View Full Version : Newbie Challenge #1 (ZB3) - Make A Brush
06-07-07, 03:24 PM
New to ZB3? Totally lost and don't know where to start? A bit more experienced, but rusty on alphas, or bemused by creating brushes? Then this challenge is for you!
There has been some criticism that the literature for ZB3 has not been aimed at the total beginner. So I got to wondering .. what subject would get you quickly into the ZB mindset without drowning you in detail? The answer is Alphas and Brushes. And I'm not going to give you reams to read. No sir. Instead, I've created a series of 4 video tutorials, all accessible to the true newbie. Recorded live, with commentary, I'll take you gently through most major aspects of alphas. And in the final video we'll create our very own brush .. for that is the challenge .. Create a Unique Brush.
Video 1 (12mb) : we take a leisurely stroll around the alpha palette, and consider enough technical info to get you started, without getting all geeky.
Video 2 (11mb) : we'll create our very own alphas from 2.5D painting and 3D sculpting.
Video 3 (18mb) : we'll use 2D data (from photos and from painting in ZBrush) to create 3D alphas.
Video 4 (22mb) : in this monster vid we make alphas from ZSpheres and parametric objects, we save one alpha into the Alpha palette and use the other as a base for a unique brush. We explore the brush settings and the Brush Master, and then look at brush trouble-shooting.
Phew! There's a lot here, but it should help get you started with the programme. There's no pressure to take part in the challenge itself but if you want to, simply post shots of how you've used your new brush, or pictures of your alphas, or share alphas or brushes with the community. Go to it! There's no time limit .. join in when you're ready. As always, the more experienced users are welcome to take part, or take me apart (if I've messed up anywhere!).
All videos, Right click > Save target as ..
:: Grab the TSCC TechSmith video codec, if the videos won't play : http://www.techsmith.com/download/codecs.asp
:: If you want to distribute brushes, check this WinZip tutorial to make sure you're using the best zip method : http://www.zbrushcentral.com/zbc/showthread.php?t=46874 (http://www.zbrushcentral.com/zbc/showthread.php?t=46874)
06-07-07, 04:41 PM
I would like to see this happening since I don't know too much about alphas.
The sound doesn't work on this video for me.
Also the video quality is very very poor...
Maybe make a better version? Sorenson 3 codec for Quicktime is very good.
Can't watch these since they're very poor...
06-07-07, 04:59 PM
That's a shame. Have you loaded the TSCC codec? It's a lossless codec and although I had to reduce the size of the video to make the d/l size sensible, I can see all the text when I play it back at 200% view size in Windows Media Player. And hear my voice too.
06-07-07, 05:27 PM
Videos works fine here. playback in quicktime with the techsmith codec.
can never learn to much
thank you for sharing!
06-08-07, 06:32 PM
As a new ZBrush user, I really appreciate these videos. They are well thought out, thorough, and easy to understand.
Thank you for creating these!
06-09-07, 02:03 AM
woohoo...alright Moochie..can't wait til after work tomorrow to check these out....gotta hear da accent! :D
but seriously....you are the man....ohhhh the amount of time to put these together and all...my hat is off to you! :D
Thanks for bringing the newb challenges back!! :tu:
06-09-07, 04:56 AM
Thanks for the tutorial:tu:
This is my brush. (It's a one of our dogs and his name is Carel he is a Nederlandse Schapendoes (a sheepdog)).
06-09-07, 06:02 AM
Excellent, Sonja! That brush has some nice crisp edges .. did you do any tweaking in your graphics program before loading the photo in ZB? If you did, please feel free to let everyone know what techniques you used. A great start .. yay! :tu:
Thanks to everyone else for your kind comments. I'm still learning how to use Camtasia to capture sessions, so if any more experienced users know the best settings to get nice clear vids with the lowest possible memory, then please do say.
06-09-07, 06:28 AM
Hi Moochie, it wasn't a photo, it's a quick black on white drawing I did in ZB2 with the Zketch plugin a while ago. I'll cut the head out, invert the colors and paint a bit more black on it.
