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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.
Sculptris is a really amazing piece of software. It makes digital sculpting, a task which is usually complicated, into a pleasure. It's different from traditional 3D modeling and even subdivision-based sculpting in one important way. Sculptris automatically creates more detail exactly where you need it. It does it all under the hood without the user even having to think about it for the most part. Let's see how it works. Now, if you've ever used a traditional 3D modelling program, you know that each and every polygon you create is more or less made by hand.
It's a slow process that doesn't let you make modifications very easily. With Sculptris, you mostly just concern yourself with the shapes and forms that you want to create artistically without ever having to look at polygons if you don't want to. This really frees you up as the artist to deal with design and sculpting rather than technical constraints. Let's take a peak under the hood to see what Sculptris is doing; hit W to turn on Wireframe. Here we can see all the polygons that make up the model. Any time you make a change to the model, Sculptris automatically creates more polygons as necessary to make the shape that you sculpt.
This is called Dynamic Tessellation. For the most part, you won't even have to think about this technology as you work with Sculptris. However, there are a few times when understanding what is going on underneath the hood can help you out. So it's good to have a sense of how these shapes get made in Sculptris. One last thing to points out here is that you can control the amount of detail that gets added when you sculpt. So notice this little slider here called Detail. By default it is set in the middle. However, if you find Sculptris making too many of triangles or not enough, you can play with this to fine tune the Dynamic Tessellation.
For the most part I just leave it where it is. Even though this sculpting technology is done in the background, it's still a good idea to have a general understanding of how it works. Something else to consider is that the models you make in Sculptris won't have the topology ready for character animation. Notice how the model is pretty much a mass of triangles rather then a neatly ordered wireframe mesh. If you plan to rig and animate anything you make in Sculptris, it will need to be retopologized in another program. Retopology is covered fully in other courses on lynda.com.
But basically it's a way of making an animatable polygon mesh from a digital sculpture. However, there are situations where you wouldn't need to retopologize. For example, if a model will be used for 3D printing or even in a game or animation where the model itself won't be rigged or deformed.
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