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 using the Move Tool

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.

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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 using the Move Tool

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 (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:

What does “Delivery Status not updated” mean with USPS tracking

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 12.02.59A few months ago I ordered something from… I can’t actually remember from where, but the sender used USPS (United States Postal Service). He provided a tracking number, which usually works great, and you can keep an eye on where in the world your package is. I always find this really interesting, especially when the item travels across the US via all those destinations you didn’t even know existed.

The big day came when the status update read “Out for delivery”, which usually means it’s on my postman’s van, and I can expect the doorbell to ring any moment now.

To my surprise, said event didn’t happen, and in the evening the status had changed to “Delivery status not updated”. No package, no tracking information. What gives?

I did some investigating, and there’s a relatively simple explanation for this. Let me share it with you. First of all, here’s a screen grab of the tracking history:

Continue reading What does “Delivery Status not updated” mean with USPS tracking

No more Tweet Counts

Twitter have recently announced that they will stop supporting the API endpoint that allows developers to show how many times an article has been tweeted. Services such as Jetpack, Shareaholic or even the old fashioned Twitter Button can no longer display a number next to them.

Although announced a while ago, on the 20th of November 2015, Twitter have flicked that switch – and all those tweet counts have magically disappeared from the internet. That’s tough for those who have been relying upon those numbers to see how popular they appear to be.

Because logic dictates, the higher your share counts, the better a person you are: Those with less shares are quite clearly rubbish, while those with more are obviously the gods of the internet.

I always found that logic to be flawed: who cares how many times an article has been SHARED, if no one takes the time to read it? How many times have people retweeted or refacebooked something without ever clicking the link they’re sharing – just because the headline seemed meaningful?

It’s different for cat-pictures and one-liner gags of course, because whoever shares them will have most likely read the content in its entirety. But those creators with 500+ words per article, or those creating audiovisual content have seriously nothing to worry about. Share counts are not a realistic metric of how popular any writer, person or service is.

What is far more interesting is how many times an article has been read by a human, and how much user interaction a piece gets.

Take this site for example: it’s a seemingly random collection of informational tidbits I’ve written for myself, just so I won’t forget. There really is no cohesive subject here. You could argue I’ve been primarily writing about 3D and graphics for the last year, yet one of the most popular articles is about the difference between HDCAM and HDCAM SR I wrote in 2010. It’s been viewed over 12.000 times, so it’s clearly interesting to some humans.

But since its publication, it only ever had a single Twitter and Facebook Share.

I see a similar trend on my other websites too: something I’ve written years ago, almost in passing, full of spelling mistakes and seemingly without focus keeps people coming back – while other more carefully worded articles do not garner much interest, even though they may have been retweeted several dozen times. Some of my iOS Articles for example have been viewed close to 50.000 times, have dozens of user comments, but they’ve seen less than a handful of social shares.

So there you have it, my two cents on this hotly debated issue. Stats and comments are interesting, while Tweet Counts and Facebook Shares aren’t important. They don’t relate to what people actually read. If anything, they confuse your audience as to how popular an article is.

Let me leave you with one final thought here about stats in general. Stats can be interesting, but they’re nothing to live and die by: if the steady flow of visitors or social followers would disappear overnight, it wouldn’t stop me from writing. I think some content creators forget who they’re creating content for. But I guess that’s “to each his own”. I personally do it for me and my future self, rather than an audience of anonymous users whom I will likely never see again.

How to bring back pressure sensitivity for Pogo Connect in Procreate 3


Procreate 3 has been released last week. Several new features have been added, and it includes support for iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

Sadly, as with many app updates (and to my great annoyance), things that were working perfectly fine may occasionally stop working suddenly. And we users have no way to bring back an older version of our favourite apps. Pressure sensitivity for my Pogo Connect is a good example: it was working perfectly fine before the update, but in Procreate 3 (Build 70704bb) there’s an issue.

But fret not, the team are aware of it and they’re working on a fix as we speak.

After extensive testing and community input, I found a workaround that makes the Pogo Connect play nice again with Procreate 3. I’ve posted this solution in the Procreate Forums, but I thought I’d add it here too.

Here’s what worked for me step by step. I’m using an iPad 3 with iOS 9.1, with two Pogo Connects (version 1 and version 2).

Continue reading How to bring back pressure sensitivity for Pogo Connect in Procreate 3