Preserving sculpted layers?

Hey all,

I was wondering if there was a way to preserve detail of one layer when working on a layer that is under it without obliterating details of all layers at once. Let me explain;

I was working on a scarf wrapped around a character’s neck; The base is the shape of the scarf, and I have a layer on top for the weave pattern, and another layer over that for the colour of the scarf.

Whenever I want to work on the base layer and change the form of the folds and smooth them, it will automatically smooth the weave pattern that is on the layer on top of it, as well as the vertex Color that is on top of that one. That seemed odd to me, as the whole idea of layers is to have a non-destructive workflow… I found out that hiding a layer will preserve it’s detail or Color from being altered, but it means continuously turning layers on and off all the time and I find this counter intuitive. Also sometimes the color is not affected by smoothing on a lower layer?

Is there a way to preserve detail from top layers without this occurring when working on the base form WITHOUT making said layer invisible? Like locking that layer for instance?

Hey Bonaparte, I believe hiding layers is the only solution at the moment. I’ve been meaning to work up my ideas for layer menu feature requests and locking was going to be one of those features.

Fingers crossed a little padlock icon will be added in v1.67…?

Neither the colours nor the layer offsets are altered.

For painting the layers work exactly the same as any painting software, top layers occludes the one below. New created layers have an opacity channels fully transparent.

Concerning what you are asking for the layer geometry, did you ever see a software that was doing something similar (blender? zbrush?)

not sure if this is relevant as I just skimmed through it quickly but I have a vague memory of Mudbox retaining surface detail between layers but there is a certain amount of opacity adjustment of the top most layer… Working with Sculpt Layers Tutorial - YouTube

Your link doesn’t show what you were talking about.
The delLayer tool in Nomad does exactly what’s in the video (for the 5:20 mark).

As for the red stuffs, I don’t have it but it’s certainly not helpful in your scenario. From what I see it’s just a way to make the layer “invisible” but only in some part.

To be clear, when you sculpt on a base or a layer, the other layers are completely unaffected.
(I keep reading that layers are destroyed or something but that’s not the case, your problem is that the brush tools take the final mesh as input without ignoring the layers).

What you wish for is to sculpt something that is different from what you see on screen, basically the current mesh subtract from the “detailed layer” and then re-applied.
It raises tons of question UX-wise, that’s why I was asking if other apps tried that.
Basically it only works “ok” if you have a small-scale detail layer.

What you wish for: (but is not planned for now)

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Yeah, as I said I wasn’t sure if that Mudbox link was relevant and delLayer is probably more likely. I think Bonaparte was after the results of hiding layer and sculpting base layer without having to hide it but I guess that’s not possible?

That trick is awesome!! Works very well.

So you want a checkbox in layer menu that just activates this “non destructive” workflow without having to hide the other layers continually?

Makes sense to me.

Something like that?

I’ve literally done it in the video I posted above…
I’m just trying to explain why it brings issues that you guys are not thinking about.

I’m always doubtful on what can make sense to artist :slight_smile:
Especially since they usually think about their use case.
When I’m asking if it’s done on other software it’s never to know if its possible… but to see the overall UX they chose and see if it can fit in Nomad.

Typically you might want to display the base as an overlay when the “non destructive” is on. (really don’t like this word as the layers are unaffected but I understand).

Out of curiosity, if you enable this option while one of the layer made the mesh twice bigger. You start to sculpt on the edge but it simply miserably fails and you rotate the camera instead?
In another thread on this exact request a few month I said the same thing: sculpting on something that is not on your screen can be problematic.

Not clear if it should be a per layer option or a global option.
If you have a mix of layer with “small-scale detail” and other with “large-scale change” the global checkbox won’t cut it as artists will want to large scale one to be included for the sculpt.

When I tried that in the video I posted the base geo expanded up around the bumpy layer which behaved like an alpha mask for the sculpt only by hiding the bumpy layer is the surface detail retained when base was sculpted on.

Not sure what you mean by “tried that in the video”.

To clarify, the video I posted above is not the beta nor the real version: you cannot test it.

Since the first message I’m not trying to understand the issue, I’m trying to explain what is the potential issue with it :sweat_smile:

Oh good, I thought my nomad broken that I couldn’t repeat what you’d done in your video :crazy_face:

Personally I don’t see any issue with your test video, there will obviously be distortion of the top most surface detail with extreme build up that happens even when layer is hidden but being able to see the distortion happening in real time would be very useful.

Testable in nomad - WebAssembly

Most sculpting brush tool supported, but don’t every tool to work magically.

Try to make a layer with big changes and lock it, then sculpt on another layer (or the base) and you’ll see how confusing it becomes.


Absolutely perfect! :+1:

Did some crisscross crease lines like elephant hide then locked layer, subtle buildup to base layer mapped the crease lines perfectly. Then went more extreme with the move brush and got some very interesting result ideal for tree bark… before safari crashed when I tried to voxel remesh


Nice. I was hoping for that option. If the layer(s) above are detail layers it’s useful, if they store something like a blend shape it’s of course not very useful. But good to be able to choose.

Not clear if it should be a per layer option or a global option.
If you have a mix of layer with “small-scale detail” and other with “large-scale change” the global checkbox won’t cut it as artists will want to large scale one to be included for the sculpt.

My vote would be for a global option which would lock all the above layers. The individual locks might get a bit much and that issue might also be adressed by changing the layer order.

Me too, this will be very useful :slightly_smiling_face:

Maybe a layer group that is always at the top of the stack and all layers within can be locked in one click so that layers other than just the base mesh could be added below for adjustments and blend shapes…?

Afaik this is typically something never been done before. Layers order is never been relevant for position. Only painting was affected.

My concern is that it will be tied to the painting ordering.
If there are cases where the order of the paint shouldn’t match with the geometry part of the layers it can be an issue.

There is no layer group, but it doesn’t really change how it would work.
Group simply makes the ordering faster.

Sorry to chime in so late in the game Stephane, but the layer lock is exactly what I was hoping for! As Steve pointed out, I really wanted to be able to see the top layer’s details without them being affected especially when smoothing the base’s or any underlying layer’s form. And for me it’s always been to lock textures more than big changes on a layer.

Hope that feature stays in the next version (can’t wait! global Illumination, really?!!!) thanks again for trying it out. This forum rocks by the way. :slight_smile:

Updated the web demo with the option.

For now it’s a global option, not a per mesh option. Not sure what’s the best.

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Probably the best option as it’s really something that should be used for making minor adjustments during the later stages of the sculpt after fine surface detail has been added :+1: