Since you don't often PolyPaint except to be able to quickly produce a painted mockup, how does SpotLight come into play in your pipeline?
Heather:Spotlight is another feature that I have really enjoyed. Having the ability to bring in reference images has greatly increased the accuracy of our sculpting, cutting down the number of revisions.
It has been a very good tool for reference. That is the bulk of its use, but we have used it to bring in some texture. Also, I found it is good for color callouts as well. We can pull the colors right from SpotLight and add them to a material that best represents those colors.
You regularly use both DynaMesh and ZSpheres. What are the kinds of things you use each for, and what are the advantages of one over the other?
That is an interesting and kind of tough question. When it comes down to it, you can achieve a lot of the same things with both. I’ll give you an example:
When I work with really organic shapes like a beard on a character, I will actually use both! I will start out with ZSpheres and go into ZSketch. This gives me a quick mock up of the shapes that pertain to the particular BIG BUSHY BEARD instead of trying to push and pull a sphere into place. Then I make it into a polymesh and start to block out the shapes with it. A polymesh created from a ZSketch isn't always easy to work with, so I just DynaMesh that sucker and I am set to make a nice beard. For some reason I use this technique a lot when I am starting out some sort of wild hair style that is not long and flowing.
I like using ZSpheres for starting things like monsters. It is a very flexible way to quickly create a low poly mesh that can be used all the way to the end of the sculpt.
People don't often think of sculpting layers when modeling for printing. How does this feature benefit you?
I usually forget to use layers until after the fact. When I do remember I like to use them for putting on details like skin or dragon scales. I would do this for the approval process because I want the scales to look nice and subtle. But when it goes to print at say, two inches, the subtle detail won’t show up. With layers I can adjust the intensity after approval and make the details pop out so they will be seen in the 3D print.
Layers can be a great tool when working with details that are not set in stone, or to show some different directions you can go with in your detailing. I will admit it is not something we use often, but it is definitely something that we are working with to see the ways it can best help us. We are always trying to see how we can incorporate the newest features ZBrush has to offer! I know sculpting layers are not new, but they have gone through some changes over the years and we don’t always get around to figuring features out right away. There is a lot to dive into with ZBrush.
QRemesher is another feature that someone wouldn't really expect to be big for 3D printing. How and why do you use it in your projects?
When we are creating a project, we start off every character In a T-Pose. The reason for this is we may have another project in which we would use that character and need to pose them differently. It saves time in the long run. Here's the kicker though: posing DynaMeshes can have some troublesome issues.
And retopologizing an entire body can eat up time we don’t have.
TransPose masking can be a great help, and taking several DynaMesh parts into TransPose Master can take some processing time without always being successful. A nicely laid out mesh gives one more level of control. To be able to create a mesh quick and dirty, yet with edge loops in all of the right places is incredible.
Again, it really just all depends on the project. That is why it is so great that ZBrush has tons of versatile tools; we really feel prepared for any situation.
ZBrush has only recently added Insert, IMM and Curve brushes, but you're already using them often. Where do they come into play for you?
They are just so convenient! One issue is that tiny pieces might not work out when 3D printing. As long as you make sure meshes are intersecting, Insert Meshes can supply some really great detail work with the simplicity of drawing onto an object’s surface without having to worry about the layout of the underlying mesh.
And when it comes to the Curve brushes, they just work so well with DynaMesh to set up early shapes! It just seemed like a no brainer.
All of these tools are just more pieces to the puzzle, making it easier to get to the end. They are so versatile that I feel like I can discover new uses for them any time a new project comes in and I am not sure how to approach an aspect of the design. I just look at all of these really great tools and also browse through ZBrushCentral to see what would be the quickest and most efficient way to reach the finished model. We have to create these models fast, keeping in mind posability, undercuts and moldability, as well as how to capture the highest detail possible while keeping the file size low enough for printing.