texture features

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  11 November 2004
texture features

Hello all,

I'm currently taking Meats' class at Gnomon (hey Meats!) and have run into a few things that are seemingly not in the package. I'm wondering if there are any plans to add them in an upcoming release. I realize zBrush largely targets modelers, but I am a texture painter and am coming at it from that perspective. For 3D paint apps, texture painters are largely limited to either Deep Paint or Bodypaint. Deep Paint works decent, but is not great in a number of ways, not the least of which is it's buggy behaviour, crashes, heavily aliased brushes and it's not 16 bit. The shops I've worked at use Deep Paint, so I've grown very comfortable with it. I have nto properly explored BodyPaint, but really do not like the interface. So, I was hoping to use zBrush more, and possibly to get some shops to start using it. But, there are a few things that need to be addressed before this package could be used to replace Deep Paint. I much prefer zBrush, just would like to see a few things more targetted to us texture painters.

1. The biggest annoyance I have is with the seeming inability to save color palettes. I've only managed to find the system palette, which does not have any means of saving it. So, if I crash or otherwise have to restart, I have to open a texture where I have painted my colors and sample them into the system palette. THis is extremely, extremely annoying and seems like a very simple thing to have. Afterall, these color palettes are the best in ANY package. There's a wide array of choices for choosing colors. But then I cannot save them. Ack! Nice palettes, though. Wish I could have these in Photoshop!

2. It'd be really great to be able to use layers while painting textures onto a model. Again, this is a pretty basic thing that the package should already have, in my opinion.

3. Better paint application with brushes. The paint brushes apply paint in a less than desirable way. In other packages, if you are painting using an image file, the paint does not repeat until you reach the end of the image. If you were to paint repeatedly over an area without lifting the brush, then it would not repaint it, it would just increase it's opacity. In zBrush, if you stroke back and forth over the same area, it repeatedly applies new paint each time, which makes the result all smeary and smudgy. This is a very very bad way to apply color. The workaround I have been using is to use the clone brush instead. I use projection master, then open a plane with the texture I wanna use next to my model, then clone straight from there. The brush works much better this way. Still, it'd be better to be able to jsut assign the texture and paint with it.

4. Use of jitter for various controls. It would be great to be able to have some of the jitter controls in the brush engine for photoshop. Rotational jitter especially would be cool, so the brush would randomly (or controlably) rotate during a stroke based on pressure, tilt or whatever. Color jitter too, so that the brush would jitter between foreground and background colors during a stroke.

5. The ability to use larger than 4k images would be great.

Now, I am not an expert yet, so perhaps there are some ways to address some of these things. If so, any and all help or comments are welcome. Don't get me wrong. I love the software. It just seems that a few of the basic texturing things were not paid attention to because this was meant for modeling a little more. Thing is, if I were a guy who owned a shop, I'd much rather pay the $500 for a dual use package that I could use effectively for both texture and modeling than pay $900 for Deep Paint and however much for whatever modeling package.

A great feature in Deep Paint that would be insane in zBrush, is the ability to transfer the file straight over to photoshop. So, for instance, in Deep Paint, you can lock your model in projection mode and hit a button. Then the file is transferred to photoshop IN projection mode with a layer added for the projection. You can then paint in photoshop in projection mode and when done, press a button and the whole thing transfers back to Deep Paint. This is pretty great. For modeling, perhaps not that useful, but for texturing it's invaluable, because truthfully the photoshop brush engine is really great. CS is 16 bit too, so how cool would that be?

Anyway, still digging the software. And the class. I can't recommend Meats' class enough, it's really great. If you live locally, it's well worth the $1600.

Working on a few models and will post something soon. Swamp Thing and Hellboy stuff, harkening back to my comics days.


-Matt Hollinsgworth

Last edited by maxxx1138 : 11 November 2004 at 09:35 PM.
  11 November 2004

a bit more playing and you'll see most of your "annoyance" list will disappear.

As for saving palettes, that's easy. Marcus has written a great little plug-in that will let you do that....find it here:

If you see me there....in my signature are a host of the most useful utilities and fun scripts written for zbrush...I use them all often. You will find another one called Zcolor that you may prefer to the zswatch one.

unless you are using uvtiles, Did you know that you can mess with a texture for a model in Photoshop and get realtime results in Zbrush? Now layers in a more traditional sense are available to you.

Some more experimentation with roller brush, noise brush, deco brush ummmm some others as well as checking out the modifiers for both the brushes and the materials will probably answer most of your other ones......I can't remember off hand if there are zscripts for each to give you ideas or not...a quick look in help should tell ya.

yeah a greater limit on texture sizes would be good...perhaps the next update? which looks awesome by the way!!

sure others will offer up some ideas as well!
  11 November 2004

Hello Aminuts,

Thanks for the comments. I will try loading up these color scripts later tonight or tomorrow sometime. Working in Maya/DeepPaint/Photoshop right now for any eye.

How can you see real time results if working in photshop? Do you load the texture into zBrush, then keep it open in photoshop, and as you save, you see it update in zBrush????

Seems likely.

That would be great.

As for brushes, I will definitely mess with them more, but have not seen the kind of controls that are in photoshop for jitters. In the modifiers I see various controls, but nothing that I personally find all that useful. Unless I am missing something, I don't see any rotational jitter. Seems the brush faces whatever direction you are going it. It'd be much much better to have this randomize, so you can have it rotate during a stroke based on pressure or pen tilt. Seems to me they should add one brush that is intended to be a robust texturing tool.

I'll keep my eyes peeled for scripts. I believe we are doing scripts in the next class (we're like 8 weeks into a ten week class).

Thanks for the links and info. Much appreciated!!

