OTOY has announced the first alpha release of Sculptron.
The project is a new GPU-based tool for sculpting animation caches and converting mesh sequences into volumes. You can now get it for free as a time-limited alpha.
The company doesn't see it as a replacement for ZBrush, but rather as a tool intended for animation tasks. Sculptron allows editing simulation caches (removing unwanted elements) and fixing artifacts in character animations, and you don't need to re-run the entire simulation.
One of the artists working on the tool is a former NewTek 3D artist Lino Grandi. The initial release is pretty basic, of course, presenting a set of 3D sculpting brushes, including Push/Pull, Smooth, Flatten, Clay and Inflate. The toolkit also features brush radius, hardness and strength parameters, plus support for 3D layers, plus a basic animation key editor.
The team plans to add additional sculpting features: alpha brushes, masking, a wrinkle tool, support for displacement maps, and more. As for the animation part, the tool is said to be focused on a proper graph editor, a range of interpolation types, animated deformers, bone-based deformation and the option to paint weight maps.
The tool is now available in alpha for Windows only. Little is known about a final release date or price options. You can learn more here.