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Introduction to Sculpting - video Jonathan Williamson

Sculpting allows you to realize a dream: to model like working with clay.

For a great introduction to using the new sculpting system, in special the different brushes, see this video tut by Jonathan Williamson on Blender Cookie

Excerpt along video:


  • Work with the Multiresolution Modifier: this allows you to increase and decrease your subdivision level: Select your object and go to the wrench icontab in the properties editor window -> Add Modifier -> Multiresolution - and press the Subdivide button a couple of times
  • Then switch to Sculpting Mode: 3DViewport bottomheader, Mode dropdown (by default Object Mode -> choose Sculpting Mode) ( a kind of Edit Mode, you can only work on the selected object)
  • Click on the default brush icon to display the different brushes - the icons describe their effect greatly
  • F key is the shortcut to adjust the radius of your brush, just drag in or out of the sphere.

Blob brush:

  • to strengthen the effect of the default settings, "scribble" around the same area


  • Brush panel:
  • Radius: by default 45, option to lock and set size relative to the object while zooming in and out: by default the brush keeps thesame size, when you zoom out or in from the object, when you set the lock, the brush keeps its size relative to the object ( seems to get bigger when you zoom in, or smaller, when you zoom out)
  • Strength: intensity (height) of the effect, by default 0.5, max 1 - lock option here too, to get consistent results for different spacings
  • Autosmooth: helps to get smoother stroke results, has pressure sensitivity
  • Pinch: increasing the Pinch value gives you a rougher, sharper result, decreasing, a smoother pinch
  • Draw in reverse by holding down the CTRL key (Shift key in earlier versions)
  • Hold down SHIFT to smooth your result (or whatever your presets for the Smooth Brush are (you can change them, see Appearance Panel)) - toggles to the Smooth Brush - when you release, it goes back to your original brush
  • Checkmark "Front Faces Only" to keep the effect to visible faces, prevetns odd results when coming towards the edges of visible view
  • Stroke Panel

try the different stroke methods to get a feeling for the results,
Space is default, you can increase the spacing via slide control underneath ( you will get dots for the blob brush e.g.
Airbrush gives stronger quicker effects
Anchored allows you to drag out and increase the brush effect from a central point (anchored where you click first)
Drag Dot allows to create the effect and drag it to position it
Dots is similar to space, maybe a little bit different defined shape

  • Curve Panel

adjust the curve by drag and drop, or press the button options below

  • Texture Panel

if you add a new texture to the brush, e.g. procedural clouds texture (check in Texture Panel in your Properties Panel (icontab), you can checkmark "Overlay" by clicking on the closed eye in your Brush Texture Panel (lowest control slider in the panel, hard to recognize before activated ;) - this creates an overlay preview to your brush in the 3Deditor that shows you the texture to see and position exactly what you are applying.
You can switch from the default Fixed Brush Mapping for overlay to Tiled, which will display the texture all over the 3Deditor, or 3D
Appearance Panel
All the brushes are just preset combinations and can be varied and extended:
you can create new presets and even upload icon images easily: Choose "Use and Image File from the icon dropdown in Appearance Panel
you can change the color of your brushed to develop a visual feeling for the brush you are currently using
Symmetry Panel
Mirror allows you to mirror the stroke along the chosen axes
Radial allows you set an amount of repeats radial along the chosen axis ( e.g. to create a column with inverse Blob Brush stroke, or a pumpkin)
checkmark Feather to feather the edges to soften them up
Tool Panel
Checkmark Unified Size: by default the radius for different brushes is different, with this box checkmarked, the brush size stays the same while you switch between the brushes
Strength checkmarked: same size for strength
Option to lock x, y and z axis
User Preferences window: ( CMD + , -> tab Editing : choose Overlay Color (not other features for scultp and paint like in the video for later releases)

Clay Brush
works like adding clay to your object, you can e.g. fill holes easily

  • Plane Off - offset level, height of the effect - level above the surface to which to pull the "clay" to

Crease Brush: allows to draw in creases very easily - handy for wrinkles, skins, sharp edges along a surface

Fill and Deepen Brush: fills up between two heights like Clay Brush but allows to work more selectively without being too careful

Flatten and Contrast Brush:
Option: choose "View Plane" from Plane dropdown in Brush Panel to flatten perpendicular to the view;
choose the Anchored Stroke, or even adjust the Curve (Curve Panel) to Max(right) to create a completely flat area
The inverse command (Press CTRL while drawing) sharpens all effects and thus creates more contrast

Grab Brush grab a section and move it around, using any curve profile…

  • you can adjust the Normal Weight to drag increasingly along the surface normals

Nudge Brush allows to push an area around, works almost like the smudge tool in Photoshop, allows to create spirals

Polish Brush: kind of combination with the Smooth Tool

Scrape Peaks allows you to scrape or away e.g. like with the wire tool on clay, or carving out

Snake Brush allows to pull out and follows the mouse movement, can produce very sharp areas, allows to increase normal weight too
increase the Autosmooth to produce better results

Thumb Brush: similar to the thumb brush, allows to grab an area and move over a piece of the mesh - like working with your thumb when working with clay

Twist Brush: twist areas, similar to Nudge Brush

3 additional brushes by bensimonds

Bensimonds has provided a blendswap file with some extra brushes he uses frequently on other applications, his description:

  • A rake brush, great for refining forms (see for examples).
  • A rasp brush, basically a textured scrape brush that removes material and adds a fine texture to the surface.
  • A slash brush that scrapes wrinkles/scratches into the surface. Use it softly to create a base for wrinkles, or scrape harder to Create rough, rocky surfaces.

See examples and download via bensimonds' post.

Blender Wiki - Sculpting

or read the written description here

Keyboard Shortcuts

as on Blender Wiki 2.5 see link above

Hide mesh outside selection Ctrl+ SHIFT+LMB
Hide mesh inside selection CTRL + SHIFT + RMB
Show entire mesh Alt + H
Toggle airbrush A
Interactively set brush size F
Interactively set brush strength SHIFT + F
Interactively rotate brush texture CTRL + F
Toggle brush direction (Add/Sub) V
Draw brush D
Smooth brush S
Pinch brush P
Inflate brush I
Grab brush G
Layer brush L
Flatten brush T
X Symmetry X
Y Symmetry Y
Z Symmetry Z
Toggle floating sculpt panel N
Step up one multires level Page up
Step down one multires level Page down

Adding Custom Brush Hotkeys

another great video tutorial by Jonathan Williams


Great first exercise: Sculpting a Rock Face - video Jonathan Williamson

This is an easy to follow video tutorial which helps you to create a naturalistic looking effect for rock (landscape/terrain) modeling - and getting more comfortable with the sculpting tool in action.
Jonathan gives you a great introduction to handling sculpting in an artistic and effortless way.

More Terrain Sculpting Tuts

  • Great one on cgmasters - going on with - and at its core about: "Splatting and Library Linking in Blender 2.5" (title)

Humanoid Shapes

Modeling a Human Head Base-Mesh (Groundwork for further scultping)

* Create a low-poly base-mesh of the humanoid head with great topology for scultpting on…simply based on the default cube with a subsurf modifier level 2 applied.
This (awesome,) short and crispy tutorial by Jonathan Williamson on blendercookie shows you how to.

Sculpting a human head (Zombie) Benjamin Bailey video series

Benjamin Bailey has a wonderful tutorial series up and running on his site - which enables you to follow him as sculpting newbie !

There is just the first video embedded here as appetizer - then jump :=)

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