ZGametools Texturer : Sharing my progress and my workflow

Some Features :

Bake accurate normal maps and target the engine of your choice compatible with GGX and metalness workflow.
*** Optimize GGX reflections for Marmot toolbag, or Unreal Engine 4 using engine target presets, and some more support to come for ( maya/stingray, unity, cryengine)
**** Baking time are faster that substance painter baker or any other solution on the market ! *
***** BPR rendering AA is taking no time ! better quality that what Substance Painter 2.4.1 gave me after 1 minutes of baking with no AA !

Bridge Zbrush to Photoshop, Marmot Toolbag, and Unreal engine 4 with no effort. *
Use Toolbag or Unreal Engine 4 as previewer during your sculpting session in zbrush.
Switch to normal map shader then, sculpt directly the normal map in zbrush canvas.


Complete description of the video :

Workflow with External application * (all along the video i jump from app to app)

Workspace manager helps to exchange with Zbrush > photoshop > Marmot Toolbag, then finally end into Unreal engine 4.
Both applications helps to check the all the baking that is entirely achieved into Zbrush, with the new Normal map Matcap.
Work in Zbrush, then bake and switch to the game engine and apply the edit, then you can use Toolbag or UE4 as previewer in combo with zbrush,
during your sculpt session.

1a. Sending the baked texture using ZgameTools core to Photoshop,
Note : then after the document is open into Photoshop, you don’t need to use the core module, it will update in Ps if the file has changed.
1b. I just apply the crop to the texture to remove the margin and by the way the 1 pixel black border.

2a. Toolbag scene has been setup just before the video capture.
2b. The path to the texture are pointing  within the workspace directory, where zbrush batch save all rendered passes you setup in the render options of the Zgametools.
2c. Then when you switch to PS or marmot toolbag will automatically apply the textures changes without to do anything.

3a. In UE4 you import your texture then setup the material,
3b. then you will only have to select the updated texture in content browser and click Reimport !

Clipping Tools ** ( 2’15 in the video)

Get more control on soft or sharpen edges of your sculpt/texture using the Zbrush tools ( clay polish, smooth, relax etc..)
Note : I use a clipping plane with an offset that is driven by the layers intensity, depend the result i like to get, adjust the clipping for soft or sharpen edging.

zbrush-vs-spainter-normal-map-cliping-methodOn top ZGameTools baking using the clipping plane method, on bottom Substance Painter 2.4.1

GGX Reflections ***

Take the control on how the GGX reflections applies the horizon occlusion on your normal map, mostly depends of the game engine you choose to export to.
Several presets (Unreal engine 4, Unity 3d, Maya/Stingray, Marmot toolbag) are now available in Zgametools Texturer to match the game engine of your
choice with the optimized settings.

Rendered into Unreal Engine 4.13  ( on top ZGametools bake, on bottom Substance painter bake)


Baking Rendering Time ****

My computer specs : ( low spec :s)

  • Amd phenom II
  • 6 gb ram
  • Geforce 760 GTX
  • no ssd

Example :

Zbrush BPR Default AA Settings, Substance Painter with no AA
2048*2048 take only 6 seconds in Zbrush with BPR and default AA settings, and between 30 seconds to a minute to bake using Substance painter with no AA.


On left ZGametools baking, on right Substance painter 2.4.1


Stay tuned.


ZGametools Texturer : Generate tileable Alpha mask on fly

ZGametools is a complete toolset for Pixologic Zbrush 4R7.
Texturer is one tool from the toolset and is dedicated to Tileable Texture creation.

Some built-in Features :

  • Full none destructive work
  • Texturing in 3D environement.
  • Generate alpha mask from 3d model unlike (substance painter and quixel).
  • Take the advantage of all Native Zbrush features like Array mesh or Nanomesh.
  • and many more


Demo :

Description of the video :

Here you see how you can use material to preview sculpting, without to apply a deformation.
Have to use of all masking feature includes in Zbrush to get the desired effect.
Save the current masking as a tileable texture you can store within the Workspace Directory (workspace manager*)
And apply deformation when you are done, using the deformation panel.
Create new tileable alpha mask on the fly then Re apply the effect on a clean subtool (using framer ZTL files, that are shipped with ZGametools).

