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3D tip of the day - ZBrush eyelashes using Shadowbox

By Glen Southern
Web: Open Site
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Date Added: 25th December 2014
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Tip of the day by Glen Southern! With the advent of FiberMesh, ZBrush artists are adding hair and fur all over their creations. But what if you want lashes to be made
from geometry?


I've been making ZBrush eyes - and heads in general - for years. When Pixologic introduced FiberMesh into ZBrush, it was a fantastic way to make instant, controllable hair. But there are always lots of different ways to get your desired result, and this is one alternative for making eyelashes for your characters.

With this particular method I'm showing how to create new geometry using a tool/feature in the Tool palette called Shadowbox, which uses unto 3 masks to create a shape that becomes your eyelashes. Read on to find out how...

Download assets for this free tutorial.

The eyes are the first place that you look in an image or photograph. Omitting eyelashes makes a face look strange. Use Shadowbox to construct the right lashes for your model

Making the eye and beginning to Polypaint

To start, I take the eyeball we made in our last 'Tip of the Day' and a little portion of a female head. I've added them both to the ZProject for this tip just in case. Either Append a new tool now, or just work on a new model altogether and scale it when you are done. With the model active (T), I go to the Tool palette and turn on Shadowbox. First, set the res to 256 or 512 to give more mask resolution.

Using the MaskLasso I then begin to draw on the bottom plane. To use the mask (on a Mac) hold down CMD and use the lasso to create the eyelash shapes from above.

Starting off using Shadowbox. The process is basically drawing a mask on 3 sides of a box and where the masks converge geometry is created

Pro tip no. 1: Understand 3D in X,Y and Z planes to get the most out of Shadowbox - and look out for those guidelines!

Once I have laid down the base mask, the geometry appears - but it is projected all the way up! To make our lashes I turn the model to the side view and do a new mask with a curved side profile. My pro tip is to look out for the guidelines that were created from the base mesh. These are really helpful in lining your 3 masks up. A second tip is to not forget that you can remove parts of your mask by painting with ALT held down!

Now we have 2 sides drawn, I go to the back of the box and begin to lay down the mask that allows the lashes to curve around. Again, follow those guidelines - and keep looking at the geometry you are creating.

Look around the Shadow box and make adjustments to your masks to get the desired shape

Pro tip no. 2: Use the right brushes for the right jobs - in this case, Pinch, Move and Move Topological!

Once I have the rough shape for the lashes I turn Shadowbox off. That leaves me with the geometry we just created. I now Append that to the main model as a SubTool and, using the Transpose tools, I move, scale and rotate it into position.

Using the Pinch brush next, I tighten the ends of the lashes. I duplicate the lashes to get more density then use a combination of Move and Move Topological to get them clumped in the right way. If needed, use a Standard brush and paint some "mascara" onto the head model, which will help with the overall effect.

Do more Polypainting on the skin for eyeshadow and maybe some more black eyeliner.

Related links:

Visit Glen Southern's website
Follow Glen Southern on Twitter
Discover more free ZBrush tutorials
Check out affordable ebook training for ZBrush

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