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3D Printing -is that the end for sculpting?

Discussion in 'Sculpting' started by Tecumsea, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Merryweather Well-Known Member

    thanks pokrad I will give it a try
  2. RKapuaala Active Member

    Then, I miss understoody you. Please accept my apologies. But on that note about growing up only knowing 3D I would have to ask once more, how many sculptors on this forum can sculpt as well in bone, wood, or stone? How many have grown up not knowing those materials properties and how best to turn them into works of art? I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I truly wonder who started in those mediums and know it.
  3. pokrad A Fixture

    In that case, You should probably watch few workflows on the Youtube - I admit that blender UI is not that intuitive as Z-brush, so You will need more patience, and a bit more learning hours - but once You start - it is totally worth the trouble.
    Here are few useful links (tutorials):


    Im sure You will find many more once You start...
  4. RKapuaala Active Member

    Note that Pokrad, has a sticky topic under the digital miniatures 3D modeling topic. There is a lot of links to new free software there. Thanks to Pokrads links to these applications I got interested in 3D sculpting again after a heitus of almost 12 years.
    My first human sculpt was done with text editor named vi, soon afterwards I got a Lightwave license and improved a little. But even that expensive tool is nothing compared to Sculptris and Blender.
  5. Merryweather Well-Known Member

    thanks for this chaps. now I feel committed! I promise to post my faltering efforts,no matter how poor they might be. but dont hold your breath !
  6. RKapuaala Active Member

    Merryweather be sure to check in on the digital forum once in a while. I just got a bunch of prints in yesterday, and I'm going to take some images of what they look like before and after cleaning up and explain some trade offs you have to make for pricing.
  7. diamond cutter Active Member

    I doubt that the prints could beat resin at the moment. Almost all of the prints I've seen would need excessive clean-up before becoming a product.
    It's interesting tech though, and could have applications now in the master part making sense.
    Maybe in the future, when this tech has progressed it could make 'Sculptors' redundant, but I will not be here to see it.
    A machine cannot have any emotion about what it does, and having emotion is a part of being a sculptor?
    IMO, it's a bit like some of the crap that is called 'Modern Art' -A cop out for an artist that can't paint a realistic human, annimal etc (without a computor)
    Just my couple of megabytes
  8. Merryweather Well-Known Member

    You are absolutely right, Pete, but I think we are all agreed that this is a potentially useful tool of the future which bears exploration. just think of the progress made between JarJar Binks and Gollum.
  9. pokrad A Fixture

    I agre except the "machine does not have emotions" part.
    Neether clay, stone or putty have emotions ;)

    Check this post from one of our members:


    Machine did not sculpt that, the man behind the screen did - and there is plenty of emotions involved - at least I can see them.
    Actually the most blame for bad reputation of 3D sculpting should be attributed to guys like me - we are not good sculptors (not sculptors at all), you see our work and think: this is stiff, unnatural and bad.
    But real artist can do wonders as You can see. Oh, and I bet that same guy could replicate this in putty or clay anytime ;)
    I will not advocate computer sculpting any more, think that this thread has enugh elements for everyone to make his mind.

    Regards !
    Jamie Stokes, Merryweather and Gra30 like this.
  10. Diegoff A Fixture

    Four years ago, this shop started in Madrid (Spain) taking scanners of the clients and making the sculpture in the desired size.
    It's funny:
  11. RKapuaala Active Member

    I think people are getting 3d scanning and 3d sculpting and printing all muddled up in the same technology.... They are not the same, but they are married to each other.
    Scanners are used to scan objects, and turn the Cartesian coordinates of the surface of the objects into a cloud of points that can be interpreted by a printer or another piece of software that converts that data into another file format.
    3D sculpting is done by a human using an application with a mouse or a pen and pad or (as I used to do) someone who knows how to create face sets in an ASCII file. The computer doesn't do it for him he still has to sculpt.
    Printers just print. Its like saying that Gutenberg printing press is the end of literature when yo phrase it like that.
    Sculpting is not scanning. See,,, a man sculpts,,, a machine scans.... Also 2 completely different animals. So lets try to keep the facts straight.
    If you need a man to sculpt a 3D image, then the 3d printer will not be the end of sculpting.
    Jamie Stokes and Merryweather like this.
  12. Jamie Stokes Well-Known Member