ZGametools 1.0 Beta D Release Note


Beta 1.0 D

Texturer Module

FS#3 – Fixed : Compass NW offset to SE.
FS#5 – Fixed : Nanotile, enable / disable array to not work.
FS#17 – Fixed : Tilling on: H/V, H or V only. Switch button UI do not switch correctly and disable the other Switch buttons options.
FS#27 – Fixed : Framer changing default scaling changed from 3.0 > 1.0.
FS#28 – Fixed : 1 by 2 / width set to 512 gives a wrong margin in pixel.

Renderer Module

FS#11 – New : Camera manager view file change extension , new file extension type *.vue
FS#30 – New : Move Camera View to an independent subpalette.
FS#33 – Fixed : “Clear It” switch button label has been renamed to “Clr It“.

Baker Module

FS#2 – Fixed : Obj File exported without Uv data.

FS#29 – FIxed : Batchtools : Prevent the user from running baking process

FS#35 – New : Save and Restore Scale and XYZ Offset

Info that are Saved and can be restored :

New Options from Export Meshes Section:

Info : Open a note and display what ar the current Ztools Scaling and Offset from Tool:Export section.

The info Note :

Save : Save the Scale and XYZ offset to a file within the workspace in Data.

Reload: Reload Scale and XYZ offset Values from a file you save previously ( should match the Ztool name).

A new file type as been added in data Directory “*.SIZ” , the file takes the name of the Ztool* and store the Scale, X Offset, Y Offset, Z Offset for next re-use.

*the first subtool

FS#37 – Updated : Export Meshes section has been reordered and section has been edited to precise the purpose of the options.


FS#36 – Updated : “Zgametools:Baker:Std” label has changed to Msh (meshes) to match the folder name in workspace directory.

Core Module

FS#31 – New : Send For Edit BPR filters in image Editor : Update or Send existent file.

FS#38 – Updated : “ZGametools:Baker:Std” label has changed to Msh, to match the folder name in workspace directory.

FS#34 – New: Add Eula link and Accept button before to enter the license key.

FS#39 – Fixed : the link to access Youtube channel, which is now “https://www.youtube.com\c\Zgametools” .

All modules :

FS#32 -Fixed : Icons transparency issue when button size ui is set to minimum.

FS#21 – Workspace Project Info has been Revamped and Iconized.

FS#20 – Updated : Project Stats : workspace path displays without the slashes

Workspace Manager

FS#12 – Fixed : Set project Name odd behaviors.

FS#13 – Fixed : Save Zproject / Brushes / Alpha / Materials / Ztools, file browser dialog issue

FS#14 – Fixed : load Zproject, but the file do not exists withing the workspace directory

FS#15 – Fixed : Disable Auto Create Shortcut when saving to Zproject.

0:00 uninstalling, and update

3:41 Fix first startup default workspace path
4:18 Core bpr send canvas
Renderer :
7:44 Camera manager subpalette
9:00 *.vue files
Baker :
10:40 Prevent user from running sbatchtools baking
11:00 OBj Export batch without UVs
12:10 export in subdirectory Meshes
12:43 Save and restore Export options
14:53 Export Meshes subpallette reordered
16:15 Icons transparency fix

Workspace Manager :
16:55 SAve Zproject, ztools, material, brushes etc, file dialog issues

ZGameTools Texturer Workflow with nanoMesh + array mesh

ZGameTools is at a early stage of the development, this breakdown is already old, but the technique is the most important, don’t take care about the texture it self, i haven’t took time to make a texture that is artistically perfect.
Note, that I can’t to focus on the development of the tools, and on the same time focus on the artistic aspect of the result, even if i would prefer to make impressive texture work :)
ZGameTools is now composed of 4 plugins that all can be use on same project, Core plugin is the tools that help to handle rendered maps and the image editor.

hello today i go in practice with my new toy ;)
so i had a test using combined technique to create brick wall like 30minutes of tweak and the making of 3 nanomeshes
The Ztool is only 66mb with the polypaint, the workflow is fully none destructive and you can edited at any time (nanomesh settings , tools layer, subtool stacking).
For this texturing attempts the structuring is progressive.
example :

  1. must to define the right strategy on how the base plane3d mesh should be sectioned.
  1. with zmodeler > insert nanomesh > you had the same nanobrush to all faces
    then come back to the plane3D and create some new polygroups to insert some variant mesh ( brush > create insert mesh > create nanobrush)
  1. when done you can start to add more detail on the bricks using nanomesh edit, and then adjust nanomesh settings for each polygroup. “RandArray” and “ShowPlacement” must to be uncheck.
  1. when happy with the brick mesh and nanomeshes setup you can add a new plane and paint with the Brush Wrap mode enable.
  1. you can adjust the blending by using Offset on the Z axis result in Zbrush :
  1. everything remains editable :
  1. the texture tile anyway :

MESA on Gumroad

Hey there, i differed the announcement to inform you about the availability of MESA on Gumroad.

