Road to sculpting

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LilyNion vertex
Hey! I'm back again! This time I'll stay active haha.

Anyhow, I finally got the guts to tackle sculpting and so far, I've been starting with the face. I guess that I'll document my progress, my thoughts about this all, ask for help and so on. Perhaps I hope that this can stimulate others to start sculpting as well! 

Day 1: 
I had no idea what I was doing, to be honest. I ended up at 300k tris. The anatomy hurts my brain and it's just derp. For this, I had to use a basemesh for the head because I was so lost.


Day 2:
Began to look up some tutorials to understand what the crap I was doing. I learned as an example to actually use my tablet and to make the start mesh myself with two orbs. I also found the miracle of the clay-like texture on the material. It showed me the details so much better. However, I faced A LOT of issues along the way. First of all, to get the details I needed I had to increase to 1 mil tris. My potato laptop was NOT happy. The polygon around the eyes began to break and then I made a big mistake. I subdivided 1 mil to 2 mil tris. I had to force shut Blender and lose a lot of progression. 

I figured out that my biggest mistake was to subdivide the poly around the eyes by hand because I forgot to select a few polygons while doing so. 

Day 3:
I asked around for help and got some AMAZING advice by @Pior. I had to use Dyntopo on a more low-poly mesh. And boy, did this help. I started at around 200k-ish and ended up with 300k tris. THEN. I made a big mistake. I was looking into the modifier list to find something I could play around with and I found the "skin" option. I figured "huh why not". I clicked it and it froze up, directly. An hour later, Blender is still frozen. So there goes my eyes progress. Luckily enough I can still screenshot!

There's a lot of things I would like to change, such as the anatomy around the neck, make the eyelids better, make EYEBROWS, try out my first ears. But oh well, that's my own fault for not saving often enough. 

Now let's see where the other days bring me! Can't wait till I get comfortable enough to make complete bodies. 



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  • LilyNion
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    LilyNion vertex
    Day 4.
    I learned that Blender has autosave. SO I could continue working on my previous sculpt, which was lovely!
    Making the ears was honestly the most relaxing part so far. Found some good references and tadah! And it brought the face together quite well! Right now debating if I want to add hair or call this done and work on something else. 

  • LilyNion
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    LilyNion vertex
    Day 5 and 6:
    Okay. This has been a hell. I know that this isn't really sculpting, instead it's polygon planes. But still! I think it's nice to show my progress.

    I first build up the planes without any reference or concepts. It made me dislike the front bangs a lot but too late to fix that now. It just doesn't suit the face if you get what I mean? OH WELL. That was the easiest part. Then came the texture. </3 I was on the edge of crying. Very long story short, I thought that my textures had a black background instead of turning transparent. Turns out it was the planes casting such a harsh shadow onto the face that it looked completely black. So that was 50% of my progress, wasted. 



    I'm honestly quite pleased with how this looks like. There are some tiny patches that lack the texture but I figured that making the head brown will fix that. I also think that I can add more planes for more texture but since this is a test run, I find 50 planes enough. 

    I'm right now debating how I'm going to add the shadows and depth into the hair. I've heard about using alphas, but I'm not sure how to add that into Blender. Adding more than one texture hasn't been my strongest point so far.

    While speaking I'm also installing Unreal engine so I can try to create a hair material for this hairstyle. Perhaps that will do the trick. 


    OH. For anyone who follows my progress, I do have a question. I've been googling for hours and hours but I can't get a lot of help. How can I apply physics (especially in Unreal engine) to the planes? Do I have to rig each plane to a separate bone (which is then applied to the main bone in the head)? Or are there easier ways? 
  • vavavoom
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    vavavoom polycounter lvl 5
    Nice progress. Day 4 is certainly a much bigger step up in quality. No crits really to add but for the the neck where it joins the collar.
    Seems a little too concave, coming out too much, to my eye?  perhaps slope it inwards more.


    If you post bigger images and without a 'shiny' material, it may be better to crit the anatomy perhaps.
    i'd like to see bigger images of the head without the hair, and from the side view to see the skull shape and anatomy more.

