ZBrush Basics Cheat Sheet

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I just watched the above excellent one hour tutorial by Henning and Morten from FlippedNormals. It’s a great “getting (back) into ZBrush” tutorial that covers everything I keep forgetting when I give ZBrush a rest for longer than 6 months. Which is essentially every time I use it. While watching I took some notes so I can refer back to them. Enjoy!


  • BST – Standard Brush
  • BCB – Clay Build-up Brush (coarse)
  • BDS – Dam Standard (carves edges)
  • BTD – Trim Dynamic (makes planes)
  • BMV – Move Brush (moves big chunks)
  • BIN – Inflate Brush


  • SHIFT F – see wireframe
  • CTRL D – subdivide model once
  • SHIFT D – switch to lower resolution
  • D – switch to higher resolution
  • CTRL drag outside the model to Dynamesh
  • X – activate Symmetry

Mirror the object with Tool – Deformation – Mirror

To cut off geometry use CTRL SHIFT and select a trim brush like Trim Rect. This will work with symmetry from left to right only when the object is mirrored.


  • ALT click to select a subtool
  • Append to add another object as a subtool
  • select part of your object (see below), then hit CTRL W to assign a Polygroup
  • split selection into new subtool via Group Splits (make everything visible for it to work)

Selections and Visibility

  • CTRL SHIFT and select something like the Rect Tool
  • CTRL SHIFT and select a part that will be shown (everything else will be hidden)
  • CTRL SHIFT and left click will bring everything back
  • CTRL SHIFT and drag off the model will invert the selection
  • hold ALT in addition to add to selection
  • CTRL SHIFT and click on a Polygroup to select only that group


  • CTRL and drag to mask areas off
  • CTRL and ALT will remove from the mask
  • CTRL and drag outside the model to clear the mask
  • CTRL and click on the mask to soften it
  • CTRL W to turn the mask into a Polygroup
  • CTRL click outside the model to invert the mask
  • there’s also Mask menu under Tool (for growing your selection)


Funky option to contain a change to a layer that’s in record mode. Change strength of a layer with the slider below it. Add a layer with the square icon, or delete with the X icon. Some funky MDD integration there, might be fun to investigate on a rainy day.


By default there’s no way to see what’s on the other side of your polygons. Under Tool – Display Properties is a button called Double. Click it to show backfaces.

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