View Full Version : Poly modelling in ZB

04 April 2006, 11:13 AM
I just wanted to find out about poly modelling capabilities within ZB?
I got the demo but there's no import/export feature, and actually
every time I open it I can't stop doodling :p

So from people that work with it, how good are the meshes that come out of ZB?
I mean both by using ZSpheres or any other poly tools it might have?

I notice that people use other apps (like Silo) to clean up their meshes?

So can you start ZB and do poly stuff and end up with a model that's nicely made of relaxed quads?
Can this happen? Is it impossible?
I don't have a lot of expectations in the first place, just really wants to know..
I do think ZB is the best at being ZB and that's all it needs to be? :S

Since the new Meats intro it all started making more sense actually..
Can't really test it with the demo 'tho, and budget not looking that great lol

But even with comments of it being an "alien" interface I can't say I don't enjoy it,
or that I won't be looking into it sometime in the future *cross fingers*


04 April 2006, 08:43 PM
Heck it would be nice if someone shared their ZB impressions with me?

Currently I think ZB is the only real proof that the Roswell incident did happen,
and boy do I like them green people. Beam me up Scotty, will ya?

04 April 2006, 03:06 AM
I find it depressing that nobody responded to you on this so I will. Even tho I'm a noob and haven't been using zbrush for very long I do know a few things. One thing I noticed is that I can't practically render the models that I've made in zbrush using Maya because they are so big and have so many polys. I made an 800,000 poly head of a dog and exported it to maya to render but after waiting about 30 minutes for it to render in preview quality I decided to call it quits. I was able to export a lower poly version of it (50,000) and render it with pretty quick results. The only problem with this is the decrease in quality. Also I noticed that there was a fairly sizeable seam running down the side of the model. So, from what I've seen it's impractical to export full models into other modelling packages but it is possible to export lower res versions and just make final improvements and fixes through them. Hmph, that seemed like alot of text for not much info but its all I've got.

EDIT: Lemme check and see if they are quads....

Appears to be...

04 April 2006, 03:53 AM
Joo52, you're going about things all wrong. You take your low poly model into zbrush, subdivide and make all of your details and then create a dispalcement map (or normal map) to use in Maya. That way you still have your low polygon model that will subdivide at rendertime with the displacement map in your material settings to give the appearance of being high poly when it really isn't. :)

Zbrush has nice modeling tools. Zsphere's are amazing for creating characters quickly and you are able to create new edge loops out of faces to get extra detail in certain areas. The downside now is that you don't have edge tools like in other polygon modelers so you can't do much about edge flow if you are wanting to export for animation. When Zbrush 2.5 comes out it will have a topology editor similar to Silo's (only line based so you won't have sloppy edges since silo is freehand) so modeling in zbrush in the near future will be pretty rockin' for organic work. If you're into more hard surface stuff then stick with whatcha know but having zbrush around can be great for just about any project.

04 April 2006, 03:57 AM
I said I was a noob right...

04 April 2006, 06:37 PM
@ Joo52

Yup I only see quads. All 51000 of them :)
Actually what pnoland mentioned, I think you need to export the low-res mesh and a displacement map (with projection master) Then you need Maya to support ZB maps?
Don't know bout that. And why not use the ZB renderer even?

It all started making sense after the Meats intro.

Thanks :)

@ pnoland

Yup, edge flows and animation, of course! Now it makes sense.
Actually ZB already seems like the package to have, and it sounds like it's still going to get better :)

Umm when I start getting results with ZSpheres I'll start thinking I finally deserve it lol
Unless you use ZB only for the displacement painting and rendering, not.
Actually I wonder if Fine Artists are having exhibitions with ZB work?
4096x4096 prints would look good on a gallery even?

Not that I'm anywhere near that, not yet anyway, not for a long time.. ;)

04 April 2006, 07:42 PM
I said I was a noob right...

Just trying to set you on the right path :)

04 April 2006, 08:57 PM
Yea I was just looking into the whole displacement map thing because I was (am?) retarded and I saw that Pixologic released a new plugin called ZMapper which expands on it's deisplacement map functionality. It can export differently optimized displacement maps depending on the renderer you choose to use and it can show you the preview of your low poly model with the map applied. Also it does this cool thing where it dissassembles the model and flattens it out into a 2d map all smooth like (UV Morphing). I actually found out about it from an advertisement on the top of the page at cgtalk. The link that you follow has the free download as well as a video showing it's features.

04 April 2006, 12:00 AM
Zmapper is great. It's awesome for generating normal maps and cavity maps. :) I personally use more displacement maps then normal maps since my render app doesn't really do normal maps until I upgrade to the latest version but displacement maps work just fine for me. :)

04 April 2006, 12:17 AM
Yeah zb is great, the only thing I do is model a base mesh in another 3d modeler, I like to get the edge flow working for animation then I detail everything in zbrush. I haven't given zsphere a go yet though.

