Mudbox or ZBrush?

This has probably been asked multiple times and I’ve searched google for a fair while over the last week looking for opinions on other sites but since I’m working with UE4, I thought the best opinions would be yours.

So, here is what I envisage my workflow to be:

  • Base model in Blender, low poly with the basic shape of the mesh.
  • Import to Mudbox / Zbrush for further shaping and sculpting.
  • Sort out UV’s into multiple maps. Generate normals etc.
  • Import to substance designer / painter for texturing.

I think that workflow could work really well. The reason I’m not using Blender for everything is it’s just too clunky for me. I can create good quality base meshes but anything beyond that becomes very laborious. I’ve watched several videos of both ZBrush and Mudbox sculpting and both seem to make sculpting so much easier, sharper and faster.

There are a few things I would like to mention. My sculpting will be for game assets (of course!) and not artwork, so insanely high polycounts aren’t necessary. Of course, characters etc will have a higher polycount but general assets won’t. Ease of use is also a factor. I’ve heard Mudbox is a bit more intuitive but not necessarily as powerful. Having said that, is Mudbox still a capable product for producing sculpted game assets?

Finally, the price is an obvious point. Mudbox is only $10 per month whereas ZBrush currently doesn’t offer a subscription option. However, if the community feels it is genuinely worth the extra monies, I would buy it.

Thanks in advance for your opinions and thoughts!


Zbrush is by far the best software in my opinion. It’s just so much more powerful. The only negative thing about it, is that it feels like the interface was designed by someone from another planet. It’s very modern, and great once you get used to it, but it’s not going to be similar to what you’re used to. That said, it doesn’t take long to get used to, and once you do it’s a fantastic software, unmatched by any other for 3d sculpting.

there are many more alternatives that will all work. it all depends on what you are willing to spend and willing to learn.
zbrush is slowly turning into a very bloated thing with lots of obsolete features, but it has a very large community, some great workflows, a large amount of learning ressources and if you can get past the weird UI it probably comes with the most out of the box solutions
mudbox isn’t bad either, but a bit more limiting on the possible workflows to achieve the same results (maybe good, maybe not so much…). nice texturing tools though - never was a fan of zbrushs polypaint.
sculptris is free and not very polished in terms of available tools - you might end up wanting tools to make things quicker fairly soon, but it is definitely worth a try.
3dcoat can give you great results as well, but i personally have next to no experience with it’s sculpting features.
then there’s also the general 3d packages that will give you sculpting options and depending on your needs it might be enough.

most tools should have a trial so giving them a spin before you decide should be fairly viable (i think only zbrush doesn’t have a trial x.x)

Thank you both for your replies. Out of curiosity, what is your own workflow? I’ve just started with creating my own assets and I actually find the process quite relaxing which is weird! However, any improvements to workflow etc is always welcome :slight_smile:

Also good idea divi, I didn’t even think of grabbing a trial so I’ll do that tonight!



zbrush. With their new zmodeling toolset in 4r7 gives new low poly modeling ease which coupled with the traditional sculpting workflow makes it a good choice. Plus its not owned by autodesk which is a plus in my book. I bought zbrush at version 2 and haven’t paid for an upgrade yet as theyve given the last half a dozen substantial releases away for free to registered users. I dont know if I would call zbrush bloated. Does it have a lot of tools some of which arent used as much? Sure, but it loads fast, performs like a beast (and just went 64 bit- version 5 will be 64 bit only) and you can fully customize the interface to be as streamlined as you need it.

Mudbox is way easier to get into, if you’ve used various 3D programs it’s similar to how they work. But it doesn’t have as many features, if you’re doing basic sculpting it’s more than capable and that’s why I use it most of the time. If you’re making a career of sculpting and doing character work then it’s best to go ahead and learn Zbrush because you would get to the point where you would need the tools it offers.

Mudbox does have a much better texturing system though, you can paint directly onto the mesh and textures and get a good preview in the viewport, Zbrush is more limited in that way. That would mean you don’t necessarily have to export to Substance to paint your textures, though Substance is more designed to work with game assets.

I think what I’m getting from this thread is to see which I prefer? I had a feeling it may come down to preference and requirements (I suspect Mudbox can do game-level sculpting without issue). I’ve downloaded the Mudbox trial this evening so I’ll see what I think of it. I could always cancel the $10 sub if I decide to pay for zbrush later.

And thank you hrgiger. I was worried that if I plumped for zbrush the interface may have been too convoluted for a newbie but if you can customize it then it may be what I go for!

Thank you everyone for your contributions :slight_smile:

Another plus for Zbrush is, you will find much more tutorials… It’s a bit like with UE4 and Cryengine, UE4 has a big community and looooooots of tutorials “hobby and pro tuts”. On the other side you have Cryengine but a much more smaller community and just a few tutorials. So i would definitly go with zbrush. :cool:

Cost wise Mudbox is cheaper.
But consider 3dcoat as well. Zbursh is also a good app.

Read that. Its a non biased opinion on your choices.
Personally i chose mudbox because of A : Price and B : The interface doesn’t make my head spin

I admit that ZBrush looks fantastic and thanks for that link Crocopede. I’ve checked out 3dcoat but the lack of a subscription plan puts me off. Mudbox is worth the punt at $10/pm and I already know zbrush is fantastic so that’d be worth the money too. However I feel it’s more of a long-term risk with 3dcoat.

Having tried Mudbox last night for an hour or two (just playing around with brushes, no serious sculpting!) I think I’m going to stick with it during the trial period and see what sculpts I can come up with. As far as game development goes, I feel Mudbox should do the job well enough. It’s not like I’m going to be making a 1 million polygon mesh for a game! Also, the topology and texture painting tools seem a lot easier and more intuitive than on ZBrush.

I’ll let you know how I get on, thanks again for all the suggestions and posts!

If you’re already in Blender, why not try modelling in Blender. It might be sufficient for your needs and the DynoTopo feature is somewhat unique (or at least used to be)

you rocks ! Absolutely , Sculpt of Blender is absolutely amazing , now i use Blender only for sculpting, his Dyntopo with Relative or constant Brush detail (Add Mesh density where you need) , I never seen it in any software (Maybe in Free Zbrush that i don’t like ) + his Extract mesh + Grease Pencil geometry cut + Matcap (like Zbrush) + (Remesher of Addon Sculpt Tool) etc… Sculpting in Blender is completly amazing … I really love how the mesh responsive to the brush.

Try it !