features a lot of good getting started material. If you go to the video tutorials section, you will find dozens of short videos introducing you to the interface, along with the main features of ZBrush, and is a great place to start with. These videos are free and will take you a few hours to go through. You can also find a link to the documentation on the official site, but the wiki format it uses makes it fairly hard to navigate, and some pages can be incomplete. I suggest you skip those for now, and use that documentation only for reference.

Once you're done with the free videos on the official site, perhaps you would like a more substantial amount of video training. One source that is very popular is the Digital-Tutors site, which as of this post, has 1,843 ZBrush videos, spanning over a hundred hours. This material isn't free however, and will require you to take a $45 monthly subscription to access it. Another popular site that provides paid video training is The Gnomon Workshop, but this one is more expensive and charges for each title. I suggest avoiding them unless you have a large training budget. Another tutorial site, also offering monthly access at $45 per month, is ZBrush Workshops, which provides over 32 hours of training.

Finally, another site with good video tutorials is CG TUTS+, which provides over 80 free videos on specific topics. One thing to be careful however is to check which version of ZBrush they cover. Right now, you will likely use version 4, but a lot of tutorials were made for version 3. Your mileage may vary. Also, Pixologic has a list of 'authorized' training providers, which isn't a guarantee on them being your best bets, but you may want to check it out.

Once you've learned how to use the software, and went through more video tutorials than you may ever need, you might want to check out some other resources. ZBrush is a sculpting program, and as such it heavily relies on things like textures, alphas and brushes, in order to allow you to sculpt your models and paint them. You can use generic texture sites, like CG Textures which contains over 65,000+ high resolution textures, but remember to also visit ZBrush Central which is the main forum for ZBrush. There, you can find a lot of galleries, works in process, and links to useful resources that people find around the net.

So now that you know where to get the software, training, and resources to use, you should be ready to launch yourself into the world of ZBrush, and start creating 3D models for all your needs.

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© 2007-2019 Patrick Lambert - All resources on this site are provided under the MIT License - You can contact me at: contact@dendory.net