    It does look good at this stage, though. Nice work!

  • LilyNion
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    LilyNion vertex
    @vavavoom (oh gosh, writing your name cracked me up).

    I can definitely see what you mean around the neck. I couldn't seem to capture the same shadow without the clay-material I use, which is rather annoying. However, the collarbone seems too aggressive and the transition between the muscles is also a bit too much. So I'll work on that for sure! 

    As for the skull. It's erhm quite broken haha. Especially around the back of the neck and the top. The top of the image is it enlarged (I'm very sorry that I couldn't get it larger than this. I'm working on a small screen and rendering didn't really work due to the shadows that messed up the clear view), the bottom image is basically my own self-reflection on it all. 

    OH thank you for taking your time to write this down by the way!


    EDIT: Messed around a bit more with the lightning and found something that revealed the neck better! 
  • vavavoom
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    vavavoom polycounter lvl 5
    You are using Blender, right?
    I've never used this program before so i've no idea about the material options. In Zbrush there's loads of sculpt material options to choose from to find a good one to display details well. Maybe blender has various choices too? But i guess every person has a preferred material for sculpting/showing, so I couldn't really recommend which is best as i'm no expert :)
    Does blender have a less bright, grey clay material? or 'mud'? From the pro guys i've seen on here, these seem to be pretty popular materials for sculpting.

    Looking good.  I think for critique images with profile views, perhaps not using 'perspective' view might help?  Perspective view can give a distorted look of the proportions i find...

    Also, it might save time to not render images, just take a straight up screen grab in the interface if possible at this stage just to get anatomy crits.

    I would say the head seems a little 'egg-shaped', or pointy at the top. BUT, that could be because of 'perspective' view of the sculpt. 
    Is there an option for 'orthographic'? I find this is really good for front/side profile images to judge the anatmoy.

    Keep it up! I'm following eagerly as i'm on the same 'road to sculpting' :)




  • LilyNion
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    LilyNion vertex
    First of all, do you have a thread yourself? I would LOVE to follow your "road to sculpting"! 

    Thank you for all the advice. 

    I found a more clay-like material and I found orthographic view. I honestly can't stop with laughing. I never expected her to look so derpy in orthographic view.

    Anyhow. The skull indeed looks a bit egg-shaped. I raised the neck backward slightly and pushed the ear and jawline back as well. It helped fixing the egg-shape a bit, but I'm not done yet. 

    But that front view. Oh my lordy. Where do I even start.
  • vavavoom
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    vavavoom polycounter lvl 5
    Please don't hate me, but I think the material is now too 'matte' :wink: . Gotta find a good balance between matte and shiny, but that's just my preference.. still, i can make out details better now. AND the view is much better now for anatomy crits.

    I'd say you got good anatomy going on here :)  a little love and smoothing where the neck joins the skull.
    I don't think the skull looks too egg-shaped now that it's in orthographic view. Just lower it a tiny bit at the top/front area perhaps?

    It's looking better each time.

    Do you have a particular style or concept you're aiming for? It seems to be in the realistic style right now. 
    It has a very young/child-like proportion going on also.

    I can only give general anatomy crits without a concept or description of what you're aiming for. However, it does look anatomically very good :)

    The ears are separate objects? perhaps it's better to sculpt them as one whole piece. BUT, this might be fine, i'm just a hobbyist with no pro credentials, so it might be perfectly ok.

    I just have my current '(NSFW) Character Sculpt' thread going on at the moment that you've commented on (thanks!). I had from time to time thrown out other projects on the forum in the past that never really took off, and i'm kind of embarrassed now looking back at them.... wish i could delete them!
  • LilyNion
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    LilyNion vertex
    " '(NSFW) Character Sculpt' thread going on at the moment that you've commented on (thanks!)" I would lose my head if it wasn't connected to my head. That's your thread?! Oh my. 

    Hahaha it's very matte, I agree. Luckily the main purpose is to make game models so the matte/shiny issue is something that the game engine can focus on! 

