ZBrush 2023 has been released. I think this is the first release after they were purchased by the Cinema4D owners Maxon. The last ZBrush I looked at here was ZBrush 2021. But I know that some in the Poser and DAZ crowd use ZBrush as a round-trip software, so the new 2023 version seems worth a quick look.
The big news is that the Redshift renderer is now integrated into ZBrush. But only for CPU rendering, not the GPUs that Redshift runs best on (GPU rendering is only unlocked if you pay a subscription). This ‘integrated Redshift’ comes with the required materials and PBR controls. It also supports bucket rendering.
Things I’m not sure about:
i) if it’s just for final renders or is also able to power the Viewport in near real-time (if you have good enough hardware for that) like iRay can in DAZ Studio;
ii) and if Redshift will render the many comic/toon non-photoreal presets (BPR/NPR) that ship with ZBrush. I suspect not, since those will be highly tuned for the existing BPR (“Best Preview Render”) in ZBrush.
There are also some updates to the bundled Sculptris Pro. Sculptris gets what’s said to be a new SubDivide slider control, and the ability to restore areas of higher polygons by painting the back onto the mesh.
There are still perpetual one-time payment ZBrush licences, but these are expensive and you no longer get free upgrades from earlier versions. I imagine that many users are going to be thinking that there are not enough benefits to upgrading to 2023. It doesn’t look like an incredibly feature-rich whizz-bang ‘no-brainer’ upgrade to me, especially given the high price.
Many will be sticking with what they have, and thinking of switching. For that there’s:
* Blender 3.2 or higher, if you can stomach the UI and have a suitable graphic card;
* the hugely-improved and relatively user-friendly 3DCoat 2022 (it’ll be very interesting to see what 3DCoat 2023 looks like), a nicely priced one-time purchase and works back to Windows 7;
* and everyone seems to have forgotten about Autodesk’s Mudbox, but it’s still out there and apparently many students still pass through it briefly at university;
* there are a few others in either OpenGL browser form or mobile app, such as the popular Nomad Sculpt with its real-time lighting.