Can someone definitively describe the difference between the sculpt flatten, polish, and smooth brushes?

Documentation for the sculpt brushes seems to be a bit spare. In particular, I'm having trouble properly understanding the difference between flatten, polish, and smooth.

Also, hitting Shift seems to cause one of those to take effect when other brush types are selected. This is convenient but I'm not sure I'm always getting consistent results.

It would be nice to have all brush types and options properly described somewhere. I'm starting to learn the code base but I'm not far enough to really tell what the brushes actually do.

• Flatten tries to make all vertices align on one plane, smooth tries to align vertices to the average mesh surface, and polish is basically a mixture of the two. This is what I have observed from use and gathered from the Wiki. When pressing Shift while using the Brush tool, you switch from Add to Subtract mode, and the opposite as well. – VRM Jan 23 '15 at 12:19

Flatten tries to make all vertices align on one plane:

Smooth tries to align vertices to the average mesh surface:

Polish is basically a mixture of the two:

This is what I have observed from use and gathered from the Wiki.

When pressing Shift while using the Brush tool, you switch to Smooth mode, and while pressing Ctrl you switch from Add to Subtract mode, and the opposite as well.

• Actually, at least on a Mac, it is Ctrl that seems to reverse the sense of Add and Subtract. Shift seems to switch to smooth but with some of the settings of the current brush. Thanks! – Chuck Jan 23 '15 at 23:42
• Interesting! I'm using Windows 7, so it might be different. – VRM Jan 23 '15 at 23:58
• @NoviceInDisguise That's peculiar, I use Windows 8.1 pro and used to use 7 HP, and I have always used Ctrl to switch add/subtract. – PGmath Jan 24 '15 at 2:01
• I updated the answer. I think I might have changed some of my settings, not sure. The default settings act as you said. – VRM Jan 24 '15 at 2:06
• This reads like an Abbot and Costello routine. – MarcClintDion Jan 26 '15 at 3:06