    This has been a very interesting read....
    From what I gather, a distilled version of what I've read is ...
    - 3D printing is a tool that has already arrived, and in use for industry in large scales (like aircraft parts) and is scaling down with price
    - 3D sculpting is already here, movies use it for 'digital actors'
    -Technology limitations will always exist, the gap between what we want and what is achievable is narrowing
    - It still takes time and effort and practice to achieve competency, improved skill and then mastery, regardless of the medium or material
    - there is going to be cross over and a gradual inclusion of the new tech with the traditional tech...and its already happening....

    Informative, and like all emerging technologies, it's going to take a while until it's an everyday tool.....

  13. Gaudin A Fixture

    I believe there is Darwins award just for this.

    In responce to Zodiacs statement - and I am sorry - off top - what is described there is quite concerning ( if I understood it correctly).
    Specifically - its people trying to manufacture functional weapons at leizure that arent likely to be detected by conventional metal detectors - food for thought. I am not even going to expand this.

    Interestingly this thread indeed revealed all the angles / and lack of knowledge on the subject and I do think that thread lost the original point.

    All agree that technology is not capable yet - but every one recognises that it will be there one day - why are we maintaining conversation on current state of affairs?

    Another interesting thing is a belief/fear that average Joe will get a laptop and take everyone out of business within days. Yet all agree that its only going to be digital masters who will be able to produce that level of work ( as it is now).

    Many are going on about lifeless qualities of 3 d sculpts ( and every one is looking at 3D renders - but how many printed versions have we seen ? - an object in your hands will always look better that flat pseudo 3d representation on your screen)- but surely a good paint job is where the life is brought into miniature. There a plenty of very talented 3d sculptors out there that dont do miniature - and their work is quite lively.

    I will put this accross as a point to see where discussion takes it - assume there are top traditional sculptors and top digital sculptors and digital technology is fully developed.

    Assume both works are top grade and the way you want them.

    Traditional sculptor sculpts an excellent mastercopy of a soldier in 75mm and gets a comission of say 500£
    Digital sculptor does an excellent master of soldier in 75mm in half the time (because he has templates), half the price and then produces a regiment of various poses, faces, vignettes, with guns without guns, bells and whistles ( again - because objects are ready made sitting in a file). He does that in another week or so. We get say 7-10 various masters rapidly.

    And you get them in 54mm 75mm 90mm 120mm 200mm and (28mm 40mm however small or big mm) - that is free, only matter of sizing them up/down. No more comments like- "nice figure but not my scale" .

    Assume digital print quality isnt an issue anymore.

    Where do you think, commercially, manufacturers are likely to turn their attention to? This is what I would class as end of traditional sculpting
    Jamie Stokes, pokrad and Mark S like this.
  14. RKapuaala Active Member

