Basic Workflow from ZBrush to KeyShot

The process of rendering your ZBrush models or scenes in KeyShot is easy and mainly relies on the materials applied in ZBrush.

1. Changing the Rendering Engine

The first step to use KeyShot instead of the ZBrush BPR is to go to Render >> Ex­ternal Renderer and click the KeyShot button to enable it as the default rendering engine for ZBrush.

2. Setting the Bridge Options

Before sending your data to KeyShot, you can change the various options found in the External Renderer sub-palette.

The most important setting to consider is the Auto Merge mode which we recom­mend be left enabled. Please refer to the AutoMerge function description at the end of this chapter.

3. Sending Data from ZBrush to KeyShot

With the above settings in place, clicking the BPR button (located in the Render >> BPR Render Pass menu or on the right Shelf in main ZBrush interface) or using the Shift+R hotkey will automatically send your current model to KeyShot, launching it if necessary. If KeyShot is already running, the current instance of KeyShot will be used.

Depending on what you have in ZBrush, you can have these scenarios inside of KeyShot:

  • If you have an empty scene in KeyShot, the Bridge will build the scene by using the information from ZBrush.
  • If you already have a model loaded in KeyShot composed of one or more Sub­Tools and you have the same model in ZBrush, the KeyShot scene will update according to the current ZBrush state. For example, modified SubTools or even added/removed SubTools will be updated appropriately in KeyShot.


All visible SubTools are always sent to KeyShot even if they have not been edited.
  • If you selected a different Tool or Project in ZBrush, then whatever is in the Key­Shot scene will be replaced by what is now in ZBrush. This is similar to creating a new scene.

It is important to consider that the Bridge itself won’t automatically save your KeyShot renders. If you like a render, save it before doing a new render! Otherwise the new render will replace the previous one. The Bridge actions are not undoable.


It is not possible to update your KeyShot scene from ZBrush if KeyShot is in Pause mode. You must disable Pause mode before pressing BPR to try again.

4. Going Back from KeyShot to ZBrush

The Bridge is strictly a one-way action, from ZBrush to KeyShot. While you can send materials from ZBrush to KeyShot it is not possible to bring KeyShot materials back into ZBrush. Additionally, if you used the copy/instance functions of KeyShot you would not be able to reflect that in ZBrush.

To go from KeyShot to ZBrush you can use your operating system commands (such as Alt/Cmd+Tab) or you can click the small ZBrush logo located at the right of the Key­Shot toolbar. All that this will do is change your focus application from KeyShot back to ZBrush, without any data being transferred.

Of course, if you are working on a dual monitor configuration with ZBrush and Key­Shot located on different monitors, you won’t need to use this function.