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Rainbow Sculptor

Adventuring Alice

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7 minutes ago, haldir said:

Fantastic concept & fantastic sculpting so far. She has a great feel/look to her already.

 

Are you gonna sculpt the animal critter next to her as well? 

 

Thanks!! Yeah I'm planning to sculpt the cat and the base as well.

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Eeeeee! I'm so happy to see you sculpting this!! :wub:  I know it can be so frustrating to have ideas months and months ago and then it takes forever to get around to it. I love all those fabric folds!

 

Also yay on the house!!! 

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This is such an awesome miniature.  I really wish Reaper had a miniature like this around.  (I mean, there's an "Alice" figure in Chronoscope, but it's more of a "Halloween Sexy-Alice Cosplay" sort of Alice, rather than one I could see actually used as a protagonist/player-character in an adventure, the way this one is.)  I also really envy your quality standards for the face: If I'd gotten something as nice as your first attempt, I'm certain I would have kept it, but nonetheless you went back and made a much more wonderful sculpt on the second go-round.  Thanks so much for showing the progress in stages: It's fascinating to follow!

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On 10/7/2018 at 6:03 PM, Jordan Peacock said:

This is such an awesome miniature.  I really wish Reaper had a miniature like this around.  (I mean, there's an "Alice" figure in Chronoscope, but it's more of a "Halloween Sexy-Alice Cosplay" sort of Alice, rather than one I could see actually used as a protagonist/player-character in an adventure, the way this one is.)  I also really envy your quality standards for the face: If I'd gotten something as nice as your first attempt, I'm certain I would have kept it, but nonetheless you went back and made a much more wonderful sculpt on the second go-round.  Thanks so much for showing the progress in stages: It's fascinating to follow!

 

Thank you so much!! It can be a little isolating when you're particular style doesn't fit perfectly well with what's already on the market so it means a lot when people say they're excited to play with or paint my figures, it means I'm doing something right.

My quality standard has been developed over the last few years. My husband used to always tell me to go back, don't cut corners, believing I could do better. It was frustrating but I grew as a sculptor for his advice. Now when I show him things there's about a 33% chance that he thinks it's great and I feel I could do better. A lot of it was a matter of being honest with myself about when I was giving up too soon and taking shortcuts. 

I'm glad you're enjoying the process, I hope it's helpful!

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On 10/13/2018 at 7:55 PM, Rainbow Sculptor said:

Now when I show him things there's about a 33% chance that he thinks it's great and I feel I could do better.

 

You will never get rid of that feeling.  No matter how much people love this sculpt or that of mine, I still see the flaws every time I look at them and wonder how no one else seems to be noticing.

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6 hours ago, TaleSpinner said:

 

You will never get rid of that feeling.  No matter how much people love this sculpt or that of mine, I still see the flaws every time I look at them and wonder how no one else seems to be noticing.

 

What the artist sees as a flaw the rest of us see as a feature. :poke: 

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Hey guys! I hope you all had a great holiday season. I apologise for the radio silence, life has been really crazy. Since I am in between studio spaces at the moment I redirected my energy towards digital painting and doing commissions. Then my family got me ZBrush for Christmas (YAY OMG!) So I've been learning a lot. 

 

All that to say that I will be finishing Alice traditionally in clay but I am also using her as my first digital test piece. I've gotten some great advice and direction from Reaper's sculptor Gene Van Horne and I'm in the process of making a basic female figure which I will then modify to be Alice. 

 

I will be posting pictures of my process for both the digital and traditional versions of her here. I intend to use my experience with one to inform the other and share my thoughts and discoveries along the way! Thanks for sticking with me guys! ❤️

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I've created a standard female figure out of ZSpheres using Gene's standard female polymesh as a guide for proportions. The hands are nearly as large as the entire forearm, the shoulders and rib cage are MUCH larger than I would've been inclined to make them, and the head is obviously exaggerated as well. His feet were actually smaller than I anticipated, knowing that feet are often mentioned in the "what needs to be exaggerated" conversation.

 

I watched FlippedNormals "Getting Started with Sculpting ZBrush for Beginners" on youtube and found it very helpful. It's only about an hour long video but it took me several hours to get through it as I followed along learning useful hotkeys and playing with the different brushes to get a feel for how they work. (Link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yKGfcp2z3k&t=719s)

I also watched this video about using ZSpheres (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nT__t1-U4k) which was super useful and then got to work!

 

I think through drawing and tend to work out most of my problems through that methodology so I started by doing a study/trace over of Gene's female body. Getting a general idea for the volumes and placement of the anatomy and making notes. Then I created a profile drawing using my trace over drawing so I could reference both the front and side images while creating my figure.

