A few months ago I worked on a neuron on ZBrush, and I built it pretty much entirely from a zspheres skeleton. It got the job done, but it was tedious, and I wasn’t able to add the level of detail I really needed without relying on Photoshop.
Fast forward to now; a much better way is to use Fibermesh. A full tutorial will be posted eventually on the technique, but for anyone pretty familiar with zbrush, the workflow is:
•Create really simple neuron body zspheres (just a 1 or 2 major branches)
•Layer Fibermesh dendrites – make the largest branches, then add smaller fiber branches on to those, and so on.
•Add dendritic spines as a fibers as well
I’m not sure how this model would play out exported to other programs, but at least staying within zbrush I got much better results. See a few renders* of the improved pyramidal neuron below!
*Compositing and color adjustments in photoshop, but entire structure done entirely in zbrush.