Click image to see the current Mac interface.

ZBrush's "Pixols" technology allows users to paint in 2D, with 3D rendering supplying lighting, material and depth effects on the fly.

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July 13
ZBrush To Debut for Mac OS
2D paint application creates 3D effects

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

Pixologic says it will debut ZBrush for the Macintosh platform at this year's Macworld Expo in New York (July 19 through 21). ZBrush, previously available only for Windows systems since its debut this last December, is a painting application with a 3D-like rendering engine. It works with tools common to paint applications but also includes rendering capabilities. The Mac version will be available for purchase Aug. 15 from Pixologic's Web site.

ZBrush allows users to paint not only colors, but also material and depth information, all in the same brush stroke. It also includes lights and object modeling tools and can use 3D objects for inclusion in the painting. ZBrush includes primitive objects, as well as the capability to create new objects for sculpting, which can be saved or exported for use in 3D applications.

ZBrush uses something called Pixols, rather than pixels, to retain color, material and depth information. Pixols handle all the required calculations for 3D effects, allowing lighting and depth effects to appear as the user paints.

"It gives you instant feedback when you create," said Jaime Labelle, who heads up Pixologic's marketing and corporate communications. "There's no NURBS, no wireframes. You can't call it a 3D program, but it has the best features from the 2D and 3D worlds."

The company is expecting to offer support for most of Wacom's pressure-sensitive tablets, which can be used to add depth to images. (When drawing with a mouse, depth is added by keeping the cursor in place.)

Labelle says that, on the PC side, the company has promised users free upgrades through version 1.5 and that the company might offer the same deal to early adopters on the Mac side. The software will debut, at any rate, at $292.50—50 percent off the full release price. It will be available for purchase only through the company's Web site initially. The company will be showing off the software at Macworld booth No. 365 and at Siggraph 2000 (July 25 through 27 in New Orleans) at booth No. 1453. For more information, visit

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