Live Boolean Beginner series

10 short videos for beginners, covering theory and workflow on the Boolean system in ZBrush 4R8

Get started with the Boolean system!

In this video tutorial series, we’ll take a look at some of the tools, features and possible workflows to work with the boolean system in ZBrush 4R8.

The Live boolean system is one of the main features debuting in ZBrush 4R8, and it is a fantastic tool that simplifies the creation of complex objects. It is definitely a game changer in the Hard Surface modeling space and overall a great addition to the set of ZBrush features that keep closing the gap between ‘technicalities’ and artistic freedom.

There are, however, a few things that are good to know before you get started. This tutorial series aims to explain the concept and process of working with boolean in a very simple way so that you can use this tool in any project with confidence. If you are already familiar with how booleans in ZBrush work, you can skip the first and the second video, which is an introduction to the concept and practical examples of the boolean operations.

Here is an example of the model you’ll end up with when you complete the series if you follow along.

The tutorials series focuses on modeling with boolean only, however, I share some tips towards the end on how to render with Keyshot.

These are a couple of test objects I did while planning this series that you might want to use as reference:


This series was recorded with ZBrush 4R8 (P2), and if you want to follow along, you need to have this version as the Live Booleans system is not available in previous versions of ZBrush

A little extra...

You can watch the entire tutorial series online FREE on this page, but you can also download the videos in HD to watch it offline.

The paid download also comes with some extra goodies in a ‘Digital Mystery Box’ (For ZBrush 4R8 only)

  • Level: Beginner 60%
Software Used

ZBrush 4R8

What you'll learn in this series
  • What boolean operations are and how to use them in ZBrush
  • The difference between Add, Subtract and intersection
  • Blocking meshes with simple geometry
  • Using basic shapes to create complex geometry
  • Use Boolean with other ZBrush features like ArrayMesh
  • Using the Make Boolean Mesh process
  • Checking for errors (Coplanar geometry)
  • Make Boolean Mesh post-process with Polygroup
  • Keyshot Rendering tips

About the resources…

There is a link to download the resources at the bottom of the page. I’m sharing the basic insert IMM brush with the dials and switches and I’m also including the final model before running the ‘Make Boolean Mesh’ process and the resulting mesh with all the polygroups assigned.

This is the Insert Multi Mesh Brush that was created on video #06 to add some details to the Sci-fi Switch

This is the full model or Ztool for the sci-fi switch. It contains all the subtools and the subtracting geometry (enable ‘Live Booleans’ to see the effect).

This Ztool is the result of the ‘Make Boolean Mesh’ operation explained in the last video of the series. It also has all the polygroups as subtools ready for Keyshot.

Alternative renders:

Other stuff created using BOOLEANS:

Intro To Booleans In ZBrush 4R8 Tutorial Series:

Use the video thumbnails to select the next video and the arrows at both ends, to scroll and load more videos.

Links mentioned in the videos:

  • Customising ZBrush UI with a purposeThis quick guide will help you to set up your custom ZBrush UI and shortcuts. I use a bunch of custom hotkeys in this series to speed up the process: ‘Ctrl+Q’ to convert geometry to Qcube or ‘Ctrl+X’ to delete hidden geometry.
  • Advanced Rock Brushes PackI used a couple of this custom brushes to create the back wall for some of the renders above in case you are interested.
  • 6 tips to deal with subtoolsThis is an article I did a while back with ZBrush 4R7 so there are a couple of things that might be out of date. However, the various ways I used to move around within the subtool list, are explained in there.
  • ZBrush comic render updateIf you are interested in the technique I used to create the comic render version of the sci-fi switch, this article will point you in the right direction.

Also, check out the ‘ZBrush 4R8 is out!’ Article if you want to learn a bit more about what is new with ZBrush 4R8.