We had the opportunity to interview Ralf Stumpf, founder of Design Ahead and acclaimed artist/illustrator, about his experiences with ZBrush.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I studied Design at the Folkwang School in Essen/Germany. I am founder and partner of Design Ahead, a design studio, that creates packaging and corporate design for international companies like Metro, Procter & Gamble, Sara Lee and Karstadt etc.. I also work as an illustrator for advertising and editorial. For illustration I have used 3D Software for many years.

How did you first discover ZBrush?

I have seen the gallery on the Pixologic Site, works from Dave Cardwell, Zack Petroc, Hiroshi Yoshii and other great artists, and I was immediatly aware that ZBrush is a must for every digital sculptor.

Which ZBrush techniques and applications have been useful to you in your work?

There are two ways to work with ZBrush I guess. First: Start modelling using zSpheres or primitives and paint with the sculpting brushes to find quickly the character you want. Or second: Make a low-poly mesh in other application with the right edge flow, divide it several times in ZBrush and sculpt the mesh to its final stage. For scenes I use the Maya renderer but for character sheets I prefer the very sharp ZBrush renderer.

"ZBrush is very natural, like clay."

What is your favorite new feature or features of ZBrush?

I like the clear interface, the real-time workflow in different subD-levels with the sculpting brushes in real 3D space and the possibility to generate fast 16 bit adaptiv displacement and bump channels for other applications like Maya.

What were your reasons for using ZBrush?

The work with ZBrush is very natural, like clay. For my creations I prefer the whole palette of sculpting brushes, so I can see any changes I made from different views at every time. With these tools I have a great control of the model in quality and style. And I can texture the entire model direct with ZBrush in 3D.

Would you recommend ZBrush to other artists, and why?

ZBrush is a very useful software for beginners and professionals. There are great tutorials, shader and lightsets in the ZBrush Forum to learn it very quickly and to start your own project.

Do you plan to incorporate ZBrush in future projects?

Yes, I am still learning every day I work with ZBrush, and I hope to say in future: "No more point-tweaking, just paint".

What other impressions or comments about ZBrush would you like to share with us?

I think, ZBrush is on the right way. I am looking forward to see, what will be the further versions like. Right now: Have fun with ZBrush!

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