Way to paint Cavities in Blender?

One thing I’d really like to do is mask my detail sculpt’s cavities so that I can paint the cavities only. If you notice, on a lot of faces/busts, areas where there are pores tend to be slightly more red than the surrounding areas. It would be nice to mask the pores by their cavities and extend the mask by a pixel or 2 and add it on top to the base skin color.

I’m sure this can be achieved in Photoshop too so could anyone enlighten me on how to do that as well? My thinking is that I can output the base color and then output my displacement/bump map, and mask color select the pores in the displacement map. Then I think I could paint those areas with a pixel or 2 of feathering.

I’d rather just do it how zBrush does it with the cavity masks but any input into the Photoshop/GIMP way of doing it would be great as well!

Your idea of using a displacement map is just about right, but you may also want to bake an ambient occlusion map. Depending on the structure of your sculpt this may work better for your purposes. I use AO about half the time and displacement the other half. Are you using a dynamic topology sculpt, or is this a multires sculpt on a mesh that’s already been UV unwrapped?

If you’ve ever baked a normals map, you already know how to do this; just change the selection from Normal to Displacement or AO. You can also bake Textures, which will give you that base color. Just keep in mind that you’ll need a pretty big image to bake to if you’re trying to get pores.

Blender can’t currently do it, but XNormal can bake out cavity and curvature masks that you can later use for masking in photoshop or in the cycles shading network.

Well, I was going to go multires because I figured it would be better to use for sculpting pores. Not that DT can’t do the job but I thought DT’s goal was to reduce polycount in certain areas and with the level of detail I’m going to use I doubt I’ll be saving any poly counts. Yes, I’ve UV mapped it already. I’m very happy with the way the UV map turned out.

But now I may go ahead and do it in zBrush anyway because multires gets a lot slower than zBrush with a subdivision or 2 lower than zBrush. I dunno. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll do 2 versions just so I can say I kept everything in Blender. I haven’t baked a normal map yet but it shouldn’t be hard. I’ll keep in mind the size of the map. I was thinking around 4096 but I’m not opposed to higher if needed.

Thanks for the reply. Very informative.

Thanks all. I’ll check out using an AO bake! That sounds interesting. I haven’t used Xnormals before. I’ll check it out. This looks great RickyBlender. I’ll definitely check it out when I have more time.

Speaking of time, I’m probably going to use zBrush right now and then sculpt all my detail again in blender for fun. zBrush is just a tiny bit faster than multires and uses a tiny bit more polygons. At least for my nVidia card.