Topology and Geometry
With Panel Loops you can convert your model’s PolyGroups into panels of polygons with or without thickness, or even as extruded surfaces. The edges of these panels are created with a custom bevel around them defined by an editable curve. This is a great companion to ZBrush’s existing Mesh Extract feature, providing advanced control over the final result. Borders will have clean polygons loops even on low resolution models. They can have inner or outer panels (or both) and can be created as an extrusion from the original surface or as entirely separate pieces.
Panel Loops are a remarkably fast way to create armor, machined surfaces or anything else where a panel shape is called for in your hard surface sculpting or product design. And because they are derived from your model’s PolyGroups you can take advantage of ZBrush’s many auto-grouping features to quickly and intelligently break your model into these paneled segments.
A companion to the Delete Loops feature, Align Loops uses the same settings but doesn’t actually remove any polygons. Instead it moves them to what you would get if you’d used the Delete Loops function. In this way you can push the settings to their extremes in a non-destructive manner and quickly explore new directions.
The new Delete Loops command analyzes your model’s topology based on a user-defined angle setting. With a single click it removes all unnecessary edge loops – polygons that don’t contribute to the shape of the model. Not only is this a blessing for artists who must work within a polygon budget (such as game designers), it also allows you to push your high resolution sculpting farther. After all, unnecessary polygons add up quickly when you subdivide your model several times!
Incidentally, pushing the limits of the Delete Loops settings can be an interesting way to quickly explore alternate designs by producing original models derived from the original polygon structure.
Polish by Feature
The Deformation sub-palette now has Relax options including Polish by Feature, which intelligently improves your mesh’s shape without sacrificing volume. It produces beautiful by analyzing the model’s PolyGroups, creasing and split areas.
Improved Frame Mesh
The Curves Frame Mesh option can now create curves based on the model's PolyGroups, creased edges or outline. These curves can then be used with any of the curve-based sculpting brushes like Curve Multi Tube or even QRemesher Guides.
As mentioned above, the new Panel Loop feature is the newest in a series of functions that work from your model’s PolyGroups. To that end, ZBrush 4R5 provides even more features for quickly and accurately assigning PolyGroups to your model. The new Merge Stray Groups function lets you “clean” the results of ZBrush’s automatic PolyGroup creation tools such as PolyGroups from PolyPaint.
You can also now automatically create PolyGroups based upon Surface Normals.
Creasing can be added to a surface or removed from it based upon PolyGroup edges alone. This ignores creases that are elsewhere on the model, running through the middle of the PolyGroups.