The correct answer to this question would be “Yes, but …” or “No, but …” depending on your point of view.
ZBrush is an award-winning 3D modeling software that enables a workflow that is akin to sculpting with materials like clay.
Luckily (here’s the but), there is a ZBrush free trial version for you to test before you buy it. Just in case the price tag of $795 for a single-user license is out of your budget, check out the best free ZBrush alternatives.
Pixologic offers a free full version of ZBrush for download that runs for a generous 45 days. The trial version lets you test drive all the exciting 3D sculpting features this software has to offer.
Even if you decide against buying ZBrush, you can keep the designs you made. The trial version lets you import, save and even export ZBrush designs. How great is that!
However, note that if you decide to purchase ZBrush, you will have to use a fresh installer. Since the free version of ZBrush you downloaded cannot be unlocked permanently.
The process to access the free trial is not quite straightforward:
Note that the free version of ZBrush requires an active internet connection to work!
The developers at Pixologic have made their name with a series of handy techniques that simplify the 3D sculpting workflow. For instance, ZBrush is capable of creating a new model with a higher, uniform polygon distribution to counter the effects of polygon stretching.
The main concept that beginners often struggle to grasp that you don’t try to create a high-resolution mesh right from the start. Instead, you build up levels of detail step by step.
Unlike commercial competitors like Mudbox that rely on external programs to create base geometry, ZBrush is completely self-sufficient. You can block out your 3D model step by step quickly and intuitively.
Although at $795 for a single user license ZBrush is reasonably priced when compared to other software, that price tag may still be out of range for many users. Luckily, there are a number of free 3D sculpting alternatives to ZBrush available for download that offer a comparable feature set. The most notable among them are Sculptris, SculptGL, and Blender.
For information on even more free 3D modeling software, check out our article, 20 Best 3D Printing Software Tools (All Are Free)
In case you want to learn more about free and commercial 3D modeling software, take a look at our extensive list:26 Best 3D Design/3D Modeling Software Tools (12 are Free)
Sculptris is a free 3D modeling software by the same developers as ZBrush. Pixologic acquired the program to integrate some of its features. The most remarkable feature is its automatic level-of-detail that frees users from the pains of manual subdivision control and re-meshing.
Understandably Sculptris has fewer features than Pixologic’s commercial alternative. On the other hand, even beginners can grasp the basic techniques of Sculptris quickly and create impressive 3D models.
Anyone who wants to get a taste of the 3D sculpting workflow, should take a gander at SculptGL. If you want to level up, give Sculptris a try. The best thing is, the entire free 3D modeling software runs in your web browser.
This being a free tool, the complexity of objects are limited. SculptGL includes only the basic tools necessary to give you a sense of the sculpting workflow. But this should not stop you if want to get your feet wet in 3D sculpting.
Blender is a professional grade, free 3D modeling software that is completely open-source. With its comprehensive feature set that covers the entire 3D modeling and animation pipeline Blender is a true jack of all trades.
Apart from the traditional 3D modeling functionalities, Blender can be used as a 3D sculpting suite that is comparable to ZBrush. The sculpting brushes allow to create complex 3D models. However, the learning curve of Blender is steeper when compared to the other alternatives on this list.
License: The text of "ZBrush Free Download – Is there a Free Version?" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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