Here is a quick explanation of the method that I used when creating the image in the previous post, and the image below. I will (as soon as I find the time) write a more detailed explanation of the process because it is quite effective and fun to use, with this method you can quickly create images that do have many uses (such as children’s books, illustrations, fun web pages…and lots of fun )
1. Select TOOL Cylinder3D tool (later you may want to try different tools)
2. Select STROKE Dots stroke type. (Or FreeHand stroke type)
3. Locate the PICKER Z slider, which is located within the Picker palette. By using the slider we are instructing ZBrush draw the Cylinder in the specified depth and not use the auto depth adjustment. You will be using this slider a lot, so it is a good idea to ctrl-click the slider and bring it out next to your floating menu (this will allow for an easier access). We set the initial depth to 0. (type 0 and press enter)
4. By default, ZBrush will try to orient the 3D object based on the existing Pixols in the canvas. In this case, we want the Cylinder to be at the same orientation at all times, to do so, we need to click on the orientation (pencil) icon that is located at the top-left of the Picker pallet. Pressing this icon (without changing the orientation of the ‘pencil’) will turn off the default “Continuous” that is assigned to the orientation of the drawn objects.
5. By default, ZBrush will place the center of the 3D object in the specified depth. In this case, we want to have the front-facing side of the cylinder to be drawn in the specified depth and not its center. In order to do so, we set the DRAW IMBED value to 1.0 (exactly 1, no more, no less). This is an important step without which, the depth of each layer will be modified by the size of the brush and you will not get a consistent-depth surface (especially if you are using a pressure-sensitive tablet). If you click on the tool preview icon below the IMBED slider and rotate the object about 45 degrees upward, you will be able to see the impact of changing the imbed value on the placement of the 3D object. (The imbed value deserve a more detailed explanation which I will add when writing the full tutorial)
6. All is now ready. Set brush size to about 20 and draw a free hand stroke in your canvas.
7. Modify the Z Depth value to –10 (negative ten) and draw another stroke. You’ll notice that the new stroke is drawn in front of the previous stroke.
8. Set the Z Depth slider to 10 and draw another freehand stroke. This time the stroke will be drawn behind the previously drawn stroke.
9. That is all. You simply select the depth value (-20,-10,0,10,20…) and draw.
Note: From time to time, you may want to try a different stroke type.
What is a “Stroke Type” ?
Stroke type determines the method in which ZBrush interprets your mouse clicks and movement. For example… The ‘Drag Rectangle” stroke type instruct ZBrush to create s single object in which the center of the object would be in the “Mouse Down” position and the size of the object will be determined by the distance between the “Mouse Down” position and the “MouseUp” position. The “Dots” stroke type instructs ZBrush to continuously draw the selected tool wherever your mouse is positioned while the size of the object is determined by the “Draw Size” value. The “Line” stroke type instruct ZBrush to place repeated instances of the selected tool in a strait line between the “Mouse Down” position and the “Mouse Up” position.
Why is ZBrush utilizing the “stroke type” method?
The “Stroke Type” method main benefit is that it allows each tool to behave differently based on the currently selected “Stroke Type” which in essence increases (significantly) the number of tools variations that are available in ZBrush while still keeping the number of actual tools manageable.
Here is one more of the Arts&Crafts tests…
Note: In the above image, I have slightly modified the basic Cylindrer3D tool prior to drawing. I have used the TOOL DEFORMATION SquizXZ function in order to add a bit of curvature to the Cylinder.
I would recommend to everyone (even if not specifically interested is this type of images) to try this method; you will find it easy to use, very effective, and fun. If you do try it, please post you findings and image/s.
P.S> Upham: The reason that you are getting 2 alphas is because ZBrush is internally using a 16bits alpha which allows for 65536 gray levels while standard Photoshop alpha is utilizing 8bits alpha which allows for 256 levels. When exporting ZBrush alpha, ZBrush will create 2 Photoshop channels in order to hold this information (which can be imported into ZBrush with all 16bits intact). The first alpha channel contains the most significant bits of information while the secondary alpha is the least significant bits of information. (in simpler terms, the main alpha holds the integer values from 0 to 255 while the secondary alpha holds the fraction part of the value from .00 to .99 )