ZBrush 3.5 Bundle Review

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mmccarthy's picture
Posts: 7

In this Eat3D training title "Zbrush 3.5:  A Comprehensive Introduction," you are taken through the fundamentals of Zbrush and introduced to new elements of 3.5. The DVD is geared towards new users as well as experienced users that are looking for a refresher of 3.5 services.  The DVD is 4 1/2 hours long and the instructor, Michael Pavlovich, does a great job of presenting and explaining the material.

The 21 chapters on the DVD follow the building of a severed head, making it fun and interesting to learn the techniques while covering the subject matter in a clear and concise manner. I was very impressed in the basic UI section when Michael describes the difference between a Zbrush document and a Zbrush tool and explains the difference between 2.5 D. and 3D. This is an important aspect for new users to understand and it was nice to see it explained right up front to avoid confusion in Zbrush’s unorthodox UI and workflow.  Other sections I was particularly impressed with include the thorough explanation of projection techniques using Projection Master and the many other available methods in Zbrush to generate detailed projections. Sections on ZSpheres and ZSketching go over the tools and different brushes to bring your Zsphere works to a new level.

      In the second set of this DVD series, Michael picks up where he left off in creating an impressively ghoulish character sculpt, pose, and rendering. In this DVD, you are taken through the sculpting of an entire character.  Michael demonstrates sculpting the character’s body and muscle structure as well as facial muscles and bone. Next he moves on to clothing and props as well as leather straps and some hard surface armor.  It is not an in depth look at “real” anatomy or medieval armor but what I enjoyed greatly is that it takes you step by step through all these areas to give you the experience of sculpting cloth, straps, hard surfaces, organic characters and more.  After sculpting, the DVD moves on to poly paint and projection painting techniques. Again, because of the project based workflow, you get a great look at painting different types of surfaces such as scratched up armor and multi layered necrotic skin. Both DVDs also have some great bonus videos that show some cool tips and tricks. All in all, I have to say this is a great quality DVD set for new and advanced users.

- Michael McCarthy

metalliandy's picture
Posts: 3188

Awesome review!

Thanks Michael Laughing out loud

JiGsAw's picture
Posts: 8

Nice! I'm interested in this bundle but wonder if there's going to be a ZBrush 4 DVD? I know many of the techniques can be used in ZBrush 4, But, 4 is the latest version and I will not know how or what the new features do and how to use them to the fullest. Tried the Holiday code and it didn't work for 1 DVD for me. But this Monster sure does look cool!!!

Riki's picture
Posts: 1257

We plan on making a ZBrush 4 release but it will be different. There will still be unique training in the ZBrush 3.5 DVD that wont be in the ZBrush 4 since we are probably not going to make another monster like that etc. Smiling


tburbage3's picture
Posts: 3

I don't think I want to try to do a full review, but wanted to make a few comments regarding the ZB 3.5 and ZB 4 DVDs.

I've been doing hard surface modeling (not full time) for about 10 years, mostly using LightWave Modeler, but using Maya as well (I still prefer LW Modeler for basic mesh creation). Whether one only wants to do props/environmental modeling, as I mostly do, or full on character modeling, it is now pretty much obvious to all modelers that apps like ZB and Mudbox open up whole new approaches to both originally creating, and hi-res detailing and texture painting existing models -- way beyond what was practical, perhaps even possible using traditional poly modelers. So I took the plunge about a year ago with ZBrush.

I started with the Pixologic's feature video tutorials (ZB 3.5r3 timeframe) and Eric Keller's "Introducing ZBrush" book. Given that I am not doing this in full immersion mode (i.e. working full time doing the work), this was not enough for me to really start to get a handle on how the app "thinks" and how to start to integrate it into my own hi-res game-oriented internal production workflow. By workflow I mean, how do you decide to create WHAT, WHERE, and in what order (for me, between any/all of: LightWave, Maya, ZBrush, 3D-Coat, Photoshop, and XNormal) to most efficiently arrive at the final production level models and maps you need.

Watched Michael's "ZBrush 3.5 - A Comprehensive Overview" and the ZB4 intro basically back-to-back on my laptop while tinkering in ZB the whole time -- play, pause, play, pause ... Together, they definitely moved my understanding of the app up several notches. I imagine those who are starting out with ZB4 from scratch might wonder whether the ZB3.5 material is "outdated", but it isn't. I recommend people who are starting ZB from scratch to think of these two DVDs as inseparable companions. I think they will help to provide that much needed overview of the toolset and how the features relate to each other, with lots of really valuable tips from a production modeler, that you really can't get from Pixologic nor from books. Lately, I've been revisiting "chapters" that relate specifically to what's I'm trying to do in my own projects, and they are proving really valuable in that context.

Have not yet really watched the 3rd DVD in the bundle, "Character Production", so can't yet comment on it.

Want to add also that, before I bought these DVDs, I evaluated whether to instead buy a subscription to e.g. DigitalTutors, but what I wanted most was to get "mentoring" from people who are actively working in production and are very experienced in the production area  relevant to the material. Most of us can figure out the basic mechanics of software on our own, but what I'm looking for is real-world production knowledge -- WHY use a specific tool, approach, technique, what are the advantages and disadvantages. And like many people I think frequent this site, my objectives are to create assets which are targeted to real-time, but which are as hi-res/hi-visual quality as is possible while still being practical in a real-time production environment. The Eat3D DVDs seem to be trying to go for that objective.

In summary, if you are new to ZB, the 3.5/4.0 DVDs will definitely give you a big boost although I think you will be better off getting some intro foundation first. I can recommend the Keller book, maybe others can come up with some other good "getting started" pointers. If you are not new to ZB, the 4.0 DVD is a good intro to the new toolset.

metalliandy's picture
Posts: 3188

Thanks for the review Smiling