Mudbox 2012 vs ZBrush 4.0

Become a member of the CGSociety

Connect, Share, and Learn with our Large Growing CG Art Community. It's Free!

THREAD CLOSED
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  02 February 2012
Some Insignts on the Zbrush/Mudbox debate

Dear VTeixeira,

This is fairly long and dense post, but if you are still debating on which software to use I would like to share my insights with you. Of primary concern is what you need the software for. I did not see any mention of what you are actually using the software for. As was previously mentioned, Mudbox is a digital sculpt, paint, and texturing tool. Zbrush is best thought of as an all around digital design tool. If you are a technical artist of some sort than Mudbox may be more of what you are looking for. If you are a designer then in my opinion Zbrush is the obvious choice.

DESIGN PHILOSOPHY

Many people say that Mudbox is an easier tool to learn, but I believe that this is merely a matter of perspective. Most 3d software packages have a standard setup for navigating the view port which is some variation of the basic camera manipulation algorithms that you learn in introductory computer graphics programming. In short if you are familiar with navigating in Maya, Max, Lightwave, Houdini, or even blender etc. than you have some experience with an interface that is at least similar to Mudbox. These are all tools that were designed by people with technical expertise for artists to use.

Zbrush followed a different paradigm. Zbrush was designed from the ground up with more input from the artist. Consequently, it has a unique interface. Many people find Mudbox easier to learn because it has a familiar interface. Truthfully, if you had never used any 3d software before in your life, I believe you would find the learning curve to be comparable. Comparing the learning curves of the two pieces of software is like comparing the learning curve between using Mudbox and Corel Painter. They are both digital painting tools with a small area of overlap, but they are fundamentally designed for different purposes.

MUDBOX as SPECIALIZED TOOL

Mudbox is specialized for a particular portion of the creative pipeline. In my experience, it works best if you have some preexisting model to start from that you need to add detail to. For example if you have a base mesh modeled in some other package and you want to lay in anatomical details, and or skin texturing and the like then Mudbox is more than capable. This seems more appropriate for someone working as a texture artist. When working in Mudbox you need not worry about generating the primary forms of the asset you are primarily concerned with secondary level of detail and higher (certainly you will tweak the silhouette, but you won't be generating the main masses from scratch). Many of the other steps in the process are better handled outside Mudbox. You must construct custom base meshes outside of Mudbox, and you will also need to retopologize your geometry in an external program. On the upside Mudbox is intended to be a modular piece of the asset creation pipeline. I understand the new one even let's you import skeletal information so you can pose your meshes based on the internal bone structure created by the rigging Technicall Director. The bottom line though is that Mudbox is a small specialized piece of the puzzle.

ZBRUSH as GENERALIZED DESIGN TOOL

Zbrush on the other hand is a one stop design shop. If you wanted to you could create 2d concept sketches and paintings all the way through to a completed sequence of 3D rendered images without ever leaving Zbrush. Most people, myself included would have no desire to even attempt such a thing, because there are other programs that have more robust tools for many of the steps in that process. Nonetheless, Zbrush is competent at nearly every step and it is best in class in some areas in my opinion. Zbrush is a design tool. It is intended to be used as a creative tool, not merely as a 3d sculpt/paint/texture tool. It can be used as such, but that was not how it was designed. Zbrush has as much in common with Photoshop as it does with something like Maya or 3DS. It is the closest thing on earth to 3D drawing as exists in the production ready product.

All of the fundamental artistic tools that designers and production artists learn can be simply and intuitively applied within Zbrush. Zbrush divorces designers from the technical constraints of creating production assets. A designer can establish gesture, proportion, line, form, value and color all without thinking about polygon budgets or UV mapping. It is possible to design characters entirely in 3D from the ground up in Zbrush. It provides a digital workflow that more closely resembles that of working in traditional media. You're primary focus is on design. As a designer in most cases you will be providing finished high resolution images or detailed high resolution meshes for someone else to use to add detail to a lower resolution control mesh of some sort, which can be animated. Depending on the nature of your position you may or may not be the person that is responsible for the lower resolution mesh as well. Even if you are you can prepare it in Zbrush if need be.

