The applause of the crowd has quieted, the Wacom stylus laid in its cradle and the final stage light switched off. After four exhilarating days, the fifth annual ZBrush Summit has come to a close. The event, which is held each year at the Gnomon School campus drew it’s largest crowd to date and was once again streamed globally to thousands of viewers.
The show, which includes exclusive presentations from over a dozen top tier studios and artists also provides a number of interactive activities both onsite and online for artists and fans to participate in. The annual ZBrush Live Sculpt-Off kicks off the weekend each year with two dozen talented artists competing for the championship title in both Organic and Hard Surface modeling, the winner taking home a FormLabs Form 2 3D printer and holding the championship title for the year. This year’s winners were both first time champions, including Belgian artist Maarten Verhoeven known for his organic work surprising everyone by winning the Hard Surface category and recent Gnomon graduate Donna Urdinov becoming the youngest Organic category winner in her first time competing.
Onsite attendees enjoyed a chance to advance their artistic careers by taking advantage of ZBrush workshops as well as having their art portfolios reviewed by industry titans including Dreamworks Animation, Epic Games, Framestore VFX and more, giving them the unique opportunity to receive advice from talented pros and possibly even be recruited for jobs. 2018 also marked the first ever Michelangelo Challenge sponsored by Pixologic, Lenovo, Wacom and Ultimaker where artists were tasked with creating a sculpt out of a digital block of clay in fifteen minutes, the idea being to simulate the subtractive stone sculpting methods of Michelangelo’s era. Over 160 attendees participated with winner Mickael LeLievre taking home the Ultimaker 3 Extended 3D printer as grand prize.
This year, viewers were able to a glimpse of The ZBrush Podcast being recorded live in between presentations. Part of Pixologic’s ZBrushLIVEonline streaming platform, the ZBrush Podcasts welcomes artists and industry professionals from diverse backgrounds to sit down with host Solomon Blair for a long form discussion about life, the industry and all things ZBrush in a candid and intimate setting not available anywhere else. Viewers at home also got the chance to participate in several ZPlays, another component of ZBrushLIVE where the Pixologic team test drives the latest video game titles with live commentary and members of the community invited to join the game from home.
No ZBrush Summit would be complete without an exclusive presentation by Pixologic themselves, premiering new ZBrush features and news. This year was certainly no exception with the debut of much anticipated new ZBrush implementations including a fully functional standard camera, SubTool Folders, a new UV editor ‘Peel UV’ as well as three new plugins.
To close out the weekend, the ZBrush Awards ceremony honors the year’s best ZBrush centric 3D work from studios and artists as well as the prestigious ZBrush Honorary Award given each year to a specially selected individual who has has made a significant contribution to the industry throughout their career. This year’s recipient was Gnomon founder Alex Alvarez. Past recipients have been Weta Workshop founder Richard Taylor, creature and concept designer Neville Page as well as seven-time Academy Award winner Rick Baker.
In addition to working to deliver the highest quality possible in a 3D sculpting application, Pixologic takes tremendous pride in engaging with their ever-growing community and The ZBrush Summit is the largest example of that. Attending the Summit is an unforgettable experience for artists and industry members that should be experienced at least once by any and all who are interested in 3D art and technology.
Watch ZBrush Summit 2018 in its entirety on YouTube