    I love it when people throw around the terms traditional sculpting, and traditional sculptor. So many people on this site use polymer clays, a technology that was invented around 1930. 'Traditional Scupting' would have been plaster or wood or stone or bone, stone. The truth is while those materials are great for their own intrinsic qualities they do not hold detail as well as clay or wax. Funny thing,,, no one seems to be complaining that nothing on this site is sculpted in these materials, plaster or wood or bone or stone.
    No one seems to lamenting the use of RTV for making molds. This is also a recent material added to the sculptors resources. Silicone Rubber was invented in 1947.
    It seems that your idea of 'Traditional' is limited to the materials that you know how to use. That is very short sighted and not at all artistic. Not just in my opinion but historically.
    Historically artists have pushed the envelope on innovation and applications. Da Vinci , while known primarily as a painter was constantly coming up with newer and better methods for casting and for pigments that last longer.
    One of our more recent sculptor/artists invented the process for making thick completely clear acrylic forms that is currently used for making clear panels for submersibles and huge aquariums today.
    If you want to label me (who was a wood sculptor) as a digital sculptor and declare the end of sculpting, then I think you are being short sighted and unrealistic.
    Even when I was working wood I was constantly trying to improve on methods for drying wood, and for mortising parts and sealing surfaces. Its in mans nature to want to improve things.
    I've seen a lot of 'Traditional' sculptors on this site who use computer print outs to check their proportions and tiny beads for eyes. They also think nothing of buying wax rods and flats for their sculpt. I don't reproach them for this. It took me a while to warm back up to classical sculpting. I've even seen them purchase odds and ends like rifles for their sculpt. And others even heads. No one reproaches them for this, no one declares the end of sculpting when they see this technology being used.
    Here is some more history for you.
    The pantograph was invented in 1603. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantograph
    It was originally used to copy scale drawings but later it was used to copy and scale sculptures. In addition to sculptures, subjects were also copied with the pantograph. Models would posed and rods were placed in key positions so that the pose could be repeated again and again.
    The artists urge to translate life into stone and other materials is ancient, and he will do it the best way possible to yield the highest degree of realism. Digital sculpting has that capability now, the high level of 3D printing is not cost effective for the average joe like me though.
    BTW,,, I know some members of this site who are digital sculptors but who have not come out of the digital closet. I won't out them, but now I know why they have been so with drawn.
    Preiser is a manufacturer of high qaulity 1:22 scale figures for model railroads. They have a team of sculptors that work in wax in 1:10th scale. For years now they have been scanning the wax prototypes and printing them in 1:22 scale. They then clean and adjust the high quality print for the final castings. Their printer and scanner is so accurate you can see the tool marks from the wax prototype.
    Digital sculpting and printing is far from the end of sculpting, it is a whole new frontier and the level of detail you are going to be able add in the future is going to blow your mind.
    diamond cutter and renarts like this.
  15. Gaudin A Fixture


    Hi Richard,
    I truly don't see how your tirade is relevant at all to what I said
    Forgive me if I "throw" terms around, clearly word traditional means something different to you, but don't take it out of context of discussion.
    If you choose to concentrate on semantics - I will explain. I use "traditional" here as " established" or "current" and NOT digital - this is only to indicate the difference and establish time line (present vs what is coming). Not more not less.

    I am surprised that out of my post that actually highlights how digital modelling is promising and brilliant, you managed to get an argument trying to convince me that its brilliant and I shouldn't fear it????:confused: if it is due to my poor grasp of vernacular, then do forgive me.

    Now that we established what I meant by " traditional" and it hopefully, as a word, doesn't go against the grain any more - would you mind looking at my post again?

    I am trying to put out a view that when full potential of sculpting with mouse and printing will be exploited (and it does seem that there is an agreement on "when" rather than "if"), pure sculpting by hand may not be commercially viable and way too limiting to offer significant advantage over digitally produced products in future.
  16. RKapuaala Active Member

    Gaudin, it was your conclusion that I found arguable the most; 'This is what I would class as end of traditional sculpting'. I feel that the word 'traditional' is and has been misused a lot in this thread. It is not the end of traditional sculpting. I will agree that in the future products like polyclays, epoxy putty will eventually only be used with a combination of wax and plasticine as ways to lay the print up for making molds and small repairs. Eventually print materials and printers will be so much better than resins or metals and so much faster to produce that those materials will disappear for all but a handful anachronistic sculptors who wish to preserve an historical way of sculpting for the future.
    But traditional sculpting does mean something different to me. It means the art of sculpting separate from the materials you sculpt in. That will not ever end, because artists will always be born and they will find a way to express themselves in the mediums that are available to them.
    Semantics are important when you are trying to make a case one way or another. The way this whole thread is titled suggests 2 things in the English language 1st a lack of understanding of the difference between sculpting and printing. and 2nd that sculpting is not a process, but a material or group of materials that a sculptor uses.
    A more appropriate title would be '3D printing- is that the end for resin and metal casting' or '3d sculpting - is that the end of sculpting in clay or wax'
    Suggesting that either is the end of sculpting is an insult to some very fine sculptors who can do just as good of work in both materials.
    Merryweather likes this.
  17. Gaudin A Fixture

    I see, fair point, well made. And my statement concerned the title of the thread too. The way you put it here - 3d sculpting - is that the end of sculpting in clay or wax - this is what I meant.