Oh, what scripting language does zBrush use? I know JScript (for XSI), so may be able to start doing some of these at some point.


  11 November 2004
hi again,

yes....you have both open and see the live updates in zbrush! way cool feature.

there is a brush ....durn it I have the memory of a 95 year old when it comes to names of things.....but its called maybe directional brush, or it could be deco or well dang it I forget and don't have zb infront of me to look right now but that brush with the right alpha make for a brush that changes direction with you as if you were using a brush......maybe its the roller brush....grrrrrrr. (aminuts lives up to nickname here hahaha).

I know it's hard to compare what you are used to with zbrush.....it's a different program but experimentation will lead you to see why things are the way they are and in alot of ways it is far better than those that you are used to......am not saying any one is bad or good...all leave a door open for the other. Zbrush has found it's own door to walk thru and while it takes a bit of getting used to.....(and dang it I envy your being able to take Meats' class) you are in the best hands to learn that knowledge and the why's.
Yeah like all other programs...it's not perfect....hahaha but it's damn near it....just kidding! Ok well pretty damn close IMHO hahaha.

Zbrush has it's own language, it's not that hard if ya take a look at it....which you can do from the menu.....you can see a list of all the commands plus examples within zbrush or you can create a txt file that will list all of the commands without examples. Plus wonderful folks like Cameyo who wrote the zcolor script....includes his source code and he comments them extrememly well so you can learn from his works. I love a guy who learns like that and is willing to share so we don't have to stumble where he did in order to learn!!! That attitude is pretty much what the zbcentral community is all about! And we all benefit and zbrush benefits too, because then it has some excellent artwork showing off what it can do...which benefits us all in the end!!

hahaha sorry for the long winded bs. am overtired I reckon, head swirling from the preview of the new update features coming!!
  11 November 2004

Hello again!

Yeah, you're talking about the deco brush, which is pretty cool. It stretches out the alpha the length of the stroke until you release. Which is pretty cool. And, really, do NOT get me wrong. I love this software. I am just trying to get some stuff worked out. Whiel it is kick ass, really, it does not have a lot of control with the brushes with regards to some very specific stuff. It's stuff that perhaps sculptors don't want. But for me, as a painter, some of these jitters and such are invaluable. I made a litte webpage to show you a comparison of the exact same alpha used for a photoshop brush and a zBrush brush. In the images, I just did an up to down stroke. In the photoshop image you can see the brush jittering the rotation of the stroke along the length of the stroke. Also, the last stroke has color jitter enabled to jitter between the foreground and BG color. The middle one has me assigning a separate texture to break up this brush even more. In the zBrush one, I labelled the brushes so you can see what I used. I cannot see any way that the stroke can jitter the rotation. The rotation follows the stroke, unless I am missing something.

Because of this, in the photoshop image, it's harder to realize that the same brush is being used continuously. In the zBrush stuff, you can see the repeating pattern of the stroke.

I realize it's a unique tool, and as such should not necessarily be expected to do the sam ethings. They are not even really the same kind of tool, so comparison is not right. For me, though, on etool makes painting easier than the other. And, as such, that tool will still have me using it much more for painting. I am not giving up on zBrush. I intend to use it for my personal stuff even if I cannot get my work place (wherever I am currently at any given time, Rhythm and Hues being the current gig) to use it. Great stuff.

And, thanks again for the help.

Here's the comparison:


If yer curious, my web site is the previous
  11 November 2004

This website is a pain in the ass as far as editing yer posts!


Anyway, I was trying to say that my website, if you're curious, is:


No zBrush there, but that' generally the site. zBrush stuff will go up once I have this WIP stuff ready to go.

thansk again for the input!

  11 November 2004
ahhhh ok a pic is worth a thousand words....two even more.

I see what you are saying now.....and dooooohhhhh you would think a painter would get it right away....specially since you mentioned rotating....which my brain did not compute as twisting which would have got the point thru my thick skull sooner. Not your fault it's mine, I am used to thinking on more simple terms when helping folks new to zbrush and failed to consider you said you were used to painting.

In that I think you are right, but I have some sort of recall of seeing or having had been able to simulate this.....not perfect if I recall but it might work well enuf. I know i try something similar when I paint my skin textures, in layers, in zbrush (i know it's not the same as ps but I have been working on a way to layer texture on top of same texture within z to get cool results and a psuedo sss in my limited abilities to do so).

Anyways, let me experiment if I can tomorrow. (I should have some time then before I gotta get everything off this computer in prep for the new one coming). And if I can replicate what I am thinking......I'll let ya know how I managed it.

ok....am going to check out your site now.......you better not have some awesome stuff on there or I am going to scream hahaha...just kidding.
  11 November 2004
hahaha ok Matt, having viewed your site.....well still viewing it actually, I have decided it is you who should be helping me not the other way around!!

You have worked on some pretty cool stuff, can't wait for you to get into zbrush more and see what you do with it. More durn magic coming I reckon....grrrrrrr!

Oh well that's cool, we get to learn from another master!!

Shut up nuts and go experiment so you can help the poor fella. Okay okay.

ok hopefully an answer tomorrow! Providing Aurick doesn't drop by sooner!
  11 November 2004
hello again

Hey man,

Thanks again for all the help. Much appreciated. And thanks for the kind words about my work.

Gonna keep on with zBrush, as it's great. I am curious to see how much can be done with scripting, as far as the ability to change the tools and such. Maybe I cna make some of my own brushes eventually, that have the jitter controls I am look for. Seems like if you could get the info for the brush rotation, that you could then just tell it to randomize that rotation pretty easily. We shall see!


matt hollingsworth
texture painter
sony pictures imageworks
surf's up
  01 January 2006
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