Sculpting brush quality issues

Question Sculpting

I’m trying to add details to a model that will be 3D printed and I’m using a 4k alpha brush but it’s too pixelated unless I use 10’s of millions of polygons. Is that right?

ie with the back of Suzanne’s head as a test, I’ve used a Multires modifier at Sculpt level 6 (2 million polygons), then 7 (8 million polygons), then 8 (32 million polygons).


Do I really need that many polygons to get the detail quality I’m after or am I missing something?

Thanks in advance.

  • Martin Bergwerf replied

    Hi Ross, you do need a lot of polygons, but the back of Suzanne's head doesn't have high density to begin with. You'd have to retopologize Suzanne first, to get an even Topology. It's not so much the total amount of polygons, as it is the mesh density in the area you are sculpting on.

    As comparison, my Human Head had about 15 million Faces for the fine details (pores and wrinkles), but that's a whole buste, with even topology.

    Also, if it's going to be 3D printed, think of the resolution of the print.

  • Omar Domenech replied

    Yes, there's no way around that, if you want that very crisp detail, you're going to need lots and lots of polygons. That's the limitation and it's why people use textures like bump and normal maps instead. And it's why a software like ZBrush is held with great regard, people go crazy with millions and million of polygons in it.

  • Shawn Blanch(blanchsb) replied

    rfranks I totally agree with Martin. Consider the ability of your 3D printer to print the level of detail that you need. If your printer can get really detailed then go as high as you need to on the poly counts (as high as your PC can handle). I typically need above 2 million polygons on damage brushes like the one you are using. But I don't typically go above 10-15 million or my PC starts to hate me.

  • coyo (coyohti) replied

    Like others have said, yes, you need that many polys to get a high level of detail. I bought into ZBrush in order to achieve that level for 3D printing. My printer (4k SLA) can handle some pretty high level of detail even before I'd have to start adjusting layer height to smooth the surface more. That said, once I start painting a printed model a lot of that fine detail just disappears, even under an airbrushed primer.

    Consider the end goal. A good example to look at are Lord of the Print miniatures. Absolutely gorgeous sculpts in their promo renders...but all that fine detail gets lost when painted. If one were using a filament printer or printing at an increased layer height with resin that detail would be lost in the print stage. If one wanted to sand the model beforehand, again, that detail would begin to get lost.

    So I've gone back to Blender for most of my sculpting. While ZBrush has some tools I like, like their remesher, Blender (for me) is just an overall easier piece of software to use.

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  • Ross Franks(rfranks) replied

    Thanks for all your replies guys, I went with Dynotopo and it came out alright on my 4k resin printer, I know on a 6k or an 8k it would be even better and I’m trying to future proof it too.

    Thanks again.


  • Omar Domenech replied

    Turned out great if you ask me. That's a cool model. Thanks for sharing your results.