In order to start a printing process, it is first necessary to obtain the 3D digital model of a part. While some sites, such as Thingiverse, provide the community with thousands of downloadable files, it is also possible to design your own 3D models. Perhaps the most well-known modeling method is Computer Aided Design (CAD). Some software, sometimes free, sometimes paid, offers the possibility of designing your own 3D models. And among these software, we find ZBrush, developed by Pixologic and launched for the first time in 1999.
Unlike the most famous CAD software, such as Sketchup, FreedCAD or 3D Builder, ZBrush is aimed at professionals and 3D printing enthusiasts wishing to make very realistic sculptures. According to users of the software, it allows models to be created with very fine details, which are therefore suitable for additive manufacturing. Some artists do not hesitate to use ZBrush and 3D printing to make all types of works. For example, California design studio Aaron Sims Creative used these processes to bring the famous Stranger Things creature Demogorgon to life. And they are not alone. Designer Eddie Christian has for his part reproduced a mask with the Joker’s smile thanks to ZBrush.
The platform has several tools to allow its users to create models with more than realistic details. With the Sculptis Pro functionality, for example, it is possible to create sculptures by adding or removing material. On the other hand, if you prefer to design models approaching human and animal forms, you will have to resort to the Zsphere tool, which allows you to add material on a skeletal form. To support you in this process, the CAD software developed by Pixologic provides its users with a large catalog of mannequins in order to obtain the most probable result possible. Especially since Zbrush is able to process models containing more than 20 million polygons.
For those who would like to get the design software, it is available in several versions. As you can imagine, they differ according to the options they offer, but also according to their price. The most expensive version, available at a price of 790 euros (for a lifetime license), has tools such as UVs and render passes and is mainly aimed at professionals. Then comes the Zbrush Core version, which costs 159 euros, intended for lovers of modeling and 3D printing. Finally, for beginners, a completely free option exists, the Zbrush Core Mini. However, its functionality is very limited.
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