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Sculpting an Intricate Octopus in ZBrush!

Learn how to create a detailed octopus using ZBrush.

Explore the functions of ZSpheres and various tools like draw, move, scale, and rotate.

Discover how to position and manipulate spheres, enable symmetry, and add intricate details to your octopus model.

- Zspheres

  • ZSphere is a feature in ZBrush that allows artists to create and manipulate base meshes using a system of interconnected spheres.

  • It provides a unique way to build complex 3D models by establishing a hierarchy of spheres that serve as a framework for sculpting.

  • Each sphere represents a joint or an anchor point, and by adding, removing, or moving spheres, artists can create a basic structure or armature for their models.

  • The Zsphere Tool is located in the SimpleBrush Menu.

  • To add it into your scene you drag it in like any other object. Make sure you click on the Edit button before you start working.

  • The tool can be manipulated by using 4 tools. Draw, Move, Scale, and Rotate.

- Draw

  • With the Draw Tool, you add a new sphere in the hierarchy.

- Move

  • The Move Tool is activated by pressing W. It allows you to move the Sphere anywhere in the workspace and it will still be attached to the hierarchy.

- Scale

  • The Scale Tool is activated by pressing E. With this tool, you can scale down or scale up the size of the connection of a specific joint.

- Rotate

  • The Rotate tool is activated by pressing R. With the Rotate Tool you can rotate the bones of the hierarchy in any direction.

  • You can Add more Zsphere anywhere in between the joints and it will create a new one.

  • If you want to use symmetry on Zspheres make sure you don’t move it away from the center of the world. Doing so will offset the symmetry.

  • To clear out your workspace you can go to Preferences and click the Init Zbush option.

  • To make the 8 tentacles of the octopus we can activate the Radical Symmetry. In the Transform options when you click on Activate Symmetry you need to click the R button to activate the Radical Count. Before moving forward make sure you set the symmetry to be only active on the Y axis by pressing the >Y< symbol.

  • If all the symmetry dots are green it means the symmetry is perfectly aligned around the sphere.

  • Using the Draw Tool you can add in the spheres.

  • With the Move Tool, move them into place.

  • And with the Scale Tool, you can scale the tips to be a bit thinner. Switching back to the Move tool again we can extend them out and keep working on the form using the same 4 tools.

  • Adding more Zspheres in between the joint will add more flexibility to the tentacles. To rotate them in an angle use the Rotate Tool on the joints in between the Zspheres.

- Preview

  • To see how the model looks so far you can click A on your keyboard to see the Preview.

  • For the head of the octopus, we’ll reset our Symmetry settings to how they were. Go back to the Transform menu and reset everything back to how it was. Turn off the Radical Symmetry and switch to the X-axis.

  • For the head we’ll use a few Zpheres, using the move and scale tool to make the form we want.

  • If there are shadows in between the Zspheres make sure to adjust them by moving them with the move tool. These deformations will cause problems to the model when you apply the changes and turn them into a poly mesh.

  • After everything has been adjusted we can go ahead and turn it into a poly mesh. To do that we go into the Active Skin option on the right side of our viewport and click on Make Adaptive Skin. A new Subtool will be created where we’ll continue working on the model.

  • The model will be very blocky so to fix that we can polish it in the Deformation Option.

- Adding Details

  • Now that everything is set up we can begin adding in the details. Don’t forget to turn on the symmetry again and just like in the beginning activate the Radical Symmetry so we can add changes to each tentacle.

  • Using the Clay Build Up brush we can make the hole of the mouth beneath the octopus. Holding down Alt while using the brush will subtract clay, once you let go of the Alt key it will go back to adding on clay like normal.

  • To make the form of the mouth nicer we can use the Dam Standar brush to add lines in between the clay we added. When we hold down the Alt key with this brush it will instead add sharp lines on top of the clay instead of making holes.

  • Using the Clay Build Up brush we can make the suction cups. To make them smoother and nicer use DynaMesh as well as the Smooth Brush.

  • We can add some lines in between the tentacles using the Dam Standard brush. To make our strokes more precise and slow we can activate Lazy Mouse for the selected brush.

  • Click on the Stroke Option and activate the Lazy Mouse, the larger the LazyRadius the better control you will have over your brush. If you don’t want to use Lazy Mouse on your Brush you can always go back to the settings and turn it off.

  • We can go ahead and add some strokes on the bottom of the tentacles using the same Dam Standard brush.

  • The head can be smoothed out using the Smooth Brush and a larger brush Size.

  • The eyes are a creature brush that has been dragged onto its head without the Radical Symmetry turned on as well as switching to the X axis on the symmetry options.

  • The Blob brush creates blobs of clay on your model. We can use this to make an interesting texture on the skin.

  • The rest of the skin has been sculpted using the Dam Standard brush with an alpha mask selected.

Final Render

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