Ever since the first full feature 3D animation movie “Toy Story” was released in 1995, it became clear very quickly that this was the future of animation. Ever since, the demand for 3D animated films & commercials kept growing. Bigger demand needs a bigger offer and with all the known software like 3D studio max, cinema4D, Maya,… in place, it becomes increasingly harder to filter out the software that fits your needs the best while taking into account ever so tight production times.
A lot of work goes into the concept design phase and that’s just where ZBrush can come in to help you save tons of time. ZBrush focuses on the modeling/sculpting/texturing process and lets 3D artist modelers take over the roll of designers. 2D concept design becomes 3D concept design, all thanks to this little gem from Pixologic.
Top 7 reasons to start using ZBrush as a concept design tool
This must be one of the most easy ways to start modeling the basic overall shape of your project. Block in the shape, rearrange proportions as much as you like until it looks like you want it to and make an adaptive skin from it to start adding more detail, all in a matter of minutes.
After you’ve been pulling, moving and pushing your mesh around, it could really mess up the topology which will make it a lot more difficult to animate or paint without getting distortion. ZRemesher does all the retopology for you so you can just keep sculpting without taking into account the fact that it should all stay clean and smooth while modeling and sculpting.
Want to preserve all the detail after retopologizing your mesh? Simply make a duplicate of your mesh before using ZRemesher and project the details of your original mesh onto your new retopologized mesh. It will look exactly the same, but with clean topology, ready to animate!
4. Brushes & GoZ
Nowadays, ZBrush is included in almost every final stage of a project to add the final details. Even if the initial model is made in Maya or any other 3D software, the model is taken into ZBrush to add the finishing touch. With the ability to make your own custom brushes, the options are endless. On top of that, ZBrush has a handy plugin called “GoZ”, that can easily switch models back and forth between ZBrush and almost every other 3D software out there. No more messing around with exporting and importing models and textures. Just one click of a button and you can continue your work in your favorite 3D software package.
5. Easy posing of models
When you’re done sculpting, you can use the transpose tools, in combination with masking, to make a quick pose for your character without adding bones to or having to do all the rigging for the model. Remember, it’s all about the quick design concept phase here.
6. Polypaint & spotlight
Besides all sculpting possibilities, ZBrush also acts as a powerful texturing tool. Polypaint (painting colors) and Spotlight (painting textures) allows you to apply an unlimited amount of layers of paint to get the result you are looking for. Assign the corresponding material to specific parts and you’ll be amazed how quickly you will get an awesome overall look. You can even combine painting with sculpting to get the best results.
7. Lighting & rendering turntables
The lightcap and user-friendly lighting system lets you set up basic (and a bit more advanced) lighting to render out your detailed, painted model.
To finish it off, ZBrush contains an easy option to render out turntables so it’s easy to present your model from all possible directions.