Game development tools: What you need to know about Sculptris by ZBrush

Jul 11, 2018 at 10:30 am by nemirc

Sculptris is a free sculpting tool from Pixologic, the creators of ZBrush, and it allows you to easily add details to your 3d models.

Those details can be then used as normal or displacement maps on low-resolution video game models. Keep in mind I have never used ZBrush in the past, so it is impossible for me to make a good comparison between Sculptris and their flagship product, ZBrush.

Sculptris is a very basic but powerful application.

What I mean is that it doesn’t have a big set of tools or features, but the limited tools you have at your disposal could be used extremely well to make what you need.

The application lets you import your 3d model in OBJ format and offers different sculpt tools that allow you to add bulges, creases, and modify the details of your model in various ways. This is an important point because you need to make sure your 3d modeling application supports OBJ format or else you won’t be able to import it into Sculptris.

Using Sculptris feels a lot like using Mudbox (albeit with a more limited toolset). You add subdivisions to your 3d model and then use the various sculpting tools to create your details. You can even move between subdivision levels to add the different kinds of details.

For example, broader details may only need a certain amount of subdivisions while finer details need more subdivisions.

Once you’ve finished adding your details, you can export the high-resolution model as OBJ so you can use another application to extract the normal data. This is one of those instances where I find Sculptris to be limited because it forces you to have another application to extract that normal map data.

The application also includes a painting mode, although it’s also limited compared to other applications. When you enter painting mode, Sculptris can create UVs for you (personally I am not a big fan of automatic uv-mapping) so you can start painting right away.

However, once you enter painting mode, you can’t go back to sculpt mode, meaning that you must make sure all your details are in place before you enter painting mode. Another limitation is that Sculptris doesn’t offer the ability to paint in layers, something the most basic painting applications have.

While ZBrush supposedly allows you to add infinite detail to your model thanks to its technology, Sculptris uses a more direct approach, since It subdivides the model based on its wireframe.

This means you may be limited to what you can do based on your system’s specs. However, a nice feature in Sculptris is that the software can adjust the density of the wireframe depending on the amount of detail different areas have. This is an extremely good thing because it means areas with fewer details won’t be wasting polygons. Another nice thing about Sculptris is the speed.

Subdividing and sculpting a model in this application is really quick and responsive, and you barely get any kind of hiccups when working.

Sculptris is a really good option for those who want an application that allows them to add finer details to their 3d models or characters for their games.

While the software feels very limited in some areas and should not be considered an “end to end solution” to your detailing and painting needs, the app is still extremely useful since other applications you may already have in your toolset (like Photoshop, xNormal or Substance applications) will take it from there.

Besides, opting for Sculptris saves you almost $900 on a ZBrush license (or around $150 for ZBRushCore). You should definitely try out Sculptris right now.

Links: Get Sculptris

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