Scott Spencer review

Scott Spencer has reviewed my "Zbrush for Illustrators DVD" on

style is accessible and his delivery clear and concise. He is a gifted
instructor as he can clearly communicate the concepts and methods he is
portraying on screen while he works."

Read the review <HERE>


thanks Scott Spencer


Zbrush for Illustrators DVD review
Article by Scott Spencer 



who has been following the Zbrush community is likely familiar with
Meats Meier. Meats has been an artist in the effects industry for over
10 years as well as an accomplished illustrator and airbrush artist. He
created the first Zbrush class at The Gnomon School of Visual Effects
and his work can be seen on the box covers for Maya 7 and Zbrush 2.0 as
well as many major magazines.

Zbrush for Illustrators from The
Gnomon Workshop is a 2 DVD set in which Meats completes an entire print
resolution ZBrush image from start to finish. No other image editing
package or 3D software is used as Meats fully exploits the power of
Zbrush and the ability for an artist to construct, surface, texture,
and render a complete scene natively. The main strength of this DVD is
the fact Meats covers many aspects of Zbrush?s previously under
explored 2.5D editing tools. Many tutorials have covered Zbrush?s
modeling and detailing capabilities, and while Meats makes full use of
these on the project he also spends considerable time exploring layers,
fog, lights, materials, and canvas modeling.

While it is
possible to approach the disks with a basic understanding of Zbrush?s
interface Meats wastes little time covering old ground and jumps into
the process immediately. Meats style is accessible and his delivery
clear and concise. He is a gifted instructor as he can clearly
communicate the concepts and methods he is portraying on screen while
he works. Still, one would be best served watching this DVD in
conjunction his equally impressive Intro to Zbrush disk to get the most
from its content.

Disk one focuses mainly on the modeling and
construction of the figures. The central figure is constructed using
ZSpheres. After the human is blocked in Meats begins modeling the
cybernetic arm upgrade which is composed of predominately inorganic
shapes. This section relies heavily on polygrouping techniques and
illustrates just how fast single polygon and vertex level edits can be
accomplished in Zbrush. This is one of the strongest aspects of disk
one and some of the most valuable information presented here. Zbrush is
known for its organic modeling capabilities but Meats uses the same
tools to create hard edges and complex machined structures which are
not often seen in Zbrush.

By the process of adding geometry and
dropping it into layers, Meats quickly constructs an intricate
mechanical structure in record time. It is interesting to note how
creating such shapes with traditional modeling packages would take days
rather than hours. Here the artist is capable of creating interesting
forms of organic or mechanical structure quickly, easily, and
intuitively. Many unexpected combinations of the Zbrush tools are used
to create surface details in ways you may not expect including using
nothing more than the UV coordinates to create surface detail!

full section is dedicated to Meats signature ?wire style.? Anyone
familiar with his work for the box covers of Maya 7 and Zbrush 2 has
seen this striking and elegant visual device. Meats explains this
process in detail and the techniques discussed can easily be translated
into creating all manner of interesting forms. Something valuable in
any DVD instruction is the ability to introduce workflows which the
viewer can easily adapt to their particular needs. The techniques
presented here and in other sections are just as easily adapted to any
number of applications.

In the Layers section meats begins to
explore 2.5D editing techniques using layers he reassembles his
geometry of his central figure on the canvas. Each element is isolated
by a layer and remains independent and editable in X Y and Z as well as
material and color. MultiMarkers are explored and Meats also
incorporates the fog options which can quickly and easily create
atmospheric perspective.

Disk 2 continues with the lion?s share
of modeling completed. This disk focuses on composing the image in 2.5D
refining color and material as well as refining the fine details for
print resolution. Focusing more on materials for the face of the
character Meats isolates the eyes and creates an eyeball shader and a
set of expressive eyes for his human character. Some of the shaders
covered include the Gel shader for translucent objects as well as the
Quad shader for complex shader networks inside Zbrush.


Some people may feel that once a model is dropped to the canvas you are
limited in your editing options. This DVD makes clear the powerful
ability to adjust the layer positioning in X Y and Z as well as color
and material when working with Pixols. The entire illustration retains
a high level of flexibility to the very end.

After touching
on modeling hair with the deformation menu and Zbrush primitives Meats
begins to address the architectural elements of the background. Very
complex additive shapes are quickly created directly on the canvas then
isolated in their own layer for independent editing. He unifies all the
elements by adjusting color and texture, all the while test rendering
sections and making necessary adjustments. Using fog and clouds he
unifies the background elements and creates a sense of deep space. To
apply hair to the character Meats covers the fiber brush and its many
settings. Combined with the blur brush realistic hair can quickly an
easily be applied to your illustration. In this case the form of bushy

Finally, with his image flattened as a single sheet
of pixols meats begins to tweak the final image using all the 2.5D
tools. By generally dialing in the value relationships using the paint
tools Meats completes the image. Many tasks previously accomplished in
Photoshop are performed directly in Zbrush bypassing the need for any
other editing software.

Ultimately this DVD is a fantastic
project overview of using Zbrush as a modeling and illustration tool.
Illustrators, designers, modelers, and casual users will find a wealth
of information here to expand their understanding of the Zbrush
toolset. The DVD opened me up to several techniques I can exploit to
create better imagery with Zbrush and reduce the amount of application
juggling I had been needlessly performing. I would highly recommend
this set to anyone who wants to expand their understanding of Zbrush
beyond just the outstanding modeling tools into the full range of
possibilities the software provides. At over 5 hours of instruction the
set is a valuable training investment.

Gnomon Workshop: Zbrush for Illustrators DVD link

Running time
323 minutes over 5 hours of instruction!

Chapter Breakdown

Main Modeling 1
Main Modeling 2
Wire Style
Skinny Arm
Head Creation
Extra Arm Part

Face Material
Background Humasset
More Adjustments
Little Guy
Render and Tweaks

Reviewer Bio

Spencer is a sculptor, creature designer, and stop motion filmmaker in
Los Angeles, CA. He is currently the resident Zbrush artist at Gentle
Giant Studios. A long time ZBrush user Scott has authored documentation
for Pixologic including the Zbrush to Maya ZPipeline Guide. He can be
reached at