ZBrush Keyboard Shortcuts

My notes on ZBrush keyboard shortcuts (hotkeys) and control. This page is derived largely from the ZBrush Online Documentation, by Pixologic, Inc. I have reproduced much of the Keyboard Shortcut documentation here for the purpose of personal study and for adding additional notes that may be helpful to others who are new to the software. Press CTRL + F in your browser to find by keyword or click a link in the table of contents below to jump to a given section.

Contents (Jump Navigation)

General shortcuts

Action Key(s)
Open Project CTRL + O
Save Project CTRL + S
Undo CTRL + Z
Redo SHIFT + CTRL + Z
Popup selection (on PC only)
  • Tools – F1
  • Brushes – F2
  • Strokes – F3
  • Alphas – F4
  • Textures – F5
  • Materials – F6 (with cursor off canvas area)
Show QuickMenu SPACE or right-click
Show/hide floating palettes TAB
Show item description (when Popup Info is switched on) CTRL + cursor over item; When Popup Info is switched on.
Show alternative item description CTRL + ALT + cursor over item
Assign custom hotkey CTRL+ ALT + click on item; Stores hotkeys in Preferences > Hotkeys submenu
Projection Master G

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Lightbox and Spotlight

Action Key(s)
Show/hide Lightbox , (comma key)
load selected item double-click on Lightbox thumbnail; Texture / Alphas will be loaded into Spotlight if it is active.
Turn on/off Spotlight

SHIFT + Z

Show/hide Spotlight Dial

Z

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Edit Mode Navigation

Edit Mode ON With a 3D mesh in Edit mode...

Action Key(s)
Free Rotate
ZBrush button icon: Rotate
Click & drag background
Move
ZBrush button icon: Move
Alt + Click ∓ drag background
Constrain to 90-degree rotation Click + drag, press SHIFT
Scale (a.k.a. Zoom3D)
ZBrush button icon: Scale (Zoom3D)
ALT + Click, release ALT, drag background
Rotate around Z-axis SHIFT + Click, release SHIFT, drag
(For best results turn off RightClick Navigation in the Preferences > Interface menu.)

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Right-Click Navigation

Turn on RightClick Navigation in the Preferences > Interface menu.

Action Key(s)
Move ALT + right-click & drag (can be over the model)
Scale CTRL + right-click & drag (can be over the model)
Rotate right-click & drag (can be over the model)

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Transpose

Note: Since ZBrush 4R8, the default transpose line has been replaced with the new Gizmo 3D. To toggle between Gizmo 3D and the transpose line, press Y or click the Gizmo 3D button in the topbar to turn off the 3D Gizmo.

  • With a 3D mesh in Edit mode, press W (Move), E (Scale), or R (Rotate), then click and drag to draw the orange action line.
  • Click on the mesh to reposition the action line aligned to the surface normal.
  • To align to an axis, click the end of the red, green or blue axis line.
Action Key(s)
Move action line while drawing Hold SPACE
Move action line after drawing click + drag orange line or center orange ring
Change action line end point position click + drag orange end ring
Toggle between the Transpose line and Gizmo 3D Y; while in Move, Scale, or Rotate mode

Quick tip: in Move/Scale mode, ALT + click + drag on the mesh (not on action line) to move or scale mesh

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Inner (red/white) ring actions

These actions apply to the inner red or white rings of the action line. The terms center or end refer to the position on the line.

Action Key(s)
Move mode – W
Move click + drag center
Duplicate mesh CTRL + click + drag center
Bend mesh ALT + click + drag center or end point
Stretch mesh drag end point furthest from mesh
Flatten mesh drag end point next to mesh
Inflate right-click + drag end ring furthest from mesh
Create Edgeloop & extrude with partially masked mesh, hold CTRL and click + drag center point
Scale – E
Scale click + drag end point in line direction
Scale along axis click + drag center point
Create Edgeloop and deflate / inflate with partially masked mesh, hold CTRL and click + drag center point
Rotate – R
Rotate around end point click + drag other end point
Rotate around action line click + drag center
Joint bend ALT + click + drag end point (rotation around same point)

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Sculpting and Painting

Action Key(s)
Draw Size
S
Focal Shift
O
RGB Intensity
I; note that the Rgb Channel button in the topbar should also be selected for this to have any true effect.
Z Intensity
U
Increase Draw Size by set units ]; set increment in the Zplugin > Misc Utilities > Brush Increment slider
Decrease Draw Size by set units [; set increment in the Zplugin > Misc Utilities >Brush Increment slider
Edit mode on/off
Edit Mode ON Edit Mode OFF
T
Draw
Q
Move
W
Scale
E
Rotate
R
Toggle ZAdd and ZSub

While brushing on a model, hold down ALT to toggle from ZAdd to ZSub.

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Sculpting Brushes

Each brush has its own keyboard shortcut combo. You can learn them by pressing B to bring up the brush palette, then a letter like C (to filter by all brushes starting with C), and then the letter indicated in the top left of the brush icon in to brush palette. Following are some key combos for some common, but not all, brushes...

