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

I understand your frustrations and I also see it as a legacy workflow that should be retired, but if you’re using it since v2 then I can’t see why you would be having an issue with Edit mode? Tools are always available from the tool palette once created. If you accidentally exit Edit mode just ctrl+N and redraw the tool. Nothing is lost. This is an issue that 100% of new users suffer, but one that is quickly overcome once you learn the basics of the program. I really don’t understand this issue at all. Just like any other program it has simple rules. They may often be unorthodox in ZB’s case, but they are simple, and something that I never even think about as I’ve been using the program for so long. If you keep hitting the wrong hotkey accidentally then change the hotkey location or add the button to a custom floating dialogue. :laughing:
Not sure what you mean by switching subtools takes you to 2.5D drawing?


Sorry, but I really don’t agree with the sentiment that it would be easy for all ZBrush veterans. Unlike Edit Mode and Object Mode in Blender that are fairly straight to the point with their purpose, ZBrush’s Edit Mode doesn’t really make as much sense as those when you take the other systems into account.

Yes, the mode edits meshes, but you are also able to draw in 2.5D outside of Edit Mode, thereby confusing the user about what you can and can’t do in and outside of the mode. Then you have another Edit Mode inside of Edit Mode with the primitives where you have to click “Make Polymesh 3D” to start sculpting the primitives. Finally, to be able to see your mesh, you have to drag it onto the canvas to see it first, while in any other program your file would be fully visible on your canvas when activated. See the problem?

Yes, this may be “obvious” to many who has been using the program for a while like yourself, but a confusing system will remain so if unchanged, so even old users can get lost once in a while. With that logic no UI is flawed since any interface can be learned and understood if used long enough.

I’m not arguing that ZB makes sense in a traditional 3D program comparative, but it never claimed or tried to be that. I don’t think that the devs truly predicted the impact that it would have on the industry. As I mentioned above, the Edit mode/canvas thing catches out 100% of new users, myself included back in the day. :slight_smile:

Coming from Max this made perfect sense to me. The Primitives in ZB are the same as Max in that you can adjust base parameters and then ‘collapse’ the mesh to an Editable poly object, much in the same way that you ‘collapse’ these parameters in ZB to enable sculpting.

As for Edit Mode, I’ve always just thought of this as leaving the 2.5D painting canvas and entering the 3D editing, and vice versa.

The issue with the confusion is that users are trying to bend the ZB concepts to their trad 3D expectations, rather than embracing those concepts on their own merits. I learned this myself the hard way back when I first learned it - back then it was an extremely alien toolset, but also mindblowing. It’s hard to even explain just how mindblowing ZB was to our trad 3D brains back then. :laughing:

However, the reason that I seem to be so adamant with it’s workflows/concepts is because after all these years I realise that the devs will probably never ‘standardise’ the program. People have been screaming for a better UI, proper layer-based texture painting, a proper outliner, and a more familiar set of all round trad 3D concepts… it still hasn’t happened. 2019 and all we got was a 10 year overdue sub-tool folder feature(not having a proper outliner is my biggest gripe) so I suppose that I’ve learned to stop fighting and just embrace for the great power it gives. If it was ever going to change it would have been around the release of Mudbox 1.0(which I was on beta for) over 10 years ago, but Pixologic didn’t even blink.

This isn’t what I’m saying at all. EVERY UI is flawed in some way. There is no perfect. It is WAY too subjective. In the meantime, if I enjoy and benefit from using a 3D program that much I will adapt and learn. If you ask me, sometimes it’s part of the fun of constantly learning in this CG world.


Totally agreed. I also got quite used to the odd beast of a ZBrush UI. The main reason I’ve personally fully shifted to Blender is for a fluid, seamless, one-stop workflow. I got tired of switching my mindset between two radically different UIs / workflows.

The rapid progress of Blender development is turning it into a powerhouse that offers just about everything a 3D enthusiast could wish for: powerful polygon modeler, rapidly improving Sculpt Mode, two great renderers, animation editor, compositor, motion tracker, video editor, even a full-fledged 2D animation editor. And all with a consistent workflow and shortcut keys.


Haha! This is pretty much EXACTLY what I wrote in an ongoing Blender discussion on the Max beta forums yesterday. :rofl:

Blender is a wonderful prospect as an all round hub solution and is currently best placed among all the major DCCs to be such.

The most glaring things holding it back for me as it stands are mostly performance related, as has already been discussed at length elsewhere. The problem isn’t just edit mode, but the undo buffer, the texture file bottleneck(which currently renders any future UDIM workflow impossible), EEVEE suffers greatly from this as well, it seems. Also, any sort of complex character rig and animation VP performance is an issue.

There have been a few other users like myself on Max beta putting 2.80 through testing and it is mostly the performance issues I mentioned which are a red flag to them. Others are coming from VFX/animation/archvis in Max and have their own issues. Performance for them is a LOT more important than what I have to suffer in the game dev field, although I do a lot of film asset look dev as well and Cycles is nowhere close to Arnold(nor would I expect it to be) for this sort of intense workflow - UDIMS notwithstanding.


