Pablo Dobarro's master plan for sculpting and painting, development news

I mean, Pablo’s commits are being pushed to master lighting fast, but I’d love to get those sooner. These improvements bring tears to my eyes.


Not sure which features you mean. Most stuff he is committing to master after it goes through code-review. It doesn’t look like he has committed anything to his sculpt branch in a month.


Only one day? I would say weeks of constant tinkering if you want something a bit more user friendly. :stuck_out_tongue:

ZModeler is cool and all, but it is no replacement for a proper modelling program. It could be done a lot more efficiently if they redesigned the UI and allowed for more standard practices for modelling. Same could be said about its retopology tools. As much as I give Blender flack for having a fairly primitive retopology workflow, it is still a lot better than ZBrush’s.

Just because it is an industry standard doesn’t mean there aren’t antiquated and outdated parts about it that could use a facelift. Take the whole save/export/import/load tool/save as deal, for instance. Even at the time when ZBrush was new this system did not make any sense. The buttons are literally all over the place if you take the add-ons into account.

Then there’s the issue of just basic project start-up to start sculpting on a mesh primitive. Unless you already know how ZBrush works, you will not be able to figure this stuff out on the fly. Since you seem like a veteran of ZBrush, do you know anyone who uses 2.5D painting mode to sculpt? Why is this the default mode when the vast majority uses primitives and other tools to do 3D sculpts?

This explains a lot why the UI is the way it is. If only the pro veterans are allowed in to do Beta feedback who already knows the software, then there’s no wonder why so little progress has been made in this area. Not saying that the pros shouldn’t have their voices heard, since that’s what has kept ZBrush as the top dog. However, if that’s the only perspective they take into account, then we get situations like ZBrush’s UI.

Depends on what kind of work you’re planning to do. If you’re making highly detailed multi million poly sculpts, then yes, Blender is still more of a toy. A useful toy, but a toy nonetheless. If you want to do something more stylised, then Blender is more than enough. Why bring a whole toolbox to hammer in a nail when you just need a hammer? :sunglasses:


Wow, I wasn’t aware of that! I’ll follow your suggestion then, thx!

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This page gets updated with the latest build a couple of times a day, which you can find under Sneak Peek. It’s not the fastest way to get the changes, but it’s a reliable way of getting everything that has been committed.

Hey Sculpt Corps ™, thought this would be a good place to (re)post this, as most of the sculptors hang out in here.

One essential sculpting workflow for me is adjusting the Brush Size/Strength using a single hotkey (preferably RMB). I can’t scuclpt without it.
Used to love that in Silo back in the days (RIP), 3DCoat’s had it from the early days, Sculptris had a neat implementation as well.

Anyway, there is a script for blender that enables this functionality. It’s in the Released Scripts and Themes section of the forum, but it’s buried and I’d imagine most people are unaware of it.

I’d strongly advise trying it out for a couple of hours! Never know what it might do for your workflow.

Sculpt/Paint Workflow Suite
It’s the Brush Quickset script!


There’s some handy stuff in there, thank’s for the heads up! :ok_hand:


I have some good news about MultiRes. Apparently Pablo will enable it in the sculpt API at some point so issues like these will no longer happen (a bug report I made):

Edit: My bug report has been raised to Medium alert! :slight_smile:


Dashed lines brushes. :slight_smile:


:grin: You probably know the drill of never being finished customizing ZBrush. I’ve spent countless hours shifting buttons and sliders in order to achieve the ultimate custom UI to end all ZBrush UIs, and still the next session I started shuffling the tools again. :grin:

@Musashidan, no need to defend ZBrush. :slightly_smiling_face: I know and acknowledge its brilliance. It’s just that Blender excites me more these days. For really high-poly sculpting there’s still no 3D editor that can beat ZBrush, but in my personal case I’m a modeler of highly stylized characters and scenes, so Dyntopo and Sculpt Mode in general are more than sufficient for my needs.

By the way Dan, did you read that Blender (at least Sculpt Mode) has just received a significant speed upgrade ? It’s still not ZBrush, I know, I know, but the Blender devs are working hard. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Nice! You can already do this using an alpha image, raising the brush Spacing value and activating Rake to make the stitch texture orientation follow the brush stroke. But Pablo’s new function is much more convenient.

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I recently did some more tests with adaptive voxel remeshing. I did manage to get it to work pretty well, but the size value is extremely sensitive and found that best results occur between values of 0.01 and 0.05.

What could be done is remap the values to make finding the sweet spot easier, because it’s not yet practical to make the adaptive part highly aggressive because of skinny triangles and concave faces.

I own 3D-Coat as well. One of its main attractions to me was Autopo, 3D-Coat’s auto-retopology tool. I wanted to see if it could match ZRemesher (Autopo already existed before ZBrush QRemesher / ZRemesher if I’m not mistaking). Autopo can compete with ZRemesher, as you can read in a comparison I once wrote.

3D-Coat is also a very competent sculpting tool, offering some things that still are not easy to do in ZBrush, such as simply digging a hole through a model, and clipping any shape without the odd artifacts that ZBrush can have after clipping. 3D-Coat also offers a lot more primitives than ZBrush, that are also more customizable than the ZBrush primitives.

