The big Blender Sculpt Mode thread (Part 1)

It is intentional to have G, R and S as 3D View shortcuts to avoid to repeat them in keymap configuration, for each mode, where they are useful.

If you disable G and S shortcuts relative to sculpt mode, they will behave for transforms like R.
If you add a texture with a View mapping, R will show Angle Control menu like in paint modes

G and S shortcuts are anterior to presence of transform tools in sculpt mode.
G is used for Grab brush since creation of sculpt mode.
S was used for Smooth brush until Sculpt Vertex Colors painting was added.
In paint modes, S was used to sample color. So, to bring coherence to keymap, Smooth Brush shortcut was revamped Shift S.
It created an issue. Shift S was already used to enable stabilizer.
So to be more similar to paint modes on one point, sculpt mode became less similar to paint modes on another one.

E is not abandoned if it used to change Stroke method.
You may want to occasionally change stroke method of a brush from Space to Line, Curve, Anchored. You may be perfectly fine, with radius, strength, texture, … multiples settings of a brush and don’t want to specifically save a derivative one, just for Stroke Method.

If GRS are kept for transform operations, S can not be used to sample color. So, it has to be changed in other paint modes, too. R for Angle Control, too.
And Grab brush needs a new shortcut.
But is a shortcut for Elastic brush an higher priority ?
Should specials menu be more specific for such new brush with deformation modes ?

There is no shortcut, in sculpt mode, already used that has no pertinent purpose.
Things are always added because they are making sense, at moment of their addition.
Did new additions make ancient shortcuts use cases obsolete ? Answer is no.

It still makes sense to have shortcuts to call brushes, to change basics of a brush, to call menus for brush settings, to control brush texture settings.

Difference is just that we have more brushes, with more settings and new tools to transform, remesh, mask, paint and apply filters.
We don’t have more keys on keyboard to operate 3 times more manipulations.
So, we have to redefine priorities for default keymap.

But it looks like work will be done for new paint mode, first.
Joe has still several features to add to sculpt mode, from sculpt-dev branch.


Not ideal but what I do is move the cursor outside the viewport and then shift+r calls repeat


:smiley: That’s not a bad solution at all. Never realized just changing your cursor to a different panel than the Sculpt Mode viewport would already work. :+1:


i have setup g for grab, double g for elastic grab, and hold g for slide relax (this is with pie menu addon, there is no “hold” option in blender keymaps unfortunately)

shift r now is repeat last and ctrl alt r for remesh and ctrl r for voxel size (i swapped them in case to avoid accidental remeshings)

S for smooth and L for stroke stabilizer aka lazymouse

and all top number keys (not the numeric keypad) for most brushes i use

and no shortcuts for move, scale, rotate since i dont think i suppose to use them in sculpt move rather than object mode right??


Right, I forgot about Angle Control, I’ve never used it. But it only works when a specific option is turned on, otherwise the R key just rotates the mesh like in other modes, which is confusing in sculpt mode. The GRS way of transforming doesn’t seem like a good choice for sculpting.

I don’t agree on E. Who changes just the stroke method of a brush, and does it so often that they need it on a hotkey for quick access? Seems way too specific. There are brush setting that I tweak and change a lot while using them (examples would be: Tip Roundness for Clay Strips, Falloff Curve/Shape for Grab and Snake Hook, or Deformation type for Smooth) but I think those belong in the right-click sculpt context menu (which could use an update). There are better things to bind to E.

I find switching between the two Smooth algorithms cumbersome. You need to activate the Smooth brush, go to a drop-down menu, select the other algorithm, then return to the brush you were using.

So what I do is set the Smooth brush algorithm to Surface with my desired settings, and I’ve got ‘S’ assigned to the Simplify brush with Auto-Smooth turned up. As long as Dyntopo is not activated, Simplify doesn’t change topology. That way, I can use Shift for Surface smoothing, and press ‘S’ if I want to use the Laplacian smoothing algorithm.

It’s still not as convenient as simply releasing Shift for the other smoothing algorithm, like in ZB, but it works.


I had an idea but then I got confused about what is a brush and what is a tool.

