Did I mention my new book?

Lampstack-SoftcoverOver the last few weeks I’ve written a book. It’s about how to run web applications in the comfort of your own home.

Yesterday it went live on Amazon! I have an author page and everything!

Turns out that writing was the easy part: formatting it so that it looks good on Kindle devices was a bit tougher. It’s a tech book after all, which means there are several screenshots and code snippets which need to be formatted to stand out from the rest of the text.

Before I call myself “best selling author”, let me describe how this book came to be.


Continue reading Did I mention my new book?

How to install 3D Content from a ZIP Archive on Mac OS X


Dealing with ZIP files from 3D content marketplaces isn’t easy. I’ve been asked several times how to install such content, and thought this article may come in handy for future generations.

The principle is the same on Mac and Windows, however it’s slightly more tricky on a Mac because it wants to replace the whole folder rather than merge it. We’ll see how to deal with this peculiarity and have our content installed in no time! Continue reading How to install 3D Content from a ZIP Archive on Mac OS X

How to export a UV Texture Template in Photoshop

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 11.21.17Sometimes it’s necessary to have a 2D Texture Template for a 3D model. It makes texturing a lot easier in 2D painting apps.

While some programmes like Marvelous Designer can create the UVs, and quite clearly show them to us, there’s no easy way to export them as a flat file – akin to the one you see on the right here.

Photoshop to the rescue! All versions of Photoshop 3D and Photoshop CC can import OBJ files, and they can not only display the UV Map as an overlay, they can turn it into a new Layer for us as well.

Here’s how to do it.

Continue reading How to export a UV Texture Template in Photoshop

How to add thickness to an object in ZBrush

While other 3D apps usually have an option to bring thickness to an otherwise flat object, ZBrush does not. Hurra.

Here’s an extremely fiddly and imprecise way to add thickness to a flat object (such as a 2D plane) using a Morph Target trick I’ve learnt from BadKing the other day.

First, bring in a flat object into your otherwise empty document. The Plane_3D primitive will suffice nicely for this demonstration. Drag it out, enter Edit mode and turn this thing into a PolyMesh 3D.

Turn the object on its side and hit Move (right next to the default Draw).

If you held down SHIFT while looking at the plane from its side, you’ll notice that you don’t see your object anymore – only the Move Tool. That’s just fine. It’s all part of the “fun” of using ZBrush. Have you used the Move Tool before? It takes a bit of getting used to. But I digress…

Click on the little blue circle on the right and you’ll see the tool change, expanding itself to the right. That’s excellent because we’ll move our invisible plane ever so slightly to the right in just a moment.

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 17.31.33

So in my screenshot, where the green line is, that’s the side of my plane. Feel free to turn the view around a little so we reveal the plane like so:

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 17.35.15

Continue reading How to add thickness to an object in ZBrush

How to apply Subdivision Surfaces in DAZ Studio

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 22.37.50

I was modelling a chair in ZBrush the other day and wanted to bring it into DAZ Studio for rendering. So I exported my chair as OBJ from ZBrush, imported it into DAZ Studio and was slightly surprised by the result: it looked more edgy, and not as smooth as it appeared in ZBrush.

Why was that, I wondered, and – more importantly – how could I fix that?

The secret sauce is called Subdivision Surfaces (SubD) and it’s easy to add to any object or figure that doesn’t already have it applied. Let me show you how to do this in DAZ Studio 4.8. Continue reading How to apply Subdivision Surfaces in DAZ Studio

How to cut holes in ZBrush

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Sometimes we need to cut holes into an object. Every other 3D app under the sun would call this a Boolean Operation – except for ZBrush of course, where this problem is solved with a (totally unintuitive) DynaMesh trick.

While the ZBrush manual mentions that this is easily achieved, they’ve missed out the part on how to actually do it.

Let me explain that here before I forget (which is probably tomorrow). Continue reading How to cut holes in ZBrush

How to use Radial Symmetry in Manga Studio


In my previous article I’ve explained how to use Radial Symmetry in SketchBook Pro, and because I can never remember how to use it it Manga Studio (or Clip Studio Paint as it’s now called), I thought I’d explain it here for future reference.

The Radial Symmetry feature has been part of Manga Studio since version 5.0, but it’s slightly complex to get started with it if you’ve never used it before. Radial Symmetry is created with a Ruler Layer, so I’ll explain how to create and use one.

Here’s how to accomplish this rather daunting task: Continue reading How to use Radial Symmetry in Manga Studio

How to use Radial Symmetry in SketchBook Pro


Autodesk have recently introduced a new feature to SketchBook Pro: Radial Symmetry. While we had this feature for a while in Manga Studio, it’s much easier to use in Sketchbook Pro. Here’s how.

Radial Symmetry is available to Pro members only, since version 8.1.0.

From the menu bar, select the symmetry icon and click on the thing that looks like a four petalled flower (the one next to vertical and horizontal symmetry).

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 11.31.00Next to the icon is a number field: choose how many segments you’d like to draw (you can choose up to 16) and see symmetry lines appear on your canvas. You can move and rotate the symmetry helper by using the handles. Click the little lock icon in the menu to make sure the lines can’t move, potentially running your multidimensional masterpiece.

Now draw in any of the segments and see your strokes multiplied automatically in the remaining segments. It feels like magic and can produce lovely patterns very quickly.

Have fun with Radial Symmetry 😉

How to select multiple parts of a brush in ZBrush

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Several brushes in ZBrush insert 3D meshes into your object rather than sculpting it. Some of the default brushes are named IMM in the brush menu, but you can get dozens of others from sites like BadKing.com.au (check it out – they’re phenomenal).

IMM stands for Insert Multi Mesh, and such brushes can be created with several geometries under the hood. Imagine a brush that inserts buttons: there may be more than one button style one might need, and such styles could be stored in the same IMM brush. Very handy! Try it out with the IMM Parts brush: draw an object, enter edit mode, use the shortcuts B-I-A to select the brush and drag to insert a default button on your object.

To see the other brush styles, hit M. This brings up a pop-up menu with anything else this IMM brush has to offer. Pick another part and drag again to insert it.

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 10.30.31

Once dragged out, use the space bar to move the position of the inserted mesh. You can constrain the new mesh to its original size by using the CTRL key.

IMM is a huge topic though, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of what can be done with it. Check out the ZBrush docs for more details: