Lock vertices for sculpting?

Hello, I would like to be able to lock certain vertices when I am in sculpt mode and still be able to sculpt those around them. Is this possible?

Actually yes there is, but it’s a little bit hidden.

First, create a vertex group (vertex group controls are in the Links and Materials subpanel of the Editing panels.) Enter Edit Mode, select all vertices, set weight to 1.0, and hit assign. Now select just the vertices that you want to not be able to sculpt, set weight to 0.0 and hit assign. Alternatively, this step could be done with weight paint mode.

Next, take your mesh that you want to sculpt and add a shape key. (Shape key Controls are in the Shapes subpanel of the Editing panels.) This is the basis key. Now add another key. This is the sculpting key. Select the sculpting shape key and pin it with the little button just to the left of the shape key selector. Now in the VGroup box, enter the name of the vertex group that you created and setup in the first step.

Finally, enter sculpt mode and sculpt away. Your chosen vertices will be unsculptable. If you want to change what vertices are frozen, just change the weightings in your vertex group. Also, if you want certain vertices to be affected, but less so than normal vertices, for example on the boundries of your unsculptable region, you can use an intermediate weight value.

Out of curiosity, how do you plan to use this technique?

Also, I’ve never done this or heard of this being done, but I’m excited that I was able to think about it and figure it based on other techniques. I wonder if other people would be interested in this if they knew about it?

That is quite an interesting technique!

this technique is formally known as " monkey brushing "

Sounds like a masking workaround

I saw the monkey brushing post on the Elephants Dream site, but in that case it was shape key modeling first and then ‘monkey brushing’ parts of the selected key onto the model. So the shape key was static and the weight painting was done on the fly to get the right blended result. This is the reverse situation, with the weight painting static and the shaping done on the fly and the work done in sculpt mode rather than in weight paint mode. They both use the same shape key / vertex group features, but they feel completely different to use to me. I’m not familiar enough with the term, would this still be considered monkey brushing?

Links for those that haven’t seen:


Hopefully blender.org will be back up again soon.

Well, I have some 2d toon style drawings in vector format. I’m importing them into blender and extruding them. Afterwards I thought it’d be easier to try sculpting everything like the cheeks and chin but I don’t want to mess up the outline.

Thanks for your help Enigmatic :slight_smile:

For anyone trying this on a more recent build (2.57b in my case) I had to do a couple extra steps to get this working.

I followed Enigmatic’s instructions, but had to actually keep the key un-pinned and make sure to set the sculpt key weight to 1.

After which it worked as I’d hoped.

Thanks for the tip!