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Making Meteorites in ZBrush

It’s always tempting to try and find an image to use as a displacement alpha when you’re doing mottled surfaces, but the best result always comes from mimicking reality and often that can be done procedurally. So, with that in mind, I grabbed the fast mallet preset brush from the Lightbox, selected a spherical alpha with a quick falloff at the edges and set it to spray mode for variety. The results are very good, and dig into the surface quickly and convincingly, mimicking pock marks:

The polish brushes are great for these portions of the mesh that have been cut for scientific samples but you could also use the trim normal brush. Love me some ZBrush 4R3.

Update: Now for the really procedural part – the surface noise that adds consistent detailing to our meteorite rock. Combined with the Morph Target and Morph brush, you can dial back some of the noise in areas you don’t want affected:

Remember that you have to hit “Apply to Mesh” for the noise to actually deform the mesh – otherwise it’s just a visual fake, like a normal map. It’s good to store a Morph Target before this step because often the applied noise depth is slightly different than the preview.

For those wondering how my reference image is floating, I’m using Photostickies for OS X. I’m a little startled by the speed of my new laptop - it’s doing a screen recording and a Time Machine backup and ZBrush doesn’t miss a beat.

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