Howto: Quickly create a long bended stick

This is probably a no-brainer for the more experienced, but I am trying to find the easiest way to create a long, tapered stick that is smoothly bended at the end. I’ve started out with a cylinder primitive but setting x and y to a minimum (1) and z to a maximum (100) creates a stick that is not yet thin enough. The aspect ratio is apparently in percentages and I want x and y to be less than 1 percent.

The bending is problematic as well. The bend deformer deforms the whole stick. And I find it very hard to use an actionline with the rotate modifier and get a smooth bend.

Anyhow, I understand that these are basic questions but I am trying to grasp how to quickly create all kinds of basic shapes.

Masking perhaps? Then deforming or transforms to the specific area a bit at a time rather than trying to edit the entire thing?

Have you considered using ZSpheres to create your stick? It should be a pretty straightforward process that way.

Good luck,

ZSpheres go a long way, but getting a smooth, even bend at the end of the stick is rather difficult.

Just for clarification, are you trying for a bend like a walking cane, or a 90 degree bend? It would be helpful if you showed a sketch or described what you are trying to do a bit better.

Sorry if the description is unclear. Here is a picture of something that looks like what I’m trying to achieve:


The tube I want should be a lot longer, but the smooth bend should be the same. And here’s another example of something I’m trying to accomplish:


I’ve tried zspheres but the bend is never really smooth. I also tried primitives but the ratio length/radius is at maximum 100/1, which is too little.

I am sorry for such a newbie question, I’m in the middle of learning ZBrush and this is about the first thing I want to create and I just can’t find a simple way. :slight_smile:

You can use primitives, for example to make a pipe like the images you linked to; The folowing step by step should help, please forgive the excessive detail it’s really a fairly simple process but I though it would be better this way for anyone else new to ZBrush.

  1. Draw out a primitive cylinder
  2. Go into edit mode
  3. Initialize to the desired diameter leaving length alone for now
  4. Adjust HDivide and VDivide to get nice square polygons
  5. Make ploymesh from the cylinder
  6. Mask about 1/2 the cylinder and blur the mask several times
  7. Draw an action line from about mid way in the blurred mask toward the unblurred area holding Shift to keep it straight
  8. Holding Shift again grab the upper red ring of the action line and bend; this gives you a smooth bend but will introduce a buckleing effect.
  9. To fix that switch to the Move tramsform; rotate the action line by grabbibg the upper outer ring and with Shift held down rotate the action line snapping it to 90 degrees.
  10. Grab the white center ring and holding Shift move the unmasked portion of the mesh to get rid of the buckled appearence. You may also need to rotate the action line back up 90 degrees and pull the mesh up a bit (again holding Shift).
  11. Clear the original mask and draw a new mask maybe 1/3 of the un bent portion and blur several times. Invert that mask and with the action line and the Move transform selected; holding Shift grab the center white ring and pull the unmasked portion out to the length you need. You may need to scale the mesh to get more room to pull.
  12. This should give you a long smoothly bent cylinder but the topology has been streched out along the pulled out section.
  13. Now use ReMesh All (deselect any highlighted axes in the ReMesh All button) Set the resolution to perhaps 512 and hit ReMesh All. This creates a new subtool.
  14. Making sure to select the new subtool, use ProjectAll to conform the new mesh to the old.
  15. Under Deformation subpallete use the Polish slider set to 1; then subdivide the geometry.
  16. ProjectAll again and polish again; you may need/want to do this (subdivide then polish) one or two more times.
  17. Now you have reasonably good topology for further sculpting; but if you want a hollow tube like the reference you need to extract a new mesh.
  18. To do that draw a mask over each end of the remeshed cylinder just far enough to get a clean edge; invert that mask. Next to the Extract button set the E Smt and S Smt to 0 and leave Thickness alone for now.
  19. Hit the Extract button; you now have a new subtool that is a hollow tube with a smooth bend. If the thickness isn’t what you want adjust the thickness slider and extract again. You will get new subtools each time.
  20. These new subtools carry a mask over with them during extract so clear the mask before doing anything further with the mesh. If the edge around the ends of the tube is rough you can use the Clip or Planar brushes to clean it up.

I think that about covers it and should get you started; you can experiment from there.

I hope this helps.


Here is a quick example of a tapered tube/pipe using the cylinder primitive




Hi DLangley, thank you very, very much for this wonderful and elaborate explanation! I indeed finally managed to create the bended tube that I wanted.

Still, I’m surprised that such a seemingly simple task takes so many steps. Especially considering all the complex things that are simple with ZBrush.

Cheers, and thanks again!

You’re welcome, I’m glad I could help.

It does seem to be alot of steps, but once you get used to the workflow it becomes second nature and you can create these fairly quickly.

In many ways ZBrush makes you think outside the box; which is never a bad thing.:wink:

I want to make a stick without a bend.

Question to:
No.6 Masking top or bottom?
If i move the red ring my polygons are no more nice squares.
Whats wrong?
Do i’ve to do step No.6 and No.7 again in a loop, after moving the red ring?
Masking, moving, masking, moving… and again.

standard cylinder.jpgmasked half.jpgmask blurred 2x.jpgaction line.jpgmove red ring 1.jpgmove red ring 2.jpg