Sculpting Guides and Constraints

Learn the basics of the Medium sculpting guides and restraints.

In addition to freehand sculpting, Medium supports several guides and constraints:

Guides and Constraints

The Guides and Constraints menu is displayed directly under the Tools Tray, on the Sculpting Modes menu. To toggle a guide or constraint on or off:

Guides and Constraints menu.


  1. Push the Support hand thumbstick forward.
  2. Aim the Tool hand at the special mode or modes you want to use and squeeze the trigger.



You can use more than one guide or constraint at the same time. For example, you can use the Mirror and Grid Snap mode together to create similar lattices on both sides of a starship. You can also use these options with the constraint options available for various tools.

Mirror Mode

Medium's Mirror feature lets you sculpt on one side of your model and see those changes mirrored across a plane, resulting in a perfectly symmetrical sculpt with only half the work.

Start your session with Mirror mode enabled (to get down the basic form in a symmetrical fashion), and disable Mirror mode to apply changes to one side (such as repositioning a limb or adding asymmetrical surface detail).

Scene with Mirror Mode on.


When Mirror mode is enabled,  the four corners with a set of crosshairs at its center indicate the position of the mirror plane.

The mirror effect is applied regardless of the tool you select, or the selected tool mode (for example, you can either add or remove clay in a mirrored fashion, or paint both the near and far sides of your model simultaneously). When you aim a tool at the sculpt, you’ll see a counterpart “ghost” image of the tool aimed at the corresponding location on the other side of the mirror plane.

To use the Mirror Mode:

  1. Select the Clay tool.

  2. As you move your tool hand, a corresponding “ghost” tool preview appears at the corresponding location of the model on the other side of the mirror plane, see Image 1.

  3. Add some clay to one side of the mirror plane. Notice that it’s automatically applied in a “reflected” fashion onto the other side, see Image 2.

    Iage 1: Clay tool with mirror preview on opposite side.

    Image 2: Clay applied symmetrically to active layer.

Mirror Settings

You can use the Mirror settings menu to save or restore the mirror plane’s position, or align your sculpt’s origin to the mirror plane. To open the Mirror Plane settings menu:


  1. Pull the Support hand thumbstick backward.
  2. Open the Scene Graph.
  3. Select the Mirror Plane node in the Scene Graph.


You can enable or disable the Mirror Plane on the Action Menu. More settings are available on the Settings menu (described below).

Mirror Mode node in The Scene Graph.


Save or restore the position of the mirror plane:

Centering the sculpt origin.


  • Set to saved: restores the mirror plane to your previously saved position.
  • Save: save the mirror plane’s current position as your preferred position.
  • Reset: restores the mirror plane to the factory default position.
  • Constraints Manip: Set the option On to manipulate your sculpt layers without breaking the symmetry. The option is not applicabe for non-layer nodes (images, meshes, and so on).
  • Center Sculpt Origin: Aligns your sculpt’s origin to the center of the mirror plane. The origin is aligned such that the +Z axis is pointing “up” toward the top of the mirror plane (with the ZY plane of the sculpt aligned to the mirror plane).

Hide the Mirror Plane

Use the Mirror plane without being distracted while sculpting, you can hide it using the Scene Graph:

Hiding the Mirror Plane.


  1. Pull the Support hand thumbstick backward.
  2. Open the Scene Graph.
  3. Toggle the visibility of the Scene Graph node.


The Mirror Plane will still be in effect but no longer be visible.

Grid and Grid Snap

The Grid is a useful visual guide to show the Scene Origin, and also help you sculpt and lay out a scene with precise measurements.

To toggle the grid visuals or grid snap, select the grid object in the Scene Graph, or you toggle it in the Shortcuts menu within the Tool Menu.

Coordinate Space and Scale

Whatever Scene Node the Grid object is parented under, reflects the coordinate space that the Grid indicates. So, the Grid parented under the World, 1 meter in world space is shown as 1 meter on the grid. If the Grid is parented under the Scene Origin, then the grid will show the exact scale in which your sculpt will be exported. 

To access and adjust the Grid settings:

  1. Pull the Support hand thumbstick backward.

  2. Open the Scene Graph.

  3. Select the Grid node in the Scene Graph to access the Settings panel.

    Accessing the Grid settings menu panel in the Scene Graph.

    Grid settings menu panel.

In the Grid scene settings you can edit:

  • Grid Snap: The sculpt operations snaps to the set grid points when the option is On.
  • Show Grid: To see the grid while you sculp, set the option On.
  • Unit of Measurement: Each grid unit can represent mm, cm, or m.
  • Subdivisions: The number of smaller grid lines between each unit of measurement.
  • Axis/Plane Visibility Toggles: When the grid visuals are on, this will specify which planes of the grid of visible.

Grid Snap

Grid Snap constrains movement of the current tool among a set of specific points in space. The location and distance between the points can be specified in increments that are relative to either the layer or the sculpt origin.

Use Grid Snap with the sphere stamp selected (the Clay tool’s default shape), to apply clay between the segments that join any two grid points. You can use the technique to build up a lattice.

Grid Snap with sphere stamp selected.

Grid Snap example A.

Applying clay between the segments.

Grid Snap example B.


Adding clay along the segments between nodes in the 3D grid is supported only when using the sphere stamp.

You can use this technique to create any shapes that are made up only of segments:

Grid Snap example C.

