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View Full Version : ZBrush 3.5 vs Mudbox 2010 vs Modo 401 - Need Advice


HiTekJeff
09-14-2009, 04:20 AM
I am posting this in the respective forums in hopes of getting more feedback since some users don't often read other program areas on the site. Thanks.

Hi,

I know there are threads from the past comparing some of these, but several are outdated and it also depends on the person and what they plan to do with the software.

Here is what I plan to do and need, so I am hoping for some feedback so I won't waste money on something I don't need.

Mainly, I need a workflow that allows me to do custom sculpting/morphs of my Daz/Poser figures, build and texture objects for the scenes, export them into other programs for use. My workflow right now consists of Poser Pro 7, Vue 7.4 and Photoshop. I need a program that can give me easy to use methods for importing my custom Poser figures, work on them and then export out into other programs if needed. Also, I plan to do my own skin textures for some of the Daz/Poser characters too.

Right now, I am just learning a lot of these tools but need a good program to meet my modeling, sculpting and perhaps texturing. Maybe Photoshop CS4 is enough for texturing, I do not know. Also, I don't really know what the main difference between ZBrush 3.5, Mudbox 2010 and Modo 401 really is.

I know some like the workflow of one over another, but I am mainly looking for what fits best for me to do these things. Any thoughts or advice on these programs would be appreciated.

MasonDoran
09-17-2009, 07:03 AM
both applications can do this, as long as you dont change the point order of the geometry.

If you are just starting out, Mudbox is easier to learn and more efficient when working between apps. Especially if you are just doing morphs and texturing. It is more then enough to satisfy your needs and is designed around inter-app workflow.

Zbrush would be more appropriate if you needed additional features and intended to remain with just one application.

Both apps are Brush Sculpting apps, meaning you will still need a 3d modelling app such as Modo to create the base geometry with UVs.

twosheds
09-17-2009, 10:17 AM
If you had to pick only one of the three, I'd suggest Modo, because it can do sculpting, painting, and even retopologizing and bake normal maps.
Plus of course it's an excellent all-around modeling and rendering program too.

Depends on your sculpting needs. You're going to have trouble working with Daz figures in ZBrush and Mudbox due to their tiny scale, while Modo doesn't care about scale and doesn't change the size or vertex order of obj imports or exports.

Modo can also do UVs.

ZBrush and Mudbox are both excellent programs, but highly specialized, and it sounds like you're looking for something overall more versatile.

WillBellJr
09-17-2009, 04:23 PM
I suggest you download trials of everything you're interested in and see what you're able to accomplish with each package.

The package that takes you closest to your goals, with the least pain will be the winner.

Currently the latest Modo doesn't have a trial (I've been waiting to give it another spin myself) - contact Lux and see what they can do; explain your situation - take note how you're treated - that's important also!

Peruse the respective forums - see how the users feel about the application - screaming complaints, rabble rousing and no response from the developer is a sign that perhaps the app isn't stable or mature enough, or perhaps the company sux - steer clear.

Good luck!

-Will

ctguitars
09-17-2009, 06:22 PM
Currently the latest Modo doesn't have a trial (I've been waiting to give it another spin myself) - contact Lux and see what they can do; explain your situation - take note how you're treated - that's important also!

Just a heads up - the trial is on the way for MODO - they are actively working on same. According to Brad Peebler in the podcast last friday ( I think ), he mentioned this.

With regard to the OP's question I suppose it should be said that Zbrush and Mudbox are primarily Sculpting applications whereas Modo is a ( nearly ) all round app WITH sculpting added to it.

Dare I also mention Blender - which like Modo - is an all round FREE app WITH sculpting added also.

Aidan

MasonDoran
09-18-2009, 06:54 AM
If you are working with DAZ models and only need to worry about creating blendshapes and not bother with creating normal maps or displacement maps then you should be good with Modo.

It should be noted that Zbrush and Mudbox are designed for working with geometry in the the millions of polygons.

Modo as far as I know, can only work with significantly less then that.

ctguitars
09-18-2009, 04:55 PM
If you are working with DAZ models and only need to worry about creating blendshapes and not bother with creating normal maps or displacement maps then you should be good with Modo.

It should be noted that Zbrush and Mudbox are designed for working with geometry in the the millions of polygons.

Modo as far as I know, can only work with significantly less then that.

A new tool called GO Z will be available shortly:

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=24536

"Game art tool companies Pixologic and Luxology have jointly announced GoZ for modo, a new tool which improves the workflow between organic sculpting tool ZBrush and 3D modeling tool modo."

"With GoZ, modo can be used to create a base model, such as a human head, to provide the basic anatomy. This model can then be instantly transferred to ZBrush via GoZ for brush-based addition of scars, warts and wrinkles. The enhanced model can then be passed back to modo to create the final rendered output files."

ALSO: http://www.pixologic.com/zbrush/features/GoZBrush/

Aidan

Stellios
09-18-2009, 11:27 PM
Zbrush + Modo and your good to go.

Mudbox is a dirty word.

