Polygroups allow you to organize a single mesh with visual grouping information. Press SHIFT + F or press the Draw Polyframe button as shown selected in orange below to see the polygroups. Notice that the example image has six different polygroups as depicted with different colors.

Normally, polygroups display sections of a single mesh. If you want to convert polygroups into SubTools you can do the following.

If your model has different elements go to Tool > Polygroups and select Auto Groups. You can then go to SubTools > Split and click Groups Split. Groups Split will be disabled unless all polygroups are visible on the canvas (press CTRL + SHIFT and click an empty area of the canvas to display all polygroups).

When you want to merge all the stuff again just make each SubTool visible and pick SubTool > Merge > Merge Visible. ZBrush will create a new tool with all the former SubTools together again. Note that in merge visible you have an option for weld verts.

Warning: When you merge visible SubTools you will lose sublevels and the merged new tool is created with every SubTool at the current level. (At this moment, I don’t really know what this means, but it seemed like a relevant note, so I’m keeping it until I find out and can clarify the statement.)

This tutorial demonstrates a quick and simple way to create clothing in ZBrush by extruding a polygroup out from a Subtool.

Mask an area on the SubTool by holding down CTRL and painting on the Subtool.

In the Polygroups palette, click > Group Masked

Press CTRL + SHIFT and click the new polygroup to select it.

Under Geometry, make sure you have no subdivisions; the panel loop feature will not work on models with subdivisions. Remove subdivisions if it has them.

In the Geometry palette, expand the EdgeLoop section.

Click the Append button, which is just to the right of the Panel Loops button. This will create a back-face for your mesh so that you can separate it off and your mesh can have thickness without cutting a hole into the body underneath.

Increase thickness slightly with the Thickness slider. Try 0.02 for thickness, for example.

Click the Panel Loops button to see what you get.

CTRL + Z to undo an unwanted result and keep adjusting your thickness to what’s desired.

Now, if you turn on Polyframe mode, you’ll notice that the clothing item is its own new group with another polygroup at the edge(s).

If you want to get rid of the extra polygroup on the edge(s), you can go to Polygroups palette and click the Auto Groups button.

You can now CTRL + SHIFT + click on the new polygroup in order to isolate it.

Go to Subtools palette, expand the Split section, and click the Split Hidden button.

Now the item and the body from which you started are now two separate objects (two separate Subtools)

In the brush palette, you can go to Auto Masking and set Mask By Polygroups to 100. This will setup an automatic masking so that when you use a brush, it will only affect the polygroup.

To try this, press CTRL and paint a mask on an object.

Press CTRL + W to turn the masked area into a polygroup.

Select the Move brush ( B + M + V )

In the Brush palette, under Auto Masking, set Mask By Polygroups to 100

Now, when you use the move brush, it will only move the polygroup because everything else is auto-masked.

Suppose you have made a polygroup on one side of your subtool (using the SliceCurve brush, for example)…

If you want to mirror that polygroup onto the other side of the subtool, follow this procedure.

In the Deformation palette, on the Mirror button, select the axis on which to mirror (usually x).

Click the Mirror button. You’ll see the polygroup flip to the other side.

Now go to the Geometry palette, expand the Modify Topology section, and click the Mirror and Weld button.

The polygroup is then mirrored to the other side as shown below.

To start a ZSphere model, select the zsphere tool from the Tool palette (the two-toned red ball) – and draw it on the canvas.

Enter Edit mode by pressing T on the keyboard.

Press SHIFT + A to enter sketch mode. You’ll then see the two tones of the ZSphere turn to a solid color…

When sketching with ZSpheres, you can use any material. But notice that there are a few sketch materials in the materials palette.

I’ll choose the SketchGummyShine.

Because we’re in sketch mode, all we need to do is click and draw on the model to add more ZSpheres. We can hold the SHIFT key and draw to smooth things back. Remember that you can hit the X key to toggle symmetry mode.

You can always move ZSphere around by pressing W to activate Move (or press the Move button in the top bar).

Once you’re done moving ZSpheres, you can click back on Draw.

You can hold down the ALT key and click on ZSpheres to delete them.

Press A to generate an adaptive preview. If you like it, you can go to Subtools palette > Remesh and click ReMesh All.

You might also want to go to Geometry ZRemesher and click the ZRemesher button to lay down a cleaner topology.

References