Not getting the detail I want in sculpting mode

I’m putting the finishing touches on a high poly model.

As I 'm using this as a learning project I thought I would use the sculpting tools to add some of the smaller details like the pins in the side of the gun. However when I try add them in using an alpha texture I’m getting very poor results like this.

I’ve turned on dyntopo and adjusted it’s various settings but I can’t get anything that looks better. I’ve even increased the mesh density by several factors and it doesn’t seem to help. I constantly get this pixelly mess. Any idea what I’m doing wrong?

I don’t think that’s the right way to do it. Sculpting isn’t meant for technical precision. You should try other tools like the boolean modifier or some addon like Grid Modeler.

While I get what you’re saying (and I’m already taking care of it with just modeling), I’m still not getting acceptable detail. Like if this were a piece of wood and I wanted to have an intricate carved pattern in it that would not be possible with this level of detail. I’ve seen plenty of other things by others with far more precise detail that they clearly sculpted. I’m sure I could do this quite easily in Zbrush. So I’m left to wonder what if anything am I doing wrong.

Sculpting is usually combined with many techniques to get the results you see in advanced works. You could try dyntopo with a higher detail size, but for the buttons I see in the picture the simplest way would be to model them separately, then join them with the main mesh. Personally I’d only use sculpting for organic shapes. But if you insist on sculpting then you should also look into brushes, you can use custom brushes to stamp certain shapes right off the bat.

If you are making a high poly model then why sculpt details like pins? In a real gun these are separate pieces. Why not model them?

The geometry would have to be incredibly dense to get acceptable results using an alpha texture.

For models like this I would use Sculpt mode only if I wanted to add things like slight dents or damage to the model… not for adding very small fine details.