06-09-07, 12:24 PM
06-09-07, 03:00 PM
A photograph of a BMX stunt rider was used to make the alpha.
06-09-07, 03:42 PM
That worked out really well, George. Good stuff. :tu:
06-09-07, 09:36 PM
khc...if ya can give up your secret......was that a simple zb texture to alpha, or a photoshop magic to alpha thing...if so a plugin or just a few tweaks in settings.....i ask because...well heck everyone is going to plus it is a newbie thread and they all are hungry for exact information.....
if you can please enlighten us....looks cool by the way....love the wrinkle detail that showed up in the paints.
06-10-07, 04:21 AM
Hi Moochie and aminuts,
Thanks for your kind words.
@aminuts. Thanks for asking, here are the construction details:
The original picure was 3405 x 2336. Here's a thumbnail version of it:
Photoshop CS2 was used to make the alpha:
-a 1400 x 1400 section was cropped from the original
-the background was selected and removed using the Magic Wand on the blue channel;
-the dodge tool was used to lighten the darkest parts;
-some blurring was added to remove some details; and
-a black background was added.
- This was saved as an 8bit per channel Photoshop PSD.
- In ZBrush, the document size was set to 2048 x 2048.
- The half medallion was made with the PolySphere.ztl tool (not the Sphere3d: the PolySphere can be loaded using the Load Tool button). One half was deleted and he Size tool was used on the Z axis (with a negative value) to squish it. Then, it was subdivided to 3 million polygons. The material was set to Intensity metal.
- The alpha was imported directly using the Import button on the Alpha menu.
- In Projection Master, a golden yellow colour was selected. The BMX Alpha was applied using the DragRect stroke having the Intensity set to about 5.
- The stars were added using Alpha 10 and a Radial stroke having M Repeat set to 24 and the Draw Size set to about 25. This made really big stars!. The Gyro (press W) was used to make them smaller.
- Projection Master Pickup Now was used to pick up the tool.
- The tool was rotated and the lighting adjusted a bit. The document was exported to a Photoshop PSD file. In Photoshop, the Save for Web feature was used to reduce the size of the image from 2048x2048 to 512x512 and convert it to JPG.
06-10-07, 07:20 PM
cool thanks George!
06-11-07, 04:59 AM
Thanks for the vids Moochie, very professional and easy to follow.
Really useful video-tutes Moochie. Thank you for taking the time to pass on your experiences and tips.
Hope you don't mind me asking a question only indirectly related to the subject.
I havn't been able to find the answer in the wiki or the forums.
Having created and played with my macro brush is there an easy way to revert to the default brush behaviours. In the end I just saved out a new brush when I loaded ZBrush and called it 'default'. I could find a reset brushes command but I may be looking in the wrong place
06-11-07, 02:21 PM
Good question, Noggin. And an excellent solution (if there is a 'reset', I can't find it either). I'm sure a 'Noggin's Reset Brush' would be popular (hint, hint).
06-11-07, 02:51 PM
The StandardSet Brush seems to restore settings. Open the standardset.txt file with an editor to look at the commands and you'll see how the brush's author guarantees certain buttons are reset.
06-11-07, 03:42 PM
Good point, Sven. It doesn't alter the stroke type, ZIntensity or draw size, though. I think that Noggin was suggesting a 'return to default' brush, so draw size goes back to 64, ZIntensity to 25, stroke to Dots etc.
Here's a question for eager students .. see if you can find the TXT file for the StandardSet brush. Open it in a text editor .. does this brush adjust your Edit Curve or Smoothing Curve?
That's partly why I asked the question Sven, I'd assumed the StandardSet Macro brush would revert me to 'normal' default brush but in fact for me it yields just a large smoothing brush.
Well Moochie_ I've found the text files in [ZStartup][Macros][RapidBrushes]_ even found the [Source] folder where the brush stores its alpha if part of the saving process (eg for the Rake Brushes)
I can't answer your question yet about the edit or smoothing curves 'cos I havn't worked out the naming convention for the macro steps!
