Sculpting: What things blender is perfectly fine at doing, and for what things you look elsewhere?

By elsewhere i mean Zbrush, 3D Coat etc.

im not talking casual sculpting. Im talking building up portfolio stuff

any thoughts?

for example,l i was watching this and i was thinking if zbrush could do a better job or not?

Good at doing: making an entire optimized charater, like for animation or game. Blender has all the tools to go it from start to finish (model with rig, texture and animations), if you use its toolset wisely and do not focus obsessively on sculpting. Like building a good base mesh first, then sculpt some details on it and bake normals/displace.
Bad at: trying to achieve ridiculous detail by sculpting only. Like if your end goal is not animatable model, but an illustration or sculpture for 3d print. Here Zbrush has all the advantages, since its proprietary coding allows for way better performance, and it has more mesh generating gimmicks. But if you ask me, such workflow is flawed and ultra detailed sculpt isnt very useful outside ZB

1 Like

Regarding this archway project, the result will be roughly the same in both programs, since it is not overly detailed and Blender likely wont grind to a halt

then why is it the “industry standard” and almost everyone asks for it in skills?

1 Like

90% of the time i need some light sculpt pass mostly for nice looking welding, and blender - suck at this and i switch to zbrush.
Why? Because of this:

Simple thigs like put some alpha stamp in place for quickly making wood planks and so on - i use blender here.

in the near future when I need to sculpt some clothes i will also switch to zbrush because:

  1. cloth brush are way more better in zbrush
  2. alpha roll are exist in zbrush
  3. micromesh are better than tissue
  4. better overal performance

Zbrush pros:

  • Zbrush can handle pore level detail. Blender has improved enough you now might be able to with a really good computer. My last computer was a $1000 gaming PC, not the top of the line but certainly not a potato, and it would lag and crash with Blender when attempting high poly sculpts even when implementing ALL the tricks I knew of to workaround it, which is why I eventually just bought zbrush. Seriously, I hate zbrush, especially working in zbrush, and would ditch it for Blender if blender could reasonably replace it but instead I pay for zbrush.

  • Sculpt layers. Yes, there’s a paid Blender add on that can do it, no that’s not the same. With zbrush it’s built in functionality, and It’s amazing.

  • Undo is reliable in Zbrush.

  • The remesher. Blender’s is virtually useless. Zbrush’s is not as good as doing it by hand, but still good enough you can spot commercial characters being sold whose topology came out of the remesher (if that doesn’t sound good, consider that Blender’s will fail to get you anywhere near an acceptable final topology).

  • Also appears to have better retopology tools? Haven’t used them but think Danny Mac was using Zbrush in his tutorial.

  • Alpha handling is better overall.

  • In Zbrush, you can save brushes for use in future projects, like all 3D programs should. Overall brush handling and management works far better. Blender’s asset browser should sort of eventually let us do that, but the asset browser sucks because you can’t push things into it “because that would make it an asset manager” so you’ll have to consiously decide to make a scene for your brushes before working on them instead of organically making brushes or other assets as needed then pushing them to the browser for reuse.

  • Has entire methods of sculpting that simply don’t exist in Blender.

Blender pros:

  • Smooth shading. This doesn’t exist in zbrush. Subdivision is all you get.

  • Models can be easily imported at the correct size. LIKE ALL 3D SOFTWARE SHOULD (seriously Zbrush!).

  • None of that 2.5D bullshit that just completely screws up your ability to do anything when you accidentally fall into that mode. Again, Zbrush, stop, no one wants this.

  • Overall UI is better. And being able to work seamlessly in Blender makes some things easier.

  • The one brush/alpha thing Blender does better? Brushes with spacing based strokes.

  • Subdivision. Zbrush handles subdivision differently than blender and is more prone to artifacts from poles. Kind of a pain, especially if I want to sculpt a shapekey.

I use blender for quick sculpted modifications that don’t need to be done in zbrush, but for anything precise or detailed, zbrush is king. (As it should be, given all the functionality Blender has to support and the size of the team - most of whom have little to do with the sculpt module, versus Zbrush which exists to do one thing and do it well.)

1 Like

so say i have sculpting of a rock arch, a couch, food items, a character.

which of these would you do in blender and which in z brush? [i assume the character will be in zbrush but what about the others?]

Things are percieved “industry standard” simply because large companies do them. With enough budget, they can hire people who specialize in sculpting only, and let the team of modelers clean up their unoptimized mess. In smaller company or as a freelancer, I think you’ll benefit more from more generalist approach. Having said that, Blender isnt a good choice if you want to be exclusively a sculptor

1 Like

If the task is only sculpting, and you do not care with what happens with model afterwards - I’d say Zbrush

1 Like

Imho, the cutting function is best in the Voxel based 3DCoat, so for stone, plank carving: hide brush and split brush.

Personally, the UI/UX problems of 3DCoat are too many (I find navigation, outliner, some core concepts terrible) for using it consistently, but I see pros doing stuff that looks more natural than many ZBrush artists.

In general, if it’s not some very low poly stuff I don’t sculpt in Blender. Cloth brushes are great, though.

is there a way to do something like this [] in blender?

its remarkable what 3d coat could do here

You can do something similar using a texture as a stencil, but it won’t be as precise or fast as what’s shown in that 3dcoat video

can zbrush do that? maybe even thats worth learning zbrush for

With Blender sculpting - no. In Zbrush - maybe. However, you can do it much more efficiently using trim sheets: Keep in mind that this artist imported highpoly from Blender to 3d Coat. That’s easily ~ 10 million triangles for each column. The viewport response speed will take quite a hit. Exactly the case when sculpting everything is a poor choice


3DCoat’s Voxel based mesh is different from the subdivided topology or dynamic topology of ZBrush (Subdivision Levels / Dynamesh) or Blender (Multiresolution Sculpting / Dyntopo).

Might be good to look into or test out on the trial versions to learn what the differences are.

1 Like

I’m not sure what that was really

Could go either way for the first three, as long as the sculpt isn’t too high poly (otherwise zbrush). When it’s feasible I stay in Blender. I suspect for some food zbrush’s tools may work better, depending on the approach. Haven’t really modeled much food though, and when I have it’s mostly been poly modeling and texturing not sculpting. I personally tend to start from a poly modeled base for things that need sculpting, never a sphere. Easier to control that way.

For modifications to a character basemesh, Blender. For the detail sculpting pass: definitely absolutely Zbrush

Blender: a rock arch, a couch
Blender: character rough/base, general form sculpting

Zbrush: all

You’ll see when you’ll try to use sculpts for anything else as static renders :man_shrugging: