XOOT's List of the Best 3D Sculpting Software
When we talk about 3D sculpting Software the top three that come to mind are ZBrush, Mudbox and Blender.
Note: These Software are used professionally and we recommend they be used on a professional drawing tablets.
ZBrush, the one stop platform
Our first pick, ZBrush is a professional software that is preferred by most major studios for movies and video games, It is widely used for 3D modelling and 3D printing and offers photorealistic quality as well as the highest quality shading, lighting and rendering making it the industry leader.
The beauty of this software is that it is compatible with other 3D software so you can export your 3D models and settings and can handle the highest amount of polycounts
ZBrush comes with a number of features that any digital artist appreciates. It come with 30 3D brushes installed and more available for download, DynaMesh which lets you easily create a new 3D model with uniform polygon distribution throughout and ZRemesher which helps with the topology , you can read more about ZBrush’s features here.
Zbrush also offers 2.5D modelling which is a painting technique that no other software offers which allows your canvas to store paint and material information, this can be described simply by comparing it to custom paint brushes and each brush has specific material attributes.
But on the downside ZBrush is the priciest of the three software, it costs $39.95 monthly, $179.95 biannually or $895 for lifetime access.
Mudbox , the user friendly
Mudbox is our second professional 3D sculpting software and a direct competition to ZBrush, the idea behind this software is building you design step by step. You can start with a template from Mudbox’s library such as a human body or a dog and then using different brushes. You can work on the silhouette using the large brushes and the small brushes for more sculpt and details such as fingers, beauty marks, wrinkles and scars. You can also import your own designs from other Autodesk 3D software tools 3DS Max and Maya.
When we talk about Mudbox’s sculpting tools we are talking about pinching, smoothing remesh (change the mesh resolution on a specific surface) and many more features that are user friendly and if none of the brushes work for you you can import your own onto it.
Mudbox also work with Adobe where you can Photoshop blending mode to Mudbox and the software work on both Windows and Mac.
The downside of Mudbox is that it has a limited amount of shapes and templates but you can always start from scratch using Tesslellation.
While ZBrush has the upper hand with the tools and features, MudBox is user friendly and cheaper at $10 a month, $85 a year or $230 for a 3 subscription and if you’re a student you get a free licence
Mudbox’s 2020 update was a bit of a letdown , there were a lot of issues that users wanted fixed but the current update left them unresolved.
Blender, the free software
The fact that this software is free is a big winning point, with a good sculpting tools and is widely used for texturing, animation, composing and rendering as well.
For Digital artists that are just starting out or smaller companies and studios, this might be the perfect choice for you.
Its sculpting capabilities are similar to those of ZBrush and Mudbox but Blender’s distinctive quality has to be what is called Cycles. Cycles is Blender’s production rendered that produces realistic results in a flexible and fast way.
The issue with Blender is that it’s not the most user friendly software, it can be difficult and tricky to learn and not used by bigger studios so if you’re looking to work one for a big brand like Ubisoft, Microsoft or Disney, this isn’t for you but if you’re a freelancer or working on small independent project blender might have more to offer you.