Sculptris Pro - tips, tricks & warnings

As an old Sculptris fart, I am in love with Sculptris Pro.

There are things to know and to obey, and I would love to see what you have to contribute as well.
What about those beta tester folks? :smiley:
Here are my experiences. Remember! I am new to Sculptris Pro as well :wink:

Tip #1 “Basics”
Watch the demo video. ZClassroom Lesson - Getting Started with Sculptris Pro
You really should take at least the ten minutes for first video.

The video explains how Sculptris Pro works.
To explain from my old Sculptris point of view:

In the Stroke menu you find the Sculptris Pro tool.
As far as I understood: If you switch off “Adaptive Size”, and “Combined” you are almost at old sculptris mode.

The difference to sculptris: Instead of density silder, you have two sliders.
“SubDivide Size” which was density for tesselation
“UnDivide Ratio” for decimation. Sculptris had an reduce brush.
“Adaptive Size” Switches the connection to Brush size & tesselation on and off .
“Combined” combines the result of the two sliders “SubDivide Size” AND “UnDivide Ratio” in one stroke.

So, whatever you do as your first steps in Sculptris Pro, if you want to understand what’s going on, switch on (SHIFT+F) Polyframe!

Another nice source for better understanding:

Thanks DominiekDR for these Videos and thanks Erik for posting it here.

Tip #2 “SP works relative to model size”
“SubDivide Size” & “UnDivide Ratio” are working relatively to world space so to say.
The bigger the model the less it will be decimated by smoothing with “UnDivide Ratio 3” i.e.

Sometimes it is a good Idea to scale your model back into “workspace”, something like the default sphere i.e.
Be careful if you use Tool / Deformation / Unify.
This can cause a massive step in scaling. So next stroke with Sculptris Pro can cause some very unexpected results. Remember SubDivide & UnDivide numbers are relative to world space. If Unfiy will scale your model ten times down, Undivide Ratio effect will be ten times bigger - crunch…mesh gone :smiley:

Tip #3 “Snake Hook as Move brush”
Use Snake Hook brush as move brush.
Best with “Adaptive size” and “combined” off. Maybe decrease focal shift. Maybe deactivate “dynamic” if you want to move everything at once with a huge brush.

What I really loved in sculptris, is the drag function. In Sculptris Pro we have the Snake Hook which can do this job as well.
But sometimes it is a good idea to switch adaptive size off and combined off as well, as a relative big brush will crunches away your geometry - remember combined = divide & subdivide in one stroke / adaptive size looks for brush size, big brush.

This can be also helpful for creating smooth = dense tentacles. But watch your poly count!!!

This is my first try on a move brush which works somehow like sculptris drag brush
SnakeMove.zip (6.98 KB)
Watch out! In brush menu / Sculptris Pro “Use Global” is switched off. That means it won’t be affected by the SP settings in Stroke menu… For changing this brush, you have to go into the Brush menu SP settings.

If you mask a part of your mesh and make the snake move brush multiple times bigger than the part you want to move, you can move it without, or almost without distortion and dynamic tessellation.

Tip #4 “Inflate brush possibly crash”
Be careful with the inflate brush!!
It was a bastard in sculptris and crashed zBrush several times as well already. It creates a lot of intersections in seconds. Too much for zBrush.

Tip #5 “History eats disk spce”
If you don’t need the history, switch it off before saving!!!
The history saves the complete model for each step, as tessellation creates a new model on each stroke.
In numbers from my experience:
Without history 8MB, with history 3GB!!!

Tip #6 “Symmetry intersections can cause problems”
Be aware of intersection when sculpting with symmetry with Snake sphere.
It is not as sensitive as the inflate brush, but if your strokes crosses the 0 koordinate and hits the brush from “other side” , I had a crash.

Tip #7 “Sometimes less is more”
If you look for a more consistent behaviour while doing the basic forms, switch adaptive size and combined off.
Now, you only have to watch the two sliders of Subdivide and UnDivide and your mesh relative size to workspace to keep tessellation consistent.
Pixologic really improved the functionality of old Sculptris but sometimes too much functions are too much.

Tip #8 “Normal Smoothing”
A beauty tip :smiley: If you are fed up in seeing triangulation, but don’t want to increase polycount go to render / render properties and switch “smoothNormal” on.
Now on BPR Render it will be at least smoothed.

Tip #9 “Add geometry with smoothing”
If you want to increase the tessellation on a part without any other action, you can use smooth, with “combined” on “Adaptive” off and small subdivide size.

