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Introduction to Zbrush

Fundamentals, Practical


A 4-hour in-depth introduction to all the basics of Zbrush that you need to know to get started sculpting within the software. We cover the following topics:


  • An Unofficial History of Zbrush and its Interface.
  • Working with Dynamesh.
  • The Most Important Brushes to Master.
  • Masking, Transforming and the Notion of Subtools.
  • Understanding Where to Place your References on your Screen
  • In-Depth Sculpting Demonstrations.


Access this content with a paid membership.



  1. Bart Mistrot says:

    Hey Laura,

    at 44:40 you mention wanting larger icons and buttons for your 4K monitor, would this help:

    If you already knew about that then no worries, just wanted to help if I could. Love the content and I’m looking forward to the rest of the course. Hope you have a nice day!

    1. Thanks for pointing that out. If I remember that setting makes the buttons bigger but the icons stay the same size. Zbrush needs true 4k support. Unless they implemented that recently, i haven’t played with the Maxon versions. Cheers!

  2. Christopher says:

    The segment regarding cognitive load theory was awesome. When you explained the concept of “desirable difficulty” I realized that while I was attempting to familiarize myself with zbrush, I could literally feel that I was being overloaded with the amount of information I was trying to process by exploring it on my own. That feeling is what lead me to seek out instruction in the first place. My biggest goal is to understand and establish a consistent workflow, as that was what I was struggling with the most; that is to say I could not figure out how to condense, organize, and streamline the vast capabilities of zbrush into what I needed to realize my end-goal.

    1. Thanks for sharing that Chris, cheers!

  3. Peter Paterson says:

    Just joined yesterday and watching the first video. I’ve been into most stuff 3D for the past 25 years as a hobby I’m passionate about. My day job is a therapist using cognitive behaviour and cognitive analytic models and theories. So I was really intriugued with the evidence based theory you introduced with Cognitive Load theory and learning – very much appreciated, Laura. When you have a moment – would you be able to let me know the name/author[s] of the book you are referring too? I’d like to read around the subject a little more. Sort of hooks into Lev Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development theory of learning and development we use in CAT therapy. Great presentation by the way, looking forward to learning more.

    1. Hey Peter! Welcome to the club 🙂 I love this topic too. Here’s a link to the book: Now I’ll have to check out that Zone of Proximal Development theory! Cheers!

      1. Peter Paterson says:

        Cheers, Laura.

  4. beibei li says:

    Hi Laura. When should I move to the next chapter? I have a basic understanding of the tool now, but I can only sculpt a sphere into the head of a creepy rabbit, instead of a cat. Should I keep practicing till the result is a lot better, or should I move to chapter 2 of this series?

    1. You can move on after you’ve sculpted an animal head or two. You’ll sculpt human heads further down the line and you’ll get a lot out of that.

      1. Barry says:

        Thanks, Laura.

  5. Willie van der Heever says:

    Hey Laura, would like to know your opinion on this. I learnt to use dynamesh to a certain point where the piece is established and relatively polished. Then I duplicate it, Zremesh it, add about 6 subdivs and then ProjectAll from the dynamesh onto the Zremeshed duplicate. That way you have subdivs and you can polish the model further. It’s quicker than to have to retopo in order to have subdivs. What are your thoughts on that?

    1. It’s a solid workflow Willie, I do that a lot too.

      1. Willie van der Heever says:

        Ok awesome, thank you.

  6. stevenone87 steven says:

    thank you

  7. Daniel Kohout says:

    Hello Laura, in the Q&A part of the video, Quix asked you about the export scale and right geometry size that you covered weeks ago (video time about 3:56:00). Is the video on the website so I can watch it? I’ve been sculpting the whole time without setting it correctly and always have the AutoCrop status enabled so I cannot change the focal lenght. Thank you.

    1. Hi Daniel! I made a Youtube video on this very topic:
      Hope that helps!

      1. Daniel Kohout says:

        Awesome! Thank you very much.

  8. Finley Hunt says:

    I should save my sculpture as an active tool. So I can go back to it?

    1. Yup! Saving the document won’t save the tool (the sculpture).

  9. Shu Cheng Chang says:

    Hi Laura, when I try to sculpt with claybuildup brush, the strokes always felt very blocky. I tried to play with focal shift and lazy mouse settings but it just felt… off. Is there any adjustments I can do to achieve the smooth feeling like yours? Sorry if I can’t expain the question really well, English is not my mother tongue, I hope you can still understand what I am trying to ask.

    1. Hi Shu, thank you for your question. Have you set the Alpha-> Blur value to 15 and the Stroke -> Roll Dist to 6? Those two settings have a bigger impact for me than lazy mouse and focal shift. I’m not sure what else could be contributing to your brush strokes not feeling smooth but if you can’t figure it out, send me a quick video of your strokes at and I’ll see if there’s anything that comes to mind.


      1. Shu Cheng Chang says:

        Hey Laura, I tried your suggestion and it works like a charm! Especially the roll dist setting really makes my strokes A LOT smoother. Thank you for the helpful suggestion and quick reply, Laura. You really are the best teacher out there on the internet.

  10. Andreas Dam says:

    Hi Laura, The point about the second screen was great, it’s something i’ve sorta suspected for a while, but didnt’ really take seriously as i did not want to give up “screen real estate”. Today i gave it a try to put my ref on my primary monitor with pureref, and i have to say, it’s been a HUGE difference for me. How could something so obvious have taken me so long to grasp. This alone is going to be HUGE in my improvement as an artist.

    1. It makes sense to want to maximize screen real estate but having references close by has been well researched. There’s even a name for it: Spatial Contiguity Principle. Look it up if you want to nerd out.

  11. Long Tran Quang says:

    I can’t watch the video

    1. Hi Long, the video plays fine on my side. I’ve reached out to you by email to troubleshoot what the issue might be. Cheers!

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