3D Design
Aug 2023
Gregory Markov

How to Install and Configure ZBrush for Free

Install the ZBrush Free Trial

1. Register on the Maxon website and click the TRY button.

2. Download the Maxon App, a dedicated launcher to download and install all Maxon products, including ZBrush.

3. Install the Maxon App, log in, and click the TRY NOW button to initiate a 14-day trial. This license grants access to all of Maxon’s software.

4. Scroll down until you find ZBrush in the list, and click INSTALL. Wait for the software to download and install.

5. Once installation is complete, you don't need to open the Maxon App each time you wish to use ZBrush. You can use the desktop shortcut instead.

6. If you want to obtain a full license after the trial, the subscription to ZBrush costs ₹4003.59 monthly or ₹36,331.74 annually.

Tweaking ZBrush

Once the installation is finished, it's time to tweak ZBrush's interface. Here are several suggestions that could enhance your modeling experience:

Disabling the Home Page

When launching ZBrush, a welcome screen with the latest news is displayed. Although you cannot fully disable this screen, you can tweak its settings to appear only when new updates are available. To do this, click on the gear icon located within the window and select the "show if news updated" option from the menu.

Disabling LightBox Auto-Launch

Each ZBrush startup triggers the LightBox window containing brushes, materials, meshes, and other elements. If you find this unnecessary, you can disable the feature. Navigate to Preferences → LightBox in the upper part of the software interface, and uncheck the "Open At Launch" option. To save these settings, go to Preferences → Config → Store Config.

Remember, you can manually open LightBox anytime by clicking on its icon in the upper left corner.

Multi-Panel Viewing Options

By default, ZBrush displays one panel at a time, closing the previous one when a new one is opened. However, there are two ways to view multiple panels simultaneously:

  1. Using Shift: Keep the Shift key pressed when clicking on a new panel while another one is open.
  2. Changing Settings: For a permanent solution, go to Preferences → Interface → Palettes, deselect the "One Open Subpalette" button, and save your settings.

Customizing the Workspace

You can customize the workspace's size and color to your liking. Head to Document at the top of the program, choose your preferred color, and adjust the size using the Width and Height fields. To remove any gradient, set the Range value to 0. Lastly, click on "Save As Startup Doc" to maintain these workspace settings.

Regulating Autosaves

ZBrush's autosave feature can consume significant storage as the software doesn't automatically delete these files. Moreover, frequent autosaves may strain your computer's memory. To mitigate this, navigate to Preferences → QuickSave and set a limit in the "Max QuickSave Files". To manually delete autosaves, use the "Delete QuickSave files" button. Always remember to save these changes.

Reassigning Hotkeys

Not all default hotkeys may suit your working style. To reassign hotkeys, press Ctrl + Alt and click on the function you wish to alter. A message will appear indicating that you are in hotkey modification mode. Now, press the key or combination of keys you'd prefer for this function.

Organizing Functions on the Main Panel

To streamline your workflow, you can move frequently used functions to the main panel. Activate edit mode via Preferences → Config → Enable Customize, find the required function, and drag it to the main panel while pressing Ctrl + Alt.

To remove functions from the panel, drag them back to the workspace. Once you're satisfied with your panel organization, save the changes through Preferences → Config → Store Config.

If you're not sure what features you need, take a look at the interfaces of artists you're interested in or just well-known artists.

Crafting Your Own Panel

If you find your main panel crowded with functions, you might want to consider creating a custom panel. This panel can be pinned to the interface or set to appear with specific hotkeys.

An example of a customized panel

To create a custom panel, navigate to Preferences → Custom UI → Create New Menu. Name your panel in the new window that appears, and it will be added to the top program tabs. You can expand it and pin it to the interface by clicking the circular arrow at the top left of the panel.

These customizations can greatly enhance your workflow, making your ZBrush experience more enjoyable and efficient.

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