Frame Mesh

Frame Mesh example - each vertex has a green circle, ready to receive a stroke from the Topology brush

Frame Mesh example – each vertex has a green circle, ready to receive a stroke from the Topology brush

Frame Mesh creates a curve corresponding to the opening boundaries of the current mesh. This function can be useful when using the Topology brush to manually retopologize a part of your model, starting from a boundary, or to surround an area with a curve-enabled InsertMesh such as rivets around a panel.
Each of ZBrush’s brushes uses a Stroke setting to define how the action will be applied as your cursor is moved across the screen. Several brushes use the various options found within the CurveMode Stroke settings. These options allow any of the 3D brushes’ effects to be applied along a curve that is drawn on the surface of your model. The Tube Brush or Curve Tri Fill are good examples of brushes using CurveMode.

Any brush that has CurveMode enabled can automatically generated curves to frame any topological edge border, any PolyGroup or even any Creased edge. This provides a quick workflow to create unique sculpts based upon which brush is being used.

Curve Frame Mesh in action

This is how to use this ability: (CurveMode must be enabled.)

  1. Found within the Stroke >> Curve function, you must enable Frame Mesh detec­tion mode. This allows you to use Shift to command a stroke to detect borders, Poly­Groups and/or Creased edges.
  2. Load a model with multiple PolyGroups such as the Demo Soldier from the Light­Box >> Tool menu. Activate Solo mode to easily see only the body of the DemoSoldier. Pressing Shift+F turns on the PolyFrame display mode so that you can see the model’s wireframe and PolyGroups.
  3. Select the Curve Multi Tube brush (hotkeys B, C then F).
  4. Draw a stroke starting close to an existing PolyGroup, then press and hold the Shift key. As you cross any of the PolyGroups, ZBrush will detect the border of the PolyGroup and create a curve along that PolyGroup’s border.
  5. Release the cursor and then the Shift key. The tube will be created along that PolyGroup’s border.
  6. This can repeated along each PolyGroup, continuing the tube along the surface.


Curve Frame Mesh can be used with any brush that has CurveMode enabled; most notably with the CurveBridge brush.



On the left, the original mesh with PolyGroups and openings. On the right, Frame Mesh has been used with the MultiTube brush to detect the outline of the PolyGroups and holes, creating tubes which fit perfectly the model’s topology.


Extending the Curve Stroke

By default, the curve detection will be based on the Frame Mesh options, but you can always extend the current stroke to other items by holding the Shift key as you draw out to the next PolyGroup.

An example of this is when only the Border & PolyGroup option is selected. With this activated, ZBrush will only apply the curve to the border of first PolyGroup that is drawn upon. If you wish to continue on to other PolyGroups simply hold the Shift key and con­tinue with more strokes on other PolyGroups.