20 of the best ZBrush tutorials

ZBrush tutorials
(Image credit: Future)

There is an abundance of ZBrush tutorials on the internet, often costly but there are some for free, too. The best ones will enable beginner 3D artists to get started with the software, and more seasoned users to advance their existing skills by learning a new trick or two. 

As some of the top 3D software out there (see our pick of the best 3D modelling software for more options), there is a lot of content to wade through. How do you separate the useful tutorials from those less deserving of your time?

This article does the hard work for you. Here you'll find our selection of the best ZBrush tutorials on the web. They include tips on everything from the basics, to get started on your art – see this top 3D art for inspiration – to tutorials that'll help you create the details like fur, hair, fabric and more. And to learn more about the program, see our ZBrush 2019 review.

01. 19 tips to master ZBrush

ZBrush tutorials: 19 tips

These tips cover a range of skills (Image credit: Future)

Follow these tips to give your work that Hollywood finish. Experts share their advice to help you to master the software, from setting the work screen to using the brushes to their fullest ability.

02. ZBrush: core skills

ZBrush tutorials: Pluralsight

Pluralsight's tutorials are tailored to your skill level

If you sign up for a free trial account with Pluralsight (opens in new tab), you can access easy-to-follow suite of ZBrush tutorials that cover everything you need to learn more about the sculpting software. You'll start by doing on of Pluralsight's 'IQ' tests to determine your ZBrush skills, and ensure you start at the level suitable for you.

03. ZBrush 4 essential training

ZBrush tutorials: Essential training

Everything a beginner needs to get started with ZBrush

This course from online software training website Lynda introduces ZBrush to artists that are making a transition from another sculpting program. It covers the most popular tools and techniques for digital painting and sculpting in ZBrush. This course may be a few years old now, but the basic functions have not changed in this time, making this a great place to learn core skills. And with a free month's trial, you can get started at no cost.

04. Workflow tips for ZBrush

ZBrush tutorials: Workflow tips

Madeleine Scott-Spencer shares insider techniques for better sculpting in this video tutorial

Weta Workshop veteran Madeleine Scott-Spencer shares some of her insider techniques for sculpting better-looking models in less time with ZBrush.

05. 3 essential ZBrush retopology techniques

ZBrush tutorials: retopology

A crucial skill. (Image credit: Future)

Master ZBrush repotology with these 3 essential techniques, which utilise the ZRemesher and the Topology brush. 

06. Use references to concept a fighting beast

This ImagineFX tutorial walks you through using Photoshop and ZBrush to sculpt a concept fighting beast, specifically a "zombie elephant". Artist Rob Brunette plans to make a "Noah's Ark" of animal models to use for whatever project he is working on, and this tutorial will help you to do the same.

07. Gnomon Workshop tutorials

ZBrush tutorials: Gnomon Workshop

There are few better places to get ZBrush tutorials than the Gnomon Workshop

The Gnomon Workshop (opens in new tab) offers a wide range of ZBrush tutorials, but you do need to pay a subscription fee to access them. If you're not sure, sign up for a three-day free trial, which should be enough time to try a few of them out. This training website doesn't just cover ZBrush: there are also tutorials for a whole host of other programmes, too.

08. Speed sculpt a creature

In this workshop for ImagineFX, Adam Dewhirst walks through how to combine Zbrush and Photoshop to turn a loose concept into a fully realised idea, playing to both programs' strengths. Find the video above.

09. Sculpt a demon

ZBrush tutorials: Create a demonic creature

Titouan Olive shows you how to use ZBrush to push your sculpts to the next level

In this tutorial, lead character artist Titouan Olive shows you how to use ZBrush to apply Hollywood model-making techniques without a Hollywood budget. There's a clear walkthrough to follow, plus handy videos to illustrate trickier points.

10. Make a hair texture in ZBrush

Ensuring hair looks as realistic as possible is a difficult task for any ZBrush user. This short video tutorial sums up how you can create texture to guarantee the best outcome.

