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In this tutorial we will study how "ZSpheres" works in Zbrush 4, and how they can help you in production. Probably one of the more unique features of ZBrush, ZSpheres allow a ZBrush user to create a base mesh with clean topology and then convert it into a sculpt-able model. A ZSphere starts out with a simple sphere that you can extract from until you have the basic shape of the model you want to sculpt on. So lets see how it works!
So in this tutorial we will study how "Zspheres" work in zbrush and how it can help us in achieving a basic mesh for modeling a human character.
So lets start by selecting a "ZSphere", you can find it under Tools > Simple Brush > ZSphere.
Now select the ZSphere & drag it onto the canvas in Zbrush. Then press the Shortcut Key "T" to enter into "Edit Mode".
Before we start working on the "ZSphere" we have to turn on Symmetry, for that go under Transform > Activate Symmetry.
Now as you move the cursor over the ZSphere you will see two red dots moving beside each other. This indicates Symmetry is active and working.
Now that we are working with two cursors, you will only have to work on one side of the model, and Zbrush will mirror the details to the other side automatically. So lets start drawing a ZSphere out by just Clicking & Dragging on the surface. For demonstration, lets add a few more ZSpheres and then press the "A" key to preview the resulting mesh.
So let's see how we can use "ZSpheres" for our production purposes. When starting work with ZSpheres always draw two, one on the top and one on the bottom of your base ZSphere. As this will make your base mesh smooth to sculpt later on.
Now let's adjust the three ZSpheres by using the Shortcut Key "W" (for Move.) After selecting the Move Tool, click on any ZSphere and move it accordingly to the requirements of your base mesh. In this case, we will begin to shape our characters torso.
Next we will need to lower the brush size, so we can begin to create the arms. You can adjust the Brush size by using the "S" shortcut key. We will then draw two new ZSpheres for the arms, by clicking and dragging on the the torso's top ZSphere. The important thing to remember is to draw two ZSpheres on every joint of the torso, as this will give our resulting mesh a smooth result at the joints.
Now lets repeat the same steps at the bottom of the torso to create the legs.
Now let's repeat the same steps for the Head, but remember here you have to bring both the red symmetry dots close enough together so you can only see one. Then draw two ZSpheres on the top and arrange them to look like a head and neck coming from the torso.
After creating the basic ZSpheres, we have to arrange them in order to make it look like a basic torso. After achieving the required shape, always preview the mesh using the Shortcut Key "A". In some cases we may get errors that need to be resolved before we start working on the final mesh. We will discuss these errors in future steps.
Now as you work with ZSpheres you may face some errors like this (shown below.) You can see the area marked in the yellow circle. What this means is that Zbrush is facing an error while creating the mesh, so what you need to do is create a bit of space between those two ZSpheres, so that a proper mesh can be generated. And as always you can preview your mesh using the "A" Shortcut Key.
Now we'll add another ZSphere to the chest area. Then adjust it to look like a chest cavity..
We will now add four more ZSpheres to our leg for the knee, thigh, calf area and foot.
Here we adjust the three ZSpheres to make it look like a leg. For this I've moved the thigh forward, the calf backward and the leg forward (as shown.)
Next we add two ZSpheres to the arm for the wrist and elbow joints. Now as I have already mentioned, to get a perfect base mesh you have to add ZSpheres according to your model's requirements. So here I added two more ZSpheres above & below the elbow to get a proper mesh.
Now we'll add two sets of five ZSpheres to the wrist to make it look like a hand. This is generally recommended to make hands, and many modelers prefer to make their hands like this. But I actually like to do it at a later stage by editing the mesh, but for this session I will show you how to do it with ZSpheres. So first we add five small ZSpheres to our wrist.
This is the main step to making fingers. So for this, we draw out the thumb first, then add the other ZSpheres by holding "shift" (to snap and look like the parent finger.) Afterwards we pull them out to the desired length.
Here we add two sets of five ZSpheres to make the two joints for each finger.
As you can see we now have our basic base mesh ready and blocked out. Of course it still needs to be tweaked and adjusted to match the required proportions of your specific character. Once completed you'll need to convert the ZSpheres into a sculptable mesh, you can do this by going to Tool>Adaptive Skin and clicking on the "Make Adaptive Skin" button. And your ready to begin sculpting.
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