Zsphere Sketch Tutorial

Sketching out ideas of shapes with ZSpheres is a great way to make concepts, or as a good starting point for modelling, whether it´s a main model or assets to it, like equipment, tools or gear.

During my time working on the game Mimic, I began by sketching on paper, and then continued to sketch in ZBrush using ZSpheres.

This body is intended to be merged together with my dragonhead. For the reason I want to have a rider sitting high up on the dragons back, I made it upright.

At first I wanted it down on all fours, but it felt wrong somehow. Thats the beauty of sketching, it takes no time at all to change your mind!

Allways begin by loading a ZSphere a a tool. If you want to make a symetric model, like I did here, make sure you turn on X mirroring by pressing the X key.

Everything you do is now mirrored in the opposite direction which is great for organics.

A single sphere does no good, it needs company to make polygons. To avoid having a mesh hollow on one side, you must add one sphere at the top and at the bottom.

The more joints you add, the more resolution you get when you skin the model. That is because new edges as created and that gives more polygons in turn.

By hovering over the chain of spheres you can either affect the entire branch following a Parent joint. You know it´s a parent when the circle turns yellow instead of red.
This way you can scale or move a whole arm as one instead of moving each joint individually.

Keep in mind what you want to use the skin for when you are done. Incorrect placements of joints and rotated joints, will only give you a distorted model . When you preview the model by pressing th e A-key, keep an eye out for uneven edge-flow. The sooner you fix it, the less you have to weak it later.

Sketching is all about playing with the tools. If you are working with a reference image, use two: one front and one side. But if you are just making it up as you go, like I did, the only obstacles are your imagination.

When you are done sketching, preview the mesh ant take a good look at it. If you are satisfied, create a new model by creating a adaptive skin. You can set the number of subdivisions you want, but I never change the initial setting of 2.

Your new mesh is ready for modelling.

Thanks for reading!


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