ZBrush is one of those applications that always surprises with innovative and creative features. At the most recent release includes the new ZSketch feature. This one is based on the known ZSphere tool, which allows creating basic shapes from interconnected sphere structures. Through this new function, you are able to create structures even more complex by a more efficient way, getting better control and greater freedom to make them.
The process of zsketching consists in building up forms from strips of ZSpheres drawn freely in 3D space or applied to structures already created. This is similar to the technique of covering a wire armature with clay used in traditional sculpting.
As a follower of the Aliens movies as well as a big fan of Giger's work, I thought that creating a version of one of these complex creatures was a good opportunity to try out the different ZSketch tools. So I would be able to experiment and explore a little more of the possibilities of this new feature.
I started creating the basic armature, which I would use later to cover it with the strips of ZSpheres. The first thing I did was to select the Zsphere tool and drawn a sphere on the canvas. Then I went to the Edit mode and added more spheres building up the structure for each part of the body. Here, I also was using Move, Scale and Rotate modes to bring out form to the structure.
Here the wire armature would carry out two main functions: first, being a support surface for the strips of spheres applied, second, by working as a skeleton, so once the model is finished, I would be able to move, rotate or scale the parts more easily and get pose to the model.
With the ZSphere armature created, it was time to cover it. To start off I activated the ZSketch mode by clicking on the EditSketch button, located in the Tool:ZSketch menu. Then I was able to use the ZSketch brushes and was ready to start covering the ZSphere structure, starting by the head. ZBrush have several brushes, which produce different embed depth. First, I selected the SKetch 1 brush. This brush allows applying strips of spheres almost inside the underlining applied surface. Using a large stroke, so I started covering the structure with this ZSpheres
Once I got the right shape, I began to draw a series of strips with different stroke sizes to create the details. To make this task, I used mainly the Sketch 2 brush, which allows adding spheres, leaving half of its radius under the applied surface. In other areas, I used Sketch 3 which creates spheres almost out of the surface. Then I used Move to position them, followed of Bulge and Smooth to adjust them. The Bulge brush simply increases or decrease the radius of the spheres. This one was a very helpful tool to bring out form to each strip of spheres.