Is the available 12gb of ram good for doing zbrush levels of modeling?

Im at a moment where i have saved up money to buy either a newer computer or latest ipad for drawing and sculpting.

But im conflicted on which to buy. If its ipad then nomad, or a computer then zbrush.

I know zbrush is expensive and the industry standard. but Nomad is quite amazing too and im not looking for everything that zbrush has available. Alot of what zbrush has available, i doubt ill even use or need.

Im no way a professional artist and it is hard to say exactly much polygons or ram my models might use up. My models also aren’t exactly the best models ever. But i would love to one day do really detailed creatures and superheros like what you see in games or movies and 3d print them.

I also take big inspiration from ancient mable sculptures and renaissance sculptures aswell in how they are detailed and posed.

But i am afraid if i spend the money for an ipad i may be more limited then i thought, and may be unable to completely do what i imagine.

I also really love nomad, its a great app and works great, theres lots of help from the community and would personally prefer to use an ipad for sculpting.

Instead of going straight to a computer and zbrush is because ill be spending more money then an ipad.

I would also prefer a 2 in 1 laptop to use for zbrush but stylus compatibility could be an issue as not every stylus can have the needed pen pressure and sensitivity.

Even though i see great models that i didnt think possible for nomad being made. i right now have one choice i can go with, and im worried that the ipad may not 100% be what i need.

Freedom with one ipad to create everywhere or hooked to a table to create. I’m not a professional and I prefer the freedom to go a Museum take the ipad and start to create. Take images, annotate it, drawing, colorize…

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exactly, ipads are near perfect for form factor and portability. its more the hardware im worried about.

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Get a decent PC + pen tablet + Zbrush. You’ll be free to do whatever you want. I love Nomad and my iPad… BUT I see it more like an ‘additional tool’ to have that complements what I do on my PC. I usually start an sculpt on Nomad but then I do the retopo, rigging, etc on Blender.

It depends on what you’ll need. And the problem is that you don’t know what you’ll need because you still to see what kind of problems you find working on an iPad/pc in order to figure out what are the best tools for you (the solution to this dilemma is to try first an iPad, zbrush, a laptop+stylus, etc and then buy one)


Hardware? What you mean?

Like ram, cpu that kind of stuff. @Josepmy

It would be abit tricky to try before buy currently but, you have a point on getting a computer. Its more of knowing you have complete freedom without worry. @lopoisaac

Get both - cheaper ipad and cheaper PC
ipad pro 2018 is what i use and is more than enought for beginers.


Moving forward, with Maxon now being ZBrush’s overlords, it may be subscription-only eventually, so plan on tallying those ongoing costs, As of this post, I had to dig through their pages a bit, but a perpetual (non-subscription) license is still around at $895.

2-in-1? You can take my advice or ignore it, but I went down this route before Nomad and before sculpting-on-an-iPad was a thing. Nearly maxed out a Surface Pro 4 to make sure it had enough horsepower to handle ZBrush. ZBrush being an efficient program ran fine on the i7 / 16GB system, but its weakness was the Microsoft Pen. Was it useable? Barely so. Over time, I’m sure someone might put in the additional practice to make it useable, but for me having already used a Wacom, it was a notable step backward. If all you’re doing with the MS Pen is circling presentation slides, its claimed 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity is faaaaan-tactic. For ZBrush sculpting? It blows. I have zero confidence ANY of the styluses offered in a 2-in-1 are up to the task. And if it’s stylus doesn’t cut it, you’re back to needing an external graphics tablet (Wacom, Huion, etc) or a Cintiq equivalent; the latter approaching/exceeding the cost of an iPad Pro or iPad Air with M1 chip.

I went back to using my MacBook Pro for ZBrush work and swapped out a Wacom Bamboo with a Wacom Intuos Pro. If I need the tools ZBrush has to offer, I’m perfectly happy with this setup. Do I NEED to be in ZBrush all the time though? Nomad & iPad Pro has answered that with an emphatic “Nope”. THIS voice of opinion comes from someone who’s only interested in sculpts that ultimately make its way to a resin 3D print. For THIS specific purpose, I don’t foresee much else needed beyond the tools that Nomad already has. The ONLY caveat here is that there is NO iPadOS/Android equivalent to ChiTuBox/Lychee that’s mandatory to orient/scale/support/slice a 3D model in preparation for printing. A PC or Mac will still be needed in this process if for nothing than just running the slicing program.

The iPad/Nomad combo permits an unbelievable level of wide-open freedom to sculpt as casually or as focused as you’d like. The exact moment inspiration strikes, the iPad/Nomad is instant-ON. Some casual shape-finding sessions on a hammock can just as easily be relocated to a more serious detailing session with alpha textures.

From here, ZBrush picks up the baton and offers

  • NanoMesh - fine-detail particles like real scales or chain mail
  • Vector Displacement - alpha sculpting on steroids
  • ZRemesher - reskinning your mesh with better control over topology
    …the rest of this Features ICEBERG is huge and deep.

For a resin 3D print that might never exceed 2 inches (5 cm) tall, any work put into chain mail detail may very likely NOT be realized in the final result.(Negating all that ZBrush detailing) If however you anticipate 3D printing 1/6 scale figures (30+ cm) that might be the circumstance that leans on ZBrush’s ability to handle 50 million vertices worth of detail.

To think this out in another way, the 3D printer candidate you might be considering may likely be the determining factor of the program you use. All of the sub-$300 machines will be matched well for what Nomad can output. The level-of-detail for the given (build envelope) size is just about where Nomad can comfortably take you.

