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Sculptris is a free sculpting program made for artists. In this course, author Ryan Kittleson introduces the technology behind Sculptris, covers the sculpting toolset, and finishes with two hands-on sculpting projects, where he blocks and sculpts a concept vehicle and a character with facial detail, hair, and clothing.
Sometimes when you're sculpting, you'll need to follow an existing design. Now, as much as I enjoy sculpting free form from my imagination, sometimes you just have to get a reference image to work from. In this video I'll show you how to import a reference image and then how to get your sculpting to match that image. Now, Sculptris doesn't actually have an image plane feature, but we can basically get that result by changing the background image. So, let's go ahead and click on Options. Now, most of these settings are best left alone, however there are some things that are going to help us with this.
For one, I want to minimize the effect of perspective distortion while I work with the reference. That's because my reference image is going to be an orthographic drawing and I don't want it to be trying to line up our perspective model with an orthographic drawing. So what I want to do is change the perspective Field of View to the lowest setting. There is still going to be a little bit of perspective but it'll definitely be minimized. This kind of simulates the effect of looking at the model through a telescope, which reduces the appearance of perspective distortion.
Next we want to import an image to use in the background. Before we actually click on the background button though, I want to show you what we're going to be working with. I'm just going to switch over to Photoshop. Here, I've got an image that is the same pixel height and width of the monitor that I'm working on. If I go to Image>Image Size. You could see that this image is 1280 by 720. If you're working on a different resolution monitor make sure you're setting your image to the resolution of your monitor. Alright! Some things to note, I went ahead and filled the background with a gradient, just so that it mimics the gradient that we find in Sculptris.
It really doesn't have to be anything special; it could just be a solid gray or a dark gray or something like that. Most importantly here however, we've got the concept art that I want to work from. I made the art white, so that it would be easy to see against a dark background. You don't have to do anything so fancy; you could just simply have a black drawing on a white background and it would work just fine. I'm just making it like this so it'll be easier to see in the video. So go ahead and save your reference image out--I've already got it saved--and let's load it up in Sculptris.
So now let's click on Background and let's go into the Reference folder and open up hank.jpg. Let's click OK to exit the options. Let's zoom out from this sphere so we can line it up with the reference. First I want to place it kind of roughly over the chest area of our character here. What I want to do is get the Grab tool out--make sure to turn off Global--and I just want to start grabbing on this and just kind of roughly banging it into shape so that it fits the overall proportions of the concept art.
I just want to get the overall height going here. Now, it doesn't have to be anything particularly accurate at this point. I just want to get the height the same so that when I move the sculpt over to the side view, I can get everything lining up. Okay, so the height is pretty good. Alright! So now I'm just going to rotate to the side view and hold down Shift so that it snaps and let's move this over here and now with the good old Grab tool, I just want to get this lining up better in the side view.
It might take a little bit of tweaking back and forth to get this right. And now I can just grab on the feet to pull out his shoes. You might need to switch back and forth a little bit, so I'm actually going to go back to the front view, and also notice that as I rotated it the scale got off a little bit, so I'm just going to zoom in until the size of the height lines up better.
Alright, so now I can just do a little bit more editing; make sure it lines up again in the front view, just kind of a back and forth process. Okay, pretty close. Now here is one issue. This technique works great for getting the outline, but what about any internal shapes? The sculpt is blocking the reference when it comes to the face. One way around this is to hide the sculpt by holding down H and clicking on it. So now I can kind of see where the face should go inside here, where facial features need to be.
So what I can do is hit Ctrl+H to bring it back and I can get my drawing tools, bring this down a little bit and I'm going to try hitting H, holding down H and clicking one more time. Okay, so I want to put the mouse there, so now I can just kind of sculpt, actually I have my brush mask still enabled so I want to turn off enable, and let's just draw kind of the mouth where it should go. I'm going to hold down H to hide that again, okay so the nose should go about there.
I'm going to hit Ctrl+H and kind of brush on the nose there, see the eyes roughly there. It's not going to be perfect, but we can definitely tweak it after the fact. So now let's look at this from the side view, group this over, and now we can go back and then grab and kind of push this around so that the facial features line up a little bit better. Alright, so let's look at the model.
Now it's far from finished; we haven't even started on the hands really. However, this does give us a solid foundation to continue sculpting and tweaking. Now let's restore everything to the way it was before we started messing with the perspective in the background. So I'm going to go into Options, and let's set the Field of View back to 35: the default. Also, I want to get the original background again. So let's click on Background and what I want to do is find my Sculptris Application folder again, go into Sculptris Alpha 6>Data and pick background.png. Alright, click OK.
Alright, so our perspective is back to normal and our background is back to normal as well. So there is definitely a lot of work left to do on this character. You know, you'd want to sculpt all of this musculature and get a lot of the details in. However, what we've got so far is pretty accurate to the concept. You know, since we lined everything up, we know that the proportions are accurate and it's a really great position to keep working on this character. Using a reference image can really be helpful, if what you're trying to sculpt needs to match an existing concept design.
Without the ability to import a background image, it would take a lot more work to make sure that the shapes and proportions of the sculpt were matching the original art.
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