Major Confliction: Blender or ZbrushCore?

I also have a few more questions concerning a dilemma I’m on:

I’m REALLY conflicted right now after doing some more research into Blender. From what I’ve gathered, Blender can do EVERYTHING ZbrushCore can, plus more. However, I don’t like the layout of Blender and it usually gives me a headache. I want something simple but I really do wonder if 150 dollars is worth it. Wouldn’t I really just be buying a UI when compared to Blender? I don’t think I’ve ever been more conflicted on something in my life before.

What do you guys recommend? Try to post logically without bias (I know that’s asking a lot considering this is a Blender forum and not a Zbrush forum). Do I spend what feels like forever trying to learn Blender and save 150 dollars or do I fork over cash and start with something I (basically) already know? Which program is easier to use for modeling, especially with modeling metal pieces? Which program takes longer to model in?

Honestly I’m shifting towards ZbrushCore but at the same time I feel like if I buy it I’ll be a huge twat because I basically just spent 150 dollars on a UI only (based on the knowledge I have so far, which is incomplete). From a personal preference standpoint, I like ZbrushCore better, but from a logical standpoint in both tools and money, Blender is a better option. I really don’t know what to do. Also, no offense, but giving an answer like “just pick what makes you feel best” will not help at all. I want data, basically how it compares with sculpting and usability. The thing with Blender is that, like any other program, it CAN be learned and thus that would eliminate the issue of it being too confusing. But, as stupid as I sound saying this, I’m going to be completely honest: I don’t know if it’s laziness or my personal preference with ZbrushCore but I don’t really want to try to learn Blender. But is having that type of attitude worth 150 dollars? I really need some help here guys…

Also I’m sorry for coming here with a more leaning bias towards ZbrushCore but again, I’m still super conflicted and I don’t know if my bias is justified or not (part of the reason I’m here is to find out).

You are really going to need to be a lot more specific on what you are actually trying to accomplish with the software. What are your artistic strengths? What kinds of projects are you doing? What are your future goals? Very little of what you wrote helps us help you.

And welcome to the forum!

I want to make models of robots and other creatures that are on this level of detail (these are both ZbrushCore models (and not mine) because they fit best with what I have in mind):

I know Blender is capable of being used to make things just like those two images, on the same level of quality, but I guess my real concern is how difficult it is. I want something simple and easy to use that still produces good quality. If Blender really is the better option, then I will be willing to try to learn it. However, I’m worried that with Blender I will lose interest or get too frustrated and give up while trying to learn it. I know that if I get ZbrushCore I will commit to it but I’m still conflicted. I know I can buy ZbrushCore anytime and I have been practicing a bit in Blender but so far I haven’t been able to stay focused with Blender. The videos on ZbrushCore inspire me while the ones on Blender turn me away. But again there is still a huge pricing confliction here ($150 or free). Like I said, I want something that is at least semi-easy to use. I know, and like I said, learning Blender is an option and I’ve started it a bit but I just keep getting frustrated with it, bored with it (due to not understanding anything), and tired (because it’s too complicated and it takes so many more steps to do things then it does in ZbrushCore).

But again, I’m still very conflicted. I plan to keep trying Blender but I still want to see what people here have to say on this matter.

Also my strengths are in modeling things with a Zbrush style (I’m coming from Sculptris). I don’t have any images at the moment but I’ll get some if you want.

Oh and my original plan was to use a ZbrushCore/Blender duo where I would sculpt in ZbrushCore and then do textures, posing, and rendering in Blender. The confliction started when I, out of curiosity, did more research into Blender’s capabilities.

I’m still not completely sure about what you want to do with the software…
“Models of robots and other creatures”, I get that, but for what purpose? 3D printing? Do they need to be animated? Do you want to render stills? Or is all of the latter done in another piece of software anyway?

Comparing ZBrush Core to Blender is in a way comparing apples to pears, as Blender is a fully-fledged 3D modeling, animation and rendering suite, while ZBrush Core is “just” a highly-specialized micro app (this is not meant disrespectfully, but in terms of functionality) for sculpting and polypainting.

So, the question still stands: What is the final result you want to create with those models of yours?

Ah, sorry. Just saw the edit to your post where you cleared some of this up!

But now I’m even more confused about your question:
If you want (need) to use Blender and its interface anyway for animating and rendering - where does your conflict come from?!

Or if you want to abandon Blender completely from your pipeline now, what will be used for animating/rendering, then?

From your posts you come across as someone who really want to buy zbrush core and looking for some excuse not too.
Therefore just buy it.
Both applications can do what you want but you say you don’t like the interface of blender (it’s much simpler than zbrush) so don’t use it. or the best option of all, use both applications, using their own stengths

Hi Deoxys,

i followed your post with great interest.
I recently was in the more or less same situation. The only difference seems that i am using blender since 2013, mostly for rendering and hard surface modelling.
From you post it is not clear if you have any 3D modeling experience at all. If not, i think that there are two things that belong together, but nevertheless must not be mixed and you need to be aware of:

Do you want to learn sculpting for creative purposes, or do you want to learn about a software? Is your interest about making art only?
If you want to learn sculpting, it will be painful in the beginning, no matter what software you will use (i’m currently suffering the same situation…).
Sculpting is a matter of your eye-brain-hand coordination skills, and they have nothing to with blender or zBrush. It’s the same discussion with Gimp and Photoshop. If you want to learn to improve your art, the software is only the second important task to master. If you can’t draw or don’t know about proportions, you will fail with either blender or zBrush. Sculpting is about how good you can transform an idea into a form, using concept and anatomical knowledge.

But back to the topic. If you really want to get into sculpting, a graphics tablet would be the first important invest. If you buy a wacom intous, you get zbrush Core for free with it.
Zbrush Core has less functions than blender, the most annoying thing is, that zbrush Core is missing retopo, UV and baking tools. And it can not render images as Cycles can! And is has less brushes than blender, and ZBrush Standad Brushes can not be imported to zbrush Core (No upward compatibility!). All this can be done in Blender, or in Zbrush Full Version (which is about 800$ or so).

Regarding the Blender UI i think its worth to give Blender a chance and wait for 2.8; on the other hand, with less effort the current blender ui can be adapted to personal needs.

As others wrote before, make yourself clear what you want to achieve: 3D stills, 3D Prints, 3D Stock Models, Animations. And differ those decision from the pure art skill of learning how to draw (sculpt). From my point of Little experience, you need a lot of anatomy books, paper, pencils and rubbers to learn 3D sculpting.

Good luck!

Yup, agree on a good instrument, you’ll be handicapped with a mouse only.

It is then mainly about what you’re able to do & the best thing is to get experienced yourself.
Or if you have an idea where, who you’d like to work with, check their workflow, pipeline & what they use.

Tools you can play & exercise with:

It might help if I show some of the work I’ve done in Sculptris. At the moment, I do individual parts for use in modding in a game called Spore. These parts lack the full amount of detail I wanted to add because they had to be reduced to very low polygon levels in order for Spore, an older game, to support them through modding. Otherwise I would have very fine details on the skin, especially texture (mesh) wise. These two in particular were based off some old Spore concept art that a friend of mine wanted to add in the game but was unable to model them himself.



Then, after doing close to around 20 parts, I realized that I wanted to do more in the modeling/sculpting aspect of things. I really wanted to sculpt things with linear edges (which is why I brought up metal so many times) in order to make good armor pieces for my own fun and for use in modding (with my own mods). However, with Sculptris, I ran into a major problem: no matter how hard I tried, and no matter what amount of polygons there were, I was unable to get the linear edges I desired. This was the closest I could get to a metal armored lower leg piece:

I did only the lower leg as a test to see how well I could get it. Had I gotten the linear edges I desired, I would have made the whole thing instead of just one leg piece.

At this point I decided I needed something better than Sculptris but on the same type of design as it (because that’s what I’m used to). Not only did I want a program that could model good armor/metal pieces, even at low polygon/quad/triangle counts, I wanted something that I could also use to make sculpts not meant for modding (and thus would not be reduced to fit Spore). I’m not new to anatomy, sculpting, modeling, etc. I’m by no means an expert or even close to professional level but I’m at a point where I can use programs like Sculptris to their fullest, or at least close.

This is where Blender comes in. Regardless of if I get ZbrushCore or not, Blender will still be used. Even though I want to do render stills of high polygon models not meant for Spore mods, I also still want to keep making Spore parts. It’s one of the ways we keep the game alive, since it’s about 10 years old. The game is beyond hope of ever having new content made for it by the developers, so instead we take to the modding aspect to fill this gap. This is why Blender will still be used no matter what path I take; it’s just a matter of how it will be used. I need Blender to fill in the gaps that ZbrushCore is missing, such as UV mapping and animation. UV mapping is important for making textures that work in Spore and animation is needed to give the parts, like the mouths, simple animations that also work in Spore. The animation stuff was purely for the parts, not like short films or anything even close to that.

I want a program that is better than Sculptris in terms of modeling but is easy to migrate to from Sculptris. Sculptris simply cannot support what I want to do any longer. ZbrushCore is literally designed to be the next step from Sculptris, Blender is not. Even if Blender is the better option, changing an entire set up (everything from UI, controls, brushes (even if there are more), etc.) is hard to do. And by this, I mean moving sculpting (instead of just textures and animations) to Blender as well.