I'm interested to spot that the StandardBrushes set has a line
"[iset,Brush:Auto Smooth,2]" Is this why it acts as a smooth brush for me?
Does ZBrush only utilise stated lines when switching form macro to macro? So for example if you use a macrobrush containing say a particular alpha then you use another brush that was saved without checking the alpha parameters does it 'remember' the alpha used in the previous brush, or switch to a default alpha??
Time for me to start experimenting I thinks!
06-12-07, 10:27 AM
Dunno Noggin .. I've spotted something else weird going on http://www.zbrushcentral.com/zbc/showthread.php?p=367721&posted=1#post367721 (post #92)It appears ZB multiplies Edit Curve settings in certain circumstances, resulting in strangely acting brushes. Logically you would expect ZB to leave all settings as they are when switching from Brush to Brush, except for those elements specifically saved with the new brush. But that appears not to be the case .. I can't think that's deliberate, but a glitch in the code.
Ah yes I see from Marcus comments what's going on with your curves issue.
I'm still a bit bemused by the quirky behaviour of these macro brushes but I suspect that's more down to my lack of understanding about whats happening in the background.
I'm going to have a go at uploading my 'return to default' brush in the hope that it might be useful to others_ I make no claims for it correcting all the parameters set by preceding macro brushes but so far it seems to work for me.
Just extract into your zbrush root "using folder names"
(edited with new zip containing brush with reset size parameter)
06-12-07, 02:57 PM
Thanks, Noggin. Let's dissect the brush text file and see what it does.
//ZBRUSH MACRO - written by BrushManager plugin version 1.0[IButton,???,"Press to select brush preset",
[ISet,Brush:Alt Brush Size,2]
Right, so that's the Standard brush type. Freehand stroke. Gravity and Cavity mask both zero (ie turned off), so the only Brush info saved is the Alt Brush size (that's the smooth size for the brush). Mouse Average is set at 1 and Lazy Mouse is zero (so turned off). The Alpha 'Mid Value' slider is set at 0. Draw details .. Focal Shift 0, RGB is selected (value = 1 ie turned on). ZSub selected.
What's missing? Draw size .. it would be good to get that back to the default 64. ZIntensity. There's no Edit curve or Smoothing curve (the -ED.zcv and -SM.zcv files that you'd find in the Source sub folder). And I guess all the other sliders that might have been changed in a previous brush.
I think, maybe, the best way to save a default brush would be to close and restart ZB, then immediately save out a brush with all options selected in Brush Manager.
If you check out the little WinZip tut I link to in the first post, that shows how to set up folders so that you can get the 'path' details in WinZip so that all files can be extracted with one click. If you check the path details as you saved them, the path starts at Program Files. What you really want is the path starting at ZStartup. WinZip always starts the path from the root of your hard drive .. the tut shows how to trick WinZip.
You did good, citizen, and your reward for sticking your head above the parapet is to try again! Ooo I'm so stern! Heh heh. :D
Thanks Moochie_ and thanks for the dummy zip_ most handy!
I've re-written the brush to include the draw size set at the default 64 and re uploaded.
I feel a bit guilty calling it Noggin's default (because its actually ZBrushes default) but at least its easily identified and deleted if folks prefer to do their own.
btw Moochie I have in mind to create a few alpha fixed brushes to great things like stitching on clothes, rivets, screws etc. Is there a way to have each instance of the alpha follow along a line at a fixed spacing.
I like the "point small" rapid brush with it's red guide line_ this is the 'lazy mouse' function_correct?_ that should allow accurate placement of stitching along seams but the stitching space needs to be consistent.
06-13-07, 01:48 AM
For a simple stitch, create a black square and draw a vertical white line which starts and ends a reasonable distance from the top and bottom edges. For the brush use the dot stroke brush with Roll turned on and experiment with Lazy Mouse settings (both in the Strokes palette). I just tried it and it works quite well.
