Alan's Relief Sketchbook

I’ve been making a lot of 3D reliefs so I wanted to make a sketchbook featuring the stuff I do. I have clients that come to me to get reliefs that they use on their CNC machines. I’d like to make a career out of it but don’t know how to go about it.

Anyways here’s a screenshot of my latest work.

I’ll post more as I go along.



Alan, you could contact https://www.vectorart3d.com/ if you are not aware of them. I don’t know how they work with artists. You work is certainly equivalent or better quality than what is shown there.

Some operations in ZBrush will yield a stair step or aliased effect on edges/surfaces if you are working with heightmaps/displacement maps. I see this on the oval shape to some extent.

The ZModeler might allow you to create a very smooth oval which you could then combine with the relief, although I have not played with ZModeler yet so I could not comment on the exact workflow.

In the past, I often would create some geometry it in another application and then combine it with the ZBrush relief. Its possible this could be done entirely in ZBrush now.

Yes I’m familiar with Vectorart 3D and there’s also VectorClip3d and many more. They all use vectric aspire software which I don’t use.

I’d really rather work for businesses that need art. There are CAD jobs which I’m not qualified for, but they are more technical and involve making intricate parts. I just use ZBrush and GIMP as my ZapLink software. I like the more artistic stuff. Which ZBrush is good with.

Here’s a Polish Eagle that I did a while ago. I used an image for a reference to create it.


Here’s a relief of an eagle holding golf clubs. It’s kind of like the eagle in the CIA logo.


These are pretty nice. Great job. Do you care to share your work flow to doing some of this. I’m really new to zbrush. I have been using Aspire now for a few years. I find its sculpting abilities to be very lacking. I am liking zbrush however. I do have gimp but I’ve hardly used it. I’d like to also get into making these type of relief models for use with cnc. So any help you can throw a new guy would be great. Thanks

Basically I draw alpha channels in GIMP. This gives you the ability to use all the standard raster tools. Like pen tool, airbrush, gradient, layers etc. When you draw in black and white grayscale on individual layers then set the layer modes to darken only they will blend in together according to darkness. One good thing about doing relief like this is that you are stuck within the 256 color range so the stuff can only be so deep on a 2D plane. Let me know what kind of stuff you create.

If you set up gimp as your zaplink then you must export the file as psd before entering back to zbrush.

Here’s a simple video of how it works:

<iframe width=“560” height=“315” src=“https://www.youtube.com/embed/8bfy-YPIPxY” frameborder=“0” allowfullscreen=""></iframe>

Here’s a video of some designs:

<iframe width=“560” height=“315” src=“https://www.youtube.com/embed/OZqmxaDsLjw” frameborder=“0” allowfullscreen=""></iframe>

Very nice technique and models! Can you tell us what is the name of the 3D Viewer shown at the end of your video
and maybe provide a link.


That’s the viewer that works with my Carvewright CNC software. I copy to the clipboard and paste in there. I’ve looked for a open source software to do this but find nothing. The best way to view would be to save the file as a png and use it as an alpha in ZBrush.

Ah, o.k. Thanks for the info!


Thanks for the reply, and for the video link on using gimp. Here’s another free program that’ll let you view. The height map you make. http://3dp.rocks/lithophane/

Here’s a thing I made today.