    I hope this expressed it better
    " when full potential of sculpting with mouse and printing will be exploited (and it does seem that there is an agreement on "when" rather than "if"), pure sculpting by hand may not be commercially viable and way too limited to offer significant advantage over digitally produced products in future"

    One very valid point you just made - there needs to be some agreement about nomenclature that will make sure we/everyone talk about and understand same things.

    There also needs to be more wider understanding about what digital media is about -
    to use a recent quote - "When you show me a machine that can extemporaneously produce a work of art [...]then my skills will become totally obsolete".
    I suspect its probably quite common misconception out there and I liked your response.
  18. RKapuaala Active Member

    Thanks Gaudin. I'm glad you we feel the same on this subject. For me, personally, I like all the mediums I sculpt in and would not give up sculpting in any of them (wood, clay, paper, wax, polymers, fabric), but from a commercial perspective I agree they will go for the quicker more efficient means of going to production. I can't say that I blame them. ROI.
    Gaudin likes this.
  19. renarts Active Member

    Tecumsea originally posted the question way back on page one, post one:
    " I have seen a lot of posts on 3D printing-does it mean that the future is to build something on a computer screen and then just print it out slam it in a mould and sell it? Will it be the end of sculpting as we know it? or are there severe limitations on the process?"

    I think everyone has stayed on track and touched on all the points that arose from his questions.

    The idea of rapid prototyping, 3D printing, cgi, the meshing of these fields and the resultant progeny is getting closer. Though it may be a while before we see it in the hobby, it will be the wave of the future in manufacturing and production. There is already a 70million dollar grant in the works to push this technology by a consortium out of Ohio, into the manufacturing arena. But I also think we'll see a parallel (if albeit on a smaller scale) in the hobby. Considering it is the hobbyist and hacker (the ingenuity/tinkerer kind of hacker, not the download porn onto your work e-mail kind) communities that are pushing much of the technology, software and techniques, I would be surprised if we didn't see it sooner than later.

    Currently there are several software programs, plug ins, etc. that make it easier to sculpt in 3D. There are several very slick trade magazines that deal with this topic. Glance through an issue of Advanced Photoshop, Creative photoshop, digital art, cinemagic, cinefx and you'll see articles and ads for products, techniques, periodicals for this genre of art. The current prediction in many of the entrepreneurial magazines and sites, investments, tech, science and industrial, all put seeing a viable and game changing breakthrough and paradigm shift at about 7-8 years. Both in the way things are manufactured using the technology as well as using the technology as an enhancement for current methods.

    As I mentioned before, as an artist, both digital and conventional (in the context of paint, charcoal, ink, etc.) there will still be the more traditional methods of producing art. But as a commercial artist, I have fully embraced the digital world for its money savings, scheduling, profitability and ease of production. In addition to using the high tech ease of digital art, I still can sit at a drawing table (and lately a digital sketch tablet that digitally mimics pencil line work with an almost seamless transition from pencil and illustration paper, complete with the same tactile feel. So it still takes an artist to make art. While I have seen my own field filled with a plethora of posers that call themselves artists, simply because they are adept at cut and paste, they benefit from work like mine and use it to their own advantage. And to the benefit of my bank account. Much will be the same in the digital sculpting world. Create the market field, and you will create the market. On all levels.

    I think this link to a thread by one of our own shows the real potential for 3d printing and where it stands right now. Not the granular, striated "this is what you get" piece, that needs more than a fair amount of clean up to make ready, but a finished, ready to assemble and paint piece.
    RKapuaala likes this.

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