New to 3D Art - Texturing Software

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Jakub greentooth
Hello everyone,

Firstly, sorry for creating the topic, I wasn't able to find anything related to my question.

I am a newbie in 3D Modeling, I've been learning sculpting in Zbrush for quite some time and now I decided to go further and "find" myself a suitable software for modeling and texturing. I found Maya to meet my expectations as modeling tool, but I struggle with picking up a texturing one. So far, I've been only using polypainting in Zbrush.

I asked people around, used Google and I think that I narrowed everything to 3 softwares: Mari, Substance Painter/Designer and Photoshop texture painting. I am just not sure on which I should focus.

That is why, I wanted to ask for advice, what a newbie should pick at this point, which tool would be the best pick towards working as character artist in Game/Film industry. Also, if someone experienced would say, what you think about these programs, I'd be grateful.

Thank you in advance.



  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi quad damage

    Photoshop is the basis for most of your possible painting needs. It allows you to not only texture, but edit images, etc. Texture files are usually PSDs. Substance Painter, etc. may help with texturing, but it's the usual intention to ouput stuff done there to a Photoshop PSD.

    Get Photoshop. It is recommended and has been a mainstay for years.

    Do you have any work that you've been posting online?
  • Jakub
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    Jakub greentooth
    Thank you JadeEyePanda,

    Already got my Photoshop license, as I used it before to get some tweaks done in my works :)

    I finished a GnomonOnline course recently so I have some stuff done, mainly busts, painted in Zbrush. I don't want to spam it here, so I'll just throw last ones:

    Orc Bust
    Alien Bust
    Mech Chest(Zbrush+Keyshot)

    So you think that there is no need of buying anything like Substance Designer/Painter ? Or it would be a good pick if I don't feel confident enough with Photoshop ?

    One technical question - texturing in photoshop means painting on UV Maps ? Is that right ? If yes, are there any plugins needed for that ?

    Sorry that I ask so many questions. Thank you for your help, once again.
  • luthyn
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    luthyn polycounter lvl 6
    Photoshop is good to have and is a good place to get your feet wet.

    What kind of textures are you looking to make? Most of your stuff looks to be realistic. I personally love Substance but I started in Photoshop.

    You can always download the trial of and of these tools and see if you like it.

    Substance Trials:

    If you already have photoshop, you can also look at the Quixel Suite. It runs inside Photoshop itself so.

    Quixel Trials:

    Also there are no plugins need to paint on UV maps. All you need to do it copy a screen shot of your UVs from Maya into Photoshop. In the UV Texture editor select the UV Snapshot button:


    Choose the location where you want to save the snapshot, then open that in Photoshop and use it as a guide for your texturing. Put it on the top of your layer stack and set it to overlay or multiply.
  • Jakub
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    Jakub greentooth
    As you already noticed, I do organic stuff, I want to focus my work on creatures and characters.

    Thank you for the links, I'll take a look on them :) Also, great explanation of exporting UVs to PS!
  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter lvl 8
    There is no single program in texturing field on the market that would fulfill all your needs. Many of them are focused on "painting" side while actually less you paint by hand, more productive and competitive you are.

    Others too procedural with too many limitations to be comfortable.

    In a big project you often need something not to paint on a model but rather compose your old materials and renders in a quick manner based on depth blending and a few procedural masks.

    There are no decent soft for that also. But you could try Fusion or Xara ( no depth blending).
  • Brygelsmack
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    Brygelsmack polycounter lvl 6
    Mari is the way to go if you want something for both film and game art.
  • Jerc
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    Jerc greentooth
    Substance designer will allow you to bake your polypaint from zbrush onto a model with UVs (that could be automated iusing Uv Master) and then use some cool effects, compositing and procedural masks to tweak and refine your materials if you feel more confident painting your base color maps in zbrush. Or you can use it as a base on top of which you can paint some more in subatance painter.
  • Jakub
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    Jakub greentooth
    Thank you for all the answers and great help guys. I bought Substance kit yesterday!

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