3D Sculpting Software

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madmartian
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3D Sculpting Software

Post#1 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:06 pm

I searched for an existing thread on 3D sculpting software and there wasn't one, so here it is. Please share your experiences with various 3D sculpting apps. In differentiating "sculpting" from "modeling", I am referring to apps that simulate working with clay. They're great for artistic objects - not so great for designing a new engine.

My favorite tools so far are Sculptris and CB Model Pro. Both are free. While both are great easy to use sculpting tools, both are also abandoned products. Neither has been updated since the beta release. Pixologic purchased Sculptris, but mainly to get you to want more and buy Zbrush. It doesn't look like they'll even add the STL format to Sculptris.

I have looked at more expensive tools like Zbrush and Mudbox, which offer sculpting as well as modeling tools, but these are $800 plus, which is a bit much when I only need a little more than what Sculptris and CB Model offer. I am still searching for the right tool that fills the void between the free tools and the overkill tools. Something under $100 that really is aimed at the 3D sculptor and isn't trying to be everything to everybody for $800+.

maetti
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Post#2 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:15 pm

I work with ZBrush. There you can save and load stl files very well. It's great to divide your part solution to a finer mesh. It's a bit difficult, but you can make hollow your models with zBrush. I always use ZBrush together with Rhino, of course both are not for free!
I think Rhino and ZBrush would be a good combination for 3D printing.

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behold3d
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Post#3 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:07 pm

if you look around you'll find zbrush for under 600. Frankly, it's a value at twice the amount. It is an extremely robust piece of programing with free updates (at least for now). it handles polygonal counts that most other modeling programs choke on. it's dynamesh functionality make it a must imho. But have you looked into blender? It has a 3d sculpting ability... and it's free.

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CarterTG
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Post#4 » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:01 am

IMO, as far as the 3D print crowd is concerned, Sculptris is being dismissed far too early just because of it's 'alpha' development label. In my experience with it, I'd peg it as a very late 'beta'. I've run it in Windows 7 enviornments; an old duo Core 2.8ghz and an i7 2.7ghz quad and have also worked with it in OSX. The feel of the program in both operating systems are identical. My last sculpt pushed 2.5 million triangles and it kept going. Did Pixologic gobble it up to prevent it from being a threat? I'm certain of it. Thing is, Pixologic squelched its development from being overly useful to visual production (animation, rendering, VFX, etc) but for those seeking to pull some seriously useful objects for 3D printing, Sculptris rocks.

Having used it for three sculpts so far, what can I fault it for?

1.) Not saving to STL. This is the one that's cited most but is such an incredibly small nit, I'd question how folks even learned to turn on their computer. Sculptris' ability to export and import the common OBJ format already ensures minimal hassle. While I use Rhino to import the OBJ and convert it to STL, there are likely a boatload of other programs and freeware that'll do likewise.

2.) Can't punch a hole through sculpts. This isn't exactly a thing I need to do on a frequent or even INfrequent basis, but the workaround is stupid-simple. Again it comes back to Sculptris' ability to import an OBJ. As a more general workflow, it's entirely possible to use your favorite and most familiar 3D modeling tool (T-Splines, Clayoo, Wings3D, Blender, Modo, Maya, etc) to create the general shape (including any punched holes). Export that model into an OBJ mesh and simply import the file into Sculptris to lay in that last-mile sculpted detail. The secondary benefit is your modeling app provides initial control of the object's scale in case you need to adhere to certain measurement requirements (ie, finger size)

3.) No Boolean union operations. Sculptris lets you create or import multiple objects in the scene but doesn't provide any method of merging overlapping sculpts into a single item. This again is a negligible nit. The external software you're using to do the OBJ-STL conversion might likely provide Boolean functions for meshes. This might be even LESS of an already small issue for B9 owners. The B9 software might be perfectly fine with un-unioned overlapping meshes. It'll go through and slice accordingly.