Tip #10 “Tessimate”
Use “non destructive” ?? “tessimate” to find a good overall density, to smooth out triangles.

Tip #11 "Use Decimation master
Use decimation master, specially if you have run into memory problems.
Try the new presets, they don’t need pre-processing and are due to this faster.

To adjust memory allowed to be used by Sculptris Pro, you can do this in preferences.
I’ve never done that and have no background knowledge about this.
Per default MaxSculptrisPolygons is 3,5 million polys. on my system. Under Preferences / Mem / MaxSculptrisPolygons it is set on 5?? maybe some math fun :smiley:

Tip #12 “slide brush is magic”
One more! Play with slide brush for anything like wings, tails, fins … Hmmmmm :slight_smile:

Tip #13 “Z intensity on 0 for dividing or decimation only - depending on brush size”
So cool…and logical. If you haven’t watched second video under first basics, here in isolated form:
Tip from DominiekDR. Thanks for posting them here, Erik.

Tip #14 “Use trails to control Snake Hook thickness over length”
I discovered today that if you increase trails under brush/modifiers you’ll get constant thickness over length.
Fingers are much easier done this way.

Tip #15 Remesh by Union
Glenn Petterson shows a nice trick to weld intersections together without changing overall topology. Same technique is said to work for IMM brushes.

Thanks to jubala to bring this up again.

I’ll try to keep those hot and easy to add stuff updated in first post, but can’t add everything to keep it clear and doable for me- So keep on reading! The collection is growing much faster than I was hoping for!SnakeMove.zip (6.98 KB)

This was a really helpful list, and a fantastic move brush alternative - thanks!

And yes, I can confirm that inflate pretty much tanks the program right away.

Nice compilation of advices… Very useful for a better start at the new Sculptris Age!!!

I am happy that it is useful.

boozy floozie posted some nice tips as well. From a completely different point of view - saying:
"Avoid the temptation to get stuck in Sculptris Pro mode… "

Read the complete thing at his lovely gallery:

Very true - even though you could stay with Sculptris Pro, it does not necessarily makes always sense. In my opinion you can go all the way for concepts and 3D print, and for the rest you can go back to subdivisions via zremesher and reproject quite easily :wink: But sometimes Sculptris Pro would be simply not effective. It’s there to give you creative freedom, use it exactly for that, and switch to other tools as soon as you stuck. :wink:

Dearest Knacki,
here is a brush that is good for volume sketching - basically the snakehook with the mod turned down.
It works like a move brush that can sculpt with good control as well as add early detail - even tight details iffin ya wanna.
Rather than having too turn down zadd to change areas of resolution I find that just dabbing an area (but not pulling) with Adaptive switched off at a chosen subdivide size works just as well and is far quicker.

SnakeHook_VolumeSketcher.ZBP.zip (6.27 KB)

Use Adaptive to pull out volumes at brush size resolutions.
Switch off Adaptive and Combine to work from existing resolution areas .
Switch off Adaptive and dab at a chosen subdivide sizes to change resolution without pulling out form.

NB: if you wish to create an altogether faster/harder resonse to this brush playing with Brush>Modifiers>Strength Multiplier will help.

Here’s a quick and mucky sketch created in moments using this single brush - a time quicker than I could have used the move brush to place in even the primary shape using traditional zbrush methods.


As a finally in closing , a much overlooked brush that truly comes in to it’s own in Sculpris Pro I find is the Spherical Brush. I’d urge folks to give it a spin in Sculptris Pro mode.

Yours etc,
BoozySnakeHook_VolumeSketcher.ZBP.zip (6.27 KB)

Many thanks for sharing these valuable tips, Knacki, much appreciated. :+1:

Maybe this might be of some help too: I’ve made a blog post with a number of ZBrush Preferences tips.

Kind regards,


DominiekDR has created three video tuts on Sculptris resolution that are well worth watching:

Dank je, Erik. :slight_smile:

Polypaint Color Blending Using SnakeHook Brushes
Brush Menu>Tablet Pressure>RGB Intensity >change the curve to change the color blend between the new surface you are creating and the existing surface you are pulling out from.

Also like traditional brushes - if you use just rgb (and not add) by pressing alt you can switch between foreground and secondary color. By engaging zadd +rgb you will switch both color and whether it cuts in or is a positive. You can get some nice painterly effects this way - almost like impasto oils.

