Chris Baker (atwooki) has taken the time to put together a nice tutorial on using ZAppLink during texturing. Enjoy!
- Choose a ‘base’ color from the Color menu, and then create a new texture; Here I’ve gone for 2048 x 2048 using the Power of 2 plugin, which is the tool of choice for this operation.
- Import your mesh/ZTool, and if not previously UV’ed in another application, choose your UV preference between those offered under the Texture menu; in this case I’ve used AUVTiles, with an AVRatio of 1.
- Create a Morph Target and then divide the mesh to the necessary number of divisions. Go back down to level 1 and save your ZTool. Return to the highest level for texturing.
- First off, set Tool>Display Properties>DSmooth to a value of higher than 0 so that the pickup from Projection Master can be faded (eliminating jagged edges).
- Next, ‘drop’ your mesh to the canvas with Projection Master (hit G on the keyboard), and as we’re creating a color map here, check Colors and Fade ON and uncheck all others, as we’re starting off with a frontal projection here.
- Locate the ZAppLink plugin (under the Document menu), and choose your method of layering in the external application you plan to use.
This will act as a useful visual guide for accurately positioning any bitmap elements in the external app.
- Upon hitting OK from the ZAppLink window, you’re taken into your chosen external application, (in this case Photoshop) and presented with a flat, unshaded background layer with a gray shaded layer (the Zshading lay super-imposed immediately above it.(Do not attempt editing this shading layer!)
- Within Photoshop your texturing options are pretty limitless. Here I’ve imported a few photographic elements with the lasso tool into separate layers for positioning and general editing purposes on one side of the image, alternately switching the ZShading layer on and off in-between edits so as to analyze and further correct any decisions I’ve made. This layer is particularly useful for dealing with areas like the lips, nostrils, ears, and masking out the eye-socket area.
- I could use the many brushes within Photoshop to simulate the effect of skin pores more accurately here, but as I’m creating a frontal projection, I feel these kind of details are better dealt with inside of Zbrush utilising custom alphas and stencils later on. At the moment, roughing out the base coloring by switching quickly between the two applications using different projections with Projection Master is the intention.
- To finalize editing at this stage (assuming of course that your model is symmetrical!), merge the layers you’ve edited, duplicate the new layer, and then mirror the it: Edit --> Transform --> Flip Horizontal. Erase any superfluous color near the center and then merge this layer with the previous one below. Any final retouching can now be dealt with using the likes of the Healing Brush Tool or the Clone Stamp Tool. I prefer to save a copy of the unflattened WIP file to my hard disk for any further editing purposes that might be prove necessary later on.
- Save your file, and then go back to ZBrush - all nice and painless!
- If you like what you see on the still ‘dropped’ mesh, agree to the ZAppLink option box, and proceed to ‘pick-up’ your mesh.
- At this stage, you’ll probably want to continue with profile, top, back and maybe bottom projections utilizing Projection Master, ZAppLink and your external application as previously outlined to fully cover your base texture with new edits.
- To finish off, make a quick UV Check from the Tools à Texture menu, and if necessary, use Fix Seam appropriately. Often you’ll find using ApplyAdj is necessary to fine-tune your UV co-ordinate layout, and depending on the scale of your mesh, tweak the AdjU and AdjV sliders accordingly.