How to Render Wireframes in ZBrush 2021
For 3D modelers and digital sculptors, there are a handful of rules you must follow when working on your reel. One of them is that you absolutely need wireframe renders of your work. In fact, by rendering your model’s wireframes, you are allowing your topology to be easily viewed by others. This is especially important if you’re hoping to present your demo reel to a recruiter, as rendering out your model’s wireframe clearly shows to the 3D graphics industry that you know what you’re doing when you applying for a film or video game producer.
As such, rendering out the wireframe is an important element for successfully displaying all that your props or characters have to offer. Knowing how to render your wireframes, however, isn’t necessarily a straightforward process. In fact, it can be difficult to figure out if you’ve never done it before.
So, let’s say that you already did retopo all your meshes and now you are wondering how to render the wireframes to all your subtools in ZBrush, then this is the article for you.
To get the most out of presenting your 3D objects, I have compiled a how-to article where you can find all the tools you need for professionally render your model’s wireframe.
Show the PolyFrame
First, you will want to view the Polyframe of your subtool. Push Shift + F to reveal it for the selected Subtool. Alternatively you can hold down Space and click on PolyF, this option is also located inside Transform menu.
Hide the PolyGroups
Once you have revealed the Polyframe on your subtool, you want to hide the PolyGroups. If you render like this it will depict the wireframe but also the polygroups on all your visible subtools.
PolyGroups give you the ability to organize the object’s meshes into distinct, colored areas making it easier for you to work with. However hiding the PolyGroups allows you to display the wireframe as well as the polypaint, textures and materials.
To hide PolyGroups, do the following:
- Navigate to Preferences > Draw.
- Turn PFill down to 0 – Controls the PolyGroup opacity.
- Turn PFrame up to 100 – Controls the wireframe opacity.
TIP: Hold down Ctrl and move your mouse to the desired option to reveal its description.
Display the Wireframe
Now you made your wireframes to appear but when you have multiple resolution levels it can become idistingible. To make the wireframes clearly visible, you will need to follow a few additional steps:
- Turn of PolyF pushing down Shift + F.
- Go to your lowest subdiv, and turn PolyF back on.
- Then, go back to your highest subdiv.
The lowest wireframe will then render on top of the highest subdiv, making your wires clean.
Changeing the Wireframe Color
For instance, if you want to change the wireframe color – in that case the black color doesn’t highlight enough on your mesh, you can change it. To change the color, easily pick your new color choice by following these steps:
- Pick a color on the Color Palette.
- Go back to Preferences > Draw.
- Hold down Pf Color and drag over to the Color Palette to pick the color you chose before.
How to Render the Wireframe Passe
With ZBrush to Photoshop plugin you can generate many passes with a touch of a button. Navigate to:
- Navigate to ZPlugin > ZBrush to Photoshop.
Now all you need to do here is select the passes you want. In this case:
- Chose Preview and Wireframe passes.
- Push Send to Photoshop CC button.
Having a well-rendered wireframe of your mesh is important for presenting a clean end project to others, be it a potential recruiter, clients, or even for your own, personal use. By following the steps above, your wireframes should be rendered out and ready to go.
I also attach a video from Danny Mac which will help you to complement the understanding of this process.
I hope this quick, how-to guide gave you just the right tools for successfully rendering out your 3D models. If you have any questions, suggestions, or have a different method that you wish to share, let me know in the comments below.