Yet another unlimited clay test

This is a video test showing Unlimited Clay as a modifier, this is not the final implementation, just replicating the previous behavior as a guidance of what I should obtain as a full integrated modifier plus taking advantage of the new sculpt goodies, and as a side effect, although currently it use a similar engine than before, is still faster, so I got high hopes that when I finish it will be fast enough πŸ™‚

Unlimited Clay will never replace other workflow like multires, it’s just a complement, multires modifier will always perform faster because it takes advantage of preallocation of static elements, while unlimited clay is by nature dynamic, but in geometry with very detailed zones concentrated in small areas Unlimited Clay does takes the advantage, so my advice is:

Unlimited clay good for:
– Fast base shape sketching for refining in multires later.
– Models with high detail concentration in relative small areas.
– Extending geometry on the fly.

Multires is good for:
– very evenly detailed models.
– refining small details in final models.

Yet another unlimited clay test

35 thoughts on “Yet another unlimited clay test

  1. Moolah says:

    Raul, it’s fantastic!
    So complex models and gets so fast! I’ll not wonder if it can be used for SPH visualisation.
    I can add to “Good for”

    – fast environment’s models creation for large scenes

    I’ll never bother to retopo some tree or stub if I need to feel my scene by many of these.

    BTW – it will be really usefull if you’ll an option of auto-assign for current material on the fly. it will cut off unnecessary actions to select a newly created geometry.


  2. nrk says:

    Love it, looks great! Thanks for all of your hard work. I can tell you’re getting the hang of sticking with a problem until it’s done right. Thanks again!


  3. Silence says:

    This + quad remeshing and I can dump sculptris and 3D coat πŸ˜€

    Not that they are bad programs but I prefer Blender as I can have free upgrades for the rest of my life πŸ˜‰


  4. Blenderificus says:

    !!!!!!!!!!!! WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    this is utterly impressive!!!!!!!!!

    You’ve just taken unlimited clay to the next level!!!!!!!

    I REALLY hope this makes it into trunk!!!!

    Sorry for all the exclamation marks, cant wait for a build on OSX)


  5. Marcus says:

    Damn you’re a fast and creative programmer!
    If Blender Foundation had hired you for BMesh we could have been using it since years ago πŸ™‚


  6. myway880 says:

    this is very good fantastic even
    but just one question
    as i under stand and I’m almost cretin that I’m wrong hence the question πŸ™‚
    multris use the base mesh and create sph trees or whatever it’s called so when you sculpt only the trees that the brush touches will be updated
    again if what i under stand from the video is correct you will have a very high ris base mesh witch can cause multris to create so much trees that it slows down
    any way can’t this functionality be added to multires ?
    feel free to ignore me lol


  7. FreeMind says:

    Well, if smooth brush would smooth detailed and not detaled parts equaly, and the topology you could produce when using unlimited lay was cleaner (you didn’t show the topology much, but i did see some topology flaws that sculptris does not produce in this video), then unlimited clay would work as great as multires.
    Just sayin.
    Then auto quad retopo, and there you go, a kick ass model.


  8. FreeMind says:

    I also noticed that after each stroke in sculptris, the topology automatically slides around and tries to keep the triangles as smooth as possible.


  9. SamCameron says:

    Amazing video Raul, congratulations, pretty awesome workflow, but I just wish that unlimited clay wouldn’t be a modifier, but integrated with the rest of the sculpt tools (left panel of the screen), it’s very confussed to have a modifier to help with the sculpt but the rest of the sculpt options remains all together in the left panel, hope you think about it, cheers.


    1. Shinobi says:

      Multiresolution is a modifier too, on the right of the screen, while every sculpt tool remains on the left, so where’s the problem having Unlimited Clay as a Modifier too?

      It just proves its superiority in speed and handleness, and with the old algorithm as for now!


  10. FreeMind says:

    Sam. Would you like the multires not be a modifier too?
    Unlimited clay as valid to be a modifier as multires.
    Besides, these two can’t work together.


  11. Shinobi says:

    Raul, you’re a monster, a coding one! πŸ˜€

    That… thing is superb! workflow is awesome and the results you cought with an old Unlimited Clay implementation in its new modifier form are unbelievable. I can’t imagine what you’ll end up with when you’ll code the new correct algorithm.

    You know πŸ™‚ you have all you need to become a Blender legend, you’re bringing in Blender the leading technology out there, hat’s off! I really hope you could been hired by Blender Institute sooner than later πŸ˜‰


  12. Nik says:

    Very nice! Having this as a modifier is a great way to do it. There are still some topology flaws where between two different resolutions meet, but those can be worked out eventually, probably by having it “autosomooth” there like Sculptris does. (I think Sculptris makes sure that triangles don’t stretch too much and pulls them back like a “rubberband”)

    I also noticed you can now effortlessly grab away “horns” just like in Sculptris, great job!!!

    Question – does removing the modifier (without applying) revert the mesh back to the original form, or is it there just to enable the unlimited clay?


  13. FreeMind says:

    Topology is better in sculptris because:
    1) It automatically relaxes the topology to form the best triangle shapes it can. I don’t know if this modifier does that already, but i hope it will. The relax animation is visible after every stroke, which gives a neat feel to it.
    2) Sculptris not only subdivides the edges connected to the vertex you are clicking on. If you click in the middle of the triangle in sculptris, even the surrounding triangles get subdivided to make a smooth transition from Low poly to high poly. The subdivision radius is larger then your brush radius. And the stroke is drawn where you want it. Last time i played with UC, i found out that when clicking in the middle of the triangle, absolutely nothing happens, we get a single subdivision when clicking on a vertex though. That’s why it was very limited when starting from the default cube. That problem does not exist in sculptris.
    If we get that “Bigger subdivision radius then your brush, with a smooth transition from low to high poly” thing, we wouldn’t get the “Visible triangles” topology problem as we can see in this video.