I've gone through a 60+ video training course on ZBrush to get some familiarity and with hopes of discovering some killer sculpting feature. Anyone who advances through their sculpting experience will inevitably settle into ZBrush or Mudbox.

In the narrow context of 3D printing though, I think ZBrush edges ahead for it's more robust posing tool.

kirkrhino
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Post#5 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:16 am

Love the CB Model Pro as well! Wish it had a few more options to the controls, but mirroring and gluing stuff it awesome, and .OBJ export (with colors) can be further manipulated in Rhino. I believe DSS has a free version of modeling software as well, haven't tried it yet. It's called 3DVIA. http://www.3dvia.com/studio/downloads/3dvia-studio?autodownload=1 Have not tried that one yet, but could be useful?

There is also a free version from autodesk called meshmixer, looks like a bit of a learning curve, but the basics are in video format on the site, looks like it can be useful for a thing or two but not crazy about the interface, so may not be useful for many? No time to check out just yet.

Meshlab is pretty good for a few things STL wise..but there is no undo function. Also Netfabb Studio (basic version) is awesome for repairing and making water tight. There are a few things that need to be know to get the best results from it, but once you have it down it's invaluable, and FREE! : ) (scale your model up to about 5 to 10 inch size before repair, if too small = bad results, then scale back down).. Looks like they only offer the 32 bit version currently but I am using a 64 bit trial that has a nag screen but still works for fast scaling, analysis and watertight repair, (fixing messed up triangles), etc. Also useful for orientation (align to bottom plane) of STL's when importing form 1 files that have been extracted with STL extract.. : )

There may be a few open source things here, long list:
http://sourceforge.net/directory/graphics/graphics/3dmodeling/os:windows/freshness:recently-updated/

Will have to check out the Sculptris!

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CarterTG
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Post#6 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:33 pm

Quote from kirkrhino on August 28, 2013, 15:16
Will have to check out the Sculptris!


[embed]http://youtu.be/4fpxfQUD3Uo[/embed]

8-)

cerberus333
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Post#7 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:58 pm

I use the following stuff which are free,
Sculptris is very powerful, and has a really reasonable learning curve.
also I use truespace 5 which is a old program. This is a great program once you get acclimated to it.
you should export to .asc or it will add planes if you save as other formats.
I convert to stl (or other formats) with accutrans 3d or another converter.
tinkercad (also free) is useful for geometric stuff . (Scale big in tinkercad and scale down outside of it
as it will decimate if you scale down). it does export directly to stl, and can import small files.
I currently print with a replicator (b9 on order)
some of my models are here to help show what sculptris truespace can do.
http://www.thingiverse.com/cerberus333/designs/page:1

kirkrhino
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Post#8 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:14 pm

Thanks for the tutorial vid CarterTG! Looks awesome! Way more versatile than the CBModel pro... Gotta love the free stuff! Can't wait to try it out..

Goodness cerberus, looks like you have done lots and lots of printing with that makerbot! Cool. Congrats on your B9 purchase and welcome to the resin world! : )

Best regards, KR

cerberus333
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Post#9 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:52 am

CarterCG, That link is a pretty good overview of sculptris.
I think it is a great application. I have spent many hours using it and
overall I think it is great. Like many applications I have encountered a few
problems that need to be looked out for.
Sculptris on occasion will create what i call Knots of polygons which are small in size but huge in numbers of triangles.
It usually occurs at the line where symetry mirrors.
It also on occasion will seperate at the mirror line.
not huge issues but something that can be a issue when modeling for 3d printing.

Thanks KR, yes i have made around 500 different models and prints with the makerbot replicator.
It is a really nice FDM printer for the prosumer, but the level of detail for small parts and lost wax
are the main reason I am going for the B9.

davypow
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Post#10 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:34 pm

CarterCG Thanks for he great video. I use claytrix with a haptics pen, would you know if the pen is compatible with sculptrix?

