ZBrush 2018 Preferences defaults and tips

Tutorial / 29 March 2018

ZBrush 2018 has been released, and it's pretty impressive! Lots of powerful new tools have been added, such as Sculptris Pro dynamic tesselation and a range of new deformers, including the versatile Project Primitive deformer.

One of the first things I usually do after upgrading to a new ZBrush version is restoring my personal customizations, such as custom brushes, custom materials and — maybe most importantly — my precious custom ZBrush UI and Preferences.

To make sure I don't mess up the Preferences too much, I like to know the default settings. So I created a quick 'n' dirty composition of the most important ZBrush 2018 Preferences panes with their standard settings, and thought to share it.

It can be useful as a quick reference of the available ZBrush Preferences, if you want to reset specific settings to the default values, or if you've opened Preferences settings from a previous ZBrush version and want to check if default settings have been changed in the new ZBrush.

Some ZBrush Preferences tips follow after the image...

Some tips regarding ZBrush Preferences settings:

  • Mem ➔ Compact Mem (Auto Compact Memory) has a default setting of 256. As there's usually plenty of available RAM in most modern machines, you can increase this value to avoid harddisk access for virtual memory. I set it to the maximum value of 4096.
  • Starting with ZBrush 2018, you can finally switch off the Transformation Border, in the Edit section of the Preferences. The Transformation Border is the thin grey square bordering your canvas. The margin outside the square enables navigating with the left mouse button, but if you're a right-click navigator (like I am), the border is superfluous and slightly disturbs your view.
  • You can add the Tablet ➔ Use Tablet button to your custom ZBrush UI, so you can easily switch on and off tablet pressure sensitivity. This is particularly useful when painting a mask.
  • Set the Tablet ➔ Lazy Pressure value to 1 for a full Lazy Mouse effect without tablet pressure sensitivity.
  • ZBrush sometimes automatically reduces the subdivision level during navigation, to retain speed. If you find this annoying, you can increase the Performance ➔ QTransTreshold (Quick Transform Treshold) value. I've set it to 3.
  • By default, ZBrush stores up to a massive 10000 undo history states for each subtool, while the complete 3D model is saved for each history step. This can consume a huge amount of memory when working with complex models, possibly causing ZBrush to become unstable after a lengthy session. Therefore, I decrease Undo History ➔ Max Undo History to 100, which is more than enough undos for most cases.
    I also switch off Enable Saving and activate Skip Loading, because I don't need the undo history to be saved along with a ZBrush project file.
  • If you dislike the LightBox opening each time you start up ZBrush, switch it off with the LightBox ➔ Open At Launch button. Beware though, the button tends to miraculously switch itself on again as soon after you store the Preferences. The deactivated state is saved though. Hopefully this will be fixed in a future update.
  • You can change the contrast between active and inactive subtools using the Edit ➔ Inactive Subtool Dimming value.
  • Don't forget to use the QuickSave ➔ Delete QuickSave files button every once in a while. The QuickSave safety backup files can accumulate and take up unnecessary harddisk space.

Enjoy ZBrush 2018!

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