HiTekJeff
09-19-2009, 05:15 AM
If you had to pick only one of the three, I'd suggest Modo, because it can do sculpting, painting, and even retopologizing and bake normal maps.
Plus of course it's an excellent all-around modeling and rendering program too.

Depends on your sculpting needs. You're going to have trouble working with Daz figures in ZBrush and Mudbox due to their tiny scale, while Modo doesn't care about scale and doesn't change the size or vertex order of obj imports or exports.

Modo can also do UVs.

ZBrush and Mudbox are both excellent programs, but highly specialized, and it sounds like you're looking for something overall more versatile.

Maybe you or someone can clarify something here. ZBrush has the Poser plug-in you can use that does the scaling for you automatically for import/export on their web site. I was told it still works on the Mac version and 3.1 PC version but not 3.5 because ALL those plug-ins have to be re-written and there is no exact time frame given for that.

Mudbox I was told is even more simple and you can import/export Daz figures without worrying about scaling them up and down. I have not tried any of this, just what I have been told.

Thanks.

HiTekJeff
09-19-2009, 05:26 AM
I suggest you download trials of everything you're interested in and see what you're able to accomplish with each package.

The package that takes you closest to your goals, with the least pain will be the winner.

Currently the latest Modo doesn't have a trial (I've been waiting to give it another spin myself) - contact Lux and see what they can do; explain your situation - take note how you're treated - that's important also!

Peruse the respective forums - see how the users feel about the application - screaming complaints, rabble rousing and no response from the developer is a sign that perhaps the app isn't stable or mature enough, or perhaps the company sux - steer clear.

Good luck!

-Will

I plan on contacting Modo sometime next week or so and see what they say. Also, I know what you mean about wanting a professional company. After being treated badly on the e-on software forums for Vue, myself and several other users are quite tired of the unprofessional conduct displayed by their company and indirectly by some of the content creators that sell items there or make tutorials. So I take your point in that regard.

Also, ZBrush does not have a trial for the Mac it looks like either.

Thanks,

Jeff

twosheds
09-19-2009, 05:45 AM
Maybe you or someone can clarify something here. ZBrush has the Poser plug-in you can use that does the scaling for you automatically for import/export on their web site. I was told it still works on the Mac version and 3.1 PC version but not 3.5 because ALL those plug-ins have to be re-written and there is no exact time frame given for that.

Mudbox I was told is even more simple and you can import/export Daz figures without worrying about scaling them up and down. I have not tried any of this, just what I have been told.

Thanks.

Well you seemed most interested in using ZBrush with Poser and Daz figures, so I suggest Modo because it's a more all-around package and anything that Poser can handle, Modo can do.
By that I mean that you can take a Daz figure into Zbrush and sculpt on it and export it just fine, but the target version for your morphs is still low poly enough that you're not going to gain anything more doing it in Zbrush than you would in Modo.

When it comes to working with objects meant for use in other programs, along with ZBrush or Mudbox, the intent is to use normal maps and displacement maps.
If Poser can use those, that's fine, but you mentioned morphing, so I say that Modo is every bit as good at working on lo res figures as ZBrush is for working on hi res figures.

Equally, you can crank that subdivision level way up in Modo too. Not as far as you can in ZBrush, but if you want to use Modo to create a detailed million poly version of a Daz figure you can.
The question is, can the app you want to use it with handle it? I doubt Poser can, and I don't think Vue would like the idea.

Thirdly, if you want to paint textures for Daz figures, which have notoriously overlapped UVs, Modo is better suited for that. It's a hassle in ZBrush, but I think Mudbox can deal with it better now too.
Even Modo though isn't the greatest thing on objects with more than one UV map and more than one texture. There's a huge delay when crossing from one texture to another. Still, it's easier than in Zbrush.

And as someone else already mentioned, Mudbox is a dirty word. ;)

DieMachinist
09-24-2009, 07:55 PM
And as someone else already mentioned, Mudbox is a dirty word. ;)

What does that mean? Do you mean because it is Zbrush section or do you mean Zbrush 3.5 has apparently put paid to Mudbox? I am curious.

HiTekJeff
09-25-2009, 12:47 AM
twosheds (http://forums.cgsociety.org/member.php?u=374277),

Intersting post, thanks for the info. I got the opposite advice from another forum in which most users said I would need ZBrush or Mudbox, doesn't matter which one in addition to Modo. Their reason for it was because ZB and Mudbox can do much better high detail sculpting for faces and such that Modo can't. If you are working on making a custom face then you need that level of detail for working on the Daz V4/M4 figures head to get the look you want.

So, still a little confused about if Modo can do that too or if I do need both programs as suggested? I have not seen a video tutorial of this so if anyone can link to one or a good PDF type tutorial that would be great too so I can see it first hand.

Thanks for all the replies.

twosheds
09-25-2009, 04:23 AM
twosheds (http://forums.cgsociety.org/member.php?u=374277),

Intersting post, thanks for the info. I got the opposite advice from another forum in which most users said I would need ZBrush or Mudbox, doesn't matter which one in addition to Modo. Their reason for it was because ZB and Mudbox can do much better high detail sculpting for faces and such that Modo can't. If you are working on making a custom face then you need that level of detail for working on the Daz V4/M4 figures head to get the look you want.

