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Blender Character Sculpt - Average time?

spidlee
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So... I just started learning Blender, and dived straight into character sculpting. For the experts here :), how long on average would you say you would spend on sculpting a base model like the one below? 

I spent about 3-4 days from start to end, and it's still not done! This is my first proper sculpting project, though I've mucked about in Zbrush donkey years ago.  Got to say, I'm loving Blender 2.8's overhauled UI/UX. I've used Blender maybe 5-6 years ago, and boy, is it night and day! Props to the Blender team~

Too slow? Looks like programmer art? Any and all feedback welcomed and appreciated! 

FYI: I did not use a reference... Character model is for a game I'm developing. Should I have used one? What do you guys usually do?


Replies

  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    A couple weeks.

    Yes you should have used reference.  His abdominals are unnaturally collapsing in towards his mon pubis.

    We usually use an existing base model we'ev bought or kept from another project, or we spend a lot of time on the base model assuming we are reusing the proportions and/or topology fro the future.
  • JohannesAg
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    JohannesAg polycounter lvl 4
    just to add to what brian said, always always use reference.
    Also i wouldn´t stress too much about time spent, just focus on making it good
  • spidlee
    Thanks guys for the feedback. I'll definitely heed that and start using references.  Will try to fix up the anatomical issues!

    @Brian "Panda" Choi , wow a couple weeks. I've totally underestimated the scope for sculpting! 

    @JohannesAg , I guess with regards to time, I'm trying to gauge how long it would take so I'm not overspending in any one area, and also challenge myself to get faster as I do more and more.  I'm a solo dev, so.. I do need to be quite conscious of how much time I spend in each area. Game doesn't code itself haha.

    How far away would you guys say my sculpt is from being "good" or production ready to move into retopo + rig? Does it reek of amateurish / programmer art?
  • Joseph_Bramlett
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    Joseph_Bramlett polycounter lvl 2
    Typically in a larger production there is a reason you have people dedicated to just character art. or AAA game dev and even for smaller games the amount of time it takes to make one good asset is immense, taking weeks and months for certain assets. Its a full time job. As a solo dev you need to consider how much time you can soend modeling and what kind of results you can get in that time. Maybe go for a much simpler stylized look, something you can pump out in a week or a few days.

    Always use reference.

    If you are happy with your model you can retopo and rig at any point. To be honest with you though this does come off as very beginner level work. They say it takes 1ok hours of practice to become a master of something. If making"good" work can be done by some one whos not a master lets still assume it would take about 2k hours to get to a point where a modelers work might be considered good. 
  • spidlee
    @Joseph_Bramlett , totally fair and valid points. Definitely wasn't assuming I could produce an expert's level of work my first go round. Hence trying to gauge where I stand, and if I should give up cos I have no talent haha.

    But regardless, my goal right now, is just producing work that isn't ugly, or has blatant anatomical flaws. And just keep improving over time. And if it makes sense later down the road, bring onboard a dedicated 3D artist to take over, do an overhaul etc. 

    Would you guys be kind enough to go into more details on how involved the process is that requires a couple of weeks to produce one base sculpt? Is it mostly about just layering more and more details, decals, fibers, etc? At what point is it too much noodling for an indie game that is at most going to look AA, instead of AAA?

    I just spent the whole day on retopo, and only have the top half without arms done. My appreciation for what 3D artists do on the daily has definitely increased dramatically!

  • spidlee
    Reworked some of the anatomical flaws that I could identify. Wanted a softer muscle definition so I smoothed them out as well. Tho abs could prolly do with more tweaks. 


  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    What are you using for reference?
  • spidlee
    @Brian "Panda" Choi , I was just looking at a few human anatomy images from google for reference without using a specific one. Trying to get like proper back arching, muscle structure, etc. I've further tweaked the mesh again, forgot to reduce down the calves after I shrunk the thighs and arms. 

