Best MODELING software.


Just curious …which is the best character modeling software around,I am using maya now … but some times i feel that there could be a better modeling software. i am jus playing with SILO now.ZBRUSH is great … but other then that which software is good … Please advice guys.:slight_smile:


For -only- modeling the best choices I’ve come across so far are pretty much the ones you’ve listed. Currently I’m using a combination of Silo and Zbrush2. I’ve used Wings3d, it’s nice but I like the feel of Silo better plus they’re pumping out the features rather quickly. Zbrush’s zsphere modeling tool is nice for quickly sketching out characters and then detailing them but if you want to animate them the mesh might get kind of messy after it’s all said and done.


Well, first of all it’s rather hard to be objective when you’ve been using a program for a long time and have gotten used to it. Being that as it may I’ll offer up some (cough) insights…

LightWave Modeler is in my opinion, the best for organic character modeling. Many people disagree due to the lack of edge selection (though there are many workarounds) and N-gons (polygons with more then four sides). I agree that N-gons are great when you can use them but in all honesty, there absence doesn’t cause any usability issues. Some of the older tools within the program are a bit antiquated and don’t really work very well. for instance, Rail Extrude rarely gives you accurate results. But I really don’t use these tools since I one really just do box modeling. This is really where LightWave really excels. there are tons of really great tools for subdividing, extruding, beveling and so on. Actually It’s really amazing what you can do considering there are no actual edges. But really, to me, what makes LightWave Modeler so great is it’s speed with subdivision Surfaces. They where the first to implement Iso-line style (you see splines instead of tons of tiny polys) modeling and it’s currently the fastest out there. You can easily model complex characters at a subdivision level of 4 and most of the time I have mine set at 6. That’s just un-sane in Maya, Max or XSI. Another first for them was allowing you to click and drag on iso-line intersections so it becomes a lot more like actual spline modeling or digital clay. Silo is the only other program that I know of that allows this as well but I’m sure the other will follow suit.

Z-Brush is absolutely an incredible tool. I use it constantly for fleshing out a character then take it into LightWave (or Silo) and clean it up and UV Map it. Then, you can take it back into Z-Brush and detail the crap out of it. But as Pnoland pointed out it can be tricky to get the displacement map to work on an animated mesh. It can work, but you need to be careful to put enough detail into the base geometry in order for the displacement map to deform properly. I’ve still not mastered this just yet so it’s easer said then done. :wink: In the future I hope to see Pixologic implement some kind of joint driven, multi displacement engine thing. That way, you model the detail in the base pose and then rotate the jont and remodel the detail to fit that state. Then, when you export, you can save out a bunch of maps that only contain morphed states… I hope this makes sense.

As I’m sure your aware of, Silo is probably the best $100 spent on any modeling software. I don’t have it but I’ve spent a enough time with the demo to see it’s strengths. As I mentioned before, it’s the only other Sub-D modeler with iso-line display and direct surface manipulation so that alone makes it amazing and puts it ahead of the pack. Especially for a Maya user.

Now that said, the modeling in Max and XSI is really great too. I’m not very fond of Maya’s Tools but they are getting better and there are a ton of mel scripts out there to ease the pain. As for Subdivision Surfaces in Maya… I recommend staying away from them and sticking with the Proxy method. They are just to god awful slow. It’s like trying to model in Max with iso line view turned on. It’s just not cutting it. Likely, the proxy method is quite a bit faster so if you really need to use Sub-D’s in Maya, you can just model that way and convert to sub-D’s afterwards. Another thing to try is to model in Polys and assign a Mental Ray Subdivision approximation to your surface and do simple quick renders as you progress.

There really isn’t any other modeling software that I would recommend over what I have mentioned. Wings is very competent but I was never able to get my head around the change in modeling paradigm. It just didn’t feel quite right to me. Obviously, there are a lot of very talented people using it and making great models so if that’s your gig, more power to you. :slight_smile: There’s also the fabled “Clay” modeler but I wouldn’t hold your breath. It’s been in development for years and it’s said that it may just stay that way for a long time to come. Only a few elite “best of the best” people actually have it in there hands and they seem to think the world of it. Unfortunately, they aren’t allowed to say anything about it other then the few ambiguous statements about it’s Spartan design.

