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Placement modes | Substance 3D Modeler

Placement modes

Placement modes allow you to control the placement of the brush in different ways. Different placement modes can be useful for different scenarios or types of sculpting. For example, Gizmo placement can be useful for precise sculpting like hard surface work, while Freehand placement can be great for organic, flowing sculpts.

Modeler has three placement modes:

  • Freehand placement
  • Gizmo placement
  • Surface placement

Freehand placement

Freehand placement is only available in VR. With freehand placement, the brush is attached to the tool hand controller.

Freehand placement is useful for gestural sculpting and is the closest placement mode to working with clay in real life. Due to the 6 degrees of freedom (6dof) allowed by VR controllers, Freehand placement allows for some movements that aren't possible with other placement modes:

  • With the Warp tool, Freehand placement allows you to rotate, translate, and scale a warp in a single stroke. You can scale mid-stroke by moving the tool hand joystick up or down while holding TT.
  • You can use pressure controls to change the characteristics of the brush mid-stroke. Pressure controls are linked to the amount of pressure you apply to TT.

Freehand brush placement

You can modify the position of the brush relative to the tool hand to create different feelings or use advanced techniques while sculpting.

  1. Move the support hand cursor into the brush.
  2. Pull ST to grab the brush.
  3. Move the brush to a new position relative to the tool hand.
  4. Release ST.

By modifying the brush location, it's possible to start transferring techniques like long-handle calligraphy to Modeler. Additionally, you may just find other brush positions to be more comfortable.

Gizmo placement

Gizmo placement lends itself to precise brush placement. Additionally, being able to constrain brush movements to one or two axes can often come in handy.

With Gizmo placement, you can use the various Gizmo handles to transform the brush.

  1. Cone: Move the brush along a single axis.
  2. Ring: Rotate the brush around an axis.
  3. Square: Move the brush along two axes.
  4. Circle: Scale the brush.
    1. Every brush can be scaled uniformly with the scale handle outside the brush.
    2. Some brush shapes have custom scale handles. For example, the cube can be scaled along each axis.

💻Tap r once to reset the orientation of the Gizmo. Tap r a second time to reset the position of the Gizmo back to the origin.

Gizmo orientation

By default the Gizmo operates in local space - in other words the orientation and position of the Gizmo depends on the local context. In most cases this is the current layer's orientation.

On desktop it is possible to also use parent space, or world space to transform the Gizmo.

  • Parent space uses the parent object's orientation and transform to allow you to move and rotate objects or the brush.
  • Global space uses global coordinates to orient the gizmo.

Gizmo orientation can be selected in the Bottom bar:

From left to right:

  • Local space
  • Parent space
  • Global space

Changing Gizmo orientation can be useful when working on a layer with an irregular transform. For example, in the screenshot below, the selected pillar is rotated by 45 degrees about the Z axis (blue Gizmo handles). As a result, the Gizmo is also rotated by 45 degrees about the Z axis because we're using Local orientation.

We can switch to Global orientation, and the Gizmo is now oriented based on world space, so it no longer has a 45 degree rotation.

Surface placement

With surface placement, your brush is constrained to the surface of existing clay. Surface placement is available on desktop and in VR, and is a useful gestural method of sculpting on desktop specifically.


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Adobe MAX 2024

Adobe MAX
The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX

The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online