Tuesday, July 19th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

The ZBrush to KeyShot Bridge is now free

The original teaser for the ZBrush to KeyShot Bridge. The plugin itself is now free, and comes pre-installed with ZBrush, but KeyShot for ZBrush, the old low-cost edition of the renderer, has been discontinued.

There is good news and bad news for ZBrush users hoping to render their sculpts with KeyShot.

The ZBrush to KeyShot Bridge, which connected the sculpting software to the renderer, is now free, but KeyShot for ZBrush, the low-cost edition of the renderer, has been discontinued.

Artists looking for new licenses of KeyShot to use with ZBrush, or existing users looking to upgrade to a newer version, will now need to take out a KeyShot Pro subscription, which have a base price of $1,188/year.

Before: $149 ZBrush to Keyshot Bridge, plus $400 KeyShot for ZBrush Pro
Although the change seems to have been made around three months ago, we only spotted it when researching a story on KeyShot 11.2, the latest version of the renderer, which shipped this month.

We noticed that Luxion, its developer, no longer includes ZBrush in its list of KeyShot integrations.

That was a surprise, as for the past seven years, KeyShot has been the de facto third-party ZBrush renderer, with a dedicated button in the software to switch from ZBrush’s own BPR renders to KeyShot.

To do so, users needed the ZBrush to KeyShot Bridge plugin, which cost $149, and any edition of KeyShot.

The cheapest option was KeyShot for ZBrush, a low-cost edition of the renderer designed specifically for use with ZBrush, with import of assets from other software having been disabled.

It cost $200 or $400, depending on whether you needed the feature set of the HD or Pro edition of KeyShot.

Both products were sold through the ZBrush online store, although only the bridge plugin was actually developed by Pixologic, then the developer of ZBrush itself.

Now: free ZBrush to KeyShot Bridge, plus $1,188/year KeyShot Pro subscription
The KeyShot integration – the old bridge plugin – now comes pre-installed with ZBrush.

However, the corresponding page on the Luxion website now directs users to a KeyShot Pro subscription, KeyShot having gone subscription-only at the start of the year.

Although that lets users render assets from any source, not just ZBrush, it’s a lot more expensive.

At $1,118/year, even the first payment is more than twice the cost of the old perpetual licences for the ZBrush to KeyShot Bridge and KeyShot for ZBrush Pro.

Why has KeyShot for ZBrush been discontinued?
The email from Luxion reproduced in this forum post suggests that the change was instigated by Maxon, ZBrush’s new owner, which acquired the assets of Pixologic in January.

When we contacted Maxon, it denied that the change came about because it instructed Pixologic to stop selling KeyShot for ZBrush.

Luxion, however, told us that the post is accurate, and commented: “It was a decision from Maxon, not because we discontinued it.”

Existing KeyShot for ZBrush users can upgrade to a KeyShot Pro subscription with a $600 discount for the first year. Luxion also told us that “other subscription options [are] in the works”.

So where does that leave ZBrush users looking for a third-party renderer?
Maxon owns its own third-party renderer, Redshift, which integrates with a range of DCC software.

Although there has been no formal announcement of a new ZBrush integration, Maxon told us that: “Improving the workflow between our products is of course a key objective. Making Redshift a first-class solution for rendering ZBrush content is definitely part of that focus.”

Read more about ZBrush on Maxon’s website

Read more about KeyShot on Luxion’s website