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Fix for ZBrush 4R2’s Losing Interface Customization

I’m loving ZBrush 4R2 but I noticed that it was losing certain contextually-activated custom interface elements on relaunch. I have my UI tricked out and customized to avoid jumping around palettes so this was annoying. I just got an email from Pixologic that there’s a fix for this problem at the bottom of this thread. Put the plug-in in ZStartup/ZPlugs and relaunch ZBrush. After that. all custom interface elements be be restored without problem:

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Restore Your Favourite Startup Brushes in ZBrush 4R2

Want your Smooth Stronger and Slash brushes back in the pared-down startup set of ZBrush brushes? They aren’t gone, they’re just moved to the Lightbox sets, which is a bit buried so I’m going to copy my critical brushes back into the startup one as shown below:

So that’s copy from rootappfolder/ZBrushes to rootappfolder/ZData/BrushPresets.

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Dynamically Set ZBrush’s LightBox Texture Bin With a Symlink

Symlinks are a one-stop fix for a bad combination: applications that need stuff to be in a specific place on your system disk and the limited space of SSDs (I’m running a 120GB OWC Mercury Elite). I’ve mentioned these before but I thought people’d like to see the added workflow benefits with ZBrush: being able to dynamically set the Lightbox Texture folder for your projects:

Grab my symlink Automator workflow for OS X and install it to ~/Library/Services and you’re set to do the same thing as in the video. If you are feeling brave, you can also use a shell script to do it for input folders:

#!/bin/bash
rm /Applications/ZBrushOSX\ 4.0/ZTextures
/bin/ln -s "$1" /Applications/ZBrushOSX\ 4.0/ZTextures

RENAME YOUR DEFAULT ZBRUSH TEXTURE ONE BEFORE RUNNING THAT! rm deletes the old symlink so it doesn’t end up writing the new one to the symlinked directory. It won’t delete the default folder (you need rm -rf for that) but it will just fail otherwise.

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My Brahms 3D print harasses my girlfriend as she plays piano.

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Brahms portrait - day 2

This is tentatively how it will be cropped when I get it printed in 3D. It’s going to sit on my girlfriend’s piano and haunt her while she plays. The reflection on the high-gloss piano will make it look like he’s coming out of the piano like it’s a lake, Creature From the Black Lagoon style. I should put a little speaker in it that repeats “FASTER!! FASTER, DAMMIT, FASTER!!!”

I’m going to leave it kind of semi-raw like this. I’m not a big fan of the crazy hyper-detailed look in general. It’s fine for games but a one-colour model of Brahms should have a touch of Rodin, in my opinion.

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Brahms portrait - day 1

He no longer looks like a plastic KFC Colonel piggy bank (I had one of those).

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Morph targets and Inflate in ZBrush

Most people know to use Morph Targets in ZBrush as a faux masking effect but here’s just a quick example to show how to use it with Deformation/Inflate for a masked fattening effect. Very basic but essential if you don’t know it already.

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GoZ Buddy Script

A while ago, I described a workaround here for keeping vertex normals for meshes sent from ZBrush to Maya by using a blend shape. Well, I got tired of doing this manually so I made an interface to a pre- and post-script for GoZ to make this procedure faster. See it in action here (with a demo at the start of how ZBrush discards these vertex normals, which is the reason for the script):

If you’re fine with using the subdiv/smooth rendering technique for your models, then you probably don’t need to use this. It’s really for those times that you’re happy with your mesh vertex normals (maybe you have a game-res model with a mix of hard and soft vertex normals) and want to send it to ZBrush, maybe for UV Master or you want to make a new displacement map. You’ll notice in the video that my V-Ray material needed to be re-applied. This is a GoZ quirk that sometimes comes up. The script doesn’t mess with any GoZ code itself, so there’s nothing I can do about those things. It’s just a blendshape and UV transferring tool that helps work around this limitation with GoZ and Maya.

The Lock DisplaceMap Scale button at the bottom runs an embedded version of my ZBalphaLinker script, shown here:

Useful if you’re using 8- or 16-bit displacement maps. So where’s the link to download this thing? Right here.

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Melt an object with ZBrush and Maya

Someone on the CGSociety forum asked how to do this, so I thought I’d post the best way to accomplish a melting effect, by using blend shapes in Maya. Import the before and after state from your sculpting app, create a blend shape and animate:

Super easy. Obviously you’d need to detail things a little better than that and it gets trickier once you get into really making it convincing, but it really just involves mixing more blend shape states to get it to look right.

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