Does anyoneone know of a free 3d sculpter that is equal or close to equal to ZBrush.
Blender’s sculpting can get you good enough results for sculpt exercises or concepts. Further details can be sculpt after a retopo :D. I daren’t say Blender is as powerful as zbrush3, but its close to Mudbox.
The major difference is that the displacement painting applications are painting directly to the various maps and giving realtime feedback, whilst blender is actually altering the geometry. There are “similar” features/programs out there… but they are similar in the way that soy milk is similar to actual cow milk. As a matter of fact… most 3d apps have a feature that is similar to displacement modeling.
The major difference about zbrush3 is that it supports billions of polygons. There are many other major benefits… but remember that it’s not the final stop or only stop in the production pipeline. You very well may be able to get the desired result from using vertex paint to map regions and then using a normal/displacement map that is painted in blender or photoshop.
For your perusing, programs that vaunt their sculpt mode:
Sharpconstruct (free but very buggy…and very similar to Blender’s sculpt mode with a few differences)
Another alternative (or additional boost) is a program called CrazyBump. It’s a displacement/normal map utility (standalone) and is pretty awesome.
I have used most of these and am happy to answer questions (if I see them)
I´m also looking for a free/open source alternative to zbrush. The great thing about that program is the ability to export a displacement map. The workflow I´m trying to establish is to take a low res tree model from Arbaro, detail it with a geometry sculpting tool to about 20 000 faces, and then giving the model even more detail with a displacement map at rendertime. This would allow me to work on quite big scenes and also get a nicely detailed render.