Website will go down for approximately 15 minutes for a planned upgrade at 10pm Eastern Time tonight. We're switching the video host!

Baking and Exporting Out of Zbrush

Intermediate, Practical


Click here to download the Substance Player Height Difference helper tool.

A 2-hour lecture filled with tips and tricks to have the best possible bake and data transfer between Zbrush and Substance Painter. We cover:


  • How to Export your Highres from Zbrush.
  • How to Fix UV, Smoothing and Normal Issues.
  • Exporting Height Layers from Zbrush to Substance Painter.
  • Using Substance Painter’s Baker.


Access this content with a paid membership.



  1. nikolaos poulianitis says:

    Hi Laura, I hope you are well. Thank you for this amazing lesson. It’s extremely insightful.

    I’m facing an issue with the Height_Difference process. Although I’m following each step to the letter, when I export the difference between my no_details displacement map and, say, the blackheads layer, I notice that some face data still remains. When I apply the processed blackheads height map in substance, it produces artifacts in some areas of the face other than the blackheads. This doesn’t happen to all of my layers, only to some. For example, with the Larger Pores and FBM layer I get crisp results.

    I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong. I tried amping the blackheads intensity layer just in case the difference action ”doesn’t pick up the data” but that didn’t work. I thought of manually erasing the additional data by painting the same colour on the map in Photoshop but it didn’t work. I double checked my layers and there is no additional information other than the blackheads details.

    I would highly appreciate some guidance in terms of troubleshooting this and figuring out what I might be doing wrong.

    1. nikolaos poulianitis says:

      Posting update: I found out what went wrong. I was planning to use a lower poly count for my project (12k) than the one you are using in the video and tested out exporting the layers on one subdiv higher (47k), since it matches the poly count in the video just in case there is some kind of scaling issue, I’m using my own head design instead of the handout one.

      Apparently that fixed it. All my exported displacement maps on the one step higher subdiv (47k polys) produce SUPER crisp results when going through the height_difference process in substance player. Had to do some troubleshooting to get there but I’m hoping this feedback is valuable.

      1. Yeah sounds like you had the classic issue of processing maps created at two different subdivision levels. What was remaining in your texture after the difference was likely the “height difference” between the two subdivision levels.

  2. Tim Smith says:

    Super useful workflow regarding the Displacement map and Layers. Will definitely try using that for next time. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Shu Cheng Chang says:

    Hi Laura, Thanks for all these amazing tips! But I’m having a problem with my displacement maps exported from Zbrush. The textures look fine in Photoshop. But once I put it into Substance Painter, it looks very glitchy and blocky, I wonder what’s the possible cause?

    1. Shu Cheng Chang says:

      Oops, I changed the color channel of the height channel from L16F to L32F and the problem is solved, haha… Sorry for the stupid question๐Ÿ˜›…

      1. Nice! You just had to ask the question to figure it out. All good ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Satpreet Singh says:

    This workflow is really amazing saved a lot of time and also gave better results than a bake. And the Difference tool is also amazing, I’m curious though what actions were performed in Photoshop to get this effect?. Thank you๐Ÿ™‚.

    1. I did the photoshop action like 10 years ago. I don’t really remember the exact steps but I can add the action file to the handouts so you can check for yourself. I’ll add it later today.

      1. Yeah actually I don’t have it on this computer since I’m travelling. Oh well, the Substance Player file works just as well ๐Ÿ˜›

Leave a comment