SHAPES Brush is plug-in for Maya intended to bring additional sculpting tools to Maya which have been missing prior Maya 2016.

With the introduction of the sculpting tools in Maya 2016 the need for the SHAPES Brush might not be obvious anymore but it brings some functionality to Maya which the default tools are still missing.


Maya versions 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2016.5, 2017, 2018 on OS X, Windows 64 bit, Linux 64 bit.

Please see the general install guide.

Activates the brush tool.

To setup a hotkey for the marking menu enter:

source SHAPESBrushBuildMM;SHAPESBrush_setupMM;

SHAPES Brush features eight different brushes.
Each brush has three different functions, depending on whether no modifier key is used (Grab), SHIFT is held down (Smooth), or CTRL, which defines a different action depending on the brush:

Grab brush
Lets you to drag the mesh in screen space.

Smooth Brush
While holding down SHIFT the smoothing brush is activated. Smoothing is by default taking place as a relax function, which tries to keep the general volume of the mesh without shrinking effects.
If relax is turned off the smoothing will also shrink the mesh. The strength of the smoothing can be adjusted.

CTRL functions based on the different brush modes:

Slide Brush
Allows you to move the mesh while keeping the underlying shape. Note, that the sliding is projection based, so if the brush size is set too large, geometry facing away from the camera (or in enclosed spaces) can be badly projected. This can result in stray vertices and is usually not desired. The general goal would be to set the brush size for sliding not too large and work in iterations.

Pull/Push Brush
Lets you pull the mesh out or in along the normals while dragging the mouse. The pull/push function is based on the mouse direction.

Twist Brush
Lets you twist the mesh around the view axis while dragging the mouse.

Blend Brush
Allows you to blend to a secondary mesh. First select the mesh you want to sculpt on, then shift select a second mesh you want to blend to. Choose the blend brush and while holding down CTRL you blend your mesh to the secondary selection.

Erase Brush
Lets you brush your mesh back to it’s original state it was in when you began to start sculpting. The mesh is remembered as long as you don’t pick a different mesh and sculpt on that one.
Right-click the Erase button in the UI for additional options:

  • Flood Erase erases all modifications since the sculpting started and returns the mesh to the initial state.
  • Flush Cache erases any edits from the cache and bakes the current shape to the mesh. This can serve as a new initial state you can then erase back to.

Freeze Brush
Paint freeze areas to protect these parts of the mesh from any sculpting influence. Right-click the button to invert the frozen areas.

Erase Freeze Brush
Erases the previously frozen areas and makes them again respond to the action of the other sculpting brushes. Right-click the button to unfreeze the entire mesh.

Brush Size
Click the middle mouse button over the mesh and adjust the size by dragging the mouse left or right.
Holding down SHIFT while middle mouse dragging sets the smoothing strength.

All brushes can work in a specified depth which is set from the brush window. This allows for working inside a mesh without having to hide parts of the geometry.

Use Plane
Restricts the grab brush to a 2D plane depending on the view. Right-click the button to set the threshold angle at which the 2D restriction is turned off when leaving a primary 2D view.

It is recommended to set up the brush marking menu with a hotkey to easily access all settings and functions. See the installation folder on this page for instructions about the setup.

First preview version.



Feature overview of version 1.0.



Feature preview for version 1.2.


Version 1.9, updated 2017-08-01