Know the Basics: ZBrush – part three: Posing
Ricardo Manso teaches the must-know basics for any beginner starting ZBrush. In part three he shows you how to pose your model and fix any deformations...
Welcome to part three of the Know the Basics: ZBrush tutorial series. Now that you have modeled the character and adding some details it is time to pose him using the Transpose Master tool. You can buy ZBrush from the Pixologic website
Step 01: Breaking symmetry
Before you start posing it is important to know what position you want your character, especially if you are telling a story. The pose will give your character personality and will add to the dynamism of your work.
When posing your model it is very handy to have symmetry turned on but when you place your character in a pose the symmetry is switched off. To avoid this create a new layer (Tool > Layer > click the + button). REC will appear on this new layer, this means that every action you make will be recorded in that layer. You can use several layers if you need to and by moving the slider to the left (back to 0) the model will go back to the state it was in before you started recording.
Again this is useful if you need to have the symmetry on later in your process; you can also export the layers as blend shapes into a different software, such as Maya (ZPlugin > Maya Blend Shapes).
Step 02: Transpose master
Our character, George, is going to be holding a box so add a simple cube roughly in the middle of his body; this will help you to find the correct pose.
Everything needs to be visible so you can pose every SubTool at the same time. The best way to pose a character is using the Transpose Master (ZPlugin > Transpose Master). It temporarily combines all the SubTools together so you can work on them all together, once you have the right pose Transpose Master then separates the SubTool.
Transpose Master can be used in a number of different ways depending on your needs. We'll use it in the normal way; to use the transpose tool click on ZPlugin > Transpose Master > TPoseMesh. Mask anything you don't want to move and you can use any of the brushes you like, when you are done go to TPose > SubT and ZBrush will automatically transfer the changes to every SubTool that aren't masked.
Transpose Master panel window
Step 03: ZSphere rig
Another way to use Transpose Master for posing is to make a rig using ZSpheres. For this method enable ZSphere Rig (under the TPoseMesh button) before clicking on TPoseMesh. This allows you to build an internal rig which is both faster and easier for getting your character in the right pose.
After enabling ZSphere Rig, use TPoseMesh to temporary merge all the visible SubTool, the same as the previous step. A ZSphere will appear and you can use the usual shortcut keys to move (M), rotate (R), and scale (E) to make your internal rig. As the character is symmetrical the symmetry should be on, this will allow you to do both sides at the same time and also keep the rig centered. Every time that you need to add a new ZSphere to the internal structure enable draw mode (Q), then click and drag where do you want to add it. Create an internal structure, similar to a human skeleton, and place a ZSphere in every location you want to rotate such as the main joints and waist.
Step 04: Bind Mesh
Each ZSphere will move a part of the geometry that is nearby, the more ZSpheres you have the more control you will have and the fewer deformations. I recommend that you put ZSphere in places such as the ribs and tailbone as this will make posing your character appear much more realistic. Leave the fingers for now, we will come back to them soon.
When you are done making the rig you can bind it to the mesh. Until now when you move a ZSphere only the structure move but by binding the internal structure to the geometry you can move that as well. To do this to go Tool > Rigging and enable Bind Mesh. Now on, when we move the internal structure it will move also the geometry.
Use Move, Scale, and Rotate to adjust the pose; you can rotate under the ZSphere by clicking on the sphere you want to move or you can click in between the spheres to move more than one area.
Step 05: Fixing incorrect deformation
After everything is in place, and you are happy with the pose, all that is left to do is to transfer the pose to each individual SubTool (ZPlugin > Transpose Master > TPose > SubT) and ZBrush will make the changes automatically. Now there are some SubTool that are overlapping and some deformation that we don't want; to fix these you need to go to each SubTool and fix it manually with the move tool.
Step 06: The gift box
With the posing and deformation correction done you can make the gift box George will hold. You can use exactly the same method you used to model George to create the box (go here for Part one: Modeling).
Start with a simple cube and the ZModeler brush to increase the geometry, also mask the area where the ribbon will wrap around the box. Go to Tool > SubTool > Extract, adjust the thickness and press Extract button. When you are happy with the result click accept and ZBrush will create a new SubTool. To create the folds simply mask the area and inflate it (Tool > Deformation > Inflate). Use the Standard brush to create some variation in the wrapping paper and to create the ribbon use the CurveStrapSnap brush.
Step 07: Leather Bag
George also has a leather satchel and this can be made using the same method you use to make the gift box. Start with a cube and use the ZModeler brush to adjust the geometry and model the right shape. For the straps and the stitches use two free brushes from badking (leather straps brush and the stiches3D brush). Again use the same method from the previous step.
Step 08: Pose the fingers
Now that you have finished modeling the props it is time to pose the fingers so it looks as if George is actually holding the gift box. For that job, you just need to go to the body's SubTool, mask the areas that you don't want to move and use the Transpose tool. Repeat for each of the fingers to get a realistic bend for each finger.
Know the Basics: ZBrush - part one
Know the Basics: ZBrush - part two
Check out the ZBrush reference guide
If you are looking for some inspiration then why not grab a copy of Sculpting from the Imagination: ZBrush