11. Cloth fold sculpting in ZBrush

Creating realistic look cloth folds is no easy task in 3D. In this two-hour video tutorial, 3D artist David Richardson explains the process behind it.

12. Create characters from scratch

In this popular tutorial, 3D artist Liam Shaw walks through the process of creating digital characters from scratch in ZBrush. It's aimed at those still getting to grips with the software. 

13. Model a stormtrooper in Maya and ZBrush

ZBrush tutorials: Model a Stormtrooper

Learn to create a 3D model of the iconic Star Wars character

For this project, 3D artist Juan Martin Garcia Forn give some tips about how to model a Stormtrooper from the Star Wars franchise using all the best bits of Maya, ZBrush and Photoshop. He reveals how to plan the composition ahead of beginning the modelling, and how rendering proved the most challenging aspect. "Since I had a very clear idea of how the final image should look, the lighting and camera angles had to be planned before the execution," he tells 3D World. "Everything was then pretty easy thanks to KeyShot's very friendly interface."

14. Modelling ears for beginners

ZBrush tutorials: Modelling ears

Let's face it, that looks pretty freaky doesn't it

This super-quick and simple tutorial shows you how to model humanoid ears. You should already know the very basics of ZBrush to do this tutorial.

15. Sculpt realistic anatomy

ZBrush tutorials: Sculpt realistic anatomy

This tutorial explains everything including adding muscle volume

This tutorial is ideal for those who want to look beyond the easy option of downloading free 3D models and learn how to sculpt realistic anatomy using ZBrush. ZBrush provides you with the much-needed freedom required when shaping forms – perfect for this type of sculpting.

16. Making of Alien in ZBrush

ZBrush tutorials: Make H.R. Giger's Alien

Create the alien from Alien with this tutorial

You'll already be aware that we're pretty obsessed with H.R. Giger's alien, thanks to our previous sci-fi design features. Here, you'll discover how to reincarnate the alien character using various ZBrush tools such as the ZSketch feature.

17. Model an alien pirate creature

ZBrush tutorials: Model an alien creature

Discover how to sculpt realistic fine details to complete an alien creature’s face

Darrell Abney demonstrates how he sculpted the face of his creature, Worgrock, to help you learn how to create a 3D alien pirate character. Abney chose ZBrush as his main weapon of choice due to its "many sculpting tools, and generally being fun to sculpt with", but he also uses Maya, Substance Painter and V-Ray in this tips feature.

18. Creating tiling meshes in ZBrush

ZBrush tutorials: tiling meshes

Not just for video game design, creating tiling mesh is a useful skill

Tiling meshes are helpful for creating video game environments. This tutorial is particularly effective when it comes to those little details on cliff faces and rocks. It's important to get these looking realistic and this step-by-step guide will help you to do just that.

19. Pose a character in ZBrush

ZBrush tutorials: Pose a character

Harness the tools of ZBrush to create interesting character poses

If you're after a way to make your 3D models more interesting, making them walk or hold an object can work wonders. ZBrush has a wide range of tools to help with this, with various posing processes to choose from. This tutorial runs through exactly what those processes are and drops in some tips to ensure you get it right. 

20. Using PolyPaint with PolyGroupIt

ZBrush tutorials: Polypaint with PolyGroupIt

Paul Gaboury shows how to use PolyPaint with PolyGroupIt

Paul Gaboury demonstrates PolyPaint in conjunction with PolyGroupIt, first by creating the helmet panels on a character head sculpt by artist James Cain, then by adding gold panelling to a ring created by Nacho Riesco Gostanza.

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Craig Stewart is a writer, SEO strategist and content marketer, and is a former editor of Creative Bloq. Craig has written about design, typography, tech and football for publications including Creative Bloq, T3, FourFourTwo and DSG, and he has written a book on motoring for Haynes. When he's not writing, you'll usually find Craig under his old car learning about DIY repairs the hard way.