Second Life Sculpties in ZBrush - ZSculpty Tools (updated Aug 2021)

ZSculpty Tools has been updated. The plugin will work with ZBrush 2021 for PC and Mac OSX.
In this version:

*Prim initialization and Sculpty map export
*Collada DAE format export for mesh in SL


To create a SL sculpty:

  1. Select one of the ZBrush Primitives.
  2. Press the ZSculpty Tools>Initialize Prim button. Select an option from the dialogue box. These options will set up the primitive so that the exported sculpty map can be uploaded to SL using lossless compression. It isn’t essential to use lossless compression but you will get best results, particularly with hard-surface or mechanical objects.
  3. The Switch button can be used to switch the HDivide and VDivide values for the primitive. Use whichever gives the best results for your model.
  4. Adjust the other values in the Tool>Initialize menu if desired.
  5. Press the ZSculpty Tools>Make Polymesh button. This will create a polymesh (with adjusted UVs) which you can sculpt and polypaint.
  6. When you have finished sculpting switch to the lowest subdivision level and press the Export Sculpty map button to export a map. Create any textures you want and export those separately. Your sculpty is then ready for uploading to SL. (In the SL image upload preview check ‘unconstrained’ to preserve the image proportions.)


  • The Arrow3D primitive can be used for sculpties but the lossless compression options can’t be used. Simply set up the primitive how you want before folowing stages 4 - 6 above.
  • Sculpty maps can be exported from higher subdivision levels. This will give bigger maps with more detail (if the limited sculpty map format allows) but mostly they will not be suitable for lossless compression upload.
  • The Scale UVs button is for scaling UVs for any mesh so that they fit within the 0-1 range. It’s not necessary to use this button if you have used the ZSculpty Tools>Make Polymesh button.

To export a mesh:

  1. Create your model. SL meshes should not have too many polygons.
  2. Your model must have UVs assigned. UV Master is a good way of doing this.
  3. If you want to use different subdivision levels for SL Levels Of Detail turn on the Create LOD switch.
  4. The Smooth switch will create smoothed normals for your model. For a hard-surface object turn off the Smooth switch.
  5. Press the Export SL Mesh button. Your model will be saved as a Collada DAE file which can be uploaded to SL using the Mesh Beta viewer. If there is a texture applied to your model this will be exported as a BMP file with the same name.


  • If your model has Polygroups then these can be used as separate texture/material regions in SL.

ZBrush 2021 version

To install:

  1. Download and unzip the plugin file to your desktop. If the unzipping creates a folder open it to locate the ZSculptyTools_2021.ZSC file and ZSculptyToolsData folder.
  2. Copy the ZSculptyTools_2021.ZSC file and ZSculptyToolsData folder to the ZBrush 2021<b>ZStartup\ZPlugs64 folder.
  3. Restart ZBrush. The ZSculpty Tools menu is in the Zplugin palette.

This version has a separate material per polygroup/SL face, named “material_001”, “material_002”, etc. For merged subtools, the materials are listed in subtool order.

Note: because of changes to the ZBrush primitives, this version has fewer options for exporting Sculpty maps made with any primitives other than the Plane3D & Terrain3D. (Mesh export as a Collada DAE file is not affected.)

Download here:
ZSculptyTools_2021.zip (189.9 KB)

+++++++++++++++++++++Older versions+++++++++++++++++++++

Old version for 4R6 and earlier : ZSculptyTools09b.zip (344 KB)ZSculptyTools09b.zip (344 KB)

1 Like

You’re a gem :smiley: Thank you again!

Woot! Thanks so much for taking the time to create this plugin. :+1: I’m going to go give it a whirl right now.

Super thanks Marcus :smiley: much appreciated!
I just wonder if you will add a function to turn models made from zb 3.5 into one of those there magical mesh thingies? probably a pain in the rear to do. But this is great thanks a lot :smiley:

Thanks so much great fix life saver

The secondlife meshes “they say” they will be Caldera files. Is that more than a patch to make? id guess so its only the closed beta testers know for sure for now how it will work

I Watched Kitchendons spotlight demo, inspired me to get my head around it, its wonderfull, its like taking a rubbing with a Stargate

Yay, I’m so happy for this! A million thanks!

