Any tips regarding Zbrush?

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Hi, I recently began to learn Zbrush after 2 days trying to modelise a 3D character in Maya (which was so tedious...)

I plan to create a base mesh in Zbrush, aswell as the sculpt and doing some retopology after that, however, everything that I try to make turns out odd and weird.

Do you have any tips for a newbie please?

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  • RawData
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    RawData triangle
    I recommend you to follow a decent tutorial and study on fundamentals of character modeling and give it some time. You have right idea and softwares to do that. Study on them 
  • steroidv2
    Move, Clay, Claytubes, Standard, Smooth, Clay buildup, Damian standard.  Practice those, since they are the primary ones. Try creating a basemesh with Zspheres, then afterwards use those 7 primary brushes in conjunction with Dynamesh.
  • cryrid
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    cryrid polycounter lvl 8
    Sharing some images might help others tell what it is that makes these models look 'odd and weird'. It could be something that is tackled directly through Zbrush, or it could be a general art issue like anatomy and proportions. 

    One thing that a lot of new zbrush users usually do is work with more polygons than they need. Either they try to get rid of the faceted look or they can't resist the urge to try and sculpt really fine details as soon as possible. But the result is always the same - a telltale lumpiness that stands out. If you're using dynamesh then I would recommend keeping the resolution as low as possible (for organics), and turning it off when it is no longer needed (switch to subdivision for details). If you're using subdivision, then only subdivide when you need those extra polygons and can't do anything more with the ones you already have. 
  • kanga
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    kanga polycounter lvl 11
    Yeah post some shots in this thread so we can see what you are struggling with.
  • Wazikhiel
    @kanga

    I took some pictures of my Zbrush model (sorry for the long wait, life has been crazy for me for two weeks)

    Heres some pictures that I took :



    This is the quick sketch that I did for the character that I wanted to create, I tend to create some really cartoonish characters with nothing sexy at all in them, but this time, I wanted to break the whole thing, trying something new ! :



    Heres my base mesh, something really simple. The first time that I do a base mesh for a character BEFORE sculpting it.


    Here the character side-view. I still struggle greatly with the breasts and the facial structures of my character.


    Here's my character front-view, like I said earlier, I still struggle with fingers, the face in general and what not. Not sure HOW to improve...



    I have a question regarding some important stuff :

    - How to create clothes/hair? From extracting the clothes from my character in Zbrush or in Maya?...

    Any tips will be greatly appreciated, thank you !

  • jStins
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    jStins polycounter lvl 5
    Be mindful of the fact that you'll need to develop both artistry and technical understanding of the tools and pipeline for character art. Developing both simultaneously can be done, but can muddy the process a bit. I suggest you focus on anatomy for awhile before diving into full characters. Studies done with pencil and paper or sculpted in zBrush (or clay) will go a long way to making your characters better. I think it's important to fail fast and iterate quickly when first starting out so choose the tool / medium that works best for that.

    On the zBrush front, you're making a common beginner mistake of moving to a high sDiv level too quickly. All the flaws in your current sculpt would be solved much more quickly at about 10% of the density you have now. Stick to low rez dynamesh surfaces until you gain a better understanding of form, structure and anatomy. 
      
  • BIGTIMEMASTER
    Wazikhiel said:
    Hi, I recently began to learn Zbrush after 2 days trying to modelise a 3D character in Maya (which was so tedious...)

    I plan to create a base mesh in Zbrush, aswell as the sculpt and doing some retopology after that, however, everything that I try to make turns out odd and weird.

    Do you have any tips for a newbie please
    You are trying to tackle too much at once.

     Two days is barely enough time to get to grips with Zbrush's viewport navigation. Certainly nowhere near enough time to expect a beginner to learn all the tools necessary to block out a base mesh.

     I think the best thing for you to do is to spend several months following modeling 101 tutorials. Not complete character creation tutorials. Just modeling 101 and nothing more. My go to resource for beginner tutorials is pluralsight.com. There are others, but pluralsight delivers consistent quality and is organized so that you can find exactly what you need quickly. 

    Your eye for detail and form needs practice, but I think by following along with some experts in step by step tutorials, you'll get an idea about that as you also get more comfortable with basic 3d work so that you feel more excitement and less tedium.
  • Wazikhiel
    Wazikhiel said:
    Hi, I recently began to learn Zbrush after 2 days trying to modelise a 3D character in Maya (which was so tedious...)

    I plan to create a base mesh in Zbrush, aswell as the sculpt and doing some retopology after that, however, everything that I try to make turns out odd and weird.

    Do you have any tips for a newbie please
    You are trying to tackle too much at once. Two days is barely enough time to get to grips with Zbrush's viewport navigation. Certainly nowhere near enough time to expect a beginner to learn all the tools necessary to block out a base mesh. I think the best thing for you to do is to spend several months following modeling 101 tutorials. Not complete character creation tutorials. Just modeling 101 and nothing more.
    Well, it's been a month that I am experienceing with Zbrush, but it was 2 days that I tried to sculpt a character. I learned a lot of stuff that I never knew you were able to do.

