Modelling 1: Maya or zBrush

Having created a clay model of one of my characters, it was then time to digitise the character.

The two modelling programs I know and have some had workshop on are Maya and ZBrush. However I was not entirely sure which one would be best suited for created models. To solve this I simply made the decision to start off using Maya, as at the time this was the one I felt I remembered better and so could hopefully pick up the program quicker and model faster.



I started off by researching into the basics of Maya, finding articles which would help me with the big dos and donts.

Common Pitfalls of Beginning Modellers

What I Learn’t

  • Use image Planes
  • Remember topology – try to avoid N – gons (5 or more sided polygons) – Avoid manifolds (edges shared by more than 2 polygons)
  • don’t be over ambitious


Reflection – Use ZBrush

While starting to model in Maya, I had a sudden thought that it wouldn’t be the right program for modelling the characters, as the base shapes in Maya are low poly and would create angular line. I didn’t think this would be suitable for the character designs as they are very curvaceous, so an angular silhouette wouldn’t be able to show the curves of the characters’ forms. Therefore the designs would have to be altered because of this.

In order to avoid this I decided to change modelling software to ZBrush, as from previous experience the program creates far high model models, therefore allowing me to achieve the curvaceous forms of the character designs.


ZBrush Modelling

A screen record of me attempting to model the character in ZBrush.


Researched into how to add image planes using my clay sculpture as reference – both front and side.




Reflection – Final Decision – Use Maya

Talking to Bobbie about my journey from Maya to ZBrush, she seemed concerned that I was currently using ZBrush. Explaining this to me, she felt the poly count would be through the roof when using ZBrush, due to the immense detail that could be obtained from the program compared with Maya. She thought this could be a major issue when it comes to running the game. With a high poly count comes a larger sized game, which requires more memory and power to run. the increased size could cause crashing or the game to not even work. Admittedly I hadn’t considered this and it began to make me rethink if using ZBrush was a good option or not.

After some thought, I came to the final decision of moving back to using Maya. I decided to do this to have more control over the poly count of the models, meaning they could be far lower than in ZBrush and so it will be less likely that the model will cause issues when running the game.

Also, I felt that ZBrush is more of an advanced piece of software than Maya, as it is often used to create high quality concept models. Therefore I feel I will become overwhelmed with the program, especially as a novice modelling. My initial research had warned me to not be over ambitious and I feel using ZBrush requires more skill to create a refined and well formed model than on Maya, due to the detail that can be achieved with ZBrush’s tools and its high poly count.

So overall I felt Maya would be better for me as a novice, due to lower poly counts ensuring I don’t become overwhelmed or over ambitious with specialised tools or high poly counts which I don’t fully understand or know how to control. Maya appears far more simple and suitable for me to use.



  • Look back over my Maya workshop notes from last year to help refresh me on using the software.
  • Start forming a basic model in Maya to develop upon.