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Mori Learns Sculpting - Part 3!

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This thread is brought to you by the number 3!



Table of Contents:

- Mori Tells a Story: Below

- Rambling, Part 3: Throughout
- Mannequin: Completed

- Kiara: 1: Design, 2: Workflow and Blockout, 3: Finished Blockout,

- Amaya:


2020 was STILL spent on my brain and learning, even if my hands wouldn't let me practice it.

Between my arms getting worse and *gestures broadly in 2020,* that didn't leave much energy for socializing either.

But now that I have fixed arms, I'm excited to pace myself get my butt into the art chair! Wooo! Nevermind, my arms are still dying and the doctor said I have to pace myself.

As much as I would like to continue with green stuff sculpting, I just can't sculpt physically as long as I can digitally. So for now, digital practice it is!


While I couldn't actually *do* anything with the information I learned over the last year and a half, I took tons of notes and tried to reread them when I could.

I'm happy to list the videos and books if folks are interested. :)

Edited by Morihalda
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Since I have toooooon to practice, I thought it would be fitting that my first 3D sculpt be what I was last working on in putty and clay. Gotta finish what you start, right?


This was the state of Kiara and Tierney in summer 2019:



As well as my notes:



I wasn’t sure how much of it I wanted to keep, but I thought, “It’s been a long time! If we had been able to keep playing our game, I would have liked to think those challenges made her more confident.”


So rather than recreate her exactly, I decided to tone down the direct ferocity and add a little more confidence and sleekness to her movements. Hopefully I’ll be able to achieve that with long, flowing lines with the two of them!



That also meant redesigning her clothes. I’m super awful at that still, but I’m thinking about something like this:



I added in the reverse grip because it makes me laugh and I was already cackling about the accidental ninja run. :lol:

I replaced the feather shoulders with a feather.... thing.... Birds get all poofed up when provoked and their upper body is a large part of their visual space.

Birds also have those scaly legs and I thought those would be cool armguards.

I kept the legs clean since big cats are just like vast expanses of muscle back there.

The shoes.... I loved those little boots so much after creating Kiara back then that I ended up buying them haha! So those stayed, but I intentionally angled them to follow the ankles. I may or may not be adding a little surprise for the boots.



I also gathered references that were similar to my clothing ideas. Here are a few!

PureRef has been my favorite program for this.



Now that I have her clothing and pose, I can get started! I did ignore weapon design for now because it was already a ton, the stuff I did in this post took about 3 days.



Edited by Morihalda
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The next step is to start sculpting! I decided to create a mannequin with miniature proportions. Reference first! I learned that the total height to the eyes and to the top of the head have undertaken many, many changes over the years. Reaper seems to like somewhere in between 5 and 6 heads, and of course every artist likes their base proportions a little differently!


I settled on 32mm to the top of the head and worked on her proportions from there. The awesome thing about zbrush - I can scale her up. I just want solid proportions first!


From left to right:

- Two proportions by Loomis 

- Stylized anime body that I see in a lot of zbrush learning videos

- My “final” mannequin (until I decide it’s not good enough and remake it again :D ) 

- 60191 O-Sayumi by Derek Schubert (there aren’t a lot of minis that stand straight up but she’s close! You can also see several major landmarks through or by her clothes.)



I’m going to assume some knowledge of zbrush when I write this, so as an informational marker, I learned my zbrush basics from:

- Introduction to Zbrush by Michael Pavlovich (free on youtube)

- Stylized Characters In 3D: Quarantine Art Challenge by Yulia (free on vertex)


I will do my best to not make “draw the rest of the owl” posts in the future, I was just really in the zone and didn’t take a lot of screenshots!


I used the anime mannequin as a reference for polygroups (these differently colored areas on her mean that they can easily be selected and edited individually) and spent at least 4 full time days working on her. It was a heck of an introduction for consistently using zbrush, but I’m much more comfortable selecting and moving different parts of a sculpt.


A couple of my first attempts working directly from the anime mannequin. They didn’t end well. I also got confused halfway and only some stuff has color?? Haha! But all of the time I spent moving stuff around was still great practice, meaning I was a little faster the next time.



I eventually struggled my way to these figures, which my husband promptly got excited about and wanted to print. I “quickly” made some ugly little fingers out of spheres that I drastically stretched around before printing. They are just placeholders but they gave me an idea of hand size and how small I could print without them being too delicate.



Seeing them in my hand next to other minis was a really weird moment for me. “I made something! Wow, do they need some improvements! But you know what, I could actually do this!”


