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6 Best ZBrush Tips for 3D Printing

6 Best ZBrush Tips for 3D Printing

We have been introducing ZBrush in most of our blog because Zbrush is one of the most popular digital sculpting software used by most designers. ZBrush makes it easier for everyone to design their sculpture and with the help of 3D printing, they can easily turn their design to reality.

Although the software is 3D printable, but there are some minor area that we may overlook that may cause the model to be unprintable. In this article, we would like to share with you some of the modeling tips during designing with ZBrush.

ZBrush allows designers to use customizable brush to shape, texture and paint virtual clay. It has been widely used for creating highly details models such as characters, animals, flowers, vehicles that require high-resolution for games, models, animation and 3D print. It is also dominated as the best digital clay sculpting.

Here are some of the modeling tips:


1. Grouped Models

After designing your model, for example the face of the human with head, eyes, and mouth. When you open the 3D model file in any 3D printing software or when you upload the 3D model file to a 3D printing website for 3D printing, you need to ensure that your file only contains one object.

It is not possible to upload several objects in one file.

Tips: Remember to merge all objects into one object, you can check whether they are merged in the Subtool. You can find the Subtool on the right side in the software interface.

2. Hollow

Depending whether you need to have full solid model or light-weighted model. If the 3D printed model does not require full solid, you can consider designing it with hollow.

With the hollow design, it is not only light-weight; it also save the material cost.

If you are designing for powdered printing, you may need to design with escape holes at the bottom of the model for the excess powder to be removed; otherwise the excess powder will be hidden inside the model.

Tips: Designing a hollow model can be tricky, you need to know define the wall thickness that is strong enough to prevent your model from breaking.

3. ZRemesher

Zremesher is used to lower the poly count, reorder the polys of the model and control the flow of the geometry. Using Zremesher, it helps to create a clean topology of your model.

With the default setting given in ZRemesher, it is able to create very high quality results. Depending on the needs of your specific model, you can make changes to the parameters to improve the results too.

All settings are found in the Subtool > Geometry > ZRemesher UI section.

Tips: To speed up the process if it is going slow, use Decimation Master to reduce the poly count of your model then use ZRemesher to create the required edgeflow. ZRemesher can be used second time to give you a better edgeflow than the first time whilst maintaining the same polycount.

4. Decimation Master

Decimation Master is a free plugin which also allows designer to reduce the poly count of the model while preserving the high resolution details. If your model contains many parts, you have a choice to decimate them together or do each part separately.

Decimation Master also allows designer to use symmetry or partial symmetry. You can optimization based on the polypainting information as well as optimization of the UVs during exporting your model for 3D Colour printing.

Tips: If you want to locally reduce the decimation of your model, you can use Masks to protect specific areas of your mesh if you want to keep the maximum quality of your details.

5. Scale

If your model is too big or too small, you can scale it to your preferred size by using the “Update Size Ratios”, located inside 3D Print Hub dialog.

To scale, you can:

  1. Choose your units: millimetres or inches.
    ZBrush does not natively work with units. For this reason, even if you have set TransPose Units and are working with accurate proportions, ZBrush doesn’t know whether you are using inches or millimeters.
    This dialog box lets you choose between four solutions which mix the unit and the scale in what is basically a 2.54 ratio between mm and in. By selecting the size which is close to your target size, you will help the plugin to start with the most convenient size values.
  1. Change one of the three sliders to define the size of your 3D print.
    Move one of the sliders to change the size of your object. When releasing the slider, the two other sliders will automatically be updated.

6. Exporting the file

After optimizing your part, we are now ready to export the model as an STL file.

1. At the top menu bar, go to “3D Print Hub” to select your export file format

2. Click the file format that you wish to export: OBJ, STL or VRML.

  1. STL – This is the standard file format for 3D printing. By default, only vertices are exported which are then displayed as triangles when the file is opened. Using the Advanced Options, vertex colour (PolyPaint) can also be exported.
  2. VRML– This is the best file format if you need to export a model which has UV mapping and a texture applied to it. This format is ideal for use in color printing. If you only have PolyPaint, check with the printing company to verify whether they can support vertex RGB. If they are able to support, you can activate PolyPaint in the Advanced Options. Otherwise, you need to assign UV mapping and convert the PolyPaint to a texture.
  3. OBJ – This file format is the most common one in the 3D industry. Most 3D print­ing companies will accept it and it can be a good alternative to the VRML file format. The OBJ format only supports textures; not vertex colour/PolyPaint.


If you do not have any 3D Printer, you can contact Ginkgo3D for 3D printing services.




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