zbrushcentral.com
September 17, 2006 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Interesting gallery of images people have made using a program called zBrush. (some images nsfw)
posted by crunchland (24 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bummer ... I couldn't find any nsfw images ;)
posted by itchylick at 2:49 PM on September 17, 2006


Some very impressive models there though. I'm going to download the demo tomorrow at work and give it a try.
posted by itchylick at 2:51 PM on September 17, 2006


Umpteen-something years ago, when working for PAWS, we had a technology demonstration deal going with the MIT Media Lab (essentially, we gave them some cash, and we got to play with some toys)...anyway, one day, out CTO installed this cool little art app on my workstation called Z-Brush. It did some pretty nifty stuff and it was entirely vector-based art. This had to have been sometime in the late 80's or early 90's.

Anyone know if this toy I got to play with might have been the great-great grandfather of the app crunchland has posted?
posted by Thorzdad at 3:01 PM on September 17, 2006


Good job nobody uses 56k dialup (or slower!) any more... that front page is an image-laden beast :)

Funny how there doesn't seem to be anything to indicate quite what z-brush actually is, even in the support>faq>general section... ah well.
posted by Chunder at 3:07 PM on September 17, 2006


Bummer ... I couldn't find any nsfw images ;)

Clearly you missed this one. That, or you work in a much better place than I do...
posted by blind.wombat at 3:27 PM on September 17, 2006


Images like this one impress the hell out of me.

Also, I'm rather loving this rendition of the Thing.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:34 PM on September 17, 2006


Along the same lines is MudBox -- which looks poised to nab a chunk of the Zbrush userbase. Also, somewhat related as a modelling concept, is Cosmic Blob Pro.

All three packages are 3dmodelling programs that incorporate the sculpting paradigm -- as opposed to more traditional packages that concentrate on manipulating points, edges and polygons. Zbrush and Mudbox both allow the user to change the objects topography by pushing and pulling on the surface, just like mashing clay. As evidenced by the gallery linked above, the technique can yield unparalleled results.

The wonky bit about Zbrush, however, is that it's a 2.5 D program -- utilizing what they call "pixols" or 3d-pixels. It was intended to be used as a painting program, with the 3d elements as a kind of enhancer, adding instant depth, taking light, etc. The community, however, started using as a pure high poly modeller, exporting the results into other pakages for rendering, etc. This is where Mudbox comes in. They have apparently built a high polygon sculpting program from scratch, ditching the 2.5 elements, the pixol, and all the other oddball baggage Zbrush is carrying around.
posted by undule at 3:37 PM on September 17, 2006


Sort of related: T.E.D.D.Y [video], an applet that lets you make and manipulate 3D objects with simple lines.
posted by MetaMonkey at 3:45 PM on September 17, 2006


On the one hand this is very impressive.

On the other, it's just more 3D computer art, where the latest thing is about trying to mimic life: "Oh look, we can do hair now!" or "Look at these facial expressions!"

Yeah, like I said, in many ways this is impressive, but I'm still waiting for computer animation to make a larger leap to this idea: It's just pixels! we can do ANYTHING! Let's change the law of physics! Let's make a movie that look's totally like Gustav Klimt's style! etc etc.

Till then, I have photograph and other amazing pieces of technology to admire real like with.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:51 PM on September 17, 2006


Yeah, I certainly see your point Brandon. Right now most current CG art seems to be about replicating real life to the closest possible degree. However, I think in a few years time we'll reach the point where we can go past that and render things beyond what reality tells us is "correct". :)

Also, I'm rather loving this rendition of the Thing.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:34 PM PST on September 17 [+] [!]


Pretty cool. I wish he'd have looked more like that in the movies, rather than the Amazing Foam Suit Thing. If had been up to me I would have gone the Andy Serkis route, that is have the actor playing Ben in a green screen suit and then CG the Thing costume on afterward.

