Tuesday, June 7, 2016

ZBrush Fun

 I've been having a blast bringing one of my creature designs "to life" using ZBrush. The Louisiana mud goblin was an amphibious feline creature created for one of my graduate courses at AAU a couple of years ago. The thought of sculpting it in Sculpey® had crossed my mind but never happened. Then, former student and ZBrush wiz did a sculpt of another creature in record time. We discussed possibly trading the production work for funding a 3D printing course, but I ended up declining the offer for financial reasons.

 After several hours of online tutorials and experimentation, I realized that it would be a better use of my time to work on a finished design rather than "sketching" new ones. The main problem was that everything I did out of my imagination lacked cohesiveness and direction. They often ended up as floppy "meat blankets" with weak design.
The mud goblin was fairly well-researched, giving it a good grounding in reality. Just about everything, like the shape of the tail or placement of the ears unusually close to the eyes, had some thinking behind it.
Using ZSpheres for fleshing out the base mesh turned out to be a good way to start. I still don't know why I can only get results when I use the "Classic Skinning" options in the Adaptive Skin palette. The Unified Skin gobbled up the tail and turned the toes into silly string.
Long hours of researching and drawing muscles for various vertibrates made the sculpting process a bit easier. We learned the basics of feline, bovine, canine, avian, dinosaur, and primate anatomy, but I still found myself winging a bit on the back and shoulder muscles.

My goal is to get a prototype 3D printed by the end of summer and possibly do a short run of plastic models at around the same scale as my Schleich animal toys. I'm keeping my expectations low for now since I have no idea if the surface details will hold up or if I will need to break up the model into multiple parts. For now, I will focus on getting strong pose with minimal kinks and realistic anatomy.

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