Scores of visual artists, from sculptors to 3D game creators, use ZBrush, a revolutionary digital sculpting and painting program by Pixologic. With a user-friendly interface and powerful tools, artists can sketch and sculpt on their computer, without investing in expensive graphics cards. They can then send their creation to a 3D printer, load it into a game engine, or make mockups to show an art director.

Learning ZBrush

James Neely, a ZBrush artist since 2008 and now an instructor, finds that real-world techniques and skills to translate easily to the digital realm with this technology. He also appreciates the extremely versatile workflow environment.

“ZBrush can be rather daunting at first. But similar to learning anatomy, if you break things down into smaller parts, and take the time, you will begin to realize the whole,” says Neely. “Take the time and practice, get familiar with it. Mistakes are not problems, they are learning opportunities. Every project is a puzzle to be solved, and realize that there are many ways to reach the goal.”

When asked about teaching ZBrush, James says the most rewarding aspect will always be the exchange. “I love to see when someone suddenly ‘gets it’. Being a part of a student’s journey is rewarding in itself, and I continually learn from others. I remember the frustrations of learning myself. If I can ease that in any way, then I feel that I have done something useful.”