Pixologic has made its first announcement about the next version of its ZBrush 3D painting software, which is to ship for Windows on May 15 -- with a Mac version to follow.

The news was posted to the ZBrushCentral user forum by ZBrush creator and Pixologic founder Ofer Alon.

"ZBrush 3 continues our development by first and foremost putting the artist in an immersive digital sculpting environment," he says. "We have boosted ZBrush's speed, refined its functionality as well as expanded its capability by adding real-time shadows, real-time material capture and render (MatCap), [and] full 3D sculpting and texturing with alphas and textures."

Other new features will include: "advanced ‘digital clay’ with up to one billion polygons using HD geometry, real-time posing with ZBrush's Transpose functionality, perspective camera, 2D / 2.5D /3D mesh projections, mesh retopologizing, [and] topology/cavity/colour-based maskings.

There will also be: "one-click turntable recording and quicktime export, support for 32- and 64-bit systems, mutithreaded support for up to 256 processors, and more."

The update will be free for owners of ZBrush2, which costs $489 (around £330).