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More virtual putty pushing

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Well, Pixologic has announced Zbrush 3, and it hits the street on May 15th. it's a free upgrade for all 2.0 users, and after release the price will go up.


Video of some of the new features:


And we're talking a program that's showing MASSIVE speedups. Way more polys on the same hardware, lots of new tools, and you can build and pose characters out of multiple meshes.


In anticipation of this, I've been working on my sculpting. I plan to eventually produce a line of fantasy miniatures using these techniques.


First up is a orc head. I'm also working on tweaking some of the finer features, but he's mostly done. The geometry is not the best, sculpted on a simple sphere. But, I can always retopo it in zbrush 3, and preserve all the detail. And I can use this head to build full figures. The 2 million poly limit of ZB2 isn't quite enough on my PC though... ;)


*OOPS, this orc pic was rendered before I had done the hair.... :D *





Next, is a brutish hacking sword. The base shape was modeled in MOI3D, and then detailed in zbrush. All the texturing, runes, and leather wrapping is actual geometry.



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Here's another bit I did.


The basic shapes was designed in moi3d, and the detail, such as the gem, wing ribbing, and vampire face on the blade was sculpted in Zbrush. I think the work in MOI took longer, since I was designing it off the top of my head. The blade is a lil thin towards the tip to be successfully used as a sword on a 28mm figure. The killer thing about this though, it that it could be printed for use at 28mm, for a 56mm/72mm figure, or at a larger size for a letter opener. :)


Next, I'll post of my head studies, all made from the same base mesh, and originally 'human' but tweaked into different creatures. The time I put into the first mesh, is paid back again and again in the variants. I plan on building a 'library' of basic components, that can be assembled, tweaked, and worked into figures.




And before people start saying "How is this different than poser?", it's different because I can do a lot more extensive editing and posing of the meshes than poser allows. Slapping together ill-fitting components into a poorly posed character is not what I am intending to do. I plan on building a digital 'conversion' library to produce variants, and from there, be able to detail and tweak them as needed.

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So first off is the human head. I took a little time to build a proper base mesh, but it's not essential. There is no hair on any of these busts as it ideally would be a seperate 'piece' in terms of the 3d model.




For the elf, I quickly softened the wrinkles and some of the more austere features. I went for a more 'poison elf' inspired look than the kind of superhumanly beautiful elves described by Tolkien. Using the move, pinch, and smooth tool, I softened the features a lil, made the lips/palate smaller, and toned down the chin. I also made the head narrower, and raised up the top of the skull, along with given it a larger frontal dome.




For the Ogre, I did the opposite. I widened the head, lowered the dome of the skull, widened the nose, and in general made the features larger and coarser. To suggest leathery thick skin, I thickened up the normal facial wrinkles, and added a few more. I made the neck thicker as well. He also has a large underbite, though this doesn't show up well in the front view. You could add a tooth or two, sticking out the side from his bottom lip.




Once the human head was done, each of these tweaks took about 15-20 minutes to perform. In Zbrush3, I'll be able to store these all as morphs in one file. I can then choose which one to use, and work on the base body form from there, posing it, sculpting uniforms, etc.

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Have you yet successfully MADE a physical copy of your Digi-figs? It is my understanding that the actual 3d printing process is very 3d limited. I have read that it is not possible to print undercuts. Is this true? or do you know?


BTW the orc face is fantastic, the others are a bit off though. the sword is particularly nice, GREAT work there. I have never been able to make heads or tails of Zbrush. I mostly just mess around in Wings 3d.

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You're probably thinking of the 3 and 4 axis wax mills, which can't handle complicated shapes in 3d space very well. Great for machining wax rings and other simple shapes.


Here are the aliens I've been working on with Sim. He's much more of a pro at this than I am.



These were produced on a Perfactory 3D printer. Since it prints using layers, it handles overhangs just fine.

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28mm aliens printed on a Perfactory.


Sim is shipping me the originals to me, as I have finally found someone who can convert them into something more durable for producing production molds from, and is both reliable and prompt.


Okay, I was wrong, Zbrush 2 doesn't export STL. But there are plenty of convertors out there that can transform OBJ ( which ZB2 can export ) into STL




Can import OBJS, and export STLs.

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So enough with the head doodles. On friday, I built a base mesh in Silo, which took a little time, but mainly because of my clumsiness. It's not the cleanest mesh, but I'm not intending to animate these guys, only pose and displacement paint them. Hopefully, with the rumored armature improvements in Z3, this will be even faster.


I then loaded the base mesh into Zbrush, and started detailing. There is more work to do, but I am happy with the head, and most of the anatomy. I didn't model toes in the base mesh because he will eventually wear boots. I haven't started on fine detailing yet, except for the pecs and face. I also want to make the muscles 'pop' more, and I'm still tweaking the belly.


And the nice thing about digital work, I can tweak the proportions in various ways. So at any stage, if something looks off, I can easily correct it. So this guy's lower legs look a lil short, well it is trivial to stretch them out.


So here he is, my virtual Ogre, rendered in a virtual Greenstuff material. I'll post more updates as I progress. When Z3 comes out, I intend to fully pose and clothe him.



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