View Full Version : Zbrush?

08-29-2005, 01:29 PM
I posted this in the Mac section but didn't get any hits - thought I might try one more time.

I've been thinking about buying Zbrush but wanted to see if anyone out there has any experience with it before I send Pixelogic my hard earned cash.

1. LW has proven to be "a bit less than rock solid stable" on the Mac platform (not complaining, just a fact of life) is Zbrush the same?

2. Is it fairly easy to model in LW, import into Zbrush for surfacing and then import back into LW for rendering?

3. Bottom line: is Zbrush worth getting and is there a steep learning curve?

Thanks for any info.

08-29-2005, 03:10 PM
It can be quite tricky, as the workflow isn't clear unless you follow the tuts. There are several different 'modes' to work in, and each has their own set of tools which you end up having to find, as well as some idiosyncracies (like having to flip textures in the V before exporting for LW).

I also found it is quite buggy until you know how to avoid those bugs (like you CANNOT have any overlapping UVs when you subdivide your mesh as this will crash the app) These little things would make me think twice about purchasing it again. It is very powerful though, and I don't regret purchasing it now, but there were times...

Maxon's Bodypaint 3d seems quite stable for the little time I've used it and the workflow is a bit more straightforward, and more like Photoshop. However it doesn't do displacement maps as far as I'm aware, just bump/spec/ref etc. And is of course twice as expensive.

08-29-2005, 06:46 PM
Thanks for the response. I would rather use a less powerful program that I can actually use than one that's buggy/unstable. That being said, are there any more Maxon Bodypaint users out there that would like to describe their experience with it? Good/bad/indifferent - I'd like as much info as I can have before I commit. Thanks.

08-30-2005, 02:18 AM
"I also found it is quite buggy until you know how to avoid those bugs (like you CANNOT have any overlapping UVs when you subdivide your mesh as this will crash the app) "

I don't think that is entirely fair, I have found ZB to be extremely stable and bug free on Mac but you do have to be careful to stick to the "correct" workflow or unexpected results can occur. I also feel it takes some study to figure out what that correct workflow is. ProjectionMaster seems particularly fussy about your technique, get it slightly wrong and your textures can come out blurred or pixelated or containing odd artifacts. It's not bugs though as far as I can tell, it's just not as idiot proof as I would like lol! Use it right and it produces superb results. It's also VERY cheap for what it does! - Baz

08-30-2005, 03:21 AM
Sorry, I did mean to say it was the PC version, but it does regularly crash on me, though not as much now I found out this problem. I did mention BP was twice as expensive though :)

Believe me, having paid for it I would love it to be a nice stable app, but it hasn't been that stable.

Is this a case of the mac version being superior to the PC version?

08-30-2005, 03:52 AM
Well I've heard a lot of criticisms of ZBrush but I've rarely heard of problems with stability, maybe you've just been unlucky? To be honest I really haven't pushed the app so far, I really need to set aside some time to experiment with it to really feel comfortable so maybe more use will show more problems?

As far as comparing it to Bodypaint, well Cinema is one of the most stable apps I own, rock solid! I don't have Bodypaint (wish I did though!) but I'd expect it to be as stable as Cinema, it seems to be a priority with MAxon, and rightly so! It is expensive but for a mapping and texturing solution it's well ahead of ZBrush but then ZBrush does soooo much more than mapping and texturing!

Incidently, I hear that Bay Raitt has all but stopped using Mirai and does nearly all modelling in ZBrush now! But then he has ZB2.5 which looks fantastic! Wonder if it will ever be released lol! - Baz

08-30-2005, 04:27 AM
I think it's because a lot of people go with the prescribed workflow, which is to get your UV's created in Zbrush, which means of course they won't overlap. I prefer to have my own UV's and couldn't work out why it would always crash when I subdivided my mesh. It was because of this problem.

