Interface & Navigation




The ZBrushCore interface is designed so that everything you need is close at hand.

  • On the left side are the selector thumbnails. These show what’s currently selected and clicking a thumbnail displays a pop-up window so you change the selection.
  • On the right side of the interface are the navigation and display buttons.
  • Along the top are the mode buttons and sliders and above those are the main palette buttons.
  •  Along the bottom of the interface are the most commonly used brushes. The Tool palette, shown in the right tray, is for 3D models and model creation tools. These include Primitives (mathematically-created shapes which you can adjust) and ZSpheres (a unique creation tool described later).





Clicking the LightBox button shows or hides the LightBox content browser. This has separate tabs for the different file types. Double-click a thumbnail to open the file. To import a 3D file click the Open File button.

Brush Mode

To start sculpting or painting, make sure the Draw button at the top left of the interface is turned on. With the Standard brush selected, you should be able to begin sculpting.

Often it will be useful to have symmetry turned on, so that everything you do on one side of the model is mirrored on the other side. Press X on the keyboard to turn on symmetry, or set it using the options in the Transform palette.


If you make a mistake you can undo it by pressing Ctrl+Z on the keyboard, or to redo press Ctrl+Shift+Z. The Undo/Redo buttons are also available in the Edit palette.

Saving your Work

It’s a good idea to save your work often while working. To save your work go to the File palette and press Save, or hit Ctrl+S on the keyboard. This saves all your work in a single project file. You can open a project using File >> Open or by pressing Ctrl+O.


Note: Opening a project will replace the current project, including any 3D models, so be sure to save first!


ZBrushCore provides an easy way to regularly save your work. Pressing the QuickSave button at the top right of the interface will save your work without you having to enter a file name. A new file is created so that any previous QuickSave files are not overwritten (until the maximum is reached, which you can set in the Preferences >> QuickSave sub-palette). There is also an AutoSave feature which will save your work automatically at regular intervals. This works in a way similar to QuickSave and you can set the interval in the Preferences.

You can reload QuickSave and AutoSave files from the QuickSave tab in LightBox.



The Navigation buttons are on the right side of the interface. Click+drag inside a button to move, scale or rotate the model. ZBrushCore also has two alternate methods of navigation using hotkeys:

Right-Click Navigation

  • Move – Alt+Right-click & drag (can be over the model)
  • Scale – Ctrl+Right-click & drag (can be over the model)
  • Rotate – Right-click & drag (can be over the model)

Classic ZBrush Navigation

  • Free Rotate – Click & drag Background
  • Move – Alt+Click & drag Background
  • Constrain to 90-degree rotation – Click+drag while holding Shift
  • Scale – Alt+Click, Release Alt, drag Background
  • Rotate around Z-axis – Shift, Click, release Shift, drag


Universal Camera

The camera system is upgraded in ZBrush 2019. Artists can now precisely match the focal length of imported photographs and 3D renders. It is also now possible to export or import the ZBrush camera settings for use in any 3D application, opening the path of rich 2D composited illustrations, using the powerful ZBrush BPR or NPR renderer mixed with other 3D rendering solutions such as KeyShot.

The ZBrush Universal Camera offers complete control over the Focal Length, Crop Factor and more. It supports undo and redo of camera movements. There is even storage of various camera settings, making it easier than ever to find that perfect final composition.

Read more about the Universal Camera here.


Being able to clearly visualize a model’s thumbnail or silhouette is essential for mak­ing refinements while designing in 3D, as well as for visualizing new shapes.
Thumbnail View is a small window located at the top left of the ZBrush canvas that allows you to view a mirrored thumbnail image of the model with its selected colors and materials, or to optionally use a Silhouette Mode to view the pure forms.

Read more about Thumbnail here.


CamView creates a small 3D figure and links it with whatever model is currently in Edit mode in the ZBrush canvas. This small figure rotates along with the model that you are actively sculpting.
CamView makes it easy to always know where your model sits within the virtual XYZ space. It also offers an interchangeable one-click navigation view which allows you to switch between orthographic view states. (Front-back-left-right-top-bottom)
There are multiple default presets available to choose from. ZBrush also offers the ability to load any model to create your own custom CamView presets.

Read more about CamView here.


Keyboard Shortcuts

Shortcuts or Hotkeys are keyboard combinations that produce the same effect as pressing a ZBrushCore interface item. They can speed up your workflow by allowing you to focus on your sculpting or painting, rather than constantly searching for an interface button.

ZBrushCore comes with many default hotkeys and mouse actions. Also Custom Hotkeys can be assigned by the user for actions that they use often.


Wherever the Ctrl key is mentioned in this documentation, MacOSX users may want to use the Cmd (Apple) key instead, though note for keyboards with both a Ctrl and Cmd key either can be used. The Alt key on Macintosh keyboards is sometimes called the Option key, and the Windows Enter key is called the Return key.