The Layer palette controls the canvas Layers. Layers are like separate canvases which are merged together in one ZBrush document.They have depth as well as height and width.

Note: this palette has nothing to do with the 3D Layers that can be created for a polygon mesh. For 3D Layers see the Tool palette.


Layer palette

Layer palette

Layer icons

Each icon represents one of 16 available Layers; it displays a tiny thumbnail depicting this layer’s elements. Since ZBrush works in the medium of depth-capable pixols, layers co-exist in 3D space, rather than acting as flat sheets lying on top of one another. Press any layer’s icon to make it the active drawing layer; the icon becomes bordered in white. Press the active layer’s icon to turn the layer on or off. A layer that’s turned off is invisible unless it’s currently active.


The Clear Layer button deletes everything from the selected Layer.


The Fill button fills the entire layer with the current color and material, deleting everything else on the layer. If a texture is first selected, the texture is used instead of the current color, and it is stretched to fit the dimensions of the canvas.
This button is also affected by the Clear Depth button in the Texture palette. It is identical to the Fill Layer button in the Color palette.


Press the Delete Layer button to delete this entire layer and remove it from the palette. Deleting a layer can’t be undone, so ZBrush first asks you to confirm this action. This button is disabled when there is only one layer in the palette.


Press the Create Layer button to create a new layer.


Move the selected layer up. The << and >> buttons move the layer up or down in the palette. Use them when you intend to merge two layers together.
These buttons only refer to the layer’s palette position, and have no effect on the layer’s position in 3D space.


Move the selected layer down.


The Merge Layers button merges the selected layer with the previous layer (the icon to its left in the palette), creating a single layer.
Layer merging is sensitive to the MRGB, RGB, M, ZADD, ZSUB, and ZCUT button settings in the Draw palette.


The Duplicate Layer button clones the selected layer and adds it to this palette.


The Bake button converts all rendered material and shading effects on the selected layer to flat-color pixol images.
Visually, you may not notice a difference, but effectively ZBrush takes a ‘snapshot’ of the layer and re-paints it entirely using the Flat Color material.


The Bake Blend Amount slider sets the amount of blending between shaded and unshaded pixols when a Bake is performed.

Flip H

The Flip H (Horizontal) button flips the layer left-to-right so it becomes a mirror-image reflection of itself.

Flip V

The Flip V (Vertical) button flips the layer top-to-bottom so it becomes a mirror-image reflection of itself.


With Wrap Mode turned on, panning a layer ‘wraps’ it to the opposite side of the canvas — whatever disappears off the bottom re-appears on the top, and so on.
You can pan the layer either by changing the Displace sliders, or by holding the ~ (tilde) key and dragging the canvas.
Wrap mode makes it easy to create seamless pattern tiles, such as in wallpaper for web pages or 3D texture skins.

Displace H

Move the selected layer horizontally. Use the Displace sliders to move the selected layer in any of the three directions — horizontally, vertically, or near/far.
If Wrap mode is selected (using the button at left), items ‘wrap’ around to the opposite side of the canvas when the layer is displaced horizontally or vertically.

Displace V

Move the selected layer vertically.

Displace Z

Move the selected layer forwards or backwards. Negative values move the layer forwards (towards the viewer).


With Auto Select turned on, you can select any layer by holding the ~ (tilde) key and clicking on any painted element.
The ~ key is also used to pan the layer horizontally or vertically. If this button is pressed, the layer is selected before panning occurs.


Reference Guide > Layer