ZBrush to XNormal Pipeline

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In this demonstration we go through taking a finished ZBrush model and generate texture maps from it using XNormal. Everything from exporting your models with polypaint in zbrush, to generating ambient occlusion maps in xnormal are covered.


June 12, 2009 - 10:43am

Here is a link to the apps used in the video:

ZBrush - http://www.pixologic.com/home.php

XNormal - http://www.xnormal.net/1.aspx


November 6, 2009 - 8:54am

Thanks.very useful...


November 16, 2009 - 1:28am

Nice, thank you


November 29, 2009 - 6:41pm

Very nice!


December 5, 2009 - 12:06am

I was just wondering: why would you use XNormal over ZMapper since you have to do all the exporting etc. ?!?


December 23, 2009 - 10:14am

Woot! Thanks for this. There is no more Zmapper in 3.5, and Pixologic is standing firm on its new Normal mapping system. Easy if it works, but I've been having some ugly seam issues with it.


January 16, 2010 - 6:32pm

Super Cool!!!

The Eat 3D ZBrush training DVD's are also excellent!
The HD version of this video is included with the ZBush 3.5 Bundle http://eat3d.com/training_videos/bundles/zbrush35


January 17, 2010 - 3:10am

true arbitrary mesh support.


February 18, 2010 - 9:31am

so i can cut the part of the mesh that i want to add more details then use xnormal to generate normal map?


March 11, 2010 - 12:53pm

what are your ao settings?


March 24, 2010 - 7:34pm

zmapper? Don't trust them. I still recommend Xnormal. Trust me.


June 14, 2010 - 8:24am

hi guys, i'm a maya user. I'm new to zbrush, and i usually use it to make my normal and displacement maps, i've downloaded the zbrush documentation but it doesnt explain all the options of the displacement and normal maps. A video explaining all these options would be great.
Great DVD's


June 15, 2010 - 10:26am

hi everyone!

I must say I'm very dissapointed of Pixologic... The New way of creating normals just doesn't work well (never!) and the 3.5r3 version is full of bugs and it's quite unstable. I teach digital sculpting in a animation shcool and teaching 3.5r3 it's been quite frustrating Sad


June 22, 2010 - 9:26am

I am using xNormal v3.17.140297 and ZBrush 3.5r3.
Using the exact settings you shown I got some TERRIBLE fragmental maps. I always unity my ZTools when I export them, so they are identical in PRS.
Can you explain why you used 2 for ray-tracing in th Bake Opinion? I'm sure that has some ways to measure them rather than trial and error.


June 27, 2010 - 1:01am

I want to know which is better to make a normal map and occlusion map? I usually normal map in zbrush and make occlusion map in 3Dsmax. do you think xnormal is better in producing those maps?


June 27, 2010 - 6:09am

If you have an Nvidia GPU, xNormal will certainly be faster as it now can use Cuda to render the maps rather than the CPU (though it still is an option)
Away from that its all down to personal preference really... Zbrush, Max and xNormal are all great programs!
I suggest you render a Normal and AO from the same model in all 3 and then compare the results too see which one you prefer Smiling

Could you make a new forum thread and post the errors you are getting?
Michael used 2 because he did some tests before the video was recorded so he knew what setting would be best Smiling

Hope that helps Smiling

Anonymous (not verified)

October 4, 2010 - 1:57am

I have a question for the diffuse pass. If you have like multiple accessories (buckles, small pieces of armor, etc) and they're different subtools, do you need to combine everything in order for you to do that tile uv step so that all of the paint goes on one map or will doing the tile uv automatically apply to all subtools?


January 3, 2011 - 11:35pm

Awesome...Been using X-Normal for a while but I just saw what else is possible with this program...cool.thx.  :)

skyscraper (not verified)

June 3, 2011 - 9:24am

Thanks for this very useful info you have provided us. I will bookmark this for future reference and refer it to my friends. More power to your blog

Anonymous (not verified)

July 2, 2011 - 2:55pm

Hi. Which DVD includes this video in HD?

ArtSymptom (not verified)

July 30, 2011 - 1:01pm

Do you have any place where you explain this for zbrush 4? they change some stuff so I dont understand the tutorial at all.

Mariano Prado

August 6, 2011 - 5:25pm

Gracias por ser tan gentiles, exelentes tutoriales

FrAnck (not verified)

August 14, 2011 - 5:28am

Thats an awsome tut after 4days of zbrush i got a baked house in UDK!


gdk (not verified)

August 22, 2011 - 7:46pm

hey guys, just wondering, if i paint a texture that i like that really goes well with a certain matcap. how do i bake the matcap e.g. toy plastics wetness/specularity information out with the polypaint? is it possible? thanks Smiling


September 10, 2011 - 11:58am

sorry mybe I'm stupid but it looked for me that xNormals actually created its own UVW Unwrap there - he made some flattened GUV in Zbrush which looked not that good to use in games - but as he generated the maps in xNormal they received a very good UVW Layout - how did they happened?

Anonymous (not verified)

November 5, 2011 - 2:15pm


his low poly OBJ model has the UV laid out in Max/Maya. It transfers the sloppy/polypaint UVs to the lowpolys nice UVs in xnormal.

Mandeologul (not verified)

November 24, 2011 - 8:47am

Hello I have a question: Each of the meshes (hp and lp) have to have the same uv map? Or the HP is without uv maps?

Pipes (not verified)

December 20, 2011 - 4:36am

The HP does not require UV's only on the LP.


Jantaaa (not verified)

December 29, 2011 - 7:01am

Hi, your tutorial is awesome, but for me it didnt work because I have new Zbrush 4R2 and lot of tools have different locations compare to Zbrus 3.1 . So Im stuck at the point where you click Col>Texture button I simpli cannto find it in new Zbrush :/. How can I do the same thing as you do in new Zbrush? Also I want to ask if its possible to use UVmaster with this technique. Every help is very appreciated. Thank you in advance


February 3, 2012 - 4:56pm

thanks , its a great tutoria.....  : )


September 16, 2012 - 9:05pm

Thanks very useful

solidsnake58 (not verified)

February 17, 2013 - 4:25pm

This is a fantastic tutorial except I'm using Zbrush 4R4 and many of the buttons are different. Please help : (

Chris C (not verified)

February 25, 2013 - 1:45pm

You could actually skip the first 2 minutes and take the high poly model straight to xnormal. You just need to uncheck the box on the high poly model labled ignore high poly vertex colors and then bake a vertex color map. It renders about as fast as the normal map and has almost identical results to the method in the tutorial in half the steps.


August 23, 2015 - 7:39am


just a doubt about uv's you have choosen to use in zbrush, but when in zNormal it is another uv !?

In all cases good tutorial, thank you.


August 23, 2015 - 7:40am

-double com error-