 

This figure (with a preview of the resulting mesh it will create) represents about 9 hours of work. The feet and hands took a large portion of the time. If I were to lose all my work and have to restart this process I could likely do it in half the time now that I've been through the learning process and I foresee this being a very quick way to map out/block out future figures. I liken it to learning wireframes. The first ones took me hours and now I could make one in a minute or two, I'm looking forward to getting over the learning hump and into the "just do" phase with these new tools.

 

Female Anatomy ZSpheres.JPG

Female Basemesh Reference.jpg

Mesh Preview.JPG

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Here's a WIP, just using the clay builder brush to define the musculature and block out the anatomy.  From the last picture to this one was about 1 1/2 hours of work. I'm already impressed with the time efficiency as this would've taken me anywhere from five to ten hours to do in clay. 

WIPBack1.JPG

WIPFront1.JPG

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I've refined the anatomy and sculpted her a generic face. My go to tools are the Clay Builder brush (definitely the workhorse of my brushes right now), the Dam Standard for making really defined recesses/edges, the Move Topology tool for just moving/stretching/shifting elements, and occasionally the Trim Dynamic tool for flattening planes. Holding the Alt key allows you to smooth with whatever brush you're currently using which is absolutely amazing! I'm really enjoying this process and I wish I would've been more disciplined about learning it a year ago. 

 

I realized that I had made some mistakes in the ZSphere stage which made my fingers and toes go super wonky so the husband took the chop off tool and mutilated her for me. I fear the scalpel a lot less in a digital setting but it still hurt a bit. I will probably end up just sculpting a hand/foot separately and then attaching it to the model. I'm feeling pretty accomplished for three days in and I think I'm going to start moving on to modifying this figure to sculpt Alice so I can keep my motivation up and feel like I'm making solid progress. WIP2Front.thumb.JPG.5a45b01c93854d0efaac1b937156acb7.JPGWIP2Back.thumb.JPG.2ba21be3fdda0dcec080d1c9242ef033.JPG

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That looks really good! I firmly think that learning to sculpt by hand first gives you an advantage in learning how to sculpt miniatures digitally. Having a little help from Gene is nice too, Gene is awesome!

 

I didn't start with ZSperes for armatures, I actually dragged out spheres and cylinders to make one. Then again that was two updates ago and since then I learned a few new tricks and they added the ability to Move multiple subtools at the same time with the Gizmo. Now I have been taking old armatures that have been merged together and using the Mask Lasso and the Gizmo to move the parts into place. I've also started experimenting with using cylinders that have spheres at the joints- you can perfectly center the Gizmo in a sphere and use the move multiple subtools function to selectively move parts of a limb. 

 

When it comes down to it though it's what works for you, and this is definitely working for you! There are so many ways to do what you want to do in ZBrush, and what you are doing today may not be what you are doing a year from now. 

 

I don't find that feet need to be too exaggerated, it's ankles that need to be exaggerated. That's why you see a lot of cankles! It does throw you off a bit when you are trying to sculpt shapely supermodel legs, but if you don't exaggerate the ankles it makes the model bendy and breakable. You don't have to get too crazy but in ZBRush you have to keep it in mind. 

 

Do you keep calipers or a scale by your computer screen? I find that helps. I also keep example models with my measuring devices. I periodically shrink my model down to its "true size" on my screen and look at it to see if it looks right. I also learned a quick and dirty trick from Kevin when I complained that I'd use my magnifier to look at the details on anything that small- he recommended holding another model that is about the same size as what you are sculpting at the distance where you would normally be looking at it (for me about 10 inches from my nose) then shrink the model down to that size. True, not as perfect of an assessment but I am getting into those vintage, aka middle aged years and I just can't see details on a lot of models without magnification!

 

Hands do get huge. A lot of that comes from having to hold weapons that are also huge by necessity. Then again, what is steel compared to the hand that wields it?

 

Oh and don't hit the Alt button to smooth, hit the Shift button! Alt reverses brushes, Shift smooths. You can access more smooth brushes in the brushes folder in your lightbox, I like the Smooth Stronger brush if I am smoothing something that has a lot of polys.

 

ZBrush is awesome, if buggy. Save often. In the past two years I have only picked up my traditional sculpting tools once, and that was to customize a friend's miniature over a convention weekend. I still enjoy sculpting by hand but you really learn to appreciate being able to sit with good posture without visors hanging off of your face for multiple hours when you get older. That doesn't keep four partially finished armatures from looking at me funny every time I pass the Shelf of Abandoned Armatures!

 

If you haven't done it already doing a search for and downloading Orb's Crack Brushes will be very helpful. I just dropped them into my brushes startup folder. The basic Orb Crack brush works like the Damian Standard brush except without the "pinching"- very handy!

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18 hours ago, GHarris said:

That looks really good! I firmly think that learning to sculpt by hand first gives you an advantage in learning how to sculpt miniatures digitally. Having a little help from Gene is nice too, Gene is awesome!

