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If you are new to the world of CG awesomeness, ZBrush or digital art, this page is for you! It contains the necessary information to get you up to speed with ZBrush and to start sculpting your ideas quickly! If you are already familiar with ZBrush, dive straight into the tutorials page for more exciting content!
My aim with this website is to help with your journey through the digital art world. I will share what I know, what has worked for me, my experience and what I believe could be helpful to you. This page is dedicated to beginners; if you want more advanced tips, you can head over the tutorials page.  Let’s get started!

What can ZBrush do?

Well… a lot, let’s start with that. However, if you are interested in animating a character within ZBrush for instance, you will find that it is not design for that. ZBrush is a digital sculpting software that allows you to do modeling, sculpting, texturing, painting, rendering and a bit of animation (such as turn tables to showcase your models). For example, I use ZBrush mostly for concept art and illustration. The video on the right is a “making of” time-lapse from one of my illustrations, to give you a rough idea on one of the ways it can be used.

Where to start?

At first the ZBrush interface can be a bit overwhelming, even if you have prior knowledge with other 3D software. I’m putting together an easy to digest Get Started with ZBrush Guide which you can follow and get sculpting in minutes!

The ‘First Steps’ with ZBrushCore

ZBrushCore is a more streamlined version of ZBrush. It is a great introductory software designed for anyone new to the world of 3D sculpting. I have put together a series of very short videos on how to get started with ZBrushCore, that will help you understand some important concepts to get you sculpting withing minutes.

ZBrushCore is a separate software from ZBrush, but what you learn with it, will translate seamlessly to the full version of ZBrush when you decide to upgrade. Click HERE to learn more.

3D lingo

ZBrush uses a lot of terms that you will find in other 3D software; if you have experience with any of them, you might find the terms familiar. But, if you are new to 3D in general, here is a quick guide / glossary with some concepts explained in very simple terms.

What are the tools?

There are many tools, they could be anything that help you shape your idea from a book, to a piece of software. In the resource page, I compiled a series of links to various tools I use or have used in the past, these are indispensable to me and I believe they could be extremely helpful to you too. There are a few other things in that page like Materials, UIs, Models and Projects that you can use later on.

Free alternatives?

Chances are, if you are just starting up with ZBrush and digital art you might need to invest in software. If you are serious about CG, it’s a great investment and totally worth it; but if you are just testing the waters, there are a few routes you can take before spending the big bucks. ZBrush has a younger brother called Sculptris that is entirely FREE, here is a quick guide about it and how to get started with it.

Online 3D Sketching

Sculpt GL

This is a fantastic little website that allows you to get a real sense of what sculpting in 3D is all about. It is very simple and intuitive and you can even export models out in various formats or even to Sketchfab directly. It also has a bunch of subtle things that makes it very interesting like sculpting with PBR enabled. You probable won’t be able to get super detailed sculpts from here but definitely is a good option to try out digital sculpting for the first time.  
Sketching

 

Webchemy

This is a webapp that runs in multiple devices and it’s based on the Alchemy siftware, one of my favourite tools. I use it a lot, especially when developing a concept. It has a fantastic set of features that allows you to experiment with shapes and silhouettes. 

 

Illustration

 

Krita

Krita is another fantastic piece of software. It gives you all the tools you would expect from the best digital painting software and it allows you to customize almost everything from UI to brush behavior. One of the features I often use is the “Wrap-Around mode” to easily create seamless textures and patterns.
Photo manipulation

Gimp

Gimp is probably the best free Photoshop alternative. I have Photoshop now but I’ve used it in the past and it is a great alternative – a great starting point. Also, the community and people that is this software is huge, so you should be able to find a lot of tutorials on how to use it.
Compositing

Fusion

Fusion is an advanced visual effects and motion graphic software with a node based interface that gives you a lot of control over your images.
Apps

apps

I thought I should mention some mobile apps too – not so much because they are part of the pipeline but because they are really cool and you might find some of their features useful. Adobe 123D apps are great! You could use 123D Catch to create 3D scans directly from your phone or tablet. Or you could use123D Sculpt+ to sculpt on your devices and even create 3D physical puzzles with 123D Make.