That is an equivalent to switching from a freehand drawing tool to a straight line tool or a polyline tool.
Those tools are basics existing in any drawing software.
That does not seem specific to me at all.

Unfortunately, without modal shortcuts to facilitate Curve drawing, Curve Stroke method is underexploited.
A Curve tool or operator that can take a 3D Curve or a GP object as reference and a any brush as effect would be a lot more efficient.

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Anything that is in toolbar is a tool.
A brush is a tool. A gesture tool (Box Hide, Box / Lasso Mask, Box / Lasso Trim …) is a tool. A filter is a tool. A transform tool is a tool.

But a brush is not a gesture tool, not a filter, not a transform tool.

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Ok. My idea was to have B enter a mode where every possible key combination gave a particular Brush. So if shift+space lists every Tool, then B only lists every Brush. I had started trying to explain the benefits I imagined I’d get from it but then I got lost pondering whether brushes and tools are the same or different. Like in photoshop there is ONE brush tool and then a million possibilities within the configuration of the brush tool and work done in the brush tool can be accessed by the … ahhh but wait, no… there are several “brush tools”… clone stamp, history, erase, smudge, dodge, burn, etc. they all utilize the same brush settings possibilities… so ignore me. I’m confused. There are many, but finite, tools that use brushes, and very few options to configure on each tool. Then there is a brush system with a million things to configure. Then there are Brush Tips (like alphas in Zbr) and then there are brush presets which is what most people call “the brush”… sorry thinking out loud… but the brush settings are remembered per-toool separately from brush presets, so you can pick a tool, configure the brush settings, NOT save it as a preset, switch to another tool, adjust brush settings, switch back to the previous tool and still have those settings on that tool from earlier… that sounds like hell to write the code for

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You are right. Blender Developers made things confusing with 2.8 UI.
In 2.79, there was only one brush palette. There were no grouping of brushes by their sculpt tool type.

Now, users may talk about brush to distinguish them from other tools, while developers are only considering the term for a brush preset, a brush datoblock.
Developers that are primarily only seeing the code, don’t make a difference between what is evident for a user.
A brush tool is not a tool like the others.
A mesh sculpt brush has nothing in common with a GP sculpt brush.
A sculpt brush is not a paint brush.
If they were making a distinction in the code, maybe we would have a more satisfying UI.


I hope those discussions are seen by the devs. Good input guys!

Maybe we should use (2) more. I’m afraid the very valuable discussions are not being seen by the right people.

But Julien and Joe are watching from time to time so that is cool.


Quick question. Is there a way to set a “mid level” for brush textures/alphas? I have quite a few alphas which have a mid gray (non white or black) background which results in unwanted displacement. Example
image and

Blender works great with alphas and textures with a black background but i wonder how i could achieve a good result with non black bgs. I played around with those
settings but that won’t result in a proper result.

ZBrush does a fantastic job with the surface button under alphas and modify. I’m jealous.


You can add a value that represents your grey, its under Brush Settings → Texture → Sample Bias


Thanks a ton!


But how has to be added the RGB number of the grey tone used for bg i guess or something?

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Well in principle the sample bias is a constant value that is added to the brightness of the texture fetch result, so for easier calculation you should interprete your grey in the range of 0…1 or you have to adapt it bit.

The brighter the outer grey is the more you have to subtract, so you have to enter negative values to be added.

For a black value as “base” the bias has to be 0 and for white its -1, thats what you have to enter in the sample bias. For grey shades its a value between 0 and -1.

The problem is ( if I havent missed something relevant) that the color is not simply the negative value of the textures “outer grey” ( as it should) , what is a bummer, and it seems some settingindependent color mapping is always applied for the brush alpha texture.
It behaves somehow like its a gamma, so taking your brightness x
and then calculate something -1.0*(x^1.8) roughtly gives you a good value.

Btw a constant brush falloff makes it easier to tweak. Tweak it until your value eliminates the circular outer border, if its still raising up decrease it more and vice versa.


That is very tedious - an automated process would be awesome.

Btw thanks for your explanation!


Totally agree. Not totally sure, but I think the texture system used for brushes is quite old and just needs to be updated. The color mapping simply should not happen for brush alphas.


Gave it a try and made an addon for it. Much nicer that way. :grin: