Trouble Deciding


Saw this thread late but 3D-Coat is the easy winner here. Sculpting tools are already fantastic and now only getting better with LiveClay tools being written from the guy who made Unlimited Clay for blender. Arguably the best retopology tools on the market, and painting tools that do things nothing else does like painting real time normal maps and painting color, depth, and spec all in the same brush stroke and on the same layer.

Best of all is the clean and easy to use interface.


I own zbrush and 3dcoat. Zbrush is the winner hands down if you must have or can only afford one app.
When people say mudbox has a much cleaner interface my answer to that is, it only has a tenth of the features of zbrush so of course it would be. Sculptris has a super clean interface as well but it doesnt make it better that zbrush.

If you can afford it I would add 3dcoat to your arsenal as well but not as the first choice. It is a very good addition due to the retopology tools and base model building as well.

If you just want to make stills and illustrations then once again the only winner is zbrush. It also has the paintstop plugin which for you as a painter would be nice if you don’t want to play 3d.

There is also quick sketch if you just want to scribble down some concepts. before starting work.

Take a look at everything that zbrush has to offer not only as a 3d tool but also as a 2.5d and 2d tool to enable you to complete your artwork.



I think the OP has already made up his mind… but let me add my .02 cents.

First off, I am on record as saying zBrush’s UI is pretty dumb, and should have been fixed years ago, but since it has never happened before now – we should all assume it never will.

That said… To me it’s no question: Get zBrush.

I can give a hundred reasons – many of which degenerate into personal preferences… but I would say that one reason is pretty much unequivocal: It’s what the professionals use. Not all of them – but it is probably a hundred to one ratio. Now, why is that, do you suppose?

Some of it is comfort with something they already know… no doubt. But we are talking about people who get paid for their work. If something better comes along that allows them to accomplish more in less time, they will switch. They have to.

Now, this might not be true for animation packages. A studio they are working for may have already chosen Maya, Max3D, or what have you. But none of them care if the conceptual art is done in Modo, Mudbox, zBrush, 3DC, or Blender. All they want is the still.

And yet, the professionals still choose zBrush.

To me, that makes the decision pretty simple…


There are actually many reasons they might use it, not all of them mean it’s good. Some could be that the studio they work at uses it. For example I can’t stand maya but if I get a job at a studio that uses it, that’s what I’ll use. Lots of times boss guys who don’t even use the software hear that something is good and thus that’s what they buy for their employees. Another reason could be that that’s what they started with and there wasn’t much other option at the time so that’s what they’re used to.

Another thing to note is that 3DC is used a lot more than people realize. I know at least a few big Hollywood and game studios that use it, but are not allowed to say so publicly due to their deals with autodesk that keep them quiet.


ZBrush is powerful, but to unlock it’s potential you need to educate yourself.
Watch Meats Meier’s free Zbrush (v3) tutorials on Vimeo - then consider the new features added in later versions, then think of the free upgrades… :drool: :cool: :beer:

GoZ also works excellent for swapping between Modo and ZBrush.

Only if you’re doing strictly non-commercial/student work would I consider Mudbox, given AD’s recent free offer for students.


Really…? Interesting that a deal with Autodesk would keep studios from talking about a product from Pilgway, but not a product from Pixologic…


Maybe they do? Not every studio has this deal, maybe not every studio has the same exact deal. I don’t know all the details, I just know that a lot of my friends have told me that they use 3DC and LightWave at their studios but are not allowed to say so publicly due to these agreements with autodesk. I just reread one conversation to see if I could quote something but it’s hard since it was spread across several emails. He did say

“I don’t know how the higher ups would feel about announcing that as part of our pipeline or not. …but it IS a part of our pipeline now for making quick low poly models out of our high poly models. It’s a lot faster with some of the tools that 3DC has.” … “Also because I don’t know if that would violate any contracts we have with Autodesk”

Then “We got an e-mail last week about speaking for [our studio]. So do not mention anything about [our studio] and 3DC.”

This is a big game studio with a number of big recent releases.


Not going to argue… I know you’re a huge fan of 3DC. Not trying to pick a fight. I’m just saying that I can sort of see that Autodesk wouldn’t want a studio to mention LW… but to suggest that Autodesk somehow has it out for 3DC seems like “grassy knoll” stuff to me…

3DC’s retopo tools are really great (much better that Zbrush’s!)… but I don’t see why Autodesk would care if anyone knew about them, since they don’t have a dog in that fight… (and are off-topic from the OP )

This is something really great that Pixologic does. Free upgrades – almost unheard of in the industry…


I never said they had it out for 3DC. These agreements are about any competing product, hence LightWave. 3DC is competition for mudbox. I’m sure these studios also wouldn’t be able to mention if they used c4d or blender.

