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Old 01-24-2008, 08:16 AM   #16
robmeyers
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I am also in the midst of learning this enigmatic program. I figured this problem out on my own early on, but I figured there was a more elegant way to do it other than saving a tool, clearing the document (again!), dragging out a new copy of the tool, rotating/scaling/positioning it in place, every single time you want to save your progress, switch tools, accidently click on empty space, or god forbid--hit the wrong button. Now that I've finally found a definitive post with several Zbrush experts confirming the grim reality, it's still hard to believe that a company would make such an awesome artistic tool with a workflow that clunky.

Also, this issue should be explained very early in the manual (like a section called READ THIS FIRST!!) since this is easily the most irritating quirk of Zbrush, judging from the posts of all my fellow noobs. It is also very hard to find a straight answer to this problem--most posts I've seen regarding the subject answer some completely different question than the poster originally asks. You should not be required to read the entire manual before doing a simple, basic thing like saving and reopening a document to continue working, which is a feature taken for granted in basically every other existing computer application written in the last 20 years (from Notepad to Mudbox) other than Zbrush.

I'll give an example why this "save as tool" workflow is a very bad idea. I was working on a hamburger patty, which was created in Max using Vray Iso Surface and a 3D noise pattern. The time came that I needed to add more organic details to part of the patty--a nearly symmetric looking object--but it was nearly impossible to tell which side was which when I dragged the imported model into Zbrush. It took me at least 5-10 minutes every time to find the part I needed to work on, and get it right side up before I could continue working, every single time I needed to make a change or two. This is time I really didn't have, and made the project turnaround much longer than necessary. For work related projects, this is bad enough, but when I'm working on my personal projects in the precious little free time I have these days, it's truly frustrating to watch the clock hands whizz by while I research how to do the most simple thing in Zbrush instead of just doing it.

Pixologic desparately needs to make an option whereby you can lock a document in 3D only mode, and save a proper "scene" (not just a 2.5D document) which one can open and continue working in the mode they last left it. I personally have no intention of making finished 2D images in Zbrush. I just want to detail and texture the heck out of my roughed out character models, export displacement maps, animate and then render the final results in Max with Vray lighting and displacement. And I know I am not alone in this goal.

It is such a shame that the more artistic tool is so difficult to work and learn in compared to its competitor (Mudbox), which is so intuitive, I have gotten farther with it without having read one word of the manual, when it's taken me two in-depth tutorials and several lengthy help and web searches to find very basic answers in Zbrush. Unfortunately, Mudbox lacks the beautiful shadowed realtime views you can get in Zbrush, which makes it much less inspiring to work in.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to drag my model into a new document yet again... :(

Last edited by robmeyers : 01-24-2008 at 08:23 AM.
 
Old 01-24-2008, 11:13 AM   #17
hakanpersson
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You can create a new 3d layer and sculpt in "this way up", then you can keep track of up and down
I have never sculpted hamburgers before, so I havent encountered the situation. Althought I agree a bit with the clunky interface part when you sculpt only. A "save changes to tool"-button would be pretty nice.

Btw, zapplink can save and load views.
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Old 01-24-2008, 07:11 PM   #18
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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll have to research on the features you're talking about. This has truly been the most painful learning curve I've experienced while learning new software, and I've been doing 3D since the Amiga days!

I do love the things I've been able to do in Zbrush, but I wish that I could have done them much faster. To simply be able to load a model and have it already in the workspace, and be able to save it in place without losing the ability to edit that instance would really save me from losing any more hair. There are other apps that allow this even with multiple models open, so I don't understand why Zbrush couldn't do it.
 
Old 02-04-2008, 01:09 PM   #19
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I've only just got zbrush. So far I have spent most of my time downloading the video tutorials from the pixologic site, editing and arranging them, and making it into a >2hr DVD so I can watch in a logical order, and use as reference. The tutorials are very useful to get you started, but you don't learn very much in the 2 or so hours due to repetition. There is a section on 2.5D vs 3D which only explains that there is 2.5D as well as 3D in zbrush, but it doesn't explain why.

Like most zbrush users, I expect, I got it for creating 3D models and characters for using in other 3D apps. The 2.5D from what I can make out is for creating pretty 2D pictures to work on in photoshop, and for web and print. I can see that being a useful side feature, but I can't see it being the main workflow for most users, yet it seems to be a default in zbrush.

When I'm working, I just like to be able to click save regularly, and save quickly when I have to rush off to do something else. But it seems when working in 3D, you have to save your model and textures separately, then re-open them in a new project next time you want to work. That does seem very strange.

Is there something about 2.5D that I'm missing the point of? Does it have any practical use in a 3D environment?
 