(hey, what happened to spell check?)
posted by kosher_jenny at 4:01 PM on September 17, 2006


I love this program. Things that were a total and utter fucking nightmare to do before become easy as pie. Now all I need is the same kind of usability revolution to happen to computer animation (being able to see the motion paths and adjust them directly, I reckon). Someone please steal that idea and market it.
posted by 6am at 4:12 PM on September 17, 2006


Yeah.... zBrush is amazing. I wish I had more time to dabble.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 4:17 PM on September 17, 2006


Programs like zBrush just make blatantly obvious how ridiculous it is that virtually all software guis are still based on the windowing metaphor created by xerox parc, and that the only user input devices are still keyboards and mice. Inertia sucks.
posted by gsteff at 4:54 PM on September 17, 2006


Uh....Uncanny Valley successfully crossed? (.mov) (more...)
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 4:58 PM on September 17, 2006


And... MARK!

Only 14 posts until an Uncanny Valley reference? I expected more from you guys.
posted by neckro23 at 5:11 PM on September 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


SensAble makes a haptic device and software called claytools - which is a lot like zbrush. But I think it's cooler b/c there is force feedback - it'll make you ooze when you use it.
posted by tomplus2 at 5:19 PM on September 17, 2006


On the other, it's just more 3D computer art, where the latest thing is about trying to mimic life: "Oh look, we can do hair now!" or "Look at these facial expressions!"

I hate it when people blame others for their own ignorance. Just because you havn't seen that stuff dosn't mean it dosn't exist, you just havn't been looking very hard.
posted by delmoi at 5:53 PM on September 17, 2006


Damn, its MeFi'ed. I'll have to check it later.
posted by quin at 6:04 PM on September 17, 2006


tomplus2: I had a go with the SansAble at a demonstration in Edinburgh a few years ago. It was astonishingly cool, as you suggest. As well as the haptic feedback, there was excellent 3D display and the two combined gave a very real perception, indeed. The total volume in which the virtual object could "exist" was rather small, but I guess you can't have everything (yet).
posted by Enucleator at 6:39 PM on September 17, 2006


Out of all the graphics/painting/modelling software I've dabbled in I've found ZBrush to be, hands down, the most fun. Even if you have no artistic talent whatsoever (like me) just playing around with the 2.5D stuff is a blast. It's one of the few programs that I truly missed when I switched to linux.
posted by LeeJay at 12:39 AM on September 18, 2006


I hate it when people blame others for their own ignorance. Just because you havn't seen that stuff doesn't mean it doesn't exist, you just havn't been looking very hard.

Yep, quite true. There's a lot of abstract or anyway non-photorealistic stuff done in CGI. A Scanner Darkly, for example. Also Ryan. Heck, pretty much all of Pixar's stuff is in some way impressionist.

Photorealism seems to be the Holy Grail of 3D CGI because it's so hard. A lot of abstract effects can be simulated automatically; After Effects and Photoshop make things like impressionism, watercolor effects, etc. easy. Specific effects such as in Ryan can be difficult to set up at the beginning, but easy once you've got it set up. But making a 3D CGI image that is completely impossible to differentiate from the real thing is damned hard, throughout the entire process, as people keep pointing out. There are so many little things that need to be tweaked. And people like to demonstrate their skill at doing hard things. Concert pianists hardly ever play Chopsticks. Computer programmers' resumes don't include "Hello World" programs. That sort of thing. Not to say that something like Ryan is easy, just that in some ways it's easier than photorealism.
posted by jiawen at 4:40 AM on September 18, 2006


Of course, when this gets where it's headed, nobody will need to get busted for kiddie porn anymore because computer-generated stuff will be so much better.
posted by pax digita at 7:52 AM on September 18, 2006


... and, based on the precedence, it won't matter if it's real or cg, they'll still arrest the kiddie pornsters.
posted by crunchland at 9:15 AM on September 18, 2006


Wow, I'm glad I checked back, that gallery was astonishing. I'm definately going to download and play with this program. Thanks crunchland.
posted by quin at 10:12 AM on September 18, 2006


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