3D Artist

Free ZBrush tutorial: DynaMesh tool

Tips & Tutorials
The 3D Artist Team

Andrzej Kuziola explains how to enhance your concepts using ZBrush 4’s DynaMesh tool

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ZBrush’s DynaMesh tool is a mesh-creation tool that gives a real 3D-sketching experience. It gives the ability to stretch a mesh and experiment with shapes without the need for a rig. Together with tools such as the CurveTube brush, the experience is more like playing with clay – you can forget that you are using sophisticated 3D software. Over the next six steps, Andrzej Kuziola will use these ZBrush functions to help create the main image (above).

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Step 1: Reuse parts of old models

Let’s begin by reusing some old ZBrush models. Such a workflow is a great time save and speeds up the process remarkably. I extracted a head and a hand by partially hiding the mesh with Ctrl/Cmd+Shift and the Delete Hidden and Close Holes option.

The tattoo machines are the only object created outside of ZBrush. They are my models from an old project so I didn’t have to build them from scratch – you can create something similar in ZBrush as well, if you wish.

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Step 2: ShadowBox

To create a decorative frame for the tattoo machine, I used the ShadowBox feature. This uses the projection of shadows to build 3D primitives which can then be detailed further.

To use the tool, I first imported a sphere, placed it inside the head and activated ShadowBox. I cleared the mask and adjusted the size of the box. I then used the Layer brush in Mask mode to sketch the shape. When I was happy with the design, I pressed the ShadowBox button again.

This was just a starting point. I will develop the shape more later on with DynaMesh to adjust it to match the stylisation of the other objects.

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Step 3: DynaMesh

Now it is time to use DynaMesh. I created and appended a Cylinder Polymesh as a starting point for the DynaMesh sketching. It is helpful to duplicate the Cylinder subtool for further reuse.

I activated the function by pressing the DynaMesh button. A new uniform topology was created with Density Dependent chosen from the Resolution slider. Start with lower res and then adjust it to achieve the desired result.

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Step 4: Building the rib cage

To create a more complex object like the rib cage, I used DynaMesh together with the CurveTube brush. First I created two cylinders, one for a spine and one for a bridge, and merged them down to a single subtool. I then painted the tubes with CurveTube. The diameter of the tube is affected by the brush size. The tool also enables you to change the shape of it after painting. I recalculated the DynaMesh options for each rib and used high-resolution settings for the mesh to keep all the details.

Free ZBrush tutorial: DynaMesh tool

Step 5: General adjustments

To adjust the shape of the mesh according to my design vision, I used mainly the Clay, Move, Move Topological, TrimDynamic and SnakeHook brushes. Each time polygons became stretched I recalculated DynaMesh by pressing the Ctrl/Cmd key and dragging the cursor onto an empty canvas.

As DynaMesh has been designed to create low and mid-resolution sculpting stages, I don’t add any details now. I will do this later after transforming the object to a regular polymesh.

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Step 6: Combine brushes

To finish by adding details to the rib cage and all other objects, I quit DynaMesh mode and used the Inflate, Move Topological, Clay, ClayTubes, TrimDynamic and Morph brushes. I also used Inflate and Smooth Deformations with partially masked objects to complete the project.


Author Andrzej Kuziola  Website www.kuziola.com

Tutorial taken from 3D Artist issue 37. Available to buy now from the official Imagine Publishing online store. Digital editions available through Zinio and Apple’s Newsstand.

  • Great Tutorial ! Someone was complaining about dynamesh the other day in a post on the pixologic website and I really thought they do not even understand the uses that are there for us now compared to before dynamesh … I did a cartoon turtle all out of dynamesh … was my first sculpt with it and I just could not have done that before ever at all !

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