Great minds think alike. :wink:

Yeah, I guess Blender’s biggest strength is at the same time a weak point: its versatility. Blender is good at a lot of different things, but not outstandingly great at something specific, like ZBrush is outstanding for digital sculpting.

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Well, I suppose that’s the reason that a modern pipeline contains so many specialist programs. It’s a long time since I’ve relied on a hub program. For work I’m in:

Max as the ‘hub’ - modeling/layout/UVs/rigging/animation/VFX/prep for engine and baking
Unfold3D - UVs
Substance Painter - baking/texturing
Mari - character work/baking
Zbrush - modeling/sculpting/displacement baking
Marvelous Designer - base fabrics
Arnold(Max/Maya) final renders/look dev
Toolbag - baking/final renders
After Effects - compositing/VFX/final animation output
UE4 - in-engine testing and assembly
Cycles - experimenting with look dev and final renders for game work :smiley:

So yes, the day of the ‘one app to rule them all’ is gone in most cases for studio production work in both film and games, and has been for many years now. In my case, sometimes I’ll be working on hard surface, sometimes characters, sometimes animation or VFX, and often times it could be a film workflow or a game dev workflow so the programs will overlap sometimes and other times vary.

Phew! So with all of that out of the way you can certainly see why a studio might want to slash that heavy pipeline with an all rounder with the power to make some of these specialist programs redundant.


Consider me impressed. :smiley:

After many years of 3ds Max I moved to Blender and ZBrush in 2012. Next to that I used MoI 3D for hard-surface modeling and base meshes, and Keyshot for rendering.

But the past months I’m experimenting with using Blender for everything (except brewing a fine coffee; I still use my (t)rusty percolator for that). So far it’s an interesting experiment. One of the major advantages is that I’m getting used to the tools and keyboard shortcuts even more than before, so the workflow becomes seamless and well-oiled.

I used to do just about everything in 3ds Max as well, even vector graphics. I used an NPR plugin to export 2D shapes in Max to vector formats if I needed vector graphics. :slightly_smiling_face:

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By the way, apologies for slipping off-topic, guys.


Believe me, if I didn’t have to learn all of these programs I wouldn’t. It’s just the way the industry has evolved and because I’m a generalist working across different sectors of the industry at different times :rofl: Thankfully I do love the challenge of learning and retaining knowledge on so many programs, which is certainly a great nerd quality to have in this industry.

Frankly, I find this more impressive. To be able to consolidate all your workflow/pipeline wants and needs in a single hub. This is, of course, massively dependent on your field/studio/clientele. A pure concept artist or an animator or a rigger, for example, can get away with a very minimal toolset.

I see Blender as certainly capable of having the full warchest to replace every program I listed, albeit at a very fundamental level in a lot of the cases, but doable nonetheless for less demanding projects. I could never say that with Max because it has no sculpting/texture painting tools(beyond the obscenely ridiculous Viewport Canvas and 1990s ‘sculpting’ tools) Also, it has no proper compositor or video editor like Blender has. Currently, I can’t even do PBR look dev in Max - which is why I first became interested in Blender funnily enough.

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You’re right. Let’s leave it at that. :+1:

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Started using 2.82 alpha today. Eagerly looking forward to new Pablo candy. :candy::lollipop::chocolate_bar:

Is there anything new in it already?

Not that I know of. I guess it’s the same as the 2.81 beta at the moment, but new functions will soon be added to the 2.82 alpha master builds. You can keep track of that here.


Has there been any mention of a new polish brush? I find the clay tubes and draw sharp are absolutely amazing now, but I’m still missing a good brush for hard surface stuff. There are some old tutorials that mention using scrape with locked view plane but it seems like those options have changed. And I’d generally be interested in something new, Pablo can possibly work some magic to make something really really great for hard surface.


I guess we should expect vertex colouring in Sculpt Mode fairly soon considering the start of 2.82 development. In the meantime while waiting for some news, here is me chugging along on my Stitch sculpt, but this time in colour! Did a very quick paintover just to preview how the final result would look like, but I will have to redo the entire thing since the UVs are not done yet.

First time painting inside of Blender also. Not as solid as Substance Painter of course, but it’s not too bad. With some time and care developing it I can see it being a pretty neat alternative when doing stylised texturing.

P.S. MultiRes proved to be such a massive pain during the final stages of my sculpt. The bug that causes artefacts on the higher subdivs proved to be a lot of generally wasted time trying to fix stuff. Also the Apply Base button triggering the bug didn’t help. ^^


someone should “substantiate” blender … ^ ___ ^


Thanks for the video! That will help me a lot while learning the painting system inside of Blender. Currently considering mixing Substance Painter and Blender Texture Painting together by starting the base paint in Blender so I have a general idea what I want before porting over to Painter (also helps testing the UVs without wasting time porting everything over and over).

If we manage to get proper layers in 2.82, that would be so darn sweet by automating all of these nodes and making it more of a tradtional painter program. :smiley:

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i hope i also inspire some good soup developer to create a wrapper between system nodes and a “2d” layer-system :laughing:

P.S. now I expect a good tutorial on this on FlippedNormals channel :wink:

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