 

I didn't start with ZSperes for armatures, I actually dragged out spheres and cylinders to make one. Then again that was two updates ago and since then I learned a few new tricks and they added the ability to Move multiple subtools at the same time with the Gizmo. Now I have been taking old armatures that have been merged together and using the Mask Lasso and the Gizmo to move the parts into place. I've also started experimenting with using cylinders that have spheres at the joints- you can perfectly center the Gizmo in a sphere and use the move multiple subtools function to selectively move parts of a limb. 

 

When it comes down to it though it's what works for you, and this is definitely working for you! There are so many ways to do what you want to do in ZBrush, and what you are doing today may not be what you are doing a year from now. 

 

I don't find that feet need to be too exaggerated, it's ankles that need to be exaggerated. That's why you see a lot of cankles! It does throw you off a bit when you are trying to sculpt shapely supermodel legs, but if you don't exaggerate the ankles it makes the model bendy and breakable. You don't have to get too crazy but in ZBRush you have to keep it in mind. 

 

Do you keep calipers or a scale by your computer screen? I find that helps. I also keep example models with my measuring devices. I periodically shrink my model down to its "true size" on my screen and look at it to see if it looks right. I also learned a quick and dirty trick from Kevin when I complained that I'd use my magnifier to look at the details on anything that small- he recommended holding another model that is about the same size as what you are sculpting at the distance where you would normally be looking at it (for me about 10 inches from my nose) then shrink the model down to that size. True, not as perfect of an assessment but I am getting into those vintage, aka middle aged years and I just can't see details on a lot of models without magnification!

 

Hands do get huge. A lot of that comes from having to hold weapons that are also huge by necessity. Then again, what is steel compared to the hand that wields it?

 

Oh and don't hit the Alt button to smooth, hit the Shift button! Alt reverses brushes, Shift smooths. You can access more smooth brushes in the brushes folder in your lightbox, I like the Smooth Stronger brush if I am smoothing something that has a lot of polys.

 

ZBrush is awesome, if buggy. Save often. In the past two years I have only picked up my traditional sculpting tools once, and that was to customize a friend's miniature over a convention weekend. I still enjoy sculpting by hand but you really learn to appreciate being able to sit with good posture without visors hanging off of your face for multiple hours when you get older. That doesn't keep four partially finished armatures from looking at me funny every time I pass the Shelf of Abandoned Armatures!

 

If you haven't done it already doing a search for and downloading Orb's Crack Brushes will be very helpful. I just dropped them into my brushes startup folder. The basic Orb Crack brush works like the Damian Standard brush except without the "pinching"- very handy!

 

Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks! Gene told me about having a ruler or similarly sized figure handy to zoom out and look at scale, Great idea! I must've said the wrong shortcut key for smoothing, sorry about the confusion.  The many advantages are enough to keep my traditional tools in my spare bedroom for awhile haha 

I'll definitely go download those brushes, I appreciate the recommendation!

I have a lot more tutorial videos to watch and hours to put in to practicing. It's a bit overwhelming even knowing where to start or what to focus on next. I think I might start on some of Alice's accessories to practice my hotkeys and sculpting skills. Thanks for following along, I'm always all ears on alternative approaches, shortcuts, advice etc.

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I think we all can agree that Gene is awesome!

 

One of the things that has helped me is looking at finished sculpts that I know have printed out well. Not the production figures, the ZBrush pictures. It will help with getting the proportions down, knowing how far you have to make things project out from their surroundings to print out, and how uncluttered you have to make the model. You have to make details "bigger", i.e. make sure they stand out, but you also have to let a model "breathe". You can see all kinds of videos of guys making video game models where they are layering details all over the model but in our little niche of the ZBrush world we have to keep in mind that all of those details won't show up.

 

I think this is what makes things like chainmail and fur so difficult. We want the texture to be small and tight together but you need to make it big and spread out. Doing them by hand wasn't a problem- my poking tools were only so small for doing chainmail and my wax carvers were only so small for doing fur tufts! But in ZBrush you can lose yourself in the tiny details. I find that knowing how much detail needs to actually be put in has made me a faster sculptor- I'm not wasting my time making things that won't print. Well not as often at least!

 

Gene also recommended downloading Falloff brushes for longer hair. I haven't used them a lot but you can't argue with Gene's results! But that's ok, there are many ways to do the same thing so use what works for you. At Reapercon last year I think it was Jason that was saying that you could have given all of us something basic to make in ZBrush and we would have all done it differently. Jason also said that you have to exaggerate in ZBrush, instead of putting seven stitches on something put three big ones. I think we can all also agree that Jason is awesome!

 

I know I'm not a Gene or Bobby or Jason or Kevin or Chris but if there is anything that I can help you with just ask! 

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