Regards
davypow

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Robert Howle
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Post#11 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:19 pm

I have a clatrix unit, haptic device and cd s. Haven't used it in couple of years. I would like to sell. Read my post in "For Sale".
Dance like nobody's watching!

mongerdesigns
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Post#12 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:24 am

have you tried 3d-coat? It's one of the best I think.

madmartian
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Post#13 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:16 pm

Quote from cerberus333 on September 2, 2013, 16:52
Sculptris on occasion will create what i call Knots of polygons which are small in size but huge in numbers of triangles.
It usually occurs at the line where symetry mirrors.


I have run into that exact issue and no amount of flattening, smoothing, or reducing seems to help. Any idea how to get rid of those knots?

Hedrus
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Post#14 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:35 pm

Just to chime in on this thread. I make video games and toys related to video games for a living. We use Zbrush almost exclusively. 3D coat has some nice features but Zbrush really does dominate all the other packages out there. I've tried almost all of the major ones. Zbrush seems to be able to handle larger polygon counts and the sculpting tools are more responsive and versatile. It isn't free but it is more than worth it. Other programs work fine to get the job done but Zbrush does almost everything better than the rest and has the most features. But it's interface is a bit strange and not super intuitive. Once you get used to it though, it isn't an issue. Of course this is just my opinion and almost everyone I have worked with(around 20 people from multiple companies). I do have a few ex-coworkers that prefer sculptris or mudbox but they are the exception.

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Robert Howle
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Post#15 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:45 pm

Hedrus, if I need sculpting for a job (jewelry) and if you would do it, how would you charge for your time. Are u like me tell me what the job is first?
Dance like nobody's watching!

zanderscreations
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Post#16 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:51 pm

I bought zbrush early in the year but it is definitely a huge learning curve. It does seem extremely powerful, I just haven't yet taken the "yureka!" tutorial that makes me get to where I can make anything usable. For rings and such, I typically model in Matrix (rhino) and import to zbrush and try and add detail but it doesn't work very well it seems because models break apart in zbrush or have weird artifacts.

I can't wait to figure it out though as It will be amazing for all of the things I want to make.

cl2635
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Post#17 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:43 pm

^ hmm how does that work? model in nurbs on rhino and work on zbrush? i thought zbrush works on a different file format.. I need to learn .. z brush sure looks cool

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PandaP
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Post#18 » Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:11 am

I'm using ZBrush for sculpty things like the ram head in my picture, and rhino/matrix for jewellery oriented things. Sometimes I use both when adding settings or other jewellery items to sculpts.

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cassio
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Post#19 » Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:54 am

Downloaded Sculptris and this is the second thing I've made in 3 days. Very short learning curve. And it's a very simple program to work with. However, with it being free, it is a kind of "base model" when it comes to these kind of programs. Definitely not complaining tho. This program is perfect for beginners like me, and perfect for make all kinds of organic pieces.

When I made this piece, I really didn't go into it with a plan. I just started doing something and let my mind wander and this is the progress I've made. Definitely NOT finished with it and I plan on growing it. But yeah, I absolutely recommend Sculptris.
Image
Image
Image

cerberus333
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Post#20 » Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:21 am

Quote from madmartian on September 10, 2013, 00:16
Quote from cerberus333 on September 2, 2013, 16:52
Sculptris on occasion will create what i call Knots of polygons which are small in size but huge in numbers of triangles.
It usually occurs at the line where symetry mirrors.


I have run into that exact issue and no amount of flattening, smoothing, or reducing seems to help. Any idea how to get rid of those knots?

The way I usually deal with these is one of two ways.
i sometimes try to smooth, reduce poly brush repeatedly and sometimes it works.
if it is extreme, i have done this "trick"
using shift align to front (you can mirror this procedure if you work the back).
----turn symmetry off----
now using the "grab" brush, grab the offending knot to the left of the middle dividing line.
---turn symmetry back on---
see if the knots are now gone. if doing from the back, move the knot to the right.
turning symmetry on mirrors the right side to the left, it can be used for this,
and also I use symmetry (off then back on) when i want to model something with a hole in it.

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