Tuesday, October 17th, 2023 Posted by Jim Thacker

Reallusion ships ZBrush Face Tools

Reallusion has released ZBrush Face Tools, a new plugin integrating Character Creator, its character generation tool, with ZBrush, Maxon’s digital sculpting software.

The plugin streamlines the process of refining a Character Creator head mesh in ZBrush, making it possible to generate a base head, transfer it to ZBrush to sculpt and paint details, including custom facial wrinkles, then transfer the changes back to Character Creator.

The latest integration between Character Creator and ZBrush
ZBrush Face Tools is the second integration between Character Creator and ZBrush that Reallusion has released this year, following ZBrush Pose Tools and ZBrush Pose Link, a pair of free plugins for transferring full-body character poses between the applications.

In contrast, ZBrush Face Tools is focused on facial workflow, and is a paid add-on.

Refine Character Creator head meshes inside ZBrush
ZBrush Face Tools streamlines the process of refining and detailing the heads and faces of 3D characters generated with Character Creator inside ZBrush.

Users generate a base mesh inside Character Creator, using its morph controls to approximate the overall shape of the head.

The plugin then transfers the mesh to ZBrush, exporting the head, eyes, teeth and tongue as separate SubTools.

The mesh can be refined in ZBrush, modifying the overall proportions of the head, sculpting fine skin details, or painting them in using ZBrush’s Polypaint system.

The plugin then transfers the changes back to Character Creator as baked texture maps, converting Polypaint data to diffuse textures, and surface detail to normal and cavity maps.

Sculpt custom expression wrinkles in ZBrush
ZBrush Face Tools is also geared towards customising facial expressions, making it possible to toggle between 13 Character Creator expression sets inside ZBrush.

Users can then customise the expressions in ZBrush: for example, by sculpting custom wrinkle patterns that can be triggered by Character Creator’s new dynamic wrinkles system.

For stylised characters, the plugin also supports painting on wrinkles in Polypaint.

Intended for use with Reallusion’s other software
In its blog post announcing the release, Reallusion pitches the new plugin as making it possible for character artists to “handle the entire character production process from modeling to animation, regardless of their skill levels”.

For animation, users can export characters from Character Creator to iClone, the firm’s own animation software, or use free bridge plugins to export to Blender, Unity or Unreal Engine.

The blog post also mentions using the plugin to create digital doubles based on 3D scans, which can be imported into Character Creator via Headshot 2.0, a separate paid add-on.

Price and system requirements
ZBrush Face Tools is compatible with Character Creator 4.32+.

A perpetual licence has a MSRP of $299 for indie artists – anyone with a full licence of Character Creator 4 earning under $100,000/year – and a MSRP of $1,490 for studios.

Character Creator itself is compatible with 64-bit Windows 7+. New perpetual licences have a MSRP of $299.

Read more about ZBrush Face Tools on the product website

Read an overview of workflow in ZBrush Face Tools in the online documentation

Have your say on this story by following CG Channel on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter). As well as being able to comment on stories, followers of our social media accounts can see videos we don’t post on the site itself, including making-ofs for the latest VFX movies, animations, games cinematics and motion graphics projects.