17 of the best ZBrush tutorials

ZBrush tutorials
(Image credit: Future)

The best ZBrush tutorials will help you boost your skills in the digital sculpting software and introduce you to techniques you may not be familiar with. In our list below, you'll find lessons that will help you get started if you're a novice, and others that will teach a new trick or two if you're more experienced. 

ZBrush is one of the best 3D modelling software options out there right now. And we've found the absolute best ZBrush tutorials on the web to help you use it better. They include tips on everything from the getting started on your 3D art to creating details like fur, hair, fabric and more. 

01. Learn ZBrush in 8 Minutes

In this eight minute video tutorial 3D artist Michael Gatz, aka Gatz 3D, walks you through the basics of ZBrush. It's essentially a taster video for his Skillshare series, but if you're a beginner, this is a great way to get your head around what ZBrush has to offer.

02. A Beginner's Guide To Sculpting in ZBrush

Here's a longer dive into the basics of ZBrush. In this 30 minute video lesson, digital sculptor Follygon looks at the three main sculpting tools used for working with geometry. He begins with Sculptris Pro, which he finds to be the easiest for beginners to grasp. Then he moves on to Dynamesh, then wraps up with ZRemesher and a subdivision workflow.

03. Get started with sculpting in ZBrush

This tutorial for beginners from Flipped Normals covers all the necessary tools you need to know in order to get started with ZBrush. Features covered include Zspheres, masking, dynamesh, UI, and brushes.

04. ZBrush essential training

ZBrush tutorials: Essential training

Everything a beginner needs to get started with ZBrush

If you take out a free trial subscription to LinkedIn Learning, you can access this introductory Zbrush course for 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. 

05. Gnomon Workshop tutorials

ZBrush tutorials: Gnomon Workshop

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

The Gnomon Workshop offers a wide range of ZBrush tutorials, but you do need to pay a subscription fee to access them. There is, however, a seven-day free trial, which should be enough time to try a few of them out. Note, too, that his training website doesn't just cover ZBrush: there are also tutorials for a whole host of other tools, too.

06. Essential ZBrush retopology techniques

ZBrush tutorials: retopology

Retopology is a crucial skill to master (Image credit: Future)

Master ZBrush repotology with these three essential techniques, which utilise the ZRemesher and the Topology brush. This tutorial by Glen Southern originally appeared in 3D Artist magazine.

07. ZBrush 2023: Hard Surface Modeling with Paul Gaboury

Join presenter Paul Gaboury with host Ian Robinson as they dive into the new ZBrush 2023 with focused techniques on hard surface modelling tips. This presentation also includes rendering with Redshift from ZBrush, and texturing techniques such as patterns and weathered damage on metal components. 

08. Use references to concept a fighting beast

This video 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. It originally appeared in ImagineFX magazine: you can see more of their digital art tutorials here.

09. Speed sculpt a creature

In this workshop, 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. You can also read the written version of this tutorial on how to speed-sculpt which originally appeared in ImagineFX.

10. 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. This tutorial originally appeared in 3D World magazine.

11. 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 by Gary Bru demonstrates how you can create texture to guarantee the best outcome.

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

In this tutorial, 3D artist Juan Martin Garcia Forn provides 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. This tutorial originally appeared in 3D World.

14. Sculpt realistic anatomy

Digital model of two human figures

This tutorial explains everything including adding muscle volume (Image credit: Future)

This tutorial is ideal for those who want to look beyond the easy option of downloading free 3D models, as it teaches you 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. This tutorial originally appeared in 3D World.

15. 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, which originally appeared in 3D World.

16. 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 on how to pose a character, which originally appeared in 3D World, runs through exactly what those processes are and drops in some tips to ensure you get it right. 

17. Using PolyPaint with PolyGroupIt

ZBrush tutorials: Polypaint with PolyGroupIt

Paul Gaboury shows how to use PolyPaint with PolyGroupIt

Polypaint allows painting on a model's surface without first assigning a texture map. In this tutorial Paul Gaboury demonstrates how to use 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

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.

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