3D Archives

My notes on 3D apps I use: ZBrush, Hexagon, DAZ Studio, Poser, Carrara and many others.

Painting textures with 2D tools using ZAppLink in ZBrush

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 12.28.24ZAppLink is a ZBrush feature that allows you to use 2D painting tools to paint the texture on a 3D object, as it’s seen in the workspace. Rather than exporting, editing and re-importing textures, drawing on awkwardly layed out UVs, or solely relying on 3D painting tools, you can simply frame your object and draw on it – with anything that supports the PSD file format.

This is different to using GoZ which relies on 3D features of a painting app (such as Photoshop Extended – which I don’t have). ZAppLink allows you to use other 2D tools in your pipeline such as SketchBook Pro, Manga Studio, Corel Painter and many others.

Here’s a quick guide on how to use ZAppLink in ZBrush 4R6.

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How to close a Vertex Object in Carrara

To close a Vertex Object, first select the edges around the opening. In this example it’s a sphere with its top sliced off. Now head over to Model – Fill Polygon. It’s equivalent to the Close function in Hexagon. Empty Polygon on the other hand will remove the polygon, much like pressing the Delete key …

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How to navigate DAZ Studio on your Surface Pro

DAZ Studio Pro 4.6 runs perfectly fine on the Microsoft Surface Pro, however by default the stylus navigation isn’t working well: the pen is so sensitive that it has your scene spinning into al kinds of directions at the slightest touch on the navigation cube at the top right. Other 3D applications are working fine …

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Creating UV Maps with UV Master in ZBrush

Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 12.44.10

UV Unwrapping with conventional tools takes all the fun out of 3D modelling – at least for me. Until I met the UV Master plugin for ZBrush. It can do in less than a second what would take me days in Hexagon or Carrara.

Here’s a quick guide on how to use UV Master in ZBrush 4R6.

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Creating Texture Maps in ZBrush

Import the OBJ file you’d like to create a texture for under Tool – Import. Drag it into the workspace while holding shift, then hit Edit to enter 3D mode. Head over to Tool – Geometry and turn the subdivision level to 1. Texture maps should be created at the lowest subdivision level, even though your ZBrush …

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How to use GoZ in ZBrush

GoZ (pronounced Go-Zeeh) is a bridge between ZBrush and other applications. This allows for easy mesh and texture sharing between ZBrush and Sculptris, Photoshop, Poser, Carrara, DAZ Studio and many others. But how do we use it? Where is that magic button? And how do we select the target app? All will be revealed in this article. Under …

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How to fix “insufficient disk space” error for GoZ in ZBrush

I’ve encountered a problem last year that every time I tried to send something from ZBrush to another application via the GoZ plugin, my Mac gave an error message telling me I had “insufficient disk space”. With over 100GB left on my main drive this is a plain lie. Turns out that there’s a permissions problem …

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Changing the colours of the Popup Help in ZBrush

zbrush-popup

ZBrush doesn’t have a User Manual in PDF form you can download and curl up with. Instead, it has an online version over here.

ZBrush also encourages us to use the integrated help which explains every feature of the app. All we have to do is press CTRL / CMD while hovering over an item in its extensive menu.

Trouble is, when I do this on my Mac, I can barely read anything – if at all. You’d expect that an $800 piece of software would at least WORK out of the box without extensive digging into how to make the friggin help show up. But of course that’s not how it works with ZBrush.

Lucky for us the entire UI is customisable (albeit a tad difficult to understand how), and thanks to MentalFrog’s suggestion I could tweak my ZBrush popup help from “totally irrelevant” to “actually usable”. Let me show you how.

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Navigating 3D Space in ZBrush

Much like a drawing programme, it is more or less required to use a Wacom tablet with ZBrush. Without one it doesn’t really make much sense. Like the rest of this weird piece of software, navigating around an object in 3D is completely different than in any other application. My Wacom Intuos 4 is setup …

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Creating Motion Paths in Carrara

A Motion Path is a line in 3D space which an object can follow over time. Each path is specific to an object. This is useful for creating animations and is an alternative to keyframing motion. In the above animation I’ve applied a Motion Path to the camera and made it fly through Greeble City. …

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Navigating 3D Space on Microsoft Surface Pro

Since I bought the Microsoft Touch Keyboard for my 1st Generation Surface Pro, 3D usage has become even better than before (I went for the purple one). Many functions have keyboard shortcuts that make life quicker and easier when it comes to navigating a scene in 3D Space. Before I forget how this works, I …

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Using the Physics Engine in Carrara

Carrara has a built-in physics engine which is very capable of calculating dynamic animations. Here’s how to setup a basic scene with physics. Physics are already setup in every new scene with a default gravity. Feel free to change the Simulation Accuracy and Geometric Fidelity different results before messing with each single object. You can find …

