This is a quick tip on how to add more geometry resolution in specific areas of your mesh
This is going to be a super quick guide. More like a quick tip, but with a little extra info on how and when it might be useful to use this technique.
Ok, here it is: You hold ‘Ctrl’ and start masking an area of your model. Just before you let go to finish your mask, hold ‘Shift’ and release the click. When you finish, check your wireframe (Shift ‘F’).
Here is the magic of how this trick working:
NOTE: This won’t work if you already have subdivision level
You can achieve the same result by masking an area, inverting it and simply use the good old ‘Ctrl+D’ shortcut to subdivide. When you perform this action, with a portion of your model masked, ZBrush will only subdivide the unmasked area.
Also, you can do the same thing by hiding an area of your model and use the subdivide shortcut again. ZBrush will subdivide only the visible part:
So, you probably already knew about this feature, but the ‘Ctrl+Shift+release-click’ trick to add geometry is a hidden gem. It might not be the cleanest of processes, but it certainly is a fast way to add more polygons just when and where you need them.
Sculptris Pro is a very powerful feature in ZBrush introduced in 2018 that gives you the same result.
Ultimately the effect will be the same. With this technique and with Sculptris Pro, you would probably need to do retopology if you want to create a more usable mesh (think animation topology for instance). And in all honesty, this is just a tiny trick, whereas Sculptris Pro is a full feature with lots of parameters you can adjust.
So… the difference is that with this technique of ‘painting’ resolution on your mesh, you are taking advantage of the subdivision process, so if you have Quads, you’ll end up with an exponential subdivision of those Quads. With Sculptris Pro, on the other hand, you’ll always turn whatever topology you have, into a decimated/tesselated version of your mesh that has triangles:
As I mentioned earlier, although this trick could be very useful, it is not the cleanest of processes. so here why this technique might be benefitial and a couple of things to be aware of.
This technique could be very useful in some cases. For example, if you don’t want to Dynamesh the entire model, but want to add more details in a particular area of your model. It works with Dynamesh enabled or just over a ‘low-poly’ model.
As you probably guessed, the process of adding more geometry resolution in this manner, produces a topology that is not very clean. If you’re modeling for animation or to bake some maps, you’ll probably need to clean the model up at the end.
ZBrush is adding more geometry in a specific area, but also trying to keep the rest of the model’s topology as it is. This process could produce some triangles to transition between big polygons to small polygons. Performing this action multiple times could give you problems if you decide to subdivide the model again.
To sum up, hold Ctrl + click to mask. Before releasing the click, hold shift and then release.