    The head isn't based off any reference as I did sculpt it randomly. Are there things that immediately jump out as flawed and awkward? If there are, I'll try to find more time to spend on studying reference images of heads, and go from there.

    A key point that might be a consideration, would be I'm also not trying to go for photo real character design. When I started out, I was going for anime O.O, but found sculpting so fun, that it just ended up as what I got... That's a high chance I will go over and abstract out alot of details.

    Do you guys use specific reference images? Could you point me to them? Thanks!
  • spidlee
    Also, it's quite possible I'm not using reference images correctly! I'm not an artist, I'm just a programmer putting my best foot forward in the shortest timeframe I can afford. So please excuse my noob questions. Thanks for the pointers all.
  • kanga
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    kanga sublime tool
    Here are some things that might help. Although if your aim is to make a game in a reasonable amount of time you might consider downloading free models or buying less expensive ones to use, as modelling characters is the most fun you can have with your pants on, it inst quick or easy.
    However you could use a free app like Daz 3d on a monitor next to your work screen. You can dial in muscularity, volume and weight variations, you can pose it and it allows you to rotate around the figure while working.

    Download a free .obj skeleton from the web and place it under your model for volume and position reference.

    You can use Daz for creating orthographic view shots to place in your modelling app for reference planes. Pretty much all 3d apps have the tools to do this.

    The resolution of your model isn't important when you start. In fact sculpting with a hi rez mesh looks easy in tutorials but its hard to achieve a smooth model with good proportions from the get go. You can get a better start (and eventually end) result by keeping the mesh low and pushing around bigger polys to nail the form before increasing the resolution for more detailed work.

    Hope this helps.
  • spidlee
    @kanga , daz 3d looks awesome! Thanks! Going to check it out, looks like a great reference point to use, or even get create the sculpt itself. 

    Thanks for the time you took to lay out those pointers! They were really helpful. I'm going to look at incorporating those into my workflow. 

    I'm really enjoy sculpting and want to keep getting better at it. But I got to say, retopo is a painful exercise, especially trying to solve the no tris puzzles O.O. 

    The more I spend time looking at references, the more my character looks like a comic book / cartoon  (which I guess was what I was going for?). The eyelids are too flat, the knees are a block, abs look too small still. So much more to refine and learn!

    Thanks for the feedback and pointers all. It's been really useful. 
  • kanga
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    kanga sublime tool
    spidlee said:
    ...

    I'm really enjoy sculpting and want to keep getting better at it. But I got to say, retopo is a painful exercise, especially trying to solve the no tris puzzles O.O. 
    ...
    Hope it helps :)
    Dont worry too much about tris, the game engine will convert the mesh into tris anyhow. I think the only reason for using quuads for a game character is to speed up corrections and alterations to a mesh in a production environment.
  • spidlee
    Yea, did my best with not using tris, mostly so adding edge loops and subdividing would be easier / better. I did hide some tris in hard to see places tho haha. 

    So, I restructured the eyes, nose and knees to be more defined. Here are the results. Any and all feedback welcome!  Thanks again all.

    Final (ish) sculpt. For now...



    Retopo (with subsurf modifier)

  • Tiles
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    Tiles polycounter lvl 8
    kanga said:
    spidlee said:
    ...

    I'm really enjoy sculpting and want to keep getting better at it. But I got to say, retopo is a painful exercise, especially trying to solve the no tris puzzles O.O. 
    ...
    Hope it helps :)
    Dont worry too much about tris, the game engine will convert the mesh into tris anyhow. I think the only reason for using quuads for a game character is to speed up corrections and alterations to a mesh in a production environment.
    While modeling you should worry. Tris leads to poles. And that's where edge loops ends. Lots of modeling tools requires a quad topology to work proper. All tools that deals with edge loops for example.

    To convert the quad topology to tris is another chapter, after you are done with modeling :)

    For topology, and even when the tutorial is stone old meanwhile, i found this tutorial here super helpful ... https://3dtotal.com/tutorials/box-sets/joan-of-arc
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