Old 02-06-2008, 07:30 PM   #20
robmeyers
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I agree, most users do seem to be using Zbrush for modeling or detailing existing models. To me, the fact that a model instantly becomes 2.5D the second you grab a new tool would be akin to Photoshop flattening all your layers when you change brushes or use a filter. People would hit the ceiling if that happened. But even if that were to happen, Photoshop would let you undo your mistake, where Zbrush does not. Once it's 2.5D, you have no choice but to clear the doc and drag out your tool again, a stupid waste of time. I think converting a document to 2.5D should be a voluntary, manual thing that is done by the artist WHEN THEY ARE READY, not because I accidentally clicked somewhere other than my model (easy to do with a Wacom).

I believe Zbrush started out as something like a 2.5D version of Photoshop, but Pixologic needs to wake up to what people are actually doing with it now, and if they don't fix some of the more aggravating quirks before Mudbox gets a little more developed, they are going to lose their market. If Mudbox just added texture painting and realtime shadows, I'd have jumped ship already. It's so much easier to use for someone who is used to 3D apps, and I personally have no use for the 2.5D stuff in most of my work, though I'm sure it's useful for 3D concept art.
 
Old 02-06-2008, 08:02 PM   #21
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robmeyers said: "Once it's 2.5D, you have no choice but to clear the doc and drag out your tool again"

Or you can press ctrl+z to undo (which clears the 2.5.d tool), and drag out the tool again, in case you didnt know.

What kind of settings do you have in zbrush, I am serious, not sarcastic, but how do you manage to accidently drop the model? I really dont see how that can happen. And zbrush does ask if you wish to switch just to avoid unwanted drops to the canvas.

I dont see any reason why Zbrush would loose their market to Mudbox, other than it being bundeled along with autodesk softwares. I have tested mudbox too for quite some time, not saying its a bad software, but its tiny in comparison to zbrush. You can sculpt and generate normal and displacement maps, thats kind of it. There is more than just realtime shadows and texturing that seperates those apps.
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Old 02-06-2008, 09:25 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hakanpersson
Or you can press ctrl+z to undo (which clears the 2.5.d tool), and drag out the tool again, in case you didnt know.


Thanks, that's good to know. However, I'd rather have my 3D tool back in the same state it was, without wasting my limited time dragging it out again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hakanpersson
What kind of settings do you have in zbrush, I am serious, not sarcastic, but how do you manage to accidently drop the model? I really dont see how that can happen. And zbrush does ask if you wish to switch just to avoid unwanted drops to the canvas.


I'm not sure which settings would apply, but there are so many ways you can make the model uneditable. I can just hit save without thinking (no problem in other apps) and everything becomes pixels. Grab the wrong tool (like a 3D tool) and your model is gone. Click in the empty space around the model (pretty easy to get a stray brushstroke on a Wacom) and it's flattened. I have literally just left my desk for a break, came back, and the model magically became 2.5D. No one else had been there, so I'm not sure what happened, unless the file autosaved itself, thereby becoming 2.5D, which is ridiculous anyway. I don't know why it's impossible for Zbrush to save a document in the exact state you left it--virtually every other software of any kind allows this.

People say "is it really a big deal to drag the tool back out and continue?" Yes, it is. I work in 3D professionally, often with long hours. I usually only have an hour or two at most in the evening to work on my own projects, and each time I have to drag out, resize, and re-rotate my tool is time lost doing absolutely nothing useful. I would rather make a few more edits in that time. It's like having to constantly export your Photoshop layers as a brush, and reposition it where it was every time you start a PS session.

Granted, I'm still getting used to the interface such as it is, which I'm sure is at the root of much of my frustration. But at this rate, it seems like I'll never be at a point where I'll be able to do what I want in Zbrush. Seriously, the interface is so foreign to any other application I've ever seen. In most apps, you can select something and hit delete, and it will delete that object/layer/text/whatever. In Zbrush it does something else. This is the crux of my argument. Pixologic for some reason chooses to ignore basic interface design principles: keys should do something that makes sense, i.e. the delete key should delete something, etc. Standard conventions like keyboard shortcuts should be as universal as possible--there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Most apps at least have the "File" and "Edit" menu in common, but Pixologic didn't even see any need to put that in the standard place. The simple idea of being able to save a document completely intact is something we've come to take for granted, but it doesn't quite work the way you'd expect in Zbrush. It really wants to be a fusion of Photoshop and something like Max or Maya, but instead it operates on its own paradigm, which is so alien to most that it takes weeks or months to learn what should be fairly intuitive to anyone who has done digital art for a few years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hakanpersson
I dont see any reason why Zbrush would loose their market to Mudbox, other than it being bundeled along with autodesk softwares. I have tested mudbox too for quite some time, not saying its a bad software, but its tiny in comparison to zbrush. You can sculpt and generate normal and displacement maps, thats kind of it. There is more than just realtime shadows and texturing that seperates those apps.


