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UV tools in Blender are pretty good, but sculpting and painting tools are quite rudimentary. I would recommend sculptris, it being free, responsive and really good at sculpting and painting, but it doesn't play well with other apps, it exports fine but existing UVs get destroyed if you go into sculpt mode and you can't retouch an image that is already mapped.
So much water, so few sharks.
"...all men are created equal." -- US Declaration of Independence
lot's of great discussion here. Thanks to all for their input. I've played with the demo of 3DC a bit now. Retopo is very handy and pretty powerful, we do some 3D printing and didn't even think about using this for helping make a water tight mesh! Thanks for that idea... UVing seems very nice in 3DC so far. As flexible or intricate as you'd want for most things it seems. Sculpting is fun but again don't plan on doing much of it...but who knows...it is FUN!
I want to love MODO for so many ways but every time I've tried I just come back to LW lol. Blender is the same...very powerful and growing but OMG I can't deal with the interface or workflow. Just can't get my head around some of it.
Bought Quixel a while back I think it was black Friday deal. It's nice..but not quite what I'd want in a texture painter, but that's probably just me and my workflow. Like the idea of staying in the one app and being able to go back and forth like in 3DC. But that may not be realistic workflow either... *shrug*
Thanks again for all the feedback and ideas. Happy to read it all and get caught up!
I think 3D Coat makes a pretty good case for a one app workflow to an extent. Though I could not comment on the practicality of that as I don't use it. I think if you try it long enough you will know. I think if you find 3DC useful so far, go for it. You know what I mean? Because it can't hurt. You might find 3/4 of it to be totally spot on and work for you. Even if you find 1/2 of it as the most important things you need I think it is worth it.
To me it comes down to the tools. The little story I told about Modo/Maya in this or another thread (can't remember ) was just to point out that in that case, we just need the best retop solution we could get on a budget. (Maya full was out of the question).
I had seen the retopo tools in 3D Coat and while I thought they were nice, I just needed to find something as close to Maya as possible with other modeling tools available at the same time. Usually we are doing a combo or retopo and then modeling spheres and cylinders and so on as well.
Anyways. The point is. Sometimes you can only get so much out of an app. If the retopo tools in Modo would have worked better for us, that would have been great. And we could have explored other things. But since we really already had a modeling app to lean on we were OK in that department for the time being. Modo will have to come later.
But if you are getting a lot out of an app - is what I am trying to say here. Go with it! Add it to your pipeline. You won't regret being able to turn to this tool even if it is only for a few things.
That is how I view both 3DC and Modo at this point. Just for me practically speaking it will have to wait til I can get time in - or put a guy on - learning them fully.
Both Zbrush and 3DCoat take time to learn. So don't expect to use it on projects right away. Substance Painter is really easy to master, but doesn't include UV tools...it's only painting. You can see the workflow here: https://tutorials.allegorithmic.com/...be-bwusznnkRxo
Personally, I couldn't grasp either Zbrush or 3DCoat. I did a few projects with both, but gave up. The learning curve is steep with both.
I purchased one of the last versions of 3DCoat v3 and got a free upgrade to v4. I haven't had to pay for an upgrade in at least 3 years.
Zbrush is like a race car, it sure is fast and can do some amazing things under capable hands. But it's hard to master and you'll hit a few frustrating bumps.
Don't know if it matters.
3dcoat is a floating license. Install on as many workstations as you can. Less hassle if you use multiple computers.
Zbrush only two installs.
While it always takes time to learn new software, 3DCoat UV tools are so intuitive you will be up to speed with 2 hrs if not less and have fun doing it.
Zbrush not so much however it is my go to Sculpting software. For character creation especially.
I have both and each has pros and cons, Zbrush is a better sculpting tool and 3DCoat has better UV unwrap and retopology tools you can survive using either of them. Both are very capable but I noticed some slowdowns in 3Dcoat when sculpting.