ZBrush 4r7 Review

ZBrush is a tool for digital sculpting tool that combines 3D/2.5D modeling, texturing and painting. Zbrush is used in creating high-resolution models for use in movies, games, and animations.

For every artist, the tools and workflows of a software are the major factors. For freelancers, it means they don’t necessarily need to invest in other high cost modelling applications. For artists moving across studios, it eases the process of slotting into any given pipeline. Things like the new fbx importer make working with existing geometry easier.

 For new artists and students there is now the possibility that they won’t have to learn other software and can instead concentrate on the slightly less traditional and rather idiosyncratic Zbrush interface; although this unfortunately is something that really needs an overhaul. It’s usable but its roots as a 2.5D painting app are still visible, and it needs refreshing and bringing in line with industry standards.

01. The Model Brush

ZBRush screenshot
This feature is a real game-changer

This smart polygonal modeling system is designed to simplify your creation process. Quickly and dynamically create new shapes, doing so more easily than ever before possible: fuse polygons, delete full blocks of geometry, connect parts with advanced paths, and repeat your actions with a single click!

With the ZModeler brush, ZBrush takes a quantum leap beyond the organics that it is already relied upon for. You can refine the shape of your model in real-time to revolutionize how you create hard surface models, architectural structures or highly detailed environments. The possibilities are endless.

02. Noise

ZBRush screenshot
Creating seamless surfaces is easier than ever

You can add more details using the noise feature of Zbrush 4r7 unlike the previous versions. 4r7 allows for mixing of noise types, either procedural or image based (greyscale maps) as well as providing the ability to save noise presets for use in other parts of the scene, or completely different scenes.

Creating seamless surfaces is easier than ever too, meaning results are more realistic than ever before.

For example, a tillable greyscale brick map may look good but the seams will be visible. Adding a procedural noise on top of this will blend away seams and add another level of detail.

03. NanoMesh

ZBRush screenshot
Nano Meshes can be made from Z tools and sub tools

A big part of what has always made Zbrush special and powerful is its ability to manipulate huge numbers of polygons. Traditionally, these polygons have been generated to allow for more detailed sculpting but 4r7 sees things taking a different focus, with NanoMesh being a kind ‘insert mesh’ or ‘paint geometry’ style tool.

Nano Meshes can be made from Z tools and sub tools, with placement, generations options and variations being controlled by a mix of Modelbrush options and a dedicated NanoMesh palette.

04. ArrayMesh

ZBRush screenshot
The ArrayMesh tool is perfect for building symmetrical scenes

The ArrayMesh is a tool for creating instances of tools, but in a different way to the NanoMesh tool. ArrayMesh is versatile and powerful and works in stages, so you can generate a duplicate side of an object and have it mirror the original, perfect for building symmetrical scenes, like tank tracks or wheels.

Control can be achieved by use of the sliders in the ArrayMesh palette or directly in the viewport using the transpose lines. Instances can be stacked and controlled individually, making prototyping and form experimentation a breeze.

05. Keyshot and Keyshot bridge

Image result

Zbrush has concentrated more on the asset creation part of 3D and although the PBR render engine was useable, it can’t be said to be a high end renderer.

4r7 introduces a new Keyshot bridge plugin (alongside a discount for users who don’t already own Keyshot), with direct access to the beauty and realism that Keyshot offers.

This is a near realtime tool. This means you can conceivably have a quest window open on a second monitor, for live feedback as you work on the modelling process, giving a much more fluid workflow.

06. FBX import plugin

ZBRush screenshot
A new plugin allows for opening of geometry in the .fbx format

It may be that this edition of Zbrush makes it easier to stay within one interface, but Pixologic haven’t ignored interaction with other parts of artist’s pipelines.

4r7 has expanded upon the existing import options with a new plugin for opening of geometry in the popular .fbx format, meaning users have even more ways to slot not existing studio pipelines, expanding the options for all concerned.

07. ZRemesher 2.0

ZBRush screenshot
The new version of the Zremesher fixes the ‘spiral’ issue

Although Zbrush can handle many millions of polygons, there are often times when you need to reduce your polygon count, or clean up your topology.

The original Zremesher was a fine tool but had its limitations; most noticeably the ‘spiral’ issue where resulting meshes had an odd flow. The second iteration of the tool fixes the problem and is a real one click solution to many retopology problems.

08. 64 Bit

ZBRush screenshot
It’s not a full 64 bit release, but you can run a pre-release developer version

Most 3D software has made the move to 64 bit versions, which increases the ability of software to utilise the hardware on offer to its fullest. Brush 4r7 doesn’t come as a full 64 bit release, but you can now run a pre-release developer version which installs alongside the 32bit application.

Early testing suggests this is already a stable implementation and when r5 is released expect the 64 bit app to be solid and reliable, meaning you can grab all the threads and RAM you can to create even more detailed models.


09. Detailed Rendering


With ZBrush 4R7 the BPR Render system will now render all Surface Noise as displacement, deforming the mesh to match the attributes of any procedurally created noise. It is like having a displacement map without needing to actually create the map. It produces extremely detailed results at render time regardless of polygon count.

ZBrush is available from Pixologic

Thanks to creative bloq .


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