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What program do you use to paint textures with? Preferably diffuse only, not normals and such. If you can it'd be informative if you described your style in a word, too(such as: NPR, pixar-like, realism, etc.)

I've tried Blender, but is it just me or is Blender's texture paint system severely lacking? I'm not here to hate on Blender and I actually like it quite a bit, but even compared to any of its other features aside from possibly its game engine, I feel like Blender's texture painting system is barely usable even as an amateur/hobbyist. Aside from viewport painting simply not working well(especially along seams), the texture refresh seems to constantly bug. Perhaps there's some kind of setting I'm not using correctly?

In fact, just after writing that I went into Blender to confirm using an existing file, and one click with the Soften brush on this simple texture was all it took to get this bugged(I assume) result(see picture).

I'm thinking of trying Mari but it seems like a bit of a pain in the ass to obtain and set up, so I'm wondering if there isn't anything a little more accessible which will at least do the job well. Mudbox? ZBrush?
blender is good for diffuse only painting, it has a few problems that are related to the interface.

here are a few tips that helped me throughout the way

>always have the scene fully lit, or paint with shadeless material, it helps alot
>blender don't have automatic seam correction, so sometimes seams are visible. go to opinions in texture paint mode and change the bleed to 8px.
>have good UV's which are spaced decently
>figure out hotkeys for brush swap and brush size, it will speed up your painting
>you can use change the stroke and curve to have more accurate linework
>try having a premade color palette in an external image, then sample the colors when you need them
Painting anything more than masks in Blender is for the masochist or the "i can do everything with Blender" crowd.
Basically EVERY other option is better.

I personally think for stylized Diffuse painting 3D coat is the easiest and most effective solution.
3DCoat is nice for hand painted stuff since the brushes are alright and all the layer styles are parallel to Photoshop's layer styles.
Here's someone showing it off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXT6m3e0rFA

For more advanced shaders I really prefer Substance PBR workflow though. Being able to procedurally generate detailed materials and then paint a model with those materials really simplifies realistic/semi-realistic texturing, and when you know the process for creating Substance materials you can do a lot with it. Substance Painter is probably useless for straight Diffuse map painting, though.
you forgot saying what makes 3dcoat better
Blenders texture paint system is severely lacking.
Even the devs would admit that straight without hesitation.
Ergo every other (semi)-professional software is more advanced than Blender in that regard.

3dcoat is my preference for that work because it just works. Substance Painter is not good for pure painting, Mari is way to complex for something "easy" as this. I dislike Zbrush.
For everything else than diffuse painting i would take Substance P or D over anything.
Personally I use Mari, but I do VFX style stuff.

For what you are describing, I second 3D coat. people tend to find it easy to use.
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I just got into Substance Painter after fucking around with C4D Bodypaint for awhile.

SP is fantastic; the non-destructive workflow is what sold me on it over 3D Coat (though I use 3D Coat for UVs and Retopo).
Thanks for the responses, I've been reading but took awhile to respond.

If 3d coat is the simplest I suppose I'll try that. I'm a little worried about getting a virus here but I don't feel I can continue to improve my texture work much without some kind of new application so I guess I'll just bite the bullet. Thanks for the opinions.

Substance designer looks pretty wonderful as well but it looks a little more oriented toward realism/psuedo-realism than GGXRD-style NPR stuff. Not that it isn't worth picking up anyway.

Another thing I'm wondering about is, I doubt it but, is there any software which is capable of texture painting using a brush stabilizing feature/lazy mouse like Paint Tool SAI has? It seems like ZBrush would be capable but I'm not sure of anything else.

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