BTW as for the free updates, 3DC pretty much also has that. Yes you do pay for major releases, but you only pay a small amount, I think the last upgrade (to 3.0) was about $60, That was over 2 years ago with nearly weekly free updates since. And the starting price for 3DC is a lot cheaper too.


Just for grins and giggles, I looked at the 3D Gallery showcase here on CGtalk. Of the 25 images listed on the first page (a random sample to be sure, but still a sample of images users voted as the best of the best), 75% of them used zBrush as part of their pipeline.

3DC was not listed in any of them.


To be fair CGTalk has no option for 3D-Coat when your tagging your images, no matter how many times it’s been asked for.


I tried zbrush, mudbox and 3d coat

my preferences were

  1. zbrush
  2. mudbox
  3. 3d coat

Funnily enough i found 3d coat complicated to use for example I had to start with a sphere of course but I couldn’t easily find a way to pull huge chunks away and had to press extremely hard on the tablet for it to show up any form change. Also it was quirky in going from sculpt to paint. I know that I need to train to use it but mudbox and zbrush were no brainers for me to pick up the basics without instructions. So it came down to mudbox and zbrush. First of all I felt zbrush sculpting vs mudbox sculpting was more natural and realistic and second of all pixo free upgrades swayed me a bit. A huge loss to mudbox was autodesks subscription thingy. I shouldn’t have to pay a yearly fee to have features that I need. I could buy Photoshop 7 and get along just fine with it but in mudboxes case I would have to keep paying each year to get what seem like basics :S



If that’s the case then you clearly did not give it a very fair try. Most likely you used an object that was far too dense. I’m not sure why you had to start with a sphere, you could have started with whatever you want, or nothing at all.

BTW to the OP, not saying anything about these specific posts, but in general this section of the forum probably wasn’t the best place to ask for an opinion, would have made more sense to post in a more general discussion area


I agree with philnolan on this. 3dcoat is not difficult to use and as was stated you can start with whatever you like.

My main suggestion to the op regarding zbrush in actuality is more about the fact it is an app in its own right for creating 2d, 2.5d or 3d images whether using models or simply drawing whatever you like using supplied free plugins, it is all there for you. He is used to real world painting so I suggest he would feel more at home in zbrush due to the real world paint type tools that he would also have access to.

If ikkustration is his main goal with zbrush he may never need to know about topology or even uvmapping. He can just sculpt and paint to his hearts content.



Fair enough. That could explain why no one mentioned 3DC. Doesn’t take away from the fact that 75% listed zBrush though.

Wow… that’s a leap, don’t you think? If I read correctly, he spent the same amount of time trying each out, and found 3DC harder to learn than either ZB or MB. I also inferred that he liked MB OK, but didn’t care for the subscription practice.

Seems to me that this was an honest assessment and one man’s opinion. Why is it that whenever someone doesn’t like 3DC, it means they didn’t give it a fair try?


I can’t speak for other situations but in this case anyone who spent more than 5 minutes with the app would have easily figured out what was going on. Yes, I can see some minor workflow learning curves, but that of all things is not difficult, especially for someone who’s taken the time to learn zbrush’s interface.

As for the percentage it very well may take away from that 75%. For all we know the majority of that number used 3DC I am conjunction with zb. I’m not saying they did, just that we simply don’t know.


OK, this is getting kind of silly now… in Legal terms, I am arguing “preponderance of evidence” and you are countering with “reasonable doubt.” But since this is neither a criminal nor a civil trial… it makes no difference…

I think the OP has whatever info he was hoping to find by now… I believe he launched another thread about the best way to buy ZB, so I’d say he made up his mind.

Meanwhile, we’re beating a dead horse here. I am certainly not going to convince you that 3DC is amateurish when compared to ZB, and you are not going to convince me that 3DC is the tool of choice for discerning professionals who can’t talk about it because of their relationship with AD… or whatever…


In a perfect world it would be create a base mesh in Modo, sculpt in Zbrush, paint in Bodypaint, and render in C4D. However, for now I’d stick to Modo and Zbrush.


lol what a war. I understand there is some Prejudice statements going on toward me and others but the fact is I wanted something that felt natural and appealed to me. Usually I can tell which software I am going to feel more comfortable in on first or second time use. Zbrush grabbed my attention but I knew I had to give the others a try as well. Because 3d has generally more of a learning curve than other artistic mediums I am forced to ask these questions so I am not too blinded by my initial comfortable feeling with one of the applications. Example - I had a crappy time learning 3ds max and maya with their trials but the first hour of modo was bliss and fun so I went with modo. I knew that modo’s animation tools were not as tuned as the others but I am not into animation so it was overlooked and I went with modo.

It is true, I have chosen zbrush now but I will always read new comments here because nothing in the future is set in stone to me. After all, they are just tools, not art works :slight_smile: I also like to read arguments lol not sure why it just brings out the best in some people :stuck_out_tongue:


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