For a more advanced stitch, I'd try creating a piece of thread using a torus, turned on edge so it's facing you sideways on, manipulating it so it's more thread-like, then pushing it back through the clipping plane, so only the leading edge is visible. Save an alpha using ZDepth info. Incorporate that in a brush as previously.
For even more detail, add some twist into the torus whilst it's a parametric object, then use the masking / row / columns options and deformation to create a bit of additional surface detail to the thread. Then capture the ZDepth info.
Thanks Moochie, that sounds like a good solution_ I only just spotted that "Roll" button.
In the meantime I've been busy creating some juicy brushes (I hope)
All of these are surface texture effects rather than sculpting brushes, so they'll need to be applied to a well divided mesh. Still I hope they might appeal and be useful for adding displacement like information.
Most of the brush use DragRec stroke type (my choice) but of course this and brush size, zdepth can all be changed on the fly.
All the alphas (placed in the [source] subfolder of a new [NogginsBrushes] directory are created ain FilterForge (this is a whizzy new filter suite that allows you to render out bump information)
http://www.filterforge.com/ (for those that are interested)
Anyway without more addo here's the link to my first set of 14 Macro Brushes
(external link because the alphas make it too large for upload her: 4Mb)
Did I do well Master? :)
06-13-07, 09:49 AM
Noggin ... you did brilliantly! Excellent brushes. You even worked out how to make a macro sub-folder in your name. :tu: :tu:
You don't need the .zsc files in the zip, as ZBrush builds those automatically. And one of the rivet brushes has Alpha Tile x2, but an Alpha Tile count of x1 hasn't been saved for the other brushes, so once the double rivet brush is used, all the subsequent brushes keep the alpha tile x2 setting. But those are minor quibbles (very minor).
I had great fun trying the brushes out. Thanks for sharing them. :D
06-13-07, 10:37 AM
I'm working on a series of skin and hair brushes at the mo .. I'm getting much better results in ZB3 with polypainting than I ever managed in ZB2. When they're done they might just end up being given as a sort of prize to those who take part in the challenge. Heh heh.
:eek: Wow! those skin brushes look wonderful! Come on everyone we need to have some competition!
Right I'll bear in mind about the zsc's.
The problem with the doubled alpha illustrates how the macros 'carry over' information if it's not stated in a subsequent macro.
I've done a few more this afternoon including some stitch ones using the roll option_ they work really well.
Only 10 in this set.
I'll put these over on the main forum too.
06-13-07, 03:16 PM
Well done and Thanks! Another fine set .. I particularly like the herringbone stitch brush, which is very clever and works perfectly. Yay! :tu:
06-13-07, 05:12 PM
Great brushes, Nigel. Thank you!
Hmm, having download problems, Moochie. I got the first one and last one in their entirety, but #'s 2 and 3 keep saying download complete, but when I check the file size, they are beftwen 10k and 15 meg, but never the whole file. I'm on attempt # 4 for each right now, because I enjoyed the first vid so much. Great info, and thank you for taking the time to make these. I'm sure I'll have questions for you as soon as I watch them all. Oh, and I already learned a ton. Like I didn't know the rgb intensity affected masking!
Thanks again and cheers,
06-14-07, 07:56 AM
Thanks for the tutorials Moochie, that taught me tons of stuff. I tried to make a repeating chainlink pattern... not quite a full success, but still got something interesting out of it.
06-14-07, 10:47 AM
nugjar: keep trying .. they're still there and d/loading ok from here. The server is in the UK, so it's quick here (30 seconds for the largest file), but might be a bit slow where you are. You know to empty your Temp cache right? Let me know if you get no joy.
DocTiki: cool alpha and brush! You'll have difficulty with a square alpha at the moment, as you won't be able to get all of it onto your mesh. Hopefully that'll be rectified with the first patch for ZB. Fun though, isn't it?! :tu:
06-14-07, 11:25 AM
First off I want to take the time to thank you for making these tutorials available for everyone to learn from, whether a beginner or expert they are useful!!!
