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Brush shapes | Substance 3D Modeler

Brush shapes

Brush shapes play a very useful role in sculpting, both in adding and removing clay. The Clay and Erase tools have the most extensive list of brush shapes available to them. Currently the Warp tool only has 3 shapes available with limited parameters, but more will be added in future.

The following Brush shapes are available for the Clay and Erase tools:

Swept sphere and Standard sphere

The Swept sphere brush behaves differently than the Standard sphere brush because it creates a swept shape.

A sweep or swept shape is a shorter way of saying 'a form created by dragging a shape along a curve'. The important difference between the swept sphere and the standard sphere is that the swept sphere is applied continuously, while the standard sphere is applied discreetly along the path. In other words, the swept sphere results in smoother surfaces, while the standard sphere can result in discreet stamps along the path.

With the swept sphere notice how the surface of the resulting clay is smooth and straight.

Unlike the swept sphere, the discreet stamps of the standard sphere are visible.

There are cases where the standard sphere behavior is preferable, but in general the swept sphere is more consistent and reliable to use.

The swept sphere only has a parameter for Scale.

Cube

The cube is the default brush. With the Clay tool, the cube brush is useful for blocking out scenes, especially with architectural and hard surface elements. With the Erase tool, the cubes hard corners can be useful for chiseling away at clay.

The Cube brush has the following parameters:

ParameterDescription
TaperDecrease the scale of a single face of the cube. With maximum taper the cube becomes a pyramid.
RoundBevel four parallel edges of the cube. At maximum roundness the cube looks like a cylinder.
FilletRound all edges and corners of the cube. At maximum bevel, the cube becomes a sphere.
ChamferChamfer the top and bottom edges of the brush.

The cube brush parameters in action.

Cylinder

The cylinder brush is useful for blocking out and can be very useful when used in conjunction with the warp tool to create tubes and cables.

The cylinder brush has the following parameters:

ParameterDescription
TaperDecrease the scale of one side of the cylinder. With maximum taper the cylinder becomes a cone.
FilletRound the edges of the cylinder. At maximum bevel, the cylinder becomes a sphere or capsule.
ChamferChamfer the top and bottom edges of the brush.

The cylinder brush parameters in action.

The Warp tool can be used on a cylinder to create a bendy tube with consistent thickness.

Triangle

Thanks to the triangle's multiple angles, the triangle brush is like a multi-tool for cutting away at clay. You can resize the triangle brush non-uniformly to have precise control over how shallow or deep you want to cut into existing clay. The triangle brush is also useful for blocking out scenes and is particularly useful for adding detail to hard surface sculpts.

The Triangle brush has the following parameters:

ParameterDescription
TaperDecrease the scale of a single face of the triangle. With maximum taper the triangle becomes a three-sided pyramid.
RoundBevel three parallel edges of the triangle.
FilletRound all edges and corners of the triangle. At maximum bevel, the triangle becomes a capsule.
ChamferChamfer the top and bottom edges of the brush.

The behavior of the triangle brush parameters.

The triangle brush can be used to cut away at a rectangle to create a plank. The triangle brush is useful for carving away because it has multiple angles available without switching to another brush.

Hexagon or polygon

The hexagon brush lets you create more than just hexagons. One of the hexagon brush's parameters allows you to change how many sides it has, so you can create pentagons, octagons or polygons with any number of sides. This flexibility makes the Hexagon brush useful for a wide range of tasks, particularly creating patterns.

The hexagon brush has the following parameters:

ParameterDescription
TaperDecrease the scale of a single face of the Hexagon. With maximum taper the brush becomes a many-sided pyramid.
RoundBevel the sides of the brush.
FilletRound all edges and corners of the Hexagon. At maximum bevel, the Hexagon becomes a sphere or capsule.
ChamferChamfer the top and bottom edges of the brush.
SidesSet the number of sides for the brush.

The hexagon brush parameters in action.

Capsule

The capsule brush is particularly useful for blocking out organic forms, such as limbs, fingers or other body parts.

The capsule only has a single parameter:

ParameterDescription
TaperDecrease the scale of one side of the Capsule. With maximum taper the brush becomes teardrop shaped.

The capsule may only have a single parameter, but it's still very useful for organic forms. Here you can see the capsule being tapered to create a teardrop brush.

Egg

The egg brush is a useful alternative to the Capsule brush when you need more control over the curves of the shape. The egg brush is most powerful when used in conjunction with non-uniform scaling to create organic natural feeling shapes without the straight lines created when using the capsule.

Like the Capsule brush, the Egg only has a single parameter:

ParameterDescription
TaperDecrease the scale of one side of the egg. With maximum taper the brush becomes a stretched teardrop.

Gouge

The gouge brush is named after what it was designed to do, gouge away at clay. This brush is useful for cutting channels or valleys in clay and as a result is great across every kind of sculpting.

Currently the Gouge brush only has a single parameter:

ParameterDescription
FilletAdjust how sharp the brush is. When working at lower resolutions it can be useful to bevel the Gouge brush to reduce artifacts.

The Gouge brush fillet parameter in action.

Torus

The torus is a more niche brush due to its topology, but still one that is incredibly useful to have when you need to create any kind of ring shape. Currently the torus has no brush-specific parameters, however this is planned to change in future.

Spline

The Spline brush is a little odd since it doesn't really resemble any generally recognized primitive shape. The Spline brush is designed around organic shapes and is particularly useful for building up musculature, but a place for it can be found in just about any organic sculpt.

ParameterDescription
TaperAdjust the balance of the brush by moving more volume to one side or the other.
PinchAdjust the relative size of the ends of the brush compared to the center.
RadiusMake the brush fatter or thinner.

🥽 Quicktune works differently for the Spline brush. Instead of using just the tool hand to adjust the shape of the brush, you can use the tool and support hand to control the curve of the brush. This allows for extra control in customizing the shape.

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