Gris Snap with skull stamp selected.


When using Grid Snap with any stamp other than the sphere, clay can only be applied directly on the grid points (but not between). Notice that the tool’s orientation is not constrained, only its position. This means that even though the tool ‘jumps’ to each node in the 3D grid, you can still orient the tool around each point.

  • Use the Angle Snap and Grid Snap together toconstraint the orientation of the stamp to regular intervals when it is applied to the grid point.
  • Grid Snap can be used with the Mirror Plane. Any clay added to one side of the plane is added in its mirror location on the other side.


The lathe feature rotates your sculpt as if it were sitting on a potter’s wheel. Just like the potter’s wheel, you can use the lathe to:

  • Review your work in progress from different angles.
  • Use any of Medium’s tools on the sculpt while it’s spinning (such as painting your sculpt).
  • Add “spiral” features while sculpting.
  • Capture short video previews of your work to share with friends, clients, or on social media.

Using the Lathe as a Turntable to View Your Work

The simplest use of the lathe is as turntable for viewing your work:

Using the Clay tool with the Lathe turned on.


Adding Rotational Shapes with the Lathe

  1. Push the Support hand thumbstick forward.
  2. To start the Lathe, select Lathe. Your sculpt begins to rotate, giving you a 360-degree view of your work.
  3. To stop the Lathe, select Lathe again. Your sculpt stops rotating.

You can also take advantage of the lathe’s rotation to add circular or spiral shapes by using the Clay tool with the Lathe turned on. 


Enable Steady Stroke on the Clay tool Settings menu to get a perfect torus.

Using the Inflate tool in combination with the Lathe.


Using a Tool While Turning Your Sculpt

Your tools remain in effect when the lathe is spinning, so you can take advantage of its rotation to apply effects to the entire model. 

In this scenario, the sculpt rotates under the Inflate tool, creating a ridge in the surface as it moves under the tool.

You can use any tool while the lathe is rotating (for example, you might use the Smooth tool as your sculpt rotates to smooth all sides of your sculpt equally or to paint its entire surface).

Repositioning the Lathe

You can reposition of the lathe (as if you are moving the potter’s wheel to a different location in your studio):

  1. Pull the Support hand thumbstick backward.

  2. Aim your Tool hand at the lathe and squeeze the Tool hand trigger to select the Lathe, see Image 1.

  3. Squeeze either of the Grip buttons and move the Lathe to a new position on the ground plane, see Image 2.

  4. Pull the Support hand thumbstick backward again to close the Scene Graph and restart the Lathe.

    Image 1: Select the Lathe with the Tool hand trigger.

    Image 2: Squeeze either of the Grip buttons to reposition the Lathe.

Lathe Settings

You can change the speed and direction of the lathe on the Lathe Settings menu:

  1. Pull the Support hand thumbstick backward.

  2. Select the Lathe using one of these two methods: Open the Scene Graph and select the Lathe node, or, Aim your Tool hand at the lathe and squeeze the Tool hand trigger.

  3. On the actions menu, choose the settings menu (Gear icon).

Lathe settings menu.


The Lathe settings menu opens:

Enabled: Indicates whether the lathe is on or off.

Speed: The speed at which the lathe rotates. Higher values rotate faster.

Direction: The direction (clockwise or counterclockwise) in which the lathe turns.

Center Sculpt Origin: Aligns the sculpt’s (object) origin over the lathe (along its Z axis). For more information on transforms like this, see Applying Transforms to Your Sculpt.

Angle Snap

Angle Snap lets you constrain the orientation of the current tool to a specific angle increment, relative to either the layer or the sculpt origin.

For example, with the Clay tool, if you set the Angle Snap to 90°, you could create perfectly perpendicular walls for a building:

Angle Snap options menu.


  1. Select a stamp.
  2. Push the Support hand thumbstick forward.
  3. Select Angle Snap on the sculpting modes menu.
  4. Initially, leave the angle at 90° 

The angle can be specified relative to either the active layer or to the sculpt’s origin. (If you have rotated a layer so that its origin is different from the sculpt's, you may want to use Orient to Layer.)

When enabled, you see that a set of three-dimensional axes appears over the tool:

  1. Use the stamp to lay down the first wall.

  2. Reorient your tool hand so that the stamp preview ‘snaps’ perpendicular to the first wall, then add the second wall.

  3. Continue adding sections to your building.

Step 1: Determine the position the first wall.

Step 2: Reorient your tool hand to snap perpendicular.

Step 3: Continue to reposition stamp preview to the desired location.

Step 1: Use the stamp to lay down the first wall.

Step 2: Lay down the perpendicular wall.

Step 3: Continue adding walls.

If you decide that you want to be able to work in, say 45° increment, you can change the value in the Angle Snap settings. After making the change, you can now orient your tool in 45° increments:

Stamp preview with Snap angle at 45°

Wall added with Snap angle at 45°

To turn off Angle Snap:

  1. Push the Support hand thumbstick forward.

  2. Select Angle Snap again.

  • Angle Snap and Grid Snap can be used together if you want to constrain the orientation of the stamp to regular intervals when it’s applied to the grid point.
  • Angle Snap can be used with the Mirror Plane. Any clay added to one side of the plane is added in its mirror location on the other side.

What's Next?

Now that you have learned about the sculpting guides and Constraints in Medium, check out how to use scene graph next.

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