Digital Art Zbrush vs Maya: Which is Better?

Zbrush vs Maya: Which is Better?

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There are many 3D Softwares on the market today. Each program comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Zbrush has become a widely known tool for professionals who want to sculpt complex characters or objects.

In recent updates especially with the introduction of the Zmodeller brush that made hard surface modeling way easier and the need to jump to another software to mirror or to do a simple extrude or Bevel has now gone.

Check out this Getting Started Course to Zbrush – Link Here

While Maya is better suited as a full 3D package. Both these softwares are equally effective at producing high-quality models. But you can’t really use Brush as a full 3D package (sorry my sculptor friends I know this will be hard to take ).

What is Maya?

Autodesk Maya comes packed with many enhancements including better support for motion graphic workflows, enhanced vector graphics workflows, improved 3D type, and much more.

With the release of Maya 2022, Autodesk brings you a new toolset that includes new tools like Shape Authoring, Dynamic and Effects, General Animation Tools, Parallel Rig Evaluation, and more. This toolset helps you make beautiful animations without having to learn complex rigging techniques.

Wanna Learn Maya in 3 hours? Check out this course – Link Here

Are Maya Plugins Worth it?

The dynamics plugin allows us to do real-time simulations. This helps us to understand how our object behaves under certain conditions.

For example, we can simulate how water flows over a rock surface. Similarly, we can model a car crash scene. We can even use it to study the behavior of fluids like air, smoke, fire, and liquids.

Fluid plugins allow us to animate objects in fluid simulations. They make moving, deforming, and manipulating complex fluid simulations easy. You can use them to create realistic effects such as waves, bubbles, splashes, and much more.

Import/Export plugins let us convert models into formats like.fbx,.obj,.3ds,.max, and more. In addition, importing models makes it easier to transfer data between programs. Export plugins also give us the ability to export files in multiple formats.

Modeling plugins let us add special features to our models. A good example of this is the Xfrog plugin. It enables us to attach textures to meshes in simple steps. Another great example is LBrush, which allows us to paint directly onto mesh surfaces.

AdvancedSkeleton for Maya 

We all know that rigging isn’t an easy task, as it’s very technical and very tedious, especially for artists, that is why these days there are Riggers in every studio specializing in creating these custom and advanced rigs for characters and props as well.

AdvancedSkeleton comes to fix this issue for everyone, it’s a very easy-to-use plugin that allows normal Maya users to rig their characters in an easy and step-by-step way.

Using advanced skeleton you can rig not only bodies but also faces, as they have a workflow for facial rigging skipping the tedious process of creating blendshapes as advanced skeleton uses mostly bone-based rigs for the face as well.

Below is a video explaining the setup process of AdvancedSkeleton

Arnold Renderer in Maya

Arnold Renderer is a free and open-source renderer for the 3D modeling software Autodesk® Maya®. It was developed by Arnold Corporation, which has been providing rendering solutions to the entertainment industry since 1994. The renderer supports both real-time and offline rendering of high-quality images.

It works with any kind of geometry (polygonal or subdivision), including non-uniformly subdivided geometries. It supports ray tracing, path tracing, radiosity, ambient occlusion, global illumination, subsurface scattering, caustics, shadows, reflections, refractions, and many other lighting effects.

In addition, it provides support for physically-based materials, such as diffuse reflectance, specular reflection, transparency, and emissive color.

In order to achieve better performance, Arnold Renderer uses multithreading and multi-core processing. It also includes a number of optimizations, such as precompiled shaders, optimized memory management, and cache optimization.

I personally remember the time when we had to install and purchase an Arnold license as it was an external renderer you had to add to Maya and Maya had only Mental Ray, but now it’s free and gets installed as part of the Maya package.

That is really amazing as you have now an inbuilt super powerful renderer although CPU based and I find myself these days using GPU-based more like RedShift as I find it way faster and easier as well.

Autodesk Maya Pricing

Autodesk Maya is a 3D animation software that has been used by many filmmakers and game developers. It can be used to create 2D animations, 3D models, and even games. The price of this program varies depending on the version you choose.

If you are looking for an entry-level version, then you should consider getting Maya LT which costs $299. However, if you want to get access to some additional features, then you may want to go for Maya Studio which costs $799.

this point is definitely one of the HUGE downsides of Maya as it’s very very expensive, purchasing a Normal Maya license would cost 250 USD per month (let it sink for a bit) and that’s only Maya add in Zbrush and Substance painter…and this is not even speaking about the hardware you should have, suddenly you start having feelings for Blender.

What is ZBrush?

ZBrush is a digital sculpting tool used for 3D modeling. It’s often used for creating high-quality 3D characters or 3D environments for games and movies. But it’s also useful for other things like designing furniture, toys, props, etc.

