What I'm looking for: a way to stop the starting mesh from melting into an unidentifiable blob of vertices when applying a MultiResolution modifier.

Background: I'm currently following a Game Design course, which involves Maya, ZBrush and Substance Painter. Soon or later I'll run out of trial/student licenses, which means I'll have to either buy these softwares or find cheap/free alternatives. Now, allegedly, Blender can easily replace Maya for nearly everything, and Substance Painter is actually already quite cheap (only 20$ a month for the indie license).

ZBrush, on the other hand, is a bitter pill to swallow, because it costs a lot! Fortunately, Blender seems to integrate a sculpting feature that might even be good enough to efficiently replace ZBrush. My concern, though, is with the subdivision method/results: I've just tried to subdiv a cylinder by using MultiResolution, and now it looks exactly like a hot-air balloon.

The lump-ish result was expected, but I'm a bit upset because I can't seem to find a way to revert this result to something that even just resembles the original shape.

In ZBrush, by using "Morph Targets", one can easily revert the most deformed/shrinked model to its original volume, while still getting that nice, smooth look subdivisions usually bring. A final touch of Crease here and there where needed and you basically have a smoother version of your original model, but without any loss in volume/shapes. The routine is: store target, subdiv, down to previous level, restore target, move onto higher level, store target, subdiv, etc etc....

So my question is: is there any way to emulate the same process in Blender? Is there a way to achieve the same result?

[UPDATE - 2018.04.13]
A comparison between Maya, Blender and ZBrush smoothing functions

As you can see, there's nearly no difference between Maya's, Blender's and ZBrush's smoothing, they're all a basic application of the Catmull-Clark method.
BUT! If you store the vertices' position in a "morph target" before creating a new subdivision level, and then re-apply it on the same source-level, the new level's vertices' position is recalculated on that scaffolding, hence restoring the previous volumes and shapes.

  • $\begingroup$ Of course there is. Just tools will be different, but there's Crease in Blender (Edit mode > Shift+E), there is sharp edges mark (Ctrl+E in Edit mode), there are always supporting loopcuts (Ctrl+R > drag the cut towards edge you create less smoothened corner). See also blender.stackexchange.com/questions/6425/… $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ @MrZak That is not what I asked. My question is mainly about maintaining the original shape/volume of the starting model. Crease and loopcuts can maintain edges, but won't prevent Catmull-Clark from shaving off 1/3 of the volume of your mesh. I know what I'm talking about, I've stopped hitting "3" in Maya just because of that reason: there's no actual correspondence. Forget about stupid cylinders, imagine the cheekbones of a skull....crease and edgeloops mean nothing!! $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 21:09

1 Answer 1


In addition to what Mr Zak mentioned, you could try:

  • Both Subdivision Surface and Multiresolution have a Simple option, when you turn it on, each subdiv will add vertices between already existing ones without averaging the general shape.
  • Secondly you could make a copy of a basemesh, then add ShrinkWrap modifier on the mesh you will subdivide and pick the copy as a target. This way you will keep the mesh shape the way you want it. Both copy and subdivided mesh must be in the same location.
  • $\begingroup$ Nope. The "Simple" option doesn't apply any smoothing at all, and the "ShrinkWrap" function gives the same result but in a more complicated, less predictable way. Gonna update the thread with some more details, maybe I'll manage to explain myself better. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 10:39
  • $\begingroup$ Simple does not smooth at all, thought that's what you were aiming for - increase meshes density without adding smooth (which is the cause of the blobbing). Shrinkwrap might seem complicated but it actually snaps all the vertices from mesh it is on to closest points on surface on target mesh, and this is what I would ask you to experiment with if you want to have mesh as similar to original as possible. However it will only change shape, not amount of vertices. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 10:58
  • $\begingroup$ That's what I want and that's not what I want. I have already experimented with ShrinkWrap, but if you project vertices onto an edgy low-poly model, you obviously get just an edgy high-poly model. I've updated the thread, maybe now it's clearer. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 11:01

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