Wednesday, May 19th, 2021 Posted by Jim Thacker

Get ZBrushCoreMini 2021: the new free edition of ZBrush

Pixologic has released ZBrushCoreMini 2021, the latest version of the free cut-down edition of ZBrush, which provides “new artists of all ages” with an introduction to the popular digital sculpting software.

The update adds support for ZBrush’s Vector Displacement Mesh (VDM) system, making it possible to add complex 3D features – including entire body parts – to a model in a few clicks.

Other changes include a new real-time ambient occlusion system, intended to display the fine surface detail on a sculpt more clearly, and the option to render a turntable animation of a model.

A highly streamlined entry-level edition of ZBrush’s sculpting toolset
Launched last year, and targeted at students and 3D printing enthusiasts, ZBrushCoreMini is an entry-level non-commercial edition of ZBrush, slotting in below ZBrushCore, the commercial cut-down edition.

It includes Sculptris Pro, ZBrush’s new dynamic tessellation system, so it provides a genuinely clay-like sculpting experience, without the need to worry about subdividing a mesh manually,

Users get a highly simplified subset of features from ZBrush and ZBrushCore: 12 key sculpting brushes – up from eight in the original release – and eight materials. Mesh resolution is capped at 750,000 polygons.

Sculpts start from one of two standard base meshes – you can’t import custom models – and can be exported in OBJ format, with the software automatically decimating the mesh for 3D printing.

ZBrushCoreMini can open project files generated in ZBrushCore, though it isn’t possible to edit them: only to rotate the model. It doesn’t open files from ZBrush itself.

New in ZBrushCoreMini 2021: add entire body parts to sculpt with a few clicks with VDM
To that, ZBrushCoreMini 2021 – strictly, it’s ZBrushCoreMini 2021.6.5 according Pixologic’s announcement – adds support for ZBrush’s Vector Displacement Mesh (VDM) system.

Described as a “3D mesh that’s on your brush”, vector displacement enables users to add complex 3D forms like fingers or facial features to a sculpt with a few clicks.

You can read more about how it works in this story on ZBrush 4R8, in which the toolset was first introduced.

The update also adds four ‘chisel brushes’ based on the VDM technology: Chisel3D, ChiselShapes, ChiselOrganic and ChiselCreature – which comes pre-loaded with readymade creature parts.

In addition, it is now possible to smooth the surface of a model by holding down [Shift] while sculpting, as in the other editions of the software.

Now exports turntable animations of models as well as still images
Another key change in ZBrushCoreMini 2021.6.5 is the option to generate a turntable animation of a model.

Previously, the edition lacked any built-in rendering capabilities, so to showcase a completed sculpt, you had to take a screenshot, or generate an iMage3D file: a 2D image that embeds the 3D data.

ZBrushCoreMini also gets a few new features from recent releases of ZBrush, including the Preview AO system from ZBrush 2021.5, which accentuates surface detail on a sculpt.

The update also makes it possible to sculpt using 3Dconnexion’s 3D control devices like the SpaceMouse, and makes the software avaible in a range of languages, including Japanese, Korean and Chinese.

Pricing and system requirements
ZBrushCoreMini 2021 is available free for 64-bit Windows 7+ and Mac OS X 10.11+. It is only licensed for non-commercial use, not professional work.

New perpetual licences of ZBrushCore cost $179.95, while new perpetual licences of ZBrush cost $895.

Download ZBrushCoreMini for free from Pixologic’s website
(Requires a free Pixologic account)

See a feature comparison table between ZBrushCoreMini and ZBrushCore