When you are working on a sculpt, you may want to work on one feature (such as your creature’s teeth) without affecting another feature (such as the creature’s jaw). In Medium, you can define “Layers” to contain discrete areas of your sculpt and work on them independently of one another.
- In general, you can add any number of layers to the sculpt, within the memory limitations of your computer.
- In general, the current tool affects only the active layer. Some tools, however, are intended to affect more than one layer (such as Move). In such cases, you can use the Settings menu for the tool to specify whether all layers or just the active layer are affected.
To understand how layers work, start by adding some clay to your current scene with the Clay tool, or loading a sculpt from your library.
Next, add a new layer:
- Pull the Support hand thumbstick backward.
- Select the Layer icon from the Add menu.
- The new layer appears in the Scene Graph, and is automatically designated the active layer (highlighted in green). New layers are added as Layer 2, Layer 3, and so on.
- Pull the Support hand thumbstick backward again to hide the Scene Graph.
As you add layers, you will invariably want to switch between one layer and another and two ways are:
- Select the Active Layer from the Scene Graph.
- Select the Active Layer Interactively (handy if you’ve created several layers but haven’t given them descriptive names yet).
To select the active layer:
Once you have more than one layer in your scene, you may want to hide some layers while you’re working on others. To hide one or more layers:
- Pull the Support hand thumbstick backward and open the Scene Graph.
- Aim the Tool hand at the “eye” icon next to the layer and squeeze the Tool hand trigger.
When the eye icon is crossed out, the layer is hidden; toggle the icon on or off to hide or show the selected layer.
You can also multi-select several layers and choose the visibility icon on the Action menu to hide/show all of the selected layers with one action.
Isolating a layer or a scene node will hide all other scene objects and only show the isolated node. Your previous scene node visibility will be saved and you can restore this state by toggling isolate to off. The workflow is useful while editing a layer or a scene node that is occluded by other scene nodes.
If you have several layers you’ve built on top of each other or a mirror plane put in spot you don’t want to edit for a while, you can lock elements by clicking the “Lock” icon on the left of the element name. All elements, including layers, can be locked to stop them from being edited or manipulated as an individual object.
You can make an exact duplicate of an existing layer; the duplicate will have the same name as the original but will have a higher numeric extension (for example, the duplicate of Layer 1 will be Layer 2 or Layer 3). You might want to make a duplicate to try out some specific techniques and compare the two versions, or to make a copy of an element you want to flip across the mirror axis when sculpting a symmetrical model.
To make an exact duplicate of a layer:
As you add layers, you may want to clarify what each layer in the scene represents. To give a layer a new name:
- If the merged layers have different resolutions, they are combined at the highest resolution (to avoid any loss of detail).
- If the layers have different materials, the merged layer uses the material of the highest layer on the layers list. For example, if Layer 1 is ‘red’ and Layer 2 is ‘blue’, the merged layer would be ‘red’).
If you’ve worked in more than one layer, and there’s some overlap between the two, you may want to throw away the geometry that overlaps. To subtract one or more layers from another layer:
You may find that you want to “mirror” the content of a layer you’ve created across the mirror plane. Flipping a layer moves the clay across the mirror plane as if it were a reflection of the original. (You can Duplicate a layer and then Flip the copy across the mirror plane if you want to reproduce the same shape on both sides of your sculpt.)
To flip a layer:
While sculpting, you may find that certain fine details start to “break up.” To enable sculpting with a higher level of detail in a selected layer, you can increase its resolution.
To Increase the resolution of a Layer:
In general, you do not see much of a visual effect immediately after using Increase Resolution on a layer. However, after using the command you should be able to sculpt with a finer level of detail. For more information, see When to Increase Your Sculpt’s Resolution.
As you increase or decrease the resolution, the size of the boxes changes, to give you an idea on the level of detail.
- Resolution can be different for each layer.
- Increasing resolution uses more RAM in your machine. If increasing the resolution for a detailed sculpt would exceed the available RAM, Medium gives you a warning.
- Increase resolution only for the layers where you need the additional detail; increasing the resolution for a relatively smooth layer can use up your computer’s RAM unnecessarily.
Decreasing resolution intelligently discards unnecessary information for the selected layers (for example, along regular surfaces) while trying to maintain the sculpt’s form. While you may have to initially increase the resolution of a layer to sculpt the fine detail you want, you may also find that you can later decrease the layer’s resolution after you’ve done so to reduce the memory footprint of your sculpt.
To decrease the resolution for a layer:
- Pull the Support hand thumbstick backward and open the Scene Graph.
- Select the layer whose resolution you want to decrease and select Decrease Res from the Actions menu.
Review your sculpt after decreasing its resolution. After using the command, you may see that certain areas have lost too much detail. You can Undo the action. For more information, see When to Decrease Your Layer Resolution.
Resolution can be different for each layer:
- If decreasing resolution removes too much detail, use Undo to restore the higher resolution version.
- If you’re working within a production pipeline, you might also choose to keep your original at a higher resolution, and then change the number of triangles when exporting your sculpt.
When you sculpt, each layer has a given resolution. The layer’s resolution determines the level of detail you can add to that layer; the higher the resolution, the more detail supported. If one part of your sculpt does not require fine detail, you can sculpt at a lower resolution, and increase resolution only for those layers where you need more detail.
If you’ve worked in a 2D image-editing program, it may help to think in terms of increasing resolution for an image. Images with higher resolution have more pixels per unit of measurement than images with lower resolution. Increasing the resolution of a layer enables you to sculpt with greater level of detail.
Increasing the resolution of a layer requires more RAM on your system. Medium notifies you if increasing the resolution of a layer would require more memory than your system has.
If you zoom in, you see debris from where the surface broke (Image 1). To prevent the issue, increase the resolution of the layer you are working on. After increasing the layers resolution, when you begin sculpting again, the same gesture can now be supported and results in a continuous surface (Image 2).
While increasing a layer’s resolution happens for artistic reasons, decreasing its resolution is typically done only when your computer is running low on memory. As mentioned above, each time you increase the resolution for your sculpt, it uses more of your machine’s available RAM.
If Medium warns you that it is running out of memory, decrease the resolution for a layer, evaluate whether the loss in resolution affects its surface fidelity. Often, reducing the resolution one time may be acceptable:
In the sample images above, note the loss of some fine detail and surface texture. Depending on the surface characteristics of your model, decreasing a layer’s resolution may be an acceptable option when you run into memory limits.
The decrease resolution operation can be undone if the reduction removes too much detail.
The bounding box helps you visualize your layer resolution. Keep the size of the bounding box in mind when you start your sculpt, to make sure you don’t start at too large a scale.
Now that you have learned about Using Sculpt Layers in Medium, check out how to use Stamps next.
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