Dynatopo Retopology Trick & Painting multiple texture layers per channel with Blender

Thread for sharing sculpting and texture painting techniques.

Here is my process for a painting setup that allows multiple layers per texture mapping channel. A lot of you might know this one already but I thought I’d share, maybe you’ll pick up a tip or two, or share one with me that I don’t know of. This approach is simple and doesn’t require any add-ons.

  1. Have a Mesh with UV’s.
  2. Give it a material
  3. Add your first texture, creating a new image, make sure it has Alpha turned on, click the color swatch, drag the “A” alpha slider to zero, which will make it fully transparent.
  4. Set the viewport display method to Material.
  5. Go to texture painting mode. Click the slots tab in the panel that slides out when you press (“t”).
  6. At the top of the slots page, right click and choose, pin, and now go back to the Tools tab. Your slots will stay at the top of the list for easy access.
  7. Start painting. (Take note: on the slots tab you might want to change the Textures Blend method to Add/Multiply/Overlay, or whatever suits your needs, this is where you do it for each of your textures)
    Note: since we are using a transparent texture, in order to erase, we will have to also erase the Alpha, so to erase, scroll down to the Brush Settings and set your brush’s blend mode to “erase alpha”.
    Note: you can make a copy of your brush in the brush list by pressing the + icon. This copy can have it’s own settings, so you can have one brush set to mix and another set to erase alpha. You can name the brushes accordingly, and if you put a 01 in front of the paint brush and a 02 in front of the eraser, you can press 1 and 2 on the top of your keyboard to switch between them quickly. This is how I set up my 10 most commonly used brushes.
  8. Under the slots section, just click Add Texture, pick your desired slot, again, you might want to set the transparency to 0 as before. For now, just make another Diffuse with full transparency.
  9. Just select the newly made texture in the slot list and start painting. Use the check to show/hide the layer. Double click the texture slot to re-name it.
    You can have as many layers as you want and for each channel because of the transparency approach.
    Note: Don’t forget to Save each image to a file or they won’t save with the project.
  10. If you want to re-order your layers, just go back to the Texture Tab in the Properties panel. Select the texture you want to move up or down, and on the right side, press the Up or Down arrow buttons. *The stack is in reverse order to something like Gimp or Photoshop, Whatever texture layer is on the bottom of the stack, will be as if it were the top layer.

Happy painting. Don’t forget, you can always start sculpting/detailing a multi-res mesh and use the above to paint while you add fine sculpt details.

Here is my process for proto-typing new models using Dynamesh Sculpting and then re-meshing to a very use-able Multi-Resolution system for fine details and moving into animation and manual retopo, etc… (I posted this in another thread yesterday)

#1. Make a prototype sculpt with unlimited detail and form changes using Dynamesh.
#2. Make a copy of the sculpt, turn off Dynamesh, and add a Remesh Modifier (set “Mode:” to smooth) and shading to smooth, then play with the Oct-Tree. Get the Oct-Tree as low as possible without losing too much shape, the idea here is to just capture the base form, no more, no less. (you don’t want any fine detail here, just an outline of the shape)
#3. Apply the remesh.
#4. Add a multi-res Modifier and subdivide the mesh a few times.
#5. Add a shrink wrap mod and add the original sculpt as the Target. (set mode: to Project instead of nearest Surface point.)
Now you have clean, quad geo that matches the shape and form both on the low-res and the high res, and you can bake out to a normal/displacement map and use it on the low-res or keep working.
#.6 If needed just go back to the Multi-Res modifier and add more subdivisions until you get the full detail. If you were using Dynamesh with a 1 or a 0.5 setting for a lot of detail, then it will take more subdivisions, etc…
#7. Once you are happy, apply the shrink-wrap and then go sculpt as normal (non-dynamesh) and finish up high-detailing with hopefully better performance - using multi-res and having something at least closer to a game/animation ready base mesh at the bottom of your multi-res stack.
I’m still playing with the process but I want to set up a batch automation so it’s a one button job, seems to be a useful workflow.

Please post any of your workflows, tips and techniques related to sculpting, prototyping, texture painting, re-topology, custom brushes, etc…