OF DESIGNERS and TECHNICAL ARTISTS

In general I find that preparing production assets to be integrated into production is the job of Technical Artists. Designers are typically involved in pre-production and are fundamentally concerned with working out the concepts of how things should look and work in general. Their designs are typically passed on to various TA's to realize as usable assets. Zbrush can be used in both cases, however Mudbox has it's own advantages that make it more appealing for a subset of artists and designers. Mudbox however is far inferior from the stand point of a pure designer. I would also like to mention that I am aware that the roles of Technical Artists and Designers often overlap and the true definition of their individual roles depend on many factors that vary for each given working environment.

ME and MY ZB

I can open an empty zbrush document and in 15 minutes or so I can have a proportioned base mesh with all of the primary forms established with an elegant gestured pose ready for me to begin laying in secondary details. I'll grant you that I didn't start out being able to work that fast, but the point is that I can now. For Mudbox I have to create my base mesh elsewhere and that may take 20 to 30 minutes if I'm flying and all that is before I even export the mesh over to Mudbox.

I am much faster at laying out and sculpting basic form with Zbrush thanks to some of its tools than I am at box modelling. I realize that this is not the case for everyone. I found sculpting to be more natural so I honed my skills at it. If I need a usable mesh at the end then I just retopologize it later in the process. In general, base sculpting meshes aren't suitable for animation or posing anyway. If they are, then they tend to be relatively well defined in terms of their primary forms, which is not good from a design standpoint, since the mesh is already dictating some of the features of its final form. For a texture artist this may be desirable.

YOUR A MEAN ONE MR. GLITCH

Someone mentioned the glitchiness of Zbrush. I tend to agree with his comments. At times I believe that it could do with more polish, but as a design tool, their is simply nothing else out their that does what it does. As far as the crashing goes. That is something that seems to be an issue with software like this. Programs like zbrush and many other drawing programs are limited only by your system resources. How many polygons you can display on screen at once, or how many pixels in the case of painter is determined by the amount of ram that you can dedicate to the program. If you don't know approximately what your upper limit is you should find out. If you flirt too vigorously with the limits then you'll crash the program if not your computer.

TAKE IT TO THE ...

I've done it to so many different pieces of software over the years I've lost count. The bottom line is that you should save early and often with any of these programs. Some may seem more stable than others but you can push all of them too far. Due to the nature of Zbrush it gets pushed towards its limits more than most programs that I use. An accidental hotkey press here or there that subdivides the wrong thing, and boom there goes your session. You really do have to be vigilant when using features with zbrush. Getting very familiar with the documentation and forums is a must, because many features have rules and limits that are hidden away in the documents that aren't mentioned in ztutorials and the like.

OLD DOGS and NEW TRICKS

Finally as far as learning new software goes, truthfully, if you set aside an hour a day for a week or two or just set a side a weekend or two to focus on learning the software and reading the manual you will master the basic functions in no time. I once taught myself mel script in a single weekend to meet a deadline for a school project, when a team member passed away, so that we could stay on schedule.
It can be done it only requires the will. Even if you are swamped with work now you won't be forever. The reality is that in this field you must constantly be working on improving your skills and sometimes that means testing and learning new software. As I am sure you are aware software that is used on a regular basis must be mastered i.e. customizing work spaces and shortcuts for your own particular workflow to minimize wasted key presses and movements.

Hopefully, that did not seem like a rant, but time invested in the front end streamlining your process will save you 1000's of hours of wasted time in the long run. If you shaved 5 sec off of an action you performed 10,000 times you would save 50,000 sec across those 10,000 actions. That is roughly 833 minutes or about 14 hours. Odds are you could get a good bit of work on an entirely new project done with 14 extra hours. I apologize for the tangent, but once you decide on which way to go it will pay dividends to learn the software properly.

