Even though I own it, I know very little about ZBrush. It may forever remain a mystery for me – like driving a car or getting excited about Team Sports. It’s just… not for me. Be that as it may, I’ve often wondered how clothing manufacturers use a character as a reference to make or update clothing geometry in ZBrush. Perhaps a jacket that doesn’t quite fit, or some boots that need a quick adjustment.
The challenge here is that both the character and the clothing need to be imported into ZBrush, and we need to be able to adjust the clothing only, while seeing the character in the background as a reference so we can work around it.
While the art of sculpting in ZBrush entirely eludes me, I believe I have finally understood the overall workflow. Before I forget it again, I thought I’d share it with you and my future self. Let’s see how we can transfer a clothed Genesis 3 figure from DAZ Studio 4.11 into ZBrush 2019.1, make adjustments on an item, and then bring it all back with a few clicks.
In this episode I’ll show you how to create a morph for an item in DAZ Studio using ZBrush, without using the GoZ bridge. It works by exporting your object in OBJ format from DAZ Studio, importing and changing its shape in ZBrush (or any other 3D modelling app for that amtter), then re-importing the object to DAZ Studio. This workflow does not require any specific bridging tools that can sometimes be difficult to work with.
This is a follow-up video to my previous one about how to create morphs using ZBrush and the GoZ tool. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtYFaIZah6A
In this episode I’ll show you how to create morphs for DAZ Studio using ZBrush, thanks to a free plugin called GoZ for DAZ Studio (it’s like a ZBrush Bridge). I’ll also explain the prep-work necessary for GoZ to work properly and how to install it.
I was trying to import a texture into ZBrush from an object I had created and UV mapped in Blender. The above shows an example of such an object, looking all nice and dandy in Blender.
However, when I imported it into ZBrush (after figuring out how to do that), I was shocked to see how ZBrush displayed my texture. Take a look:
That’s neither funny nor necessary. I’ve tested the same principle in DAZ Studio, Carrara and Poser and they all played ball, displaying the texture without a hitch. Only Hexagon wanted the texture flipped vertically, but – just like Carrara – offered handy tick boxes as to which direction an imported texture needed to be mirrored.
Zbrush also has such an option, but it’s not next to where you select the texture.
In this article I’ll show you how to import and apply a texture in ZBrush, to an object that has been created and UV mapped in another application. Let’s do this step by step:
ShadowBox is an interesting feature with which we can create 3D geometry from three intersecting masks. Let’s see how to get started with it step by step in ZBrush 4R7.
Select any tool to begin, perhaps something that can serve as a starting point. I’ll use the Dog tool. To do this, hit the COMMA key to open the toolbar, select Tools, and then select Dog.ztl. Drag one dog out on your canvas, then enter Edit mode.
Now head over to the Geometry tab and open the ShadowBox option, then click on the box ShadowBox button. It should light up orange. This will replace your Dog tool with the ShadowBox tool.
Notice how the shape of the dog changes to something much less detailed. That’s because the dog is projected onto the walls of the ShadowBox, and as such, some details are lost. We can combat this to a certain extent by increasing the resolution slider next to the big ShadowBox button. I’ll leave mine at the default of 128 for now.
You can turn the ShadowBox off at any time, and as a result you’ll be left with a new 3D tool (the less-detailed dog in my case).
To modify the 3D geometry in the centre of the ShadowBox, use the mask tool to draw on any of the three sides (the mask tool is activated by holding down CTRL). This part probuablytakes a lot of practice and patience: I haven’t been able to come up with something sensible using ShadowBox. I hope you’re having better luck than me.
To clear the entire ShadowBox, simply drag outside of the box with the mask tool.
I have previously shown you how to add thickness to an object using the ZBrush Move Tool. While that method may have had its uses in the past, it is hugely cumbersome and can’t really be used on a complex object.
So today I’ve learnt how to achieve the same thing using something called Panel Loops. It a nutshell, with this feature ZBrush splits the whole model into separate little objects, adds thickness to them and merges if all back together again. It even adds Polygroups for all those little bits too.
Panel Loops can be used to create the backside of an otherwise single sided object (for example, a dress exported from Marvelous Designer).
One way of making clothes in ZBrush is to paint a mask onto an existing model, and then extract that mask as a new sub tool for further sculpting. The possibilities are limitless for any object that needs to fit onto another one.
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.
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:
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.