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Using Image Based Lighting (IBL) in Carrara

To use Image Based Lighting in Carrara (IBL for short), we need a HDRI map (High Dynamic Rage Image). Using this technique your scene is not illuminated by light sources but rather by a weird looking image. This concept is known as Global Illumination and the results can be stunning (see above). In principle, a spherical …

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How to remove empty folders from your Poser Library

In Poser we have the ability to add and remove entire runtimes, save new items to those, delete them if and when we like, and we can also create folders inside our runtimes. We can remove items, but it seems we can’t remove folders – not even if they’re empty. This can get messy. According …

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How to upgrade Poser Pro 2014 to Poser Game Dev

Poser Game Dev was released as part of Service Release 4 of Poser Pro 2014. It adds additional features to the app which can be unlocked with a new serial number. Essentially Poser Game Dev is the same executable as Poser Pro 2014. But how do we upgrade? Information on this topic is a tad …

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How to navigate 3D space in Hexagon and Carrara

  Once every year I pick up my 3D hobby and find that I’ve forgotten most of what I used to know. That’s because I hardly take notes. With all my coding endeavours this really isn’t an option – so I’ve promised myself to learn from past mistakes and take notes on the 3D stuff …

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How to use Spotlight in ZBrush

Cylinder with PatternI’ve gotten over the culture shock of the ZBRush Interface. It grows on you after a while. Or so I keep telling myself.

The emphasis in ZBrush is about sculpting 3D models – something I’m not really into. I want to use ZBrush as a texturing tool and paint existing 3D objects, so I jumped right ahead and took a good look at something called Spotlight. This is ZBrush’s image editing and painting feature.

Everything needs some funky name, usually beginning or containing the letter Z. I’m surprised they didn’t call this Zpotlight.

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The First 48 Hours with ZBrush

ZBrush DogConfusion, headaches, frustration, anger, hopelessness, sadness, depression and resentment. Those words probably best describe my first two days with this new software.

These are not emotions commonly associated with creativity, artistic output, joy, happiness or inner fulfilment.

And I had such high hopes for ZBrush! My capability of wanting to learn, the excitement of exploring new territory and the certainty that sooner or later I’d be able to figure it out were no longer with me.

Plus my usually reliable learning resources weren’t able to teach me the basics!. For a moment there I lost all hope.

Then I discovered that there may be light at the end of a very dark tunnel after all. Let me tell you all about it in the first part of this exciting new series or Learning Zbrush.

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Mes vacances avec ZBrush

ZBrush LogoDon’t panic, this post is not in French, it’s merely an homage to my man Fred Lebain whose collection of Holga images has always inspired me.

I hear great things about a piece of software called ZBrush. Apparently it’s the best thing that’s happened to the 3D industry since the candy machine. The current release 4R6 packs a heft price tag of $795 (about £560) and therefore sends the message: “It’s not a hobby tool – it’s business software”.

The sales pitch says it does it all and more – from modelling in a very artistic and intuitive way, to texturing better than any other app could ever do. Their customer service is fantastic and they have a showcase site called ZBrushCentral where creators from all over the world can share their works and be admired.

Over the next four weeks, I’ve decided to find out for myself.

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Hitman in Haringey

Ah, the old neighbourhood – I used to live there you know. A mix of light industrial fashion industry warehouses next to council estates and victorian family homes. I remember the security guards with the “talk to the hand gesture” when I tried to cross the yard and shave off 10 minutes from the walk …

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6 Days to go

A couple of weeks ago we’ve received two additional large rubbish bins. Haringey Council had given us 3 bins ever since I’ve moved in here 12 years ago. Now we have five, the additional two being “green bins” for anything that can be recycled.

This appears to be pretty much everything apart from maybe plutonium and mercury. Everything else (ie plutonium and mercury) still needs to go I the black bins.

Be that as it may, the new bins couldn’t have come at a better time: for the last five weeks we have been producing on average 5 black bags of rubbish every day! You wouldn’t believe the amount of stuff we’re carrying out of a one bedroom flat. Lucky for us we’re nearly finished.


Those green bins seem to be collected on a different schedule than our black bins, so now the rubbish people come to us on Monday and on Thursday. At least that was the plan I guess when their arrival was announced with the accompanying little pamphlet. Reality is a slightly different matter: because the rubbish collections never seem to happen anymore.

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The Totally Mental CRISP WEEKEND on www.versluis.com

You heard the man – this weekend EXCLUSIVELY at http://www.versluis.com I’ve got something special for y’all: I’ll be sitting here eating one crisp packet per hour and will post the empty packet right here on the site, every hour on the hour (until the server crashes). Each time this happens, I’ll send our a tweet …

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