DIGITAL SCULPTING WITH ZBRUSH without the constraints of mathematical 3D modeling software. ZBrush...

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  • DIGITAL SCULPTING WITH ZBRUSH Vincent Wang

    ENGL 2089

    Discourse Analysis

  • 2

    ZBrush Analysis

    Table of Contents

    Context ........................................................................................................................... 3

    Process ........................................................................................................................... 5

    Analysis ........................................................................................................................ 13

    Application .................................................................................................................. 27

    Activity .......................................................................................................................... 32

    Works Cited .................................................................................................................. 35

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    Context

    ZBrush was created by the Pixologic Inc., which was founded by Ofer Alon and Jack

    Rimokh (Graphics). It was first presented in 1999 at SIGGRAPH (Graphics). Version 1.5 was

    unveiled at the MacWorld Expo 2002 in New York and SIGGRAPH 2002 in San Antonio

    (Graphics). Pixologic, the company describes the 3D modeling software as a “digital sculpting

    and painting program that has revolutionized the 3D industry…” (Pixologic). It utilizes familiar

    real-world tools in a digital environment, getting rid of steep learning curves and allowing the

    user to be freely creative instead of figuring out all the technical details. 3D models that are

    created in ZBrush can then be exporting into other software for rigging, animation, rendering, or

    production.

    The reason some industrial design professors at the DAAP program began teaching this

    program was for its quick, iterative process and being able to freely sculpt what you are thinking

    without the constraints of mathematical 3D modeling software. ZBrush is used to create models

    for use in movies, games, animations, and product production. By exploiting the intuitive user

    interface of ZBrush, almost anyone can open it up and sculpt out a workable visual

    representation of a sketch or idea.

    My professor, Chris Tackett, first introduced me to ZBrush in my Design Technology

    class. The industrial design program’s Design Technology class is where we practice our 3D

    modeling and learn skills through various modeling assignments. Chris currently works at LF

    Creative Group, in Madeira, Ohio where he is the lead 3D digital sculptor, creating digital

    models for use in the creation of toys, pose-able action figures, and theme park attraction

    animatronic characters (Tackett). Since ZBrush was the chosen software that we would learn and

    use throughout our summer semester, Chris was a great candidate for teaching us this new skill.

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    Raphael, our studio professor, who had been a designer at various automotive companies

    such as Porsche, Volkswagen, GM and Hyundai, has backed the idea of learning ZBrush and has

    encouraged using it for his assignments as well. Chris presented us example of some work that

    he’s done in his workplace as well as works from famous ZBrush modelers. This showed us the

    capabilities of the program and getting me excited for all the potential things I could create;

    Chris was there to show us how we would do all that. In Raphael’s syllabus, he states that sketch

    sculpts done in ZBrush should be quick sketch models used to prove out dimensional realities, be

    used as perspective underlays for ideation sketching, and be able to communicate the conceptual

    intent of an idea.

    I have chosen to increase my literacy with ZBrush because it is the program that we are

    using to create out final semester appearance models, and a high fidelity, quality model is very

    much needed for a complete presentation. My assessment of my literacy for ZBrush is how well

    I use the program to show my concepts and how clear and believable the model is, though we all

    want to achieve the look of a 3D model looking hyper-realistic and the audience not being able

    to tell the difference. However, because we’ve only been using this program for a few months

    now, getting to that point is a bit of a stretch and thus the main goal should be how well the

    model communicates my ideas. Although process is always important and looked at in the design

    world, what people really care about and what they judge your literacy on is your results and

    how well it meets the client’s expectations. For using ZBrush during this summer term, I’m

    expected to learn the interface of the program and know how to use and find the right tools that I

    need, which is part of the process. But most importantly, the final model that I produce and

    present needs to be accurate and fully communicate a believable concept that matches my

    original intent. Our final project for my studio and design technology class will be my end of my

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    semester project, focusing on a futuristic tire that will be able to climb embankments and adjust

    height. The concept and the mechanism have been figured out on paper in sketches and approved

    by both the professor and the sponsored company we are working for, Hankook. In order to

    prove my literacy with using ZBrush, I must first have my final concept and design down on

    paper and ready to be modeled. From there I need to make sure that all the features and functions

    that I have designed are clearly shown on the model and that it could be understood with little to

    no explanation. The model needs to be accurate and close to what was approved on paper and not

    have any surprises or modeling errors that don’t match up to the approved drawings. When I 3D

    print the model, the physical mockup should be accurate to what it would be if manufactured for

    production, and if done successful can prove how the model is ready for the factory. Because I

    will have a physical model on hand to see and feel, there will be no way to hide any flaws. Every

    part of the model needs to be thought about and have some design intent behind it.

    Having ZBrush as an extra skill and learning a different 3D modeling software also

    makes me more appealing to companies as it shows that I am flexible and can use a variety of

    programs. Knowing how to use this program will help streamline the design process, especially,

    if I ever get any toy character or entertainment work while at a design studio. Knowing different

    programs allows me to take on a variety of work and not just be limited to one type of 3D

    modeling. I will be able to use my knowledge of this program to continue to use it to create 3D

    models when I am out of school and am in a professional creative studio.

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    Process

    Christopher Tackett is a designer who has been conceptualizing ideas in 3D modeling

    and digital illustration for assets used in games and video. For the last two years, he has moved

    into sculpting for the toy, figures, and theme park animatronics industry (Tackett). His interest in

    toy and figure 3D sculpting has led him to jobs at Red Carpet Studios, indiePub, and LF Creative

    Group despite his initial degree in graphic design. The assets he creates get used in games and

    videos that he enjoys on his spare time as well.

    Beyond his academic discourse, Chris is pretty well known on the biggest ZBrush’ forum

    on the web and produces good work that other people agree with. He was in a featured member

    spotlight and was selected to be interviewed back in 2008 (Featured Member). All of Chris’

    work is done in ZBrush now and he will find any way to use that program to produce what is

    needed.

    Within the design community, information is mostly presented through PowerPoint

    presentations and hanging up works on the wall. The presentations are mostly used to present

    design briefs and project information to a large group of people. If you are not hanging up a final

    poster or your work on the wall, then it could also be scanned and presented digitally through a

    PDF presentation. These presentations, whether digital or on the wall, go through your design

    process of where you began and how you ended up with your final result. It showcases your

    design goals, process and ideation, and final digital models that explain your final result. Usually

    a final poster is hung up on the wall with your appearance model sitting on a pedestal in front of

    it. You will talk about your process and your project and go through a critique with your class,

    professor, and any other guest critics. They made ask questions about your design, or why you

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    designed to pick one design over another and you are expected to know everything about your

    own design. Having a poster on the wall showcases your entire process in a way that is visually

    appealing and concise. The model reemphasizes your final concept physically so that it can be

    seen and touched and understood by others. Your presentation appearance is important an