So, still a little confused about if Modo can do that too or if I do need both programs as suggested? I have not seen a video tutorial of this so if anyone can link to one or a good PDF type tutorial that would be great too so I can see it first hand.

Thanks for all the replies.

Well that's what I meant by the above where I said "By that I mean that you can take a Daz figure into Zbrush and sculpt on it and export it just fine, but the target version for your morphs is still low poly enough that you're not going to gain anything more doing it in Zbrush than you would in Modo."

You see, sure, you can sculpt extreme detail into a Daz figure with Mudbox or ZBrush - certainly far more than Modo can handle, but your original post said you were interested in making morphs.
Now for example, if you make a whole mess of wrinkles in a face, using millions of polygons, you will still have to export the original OBJ file for making morphs, and after you back the subdivisions back down, you're left with the original polygons which will *not* even remotely represent the wrinkles.
So for doing morphs alone, ZB and Mudbox are overkill, and Modo is a much better choice for many reasons, not the least of which being that you don't have to do any fancy scaling tricks to be able to work on those tiny Daz meshes. Just import/morph/export and you're done.

However, if you want to make displacement and normal maps with extreme detail, ZB or Mudbox are surely the better choice, but again, it depends on how much subdividing your render engine can handle, in order to accurately represent your sculpt through the normal and/or displacement maps.
Higher end programs such as Maya and Max and Lightwave will give you a choice on how far you want to take the subdivision level at render time. Modo too.
For example, if you have a figure in ZB and crank it up to, say, six sub-d levels and sculpt on it, then make a normal map for it, your render engine needs to also be able to subdivide it 6 times in order for that normal map detail to look the same as it does in ZBrush.
Can Poser or Daz Studio do that? I don't know.

And also very much worth taking into consideration is that all the recent (since 2001 at least) Daz and Poser figures all use overlapping UV maps where all body parts are crammed into one 0-1 UV space. That plays serious hell with ZBrush and Mudbox when it comes to creating any and all kinds of maps for your figures. Not that it can't be done, but it's more work and confusion. And the workarounds are hardly ideal, IMO.

Bottom Line:
ZBrush or Mudbox if you want to make high quality, highly detailed normal and displacement maps, if you don't mind the workarounds.
Modo if you want to do mostly morphing and be able to do it quickly and with little fuss.

More Information:
*Daz meshes aren't UV mapped well for ZBrush's Poly Painting to textures conversion, and Modo is a better choice for simple texture painting.
*Modo does far far far more than sculpting and painting, and certainly renders far better than Poser or Daz Studio, or even Vue, IMO. (and it has a *very* bright future)
*Mudbox allows you to paint in a more traditional 3D painting style and doesn't have the quirkiness of ZBrush.

Don't get me wrong, I love ZBrush for sculpting, normal and displacement map making, modeling, zspheres 1&2, ZApplink, Projection Master, poly painting.... when using my own meshes that are optimized for use in ZB. But I don't recommend using it with Daz/Poser figures that are going back to Daz Studio or Poser for rendering.
For that matter, I don't recommend rendering in Daz Studio or Poser, period. ;)

vicmarines
08-10-2010, 12:43 AM
Zbrush use polypainting for paint
Mudbox use UV maps for paint
Bodypaint use UV map but no sculpting

the true for my case is that MUDBOX has the best of two words

Polypainting is not a good idea when you want a tool for painting hardsurface, u need to subdivide alot
to get polypainting works decently

Clappy3D
08-10-2010, 04:27 PM
Zbrush + Modo and your good to go.

Mudbox is a dirty word.

Disney and Pixar seem to think otherwise.

cgbeige
08-10-2010, 04:45 PM
Mudbox is easier to use but has way fewer sculpting, flattening, clipping tools and the brushes aren't as good/natural. ZBrush has a ton of tools that aren't apparent to new users because it's just so overwhelming - things like building lower res quad meshes from high res ones are one button among many. The surface noise alone is a huge feature. Mudbox has vector displacement maps and easier layered texturing (ZB 4 adds this but doesn't have apply modes).

I waffled between the two apps for a while and I settled on ZBrush because it's a better sculptor and because ZBrush has a ton of very good plug-ins like UV Master and Decimation Master. Polypaint is also good at avoiding UV problems which PTex is starting to solve for Mudbox 2012. I'll be doing a blog post on Polypaint and ZBrush 4 - it's pretty great.

And there's this:
http://polygonspixelsandpaint.tumblr.com/post/775272562

GoZ is very good and ZBrush 4 improves it a lot.

So, my opinion: Mudbox is easier to use but limited. ZBrush workflows can be annoying but it's getting better and the program just has way more tools.

DuttyFoot
08-11-2010, 01:58 AM
mudbox 2011 and then zbrush 4, its good when there is competition :)

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