The 3D software
has had an update. But is ZBrush 2019 worth paying monthly for?
There’s lots in
ZBrush 2019 for illustrators, designers and mixed-discipline artists, plus some
well-needed additions for 3D artists, such as the improved camera and folders.
ZBrush 2019 by
Pixologic has some excellent new features for both 2D and 3D artists.
downside (for some) may be that it has now migrated to a subscription model.
monthly and six-monthly options, alongside its one-time perpetual licence
offering. The price has grown steadily in recent years, but if you factor in
that all upgrades have been free of charge (since the early 2000s), then there
is not a lot to moan about.
Plus, having a
monthly option is always great news for small studios and freelancers who may
need a small number of licences for a short period of time or a specific
contract or 3D project (see our pick of inspiring 3D art
). Let's take a look at the new tools ZBrush 2019
is a great addition for illustrators, designers and mixed-discipline artists
[Image: Glen Southern]
the Render panel, NPR or non-photorealistic rendering adds a whole new system
to change the look of your final renders. The range of styles is actually
mind-boggling as there is now a huge range of sliders and settings to choose
from and then combine.
You can turn
sculpts into a comic style with heavy outlines, overlay textures and paper
styles, create hand-drawn effects similar to Photoshop filters or actions and
even add halftone effects. This is not a huge bonus for traditional 3D artists
perhaps, but it’s a great addition for illustrators and mixed-media artists
wanting to stand out from the crowd in a saturated market.
ZBrush 2019: ZRemesher and
new folder system
More of an improvement to
subtools than a new feature, this version brings folders and a range of folder
settings [Image: ZBrush]
been through two iterations already and both have been well received. It is
essentially an auto retopology tool and it makes quick work of making really
high-resolution models usable by giving you a fairly clean topology and edge
loops for the most part.
version works better for hard-surface models as it can detect sharp surface
angles and even maintain creased edges, as well as giving you polygroups.
One big gripe
with the subtool system in ZBrush has always been that you can’t easily group
and manage your subtools effectively. This becomes a real issue when you get
into hundreds of subtools per character. Good naming conventions helped, but a
true folder system was needed and that’s now been added.
Subtools can be
placed into folders and there is even a folder setting button allowing you to
access lots of folder actions like delete, transpose, merge and Boolean. The
ability to move, scale and rotate the whole folder is a real bonus. Having used
it for a few days it is a massive help in organising your creations, and it
seems a shame that we only have one folder level and we can’t nest them (yet).
ZBrush 2019: Snapshot 3D
Snapshot 3D is
an enhancement to the functions found on the Spotlight wheel. Spotlight was
introduced to allow an artist to take any image (texture) and project it onto
the surface of a model using Polypaint. It came in the form of a wheel that,
when activated, allowed you to place the image or portion of the image over
your model and then paint through, adding the texture to the surface
works in the same way and as part of the Spotlight wheel. What’s different is
that the textures, rather than applying anything to the model below, allow you
to convert the image to a 3D model as a subtool. For example, if you take a
greyscale image of a white cube on a black background and apply it through
Spotlight, it will create a cube of that shape and size. Using complex
greyscale images and the live Boolean function in the SubTool panel enables you
to make extremely complex shapes very quickly. It is a novel way to add 3D
geometry from 2D patterns and shapes.
ZBrush 2019: Universal camera
This release brings a new
camera system that will be more familiar to 3D artists [Image: ZBrush]
camera has often baffled new users as you could argue that it doesn’t really
exist in any recognisable way. It is there as we are looking through it when we
work, but it has always been seen as a weakness. ZBrush 2019 adds the Universal
Camera, which now gives us some of the basic functions we would see in other 3D
cameras. There is a focal length control, crop factor and even import and
export functions. You can match the focal length of imported photographs and
you can save some of the settings to reuse in other scenes. Of course, this now
plays well with programs like KeyShot.
added some new plugins, including Intersection Masker, allowing you to use a
mesh to mask, and ZColor, which enhances digital painting tasks. ZBrush is
still clearly the market-leader in digital sculpting packages, and this 2019
update brings some diverse new features and tools.
doesn’t always respond to industry needs, but has a habit of coming up with
unique ways to solve problems. There’s plenty in this release for illustrators,
designers and mixed-discipline artists, plus some much-needed additions for 3D
artists such as the camera and folders.