Confused and frustrated. Please Help!

Hi, I just installed zbrush and I can’t figure out how to do anything! I’ve watched most of the introductory videos and it seems that my confusion is around such moronically basic things that no one thought to mention how to do them. Would someone please explain the basics of accesses features such as drawing with zspheres, dynmamesh and other sculpty type things before I start to cry?

The key is that you start by adding pixols to the canvas. You then enter Edit mode to be able to modify what you just drew.

ZSpheres, for example are one of the Tools used to add pixols to the canvas. As such, that is found in the Tool palette.

You select your desired Tool and draw a stroke on the canvas. You then immediately enter Edit mode by pressing T or Transform >> Edit. Now you can use the various features available to that Tool to modify (transform) it. This is where your sculpting Brushes come into play for polygonal models and where the various Tool sub-palettes come into play for mesh generators.

ZSpheres are a mesh generator. DynaMesh is also a form of mesh generator. Both therefore have settings available within the Tool sub-palettes.

HOWEVER, the “gotcha” is that ZBrush is a contextual interface. It tries to avoid clutter by only presenting you with options that will actually have an effect on your current selection. For that reason, there are a number of options pertaining to ZSpheres that ONLY exist when the ZSphere Tool is selected. By the same token, things like DynaMesh won’t even exist in your interface if you have a non-geometry Tool selected or a parametric Tool like the Sphere3D.

As a general rule, start with the Tool palette by selecting the type of Tool that you want to use. Then move on to its Sub-palettes as well as other palettes like Brush to affect the selected Tool. If you can’t find what you’re looking for even though documentation or videos say it should be there, you probably simply have the wrong Tool selected.

Lots of good stuff here:




One example will maybe help you to figure what’ s going on and why you can’ t do what you want at start:

First when you launch zBrush, you have a blank canvas, and in your right you have ‘side menu’. Its name ‘Tool’ and you can clearly see a big yellow S with "Simple brush’ writtent below.

Clic on this S, a “menu” will popup and then for instance, choose to clic on the sphere (or what you want in the 3d part of the menu)


  • Now, just clic and drag on the canvas to create your 3d object (sphere?)
  • after that, clic on T (make it editable),
    now you can manipulate it in a 3d ‘world’, clic on blank canvas to rotate it, etc…
    -But, at this moment it is a primitive. Meaning parametric 3d object, that we can parameter in the right side menu named Tool, and scroll down you will find “initialize” ‘menu’
    The presence of this “initialize” menu means that this is primitive.
  • If you want to make it ‘fully’ editable, just scroll on top of this same Tool menu, and clic on “Make Polymesh 3D”
    Now you have a full 3d editable object to play with in zbrush, with all brush, alpha, etc…

I suggest you too to read a lot zbrush doc, interface tutorials, beginner, etc…Like the fact that zbrush is composed of 3d part, 2.5d part, and 2d part. I suggest you to experiment yourself before, during or after reading doc/tutorials.

Good luck !

ps: One of the best advice I can give you maybe, is to have a second screen. It is really helpfull if you are going to watch tutorials, etc… in one screen tutorials (or photo references, inspiration, etc), in the other zbrush.
But this is just a suggestion, cause it helped me a lot, and it continue to help me.