Top 10 plugins for ZBrush

Continuing our top plugins series, check out Paul Hatton's top 10 pluginsavailable for Pixologic's ZBrush...

Continuing our top plugins series, check out Paul Hatton's top 10 plugins
available for Pixologic's ZBrush...

ZBrush enables users to create art. It's as simple as that. ZBrush gives you the tools so that you feel like you're sculpting. © Pixologic

Following on from my previous articles looking at Maya and 3ds Max plugins, today we'll take a look at what's on offer for ZBrush. ZBrush is a digital sculpting tool that allows you to create 3D models, texture them and then paint on top. It sets itself apart from more standard modeling packages like 3ds Max by being fundamentally a sculpting package. ZBrush has an impressive customer base and has been used in a vast range of industries including games, films, and short animations. ZBrush has an impressive toolset but it still benefits from a range of available plugins. We will explore here both third-party plugins as well as plugins which actually ship with the latest ZBrush release. These are plugins that haven't made it into the core program but Pixologic feel are essential enough to be shipped with the software.


This plugin is great for creating trees or other vegetation. It builds upon the strength of Zspheres to provide the necessary tools, which removes the need for the otherwise tedious and repetitive tasks. It's important to note that it has no presets built into it but rather it gives you the tools to model any tree that you want.

Despite being called ZTree, it can actually be used for a range of purposes where Zspheres are involved


This is a brilliant plugin! Creating a hole in a mesh is a relatively straight-forward process but what if you've got to create 100s of holes! This plugin speeds the whole process up and takes all the stress out of it.

Create holes in your meshes with absolute ease


KeyShot is becoming increasingly popular and will continue to do so as it teams up seamlessly with ZBrush. By utilizing ‘KeyShot Bridge' you can quickly and easily render your ZBrush models inside of KeyShot. There is both a HD and a Pro version depending on which features you need access to.

You can use ZBrush's ‘Best Preview' render but KeyShot opens up other possibilities for artists

Multi Map Exporter

This plugin lets you automate the process of map creation from your models. Create your normal and bump maps with ease and you can even store your settings to enable you to focus less on material creation and more on sculpting!

This plugin is now shipped with ZBrush so make sure you tick install plugins on the install


This is an incredible plugin! Essentially it provides interoperability with any GoZ enabled application such as 3ds Max, Maya or CINEMA 4D amongst others. It instantly creates all the required shading networks for use in the new application and even provides 2-way interoperability.

This plugin makes moving between ZBrush and other applications absolutely seamless

Decimation Master

When sculpting it's easy for your mesh to become too heavy to handle, especially if you're working with a lot of very fine details! With Decimation Master you can reduce your model's polygon count while keeping all of those fine details. It's a brilliantly efficient plugin.

Use this plugin before moving out of ZBrush into another application

UV Master

With just one click this plugin will set up all your UVs in the most efficient way. Brilliant! Previously this was an incredibly time consuming and laborious process. This enables you to focus on the important things like creating your model and texturing it to make it look beautiful.

Why pull your hair out when you can make use of this incredible plugin to do it all for you

FBX Export Import

The FBX file format was developed by Autodesk and is a widely utilized format for moving between applications. ZBrush doesn't support all of the features contained within the FBX file format but it supports a sufficient number to make it usable. This plugin supports both export and import.

Moving between applications is key for 3D artists. This import/export tool enables you to do that

Image Plane

When texturing your models you'll likely be utilizing reference images. With Image Plane it is possible to bring these images into ZBrush and use them in the texturing process. This enables users to match their reference images as closely as possible without having to keep referring to an external program.

Ensure that your texturing process is based on actual reference images with this plugin

3D Print Exporter

Understandably there are many ZBrush users who want to turn their beautiful models into actual physical models. With this plugin you can export your 3D models into formats such as STL, Binary and Ascii which can be used in 3D printing.

Use this export in conjunction with the Decimation master to print clean and tidy models

ZBrush core and its plugins

One strength of ZBrush is that it can handle minute details that belong to things like characters, but these can then be exported into normal or displacements maps for use on lower resolution meshes. This is essential for things like games or where computer memory needs to be used wisely. ZBrush is an impressive piece of software but it is definitely made stronger by its plugins. ZBrush has a strong community of artists who are always happy to help and share. Third-party developers are also committed to delivering useful tools at competitive prices.

Related links

Top 10 plugins for Maya
Top 10 plugins for 3ds Max
Download ZBrush
Check out ZPlugins
Head over to ZBrushCentral
The Pixologic Classroom

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