Thursday, July 4, 2013

Automatic Topology: Mudbox vs. ZBrush!

Using the head from my Krank sculpt for the topology demo.
In Mudbox the corners of the mouth, eyes and nose are extremely successful without the use of curves. Downsides are lots of strange terminations of topology where ZBrush has better flow around large broad shapes. Remesh time 2:00
No matter the setting, I could not get clean topology from ZBrush where it really mattered, in the mouth and eye corners. Nose and ears looked absolutely fantastic though.  Remesh time 00:55
Both pretty equal in quality in the ear area
The ears on both models look great. Neck topo is far superior with ZBrush. Nice "blanket" quad flow in ZB.
Eyes and NLF looks good too.
Nose looks great, also nice symmetry with pole placement in the eye bridge. 
Using guides in Mudbox produce really clean edges generally. You do have to use them sparingly. Only add edges where you are getting very bad geo. If you try to add edges where the automatic topology is doing fine, it will generally just screw things up. Mudbox has much better curve/topology tools as well. You are able to edit the curves after that fact. Curve tools include Smooth, Erase, Edge Loops and Border Edges. Remesh time 02:00
Using curves in areas like the eyes and mouth corners, I was able to get much cleaner results. Still not as clean as what you get from Mudbox when you don't use curves at all and definitely not as good when you use Mudbox curves. Remesh time 00:55

Mudbox does transfer your detail and textures over which is pretty great in most cases. But you can see during the automated process, it does a poor job accurately preserving that detail automatically in paint and sculpt detail. Not all is lost though, you just have to divide the mesh again and set your p-tex resolution a bit higher and transfer details again and you should be nearly 1:1 with your source model.
A simple rock done in Mudbox and Zbrush. The ZBrush rock followed the line-work much closer than Mudbox, even at fully optimized settings. ZBrush is a clear winner when it comes to objects like these.
I could not get Mudbox to follow the sculpt without the use of guides. Very much like the little rock, ZBrush does a fantastic job outlining the sculpted form of this surface. Re-mesh time 03:00.

Excellent flow in geo. Adjusting the settings you can dial in and out the amount of edges that you need to define those specific details. Re-mesh time 00:40!
Mudbox and Zbrush both have great topology solutions at this point. When working on faces, I feel mudbox has a slight benefit. The mouth and eyes turned out significantly better in Mud than in ZBrush. That said Mudbox cannot re-topo several meshes into one single mesh, so that is a negative for me when designing characters. Mudbox is also significantly slower to re-topologize, generally it takes 2x -3x the time as it would in ZBrush. Zbrush has a much better solution at generating geometry that follows the curvature/sculpted detail of the model, like in the rock examples. However, you are limited in what size you can re-topologize in zbrush, typically 8 million, where in Mudbox the only polycount cap is what your computer supports.


  1. Thank you very much, awesome comparison :)

  2. Really appreciate this! Always looking for more tools for artists to help them meet the CheckMate 3D modeling standard, and both these tools will help a lot.

  3. Would a 64bit version of ZBrush not solve the limit?