Thanks so much Marcus! I am sending you a big virtual hug!

When mesh import comes, the format will be collada. For a short time they lifted the non-disclosure agreement on the mesh beta testers and this information slipped up before they clamped down again.

I will be looking for a pipeline to move my ZBrush work into collada format. A plugin would be the best I could hope for, but failing that, I am considering taking my objects from ZBrush to Blender or Daz Studio (both free) which both export in a collada format. Of course there may be some compatibility issues. I am sure once mesh hits open beta we will be able to experiment, and it is possible that the closed beta testers may already have found the solution. I am sure a few of them use ZBrush.

Thanks for the comments and suggestions guys. :slight_smile:

If it is collada format I don’t see any great problems as that’s XML-based and the specification is available and free from licensing restrictions. Ultimately it would depend on if SL had any special requirements.

You rock! just pure and simple… you never fail to make a valuable contribution to artists everywhere… However I think I discovered a problem. Making a primitive 32/33, then using the plug making it a poly, then smoothing it, I get a hole in the top and bottom of the sphere, it isn’t serious and easily adjusted in another 3d program however I thought i would share…


Yes! Marcus is an angel!

As far as the hole on the poles. I observed that this only happens when the smt button is on while subdividing.

Try this trick. Subdivide up to where you want to be and then down and delete the higher subdivisions. Then go to Geometry and select “close hole”. This will create a new polgroup which sculptymaker doesn’t like, so go to polygroups and select “group visible”.

When you subdivide back up - no more hole. (although if you texture right up to the edges of the hole I believe you don’t have any problems with a gap in Second Life on your object.

I’ve played around with this the fill hole thingy and I’ve not run into any problems with Sculpty maker. No guarentees though :stuck_out_tongue:

Wow, TY Nancyan, put yourself up there with angels!

still a pain but no where near as much as it was before…:roll_eyes:

However, I did find a quark with that too unfortunately.:frowning: try texturing and grabbing the texture from poly, I’m getting a weird line and the caps I believe messed up the UV a bit if you do a UV check. If the holes don’t interfere in SL though, I will try it.

Thanks again!

Seems like my little trick only works with the sphere. Sad. I should have checked out the other primitives before I posted that. The the sphere is pretty much what I use always.

I don’t think the hole is more of a problem then a distraction. If you paint up to the edges as if the hole was closed then I’m guessing it comes together well in SL.

A+ for effort Nancyan! :smiley:

Try clicking “Crease” before subdividing

Perfect, guisquil :+1:

That’s fantastic, Guisquil! Thank you so much :slight_smile:


Thanks for the plugin, very cool… We found that in our experience the plugin only works for the sphere, all the other primitives still have UV maps that overlap, this is what we are doing now:

We fix the UVs with GoZ in Maya, Edit UVs / Layout (little box) the default setting work for a single prim if you want to fix more than one at the same time select Per object (overlapping)

Hi, I thought I would pipe up here, I’ve completed several projects in Z4 using this plugin now and have had no issues with any of the Ztools I’ve used - Cube, Cylinder, Sphere, Sweep Profile, Ring and Spiral, so far no problems with overlapping UV’s using the zsculpty plugin.

Sorry its not working out for you as you had hoped. I’m not having any problems with the new plug-in…just rechecked the primitives and I can convert them all fine, however I’m aware this doesn’t work with the zsculpty plug in. I use the Sculptymaker plug-in which is a separate little program outside of Zbrush, made by the same author of zsculpty (known as “very grumpy little man that doesn’t like too many visitors and prefers to spend his time chasing forest critters off his lawn.”) Both are available on the Shiny Life website, where you will find alot of good information about this whole debacle (:confused: ) .

And I might mention Sculptymaker doesn’t support oblong maps like zbrush does, but there’s a work around for those who don’t have access to Maya and Modo which you can find on the Shiny Life site. So you can use the ZSculpty plugin for these converted meshes and get oblong maps.

when i try 2 open the zip it says it dose not appear 2 be a valid archive…please help