The ZBrush 2019 new features are out…
The big one is NPR, which offers… “a hand drawn 2D style and even take your sculpted creations into the pages of a comic book.” Very interesting, though from the look of the samples I doubt it beats Poser 11 for either i) hand-drawn-ness of the ink lines, ii) ease-of-use, or iii) speed of real-time rendering.
While the pencil effect looks adequate, and the hatching on the second example (below) seems to follow the contours of a very boxy 3D model, I can also see the shading zip-tones slicing through geometry as if it wasn’t there…
The question is then… can that ‘follow the angles’ hatching (on the second example) also work on more rounded organic shapes, such as characters? The texture-bunching weirdness seen happening on the gun’s round scope suggests not.
ZBrush 2019 does have MATCap — meaning that (apparently) the toon outlines can pick up their colour from the 3D material applied below them. Which is cool if it works well and automatically.
Still, the ‘demo comic’ graphic makes it look like the new ZBrush is at least worth a test once it’s available, to see how easily all this can actually be done. There’s a lot being added in post here — look at the (hand drawn?) floor, added texturing on the pillar, and (painted?) sky background…
Poser 11 would give you the colour flats as well as the ink lines, possibly saving work in colouring.
But I guess this is ZBrush’s move to an approximate parity with the free Blender and its increasingly powerful (if incredibly fiddly) toon capabilities, rather than Poser 11/12. If that’s the case, then I guess we’d expect to see the $180 ZBrush Core 2019 have all the NPR features of the main ZBrush. Yet Core currently lacks “2D and 2.5D painting and drawing tools” and a whole lot of other features that a sculptor/toon-illustrator might want.
Ok, well… these are just my first few minutes of reactions. I’ll obviously have to give this feature an in-depth review when the time comes. A lot will depend on if the toon lines are just standard uniform toon-outlines (as they seem to be), or are variously weighted inking lines which can look like they were made by a human inker. But if they had ‘tapering/variable line weights’ and ‘hatching that follows curved contours’, then surely they’d be showing it in the demo pictures?
There’s also lots of other new stuff in the announcement. Though that seems only of interest only to ZBrushers, such as the expected Folders, Retopology stuff, a better camera system.