So then I started again (and again and again) and spent another 2 days muttering over proportions, 8000 hotkeys, and cryptic notes that I took when comparing the printed figures. Most of these notes were taken with the vision of matching both my proportions goal while still looking like the people from my anatomy book.

(NH: no hand figure, +H: with hands figure)



Like some sort of twisted doctor, I started mashing old pieces from both gray models and adding new pieces until I arrived at the center model. With polygroups!

This is where I've settled, though I still see a few things (long neck, head is a little too far forward) that I can address when posing.





I'm happy to go over some of the more detailed stuff but I figured this was more than enough for a single post. :lol:

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3 hours ago, TaleSpinner said:

Wow!  I really need to care about polygroups more than I do.  Can't wait to see where you go from here.


They are really fun! I've accidentally figured out a few hotkeys during my crazed clicking around.

My favorite is better masking selection. Now I can keep a bunch of polygroups in one subtool!


Before, I was using the selection tool to grab a piece, growing the selection to include the entire polygroup, masking it, showing the whole sculpt again, inverting the masked selection, and theeeen finally able to move that single polygroup around (all with hotkeys).

I accidentally figured out if I go into gizmo mode, I can CTRL+left click a polygroup and it masks everything except that one group! Then I go back to sculpt mode!

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Oh @TaleSpinner, I thought of you the other day when I was working on that mannequin. I had been working so hard and she was starting to look like a person when I realized I had some major proportions wrong. I literally pouted and lay on the floor for a few minutes before getting up and starting over again. :lol: Don’t fear the (zbrush version of the) scalpel!!




I spend a ton of time watching videos being impressed with the sculptors and going, "holy crap. Hoooooly. Crap." Then I'd remember that I'm watching these videos so I can do it too, so I rewind and take notes!


It seems like there are a million different ways to get to the same end goal. I’ve noticed that these seem to be the most popular workflows:



This is likely because single sculpts won’t need to be posed any other way after creation and game assets will need to be in all sorts of poses. I believe posing early helps establish a better flow for the piece, helps visualize how the figure’s final silhouette will look, and absolutely helps with important bits like fabric direction! 


Posing later means more sculpting time in symmetry. I enjoy working out of symmetry. It makes things look more natural. However, I also love how quickly things come together when sculpting in symmetry! I am following Yulia’s tutorial which outlines the game asset route for Kiara. I’d also like to try this order I made for myself next:

- Base mesh
- Block out

- Pose

- Details


This would ideally let me get all of the major symmetrical bits (most body part shapes, clothes, and props) blocked out quickly. It should give me more time to work out of symmetry at the end instead of fiddling with details that I've already done or making the same things twice.




So. Yulia's method! We've now done the base mesh (she added significantly more details but I'm holding off on them) and we're on block out now.


Yesterday, I made paaaaants!

I didn't need to make the edges super chunky since they'll be leggings and the edges will be covered by boots and a tunic.

I'm very happy that I spent forever on the mannequin because form-fitting clothing like these leggings didn't need a ton of extra work!



I admit I've put a ton of time into working on this for the last couple of weeks, so I need to give my arms a break today.

Tomorrow, I will make shoooooes the same way I made these pants, with screenshots and explanations!

Edited by Morihalda
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Oh my goodness. Zbrush is so much work. There are tons and tons of little steps required for each "main" step, and it's difficult to explain without video!


This is where I am right now. I have 43 screenshots that I can try to get together if there is interest to show how I did some of this!

But it's really all in Yulia's series. :blush:



Except the dagger. I made the dagger on a whim and I'm not sure what to do next because I didn't think it would work! :lol:


I drew out a dagger. I wanted the same long, sharp lines as my sketch.

I added in a cube, gave it more subdivisions (those little lines) for better resolution. I probably could have done this on a flat plane, since I didn't keep the thickness.

Then I set the dagger outline behind my zbrush window and used the see-through option on zbrush.



I used the slice-curve brush to follow the curves of the outline.

The slice-curve brush lets you select very specific areas and turn it into new polygroups (colored sections that you can mess with individually).



It made some really weird shapes and colors.



(Left to right)

1 - I made all of the colors into one polygroup, and then individually selected the pieces that were part of the dagger shape.

2 - I selected just the green dagger polygroup and deleted the others.

3 - I used the zmodeler brush to add thickness and some edgeloops (the lines) to create the sides of the dagger.

4 - I added more divisions and then used zremesh (this has become one of my favorite tools!!), with detect edges (so I don't lose those sharp lines) and keep groups (so I don't lose those either yet!) on.



I guess the next steps would be to round the super sharp bits for easier casting/printing, round the handle, and taper the blade...?

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