Zbrush is now like industry standards if you want to get into any Artist position, whether a character artist or an Environment artist, or even a prop artist.

knowledge of a sculpting package is essential and the biggest one and most capable out there is Zbrush (Sorry Mudbox users) this is because its an essential part of the creation process of starting with a sculpt that can be done very quickly and iterations on that are made quickly before starting with the actual final model, this process gives the artist huge artistic freedom.

Zmodeler Brush in ZBrush?

The ZModeler contains a set of polygonally modeled tools that can help you create a wide range of shapes. From environmental assets to parts for an IMM brush, the ZModeler allows you to rapidly create these objects without having to resort to tedious manual workflows.

Zremesher in Zbrush

As we have mentioned in Zbrush you create these high poly sculpts that look awesome and are easy to make changes to, but once you are done and decided that it looks perfect you should turn this high resolution sculpt into a low poly mesh and in order to that there are 2 ways:

  • Automatic Re-topology: this create a small resolution polygon mesh based on the high resolution you have sculpted with the click of a button and this is what Zremesher is, its similar to Quadresmher in Blender but in Zbrush, it’s part of the program. It’s worth mentioning that the resulting low-res mesh isn’t ideal for animation and should be tweaked further if you want to pass it to a rigger.
  • Manual Re-topology: Yup, this is where most artists don’t like to be really, it’s the tedious process of creating a low poly mesh based on the high sculpt you have created but this time you do it one poly after the other. Now in Zbrush, you can do manual retopology but there are specific programs for this, one of my favorite programs for Re-topology is Topogun. Some prefer to start with a Base Mesh in order to skip Retopology.

ZBrush Pricing

Zbrush used to cost a one-time fee I think it was like 750 USD but in recent months they introduced a monthly subscription of 45 USD and I thought that was GREAT for people starting out or if they wanted to test out the software for a month or have a project for 2 to 3 months they can use that option.

Since Pixologic has been bought by Maxon I expect things to change gradually and I hope they change in favor of users, as Pixologic has been doing an amazing job with Zbrush for the past years…

I Remember using the first version of Zbrush and back then the concept of sculpting was new so this company was a Pioneer in the sculpting space and they changed the whole way we as artists work.

Zbrush vs Maya Comparison Table

ApplicationSculpting, ModelingModeling, Animation, Texturing, UV mapping, VFX
Learning curve Hard at first Easier to grasp
Cost45 USD per month250 USD per month
Year first released19991998
Zbrush vs Maya Comparison Table

Why Should I Learn Maya?

Maya is one of the most popular 3D modeling software programs out there. With over 2 million downloads, it’s easy to see why. But what exactly does it do? Why should you learn it? How can it benefit your career?

And how can it help you make better 3D animations? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about Maya.

Maya Pros and Cons

Maya is the industry standard for 3D animation software. It is stable and reliable. But it is also a closed source. If you’re looking for a free alternative, check out Blender.

If you’re looking to do some serious work, however, you’ll probably end up spending money on Maya. You might choose to buy a subscription to Maya LT. Or you could pay $1,200 for one of the latest versions of Maya Pro.

The best way to find out what works best for you is to try both programs. Then decide based on your needs whether you’d rather spend money or save time.


  • You can make your own models in Maya
  • It’s easy to learn
  • It’s very powerful
  • Full package software (Animation, Modeling, Texturing, Rigging)


  • It takes time to learn
  • The interface is not as intuitive as other programs
  • Its very expensive 

Why Should I Learn Zbrush?

Well, Zbrush has a few advantages over Blender. For starters, it’s more streamlined than Blender. It’s easier to use and understand. Plus, it’s faster. This means that you can create higher-resolution models.

So if you want to learn how to make games, characters, or any other type of content that involves 3D modeling, then Zbrush is the right choice for you.

ZBrush Pros and Cons

There are many different types of 3D modeling programs out there, and each one has its pros and cons. One such program is ZBrush. This tool allows artists to quickly create realistic-looking models.

However, it’s not easy to master. In fact, there are other tools available to make learning sculpting easier. Here are some tips for beginners.


  • It’s easy to learn.
  • You can make really cool stuff with it.
  • It’s very fast, but you need to be good at using it.
  • Great for sculpting.
  • Has good support.
  • Has a lot of brushes.


  • It’s hard to get used to at first.
  • It takes time to master.
  • Some people don’t like it because of its interface.
  • You need a Wacom to really take advantage of this software.


So which should you use? Well, it depends on what kind of project you’re doing. If you’re going to animate, then Maya will be better for you. On the other hand, if you’re going to create a model for games, then Zbrush would be more suitable.

But no matter what you’re doing, you should definitely give both programs a shot. They’re both great options. Just remember that Zbrush is a little harder to learn. But once you do, you’ll have access to all kinds of unique features.

What do you think about these two programs? Do you prefer one over the other?