FIN

I apologize for the treatise, but I believe there is a lot to be said on the subject. I hope that you read it and I hope that it helps.
 
  02 February 2012
Very well put. I'll also agree that ZBrush is simpler and more intuitive to people who haven't used a standard 3D package.
__________________
Strange things often happen to me......
 
  09 September 2012
I'm a zbrush fan because the ease of use and the lack of bugs unlike what I've encountered in mudbox. but that was a while ago maybe I should give mudbox another chance, but I believe once you go zbrush...

zbrush just has things that as a 3d modeler you will probably wish you had in mudbox, technical stuff.
One horrible thing for me was when I was working on this project long ago, (dont remember very well) and I needed to change the UVs of the base mesh but the character was already finished and sculpted.

In zbrush you were able to just export the base mesh and re import the new one with the new UVs and that would be the end but I wasnt able to do that in mudbox back then, I dont know if now but in any case that made for an awful experience for me.
But I can say that both softwares have their advantages and shortcomings. but dammit did mudbox hindered me in so many ways in that project.

And omg I know the viewport in mudbox looks pretty awesome but nowhere as awesome as what BPR does.

Also what ndt said.
 
  09 September 2012
Originally Posted by Psyk0: In zbrush, each subtool can be the maximum your hardware can handle. So if you can go up to 60 millions, then each subtool can go that high (the number will vary depending on how many polygons you have at level 0).


ZBrush is only 32 bit, though (at least for the moment; 64 bit Zbrush will be coming soon), so it can only use four gigs of memory. Mudbox doesn't have this limitation, though it also seems to generally use memory much less efficiently than ZBrush.

Also, I really don't think ZBrush is hard to learn, especially in comparison to Max and Maya. It has some oddities that take some getting used to (say, the difference between a ztool and a zdoc), but it's still very intuitive. You can learn enough to start sculpting in literally a couple hours.
__________________
kevinbakercg.com
 
  09 September 2012
Originally Posted by Meloncov: Mudbox doesn't have this limitation, though it also seems to generally use memory much less efficiently than ZBrush..


I found that too. I started using learning Mudbox and ZBrush at the same time and Mudbox was more prone to crash/freeze and throw up memory errors. ZBrush sometimes stopped responding, so neither are perfect there.

Back to learning. I got stuck into both programs in school at the same time and with no previous experience of them. I was up and running with Mudbox in only a few days, and found it very easy especially for textures. ZBrush had me struggling for about two weeks and I had to find video tutorials for a lot of stuff, which I didn't need to do with Mudbox. I just hated the ZBrush interface and all those hidden sub-palettes. I actually signed up for DT tutorials to help me with ZBrush.

But, and it's a big but, once things started to fall into place with ZBrush I rapidly started to prefer it. I still do, and I stopped using Mudbox. ZBrush isn't perfect, but it's close enough for me. They update and improve it (often with some really revolutionary stuff like fibremesh) all the time and at a once off cost it is probably the best value for money we will ever get. ZBrush is an absolutely huge package for the price, I don't know how they can sell it for a one off $700 when a lot of mediocre programs cost more. I have no doubt that 64 bit ZBrush will arrive and they will keep expanding the program, as a lot of R&D seems to keep going into it.

ZBrush is changing the way people learn too. Some college courses teach ZBrush to people with no previous knowledge of MAX, Maya or modelling of any kind, and they advertise that fact. I wouoldn't have believed that if I hadn't seen it myself at the local college.
__________________
I like to learn.

Last edited by Dillster : 09 September 2012 at 11:36 PM.
 
