3D World


Judy Wright, Cal­i­for­nia

- Maya Jermy replies

Dig­i­tal sculpt­ing, just like tra­di­tional sculpt­ing meth­ods, has its rules. Although dig­i­tal sculp­tors have a lot more free­dom and the op­tion to go back and undo any changes, there are still a few prin­ci­ples to fol­low in or­der to make this process smooth and suc­cess­ful. I of­ten rec­om­mend that begin­ner artists try their hand at tra­di­tional clay sculpt­ing be­fore they even open any 3D ap­pli­ca­tion. It is a good prac­tice and ex­cel­lent ex­er­cise that tests your man­ual skills and pro­vides valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence. Con­sid­er­ing that, it is a much harsher en­vi­ron­ment and a messy en­counter lim­ited by the clay dry­ing out quickly, which forces the artist to work faster. It means you need to have a plan of ac­tion pre­pared and a well-or­gan­ised work­flow. That in it­self is an im­por­tant start­ing point. For many artists, sculpt­ing in 3D soft­ware is by far more re­lax­ing than clay, as it does not give you that sense of ur­gency a dry­ing clay does. How­ever, it is not just the ma­te­rial and speed we have to think about in the process. The thing that tends to elude the in­ex­pe­ri­enced stu­dents, is the im­por­tance of the big forms.

Big forms are what artists call the most sim­ple, ba­sic geo­met­ric shape used to block out the gen­eral out­line of the model. We look for the ba­sic shapes in ev­ery­thing we model to break it down to the prim­i­tive forms. For ex­am­ple, a house could have its ba­sic form built out of a cube and a pyra­mid. We build the big shapes and then carve into them.

I like to think of it as chip­ping away in mar­ble. It would be ex­tremely hard to chisel any­thing im­pres­sive out of a block of mar­ble, if we started off with de­tails. The cor­rect process would be to block out the big forms/shapes and then re­move more ma­te­rial, layer af­ter layer. It is very much the same when it comes to sculpt­ing in Zbrush or Blender. Let’s have a look at some of the im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tions we need to take into ac­count when block­ing out the big forms.


When­ever pos­si­ble, use ref­er­ence im­ages to help you form the shapes cor­rectly. It is a very im­por­tant step that will make the process much eas­ier and quicker. Gather as many im­ages as you can, and from var­i­ous an­gles.

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 ??  ?? Put some ex­tra ef­fort into the big forms to make the next stages much eas­ier
Put some ex­tra ef­fort into the big forms to make the next stages much eas­ier

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