And unlike ZBrush, 3D-Coat features great spline tools. :ok_hand:

I sculpted this in 3D-Coat a few years ago (rendered in Keyshot):

There are a few things that personally keep me from adopting 3D-Coat as my main sculpting tool:

  • The feel of brushing isn’t as fluid as ZBrush or Blender Sculpt Mode. It’s hard to explain, but it feels like you’re sculpting with mud instead of clay. I guess that’s partly due to the nature of the voxel-based approach, although ZBrush pixols are essentially also voxels under the hood.

  • Most people prefer 3D-Coat’s more conventional UI over the idiosyncratic ZBrush UI, but already being a ZBrusher before 3D-Coat made 3D-Coat’s UI a bit cumbersome to me. Lots of large drop-down menus and submenus filled with extensive tool labels, and separated workspaces for sculpting, painting and more. I couldn’t really get used to it.

Having said all this, 3D-Coat is definitely ranking very high among the available sculpting tools, and it’s much more affordable than ZBrush. Also, I should mention that 3D-Coat has a powerful alternative mesh-based sculpting mode that’s comparable to Dyntopo.

But personally, I’m going to stick with Blender and our friend Pablo, injecting my veins with new Blender alpha versions every day. :slightly_smiling_face:


I totally agree. The elitist industry giant attitude of Pixologic is being undermined by the sympathetic, open community of Blender, which is becoming a force to be reckoned with. Pixologic has got a well-oiled publicity machine and some of the world’s best sculptors use the brilliant ZBrush, yes, but anyone can see that Blender is an unstoppable rocket that’s causing a very interesting ripple in the commercial 3D landscape.

For example, compare the new ZBrushCentral forum with the Blender Artists forum. BA is a joy to visit because of so many engaged Blenderheads communicating with each other, helping each other out, writing tips and news, and so on. There’s a lively social atmosphere here, while the new ZBrushCentral feels cold and empty compared to BA. The new ZBrushCentral is very artwork-centric, it feels like one big ZBrush commercial, but not as a lively community where developers and users engage in fruitful conversations about the future of the software. I think Pixologic is sitting in an ivory tower, and Blender is a bold army of free-spirited knights that’s knocking on the tower door with more and more force. :slightly_smiling_face:


Is there a way to turn on cursor visibility while making strokes? To have same behavior as in texture paint and vertex paint.


I wonder what it would take to implement something similar to ZBrush’s polish tools. Specifically the “global” polish tools (ones that operate on every unmasked part of the mesh). Clay polish, polish by features etc.

Now that we have the new remeshers, I think a basic polisher sounds feasible (at least a barebones version). I assume the biggest technical challenge is edge detection. Once you know where the edges are it should be reasonably easy (*) to apply the new remeshers adaptively preserving hardness based on a setting and smoothing out the areas between. The less topology you leave between the areas, the smoother it becomes. A naive approach probably wouldn’t handle large curved surfaces but, especially if it supported only touching unmasked areas, could probably be used to quickly add polish to panels etc.

*) Easy in the grand scale of things, not easy as in trivial.


A polish tool that maintains volume and only irons out small inconsistencies is also very high on my Sculpt Mode wishlist.

I can do it in my sleep at this stage… :laughing:

That’s exactly how I felt when I first tried it, but it was never meant to be a replacement for trad DCC modeling tools - it’s an augmentation to that ecosytem I keep talking about. Its introduction gave us ultimate control over creasing, and more importantly, Polygroups.

100% I’m not proposing that ZB is perfect. There are a lot of areas that drive me crazy and I long to see overhauled - a proper scene Outliner and a Mudbox-esque sculpt/paint layer system, being my top 2.

This is something I fully agree with also. I’ve never met a single person post ZB 1.55 days that uses the pixol painting toolset. :slight_smile:

In all honesty, we all know that ZB was never intended to a trad 3D program. If it was going to go that route it would have back when Skymatter released Mudbox 1.0. It’s a case of people changing to the program’s paradigms if they want to use it, rather than the other way around. This is why ZBCore was introduced, to ease the learning curve for new users.

Definitely. I can see the potential for certain with Blender’s sculpt mode for cartoony/stylised work, but for high-end realistic work and hard-surface sculpting…nah :wink:

I don’t want to sound too negative because I see excellent potential in Blender as a sculpting program in the future. I am fairly new to Blender and I think it’s a wonderful program and there is nothing more I’d love to see than the Sculpting tools give me the power of ZB, but in a true 3D environment like Blender with full access to its excellent modeling workflow. However, it’s going to take a lot more improvements/features to drag me away from ZB.

I’m itching to get in a do some sculpts, but I just can’t get the navigation setup like ZB right-click nav. I’m so used to navigating in ZB that my brain won’t allow it. I have changed some settings on my Wacom and some of the Blender keymappings, but it only gets me 90% there, unfortunately.

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I’m not defending it…it doesn’t need defending. :laughing: I understand, mate. Believe it or not, I’m excited too. :smiley: I can totally see why you would be more than happy with Blender for sculpting, considering your medium. I’m still going to keep trying Sculpt Mode because it has such great potential. It will never replace ZB for me, but with GoB I could certainly see myself using the posing tools, Cycles instead of Keyshot for lookdev renders during sculpting, and even maybe for quick edits or quick manual retopos instead of my usual Max workflow for this.:+1: Who knows? Either way, getting into Blender was an excellent decision for me and it’s only going to get better and better. The future is bright, my friend.