ZBrush 2018 Review
Over the past few years Pixologic has exceeded expectations, introducing new features that strengthen the place of ZBrush as an industry standard. This year’s iteration, called ZBrush 2018, is no different and comes packed with a set of impressive new tools that are both useful and fun to use. Undoubtedly, in past iterations of ZBrush, there have been great new additions like ZRemesher, ZModeler, FiberMesh, NanoMesh, the Boolean system and VDMs, just to name a few. However, since DynaMesh was introduced, sculpting hasn’t been the focus, which makes Sculptris Pro one of this year’s strongest contenders for the title of ‘favourite feature’. Sculptris Pro shifts the focus back to sculpting, giving you even more freedom to explore designs and manipulate the meshes with virtually no technical restraints. When you start sculpting (with Sculptris Pro enabled), ZBrush will tessellate the model, adding polygons where you need them to describe more details. The size of the polygons will adapt to the size of your brush, so to add finer details, you just need to reduce the size of your brush. What’s great about this workflow is that polygons will only be added in the areas affected by the brush strokes, leaving the geometry intact at the ‘untouched’ portions of the model (DynaMesh ‘weakness’).
Decimating the model is also possible while using the Smooth brush. The decimation amount is determined by the brush size but it can be further tweaked with UnDivide Ratio from the Stroke palette>Sculptris Pro. These attributes create an interesting workflow, where you can sculpt details with a small brush and ‘erase’ them with a large Smooth brush. Even better, ZBrush 2018 now remembers the size of each brush, so all you need to do is set the size of your brushes and simply… sculpt. Freedom of sculpting is not the only trend. The new PolyGroupIt plugin, for instance, is a feature that improves a variety of workflows, simplifying the creation of polygroups. Clicking on the PolyGroupIt button (Plugin palette> PolyGroupIt), will launch a separate window (GPU-based) with your selected SubTool. Clicking on the model will create a ‘seed’ and clicking on the seed gives you access to a slider that enables you to control the reach of a coloured section based on the topology of the mesh. This is huge, especially for hard-surface modellers, as you can easily define some planes with the hPolish brush or cut some lines with the Dam_Standard brush for instance, and send the SubTool to the PolyGroupIt plugin to create very clean polygroups in a few seconds. As if all these new features weren’t enough, there are also new additions to the deformers (from the Gizmo 3D). A few deformers were introduced with ZBrush 4R8 and ZBrush 2018 ships with even more, for a total of 27 very handy deformers. All the new deformers are really useful, but the new ‘Project Primitive’ is surely the one that will be the topic of discussion. The Project Primitive deformer is an extremely powerful tool. It enables you to modify your mesh by ‘projecting’ a simple object. In a way, this tool is similar to VDMs (vector displacement maps) but without the restriction of being limited to a predefined shape. The primitive objects from the Project Primitive deformer are driven by functions, so you can easily change their shape by pulling the ‘cones’ controls and get real-time feedback. Some fantastic additional features include: the editing of Curve brushes, such as smoothing the curve with Shift and rotating it with Cmd/Ctrl, new SnakeHook brushes, Decimation presets, a custom QuickSave folder and more. ZBrush 2018 is an exciting software to explore and a rewarding experience once you get the hang of the way things work.
ZBrush 2018 is an exciting software to explore, making sculpting and designing in 3D a lot of fun.
OS 64 biteditionsofWindowsVistaandup/ MacOSX: 10.8andup
CPU Intel i5/i7/Xeon technologyorAMDequivalent RAM 8GB (16GBrecommended)
HDD 100GB (SSDdrive highly recommended)
Video card Most cardsmanufactured 2008ornewer.
Must support OpenGL 3.3 or higher