Brushes for Sculptris Pro Mode that I’ve been tinkering with.
Try them out see if any appeal.

SculptrisPro_ZBC.zip (645 KB)SculptrisPro_ZBC.zip (645 KB)

Made a test with tentacles and a default dynamesh 128 sphere.
Results can be very different.


It#s really worth to adjust settings before doing tentacles. After, you spent time and nerves to get tentacles with too low resolution right.
Remember, no one forces you to not use curve brushes instead (elastic and Liquid are killer functions!) . You can dynamesh it together, if you want to have one mesh. And you can even dynamesh in high resolution and decimate with decimation master later and keep on working. Welcome to the world of triangles.

Knacki, I tried your SnakeMove brush (in the latest version of ZB2018) and all I got was a disappearing mesh. Even with ‘use global’ turned off, the mesh would disappear. ‘Frame mesh’ did nothing and sometimes even undo wouldn’t bring the mesh back. I don’t know the source of the problem because I started with a very basic polymesh sphere.

I might try some of the other brushes on the thread, though. Hopefully, they won’t have the same issue.


PS: Thank you for this guide. It is actually quite awesome. Yes, I am an old Sculptris fart like you…

That sounds wired.
Basicly the only explanation I got is, that your base sphere was relatively too small.
-Did you try the regular brushes on same mesh?
-Try the dynamesh 128 sphere with the brush. (I used this one - so we are on same scale)
-Per default, the “use Global” function is already turned off in the SnakeMove brush. This is also wired.

Even though I never would say that I am without mistakes - I wouldn’t search for the mistake you described in the brushes.

If you got it working, try to play with regular snake hook and trails like I added as Tip #14 yesterday.
Cool stuff.
This snakemove brush is no magic at all, btw.
You can do that quickly, and maybe even much better for your needs as well.
I just quickly compared the regular move brush with the snake hook brush and tried to eliminate most differences.

Btw. have seen the videos Erik posted. Smooth brush with Z intensity on 0 to add geometry…pfff.

What a wonderful sculpting world we live in!!!

The default inflate brush in Sculptris Pro mode will actually grow continually according to the surface normals with repeating circular strokes. This is a great way to build out geometry.

Shane Olson’s inflate brush - available by subscribing to his newsletter https://www.3dcharacterworkshop.com/) makes a great compliment to the default ZBrush inflate brush as it swells/ puffs out more like inflate’s standard behaviour with quad based meshes.
Of note Shane’s Polish brush (a variant on the SK_TrimPolish brush) behaves much better in Sculptris Pro mode than the default HPolish so if you’re building your own UI for Sculptris Pro work be sure to include those two brushes.

Adding the Decimation Master Preset shortcuts in your User Interface is a great time saver for quickly decimating when your mesh scenes become overly heavy. Make sure you also include the ‘Use and keep powlypaint’ option in the Ui (found within the decimation master plugin ) to keep your polypaint work when decimating. Polypaint integrity depends on mesh density so find a compromise within the preset defaults that will maintain your paint work well.

Building a purpose built UI for Sculptris Pro is essential to get the most out of it’s functions quickly.

Of interest, it is not neccessary to turn zadd down to 0 just to modify mesh resolutions without changing surface- a simple dabbing stroke will do the same whether in smooth mode or sculpt mode without changing the surface other than of course changing the resolution. NB:If your brush has lazymouse set (press ‘L’ to switch this off) this may effect it’s ability to change resolution this way with a dabbing stroke.

If you find that you cannot make a brush that is meant to work with Sculptris Pro mode function in Sculptris Pro mode - check that you have backface masking (Brush menu>auto masking>BackFaceMask)switched off for that brush.

Out of all the brushes I have found that the clay brush behaviour shows the most difference between quad sculpting and sculpting in Sculptris Pro. The clay brush when quad sculpting with a low zadd had a lovely facility for filling and smoothing through forms. Now I find that using a ClayBuildUp variant , ClaySoft variant or a brush such as Sakaki’s SK_ClayFill or a variant thereof such as Shane Olson’s Fill brush will do the same work. Shane’s variation has a nice polishing effect - If you turn up Stabilize Orientation and Preserve Edge in Brush >Samples you can save a varaint of this brush that will polish and fill close to the edge of neighbouring forms . To this end I also found that saving a brush variant (not global) of the Smooth Direction brush is very useful

Sakaki’s SK_ClayFill and SK_TrimPolish can be found here

Many thanks for the additional tips, Mark. I’m also a fan of the Sakaki brushes. SK_ClayFill is an essential part of my brush arsenal.

