The download link is at the bottom of this post! or check the eBooks pages.

Sculptris: The sculpting freedom

I thought I should do a bit of an introduction to Sculptris to give you guys another way to get started with sculpting.

Sculptris is a fantastic little application for 3D sculpting. It has a very clean user interface, powerful features and tools, is easy to get used to it and it’s FREE. In my opinion, this is the best way to get started in 3D sculpting. Sculptris is also the perfect introduction to ZBrush, it will present you with key concepts and a variety of operations that overlap with the way ZBrush work.

Zbrush is a fully featured software and might be overwhelming for new users, but Sculptris can be the bridge for artists that want to learn 3D sculpting. I see it as a great introduction to the Dynamesh feature in ZBrush; a great way to explore shapes and concepts.

Previous to the introduction of Dynamesh in ZBrush, Sculptris was my software of choice to sketch ideas in 3d. You can export .obj files and import them into ZBrush for further refinement, or connect the two softwares using the “GoZ” button.

Sculptris gives you total freedom to explore ideas in 3D with intuitive tools. There is also no need to worry about technical aspects like topology, as the software create more polygons and points where you need them.

A guide to: Getting started with Sculptris

I wrote an eBook to introduce the tools and concepts of Sculptris. In the guide I broke down the UI elements, features and tools, into small bits of information that explain key concepts of this great software. you’ll find a description of each brush with practical examples, as well as tips on how to use the brushes and tweak their settings.

Hands on

I copied the “hands-on” section of the eBook and put it here to create this quick guide. Basically to show you how I created the dragon head on the cover of the eBook in case you already know the basics and just want to follow the creation process step by step.


with Symmetry ON and using the Grab brush with Global Off, you can rough out the shape of the head. I used Crtl to mask a circular area below the sphere and then I pulled the neck using the Grab brush again.

Dragon head sketch step 01


I kept refining the silhouette of the dragon with the grab tool and the detail slider to a minimum. At the beginning of the sculpting process, is a good idea to keep the polygon count low to focus on large areas and finding a good silhouette.

Dragon head sketch step 02


I’m happy with the overall shape, so I started using the Draw brush to establish the structure or pivot points of the sculpture. I do this first so I have a rough reference of what shapes to follow and the placement of some key volumes like the protrusion of the skull, nose and eyes sockets.

Dragon head sketch step 03


I refined the shapes a bit more with a combination of the Grab tool and Draw brush. I also started to block out some lines that I can then follow when building the skin fold and wrinkles. I used the Crease brush and the Pinch brush to get some sharp edges and crevices at the back of the head and also to define the mouth area.

Dragon head sketch step 04


At this point I clicked on “NEW SPHERE” and added a new sphere for the eyes and another sphere for the horns. Using the Crease brush with lazy ON I defined the spiral effect of the horns and added more details to the nose, the eye areas and the forehead.


Dragon head sketch step 05b


I also started to play with some design elements that I could use over the whole model like the big scales in the neck and chest. To create this effect, I use the Grab tool and masking the area of each scale (one by one) to be able to pull each scale out without affecting the rest.

Dragon head sketch step 06

Dragon head sketch step 06b


Following the previous technique of pulling geometry from unmasked areas I created the visible teeth of the dragon. With the grab tool and holding Ctrl I masked three separate dots (one for each tooth) and inverted the mask. Then I just pulled them with the Grab Tool.

Dragon head sketch step 07


After the teeth I started to refine other areas like the back of the head and the horns using Crease to accentuate the indentations, Draw brush to add volume to the wrinkles and folds and pinch to narrow the gaps between some crevices.

Dragon head sketch step 08


I also pulled some extra details in the area between the eye and the horn with the same technique I used to create the teeth.

Dragon head sketch step 09


For the scales around the eye I use the Crease brush, the Draw brush and then the Crease brush again but inverting the effect. To create these scales, you can define the scales with the Crease brush, then give them a bit of volume using the Draw brush (Clay off) and finally invert the effect of the Crease brush and sharpen some edges. you can also use inflate to tighten the gap between the scales and then use the Flat brush to bring the “roundness” down a bit.

Dragon head sketch step 10


I added a bit more of scale, gradually fading them towards the nose of the dragon and refined all the crevices and sharp edges with a combination of the Draw, Crease and inflate brush with the Detail slider pretty high.

Dragon head sketch step 11


I finally I went over the whole sculpture and polished certain areas that looked a bit “bumpy” using the the smooth brush and flatten brush (with Angle falloff ON). I also used the Inflate brush with Lazy ON, to added more mass to the skin folds around the neck area and closing the gaps at the same time. With the Pinch brush and Lazy ON I also created some edges to stylise the sculptures a bit more.

Dragon head sketch step 12

That’s it! for now. I exported the dragon head as .obj and used Marmoset Toolbag 2 to quickly render the final image in the cover of the eBook.