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Edit Mode in ZBrush by Pixologic

Edit Mode

The Edit Mode is where you do multi-level modeling of 3D objects. ZBrush has two types of 3D objects. The 3D primitive shapes are used to build more complex 3D models but the polymesh objects are the workhorses. As you work on your object, you use the Gyro to move, scale and rotate your model. As you can see in the example, you can get a variety of results from one shape using the Gyro. Once you have drawn a 3D object, you can use the many transform edit brushes in the Transform Palette to digitally sculpt your polymesh model. For example, you can use the Inflat Edit Brush to cause the area under the brush to inflate like a balloon. If you hold down the Alt key, the brush will have the opposite result. There are several other brushes in the Transform Palette that you can use to sculpt the polymesh including the Morph Edit, Nudge Edit, Smooth Edit and the Pinch Edit Brush which pulls the mesh toward the center of your brush.

Another way to model a 3D object in ZBrush is with the ZSphere Modeler. The ZSphere Modeler is a versatile type of 3D object generator that you can use to model almost anything. Once you have drawn the root ZSphere, you then build chains of ZSpheres and Link-Spheres. Here is a simple example where I have built two chains, resembling ears, extending from the root ZSphere. The model on the left is the ZSphere in its normal state and the model on the right is the same object as it will appear when skinned. As you are sculpting, you can easily switch between these views. ZSpheres can be built into complex skeletal structures that can be posed, articulated and skinned.

ZBrush comes with a plug-in called the Projection Master that is used for displacement mapping and texturing 3D models. The software comes packed with several materials. As mentioned earlier, a material controls the way the light behaves on the surface of your model. You can make the 3D model look like wood, glass, fur, etc. Each material has one to four channels or settings that you can change. You can also make your own materials by copying channel settings from several existing materials and creating a new combination of settings. Therefore, the number of material variations are almost limitless.

Because the 3D effect is all about shade and light, the control you have over the lighting on your model is very important. The ZBrush Light Palette is where you have many controls such as the type of light (sun, point, spot, glow and radial), the intensity ZCurve, the placement on the X,Yand Z axises, and the shadow effects.

Rendering is the process of creating a 2D representation of your 3D model. Its like taking a photograph of a sculpture. Of course, you will want to have control over the type and quality of the render. You can do this in the Render Palette. One of the nicest features in ZBrush is the Antialiased Half-Size Mode which will export the document at one half the size of the original. This is similar to creating an image in Photoshop at twice the size and then reducing it to 50 percent to smooth out those jagged edges.

PixologicR screen shots used by permission of Pixologic, Inc. PixologicR and the Pixologic logo, ZBrushR, and the ZBrush logo are registered trademarks of Pixologic, Inc.

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