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Creating an Insert Mesh Brush

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Date Added: 12th June 2014
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In this quick tutorial, Lead Character Artist, Gavin Goulden will reveal how to create an Insert Multi Mesh brush (IMM) that can be used in multiple projects to save time
in production


Have you ever found yourself creating the same model over and over again for different projects? Things like buttons, belt buckles, zippers, and straps? Lots of artists do ? believe it or not ? spend a lot of time just creating duplicates.

Within ZBrush there is a feature that will allow you to essentially create a model once, store it in a library, and then apply it to your future sculpts. There are many libraries of these assets online, but in this tutorial I will give you a quick idea of how to create your own...

Insert Mesh brushes can be used to save time and to apply heavily detailed assets quickly, as well as remove tedious tasks from your workflow

Creating an Insert Multi Mesh brush

To begin, you will need a mesh created in your favorite 3D modeling program positioned at 0,0,0 ? or a single mesh that is ready to go in ZBrush (perhaps you have a nice button sculpted that you would like to place on a model).

With the model active in ZBrush, simply go to the brush palette and click on Create Insert Brush; this will prompt you with the option to create a new brush or append it to an existing IMM. Remember to save your brushes for future use!

Once you have a model ready to use in future projects, creating an IMM is as easy as a click of a button

Pro tip 1: Applying Insert Mesh Models

In order to apply your mesh to a pre-existing asset, you will need to clear all of its layers and subdivision levels. Once that has been done, with your IMM selected, you can literally draw over your sculpt to apply the new asset to it. This will automatically mask out the old area and save the changes as new geometry. I like to duplicate my original sculpt and freeze that one off so that I can always keep my original and make future changes. Once your are done adding meshes to the duplicate, you can hide them and kill the geometry you don't need.

Freeze off your sculpt and have fun adding details ? ZBrush automatically masks out these new elements for
easy revisions

Pro tip 2: Creating a set of Insert Meshes

If you have similar models that you would like to keep together ? like buttons, for example ? you can load the tool containing the model you would like to reuse and repeat the process as above. Except, this time, choose to append it to your active IMM ? the mesh will be added and can be chosen from a list by pressing M on your keyboard.

Create a set and keep your models organized by appending new meshes to a brush rather than creating a bunch
of one-offs

Related links:

Check out Gavin Goulden's portfolio
Follow Gavin Goulden on Twitter
Discover more free tutorials!
Create believable fabric folds in ZBrush
Learn how to define seams with Polygroups
Learn how to use masks for fine details
To see more by Gavin Goulden, check out 3D Masterclass: The Swordmaster in 3ds Max and ZBrush

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