Few words about the meaning of this :

Gumroad provides me analytic data, mean that i know who download, you can contact me using gumroad interface, and with that I can offer a better support for my users.

MESA is free and will never being charged, but in the case you appreciate the tool and the effort done to make it real, and/or you liked the service i , you can make a donation buy defining a price to support me. All funds goes to maintain my web services, like this blog and are welcome to help me to maintain my Activity and my pipeline tool and my projects alive.

Gumroad is the chosen platform to sell and share some resources, so stay tuned to check if there is no freebies to appear on my page, doing some zbrush custom brush and a nice UI that increase the workflow .
It ‘s possible that a little and cool plugin for Zbrush is on the way too :)

I am thinking about to commit some Sample scenes for MESA on gumroad.


MESA Documentation Update


After an hard work I hope you will appreciate the new MESA documentation:

It still necessary to update the screenshots on the Export guide, but it might be good enough for today.

I got a lot more in mind, like to write a tutorial  on how to create custom projects workspaces, to work with your mod projects. and that would comes in addition to complete the The Installation Guide.

I would like to record a new time the video tutorial about the installation, and instead of one tutorial , i will split the process in two videos, the first would be dedicated to MESA Setup, and a second one for the Project Setup.

And the most important, is that i must to make a Guide about the Characterization.


As reminder this feature help you to compile a npc character  or a player character(third person model) using the npc animation set and the player animation set from the human sdk provides with the sourceSDK content. The human sdk is included with MESA 2.1 and is located into ” MESA/addons/human_sdk“.

Unfortunately, i don’t provide the reference biped in rest posture, but I am working on sort of Sample Projects, from the one you could check out on you own, how the scenes are structured, you could simply copy the samples scenes into your own project workspace then using this Characterization feature.

MESA 2.1 released

Long while without giving a sign of life, i am sorry for the lack of activity on my blog, a lot of change has been applied to my website since i write down the last Post,
The WP theme has changed, and the layout, and a better sectionning so i can make cohabit my devBlog and MESA, and a forum and even if i never found a moment to create my portfolio here, one day it will finally happen :x

Ok Today , it’s all about MESA 2.1 release, this version is a revision of every edits i had made all along the last year, and recently i thought this would be important to fix the compatibility with SMD file produced by the decompilation of MDL files using Crowbar.(http://steamcommunity.com/groups/CrowbarTool)

  • SMD IMPORT : Compatibility with crowbar mdl decompiler
  • SMD IMPORT : Rewrite of the ReadUntil function in use when you importing a SMD file into maya.
  • SMD IMPORT : Import Reference, no longer force maya to create a new scene when importing an SMD file.
  • SMD IMPORT : Mouse Cursor don’t flick anymore during the SMD importing process.
  • INSTALL/CONFIG : Simplification of Mesa_config.bat file, the simplification has been apply to every projects batchs files too.
  • SMD IMPORT (ref) : weight skin data greatly improved during the smd reference import in maya.
  • SMD IMPORT (ref) : very small skin value are pruned at the import process.
  • SMD IMPORT (seq) : don’t need anymore to rename the unknowdag1 object to “unknowdag”, let it with the default name,the smd sequence will stop to throw you the error message about the missing unknowdag object.
  • SMD EXPORT : bug with the compileQc() function that give a wrong path to studiomdl.exe
  • SHELF TOOLs : BUG with the path to launch qcEye from the shelf
  • SHELF TOOLs : BUG with the path to open the current model into hlmv
  • COMPILE LOG : a printed information that bring confusion with a suspicious double quotation at the beginning of the path of studioMDL Compilation and VTEX.
  • SAMPLE ASSETs : adding some samples ready to use with maya and to compile with your game projects.

Read the complete  2.1 release notes

You can download MESA from the Download page, or you can download MESA from Github.
If you get in trouble with the new build of MESA, you can report the bugs/issues on that topic.