    Regarding Maya, it has been 3 months.
  • cryrid
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    cryrid polycounter lvl 8
    This looks like it is a mix of both issues: general anatomy/proportion problems (even if it is meant to be stylized) and the previously mentioned tendency to subdivide way too soon so that you are working with more polygons than needed. It's possible your basemesh might also be making things harder for you since the topology of it can go a long way towards determining how it will subdivide, how well it will support the shapes that you want, and how well the sculpting brushes will behave (they generally prefer a nice distribution so that each polygon is roughly the same size). You might also wind up feeling too bound to it rather than have the freedom to play around with the shapes and sizes. 

    As far as zbrush goes I would recommend skipping over an imported basemesh. Instead consider a blockout approach that involves working with simple lowpoly shapes (just spheres, cubes, and cylinders). Keep them separate subtools so that you can manipulate each one independently. Resist the urge to subdivide them* or the urge to sculpt in any surface details like philtrums and bellybuttons. Just keep each shape as simple as possible until the character is sufficiently blocked out. Then you can start worrying about the amount of surface detail the style calls for.  

    * Dynamic Subdivision is allowed, even encouraged.


    Clothing can be done by extracting or by the topology brush. Either way I would wait until the blockout is done and ready for the next stage. Hair might depend on your final goals for it and the style you're aiming for (Will it be in a game, using alpha cards, polygons?). If you just want a nice looking sculpt then maybe look into Dylan Ekren's hair brush  and the videos on how to use it. 

    I think working on smaller projects (like  bunch of quick heads) can be a good way to get comfortable with the tools and workflow, while also developing an eye for things. The more you do it the faster you get at being able to use zbrush to create the shapes you want, and that can be a big part of using zbrush confidently. 
  • Wazikhiel
    cryrid said:
    This looks like it is a mix of both issues: general anatomy/proportion problems (even if it is meant to be stylized) and the previously mentioned tendency to subdivide way too soon so that you are working with more polygons than needed. It's possible your basemesh might also be making things harder for you since the topology of it can go a long way towards determining how it will subdivide, how well it will support the shapes that you want, and how well the sculpting brushes will behave (they generally prefer a nice distribution so that each polygon is roughly the same size). You might also wind up feeling too bound to it rather than have the freedom to play around with the shapes and sizes. 

    As far as zbrush goes I would recommend skipping over an imported basemesh. Instead consider a blockout approach that involves working with simple lowpoly shapes (just spheres, cubes, and cylinders). Keep them separate subtools so that you can manipulate each one independently. Resist the urge to subdivide them* or the urge to sculpt in any surface details like philtrums and bellybuttons. Just keep each shape as simple as possible until the character is sufficiently blocked out. Then you can start worrying about the amount of surface detail the style calls for.  

    * Dynamic Subdivision is allowed, even encouraged.


    Clothing can be done by extracting or by the topology brush. Either way I would wait until the blockout is done and ready for the next stage. Hair might depend on your final goals for it and the style you're aiming for (Will it be in a game, using alpha cards, polygons?). If you just want a nice looking sculpt then maybe look into Dylan Ekren's hair brush  and the videos on how to use it. 

    I think working on smaller projects (like  bunch of quick heads) can be a good way to get comfortable with the tools and workflow, while also developing an eye for things. The more you do it the faster you get at being able to use zbrush to create the shapes you want, and that can be a big part of using zbrush confidently. 
    I learned how to create a blockout on Youtube and I have to say, I'm really, really impressed of what I could do instead of smashing my head because I have to create a base mesh. Doing some Dynamesh and what not, but I have a so many questions right now !

    - Is it a good way to create a video game character with retopology?
    - What is the difference between SubDiv and Dynamic Subdiv?

    (As you found out, I want to create video games characters. Do you mind if I had you if I have any further questions?...)
  • cryrid
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    cryrid polycounter lvl 8
    As long as you retopologize the model in the end then it should be perfectly ok for games. It's really just another way to create a model at the end of the day, and you can do this exact same workflow exclusively inside a program like Maya as well. Just don't settle for an automatic retopology solution like ZRemesher for the final game mesh. Zremesher is perfectly fine when you're still sculpting the highpoly model, but the final mesh should really be manually retopologized so you can have complete control over the edge loops, polygon count, etc. 

    As for Dynamic Subdivision, it is basically a preview mode. It doesn't actually subdivide the polygons and create new vertices like classic zbrush subdivision would. So when it is activated you will see exactly what the model would look like if it were to be subdivided x number of times, but your brushes and tools are only able to edit the base level vertices (since those are the only ones that actually exist on the tool). Obviously this won't help you when you actually want more vertices to be created so that you can sculpt in finer details, but when you're doing the blockout phase (or even cartoony characters) then Dynamic Subdivision will help you stick with nice clean surfaces and shapes while also keeping the file size pretty low. And since it doesn't actually subdivide the polygons it also lets you modify the topology on the fly (Zmodeler, Insert Brushes, etc) 
  • kanga
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    kanga polycounter lvl 11
    Good advice from cryrid.

    If you want to make an animated game character from start to finish using ZBrush to sculpt, and you also have Maya then there is a great tutorial/video course from Mike Pavlovich available on eat 3D: http://eat3d.com/bundles/zbrush4_character you can find a summary video of the course on youtube.

    I am not sure if the course covers rigging and animation, but if not similar dvds should be easy to find. A member here called Pior wrote that creating a character sculpt is about 5% of the whole process. I think that is a fair estimate and it gives you an idea of the work involved. Well anyhow this is a start. If I were you I would concentrate on sculpting characters for the moment. Really one month isnt a long time and it looks like you need the practice before worrying about all the other stuff.

    There are a few of ways to start a character, and a couple of yeas ago I did a tutorial series on youtube. Some of the information is out of date but the main points are still current. Its a method using zspheres at: https://www.youtube.com/user/crocodileEddie

    Maybe that will help. Cheers.
  • Wazikhiel
    I wanted to give an update after your tips and tricks regarding my situation :

    It's been 5 times that I restart my Zbrush...Should I restart again my character or not?... My system is bugging but it has 300k points active only...not sure why (I can sculpt on 1m without any problems...)
  • kanga
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    kanga polycounter lvl 11
    This is my Assault Pioneer character at 11.168 Mil points for the main tool and 87.796 Mil points for the whole character. There are 50 sub tools. I haven't got around to optimizing the subtools yet. This is on my laptop which only has a video chip so your problem is pretty strange. ZBrush works well even on older machines. When you have this many subtools just drop the subdivision of the individual tools so you can keep working but have a fairly good preview of the whole piece. At the end you can increase all the visible subtools subdivision in the subtool master, under the plugins menu, and export the full high rez model for baking.

    The only thing I could suggest is deleting your GoZ tools. Go to preferences in ZB. Find GoZ and clear the cache. Hopefully someone else who knows more will join in with better solutions. If not start another post here in Technical with a descriptive title, like:  ZBrush low rez model chugs in viewport.

    Cheerio
  • Wazikhiel
    kanga said:
    This is my Assault Pioneer character at 11.168 Mil points for the main tool and 87.796 Mil points for the whole character. There are 50 sub tools. I haven't got around to optimizing the subtools yet. This is on my laptop which only has a video chip so your problem is pretty strange. ZBrush works well even on older machines. When you have this many subtools just drop the subdivision of the individual tools so you can keep working but have a fairly good preview of the whole piece. At the end you can increase all the visible subtools subdivision in the subtool master, under the plugins menu, and export the full high rez model for baking.

    The only thing I could suggest is deleting your GoZ tools. Go to preferences in ZB. Find GoZ and clear the cache. Hopefully someone else who knows more will join in with better solutions. If not start another post here in Technical with a descriptive title, like:  ZBrush low rez model chugs in viewport.

    Cheerio
    Dynamic Subdiv was still active, it was the problem. But hey, I learned how to clear my cache so thank you ! :D
  • Wazikhiel
    kanga said:
    This is my Assault Pioneer character at 11.168 Mil points for the main tool and 87.796 Mil points for the whole character. There are 50 sub tools. I haven't got around to optimizing the subtools yet. This is on my laptop which only has a video chip so your problem is pretty strange. ZBrush works well even on older machines. When you have this many subtools just drop the subdivision of the individual tools so you can keep working but have a fairly good preview of the whole piece. At the end you can increase all the visible subtools subdivision in the subtool master, under the plugins menu, and export the full high rez model for baking.

    The only thing I could suggest is deleting your GoZ tools. Go to preferences in ZB. Find GoZ and clear the cache. Hopefully someone else who knows more will join in with better solutions. If not start another post here in Technical with a descriptive title, like:  ZBrush low rez model chugs in viewport.

    Cheerio
    Dynamic Subdiv was still active, it was the problem. But hey, I learned how to clear my cache so thank you ! :D
  • Wazikhiel
    kanga said:
    This is my Assault Pioneer character at 11.168 Mil points for the main tool and 87.796 Mil points for the whole character. There are 50 sub tools. I haven't got around to optimizing the subtools yet. This is on my laptop which only has a video chip so your problem is pretty strange. ZBrush works well even on older machines. When you have this many subtools just drop the subdivision of the individual tools so you can keep working but have a fairly good preview of the whole piece. At the end you can increase all the visible subtools subdivision in the subtool master, under the plugins menu, and export the full high rez model for baking.

    The only thing I could suggest is deleting your GoZ tools. Go to preferences in ZB. Find GoZ and clear the cache. Hopefully someone else who knows more will join in with better solutions. If not start another post here in Technical with a descriptive title, like:  ZBrush low rez model chugs in viewport.

    Cheerio
    Dynamic Subdiv was still active, it was the problem. But hey, I learned how to clear my cache so thank you ! :D
  • kanga
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