    I'm honestly free-styling everything. I did use some references for the ears and some for the nose shape and so on, but I don't stick too closely to them. All I'm trying to do is pick something realistic and give it my own swing to it. Stylized realistic as some might call it. The young features are not something I was looking for, though. SO time to fix that!

    Really, thank you so much for all your help! I'm so happy!
  • LilyNion
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    LilyNion vertex
    I lost the day count. Let's say that this is daaayyy.. 12 of active sculpting shall we?

    I made my first full body sculpt (the hands need some work, or well, the end of the finger tips) but all in all, I'm super proud. I had some anatomy help and I couldn't have gotten this without them (all the shoutout to the people who helped). 

    Now, my laptop is not happy with the high poly base so the next step (after fixing the fingers) will be retopology. After I have the 'Low-poly' base I'll sculpt the outfit on high poly so my laptop will have an easier time with it all. It's going to be cinderella by the way! That's why she's on her toes. 
  • LilyNion
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    LilyNion vertex
    Day 14 of active sculpting and a new sculpt. I will lower the eyes a bit, they feel a bit too high up. I'll also begin to add some pores on the skin tomorrow. WHEN THAT'S DONE, I'll add flowers in the hair and some horns. I like my fantasy and I would love to capture to the innocence of her smile and so on. 

    Oh. This is also my first sculpt in Zbrush. That really, REALLY had a deep learning curve, holy shizze! But I managed with the help of some people and lots of YouTube. 

  • Mazz8
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    Mazz8 vertex
    It's really cool to see the amount of personality you can already display in your character with such short amount of practice

  • Elithenia
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    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Thank you for showing us your progress! 
    Keep learning and good luck :) You're improving a lot even withing just this short amount. Imagine what you can do in the future if you keep it up! :)
  • LilyNion
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    LilyNion vertex
    @Mazz8 Thank you a lot! I think that I've been lucky that I've studied expressions in 2D art before I tackled 3D, allowing me to transfer it a bit more quickly.

    @Elithenia It's really a honor to be able to show my progress and I'm so happy that I am actually improving. And I'll totally keep it up, thank you for the sweet compliment! 
  • LilyNion
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    LilyNion vertex
    Okay, day 15 was a lot of tears. I was asking myself why I don't see too many flower sculpts. First flower, not too bad. Then I began to make a rose. OH BOY. 4 hours later and selling another part of my soul to the devil, done. I do really love how the rose turned out though, the other flower seems a bit tooo.. fake.  
    Then hell continued,  I had to add the flowers in the hair. WOEH. Another few hours later. It was amazing though to have my own brushes with the flowers, so I could just pop it in. I added the skin details, fixed the smiling wrinkle so she looks less old and worked a bit onto her expression to give her the innocent look. 


    Day 17 tasks: 
    Get my shizzle together and start working on the hair again, it really needs some more details.
    Finally add the horns. (Which is why the flowers don't go too high)
    Perhaps a few leaves in her hair would be adorable. Would also work around the horns. 
  • Elithenia
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    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Rose looks really nice, well done on that one. Your other flower doesn't seem as delicate as the rose, and I think that is what you mean when you say it looks fake. I think you might have put your effort into making the rose ;)

    However, when it comes to putting it into the hair, I would say that the roses should be bigger compared to the other flower, as you usually don't get that small roses, unless they are the miniature version. I would make the roses bigger and maybe bunch them up into a small flower arrangement, and then intersperse the hair with the other flower. 

    Do you have a concept that you are working after? 
  • LilyNion
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    LilyNion vertex
    @Elithenia

    As for the flowers, they are actually based around the miniature "mini white roses", most often found in wedding hairstyles. But now that I'm taking a closer look, I do think you are right about bunching them up. Most of the mini white roses come in patches/small arrangements which I totally forgot because I was just dropping them around and shouted 'OKAY GOODNIGHT'. So I think that I'll make the roses even smaller so they fit the reference better and begin to actually arrange them. Thank you for noticing! 

