• Charles Breach

Term 1 - Week 5 - 3D Sculpting

This was our introduction to 3D-Coat, which compared to Maya, has much more diverse and powerful sculpting potential, allowing for easier made detailed models. 3D-Coat uses voxels to give form to it's contents, which are essentially 3D pixels, where Maya uses planes, and doesn't give anything mass. This is one of the reasons 3D-Coat makes for easier modelling, with similarities to more traditional methods, like clay modelling, where you can add and remove mass to the object, without having to remove specific shapes on the surface, and stitching the hole you just made back together if you wanted to make a change. This session was a fairly simple preface to the tools and colouring methods, as well as some other benefits over Maya, like increasing the polygon count when stretching the surface of the object, which would just stretch the polygons in Maya, but allows for a consistent sculpture resolution in 3D-Coat.

I found trying the new program ever so slightly frustrating to begin; I might be wrong, but the movement controls are fairly similar to Maya, but different enough that it still took a little while to remember what did what- either that or I wanted to think they were different and I was subconsciously sabotaging myself. Either way, I grasped the controls fairly quickly, and created the angry looking man below, my first 3D-Coat model, which I found was made without too much difficulty, and fairly quickly, once I got used to the tools. We then went quickly through adding materials, making my angry man a METAL angry man.

I must have moved my model slightly while sculpting it by accident, and it wasn't centred with the world, which I was informed could cause problems later if I was adding more objects. Although it probably didn't matter too much, I made a quick, slightly scary new model for retopologising, where we created a low polygon version of our high resolution model, which allows for less painless animation later. 3D-Coat I believe doesn't allow for animation and keyframing, which is where Maya comes back into play. Maya falls apart when animating millions of polygons in high resolution models, so retopologising these to create low polygon models is fairly important, and this is the same for other software as well. It was important, as we'd learned in Year 1, to keep the amount of triangles in our model to a minimum, especially around moving parts, like eye lids or mouths, as these don't morph as well as quads, and can mess up tools like quad draw and UVing the low polygon later. We used the symmetry tool for pretty much everything we did today, in an attempt to keep modelling quick, as well as keep the model consistent, keeping the face (although these realistically are never totally symmetrical) symmetrical. We didn't go into too much more with 3D-Coat, but I enjoyed learning this new method for 3D modelling. I knew Maya wasn't the best program for modelling, and before this session I was unsure how we combined the model side of CGI with animating, and this has cleared up that anonymity for me; although i'm still getting used to the software, I see a lot of potential for future work using this software.

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