Hello Dr. Peter and Pixologic (and Taron ), Let me start by saying that i'm a big fan of both Sculptris & Zbrush (as you probably already know). I've been hearing a lot of people talk about Sculptris as a sort of beginners tool. While it definatly is easy for beginners, and it's currently limited in certain areas, I believe it's potential is greater than Zbrush.
Now, let me say that there is definatly a need for both dynamic tessalation (for rapid creative shape building), and unified-area "leveled" geometry sculpting, like Zbrush (for high quality details and paint). No amount of bump/texture mapping will match the quality of micro-vertex detail. But while Zbrush's remesh/project features are great for simpler models (like heads), it cannot capture tightly spaced appendages (like the fingers of a hand, or arm pits). So getting Sculptris models into Zbrush can be, at times, a slow and tricky process (not artistic).
Origianlly, as a software developer myself, I began making a simple-ish skinning app to adress this. Where it would analyze surface density and use a voxel tree to accuratly remesh into Zbrush friendly quad geometry, but then I got the best idea. What if, instead of converting triangles to evenly spaced quads, you just evenly space exsiting triangles and use triangle friendly tools. Here's what I mean:
That's the basic concept; it's simple and that's the beauty of it. There are two methods i've thought of:
1. Unify the mesh and use that as a "level one" geomerty. All subdivisions after that are uniform.
2. Each division level is a variable amount (per triangle), based on the parent triangle's surface area. Each division level unifies density, so any mesh warping gets accomedated for in the lower subdivision.
What you'd end up with is a polypaintable mesh that can losslessly capture details of a dynamicly changing parent mesh (at least where the mesh remains fixed). This method could be applied to any mesh regardless of topology, all polygons would be triangulated (vertices would be one-to-one with normals).
Idealy, vertices could store multi channel information, like: Location, color, specular, materials, custom, etc.. and each channel(s) could be locked for manipulation, e.g., you could lay down surface deformation, color, and glow at the same time.
There is a range of good ideas that i've thought of to accompany this, like extracting existing "detail" to levels, but i won't bore you with the details.
One thing I do want to bring up however, another key reason Sculptris has such a bright future, is that because of it's ability to work with triangles, it opens the door for things like "true" clipping brushes & boolean operations. Where the geometry actually get's cliped instead of flattend, and holes could be cut at random. And any Z4 user will tell you how vital the clipping brushes are for hard surface modeling.
So in closing of this lengthy post of mine, please understand that this is in no way a feature request, or anything like that. I'm simply sharing what I believe to be a very good idea (in case you haven't already thought of it ).
Whatever it holds, I look forward to the future of Pixologic.
Taron, the reason I included you is because i was originally developing this micro-painting app as a stand alone software that could work on any .obj, see here she is in the womb, analyzing surface density:
but i simply don't have the time to start another project, and my programer friends arn't artist and could care less. But i kept thinking how great your MaCrea tool would be inside such an application (and how good a selling factor). It's been years since I've written anything with OpenGL (i use Direct3D), but if you where ever interested in developing an application like this, then i would be very willing to allocated some time to help. Just send me a PM, and no pressure at all just thought i'd make the offer.