I hope 2.5 comes soon :)

08-30-2005, 05:40 AM
I don't think this is off topic, but is anyone using both Mirage and ZBrush? I'm not familiar with ZB at all, but use Mirage to do some of things you seem to be discussing.

Can anyone compare the two? Or are they aimed at entirely different applications?

Thanks for letting me bump into the thread.

08-30-2005, 06:01 AM
I'm not familiar with Mirage, have you got a link? - Baz

08-30-2005, 06:57 AM
Hi Baz
Take a look here -

08-30-2005, 07:20 AM
OK so Mirage is a 2d animation software? In that case there is no comparrison with ZBrush. ZBrush has no animation capability at the moment. It's kind of a cross between a 3d app and a 2d app (the makers describe it as 2.5d!) It can be used for 2d painting though the canvas has depth and surface information as well as the usual 2d info. It can be used for UVmapping, 3d texturing and 3d modelling too. It's most important use is probably producing super high detail on poly models (the next version is supposed to handle 20 million polys in a single mesh!) and then create displacement and normal maps for export to conventional 3d apps. It's becoming a standard app for feature film SFX. Weta made extensive use of ZB in the Lord of the Rings films. Remember the King of the Dead? An actor with complex makeup? Nope that face was pure ZBrush!

You need to use it to really appreciate what it can do so I'd recommend trying the demo though I'm afraid it's very out of date now.


08-31-2005, 02:18 PM
ZBrush buggy??? It's the most stable software I've ever used. Once you get the hang of the interface its also the easiest. It also has the best forums of any software I've ever used. Ask a question and it is answered. I seldom have to ask though as nearly all answers can be found easily with a search. Also, if you want fine detail on your organic models, I can not find anything comparable.
Go to ZBrushCentral.com and you will find answers to any questions you may have. Or ask a question and someone will help you. Many Mac ZBrushers on that site.

08-31-2005, 04:27 PM
I have ZBrush and I like it very much.

The best advice I have is to download the trial version and test it out.

ZB is called a 2.5 modeling app for good reason - it occupies a realm somewhere between 2D & 3D applications. It's interface and workflow is very unique. How well you can adapt to that interface is easy to tell by using the trial/demo.

A few things to keep in mind:
It does not have animation capabilities.
Although it works with 3D objects, ZB renders out to stills.
It is also finiky about the 3D models it will import.
It's painting capabilities have to do with picking-up/dropping the models into a 2D space - which is actually more like projection mapping than 3D painting.
Almost all vendors seem to realize the amazing capabilities of this software and are working toward ZBrush capatibility.

Besides trying out the software, you should check out the free ZBrush videos that Kurv has up on his site (http://www.kurvstudios.com/zbrush/). Those vids will give you a good picture of some of ZB's capabilities.

08-31-2005, 05:15 PM
I've been using it intensely the last few days, and I own up to it being a LOT more stable now I know about the overlapping UV's bug. However the interface has still been buggy, with panels flicking on and off and objects rotating when click dragged on (rather than when click dragging off them as they should be).

However, I think I've gotten to grips with it, but it was in spite of rather than because of the interface, and the fact that finding out what various functions do is a nightmare with the help. Finding out where you read about some thing is even worse.

After saying all that, it really is a powerful piece of kit and very good at what it does. I've gotten nice results out of it but just wish it was more straightforward and consistent. Like when I tried to undo a paint stroke and it wouldn't do it. It's really niggly like that, and that is my main problem with it.

09-01-2005, 12:37 AM
New info on ZBrush2. has been posted also ZB2 demo will be available in about a week. Read about it here (http://www.pixolator.com/zbc/showthread.php?t=28498)

Dodgy, I get this kind of erratic behaviour from ZB when I'm working on models that are right on the edge of the poly count my machine will handle. In my case about 2,000,000 polys! I only have a 1.25 GHz G4 with 768MB RAM and I can still handle that many polys (just!) the next version should handle much more, at a guess 3 - 4 times as many, in my case 6,000,000 or more. That's plenty to model skin pores! - Baz