Stunning Redshift renders inside ZBrush

ZBrush artist: Nikita Lebedev


Redshift renders inside ZBrush

Render directly inside ZBrush using the Redshift renderer. Create stunning renders using the new Redshift materials – glass, metal, reflections, subsurface scattering, shadow-catchers.


Note: Redshift is a separate application which must be installed for rendering within ZBrush to be possible.


Redshift Renderer Functions

The top section of Redshift Renderer sub-palette


Turn on the Redshift button to enable rendering with Redshift. The Redshift rendering options will then become available.

Floor Material

Click the thumbnail to select a material for the Floor. Select the Shadow Catcher material to set the Floor as a shadow catcher.

Floor Color

Click the thumbnail to select a color for the Floor.

Gamma Correction

Allows for the changing of the gamma value. On Windows, the default is 2.2; on MacOS the default is 1.8.

Rotate Lights with Camera

When turned on, lights will be rotated with the camera which is especially useful if you want a light behind the model for SSS. When off, the lights will remain fixed.

Use Default Panorama

Use the default panorama for lighting and reflections.


Rendering progress options

Render Progress options

Render Quality

When Progressive Rendering is turned off, Bucket Rendering is enabled and the quality is determined by the Render Quality slider setting.

Progressive Rendering

When turned on, the render will be shown progressively increasing in quality. The final quality of the render is determined by the Progressive Iterations slider.

If Progressive Rendering is turned off, then Bucket Rendering is enabled. The render will appear as a sequence of squares, rendered at final quality. The quality of Bucket Rendering is determined by the Render Quality slider.

Progressive Iterations

When Progressive Rendering is turned on, the final quality of the render is determined by the Progressive Iterations slider. The higher the number of iterations, the better the quality.

Primary GI Engine Quality

The Primary GI Engine Quality slider works to select the global illumination engine used at render time. A setting of zero will yield no global illumination.

Secondary GI Engine Quality

The Secondary GI Engine Quality slider works to select a secondary global illumination engine used at render time. A setting of zero will yield no global illumination.

Preview Quality in ZBrush

Sets the quality of the preview material icon inside ZBrush before rendering with Redshift. A lower number will increase speed when rendering and reduce quality. Increasing the value of the slider will increase the quality while increasing the update time.

Preview Size in ZBrush

Sets the size of the preview inside ZBrush before rendering with Redshift.


Depth of Field

Depth of Field settings

Depth of Field

When the Depth Of Field button is enabled, Redshift will render depth of field.

Focus Depth

Focus Depth sets the point at which the model is in full focus. You can click+drag from the slider to the model.

Focus Radius

Focus Radius sets how quickly the model becomes blurred.


SubTool Disable Options

Subtool Disable options

In order to speed up test renders there are three options to disable functions for visible subtools.

Disable DynamicSubdiv

Disables Dynamic Subdivision for visible SubTools.

Disable ArrayMesh

Disables ArrayMesh for visible SubTools.

Disable NanoMesh

Disables NanoMesh for visible SubTools.

Render Recall

Render Recall section

Render Recall allows you to scroll through previous renders and recall their settings. What is recalled can be set using the options. This makes it easy to reuse a favourite material or light setting with your current render.
Important Note: Although you will see the previous render it is only the settings that are recalled. If a different model was used then this isn’t reloaded.


Redshift Baker

Redshift Baker settings

Redshift Baker enables you to bake the current Redshift render materials into a model as polypaint. The mesh is rotated a number of times and the material color averaged for each polygon.

Redshift Baker 360

Press the Redshift Baker button to start the baking progress

Bake Longitude Steps

The number of Longitudinal rotation steps the baker will make. The total steps will be Longitude and Latitude steps multiplied together.

Bake Latitude Steps

The number of Latitudinal rotation steps the baker will make. The total steps will be Longitude and Latitude steps multiplied together.

Bake Color Mode

The Bake Color Mode slider controls the average of two separate projections. Bake Color Mode works best with materials with reduced specularity or shine.

Preserve Highlights

The Preserve Highlights slider controls the affect of brighter colours being applied to your model for the baking process. Slight variations in lighting may result in a dimming of specular highlights. This slider gives greater weight to brighter colors and specular quality is retained. The higher the value the greater the weighting.


Redshift Materials

RS Mats
Some of the new Redshift materials

New Redshift Materials are provided in ZBrush so that you can get the best out of Redshift. Each material has a set of modifiers which can be adjusted allowing you to tweak the settings and create new materials. Your materials can be saved an reloaded just like ZBrush standard materials.

Material Modifiers

Redshift RoughMetal material selected with some modifiers showing


Redshift Light Properties

The Lights palette has a new section for Redshift Light Properties.


Turn Shadow on or off per Light.

Shadow Strength

Strength – full black or degrees of gray.

Shadow softness

Softness – sharp edge or soft edge.

Shadow Samples

Shadow Samples

Intensity Multiplier

Intensity Multiplier

Light Distance

Distance – how far the light is from the object

Light Range

Range – how far the light will reach

Decay Type

Decay Type – power of 2 or linear

Decay Start

Decay Start

Redshift Background options

The Background section of the Light palette has some Redshift options.

Redshift Exposure

The Redshift Exposure slider affects Redshift only so it can be set differently to the HDR Exposure. This can be used to create dramatic effects – for example, the background exposure can be quite dark but the model fully illuminated.

Redshift HDR Shadows

The Redshift HDR Shadows slider affects Redshift only so it can be set different to the HDR shadows.


SubTool: Redshift Properties

Smooth Surface

In the Tool>SubTool>Redshift Properties section is the Smooth Surface button. This option allows you to tell Redshift to smooth the surface at render time. It can be set per subtool. This is designed for making low resolution and faceted meshes look good, so don’t use it with high resolution meshes! The setting can be turned on for all visible subtools by using the Apply Last Action button.

Redshift Tips & Tricks

    • If a Redshift material is on your model then polyframes will not be visible.
    • Redshift will automatically use your video card if it is supported. If your video card is not supported then the CPU will be used for rendering.
    • LightCaps are not supported by Redshift.
    • Make sure you use those materials designed for use with polypaint if you want polypaint to be visible.
    • Use the Base swatch to change the material main color.
    • If you have a texure applied to you model then you need to use a Redshift material – MatCaps will not show the texture.
    • If using a SSS material then the higher the SSS Weight slider is set, the less polypaint will show. A setting of 1 will mean no polypaint shows.
    • If using the Floor as a shadow catcher remember that you can change the size of the floor by adjusting the Grid Size slider in the Draw palette. This will mean your shadows don’t get cut off!
    • If you are using a Redshift material then the Light icon will not update.
    • You can render a region by holding the cursor over a part of the scene and pressing Ctrl+R. This is useful if you are making adjustments to materials.
    • Redshift will work with Turntable and TimeLine. Simply do a Redshift render first then do the Turntable.