  09 September 2012
Hello everyone, i have to say that This thread has been an amazing experience. Your pov j.j. was impressive and very detailled. You guy's have made an impressive contribution not just to me but for a lot of new guy's that also want to be a part of This industry. I have to say that i have prefered zbrush to mudbox. I have watched a lot of intro tutorials of both the softwares and i started to prefer zbrush because of THE o o overal options and THE new updates. It took me almost two weeks to became comfortable with zbrush, to the interface, and now i dom't want anything more but i really loved THE way mudbox works with textures. Both are amazing tools but i think zbrush will start playing a bigger role like dilster say. Cheers and please keep it up...
__________________
behance.net/ariexietrotiv
When inspiration arises, it will find you working.
(John Cage)
 
  10 October 2012
I want to add a quick thankyou for all the insights offered in this thread, especially 'ndt' and your detailed comparison!

I've been looking at buying Mudbox, I used it for 3 years while in Uni, and now have a job coming up which could really use it....though now i'm seriously considering buying Zbrush instead. To me, Zbrush seems like better value for money...the only thing mudbox seems to do better is the paint system...and 64-bit, which might make a difference on a computer with 32GB ram available!

Need to complete the job within a very tight deadline, so might not have the time to learn a whole new program though....let's see!
__________________
Michael Wentworth-Bell | 3D Artist & VR Designer | Melbourne, Australia

Espire 1: My VR Stealth game - CGTalk thread
 
  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by MichaelWBell: To me, Zbrush seems like better value for money...the only thing mudbox seems to do better is the paint system...and 64-bit, which might make a difference on a computer with 32GB ram available!


64 bit Zbrush will be out soon. Likely within the year.
__________________
kevinbakercg.com
 
  10 October 2012
64 bit Zbrush will be out soon. Likely within the year.


That would Be awesome
__________________
behance.net/ariexietrotiv
When inspiration arises, it will find you working.
(John Cage)
 
  10 October 2012
Interesting thread. I am very interested in particular in the various tools that Zbrush brings to the table as far as sculpting and painting is concerned. Also in how useful the other tools are on a day to day basis. Comparing this to sculpting and painting in particular. Mudbox is indeed much more user-friendly.

But I can live with Zbrush, and learn a new way. But on a day to day basis, not considering a pipeline or anything else. Just looking at the painting and sculpting tools, is Zbrush far enough ahead of Mubox in that regard to spend the time learning such am odd system?

Beyond that, I more ore less consider the other things a plus. I can live with or without Z spheres or sketching and re-topology and fiber mesh, or even shadowbox. Though I would be interested in comments on using shadowbox as well. But mostly for me it is sculpting and painting.

There have been some interesting comments on this, and certainly more would be welcome. :-)
 
  01 January 2013
Hey mate,

Registered just to resurrect this thread

First off, I'm not a CG professional so I should not be taken seriously. That out of the way, re what you are interested in about Zbrush:

Well, painting is "per poly" in Zbrush so I can't say it is the best there is because you have to have a very high polycount to have a decent canvas to paint on. However, you can always have a high poly version to work the details of sculpting as maps and paint very high res textures then use a decimated, retopo'ed or just low poly version of what you have to apply the maps and such. I hear mudbox is much better in painting tools and UI - not my experience but I can't honestly say that I spent a lot of time figuring mudbox out.

As for sculpting tools, well, Zbrush feels so natural you won't go back to any other software once you get the hang of it. It really feels like a piece of clay you are working on - and as a person trained in classic arts (as a hobby but hey) I can tell you that Zbrush lets you be an artist instead of a craftsman figuring out a CNC.

Also, it fills (with the recent updates) a very important niche no other software seems to be able to - freehand hard surfaces. Zbrush is the best tool for freehand organic surfaces, in my opinion have always been. Their new stuff like panel loops (simple extraction really but you have to see it in action to believe the amount of convenience and ease it adds to your workflow) and some relatively older stuff like shadowbox are just irreplaceable.

Also, I used to think Zspheres was the best innovation ever until they introduced dynamesh which lets you come up with sketches for ideas in so little time you can have a whole portfolio of sketches for later use in a weekend.

