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Using the Gizmo and Booleans for Hard Surface modeling.

Sun, Oct 14, 2018
by Tuna

Using the Gizmo and Booleans for Hard Surface modeling.

    Hard surface modeling has plenty of workflows that offer varying degrees of creative freedom. In this blog post I will examine the Gizmo tool in Zbrush 18 and how in conjunction with Booleans, can offer an interesting workflow that may help in hard surface modeling.


    The Gizmo is a very useful tool just recently added to Zbrush. It functions primarily as a movement tool within the 3d space of Zbrush and works similarly to the move tools of other 3d packages like Maya. It also serves as intuitive way of controlling an objects pivot point with the lock/unlock icon. Where the Gizmo really starts to become a powerful tool is in its ability to create primitives. The Gizmo can create a variety of basic primitives by clicking the gear icon at its top left corner.


    Once the primitive is chosen, a system of cones similar to the X,Y,Z crosshairs appears and allows for manipulation of topology. These cone controls are a bit confusing at first but don’t worry just start yanking them and see what they do!


In addition there are loads of deformers to really let you get whatever shape you need. If you’ve really beat up your primitive with deformers and realize you rather start over, fear not. No need to break your undo keys, there is a reset button in the Gear menu that appears while a primitive is active.


This Gizmo is a very powerful creation and manipulation tool. It can create both organic shapes and hard surface shapes using a variety of deformers.  This is where we bring in Live Boolean mode.

Live Boolean mode in short lets you organize the subtools we just created with the Gizmo. Then lets you either add, subtract or intersect from whatever subtool is above it in the subtool palette. A short description for so many possibilities Booleans offer in Zbrush. Controlling these operations is fairly simple. Check to make sure Live Boolean mode is enabled, organize your subtools accordingly and set the desired Boolean operation.


In this example, we have a cube at the top set to add. Then a sphere under it also set to add. Next the gear set to subtract and finally the cone set to difference mode.

To finally bake all the work you’ve done, go to the Boolean sub palette in the Subtool palette.


It’s important to note that for each subtool being combined you need to trigger dynamic sub division (hotkey D). Got em all? Next hit the DSDiv button and then Make Bollean Mesh.

You should have a new tool named UMesh. This tool will have your unified objects in separate subtools specified by the start groups you set up.   

Mon, Oct 15, 2018
by RenderHub
United States

Great post, Thanks so much for the info :)