Difference between 3D Modeling and Sculpting You’ll be surprised to know

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What Is the Difference Between Digital Modeling and Sculpting?
A large number of companies want 3D renderings of their products.

How many of their executives and owners, on the other hand, are familiar with the processes that produce such stunning images? Isn’t it more necessary to focus on the end product, rather than the process?

It’s possible some people have this view, however, it might lead to workflow challenges and misunderstandings when a CGI project is being requested.

Because most individuals don’t understand the inner workings of the 3D business, things that seem clear to a 3D artist may be overlooked.

Clients of a CGI studio, for example, may mistake 3D modeling for sculpting, thinking that the latter is only one of the many forms of the first.

As a matter of fact, 3D modeling is a sort of 3D sculpting, however, the word requires some explanation. So, let’s have a look at what makes them different!

What is 3D Modeling?

Let’s look at the definition of 3D modeling first before we begin our comparison.

The phrase “3D modeling” is used to describe a wide range of computer-aided methods for creating three-dimensional things.

Professionals, on the other hand, use the term to describe a specific way of making computer-generated images (CGIs).

For the uninitiated, 3D modeling may be explained as the process of adding tiny pieces of geometry, called polygons, having three or more vertices.

However, 3D sculpting is a method in which 3D artists work with a polygon mesh of an object like professional sculptors in order to create the final product.

They use digital tools to sculpt, stretch, and carve it, resulting in a stunning rendering of a CG item.

3D Modelling Example…

Where is  3D Modeling Used?
Create a virtual three-dimensional depiction of your object with the help of 3D modeling, also known as 3D product design. This is the most useful innovation brought about by modern technology. There are many different applications for 3D modeling that can produce stunning special effects, such as the following:

  • Numerous uses in the field of marketing via social media
  • When it comes to the field of architectural visualization
  • Things such as furniture and jewelry are examples.
  • The portion of the article devoted to Real Estate In order to develop video games and computer-generated imagery (CGI)


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What is 3d Sculpting?

When an artist creates a 3D item on a computer using digital clay, it’s called digital /3D sculpting.

It’s easy to produce realistic-looking sculpts thanks to software that has brushes and tools that can push, pull, squeeze, and smooth.

There are a variety of sculpting applications that allow artists to work with either a pre-existing model or from scratch.

2d to 3d in Nomad sculpt
3D Sculpt using Nomad Sculpt
  • Application of Three-Dimensional Sculpting in Character Design
  • The top choice for modeling subdivision surfaces.
  • The process of mapping textures can benefit from its utilization.
  • It is possible to design for 3D printing.

Also Read: What is the point of digital sculpting-Things you should know

3D Sculpt using Nomad sculpt and 3D printed using Anycubic Resin Printer…
Nomad sculpt
3D Sculpt using Nomad Sculpt App

So, what’s the Difference Between 3d Modeling and Sculpting?

Well, Is there really a huge difference between them now that the terminology has been defined?

Both 3D modeling and sculpting, after all, result in visually pleasing final products.

When it comes to creating 3D models, the two methods differ greatly.

At a sub-object level, standard-modeling objects can be tweaked. In other words, the item’s polygon mesh may be reshaped by the artist using its vertices, edges, and faces. There is nothing like a sculpted model in the world.

This increases the size of the file and makes it more difficult to work with.

Sculpting differs significantly from modeling in that it needs a different set of abilities in order to achieve the same results.

The former relies on geometry and exact calculations, whilst the latter demands a more aesthetic approach to the process.

3D sculpting is also more susceptible to errors, which necessitates a higher level of care and attention from experts.

What Is the main Difference Between Modeling and Sculpting?

  • 3D modeling serves as the foundation for all 3D applications.
  • Polygons are used to generate and modify an item in 3D space (quadrangles or triangles). These are mathematical computations that are performed within the software.
  • As you can see, it is impossible to shape models in this manner. Create a 3D model instead by using shapes, lines, and vector points to represent the data.
  • Modeling is geometric in nature, which makes it ideal for building an angled item, such as a chair, from scratch.
  • Because you have conscious control over each polygon, the mesh retains its integrity, and there are no further processes required to topologize it once it has been created.
  • 3D sculpting is a more organic process than 2D modeling.

A sculptor may alter the polygonal mesh of any item by employing tools that look like brushes.

Natural materials are used to make the tools, which allow for gentler labor.

Furthermore, although creating difficult, angled items (such as a chair) is not impossible, it requires significantly more time than modeling.

When creating organic objects such as people or tree trunks, it is better to employ sculpting techniques.

Sculpting enables the artist to achieve remarkable degrees of detail in the texture of the subject through the application of pressure.

Because of the complexity of the mesh, sculpts must be Retopologized before they can be used in another software.

In recent years, this procedure has grown increasingly automated, making it simpler for newcomers to get into the industry.

3D modeling and sculpting are two aspects of the same process.

Depending on whether the work will be utilized for animation, it will be modeled first.

The model will be transferred to a sculptor for more details, and an animator will then animate the model using a low-resolution version of the model.

This procedure will conclude with the sculpt being overlaid onto the animation and then produced in 3D.

Thus, the final appearance is achieved by utilizing the least amount of computational resources possible.

