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I'm faced with a sculpting challenge. I want to carve out large chunks from meshes as if it were booleaned out, but instead of simply subtracting, every brush I've tried just pushes the geometry.

Example:

From the angle the gouge was made from it looks good:

The Dyntopo brush seems to have created a nice gouge from this angle.

But from the opposite angle unwanted geometry is jutting out:

After rotating we can see it has made a mess on the opposite side.

Since I'll be creating many nicks, scratches, chips, and gouges in meshes it is obviously impractical to create these using booleans. I need to be able to "carve out" with Dyntopo using sculpting brushes. I've tried making custom brushes and tweaked many many settings, but can't seem to get a proper subtractive effect.

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    $\begingroup$ Probably this feature would be helpful: Sculpting Holes - WIP Test, but I don't know if is still being developed $\endgroup$ – Carlo Aug 7 '16 at 10:19
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I needed something similar for cutting a mesh in half. After trying all of the brushes, I found that Clay Strips is the cleanest, with little to no pushing in the back. It works for gouging out a surface just as well. These are the settings I used:


Brush

Strength: 1.500

To save time, you'll want to adjust this depending on the level of detail and the radius of your brush. On average, this is the value I find works best in my case.

Autosmooth: 1.000

This setting is a necessity when trying to make any sculpt brush cut through a mesh, but it weakens the brush's effect on lower resolutions. In your case where you want to gouge, this isn't as important. But if you're trying to cut something in half, not using Autosmooth will take longer and cause backface clipping.

Sculpt Plane: Area Plane

Area Plane is much quicker than View Plane in this case. Also, keep the button next to this setting unlocked so the geometry can be carved properly.

Plane Offset: 0.000

The Clay Strips brush will need to act on whatever surface you use it on, without offset. Keeping this at 0.000 will help prevent distortion, and allow the geometry to be carved properly.

Trim: No

Front Faces Only: No

Direction: Subtract

Accumulate: Yes

Like Autosmooth, Accumulate is another necessity for a cutting brush. It simply allows the stroke to continue without having to re-click, which is especially important here to save space in the undo history.


Stroke

Stroke Method: Space

Spacing: 10%


Result

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for the detailed answer! The explanation of your settings and the animated GIF make it easy to understand. $\endgroup$ – Mentalist Jul 17 '18 at 13:02
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You could try the Carver MT addon. It's not sculpting, but its a lot quicker than plain booleans. Cuts will be clean, so you'll have to go in afterwards in sculpting to rough them up.

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I have the same issue, however I have found that using the "scrape" brush with settings turned up does quite a good job. Having the "Plan" setting at 1.0 makes a good groove. May take some experimentation with the setting to get what you want.

Even the scrape brush does have the effect of pushing the vertexes around, which in my case can cause them to pop out the other side of the object - not what I want.

I would be nice to have a "carv" brush.

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