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Photoshop and ZBrush Tips

By 3dtotal staff

Web: https://www.artstation.com/artist/sudhanl (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 3rd August 2017

Get some timesaving and quality-of-life tips for Photoshop and ZBrush from two industry experts...



This is a blessing if you, like me, lay down shapes and prefer to tweak them after the fact. Open up the liquify window by going to Filters -> Liquify or by using the hotkey Ctrl + Alt + x. Use this to push around shapes to get them where you want them to be. The coolest part about it is you could selectively restore an area to its original state whilst keeping the changes in the rest of the image. Newer versions of Photoshop also have a face aware liquify option which at times can be finicky about what it recognizes as a face. But nonetheless it is a fun way to find some happy accidents.

Try out the different modes too, like pinch/bloat

Color Correction Adjustments
Software: Photoshop

Easily the photoshop feature I abuse the most. Heck it is one of the advantages of using a digital medium, use it! There are basic adjustments like Hue/Saturation/Value, Color Balance and some really fun ones like Selective Color and Color Lookup. There's no rule with these. I tend to splash down colors that I think would work and then use a combination of these adjustments to tweak things till the color palette is what I want it to be.

Everything is changeable!

Software: ZBrush

Most functions within ZBrush can be tied to a hotkey, meaning you don't have to dive through the palettes each time to get to functions you may use frequently. Even brushes can be tied to a hotkey, allowing you to switch between different tools super fast rather than using two or three key presses to select a brush. It's super simple, just press CTRL + ALT and click on the button you'd like to assign a hotkey to. Then punch in the hotkey/combination you would like to associate with that function.

Although be wary of overriding default hotkeys, this may or may not be desirable

Software: ZBrush

This is very similar to the actions feature in Photoshop. Repetitive tasks like filling one subtool with a specific matcap/material can be reduced from the usual 3-4 clicks down to one click with a macro. Just hit the Record button under the Macros Palette and once you are done, save it out and you'll have a new button that'll repeat any generic actions you recorded in that session. And the best part is you can even assign a hotkey to your custom macro if you're more of a keyboard person like me!

These can save a ton of time!

Custom Menus
Software: ZBrush

Have features or entire panels which you rely on often, but they're located under different palettes? This is the thing you've been looking for! Once you turn on the config mode in ZBrush, you will be able to add a custom menu/palette and fill it with all the items you use from other palettes. These can be anything materials, brushes, lights, specific deformations, dynamesh settings or even macros. And yup, custom palettes can be tied to a hotkey too!

My personal favorite!


No perfect straight lines
Software: Photoshop

When you are texturing with clipping mask you must keep in mind that no perfect straight line exists in nature. There are always disrupting shapes, breaks, or other textures on top that creates irregularities. So you need to break those too sharp and straight lines with painting. You can cut or add things that make this dull straight shape much more interesting and more natural to the eye. See what I mean with these walls phototexturing transition. On the left I painted a rectangle and just put two wall textures on top. On the right I broke this straight line from the initial rectangular shape to merge perfectly both photos and make it more appealing and natural.

Compare both transitions between those two walls and see the difference for yourself. To break empty lines is very important and much more interesting for your painting

Related Links

Curious about ZBrush? Check out SFTI ZBrush and become a modelling maestro
James Suret gives great advice on making your ZBrush model look more realistic
Grab a copy of Photoshop for 3D Artists - Volume 1, the perfect companion for artists starting out in 3D – And it's on Sale!


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