Parametric Meshes

Gizmo 3D Parametric Meshes

The Gizmo 3D includes multiple polygonal primitives which are intended to be quick­ly inserted in the current SubTool. These primitives can have their topology modified on the fly at insertion time, before being manipulated and transformed by the Gizmo 3D.
It is important to keep in mind that these primitives will replace the current SubTool unless it is fully masked. The default behavior is replacing rather than appending.
A good practice is to first duplicate a model, then click on a parametric primitive icon to replace the mesh with the primitive of your choice


The parametric primitives, located at the top of the Gizmo 3D Customize menu.


Parametric Primitive Cones

After inserting a Primitive, you will have access to multiple cones located on top of the 3D models. They are dedicated to the transformation of the primitive, allowing you to affect the scale, size, polygon density, internal thickness and more.
Simply hover over a cone to see its description, then click and drag the circle area of a cone to apply the corresponding transformation.


Manipulating the cones affects the cylinder shape and topology in real-time.


Inserting a Parametric Primitive in the Current SubTool

As with all the Insert Mesh features in ZBrush, insertion will work only with models that don’t have subdivision levels. If your current SubTool has multiple levels of subdivi­sion, click on the Delete Higher/Lower functions located in the Tool >> Geometry sub-palette.

  1. Mask the entire current SubTool with a Mask Marquee or by pressing CTRL+A. An alternative is to work with a temporary model which will be replaced by the Parametric Primitive.
  2. Switch to Gizmo 3D.
  3. At the top of the Gizmo 3D, click on the small gear icon “Customize.” A popup menu will open.
  4. Click the icon for your parametric primitive of choice. The primitive will be in­serted into your model and 3D manipulators will appear to let you change its parameters.
  5. If your primitive appears to be inside the original SubTool or otherwise at a bad position or size:
    • Click the small gear icon to show the Customize menu again. The top bar should display the name of the selected inserted primitive. Click the Gizmo 3D button to switch back to the manipulator.
    • Now that the Gizmo 3D is back, manipulate the inserted mesh to the desired position, size or angle.
    • Click the gear icon again to bring back the menu. Select the top entry, which will be named after the inserted primitive. This will give you access again to the primitive values and parameters manipulators.

    Through the gear icon, you will be able to switch between the Gizmo 3D and the parametric primitive parameters. You can do this as often as you wish until you create a new primitive or use another Gizmo 3D parameter like the modifiers.

  6. Click and drag the primitive cone manipulators to change the resolution along an axis, a revolution value, or the shape. Each primitive has its own settings, which are very similar to the Tool >> Initialize settings for default 3D Primitives found in the Tool palette. Simply hover one of the parametric primitive cones to display the name of the associated setting, then click and drag it to change the value.


Note: When changing settings which affect the topology (like the density of the polygons) ZBrush will force the display of the PolyFrame until you release the widget. This is true even if PolyFrame is turned off as it allows you to better see the modifications applied to the primitive.


Transfer of Deformation from One Inserted Primitive to Another

When working with parametric primitives, you can use the Gizmo 3D to stretch and squash them. Internally, ZBrush will modify the bounding box of the primitive from a per­fect cube to a deformed cube. When creating a new primitive, it is possible to have the new shape fit the bounding box of the previous deformed model. You only need to press the Shift key when selecting a parametric primitive to transfer the old bounding box shape to the new model.

By keeping the previous shape, the inserted mesh will fit the same proportions. This can be very convenient if you want to assemble multiple primitives to create a complex shape.