Another Day Another Sculptris Model

Progressing, some might say evolving, from slugs today I’ve tried creating something with limbs.

Meet Teddy…

"Teddy" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

“Teddy” by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Though I think I’m getting better with the software there are still some things that confuse me – like how to move a second sphere, the best way to make eyes, or how to reselect said sphere/s once they are anywhere near the original mesh. Confusing! I guess I’m just going to have to sit down and watch a few more tutorials. Still, finding a lot to love about Sculptris, perhaps tomorrow I’ll try adding some texture to this less than cuddly teddy bear!

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Sculpting and painting in Sculptris

Yesterday, I tried out the basic modelling tools in Pixologic’s free 3D modelling software, Sculptris, and I loved it. It has been awhile since I tried my hand at anything in the 3D modelling arena and it felt nice to be back in the digital saddle. So, having watched some tutorials on the Pixologic website I decided to try something slighty more advanced today.

Sluggy

"Sluggy" by AR Vincent, copyright 2012

“Sluggy” by AR Vincent, copyright 2012

Sluggy was my first attempt at modelling an entire being in Sculptris. Granted this being, being a slug, isn’t the greatest stretch but it was a good way to test some tools I didn’t use yesterday and get on to the bit I was really interested in exploring…. painting.

Unlike other 3D software, like Maya or Cinema 4D, both Sculptris and Zbrush have a function which allows you to paint on to your digital sculpture. Though the functions are slightly different, in Sculptris you ‘paint’ on to the model where as in ZBrush you paint on to the texture map on the model, the end result is an experience more like painting. The best part of this is that unlike Cinema 4D where you can assign block textures/colours to a model or Maya where you need to create a texture map (essentially flaying your characters and laying out its skin in Photoshop to paint before sticking it back on him!) you can use different tools to create block colours and textures and fine details and see what they look like in situ. Nice!

Of course this was my first and attempt and it didn’t go entirely to plan. I didn’t really get the hang of masks until I had already made a mess of Sluggy’s eye area and once the damage is done Sculptris is not forgiving. So in order to make the finished image look, well, finished I cheated and moved him in to Photoshop for some ocular repair and a little TLC. They are still not perfect, far from it infact, but this was only supposed to be a quick exercise and I had already committed waaaay more time to it this morning then I intended and work is calling. Perhaps I’ll have time to have another go tomorrow 🙂

Make Your Animations A Little Xtranormal.

If you have’t yet encountered xtranormal then let me enlighten you, xtranormal is a “free” online animation application that lets you create 1 or 2 character animations, complete with a script, using their special text-to-movie software. All you need to do is select your characters, set and sound scape and then start typing what you want your characters to say. You can also add in your choice of expressions, gestures, sound effects and camera angles to your film. And don’t panic you don’t need to know anything more fancy then drag-and-drop.

http://www.xtranormal.com/site_media/players/jwplayer.swf

As you can see from my attempt, there are limits… not least to my scripting skills. Not everythings free and a lot of the characters and scenes etc cost a little extra to use. Additionally don’t expect Laurence Olivier style vocal performances from your actors, the voices will say what you’ve typed (most of the time) but not suprisingly with minimal inflection or emotion. Also your characters movements are minimal – you can select from a range of premade gestures but they’re not going to dancing around… not using the free online facilities anyway.

Which brings me to the topic of Xtranormals software, State. This, I’m guessing from the video posted on YouTube, gives you a lot more freedom of choice and movement but this time at the bargain price of $49.50. Personally I wasn’t willing, I’d prefer to go and download iClone if I just wanted to have some animated fun or learn Blender and produce real 3D, but thats just me. If you’ve tried it please feel free to leave a comment and tell me what I’m missing.

There’s a lot to be said for xtranormal. If you just want a bit of fun then its a fantastic tool, and if you want a simple way to test out a script, understand a scenes pacing or look at the effect of various camera angles then its excellent. However, if you think you are trying to create stuff for an animation showreel or think you might be the next James Cameron and are looking for the right too for making Avatar 2 then keep googling, xtranormal is not the tool you’re looking for.