How important is Zbrush to games?


Do most game companies now use Zbrush? How important is it really to the game industry?


ZBrush highpoly meshes are not usable in videogames workflow unless map transfering geometrical and texturing details on low poly meshes.


Pretty much every game uses Mudbox or Zbrush. Details are baked into normal maps on for low-poly models.


Zbrush is widely used in the game industry for highpoly characters and sometimes also for architectural or environment stuff. As said, various texture maps get baked and the geometry gets retopoed afterwards. Zbrush does UV creation and retopo too, but there are better tools which are usually used at that stage.

Mudbox does similar stuff. Zbrush has more advanced and flexible tools. For most people who are acustomed to traditional 3d editors, Zbrush has a hard to learn UI. I don’t think so, it’s just a different one.

You can take a look at pixologic’ site for interviews where zbrush has been used.


Well, most every triple-A console or PC game. Mobile and/or casual games are a pretty large chunk of the games market, and they don’t use sculpting apps nearly as much.


I would imagine even AAA games try to keep the amount of sculpting work as low as possible considering how much time it takes, probably keeping it to things like main characters and certain environment pieces.


For the sake of time, i don’t think any artist would make high-poly character in 3ds Max, Maya or other 3D software.

Time and speed is play a big factor here. :smiley:


Having worked on several AAA games, I have to say pretty much every character is sculpted in Zbrush first [that includes all the NPCs]. Environment work is still largely done without sculpting, though that is changing too.
Obviously it also depends a lot on the Art Direction.


This is interesting. So do major studios putting out AAA games hire on high-poly concentration artists? Or is it more of, they hire a general 3d modeler who is expected to have Zbrush skills just in case?

Just curious if Zbrush as a concepting tool has caught on as a job position yet.


A game artist for an AAA game would have to show skill working at pretty much any polygon level. There are some differences between hi-res for game and hi-res for film, though; since it’s all going to be baked into a normal map, topology doesn’t really matter on the high resolution mesh (obviously, it does for the low res mesh).


I’ve worked on a pile of PS1/2/3 and PC games, and Zbrush or Mudbox is heavily used by all character artists, and a lot of environment/texture artists. While ramping up to being proficient in either package can take some time, once comfortable, I’ve seen some amazingly fast work done. Full high poly photorealistic head with all maps in 2 days, and another day or so for retopologizing (starting from a standard base mesh), and in game by the end of the week. These were very experienced people though (10+ years in games/3D/sculpting/film/etc…)


yup we pretty much have a couple of days for an NPC head and around a week for a speaking, cinematic character… [from start to submission to engine]

As for zbrush as a concepting tool - happens but rarely. Character artists don’t do much concepting in the first place. You get a concept ready [or a load of photos that form a general outline]. You can add small things but overall the concepting’s not your job :slight_smile:
I have worked on some conceptual stuff in pre-production though. Depends where in the timeline you land on the project, I guess and weather or not the AD wants 3d concepts. :smiley:

In general for character art you do: highres sculpting and modeling, retopologizing, baking, texturing and tweaking shaders in engine.


Yes they do. Quite often. Almost every game in this console/pc game generation uses a sculpting app to make the high poly model that they will map to a low poly model. It’s pretty standard nowadays.


In Melancov’s defence, he was specifically talking about mobile games which rarely have the need for that detail (yet).


I was confused with how his first sentence was constructed. If he’s talking about shitty mobile games that are thrown together to make a quick $0.99 then, yes I agree.

Many, many mobile games have been using sculpting apps lately. It’s been stepped up a lot since mobile U3 engine and the ipad was introduced.


You can see the requirements listed for work in the game and film areas include sculpting applications. Just check out the ads.


This question is 5 years old :stuck_out_tongue:

If you are doing PC/console games, you definitely need Zbrush to find a job, unless you show you can be as efficient with a non-sculpting app, which is unlikely, but happens sometimes.


Those of us on here for a while forget there are people who are new to cg. Also the search function doesn’t always deliver expected results :slight_smile:


Very important. particually for character work.


Hey ppl!
I’m new here and have a similar question. I agree that Zbrush it’s an awesome tool in the game industry. It’s less time consuming than boxmodeling, and by baking the information from the highpoly mesh (normal, ambient occlusion maps, texture, etc) into a low poly, works perfectly.
In the last few days I was surprised by a different workflow that consists in modeling in Zbrush, retopologize (into 2000 polys), and that’s it. No normal maps or baked info from Zbrush is going to be used. Do you see any useful point in this process? Is Zbrush necessary in this case?

Thanks in advance for your attention,