I often find myself trying to sculpt reliefs or other dips / increments to a model with a set depth or height. Like this, with the plant figures all being the same height:

Example of set height sculpts

The layer brush-tool with the "set persistent base" setting is great for this, but it doesn't support dyntopo. Without dyntopo, I need to add a ton of subdivisions to the entire model I'm sculpting to get enough detail & avoid ugly artefacts in the sculpt, which always crashes blender when I'm trying to bake the high detail model into normals (asked about this here as well: How to go about baking fine details into normals). I can kind-of sort-of get around this by voxel remeshing the high detail model, but that gives me awful glitchy normals when baked to the low poly model.

Without the layer brush, two strokes accumulate on top of each other when I'm continuing the sculpt, which causes ugly dips and spikes, like so:

Intersecting strokes creating hills & dips

It's really easy to see where one stroke ends and another begins in the overlapping parts. I've tried smoothing & flattening, different brushes that work with dyntopo etc. to no avail.

This has to be a fairly common usecase, right? How do people usually do things like this?


1 Answer 1


Well, I did figure out a way to make that. The workflow is all over the place and it required (with my limited Blender knowledge) external programs, but it works.

First, I made a black image texture & added that as the model's base color. I also added the same texture to a bump node and connected that as the model's normal map.

Now, I could paint height differences in texture paint; black does nothing, pure white adds the maximum amount of height. After that's done, I saved the resulting height map and generated a normal map from it with another program (XNormal in my case, I've heard Crazybump too but got pretty bad results with it. Knald is probably the best but I don't have that).

Next, I replaced the bump node with a normal map-node and connected the generated map to it. Now I have a nice relief as a normal map with consistent height, and it's easy to modify when needed.

I wondered if I should mark this as an answer since the workflow is, well, just look at it - there has to be an easier way. It does work, but if someone knows a better way, let me know!


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