How to enable the Magnifying Glass in ZBrush

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On some systems it can be hard to read the plethora of menu items that ZBrush presents. It’s hard enough to find the one you need, but it’s even harder to do so without straining your eyes.

ZBrush has a lovely solution that can help us, both for modelling and viewing menus: The Magnify Glass option.

To enable it, head over to Preferences – Magnify Glass. You’ll have all kinds of options to tweak the look and feel of the loupe it brings up, a circle in which everything on your screen is enlarged by however many percent you want.

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Try it out and see if it works for you. It’s a little weird to get used to, but can be a great help for fine tuning those tricky details on your models.





How to create seamless texture tiles in ZBrush using the elusive Tilde Key

There is a convenient way to create seamless texture tiles in ZBrush using the oft neglected 2.5D functionality. Like many things in ZBrush, it’s extremely easy – if you know how to do it. The principle is just like the Photoshop Offset filter.

Before we start, it’s probably a good idea to resize the current document to something square, from its default 4:3 aspect ratio. To do that, head over to Document, de-select Pro (which would otherwise constrain the proportions of the document) and type in a size of your liking. 1024×1024 for example. Now hit Resize.

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If there’s anything on the current canvas, select Document – New or hit CMD+N to clear it. Now start drawing what you need with 3D tools, leaving a bit of space around the edges. Perhaps something artistic like this:

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To offset the image and draw more assets across the seams of our tile, hold down the Tilde Key on your keyboard while dragging the canvas. You’ll see the image loop in on itself when you do.

Note that the Tilde Key can be elusive on anything other than a US keyboard; it’s the little wavy line we never use for anything (~). Here is its location on a US Mac Keyboard:

Tilde-Key-Mac-US

On a UK Mac keyboard, it’s in the same position as above, but it’s labelled with a plus/minus and paragraph icon (±§). On international keyboards it’s in a totally different position (see Dimitri’s link at the bottom of this article).

Now fill in the blank areas with other assets and save out your image via Document – Export. You can use your creations as alphas, textures, surface noise tiles and anything your heart desires.

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Further Reading





How to remove polygons from your model in ZBrush

Remove-Faces

In Hexagon you can simply select a face (polygon) and hit the delete key, but things are slightly more complicated in ZBrush. Here’s how to remove one or several faces of your 3D object in ZBrush.

First, select the desired polygons. In my example above it’s the flat side of a cylinder, so I’m rotating the object while holding SHIFT to make to snap to the exact side view. Then I drag a mask with CTRL+SHIFT, which will select only those faces and hide the rest of the model.

I’m using rectangular selection for this, but depending on your model you may need something else. Hold down CTRL and choose the appropriate selection method on the right hand side of ZBrush.

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Next I’ll invert my selection. This is done by CTRL-SHIFT dragging on an empty part of the screen, showing the previously unselected part of the model and in my case hiding the bottom faces.

To remove all hidden parts of the model, head over to Tool – Geometry – Modify Topology and choose Delete Hidden (or Del Hidden as the button reads).

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If you’ve accidentally (and inadvertently) hidden parts you didn’t meant to, you can make them visible again using the Visibility menu (also under Tool). Select ShowPt to bring hidden sections back.

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Say hello to Victoria 7

Victoria-7

Victoria 7 is here! According to the marketing hype she’s “totally amazing”, but we don’t know much about her yet. Feeling finally better, I thought I’d give the new girl a spin and see how DAZ have improved upon the previous generation of Genesis 2 (which – let’s face it – wasn’t shabby at all).

New figures are fun to play with, and I’m sure over the next two years we’ll find out more about Genesis 3 than we will in the first few days. Here’s what I’ve found so far. Continue reading Say hello to Victoria 7





How to preview HD Morphs in DAZ Studio

Michaels

In the above picture we have a render of Michael 6, the standard version on the left and the HD version on the right. Zooming in closer we can see that his abs and knees for example have a lot more detail – as we’d expect from an HD version of a model.

Comparing the two Michaels in our viewport instead of the render however, we can barely make out a difference. Both figures look nearly identical (except for the belly button indentation perhaps).

 

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So why is that, and how can we preview those HD details before we render them?

The secret lies in our viewport’s subdivision levels.

Continue reading How to preview HD Morphs in DAZ Studio





Where is Save For Web in Photoshop CC 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 18.12.38The swanky new slash screen isn’t the only thing that’s changed in Photoshop CC 2015. One of those functions that I use probably THE MOST in Photoshop is File – Save For Web. It’s been around for ages and means that you can quickly create a flattened JPG or PNG of your otherwise well-stacked and complicated image.

The geniuses at Adobe recognized that the term “save for web” probably doesn’t describe accurately what we’re doing anymore, so they’ve moved this function to File – Export – Save For Web (Legacy). Thankfully they did not take it away!

You’ll be pleased to hear that the keyboard shortcut CMD+SHIFT+OPT+S (the worst ever keyboard combination ever – which is why I’ve mapped it to one of my Intuos buttons – WAAAAAAY easier to remember).

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While this comes as a bit of a shock to long-term users, Adobe has added a new version of the Save For Web dialogue, accessible from File – Export – Export As. This will let you do pretty much what Save For Web did, without the gazillions of options we never really used.

An even easier implementation (without any default keyboard shortcut mind you) is File – Export – Quick Export as PNG. Without any options or settings, this will simply save your current well-stacked file as PNG in the same resolution as the original. You can’t resize the image with this option, but you can with Export As – just like we could with Save For Web.

One thing I did notice is that these new export options come with a bit of a performance penalty: my system about two seconds to bring up this new Export As dialogue. Safe For Web (Legacy) on the other hand opens instantaneously.

Let’s just remember that “newer” isn’t always synonymous with “better”.

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How to export a single frame from your timeline in Adobe Premiere Pro

Export-Frame

There’s an extremely handy shortcut that allows us to export single frames from the playhead’s current position in Premiere’s timeline. It’s not available via a menu command, it’s not particularly advertised, and it saves having to go via the File – Media – Export option, potentially downsizing the original footage.

Take a look at your Program Monitor and find the super tiny camera icon at the bottom right (just next to the Lift and Extract icons we’ve never seen or used before). Click it, and a still image in the format of your choice is created, in the full resolution of the source footage!

Position the playhead anywhere you like and create as many stills as you want. Using the File – Export – Media option will also work, but it will resize your image – and if your source footage is much larger than your target media then that’s not a good choice.

This isn’t meant to be for image sequences of course (for which the Media Encoder is a better option), but it works a treat for quick images you want to pull off your project.





Cardozo Textures for Peplum Dress – now available at Hivewire3D

Take Stephanie’s Peplum Dress and Blossom Shoes for a walk on the town with our brand new Cardozo Textures: 10 brand new outfits for the dress and the shoes, all carefully crafted with love from Miami Beach!

This gives you a total of 40 Material Presets for both DAZ Studio and Poser (via DSON Importer). This is our second release on Hivewire3D, and something tells me it ain’t gonna to be the last 🙂

HW-Main-Promo

I’ve rendered the promo shots using Stephanie 6 (it is her dress after all, even though it fits all the Genesis 2 Females) and Stonemason’s fantastic Streets of the Mediterranean.

In the background you’ll find 3D Universe’s Jason and Amy walking up the stairs, the Millennium Cat licking his paws and the Toon Mouse fleeing in panic (and presenting the shoe compilation too). The red bike is courtesy of Carrara.

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All these things and the Peplum Dress are available from DAZ 3D.
In this article I’ll explain how to get the most out of our texture pack.

Continue reading Cardozo Textures for Peplum Dress – now available at Hivewire3D





Breakwater Textures for Frilly Triangle Bikini – now available at Hivewire3D

Promo-1

Summer Time means Bikini Time – unless you live in Miami Beach, where it’s Bikini Time all the time. May I present with pleasure a brand new texture set from Team V:

Breakwater Textures adds 10 new Material Presets for the beautiful Frilly Triangle Bikini by Nikisatez. Take your Genesis 2 ladies out for a dip in the lake or a stroll at the beach and give the Frilly Triangle Bikini a whole new spin (watch out for little green monsters though).

The set is now available from Hivewire3D.

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All the above were rendered in DAZ Studio, but separate Poser Material Presets have been carefully crafted from scratch. The backdrop was made in Carrara using HowieFarke’s beautiful Secret Lake scene, and the little green critter is another 3D Universe classic called “Monsters in my Cupboard” (both available from DAZ).

Our models are Victoria 6 (left) and Lilith (right, and in single shots), featuring textures designed by my wife Julia. Right on!

Let’s see how to use those Breakwater Textures.

Continue reading Breakwater Textures for Frilly Triangle Bikini – now available at Hivewire3D





How to change the launch image in DAZ Studio

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Did you know that you can change the splash screen / launch image that comes up when you start DAZ Studio? It’s nothing major of course, but just in case you find the default image too distracting you can make DAZ Studio launch with something more plain, as pictured above.

Head over to Preferences – Interface and change the Splash Image option from Default to Alternate. You only have these two choices though, so you can display your own image (sorry).

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The Alternate has just been a plain DAZ Studio slogan for the last few versions, and the Default is usually a render for the latest generation Victoria. My favourite so far was the image of the blue haired girl in version 4.7. I’m not so keen on the new Iray Victoria with the green crystals (pictured below).

But that’s personal preference for you, and at least we have a choice how of DAZ Studio can welcomes us when it launches.

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