Thursday, July 26th, 2012 Posted by Jim Thacker

Pixologic ships ZBrush 4R4
ZBrush 4R4’s QRemesher retopology tools. The free update adds over 30 new features to the sculpting package.

Pixologic has released ZBrush 4R4, another major free update to the sculpting package, including new retopology tools, virtually unlimited undos, and the option to combine entire libraries of objects into one brush.

Insert Multi Mesh
The new Insert Multi Mesh (IMM) option converts complex libraries of parts into a single brush, speeding up the process of adding complex multi-part models such as guns, vehicles, clothing or armour to a scene.

Each of the Sub-Tools that make up the model can be selected individually within the IMM brush.

There is also an option to specify end cap geometry for an assembly: a feature that, as the example image on ZBrushCentral demonstrates, will make it a hell of a lot easier to model zippers.

Mesh Fusion
The new Mesh Fusion feature offers another way of working with multiple parts, enabling users to define PolyGroups on a model and swap the geometry for an entire new mesh: for example, to create a cyborg’s eye.

ZBrush 4R4 automatically joins the two elements, creating new polygons at the boundary.
QRemesher provides curve guides to help users control the process of retopologising a model.

The QRemesher retopology toolset, originally announced with ZBrush 4R2b, also makes its appearance.

Originally planned as a commercial add-on, QRemesher has now been built into ZBrush itself.

The toolset automates the process of cleaning up mesh topology – also useful when parts have been joined with Mesh Fusion – with automasking and curve guides to help control the results.

There is also a new manual Topology Brush for fine control of the new topology.

(Almost) unlimited undos and image planes
Other useful new features include an undo history raised to 10,000 separate operations, a world axis selector for the TransPose Tool, and the option to apply reference images to ZBrush grids.

The latter effectively enables users to set up image planes for modelling, as you would in more conventional 3D packages: something that previously required a separate plugin.

ZBrush 4R4 enables users to import reference images onto planes, as you would in 3ds Max or Maya.

There is also the usual range of smaller tweaks and enhancements – the release thread lists over 30 of these – including enhancements to the new FiberMesh and DynaMesh toolsets.

An impressive development schedule
The release is Pixologic’s third major update in under a year (three, if you count ZBrush 4R2b).

In that time, the developer has added hair and fur, a new procedural texturing system, a new claylike modelling systems and the LightCap lighting capture system.

That would be impressive enough in its own right, even if all the updates hadn’t been free.

ZBrush 4R4 is available now for Windows and OS X. Again, the update is free to registered users of ZBrush 4.

Read a full list of features in ZBrush 4R4 on ZBrushCentral
(Includes two long overview videos)

See more videos of individual new features on Pixologic’s YouTube channel