Top 8 highlights of ZBrush Summit 2015

3D artist Aiman Akhtar reveals what went down at the ZBrush Summit 2015.

It's hard to think of a software company that cares for its community as much as Pixologic. But Jaime Labelle, Paul Gaboury, Louie Tucci and the entire Pixologic team really outdid themselves at this year's ZBrush Summit.

Held on-site at the Gnomon workshop campus in sunny Hollywood California and live-streamed across the world, this year's summit was a real tour de force. Here are our top 8 highlights...

01. Real-world tips and tricks

MPC revealed their dinosaur tips

A series of free presentations were held by top industry pros including Rick Baker, Neville Page, Glenn Hetrick, Scott Eaton, and David Giraud. Studios were well represented too, with team presentations from Sideshow Collectibles, Disney Interactive, The Mill and MPC. Presenters shared their workflows, production anecdotes and ZBrush tips and tricks.

Missed the event? Pixologic is posting presentations as they are ready on the Pixologic YouTube channel.

02. Audience participation

Live Q&As added value to the proceedings

Audience interaction was a clear priority for the Pixologic team, with a social media team on-site live-tweeting updates and responding to questions. Paul Gaboury masterfully managed the Q&A pace and helped the live and online audience engage with presenters. Following their talks, presenters were ushered into the Gnomon Shop for individualized interviews by the enigmatic Louie Tucci.

03. Pro sculpt-off

24 artists went into sculpting battle with each other

While presentations were taking place in the bunker, ZBrush pros gathered in a Gnomon computer lab to go head to head in the annual ZBrush sculpt-off. Streamed worldwide with compelling commentary by Joseph Drust and Jessica Dru, the 24 artists competed in two categories, Organic modeling and Hard-Surface modeling.

Winners Erick Sosa and Furio Tedeschi walked away with sweet championship belts and Formlabs 3D printers along with prizes from Wacom, Kotobukiya and Luxion.

04. A great website

This is how to do an event website

This year, Pixologic created the most user friendly event website I've used. The site was designed specifically for the attendees, to clearly convey event schedule and presenter info, as well as host the high quality live streaming of the presentations and sculpt-off. Registration for workshops went out months in advance and classes quickly sold out, but the site still shows the class details.

05. Top workshops

Small class sizes meant lots of individual attention

Advanced and exclusive workshops were hosted in the Gnomon classrooms with one-on-one time with the pros. Topics ranged from Mold 3D's design for 3D printing, How to sculpt like Disney Infinity, sculpting anatomy of a figure in motion with Scott Eaton and character concept design with Keos Masons. Each workshop was four hours in length and small class size of 16 students ensured individual attention from the instructors.

06. Amazing artwork

Some of the work on display in the Gnomon gallery is famous for its "top row" gallery format and several of the finest artworks created by ZBrush users from around the world were on display at the Gnomon gallery, including stills and sculpts from many of the presenters.

07. A ton of networking

A diverse and friendly crowd

There were several opportunities for mingling and networking including on site food trucks and an after-show pizza party. The Pixologic team were even passing out "black tie" T-shirt stickers, and the crowd was diverse, ranging from visiting professionals, local students, industry titans like Frank Tzeng and Rafael Grassetti as well as Ofer Alon, the creator of ZBrush.

08. ZBrush awards

The community chose who to honour in the awards

The three day summit was capped off by the ZBrush Awards, celebrating the best artwork created by the users in 2015. Nominees were pre-selected and winners chosen by the community votes for the quality for the work.

Rick Baker was given an honorary award for his contribution to the ZBrush online community, and him along with the other winners received a gorgeous trophy designed for this summit, mold and cast in bronze by Deep in the Heart Art Foundry.

Words: Aiman Akhtar

Aiman Akhtar is a 3D artist and regular contributor for 3D World magazine. Click for the latest issue, which includes news and tutorials.

Photography: Thomas Roussel

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