Good luck,



i guess ,then i am goin on the right track … :bounce:


most modellers nowadays are good enough for use.

Silo is very capable, Max is very capable, Maya, XSI. etc.

theres no real best, they all do things that others dont. some do certain things more efficiently than others. I wouldnt quote Clay as being the best either. its missing a crapload of stuff that other applications have. ( its being coded by one guy on his spare time, much like wings3d ).

its just great because it makes even Silo look complex ;). its workflow is nice, but it lacks in a number of areas, and like any app. resorts to a few workarounds. ( until the problems are fixed ).

Still my fave modelling appy though :slight_smile:

what im trying to say is that pick one,( or 2) and learn them well. this way you wont be biased toward any one application, and be more flexible when application B has something that your application A doesnt do ( like booleans )


Wow, I totally forgot Clay even “exsisted” :slight_smile: Good points though, every modeler is capable of producing nice work as long as you know the software well enough and are creative enough. Look at the galleries here, all sorts of amazing models done with every range of software imaginable for cg. I’ll admit the one program that’s been impressing me more and more lately is Blender. I was reading over the 2.34 specs when it comes out and it has some handy features and i played with the prerelease for a bit…ramp shaders are fun. :stuck_out_tongue:

Gah, it’s frustrating hearing people talk about Clay now…I want to see it in action but I know you guys can’t show or talk about it. :wink:


nice to read all that opinions but one tool im missing…Cinema4d. Im using it now 5 years and most for industrial design for high resolution print produkts in advertising because i love the fast render enginge the Shader systems and the incredible workflow. But that is another story! :slight_smile:

c4d has really nice Hyper Nurbs funktions and with the mesh surgery plug u can simple increase the poly funktions to get better loops and controling the mesh. There are also nice spline tools to extrude lathe and more. I would say its a good allrounder but im missing some spline funktions in use with subdividing and creating surfaces to model static objects like cars. Im a friend of using vector data from illustrator or cad to use it as splines to generate a exact mesh of an produkt or something else. I think u have a better control with splines and Nurbs as poly and nurbs.

im testing silo as demo but there im also missing these funktions and ask u if there is a tool in the lower price segment to do that. Is Rhino the right software for that? I hope u can help me to get a better overview about the modeling software out there.

Rhino Silo C4D might be a good combo, but is there a alternative or cheaper solution

thx a lot

greets from germany cologne :slight_smile:


What is the best girl to go out with ? I tryed Linda and Denise but i heard that Jennifer and Julie are getting popular.



Jennifer is nice, and Julie has the Hair Plugin…though you can disable it if your not into hair cough and then…ok NM I’m gonna stop there…I could run with this but I’m afraid I’d get in trouble. I use Maya myself…though there are some tools I’d like to see added But…Byrons Poly tools and a few other plugins seem to take care of any complaints I might have. Silo looks cool though, I might have to give the demo a look-see.


I was curious about using rhino in conjunction with my normal software to add a more well rounded mechanical modelling software, but my main concern about rhino was the whole nurbs thing. How well do rhino models import into other apps. How easy is it to convert them to meshes and how well do they hold up?


I had Jennifer a couple of times, but Julie NEVER puts out. In my opinion, Wings3d and Silo are the best traditional modeling apps. And Silo has great features, and are updating everything with no avail, it ROCKS WHAAAAAA. Wings 3d has got the coolest magnet tools, but Silo’s proportional tools are good enough and can show you the affected geometry in the selection with a falloff highlight, where Wings3d only has a resizeable circle cursor. Silo’s realtime subd’s are great so you can select the points right on the smoothed object just like in LW. I hav eseen so many people do great things with LW. It is amazing. I say it is amazing because, and I may get flamed here, the interface is TOTAL crap! NO EDGE SELECTION? That defies the world of 3d! Wireframes are made of edges, we think in edges. But the price has always beent the great selling point as it is one of the cheapest apps.

As far as I know, Silo costs $100 and you get lifetime free upgrades, that’s the shizzy! It beats the crap out of the major apps’ modelers, practically puts them to shame.


There is no “best modeling” software. It’s up to you to do what you want with the tools that you have.

We don’t allow these threads on CGTalk anyway, because they are totally pointless.