Action Key Sequence
Show Brush pop-up B
Clay
B - C - L
Clay Buildup B - C - B
ClayLine B - C - L
ClipCurve B - C - C
Damien Standard (dam std)
B - D - S
Inflate B - I - N
Move
B - M - V
Move Elastic B - M - E
MPolish B - M - P
Smooth
B - S - M
Spiral

B - S - A to select the brush.

Hold down ALT to spiral in the opposite direction.

Standard Brush
B - S - T
TrimDynamic
B - T - D
ZModeler

B - Z - M to select the brush.

When using this brush, hover over a point, edge, or face on a PolyMesh3D object and then press SPACE to display the ZModeler context menu.

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InsertMultiMesh brushes

Action Key(s)
Show all meshes in brush M

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Changing the Brush hotkeys (pop-up palette)

Here is what you have to do:

  • Press B to bring up the brush palette.
  • Then click or press the letter that you want to narrow down to, in this example press C.
  • With C selected all you will see is the brushes that start with C. You will see the next letter that selects the brush.
  • At this point you can hold CTRL + ALT to change the shortcut to whatever you want by just clicking on the brush and then click your new shortcut.

NOTE: Keep in mind that when you do this ZBrush automatically replaces the shortcut of another brush if you select a shortcut that is already assigned.

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Color

Action Key(s)
Select Color under cursor C
Switch Color V

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Stroke

Action Key(s)
Lazy mouse L; Toggles the lazy mouse mode.
Replay Last Stroke 1; This is very handy to use after pressing CTRL, and moving a subtool to duplicate it. Pressing 1 will create yet another duplicate, moving it the same distance on the same axis as before. So, this is a great way to create an array of equally spaced duplicates.
Record Stroke 3
Replay All Recorded Strokes 2

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Curves

Action Key(s)
Smooth curve 6
Snapshot curve 5
Delete a curve ALT + draw across curve

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3D Models

Action Key(s)
Save Tool SHIFT + CTRL + T
Frame (Fit Mesh To view) F (You may need to press it twice.)
Dynamic Persp (Perspective Distortion) P
Floor Grid SHIFT + P
Activate Symmetry X
Show/hide Polyframe & polygroups SHIFT + F
Point Selection Mode SHIFT + CTRL + P
Set Pivot Point CTRL + P
Clear Pivot Point SHIFT + P
Snapshot a version to canvas

SHIFT + S

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SubTools

Action Key(s)
List all subtools N
Select SubTool ALT + click on SubTool
Frame SubTool SHIFT + ALT + click on selected SubTool; Note this option can be set in the Preferences > Edit > Enable Auto Center slider; 0 = off; 1 = Alt + click; 2 = SHIFT + Alt + click
Toggle Polypaint Colorize Click on paintbrush icon
Toggle Polypaint Colorize for all SubTools SHIFT + click on paintbrush icon

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Geometry

Action Key(s)
Divide CTRL + D
Lower Res

SHIFT + D

Higher Res

D

Edge Loop CTRL + E (partially hidden mesh)

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Dynamesh

Remesh Dynamesh sculpt – in Edit > Draw mode CTRL + drag Background

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HD Geometry

Action Key(s)
Toggle in/out of HD Sculpting mode A (cursor over mesh)
Render all HD Geometry A (cursor over background)

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Masking

Action Key(s)
View mask CTRL + H
Invert mask CTRL + I
Mask all CTRL + A
Select masking Brush hold CTRL while selecting brush from popup
Paint mask on object (alphas/strokes can be used) CTRL (hold down)
Delete or paint reverse mask CTRL + ALT (hold down)
Reverse mask (a.k.a. Flip Mask, Invert Mask) CTRL + click background
Clear mask CTRL + click + drag background
Constant-intensity mask CTRL + click, release CTRL, drag (starting off mesh)
Alpha-intensity mask (using MaskPen or MaskRect brush) CTRL + click & drag (select alpha while holding CTRL)
Blur mask CTRL + click on mesh; When a mask has been drawn on a mesh, this action blurs (softens) the edges of the mask.
Sharpen mask CTRL + ALT + click on mesh

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Topological Masking

in Move, Scale or Rotate mode – CTRL + click + drag the action line on the model

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Polygroups

Action Key(s)
Group Masked and Clear Mask CTRL + W
(This is super handy! Basically, it turns anything you have masked into a polygroup and then clears the mask. In other words, if you want to turn the currently masked area into a polygroup, press CTRL + W.)
Make all polygroups into one CTRL + W
(Applies a single polygroup to the active subtool; if a subtool has several polygroups and you want only one, for example)

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Partial Mesh Visibility & Clip Brushes

