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Saving Your Work


When you are working you are sure to want to save your creations. That’s when it’s important to remember the difference between the canvas document and your 3D models. The document can only contain 2.5D pixols, and so does not contain the full 3D data of a model. So if you are working on a 3D model and save the document, only a pixol version of the model in its current view is saved. That’s no good if you want to continue sculpting next session. You must save your 3D model through the Tool palette. You can also save all of your ZTools at once by using ZBrush 4’s Project feature. (See below.)

To summarize:

  • Saving the Document will save the canvas 2.5D content only. This is used for illustrations.
  • Saving the ZTool will save the selected 3D object (including all its subtools, subdivisions, settings, 3D layers, etc.). This is used for models.
  • Saving a Project will save multiple ZTools at once. It results in a much larger file size and so is not a good choice for saving on multiple versions of a single ZTool.

Most users will save the ZTools and not the Documents if they are using ZBrush only for its 3D features.


Expert Tip: Please get in a habit of saving your work often and incrementally. ZBrush is a very demanding application, pushing huge amounts of data. Computers are not perfect and even a slight error can create problems such as corrupt files that cannot be reloaded. Saving your work every hour or so will prevent losing a lot of time and effort should the unthinkable happen. To be as safe as possible, it is also recommended to save under a different name each time so as to maintain three or more increments just in case something goes wrong with one of the saves, corrupting it. Although ZBrush does have an auto-save (see below) it is best not to rely on it as the only means of saving your work.

QuickSave and AutoSave

The AutoSave feature helps safeguard your work by automatically saving a Project periodically or whenever ZBrush enters an idle state. If ZBrush then shuts down for any reason you will be able to restore your work by loading the temporary file created by ZBrush. The maximum duration between saves can be set in Preferences. ZBrush will monitor your working so as not to interrupt your workflow.

Because it uses a dedicated project, the Auto Save feature won’t overwrite any exist­ing copies of your project. Any copies that you save manually will be completely separate from the Auto Save version.

When ZBrush does not have enough disk space to save a Tool or Project the user will be displayed a warning to free space on the hard drive. This warning will continue until enough space has been freed up to save the file.

The Auto Save in progress, displayed at the top of the ZBrush document

The Auto Save in progress, displayed at the top of the ZBrush document

Auto Save File Location and Behavior

The project saved by ZBrush through the Auto Save feature is named QSave000114.ZPR and is located in the public ZBrush folder. On Windows, this is the C:\Users\Public\Documents\ZBrushData\AutoSave folder. For Mac OS X it is the Users/Public/ZBrush­Data/ AutoSave folder.

If ZBrush ever crashes, the next time you launch it you will be asked if you wish to load the AutoSaveProject.ZPR.

QuickSave File Location and Behavior

The project saved by ZBrush through the QuickSave feature is located in the public ZBrush folder. On Windows, this is the C:\Users\Public\Documents\ZBrushData\Auto­Save folder. For Mac OS X it is the Users/Public/ZBrushData/ AutoSave folder. These files will begin with QSave followed by a number sequence which increments with each QuickSave. You can set the maximum number of QuickSaves that ZBrush will keep by adjusting the Preferences >> Auto Save >> Max Auto Save slider.

QuickSave works different from an AutoSave in that if you press the button ZBrush will automatically save the Project without asking for a file name or location. These files can be accessed easily through LightBox where there is a new QuickSave tab.

Any QuickSave file that ends with UH is indicating that this file has Undo History saved with the file.

The default hotkey to QuickSave is 9.

QuickSave settings are in the Preferences > QuickSave sub-palette.