    I'm not following any concept what so ever. I have a view in my head with what I want, but I honestly didn't expect to go this detailed for a first try sculpt in Zbrush. For my next few sculpts I will be using concepts by the way, just to avoid such mistakes! 
  • Elithenia
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    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    LilyNion said:

     which I totally forgot because I was just dropping them around and shouted 'OKAY GOODNIGHT'. 
    I can completely understand that feeling xD
    Keep on working, you'll get there :) Looking forward to seeing the progress, and when the horns come on :)
  • LilyNion
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    LilyNion vertex
    Elithenia said:
    LilyNion said:

     which I totally forgot because I was just dropping them around and shouted 'OKAY GOODNIGHT'. 
    I can completely understand that feeling xD
    Keep on working, you'll get there :) Looking forward to seeing the progress, and when the horns come on :)
    Hahah I think that every light night sculpter knows that feel. Half asleep trying to do the last things and then just fail. Oh the fun xD

    Anyhow, I will! Right now I'm at work so I can't sculpt but meh. TONIGHT I'll try to finish it!
  • Elithenia
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    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    xD Busted! Yuupp...... Too many late nights some times :P 
  • LilyNion
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    LilyNion vertex
    I've been way too busy the last couple of days, but I decided to start on a sculpt of a horror alien just so I can keep sculpting, even if I'm not working on a main sculpt. The main design is going to be that the ribcage and spine is upside down and behaves like a spider. It'll have a hidden mouth on the belly for the nomming and a mouth at front for hunting and drinking. It'll contain fleshy pipes for things like breathing etc. 



    As for the flower girl head, I don't have the screenshots but I've started on placing the smaller flowers more appropriately. I also reduced the lip size a bit, pushed up her cheeks to make her smiling more warm and made the shoulders broader and thus her head looks less big.
  • LilyNion
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    LilyNion vertex
    She is doneee! 



    First of all, pardon me for the tiny pictures. Working from my small laptop screen. Quite annoying. 

    Anyhow. Gosh, this girl has been a pain in the butt. Mainly because I messed up and figured out that my rose brush contained 0,1 mil points. So after 10 roses I had 1 mil points. Because of this, I had to lower it but now the roses have ugly holes. Oh well no one will see it from afar! But still, with 5 mil points my laptop could barely handle it. One save takes me over 15 minutes! Next time, less roses and flowers.

    I also noticed that I had no idea with what I was doing with the hair and kinda just gave up on it. SO that's something I'd have to focus on. I also learned that I love to make wood texture. Those horns mhm <3 

    Anyhow, some "beauty" shots below aka screenshots because I have no idea how to make beauty shots.
    (See that hairy mess? YEh I gave up)



    All in all, I'm proud. This is my first Zbrush sculpt after all. Looking back I would've changed a lot, such as working more with references to get the anatomy right, study hair sculpts instead of messing around and avoid placing 100 small flowers and killing my laptop in the progress. But I'm happy!

    Now, I'm debating between either a mecha girl, a girl with a huge flower crown (With HUGE flowers so I won't need too many flowers aka I'm saving my tris/points/thingy) orrr some type of alien girl. 
  • vavavoom
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    vavavoom polycounter lvl 5
    Congratulations on your first completed sculpt!

    Great job starting out. Looking forward to seeing more :)
  • LilyNion
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    LilyNion vertex
    @vavavoom Haha thank you so much! Can't wait to continue, this is so fun! 
  • LilyNion
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    LilyNion vertex
    I am no too sure if this belongs in my road to sculpting, but I figured that I should share it anyway

    I decided to lower the polycount of the face and add some laughable rings to the eyes and mouth in an attempt to understand retopology and then failed a lot. So that'll be a learning progress for another day. I also felt the need of actually texturing so I could progress in that so, well! 

    Funnily enough, I had to change the base quite a bit. Nose got smaller, lips got smaller, eye shape changed. I didn't notice how flawed her anatomy was until I began to texture her. I also decided to remove her horns and flowers and turn her into a wildling! 

    These were some screenshots I created of the texture when I still had no idea what I was doing.This first texture pass made me call her "horrorface".

    Once I applied the hair-mesh and did some research on hand painted faces, I began to make slow progress.

    After that I switched the concept to make her seem more interesting and kept going until I had the final result! Can't wait to texture the hair. 

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