ZBrush for hard surface modeling


I’m just getting started with 3D modeling and I’m looking for the right tool to start learning.
So far I really like Modo, but ZBrush just introduced really nice hard surface modeling tools (e.g. ZModeler) with its latest update (4R7). I know the whole approach in ZBrush is different, since it’s mostly for sculpting and high poly modeling, but many use it to add further details to their basic meshes after they finished it in Max or Modo.

So my question is: as hard surface modeling can now be done directly in ZBrush, can I just skip learning traditional modeling software (such as Modo) and do all of my modeling directly in ZBrush?

Is anybody here doing this already? What is your experience?

Honestly, even with the new tools I wouldn’t use Zbrush for hard surface modeling–other programs are still better for that, especially if you’re trying to match something exactly.

If you aren’t concerned about accuracy or poly count then it’s fine, and if you’re a character artist then you really should learn how to do it there. But if you’re a hard-surface modeler, then stick to your main 3D app.


you can do all your hard surface modeling in Zbrush. Hard surface modeling is software agnostic , what you do/learn in Zbrush can be applied to a more general purpose 3D like Max/Modo.

I’ve always been terrified of 3D modelling, I’ve previously attempted to use Max, Maya, Blender and never could grasp it…I think the sheer amount of things you can do in them is what frightened me, however today (just 20 minutes ago) I installed the free program Wings3D and for the first time I have been able to make a 3D model - a fancy looking wine bottle (with curves in all the right places) and I didn’t even read any documentation or watch any videos, my advice to you is to use Wings3D, the UI is just properly intuitive. The only downside I could see was the inability to export to .fbx, this doesn’t really bother me though b’cos it has the option for .obj export. I also tested importing the models into Sculptris and had no issues…

15 years experience in all areas of the pipeline, including being a supervisor of pipeline for the last 5 @ Nickelodeon.

No, you should not skip traditional packages IF your goal is to learn polygonal modeling.

Zbrush Zmodeler is nice, and a different way to hard surface model, it is NOT polygonal modeling.

For example, Zbrush offers no way to specifically flow polygons, and that is an extra step (or 3) at the end by retopologizing or dealing with normal projections.

That is not to say there is no value in what Zbrush has to offer, especially in the sculpting space.

Even more so by offering a toolset for hard surface modeling to users who do not do traditional polygonal modeling.