I had the same problem as you Nugjar but I downloaded the second avi again and I got all of it this time! I guess just keep trying to download it until you get all of it! There must be some turbulence hahaaa!
Thanks again Moochie!! I will make some alphas and upload them soon!!
Got all of em I believe, thanks Moochie! I guess 6th time is the charm. Great info in these, I'll be uploading a couple alphas before the end of the day. Not sure if they'll be useful to anyone or not, but I'm just trying to commit a bit more to my drawing, so for better or worse, they'll be up later tonight!
Thanks for the help everyone,
06-14-07, 05:43 PM
That's good news.
Here's a quick composite piece using some of the skin and hair brushes I'm making.
06-14-07, 08:32 PM
Thanx for the tutes.
I've made a resolution to finally learn Zbrush so I'll be watching these all very closely and will (in time) post some things. I've owned it since it first came out but never did much more with it than create morphs for poser.
a tute question:
What is the name of the app you are using to capture your keystrokes and mouse clicks?
06-15-07, 01:26 AM
Good luck! Actually, there's no luck involved really .. concentrate on one tool or technique at a time until you've got that pretty much mastered, before moving onto the next. These Newbie Challenges will be appearing every couple of weeks or so and will be following a graduated path of complexity, starting off with core techniques. Follow along and you'll soon have enough skills to let rip with the artistic stuff.
THe keyboard stroke app is an add-on that ships with UV Layout http://www.uvlayout.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1
It only works if you have a licence for Layout (ie it's disabled for demo users). It's a little work of genius.
06-15-07, 12:36 PM
I just went ahead and wrote one. I cant see paying that much for a uv mapper (when I have one) when all I wanted was the key capture script.
I do tute DVD's for bryce and seeing you use this made some lights go off in my head.
now back to z-brushing
06-15-07, 01:29 PM
That's very resourceful, brycetech. I think you might want to check out the ZScript forums here, if you haven't already. :tu:
As for UV Layout .. it's not a UV mapping prog, it's the mapping prog! I've done some tutorials for using it over at Renderosity in the UV Mapper forum. They'll give you an idea of what it can do. It's not cheap, but you definitely get what you pay for. Some of the ZBrush videos from gnomonology, linked in the Top Row gallery at the top of this page, show Layout in action.
06-16-07, 03:10 PM
Just trying out skin and hair brushes in a more practical scenario.
Thanks for the tutorials, Moochie. Really well done. And entertaining, too! I couldn't help but chuckle upon hearing some of your commentary. :lol:
09-05-07, 09:31 AM
you find information about z-depth in the transformation palette under info.
if you put it on a shelf you'll have permanently the info at hand (also x and y).
excuse if this has been said in the forum, i was looking at the good VT -
09-16-07, 07:57 AM
Rivet TN1 icon.jpg
Simple rivet brush with drag dot stroke - for things like jeans or aircraft.
First brush - a little harder to get the alpha right than I thought it was going to be.
This file only has files in one folder. Made in Zb 3.1 - Moochie - does this have different structure...most came out of zbrush3\startup\brushpresets except for alpha which came out of zbrush\startup\alphas
The brush preset seems to have saved with zcurve for alpha, however the size was originally saved to 140 - it opens with 64 (standard brush preset??)
Maybe I will try a little more complex brush now.
Thanks for the great tutorials Moochie...much appreciated and very professional!!
10-01-07, 08:23 AM
Ah this is such a good idea, and the videos are well made! Thank you, can't wait for the next challenge!
10-06-07, 11:13 PM
As a person new to zbrush, I really appreciate you taking the time to help us out. I seem to still be missing some information about 2D vs. 3D vs 2.5 D but it may be elsewhere in the zbrush central so I will try and find it first.
Thanks again for taking the time.
10-10-07, 12:49 PM
Thx Moochie :) ... cool stuff.
Just want to add my thanks for the tutorials. Your hard work and efforts are really appreciated. I just got Zbrush 3.1 so I can use all the help I can get.:)
Thanks alot to all have contributed to this thread. It has really helped me.
very helpful and appreciated indeed...
