What is the PolyPainting custom Button Set?
In ZBrush3 you can no longer paint directly onto texture maps (unless you use Projection master).
Instead, you must paint directly onto the polymesh. The more subdivided the polymesh is, the better resolution and detail in your painting. At some point you will want to transfer your polypainting to a texture map to be exported along with your model (an .obj file.) This PolyPainting button set is designed to simplify and streamline this whole process.
Generally, the button workflow is this:
Assume you have loaded a model with GUV mapping (or imported a pre-UV-wrapped .obj file) and you want to paint on your model. It should be in edit mode. You may also have imported a texture map which should be selected. If not, you can create one and make sure that is selected. The New Map button lets you quickly create one if you need to offering three different sizes.
The Five buttons are used in this order:
1. New Map = If your model doesn't already have one create a texture map and assign it to your model.
2. SaveUV = This critical step creates a temporary .obj file at lowest subD level which preserves your UV mapping, then creates a Morph Target also at lowest subD level and identifies the texture map with the model. You will always be asked if you want the existing texture map colors to be copied over to initialize the PolyMesh - if so press yes. Also, remember you should already have subdivided to the highest possible polymesh resolution BEFORE you agree to copy your texture map to the polymesh - this lets you start with a polymesh version that's as sharp as your original imported texture map!
3. HideMap = Press this button to start or to continue with the polypaint process. The Texture Map is deselected revealing the polygons. It also selects the highest subD level, selects colorize and disables UVs. At this point you may choose to subdivide your model several more times to enhance the polymesh detail. Now you begin polypainting on the model in Draw>Rgb mode using different alpha brushes and optionally, painting with other textures. Avoid modifying your model's surface (Draw>ZAdd should remain off.) When finished painting, move on to step 4.
4. ShowMap = This reselects and displays your map, then changes your model to its lowest subD level. The original UVs are recovered from the stored.obj file and re-applied to your model which is then again set to the highest subD level. With the texture map reloaded it may look like your polypainting is gone... but it's all still there, underneath.
5. PolyPaint to TexMap = Reselects DRAW:Rgb and sets Rgb Intensity to 100%, and transfers the polypainting from your polymesh up onto your texture map.
At this point you simply repeat steps 3, 4, 5 - painting and enhancing your RGB polypainted model, reloading your texture map, then updating it as often as you want.
Used together this button set will hide from view all the repetitive pressing of buttons and settings of slider values so you can focus on poly-painting your model and transferring it to the texture map for eventual export.
Installing the PolyPainting Plugin
Unzip the PolyPainting.zsc file into your ZStartup\ZPlugs folder. The next time you start up ZBrush3 you will find a new subgroup titled PolyPainting, in the TEXTURE Menu which contains the buttons as shown above. The question mark is a help button which pops up the same info outlined above.
The PolyPainting Button Set is free for distribution to the ZBrush community. Please post any bug reports or helpful suggestions to the ZBCentral Forum.
Thanks! - Svengali, August 2007
[Updated August 14th - to include option under the saveUV button that copies the map colors to the polymesh, as suggested by EddyLoonstijn )