A week ago we finished the 4th round of our Original Character Project over at Drawing Meats. Since the original artwork was in 3D I was tempted to use 3D to re-create the character. Long story short: I totally failed and ended up drawing it. I’ll post that drawing up here soon enough, but you can see it on Drawing Meats right now.
Creating that illustration got me back into Blender. My 3D modeling skills have deteriorated since I stopped using Blender back in 2010, but I quickly relearned most of those skills again between a cheat sheet I kept of Blender tips and Googling for info.
Even more recently, I began to play with Sculptris. When I stopped modeling in 3D I stopped looking into the new software being created to facilitate building 3D models. Sculptris is a revelation. It literally changes everything for me in terms of 3D modeling. I did this in two hours:
I started out by making a head. It was too ugly to be a female head so I turned it into a guy. I wanted to make it look like a fancy stone statue so I created a base for it. If I did this in Blender. For one thing, it wouldn’t look like this. A second, it would have taken a month or two and that kind of turnaround time is unacceptable.
This took two hours.
The bust of the dude is my second try. Here’s my first:
I rendered this one out in Blender before I realized Sculptris had a renderer of its own. I did this in about an hour after tinkering with Sculptris and making and botching eight different other attempts at modeling a head. In one hour I was back to where I was 3D modeling-wise back in, like, 2004, and this looks better than that.
Best part of all this, Sculptris is free. Once I master it, I might consider buying Pixologic’s flagship product: Z-Brush, which is this but fully featured. On a technical note, there’s one big difference: Z-Brush doesn’t have Sculptris’ dynamic on-the-fly tessellation. You can learn about that on the Pixologic site. You can also sculpt in Blender 2.62 using a multiresolution modifier and their sculpt tools. There are some issues, mainly polygons can get messed up if you push and pull them too much. They’re working on something akin to Sculptris, but I’m not sure when it’ll be ready. I think their branch build server may have a version with it, but I’m fairly happy with this right now.
Some 3D sculpting tips I learned while doing these:
- Less is more. I did a lot less “drawing” with clay and a lot more pushing and pulling clay around and applying broad brush strokes where they needed to be. When I needed detail then I might draw some strokes in.
- I also learned to use the crease tool which is great for the lip of the “stone” block and the lips.
- Inverting the inflate tool is great for nostrils.
- You can switch into smooth mode by holding down shift while in just about any tool.
- You can turn off symmetry, but I think it’s a one way street at that point.
- Sculptris has a pretty decent renderer so I don’t have to export to Blender, but it’s limited to your max resolution screen size. My desktop is 1920×1200 and the render was about that size.
- the masking tool is what I used to make the hair. I outlined the area below where the hair should be (I just eyeballed it) and then used the grab tool and pulled out a mass for the hair.
- Go to Youtube and watch speed sculpting videos. You’ll learn a lot.
- I think I have a stronger reason to study anatomy and muscle groups. With drawing I could kind of fudge it, but honestly I should educate myself better in muscle groups. It’ll help both my illustration and 3D sculpting.
It’s damn liberating to be able to do this in just a few hours and not a few weeks.