01-02-08, 07:06 PM
Here is my brush attempt .
It was sculpted in ZBrush . I was looking for a way of adding pore and hair follicle details. Also interested in testing depth available in a brush . I played with gravity to take away from the perpendicular. ( It would be great if Gravity could be manipulated with a graph to make the hair curve or sweep). May try to deploy it as a 2.5 brush to allow incorporation of different materials to the hair element as well as masking capabilities if possible.
Zbrush no longer incorporates the brush manager. It seems to write a .ZBP file (in my case it placed it in the ZTools file . It seems that Zbrush keeps the brush Icon of the base brush that was used to create it. I would preffer to have more discrete access to the files as was provided by the brush manager
Zbrush is very unique and powerful program unfortunately fairly difficult to digest. . Moochie Thanks for this thread and your tutorials they where of great help.
I think I have attached the ZBP file zip (ZBrush the program is not the only thing requiring a learning curve)
01-02-08, 07:27 PM
Extra cool follicle!
One thing which I have always missed in ZBrush...a thing which is so easy in Silo(maybe Mudbox too, haven't tried): is the application of an alpha brush in one specific place using one mouse click.
Z always wants a 'wiggle' to start the process, and it's not so easy sometimes to control the process.
Any hints or tips?
Where do you put this to install it? I tried startup/macros/brushes
Edit: searching the forums uncovered the install info.
02-18-08, 02:03 PM
Lovely work on these!
02-19-08, 01:44 PM
zbrush1.jpg Hi Moochie and contributors!
Moochie I loaded noggins brushes as instructed but when I try to select one I get the pop up shown in my screen grab image.The exact same pop happens when selecting any of the brushes ??
Any ideas please.
Loved the lessons by the way,I was up till 3am watching last night!
Thanks and thanks for any solutions
02-20-08, 04:25 AM
Thx Moochie for the vid tuts they were fun to to watch. :tu:
I thought Id try some old models of mine as alpha brushes, They turned out pretty clean as "relief brushes". :cool:
Hi Cal (thanks for your p.m._thought it best to answer in here)
Definitely an amateur here so I'm hoping that Moochie might chip in with some tips.
My brushes were created in ZB 3.1 following Moochies tutorials_ I find they didn't work as designed in the latest version of Z3 but with some tweaking I can get the effect back.
I seem to have copies of my brushes in my default brush set now and don't need to use the macro tabs at all_ I don't know how this happened (but when I run the macro dialogue that says "converted brush saved to ZStartup:BrushPresets" and indeed there are my brush presets as *.zbp files in that folder)
The original files were in ZStartup/Macros?Nogginsbrushes as *.zsc files and a subfolder [Source] with the brush alphas.
If I have time this afternoon I'll try and rebuild the brushes and create a folder like Fatmiri and see if that woks better
Here's a modified set of my brushes as promised. I wasn't sure whether the *.zbp files contained the alpha information with the brush so just in case I've included my alphas in their location as on my system. I'm afraid this makes the download size high (about 12Mb)
I've saved out the brushes in the brush dialogue box so they can be loaded individually from that dialogue. The save process seems a bit flakey when saving 'stroke' information. For the 'stitch' brushes make sure the 'roll' function is active in the stroke dialogue box
Let me know if you have any problems or suggestions
None of the brushes have specialised icons I'm afraid :o
02-21-08, 09:21 AM
Thankyou very much for getting back to me thankyou for going through the extra labour and creating the new files.Im downloading now and will load them over to my z3.1 pc tonight.I'll post an image showing my results on this thread also.Im much more a newbie than anyone so all help is greatly apprecieted,Zbrush sometimes has my mind spinning ..
02-28-08, 02:01 PM
cant wait to try this when i get back to the office. thanks for the vids!
12-19-08, 10:44 AM
Other there other versions of these videos on the net? I can't get the videos to work at all. I d/l the codec on both my PC and Mac and only the audio plays. I have no video. Is this on youtube or are there other versions that don't use that wacky codec I'd never heard of before?
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.