Basically, dynamesh, Zspheres, parametric shapes and Zskecth for concept sketching; impossibly long list of sculpting brushes and techniques - again, from smoothing to planar trimming, to group/edge/panel loops to mesh insertion brushes and the amazing fibermesh - for sculpting and detailing and incredibly easy to use map generation tools, Zbrush is a must. Also, it is worth mentioning that they do not charge you for extremely useful new updates. If you have a license you freely upgrade to have an amazing new set of toys at least 2-3 times a year

And no, I'm not paid by Pixologic, just love their work and the direction it is going.

Cheers
 
  01 January 2013
Originally Posted by cineartist: Interesting thread. I am very interested in particular in the various tools that Zbrush brings to the table as far as sculpting and painting is concerned. Also in how useful the other tools are on a day to day basis. Comparing this to sculpting and painting in particular. Mudbox is indeed much more user-friendly.

But I can live with Zbrush, and learn a new way. But on a day to day basis, not considering a pipeline or anything else. Just looking at the painting and sculpting tools, is Zbrush far enough ahead of Mubox in that regard to spend the time learning such am odd system?

Beyond that, I more ore less consider the other things a plus. I can live with or without Z spheres or sketching and re-topology and fiber mesh, or even shadowbox. Though I would be interested in comments on using shadowbox as well. But mostly for me it is sculpting and painting.

There have been some interesting comments on this, and certainly more would be welcome. :-)

Hey mate,

Registered just to resurrect this thread

First off, I'm not a CG professional so I should not be taken seriously. That out of the way, re what you are interested in about Zbrush:

Well, painting is "per poly" in Zbrush so I can't say it is the best there is because you have to have a very high polycount to have a decent canvas to paint on. However, you can always have a high poly version to work the details of sculpting as maps and paint very high res textures then use a decimated, retopo'ed or just low poly version of what you have to apply the maps and such. I hear mudbox is much better in painting tools and UI - not my experience but I can't honestly say that I spent a lot of time figuring mudbox out.

As for sculpting tools, well, Zbrush feels so natural you won't go back to any other software once you get the hang of it. It really feels like a piece of clay you are working on - and as a person trained in classic arts (as a hobby but hey) I can tell you that Zbrush lets you be an artist instead of a craftsman figuring out a CNC.

Also, it fills (with the recent updates) a very important niche no other software seems to be able to - freehand hard surfaces. Zbrush is the best tool for freehand organic surfaces, in my opinion have always been. Their new stuff like panel loops (simple extraction really but you have to see it in action to believe the amount of convenience and ease it adds to your workflow) and some relatively older stuff like shadowbox are just irreplaceable.

Also, I used to think Zspheres was the best innovation ever until they introduced dynamesh which lets you come up with sketches for ideas in so little time you can have a whole portfolio of sketches for later use in a weekend.

Basically, dynamesh, Zspheres, parametric shapes and Zskecth for concept sketching; impossibly long list of sculpting brushes and techniques - again, from smoothing to planar trimming, to group/edge/panel loops to mesh insertion brushes and the amazing fibermesh - for sculpting and detailing and incredibly easy to use map generation tools, Zbrush is a must. Also, it is worth mentioning that they do not charge you for extremely useful new updates. If you have a license you freely upgrade to have an amazing new set of toys at least 2-3 times a year

And no, I'm not paid by Pixologic, just love their work and the direction it is going.

Cheers
 
  01 January 2013
Thread automatically closed

This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.
__________________
CGTalk Policy/Legalities
Note that as CGTalk Members, you agree to the terms and conditions of using this website.
 
Thread Closed share thread



Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
CGSociety
Society of Digital Artists
www.cgsociety.org

Powered by vBulletin
Copyright 2000 - 2006,
Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Minimize Ads
Forum Jump
Miscellaneous

All times are GMT. The time now is 09:24 PM.


Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.