04 April 2006, 12:22 AM
Zmapper is great for normalmapping, the only thing it dosn't do well is floating geometry and it has low subdivision limit of 500k triangles very annoying when you make model elswhere and just want to use zmapper, I hope pixologic fix this.

04 April 2006, 01:26 AM
Everything important to be said has been done already- but let me back up what others have said before. Zbrush has superior modelling tools- and can easily intergrate into a production pipe line. I was a hater at first- I thought "You can't really use it for animation", "Its too hard to work with the tools", "its only good for crazy, unusuall surfaces".


Its a better program- and all modelling programs should pay attention (unless they are already going that way). Right now- 3D scanning is finally come of age- and soon the need for slow methodical modelling will be blasted out of the sky. I know most folks wish this wasn't true... but just go look at what Mo Cap did to animation production.... But I'm no scan lover. I still think the artist should be in control- and Zbrush gives you the speed and detail that will be needed to stay ahead.

I do have one complaint- prone to crash. It hasn't proven the most stable system- but I hear that will change with the next version.

good luck

04 April 2006, 09:20 AM
Thanks all, comic_craig :)

Yes I think I now begin to understand where ZB falls in with others in production.
But come to think of it, yes it's modelling too, but mostly displacement modelling?
Or brush modelling if you like?

If you want to create a 3D work you can't really do it all in ZB?
ZSpheres should be great for characters bipeds and quadrupeds and what have you,
but that doesn't necessarily make the whole scene?

Unless you're only doing character modelling, I think.

Of course you could then add basic geometry and texture and brush that, but still.
If you want a car, for example, then you have to do it in polys and import into ZB.
If you're going for realism anyway..

Ok but then there's scanning, interesting that :)

So are we going back to clay and wax?? *grin*

04 April 2006, 09:31 AM
"You know- it really depends. Most folks tend to like modelling inorganics in thier tool of choice- and then detailing in Zbrush. I am first a Maya user- but I know it sucks for modelling. Even as bad as it is- I'm so used to using Maya- I often start a model Maya, finish it in Zbrush, and render in Maya.... but, that is not how I have to do it. You can make cars, chairs, motor bikes in Zbrush. I mostly model in Maya because I'm just comfortable in that interface. In the end- it really depends on what you are used to, and what kind of interface you like. I hate nurbs- can't stand nurb modelling.... but I've built a car or two in Nurbs and I can totally understand why so many cars end up being made from Nurb surfaces.

I guess my point is- check it out- and see if it works for you. Sorry if I sounded too much like a Zbrush kool aid drinker."

a message paid for by Pixologic, makers of Zbrush:)

04 April 2006, 11:15 PM
Spin99: I would definitely not call them perfect, nor well done, edge looped models but the following were made within a timelimit and the edge looping was only to assist in the modeling. Zsketches ( The first post contains a zscript showing the modeling of three models.

I think they turned out ok for basic morph/blend shape dynamics, especially the latter ones. But Zbrush is currently limited in the polygon construction and deconstruction department. Hopefully ZBrush 2.5 will provide a mature process for applying new topology to awkward geometry.

04 April 2006, 06:35 PM
@ TVeyes

Thanks for sharing!
Cool aliens you did. I really like sketches 7, 9, 10 :)
I'm downloading the scripts and will try learn from them.

I'll be taking on ZB (demo) as a challenge soon (hopefully)
to see if it's the app I need getting. I'm sure your sketches will be handy.
If anything I'll lket you know :D

04 April 2006, 09:36 AM
Zmapper is great. It's awesome for generating normal maps and cavity maps. :) I personally use more displacement maps then normal maps since my render app doesn't really do normal maps until I upgrade to the latest version but displacement maps work just fine for me. :)

Displacement maps are a bitch to render. The maps are too sensitive, and generate hideous deformities if there is a slight problem in exporting. Well, at least once you get it working its great! =]

Though I still can't imagine how one would animate with a displacement map. By making wrinkles that are made with the displacement map for instance, wouldn't the mesh deform incorrectly? Like wrinkles would not disappear when stretched like normal skin. How do people go around this problem? I've thought of using different morph targets for each pose but I feel that approach is too inefficient...

04 April 2006, 11:01 AM
@ Nii

Hey there thanks for sharing.
Actually I think the man to ask is Taron? He seems to have displacement animations
in his portfolio. Try ( :D

04 April 2006, 12:42 PM
No worries, though I didn't actually say anything contributable...

Anyway not sure who is listening but I feel like mentioning randomly that UV maps that are made externally from ZBrush (in my experience so far, pelt mapping) do not work too well with displacement maps. In this case normal maps work better.

I plan to experiment with relief mapping someday, but have not had the time to work out how to output relief maps yet.

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