Pros & Cons of 3D Modelling & 3D Sculpting

The benefits of using 3D modeling and sculpting 

3D modeling

  • The Prototyping Process Can Be Made More Straightforward with the Help of 3D Modeling
  • Saves Money on Product Design Projects Because
  • All Product 3D Models Can Be Easily Modified

3D Sculpting

  • The artist uses tools that resemble brushes in order to manipulate the mesh of the element, which brings the process closer to being an organic one.
  • There are almost no sharp corners in this model, and if they are required, then it will be more difficult to create them than it would be using the traditional modeling approach.
  • Sculpting is better suited for forms with rounded edges and curves. The addition of minute details that are difficult or impossible to achieve through any other means is another advantage of this method.

DisAdvantage of 3D Modelling & 3D Sculpting

Some of the Disadvantages of utilizing 3D modeling and sculpting

3D modeling

The increasing frequency with which physical mockups and models are being replaced is one of the disadvantages of 3D modeling. There are times when getting your hands on the model is essential for getting a sense of its texture and the materials it was made from.

Instead, the widespread adoption of 3D modeling software has lagged because of its prohibitive cost.


Sculpting is Quite a difficult process and It’s possible to employ way too many polygons. There is an abundance of curved and asymmetrical components present.


How Much Time Is Needed To Become Skilled At Sculpting?
Answer: If you only want to learn the fundamentals, then you will only need 100 hours of instruction, but if you want to learn everything there is to know about sculpting, then you will need between 200 and 300 hours.

Does Sculpting Require More Difficulty Than Modeling Does?
Sculpting, not 3D modeling
, is the more difficult of the two.

How Much Time Is Needed To Learn Three-Dimensional Modeling?
You will be able to master 3D modeling if you commit to studying consistently for at least one hour each day.

Which Is Better: Modeling Or Sculpting?
Because of the level of expertise required for sculpting, beginning 3D artists may find that modeling in 3D is a more approachable medium to work in. However, for your own good, you should get some sculpting practice first.

What is 3D sculpting Used for in Reality?

Digital Models may be created with smooth, organic curves and lines by sculpting using 3D software.

  • Computer games, film, design, and art all benefit from these materials.
  • For 3D printing, 3D sculpted models are also often employed.
  • Visual effects and 3D animation heavy films and shows employ digital sculpts.
  • At certain stages of the creative process, a digital sculptor is also required.
  • A sculptor reworked idea sketches into 3D models throughout the conceptualization phase. This allows the filmmaker to gain a sense of the character and make adjustments before deciding on a style and look.

To complete the digital sculpting process, a model will be provided to a digital sculptor once the design has been finished.

Creating realistic 3D settings and characters requires this phase.

The final model will have the sculpt texture added and processed to give it a genuine appearance

Programs/Software for 3D Sculpting that is widely used

ZBrush.com is the most well-known and commonly used sculpting program/App on the market. As a result of its user-friendly toolset and straightforward interaction with 3D applications, it is widely used throughout the 3D industry.

Also Read: Zbrush Vs Nomad Sculpt which will you use :A Beginners Guide

Nomad Sculpt: Now the latest App( For iPad and Android tablets) is Nomad Sculpt.

The sculpting program known as Nomad Sculpt is compatible with both the iPad and Android operating systems. If you own an iPad, you’ll be required to pay for the app before you can download it.

On the other hand, it is available for free download on Android, and you may unlock the tools by making in-app purchases. (There are very few features available in the free edition.)

Blender( Free) – An ultra-realistic rendering system that features modeling, sculpting, simulations, video editing, and rendering on both the GPU and the CPU.

Who Uses Blender?
A design and animation platform that helps businesses of any size with rendering, modeling, visual effects (VFX), simulation, and video editing.

Also Read: 7 Best Blender Courses to Learn 3D Modeling for Beginners in 2023

Forger (Paid): Forger is an app that can only be used on the iPad and what sets it apart from other similar apps is that it supports multitouch sculpting. It is possible to import and export created products as OBJ files, and it comes with a variety of brush types.

You can further improve the quality of the sculpture by using tools for sculpting that are of a high quality that allows you to modify the mesh.

Also Read: Forger 3d vs Nomad sculpt- which App should You use

Mudbox.com is a close competition and is more popular with novices than it is with experienced players.

Although the learning curve is less steep than that of ZBrush, it does not have the same range of brushes and toolsets.

In addition, Mudbox is compatible with other Autodesk products, such as Maya and 3DsMax.

Sculptris is a free sculpting application developed by the same firm that made ZBrush.

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Check out the Comprehensive List  of  Digital Resources needed to Start your Digital Art & Digital Sculpt Journey:

About the Author:

Manny Acharya is the co-founder of Artmellows. Your go-to place for Design, Digital Art, Digital sculpting, Photography, Design Tools and gears Info, and Product Reviews. Manny is a Digital Artist, 3D Sculpt Designer, Ardent Photography, Drone flying Enthusiast, and tech Lover. He supercharges Digital Art and design by crafting memorable 3D sculptures & 2D Design and art. Learn more About Manny:

PS: Manny has created a Beginner Friedly ebook to Learn the Nomad 3D Sculpt App. Know More about the eBook. Know more about Manny

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