ZBrush 3’s Reverse Shell


Over on the ZBrushCentral forum there’s a thread about the new version of ZBrush (Link) that’s set to ship in May. The opening post is essentially a Pixologic press release within which is a link to the demo video showcasing the product’s features (it’s a Quicktime in a downloadable zip file). As expected, the video is slick and the application impressive, but the feature that got my attention was the new Projection Brush; or what I’m calling a “reverse shell”.

I’ve created the composite image above to show three stages of this feature. On the left is a thin sheet draping or projecting itself onto the underlying sculpture of a man’s head (the positive). In the middle the sheet is fully draped and conforming to the positive. On the right the positive has been deleted and the formed sheet remains. In essence, this is virtual vacuum forming.

Shelled data can be ported over to a machine-control application – Gentle Giant Studios has been doing it for a while – so the only question on my mind (and not even a big one) is whether those apps can swallow all the information ZBrush can now generate. Real products don’t normally contain components which are this complex. Most products are actually complex assemblies of relatively simple geometries with individual components generally exported to mesh files having triangle counts in the hundreds of thousands. This is different. ZBrush 3 can generate a billion polygons.

Well, all I can say is that I’ll be seriously looking at acquiring ZBrush. It was compelling before. This feature pretty much seals the deal for me.

{Image components are Copyright (c) 2007 Pixologic, Inc.}