I've dabbled with green stuff sculpting as well as metal casting years ago, but the results never seemed worth the amount of work my amateur efforts required. I've always felt more comfortable with a mouse and keyboard, and seeing the success of other vendors translating 3D digital designs into 3D prints and final metal castings, I decided to see if I could use a similar workflow for my own figures.
I downloaded Sculptris, a free, bare-bones version of Zbrush. Each day I spent an hour or two poking at the interface, trying to learn how to sculpt.
|If only I were sculpting this guy!|
Day 1: Most of my first day was spent just learning the interface and the various ways of sculpting digital clay. This head was by no means a successful effort, but the tool itself was a lot of fun to use.
|A face only a mother could love.|
Day 2: To force myself to practice as much as possible, I decided to scrap each day's work. On day 2 I pulled this smiling, Buddha-like fellow out of the clay. He even had ears! His brow is too large, cranium too small, and there's a host of other anatomical issues, but it was progress!
|Yul Brynner, Westworld (1973)|
Day 3: I continued to study anatomy of the head and learn how to translate features into a 3D form on day 3. I like strong jaws and sharp cheek bones on heroic miniature figures (which are easier to pick out with highlights). This model's ears were a disaster though, and I wound up scrapping this head pretty quickly.
|He's got a bit of a Neanderthal look to 'im.|
Day 4: Ok! Still lots of issues with anatomy and scale, but I spent extra time on the nose and mouth, and was beginning to feel more comfortable with the sculpting tools rather than fighting against them.
|Starting to look human|
Day 6: Still some issues, but I was pretty excited with the sculpt at this stage. Working digitally, it's hard to tell how the model's subtle details are going to translate to a physical object only 6mm high, so I uploaded the model to Shapeways to output a few test prints.
|The test prints after priming. So tiny the camera had trouble focusing.|
Hope you enjoyed checking out my first fumbling attempts at sculpting. I have a lot to learn, so if you have any tips or contacts feel free to share them in the comments!