By the way, the AccuCurve function also seems to disable Sculptris Pro mode.

Blending Seams Of Modular Meshes In Sculptris Pro Mode

To blend the joining seams of interpenetrating meshes I find in Sculptris Pro Mode that Trim Dynamic with alt held down or a small ClayBuildUp brush run over the seam will create the best blend. Afterward perhaps a touch of the Polish Brush with alt held down to finesse and some dabs from a filling brush.

Similar but somewhat different to the method in quad subdivisions where the clay brush and a polishing brush were often preferable.

With regard fusing interpenetrating modular mesh components……
Blessed be the Gizmo


Not sure about Sculptris Pro but In ZB2018 “Remesh by Union” blends two shapes together.

  1. Snakehook2 the mesh close to each other,
  2. then inflate until they overlap
  3. enter gizmo> Customize (gear icon)
  4. “Remesh by Union”

First of all, thank you, boozy floozie, for your cool brushes. Funnily enough, though, I have found that using the standard move tool and then gently tapping smooth or using smooth at a low intensity is better for me in my workflow. By using the standard move tool, the process is more stable for me. I use the move tool do a lot of nudging and massaging of the mesh (yeah, I know… ‘why don’t you just get a room already?’…lol) to get the subtleties I want. To have that stability means a lot to me. I still appreciate the gifts of your brushes, though. Oh, and your work is always cool.

Knacki, below is an image of what I came across today when using your snake move brush. At first, I loaded up a dynamesh sphere (128) and realised that maybe the problem was that Dynamesh was turned on at the same time as Sculptris Pro. Anyway, I did turn off Dynamesh and started sculpting with your brush and it worked fine at the beginning (1) but then I got the invisible mesh after a few strokes. I clicked on ‘frame mesh’ and got image (2). If I undo without doing anything, I am lucky to get the mesh back but sometimes after it disappears, the mesh is gone no matter what I do. Yeah, I know, it’s just weird. I thought I would show you anyway since you might not be able to replicate it. For all I know it could be my old graphics card which is the culprit.


I thought that there is one tip you can add to the list which relates to sculpting in general but it’s a good tip, especially for newbies who often make the most horrible sculpts on their first try (like I did when I first started). Basically, avoid the default strengths for the brushes when sculpting and vary their intensities throughout the sculpt. Sometimes a really gentle and low intensity does more than large high strength strokes. I sometimes use brushes below 5% to gently build up certain parts of a sculpt and this is relative even in Sculptris Pro. I also lower my smooth settings. This is the one thing in Sculptris Pro that actually made me use it more proficiently and get over my ‘It’s not the same as Sculptris’ tantrums.


And this happens with my brush only?
Very strange.
That’s something for Pixologic and far away from my knowledge.
As I said, I didn’t change that much on the SnakeHook what could explain this mess :wink:
Never had this problem. But as graphic card is only used for display, this would surprise me as reason.

Yesterday, I played a bit with the twist function and Snake Hook.
One have to be very careful as it easily crashes.
As soon as I have time, I’ll upload a brush for twisted horns. Very much fun.

Glenn patterson has a video you can follow at 2:32 explaining this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3PgI5TasOg
I found this method to be just like dyamesh if you want to stay in scultris pro mode

-turn on sculptris pro mode
-use a insert mesh brush on another mesh move it scale it into place

  • hit the w key and click the gear and click remesh by union. nothing happens. click the gear again and click accept
    -make a small draw size and hold shift and smooth the two meshes or use any other brush to smooth the two meshes together just like dynamesh

How to make a boolean in sculptris pro mode

I found this method if you want to stay in sculptris pro mode instead of using dynamesh

-tun on sculptris mode

  • use insert mesh brush on another mesh. move it scale it into place
  • hold down cntrl+shift and click on the insert mesh brush to hide the other mesh
  • go to tool polygroups and click group as dynamesh sub. the mesh turns white
  • cntrl+shift click again on the canvas to bring both togther
    -hit the w key and click the gear and click remesh by union
  • you got a boolean mesh now
  • hit the gear again accept

Great tip I overviewed so far.

I have some problems recreating your method, jubala.
I need to do it always twice, first time with default masking, second time unmasked.
Then I got an union.
If I unmask before first time clicking “remesh, by Union”, I got a substraction.