That's pretty much all I need right now, with the exception of color and additional texture channel painting, and a nicer viewport render for a better artistic experience. I like the simplicity of Mudbox, and since I am planning to animate my models, all I need is the ability to make detailed displacements which I can export, and an organic way to paint textures. As it is, I find myself switching between the two, as they each have their own good points. I'm trying really hard to love Zbrush, but sometimes I just want to throw my Wacom out the window. I never have that emotion when using Mudbox. It's more of a feeling of disappointment in lack of features with Mudbox, rather than sheer frustration at the lack of an intuitive interface that I feel with Zbrush. Mudbox does have the right idea as far as interface design. For the most part, keys do what you think they would do, and you can save a scene and load it back in--fully editable--just the way you would expect. That is a big plus when time is a factor and you don't have weeks to spend learning a new tool.

I appreciate your help, and I think I'll start posting some of my complaints to Pixologic--though I'm sure they've heard much of it before--rather than venting any further in this post.

Last edited by robmeyers : 02-06-2008 at 09:35 PM.
 
Old 02-06-2008, 10:49 PM   #23
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Rob,

The problem you're encountering is that you're looking at z-brush for what it is not rather than what it is .

As the first fellow in this thread said:

Quote:
_______________________________
"So why doesn't ZBrush simply keep the 3D object floating all the time? ZBrush snapshots a copy of your 3D object into your image so you can continue editing on a pixel-by-pixel level (which a 3D object cannot allow for). In order to have this control, you must be working with pixols (pixels with color, material, depth and orientation information) - the foundation for ZBrush's speed, flexibility.
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It's simply a different approach.

Chris.
 
Old 02-06-2008, 11:24 PM   #24
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I think as a new user, all of this is very alien. You have to remember that us noobs have come into this at the point of 3.1 and not before. We pick the software up after pixologic have told us that it's just like modeling with a blob of clay. I'm sure it is just like that, but with a whole lot more complication. I'm not complaining exactly about the complication, as what the software can do is complicated. However, there is a lack of information explaining these issues.

I'm finding it hard to find helpful video tutorials for zbrush. I have followed all the pixologic zclassroom ones after recompiling them into a logical workflow. I have watched several of a series of free ones created by a regular poster at the zbrush forums, but some of the key movies from the series seem to be missing, and there is too much waffle to get through. I have also purchased and downloaded a tutorial DVD created by a fellow countryman, who has a strong accent that I'm sure non fellow countrymen would have a real problem understanding, which again is full of waffle. In all cases, the tutors seem to have forgotten that their audience doesn't actually know anything which is why they a watching the tutorial in the first place! Don't get me wrong, I appreciate it when people who do know what they're doing make the effort to teach those who don't, but are there any good video tutorial series that a dumb ass like me can follow? I feel like I'm up against it with zbrush. I can see my ideas in my head, I can create them with my hands in clay, but not in pixols.

With most software I can learn it while using it. Tasks like saving, normally don't have to be learned. In zbrush, the learning stage can be quite destructive and demoralising, as I frequently loose what I'm working on, loose control of the geometry, loose control of textures etc, and end up with something unusable. Undo doesn't always seem to fix things as expected. I did actually manage to create an alien egg with veins, and a nice texture for use in a Vue project, but then a chimp could have done that, and I think I only managed to do it by fluke, as I don't seem to be able to get consistent results yet.

Last edited by al35mm : 02-06-2008 at 11:35 PM.
 
Old 02-06-2008, 11:34 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robmeyers
I'm not sure which settings would apply, but there are so many ways you can make the model uneditable. I can just hit save without thinking (no problem in other apps) and everything becomes pixels. Grab the wrong tool (like a 3D tool) and your model is gone. Click in the empty space around the model (pretty easy to get a stray brushstroke on a Wacom) and it's flattened.


Thats just so wrong. If thats how your zbrush is working no wonder you are pissed
If you switch tool zbrush should ask if you want to switch or not, but you can choose "always switch", which is perhaps what you did. And im not sure how to recall that change. But I guess "restore standard UI" should reset that change if you dont find it in any menus.
But the rest is not correct, at least thats nothing I ever heard of. I tried to find any settings for it, but no luck. So I your idea about complaining to Pixologic is best. Or try find any answer at zbrushcentral. Or just PM Aurick if he doesnt read this thread?

Besides that I still want a "save changes to tool", there is nothing with the canvas that differs from a normal workspace in any 3d app. At least none that affects your workflow much.

edit: btw, the "empty space around the model " is where you should press to rotate or scale the model. Are we talking about the same area? How do you navigate the camera?
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Old 02-06-2008, 11:50 PM   #26
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Chris, I don't think it's just a different approach--the software was written as if the authors were on a different planet. It does not adhere to any industry or PC standard in its interface, which is why almost everyone experiences such a huge and steep learning curve. Buttons are all over the place, and nothing is well organized. I am slowly getting into the Zbrush mindset, but every time I need to do something new, rather than peruse the menus for a few minutes to find the feature I'm looking for as I usually do (such as when I went from Max to Maya for the first time), I'm forced to browse tutorials all evening. Give us an interface that at least at first glance looks like a standard paint/3d program, even if there is much more underlying complexity. At least the basics would be easy, though it would take more training to get in-depth.

I think there is a general rule of thumb with good interface design: if a person somewhat experienced in similar types of software can not create a new document and at least scribble on the canvas, or create a primitive shape and scale it around, or something very, very basic--without reading the help or doing a tutorial--then it's time to go back to the drawing board. When I opened Zbrush for the first time, all I could do is just stare blankly at the screen. I tried navigating the menus, but they made no sense at all. It took me half a tutorial just to figure out how to grab a sphere tool and put it on the canvas. It took me another 2 tutorials to realize that I was deselecting my model, which was why my brushes were bleeding off onto the canvas.

In contrast, I opened Mudbox without any training or documentation whatsoever, and within minutes I had created a sphere and painted it into a fairly complex semblance of a human heart, veins and all. That's called good interface design. The same thing took me hours the first time in Zbrush.

Last edited by robmeyers : 02-06-2008 at 11:55 PM.
 
Old 02-07-2008, 12:07 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hakanpersson
Thats just so wrong. If thats how your zbrush is working no wonder you are pissed
If you switch tool zbrush should ask if you want to switch or not, but you can choose "always switch", which is perhaps what you did. And im not sure how to recall that change. But I guess "restore standard UI" should reset that change if you dont find it in any menus.


I don't know, but sometimes I just want to cry...

Quote:
Originally Posted by hakanpersson
Besides that I still want a "save changes to tool", there is nothing with the canvas that differs from a normal workspace in any 3d app. At least none that affects your workflow much.


There is a save button in the tool pallet that saves your tool, including any layer data--thank god. I make frequent use of it, since it's the only way to not lose hours of work. But I still want a proper document that preserves my work in place. But it is nothing like a proper 3D scene, which would have a grid, and would allow you to rotate your view rather than your model while you're editing, which is really what you are doing. Although for import/export purposes, it doesn't seem to matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hakanpersson
edit: btw, the "empty space around the model " is where you should press to rotate or scale the model. Are we talking about the same area? How do you navigate the camera?


I usually use the buttons at the side of the workspace for rotation of my view, because I am deathly afraid of clicking on the document and losing my model.
 
Old 02-07-2008, 12:53 AM   #28
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Rob,

You did not read or understood my comment properly. Here it is again:

Quote:
---------------
The problem you're encountering is that you're looking at z-brush for what it is not rather than what it is .
---------------

Chris-
 
Old 02-07-2008, 02:07 AM   #29
robmeyers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravelGuide
Rob,

You did not read or understood my comment properly. Here it is again:

Quote:
---------------
The problem you're encountering is that you're looking at z-brush for what it is not rather than what it is .
---------------

Chris-


Unfortunately, I can only see it for what it could and should be. The concept is awesome, but the interface is terrible. The changes I am suggesting would be easy to implement, and I am far from alone in my opinions on this.

Anyway, I'll take my complaints to Pixologic, and if they listen to their customers, maybe next version will be more friendly and less "WTF". I'm unsubscribing this topic to resist further temptation...

Last edited by robmeyers : 02-07-2008 at 07:59 PM.
 
Old 03-05-2008, 01:06 AM   #30
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Arrow Semi-off topic, yet I always seem to drop my 3D...

I understand the concept of 2.5D and 3D. Got it! But how's about this...

I have a head as one subtool on a layer, and then my eyeballs as another subtool on it's layer. How can I independently move each eye... they are the same ztool, they move together so i can't seem to do this. Should I mask one eye and extract for a new tool? Is that my only choice?

Whenever I attempt to move an eye independantly... with no luck.. I eventually drop my 3D.

And last but not least. Back to the head example. Do I have to save each ztool that makes up my 3D model. So what I'm doing now (for example) is saving the face ztool, then saving the eyes ztool. It hurts my brain worrying about having many subtools, because would I have to save each ztool independently? Ouch! I heard saving your document just flattens it to 2.5D.

Thanks in advance! =)
 
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