Also something that turned me down with Blender yesterday was when I tried experimenting with different polygon/quad/triangle counts. I created a sphere and brought it all the way up to 100,000 faces for extreme detailed modeling and… The program crashed. I know this isn’t an issue with my computer because I’ve done sculpts in Sculptris with over 500,000 faces with no lag (let alone crashes). Maybe I did something wrong in Blender but I don’t know enough about it to tell. Also, in case you’re skeptical, here are my PC specs:

Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
RAM: 16 GB
System Type: 64-bit Operating System, x64-Based Processor
Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-6700 CPU @ 3.40 GHz

I also have a 4 core setup with over 100GB of space in total (that I can use freely).

Display: 1920 x 1080

Now this brings us back to the start where I did more research on Blender and became very conflicted. But I hope this clarifies things a bit more and I apologize for (not intentionally) being very vague.

Its hard to go wrong with zbrush, however I find core to be a bit too limiting. For some creature and hard surface work, I’d give 3D Coat a looksie. I find myself using it more than zbrush (own both licenses), however ultimately zbrush will have a better brush engine than either of those.

Nice thing about 3D Coat is that its sculpting is pretty free form (dont worry too much about topology), has some of the best retopo tools out there and is well known for texturing. It will compliment Blender better than Zbrush Core would, better control scheme too (still if you are unsure just go with zbrush as it is number 1 for a reason when it comes to sculpting). Its a good place to start.

Just to add a bit to all the confusion, I bought ZBrush Core a little while back.
It seemed a good chance to have access to a limited but still very effective ZBrush sculpting set for personal work and the odd bit of freelance. Although I do love Blenders sculpting tools as well.

Anyway did a quick test at using Blender to supplement some of the missing features and see how easy it was to get a usable animatable mesh and topology with accurate maps. It’s a very straight forward process once you know how it all works in Blender. Although I would recommend looking into possibly using XNormal as well for capturing maps from ZBrush sculpts. Although I seem to get better displacement maps from Blender in a more easy and straight forward way.
I used the ZBrush core 3D printing decimation feature to create the mesh for retopo so it was fast to work with. Then once I had the new retopo geo finished in Blender. I just imported the full res version in to Blender to capture the maps. Color, normal and displacement.
I did a very super fast re topo in Blender by using sub divisions with shrink wrap.

Apologies for my wonky mutant green horned planet type thing. Was just quickly trying out the brushes and the workflow. Anyway is all possible and quite easy and fast.

Have 3D Coat as well and that’s also brilliant. Incredible for texture painting. But Blender will work fine for this too. So you can use both basically. And you will probably need both too if you want to use your sculpts for anything more than just sculpts.

Guys I posted a very detailed and long post about all the specifics I wanted to do and my current skill level but it told me it had to be approved by a moderator (plus I accidentally double posted it). That was like 10 hours ago. This is really frustrating as I spent a lot of time writing that up and it would have answered all the questions you guys gave me. What’s the hold up? Do I need to rewrite it?

EDIT: Seriously it was like 4 or 5 paragraphs plus pictures! I’m getting angry now.

PM a moderator. It shouldn’t take that long, unless the post was hateful or something.

The post was by no means hateful, not even in an angry tone. My tone has changed after simply because I’m frustrated that my incredibly detailed post answering every question that everyone has asked me in this thread is gone. But thanks for the advise; but where can I go to contact a moderator? Which one should I contact?

Edit: Fixed a typo.

I said nothing about your actual post. I merely noted that the only reason a moderator would not approve it is if it is hateful or something. Quick Links (at top), View Forum Leaders. Fweeb and Marklew seem most active to me, so I would go with either of them.

5 year blender user, 1 year Zbrush user. i can tell you, Blender will get you started, but if you want to go to the next step, zbrush is the way to go. they have Zremesh, and Dynamesh, which crush anything blender can offer. aswell as a much better library of brushes, alphas and better integration with tablet if you have a pen. (strongly recomended)

pluss zbrush can handle an insane number of polygons, much better matcap shaders, and the transposer, which is godlike once you learn how to use it.

However, Zbrush does sculpting, and sculpting only.

Blender will get you started tho, and learning the Zbrush interface is a pain. so stick to blender unless you are absolutely planning on going pro.

I agree with SaintHaven on 3D-Coat as well. It complements Blender really well. You can get the EDU version for $100, but it has some restrictions (only 7 paint layers, textures size limit 2048x2048, etc). PBR painting is just a hoot.

To throw more fat on the fire, check licensing terms for the paid product. Is the ZBrush license permanent, or term based/renewable? Are you entitled to upgrades, or do you need to pay an ongoing maintenance fee to get access to them? What are the terms of use - personal only? Limited commercial revenue? Unlimited?

As for the post needing moderator approval… SOP for new members. The longer the post, the longer it will take a mod to review and approve it. Massive wall-of-text posts will likely get skipped over for a bit pending more pressing matters, so as a new poster its probably best to keep posts short and to the point so they get approved quickly.

And since I haven’t seen it up-thread: welcome aboard. :yes: