ZbrsuhGuides Logo
ZbrsuhGuides Logo

Start here.
Are you new to...

First Time Around Here?

New to 3D.

The world of 3D is super exciting and one of my favourite things about it, is that it is constantly evolving. There are always new tools and new technology which can suddenly shift your focus (in a good way). Below you’ll find a simple 3-step approach to learning ZBrush (or a path to learning it).

What's great about this method, is that you can actually apply it to anything else:
1. Understand the terminology, 2. learn the basics of what interests you to help you define your focus and 3. dive deeper into it (get specific).

Communication with the right words…

Before we can start talking about how to learn or achieve something in 3D, we need to make sure that we can communicate properly. We can use a lot of metaphors and analogies to explain something, but there are some fundamental concepts that are better to understand from the beginning so that we can be on the same page.

Take the following paragraph for instance:

“To create a Normal map correctly you need to check your UVs to make sure you don’t have overlapping UV shells or islands, otherwise, it could cause problems in the baking process. You also want to check the polygon normals so that they are all facing outwards“

I think there are concepts in the paragraph above that can be understood by context, but the highlighted words are actually concepts that are very commonly used in this world of 3D, so it is important to learn what these things are.

I have put together a page on this website dedicated solely to explains very briefly, and in simple words, various of these concepts. This page is one that I’ll try to keep up to date so there is also a form in there, where you can let me know about a concept, a word, a tool, a process or anything related that you’ll like me to define (to the best of my abilities).


Most of the information you'll find here on the ZBGs website, revolves around ZBrush and all the awesome things it can do. ZBrush licenses are quite flexible but if you just want to try sculpting out, there is a FREE version of ZBrush called ZBrushCore MINI. this is a fantastic tool to get into the sculpting world with a simple set of tools. What's even better, is that if you think you want to go further into 3D sculpting, you can just upgrade to the paid version of ZBrush and you'll be all ready familiar with some of the 'core' tools!

Box Modeling

One of the best FREE software available is without a doubt Blender. You can do a lot of different things with Blender from editing video to motion tracking, render and animation. One of the many strengths is, I think, the modelling tools. However, because Blender is a software that can do a lot of things, it has lots of options and it could feel a bit overwhelming if you are new to it (like with anything else).

So, if you want something a lot simpler and dedicated 100% to modelling in 3D, you can try Wings 3D. All the concepts you might learn in this simple application can be translated to more complex ones (like blender) if you decide to level up your skills.


For sketching, my go-to application are Procreate on the iPad pro or Alchemy, but you can also try the online alternative called Webchemy. These sketching platforms are all about experimentation and they allow you to explore a wide range of designs very quickly with a variety of styles.

Another great tool for sketching is Krita. The brush engine in this free software is amazing and it allows you to customise your tools and brushes to get exactly the line quality you want.


Just like I mentioned with the sketching, when it comes to illustration, Krita is definitely one of the best software out there… easily comparable to Corel Painter or Photoshop. It gives you lots of options to customize and tweak your brushes and it has some features that are incredibly useful like ‘wrap mode’ to paint tileable textures.

Also if you have access to an iPad that supports the Procreate app, I'd strongly suggest you try that one out. It is a paid app but totally worth it for what it does!


For image compositing, a very good alternative to Photoshop is Gimp. This is a software that mimics Photoshop in many ways, so the controls and tools are very familiar. You can also try online alternatives like Photopea, but if you are serious about compositing... probably the best FREE professional tool is DaVinci Resolve. This is a very specialised software and widely used in the industry but it requires time and dedication to learn it.


There are actually various free renderers, but in terms of simplicity to start with, I think Cycles from Blender is the best option here (not to mention the real-time renderer Eevee from Blender 2.8, which is absolutely fantastic).

Another great alternative is Adobe 3D Stager (formerly known as Dimension). This is not a free piece of software, but it is part of the 3D tools of Adobe so if you might already have access to it depending on which Adobe creative cloud plan you have.

Photo Manipulation

For photo manipulation, we can easily go back to Gimp, but if you just want to tweak some curves and colour balance in your images, a really good option (online) is the Pixlr Editor

Another amazing tool is NVIDIA CANVAS, a very impressive AI tool that generates landscapes from simple shapes that you can define with broad brushstrokes!

Sculptris pro free ebook guide

This final step is all about diving deeper into an area or workflow that you are particularly interested in. It could be anything you are passionate about, but since you are already here on the ZBrushGuides website I'll assume you are keen to level up your sculpting skills so here are a couple of free resources you can use for absolute beginners:

Sculptris pro quick tutorial and free ebook guide

The 7 steps to getting started with ZBrush

New to ZBrush.

2. Let's see what your options are.

ZBrushCore Mini

ZBrushCore MINI is a FREE and super simplified version of ZBrush. This is the perfect place for you to start your 3D journey for many reasons, for one, it is free! and the ‘limited’ features make it a lot easier to get used to the various concepts of sculpting in 3D. Also, since it is part of the ZBrush family, all the things you learn with this software will translate seamlessly to ZBrushCore or the full version of ZBrush once you are ready to upgrade and push your limits.

learn more

ZBrush Core

ZBrushCore is a more streamlined version of ZBrush. It is a great introductory software designed for anyone new to the world of 3D sculpting. This version of ZBrush is ideal for hobbyists as it has a lot more features than ZBrushCore MINI. I have put together a couple of training series on how to get started with ZBrushCore, that will help you understand some important concepts to get you sculpting within minutes.

Just like ZBrushCore MINI, ZBrushCore is different from the full version of ZBrush, but what you learn with it, will translate seamlessly to the full version of ZBrush when you decide to upgrade.

learn more


ZBrush... the 'holy grail' of digital sculpting. You can definitely achieve amazing things with ZBrushCore or even with ZBrushCore MINI, but if you are serious about your art, the full version of ZBrush will become an indispensable tool once you learn how to use it properly.

I spent years refining a process for teaching ZBrush and I put it together into a comprehensive self-paced course called The Ultimate ZBrush Guide (UZG for short). This course is aimed at absolute beginners and it covers everything you need to know in order to be 'creatively productive' with ZBrush. The course has a series of very clear steps focusing on important workflows but what sets the course apart from any other ZBrush training is the methodology and how we approach the learning process.

learn more

4. How can the ZBrushGuides help?

On this website, I share with you an insight into my creative process and I’ll show you the workflows and methods that I’ve found to be effective. On the tutorials page, you’ll find quick guides, video tutorials, intro series, reviews and breakdowns with practical advice and theory.

On the resource page, I compiled a series of custom resources like materials, brushes, meshesbrushes meshes, etc that I believe could be very useful for your own projects. There are also a few links to certain tools or services that I have used in the past and I’m sure you’ll benefit from them too.