    What Else i’d like to see, that sculptris doesn’t have:
    Smooth brush automatically removing polygons while straighting out the surface. Or any other way that would automatically remove triangles where there is no detail.
    There are a lot of spots on sculptris models, where the surface is smooth as a babies behind, but the topololy is very dence at some places, and on some very low poly. (Very uneven)
    Sculptris has “Polygon removal” and “Smooth” tools seperate, and the polygon removal brush is kind of unresponsive, you had to do multiple clicks which was kind of annoying.


    1. Nik says:

      Actually, sculptris has “Reduce Selected”, which cleans up the really dense areas without losing almost any detail. A reduce brush yes, but that functionality shouldn’t be mixed in with the smooth brush, since you don’t always want it to do that.

      I agree on the rest, Sculptris constantly checks topology and tries to make it fit. That’s something UC just couldn’t do. But now, with it being a modifier the future looks bright!


      1. FreeMind says:

        Actually, what I’m aiming for is having the opportunity to remove verticles while holding the shift key. Besides, when removing verticles, you smooth out the surface, because it can’t hold any details on low poly. Thats why Smooth having a poly recudtion to it makes sense.
        Ofcource, turning off poly reduction would simply be one checkbox away πŸ˜‰


    2. Joe says:

      I totally agree about the smooth brush. This would be the ideal way to enhance a work flow where you’re not supposed to think too much about topology. Paint in details, smooth out unneeded polys. Voila!


  14. Tarabaz says:


    i really like the Mesh Tesslation in Sculptris and can’t wait to test Unlimited Clay in Blender. But the Implementaion in Sculptris has a lack in controlling the amount of detail, that don’t only affect the Polycount, it also affect the sculpt Workflow.

    By Sculpting a Model from a Simple Base Mesh, at the beginning it is important to focus on the main shape and start later with adding details.

    In traditional Sculpting this is possible by using subdivisions or multires (starting with less geometrie and add more geometrie step by step).

    A similar System with Unlimited Clay could be really helpfull to get more control over the amount of tris, this would be great for performance control and artist reasons.

    my idea for this is to have a nearly fixed size for the triangles, with only enough room for scaling to allow a smoth adding/removing of geometrie.

    by changing to a higher detail step, there will be added a new vertice in the middle of each triangle and the edges/faces will be recalculated (a Unlimited Clay counterpart to subdivide/multires).

    What did You think about this idea? Is something like this possible?


      1. Tarabaz says:

        The same use than Multires for traditional Sculpting.

        Very good control over the max polycount, depending on what your computer can handle.

        starting a sculpt with low resolution (big triangles) make it easier to first sculpt out the general shape, because you can’t sculpt finer details at this stage.

        many sculpt artists tendent to begin to sculpt details befor the main shape is sculpted and it’s much harder to correct the main shape later than sculpting in detail steps from the base shape to the fine details.


      2. FreeMind says:

        You don’t quite understan what “Unlimited clay” is for, now do you?
        The whole point of it is having the ability to sculpt without planning. Like you can sculpt a whole character out of a single sphere, cause you never run out of polygons.
        1) You subdivide the model on multires, because you need more polygons to get the details in. UC Can have as much detail as you want without worrying about polycount.
        2) Sculptris has way more control over the max polycount then multires. You can reduce polygons with either “Reduce selected” or you could use “Reduce brush” on denser arias. If you use these tools often, a sculptris model will always have less polygons then a multires model.
        3) You can already start a model with big triangles and form your basic shape. All you have to do is turn off the tessellation, and turn it on whenever you need to add in something new. You don’t have to go into drawing little details so early just because the system let’s you.


      3. Tarabaz says:

        I understand the idea behind Unlimited Clay / Dynamic Mesh Tesslation, i was beta tester as Sculptris was in Developement and active part of the Support Team, befor it was sold to Pixologic.

        In Sculptris my actually Workflow is to Sculpt out the main shape of a charakter, deaktivate the detail slider, reduce the topology as lot as possible without loosing the main shape, refine the mesh as good at possible without adding new topologie, aktivate detail slider and sculpt in more details.

        the reduce tools in sculptris did a great job, but at some point you start to loose more details as needed when the topology where more equable.

        you are right, no one need to sculpt little details so early, but it’s hard to control yourself at this topic πŸ˜‰

        my idea was to get more/easier control and a less chaotic tri based topology. but it’s only a idea, if you don’t like it that’s ok πŸ˜‰

        mabe we will get a lot control by using Unlimited Clay and Auto Retropo as a team. πŸ™‚


    1. Nik says:

      Multires stores only displacement data. It’s a fundamentally different method compared to UC and there is no way to mix the two. With multires, tesselation is done only using Catmull-Clark, so there is no need to store actual topology, just the displacement. New topology created by UC is highly unpredictable (it changes with each stroke!) and there is no effecient way to store those changes. Meshes made with UC will always have messy topology and can be used only for rendering (and even that’s not very recommendable). If you want to use those meshes for anything else you will always have to retopologize them the normal way, or at least with some help from the quad remeshing algorithm.

      …Speaking of which, any news on Quad Remeshing?


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