How to use Spotlight to display reference images in ZBrush

Here is a procedure for using Spotlight to display reference images in ZBrush.

  • Import a reference image using Texture > Import.
  • Once you’ve imported the image, you should see a thumbnail for the image in the Texture palette. Click the image thumbnail to select it.
  • In the Texture palette, now click the plus/minus icon to add the selected image to Spotlight. The icon looks like this:
  • Press the comma key (,) to get rid of Lightbox if that pops up. You will see the image imported into the ZBrush workspace. You will also see the Lightbox Dial or wheel with all sorts of options and tools such as scale and opacity.
  • You can click and drag the image to place it where you want and you can use the Spotlight dial’s tools to set things like scale and opacity.
    • Tip: ZBrush treats all totally black areas of your image as transparent. You can use this to your advantage to isolate your reference image so that the background (if pure black) falls away.
  • Go into the Brush palette > Samples and click the button to turn off Spotlight Projection.
  • Tip: Use SHIFT + Z to show and hide Spotlight. Once Spotlight is shown, press Z to display/hide the Spotlight wheel. Display the spotlight wheel, for example, to move or scale the image, then press Z again to hide the Spotlight dial and drop the image on the canvas, so you can go back to sculpting.


  • Working with Reference images in ZBrush – YouTube