For a VISUAL end-product, that is, hyper-detailed models destined for a 4K or 8K display where the mesh has mandatory topology requirements to fit a rigging/animation workflow, you’ll need to be spending much of that time in ZBrush. I don’t think there’s such thing as an appropriate “cheap PC” here. If you’ve already dropped $895 for ZBrush, a wheezy $500 PC won’t cut it. Tons of CPU and RAM will allow pushing its new features (Bevel Pro, etc) to the max. More realistically, a $1200 budget to cover computer & monitor is in order. Add ~$100 for an XP Pen or Huion drawing tablet, $350 if reaching for an Intuos Pro.


I suscribe totally the @CarterTG post and as @Genko3D say, an ipad pro 2018 works perfectly to star so.

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For full access to everything, buy a computer and 3D coat. Plus blender, you can do anything you are able to imagine. Plus unreal and unreal meta human
and and and. Use free Krita for painting 2D.

In fact, you could do everything with blender, but some extra soft can’t harm.

Save more money and wait for a chance to get a good price for a used iPad Air or pro and enjoy this freedom a bit later.

ZBrush will take you ages to learn as it is one of the most user unfriendly UI for learning.



Im truly hoping zbrush stays as it is in terms of payment methods. My belief is productive software should be able to be brought permanently. But i am worried that might change.

Thats my biggest worry with 2 in 1s, and they feel kind of like a niche that i cant find alot of specific details on how they work with zbrush or any 3d program. So i would be a fool to out right buy one.

I currently have a standard 3d printer not a resin one, that is 15 x 15cm and i like to go in the range of 7cm or above depending on time i have.

Currently i do have a surface pro 6. and for programs like blender, zbrush mini, sculptris It works great. But i definitely need an upgrade and more power.

I did read an official zbrush article that they did make options for pens like ms pen within zbrush, and windows ink is also ment to help with pressure sensitivity. So i do believe they may have change it to where they do work now. But since i haven’t tried it, its hard to say if it 100% works properly.

Honestly if ipads came with 32gb of installed ram then ill be happy to just keep using nomad. Because even if nomad can only allow 26gb of the available 32gb then that would be more then enough personally, or atleast i would feel way less limited then using 12gb. But thats the fault of apple more then anything. I also believe their latest ipads that are coming out next may also be 16gb with m2 chips, so no huge change for nomad. Youll still only be able to use 12gb.

I was never really a fan of getting both a tablet and a laptop, thats why i wanted them in an all in one. but if thats the safest option to go to then i will.

As of tablets, wacom would be my choice because i dont know how the others handle, but wacom is everyone’s choice and nearly everyone uses them.

Ive definitely taken you advice to heart and thank you for the detailed response.

how much ram do they go up too @Josepmy?

Im actually quite worried with 3d coat

I currently have a surface pro 6 and downloaded the 3d coat free trail. It opened and worked fine at the start but it lacked pen pressure, i eventually asked the 3d coat fourm and they had a solution.

It worked but it made everything crash whenever i tried to use pen pressure with tools.

Im unaware if this is the computer or programs fault. but i am able to run blender fine.

3D coat would actually be my preferred program to use but if i get lets say a surface pro 8 with the highest specs, can i expect it to run perfectly or will it crash if i use pen pressure.

But with higher specs i know blender would work fine easy.

Like what a few people have said i think go for a dedicated computer first.

So my experience is that even though zBrush has more features and is more efficient with memory. the fact you can pan and zoom with touch in Nomad far outweighs most of the features I would want in zBrush… plus Apple Pencil. Nomad seems to have enough features to create and print 3d figures and is definitely be a good mobile option for the first stages of a full on zbrush sculpt. It also has some really well thought out rendering functionality and is turning into a pretty interesting 3d program. I just finished a female figure that I’m printing at 1/4 scale. I broke the figure down into parts, which was a challenge with my 2020 ipad and only 6gbs of memory. I would love to get the new one with 1tb and 16gb. I’ve heard you can really go to town with the poly’s on that much memory. You can sculpt fine with the 4 and 6gb versions, but if you need to start doing boolean operations in order to part out and key a figure it’s definately easier with more memory. I’m intrigued by the new 5th gen ipad air with 8gb for around 600. Smaller screen but that’s a pretty decent machine and memory for sculpting. I did it with a 12.9 6gb 2020 iPad pro with some creative decimating and voxel remeshing. I wouldn’t go any less than that if you want to print anything larger than 75mm scale. Anyway bottom line, I would highly recommend Nomad and an iPad for figure sculpting. iPad air or 11 inch pro or if you can afford it one of the 12.9’s.(only the 1tb has the 16gb and it’s pretty$$$) You WILL need some sort of computer to slice the model. I use iCloud to transfer files and then pick them up with my laptop because I’m on a mac. But really for slicing I don’t think you need that beefy of a system. (If I wasn’t already in the apple ecosystem I might also consider one of the samsung tablets. They can be configured with 8gb’s of memory also and their stylus is made by Wacom and is compatible with a few of the more art tablet style Wacom Stylus.)

Regarding iPad: with IOS 16 coming, the M1 versions will get memory swap making 16GB available for even smaller 8GB devices. But here I would definitely wait and hear & read if this will be a win for Nomad. Could be that it will be more a plus for multitasking than for a single app.
I wouldn’t count on it to be a big plus for Nomad.

So much for a 64 bit system.