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I'm looking for an (easy to use) "3D painting" program, a program that lets me load up a UV-mapped mesh, some textures and lets me 'paint' with those different textures.

Exactly like all those terrain painting programs (Unity 3D has one integrated for example) but for a generic mesh, not just a height map.

Cheap is better of course but ease to use is the most important.

Script support is a big plus though.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

It's really easy to do on-surface painting with Blender: either 2.49b which has the better documentation, or 2.5 which has the vastly improved interface. I would check out the "Johnny Blender" tutorials on youtube for Blender in general, though I'm not sure if the guy who made them covers this particular topic.

And of course, it's totally free, and supports scripting through python, and there are tons of export scripts and so on out there for different formats eg. FBX.

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Here's a nice tutorial covering texture painting in Blender 2.5 – bummzack Aug 26 '11 at 11:44

Try out Sculptris - free, easy to use, and can be used to create high-quality organic models as well.

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Looks more like a sculpting tool. Can you paint textures as well? Eg. load an image and paint that (not affecting geometry, but the texture). – bummzack Aug 26 '11 at 12:28
@bummzack: Yes, you can. It can do both - sculpting (starting off from a default base or any object you import), and painting. What's more, you can switch between the modes to graft some details onto the object, to use for future normal map generation. – Martin Sojka Aug 26 '11 at 12:44
Nice. Will try this sometime. – bummzack Aug 26 '11 at 20:21
Wow, that looks impressive. – Daniel Pendergast Aug 28 '11 at 3:02
Seems what I need but does it support scripting? – Valmond Sep 1 '11 at 8:46

There's mudbox. It's free if you're a student (non-commercial).

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