Action Key(s)
Select Selection or Clip Brush hold SHIFT + CTRL while selecting brush from popup
Show mesh portion SHIFT + CTRL + click, release keys & drag (green selection area)
Hide mesh portion SHIFT + CTRL + click, release keys & drag – press Alt (red selection area)
Grow mesh portion CTRL + SHIFT + X
Shrink mesh portion CTRL + SHIFT + S
Grow all mesh portion CTRL + SHIFT + A
Outer Ring visibility CTRL + SHIFT + O
Move selection or clip area press SPACE without releasing mouse/pen
Show entire mesh SHIFT + CTRL + click background
Show only selected Polygroup (on fully visible mesh) SHIFT + CTRL + click
Hide selected Polygroup (on fully visible mesh) SHIFT + CTRL + click twice
Hide selected Polygroup (on partially visible mesh) SHIFT + CTRL + click
Reverse visibility SHIFT + CTRL + click & drag background
Hide edge loop with Lasso option selected, SHIFT + CTRL + click on edge that crosses loop
ClipCurve add soft direction change press ALT once
ClipCurve add sharp direction change press ALT twice
reverse clip area ALT (hold down)

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Stencil

Action Key(s)
Stencil On ALT + H
Hide/Show Stencil CTRL + H
Coin Controller SPACE

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ZSpheres

Action Key(s)
Preview Adaptive Skin A

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ZSpheres – Draw mode

Action Key(s)
Add a child ZSphere drag ZSphere
Delete ZSphere ALT + click ZSphere
Add a child ZSphere at same size click + drag, press SHIFT
Add a child ZSphere and scale Link Spheres click + drag to size new ZSphere, press CTRL + drag
Insert ZSphere click Link-Sphere
Sphere Define magnet/ break meshio ALT + click Link-Sphere (with Tool > Adaptive Skin > Use ClassicSkinning on)

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ZSpheres – Move mode

Action Key(s)
Move ZSphere drag ZSphere
Pose (Natural-linked move) drag Link-Sphere
Move Chain Alt + drag Link-Sphere

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ZSpheres – Scale mode

Action Key(s)
Scale Zsphere drag ZSphere
Inflate/deflate chain ALT + drag Link-Sphere
Scale chain drag Link-Sphere

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ZSpheres – Rotate mode

Action Key(s)
Spin chain drag ZSphere
Control twist ALT + drag Link-Sphere
Rotate chain drag Link-Sphere

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ZSketch

Action Key(s)
Activate ZSketch Edit mode SHIFT + A (with a ZSphere armature in Edit mode)
Preview Unified Skin A

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Canvas and 2.5D

Action Key(s)
Reverse 2.5D brush effect ALT (hold down)
Crop And Fill SHIFT + CTRL + F
Grab Texture From Document SHIFT + CTRL + G

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Document Layers

Action Key(s)
Clear Layer CTRL + N
Fill Layer CTRL + F
Bake Layer CTRL + B
On Layer thumbnail, toggle all layers on/off SHIFT + CLICK
Select layer on which clicked pixol resides ~ + click canvas (US) @ + click canvas (UK)
Move layer contents up/down/sideways (X & Y) ~ + drag (US) @ + drag (UK)

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Markers

Markers will only show when Edit is turned off

Action Key(s)
Remove Marker CTRL + M

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Canvas Zoom

Action Key(s)
Actual Size 0
Antialiased Half Size CTRL + 0
Zoom In + (plus sign)
Zoom Out - (minus sign)

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Timeline

Action Key(s)
Place a new key frame click on the Timeline
Select an existing key frame click on the key frame dot
Zoom Timeline in/out click on selected key frame dot
Move selected key frame click + drag dot to new position (dragging off end will delete)
Store new data in existing key frame SHIFT + CTRL + click on the key frame dot
Delete a key frame click + drag dot off the Timeline
Copy selected key frame SHIFT + click on the Timeline at the point where you want the copy
Copy multiple key frames SHIFT + click on all the key frames dots to be copied, then SHIFT + click the Timeline (at the point where you want the copies)
Create Transition key frame CTRL + click on an existing key frame dot
Create Rigid key frame ALT + click on an existing key frame dot
Go to Previous Camera key frame LEFT ARROW
Go to Next Camera key frame RIGHT ARROW
Play the Timeline SHIFT+click on the Timeline cursor (will play as a loop)
Stop the Timeline playing ESC
Record Timeline as a Movie SHIFT + CTRL + click on the Timeline cursor (set the cursor to the start first using the LEFT ARROW)

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Movie

Action Key(s)
Snapshot to Movie CTRL + SHIFT + ! (US) SHIFT + CTRL + PageUp (UK)

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Render

Action Key(s)
Best Preview Render (BPR) SHIFT + R
Render All SHIFT + CTRL + R
Cursor Selective Render CTRL + R

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Custom UI and Configuration

Action Key(s)
Move item to custom interface position CTRL + ALT + drag (when Enable Customize is on)
Remove item from custom interface position CTRL + ALT + drag to Canvas (when Enable Customize is on)
Store Configuration File SHIFT + CTRL + I
Load User Interface Configuration File CTRL + L
Save User Interface Configuration File SHIFT + CTRL + ALT + I

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ZScripts

Action Keys
Load ZScript SHIFT + CTRL + L
Reload ZScript CTRL + U
Show/Hide ZScript window H

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Reference Resources