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Digital Sculpted Figures.

Discussion in 'Sculpting' started by Waterman, Jan 17, 2014.

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  1. Waterman Active Member

    Well having read the threads on Planet Figure, about this new method of digitally sculpting figures, and now having bought some from the guy in America that has written a number of articles on here, then I do not think that traditional sculptors have anything to fear whatsoever. My Figures arrived from the States, and they were not cheap, but I was expecting something along the quality of what Carl Reid, Moz, and many other Sculptors here in the UK provide us with. What I got was awfull, and the amount of cleanup that I have now to do, will take a great deal of time. There was none of the feel of looking at a quality piece on opening the box, just one of despair at the amount of work needed by me,before I can even think about painting them.
    I sent for these figures because I wanted them to go on the footplate of two large scale American locos that I have on display,but I wish now that they had been produced by a sculptor sculpting in the normal way. If this is the future, then quite frankly it is a step back to the days of the old crude cast lead stuff of my boyhood.
    Then on top of this, and to add insult to injury, after paying the shipping charge I had to pay £4-88p VAT, before the Post Office would deliver them to me,plus £8 Handling Charge, for them collecting the VAT.
    I know the charges this end are not the fault of the guy in the States, but the quality of the figures and the price of them, does mean that in future anything digitally printed I will be steering well clear of, and giving my custom to our home bred traditional manufacturers. If you want quality, then the master needs to be sculpted by hand, and then the mould maker and caster needs to apply their skills to bring it to the market .
    offo, yeo_64, Funky50 and 3 others like this.
  2. Tecumsea PlanetFigure Supporter

    Because it is printed in layers then what I assume you have is a rough layered finish that has to be smoothed out-as you say DP has along way to go.

    Gra30 likes this.
  3. Waterman Active Member

    Yes Keith and loads of flash and what looks like molten plastic between his legs which will need cutting off and smoothing down and trying to restore the detail. It is just not worth all the effort, because at the best after all the work it will still be just a mediocre rendering. Never again, but I have learnt now not to believe all the rubbish that has been spouted about DS.
    Gra30 likes this.
  4. zodiac Active Member

    I wasn't spouting rubbish, how dare you! Sorry to hear you had a bad experience and the figures are not good, the printing can be done well just look at Hellboy bust. I was pleasantly surprised there. The additive method of printing does suck though....for the moment, remember that. If it was done by Shapeways then yes!! you will need to tool the print! In a short time this technology will come on leaps and bounds. Personally I don't think 'additive' printing will be the way forward for figure sculptors. The results from the Makerbot machines are dreadful! If you want a really good print out then this is possible but you have to pay a hell of a lot more. Digital sculpting is great fun and the software amazing, I'm fortunate to be able to sculpt traditionally and sculpt with ZBrush and Maya so getting the best of both worlds. I guess too I would only use printouts for tooling before molding and casting commercially.
    Gra30 likes this.
  5. Nap A Fixture

    As a Reviewer for various companies ,some of which use digital , if its done right the results are super (zodiac mentioned Hellboy) ..if its done wrong then the experience here is the result .

    I personally feel that you can never beat the skill of the sculptor but technology will improve and hopefully this digital wasy will get cheaper .

    Will we ever just have digital ..never ..long may the fingers and talent of Mr Reid and the likes continue .

    yeo_64, Rich Sculpts and Gra30 like this.
  6. Waterman Active Member

    Zodiac I wasn't referring to you, so the claim of How DareYou, does not apply. The so called rubbish I was referring to was that proclaimed by the person who manufactures the figures, and who has spent a lot of time writing on this site and telling us how good they are. I can not recall reading anything that you have said, not consciously anyway, so why you should think that my observations are an attack on you leaves me mystified.
  7. carl reid A Fixture

    I feel I should offer something, purely because I have been mentioned in the kindest of terms. Thank you!

    Sorry to here about your bad experience!

    Without wanting to open a huge debate about digital versus traditional sculpting, and running the risk of repeating myself from a previous thread, But I feel that 3D sculpting is a case of the emperor's new clothes.
    For me sculpting is and always has been a tactile and organic process. The subject and attire is unimportant. It about the life and movement of a piece. to create this with a mouse, on a screen is a detachment.
    Now I'm not saying that 3DS hasn't got a place somewhere in the process. But I think it requires the artistic flare of an artist/Sculptor to create the Digital Sculpt in the first place.
    You have to remember an artist is an artist because of the flare they possess. Just because you own a pencil doesn't make you an artist. It doesn't live inside a computer.

    But I'm sure there are some very talented 3d Sculptors out there. In fact I've seen some really nice Digital sculpts, Kaz to name but one! But then you have to send the sculpt to a printer, and again there are some good and bad ones.
    So at the moment It seems a lottery what you will end up with. Until this is rectified it will be always be a gamble, and the client will lack the confidence to pursue this as a route.

    It has a long way to go from where I'm sitting.

    Just my opinion for what its worth.

    yeo_64, Rich Sculpts, Funky50 and 4 others like this.
  8. Borek A Fixture

    I totally agree with Carl. Whether someone is an artist or craftsman, not decide what tool to use. The artist is a man from whose talent, diligence and creativity will come work with added value. Ultimately, it does not matter whether the 3DS or hand made​​. But ... As well as quality hand made ​​figurine sculpting, you must choose the best practices to quality casting and production, the same must be for 3D. If you want to print high-quality 3D, to be high quality 3D printer. I saw the prints with layers of tens of microns with extremely fine detail, and I saw the appalling prints without merit.
    I personally would like to try the 3DS sometimes, but I always stay faithful tactilely oriented work with the real material. To do not replace the magic.
    Sorry for bad Eng. Perhaps it was at least a little understandable:sick::nailbiting:.Cheers Borek:)
    yeo_64 likes this.
  9. carl reid A Fixture

    Very well put! Your comment is completely understandable Borek!
    A toolbox full of spanners doesn't make a mechanic. Its the years of training that make the mechanic!

    Borek likes this.
  10. housecarl A Fixture

    As they say, all the gear but no idea.(y)
  11. zodiac Active Member

    I wasn't being serious.
  12. zodiac Active Member

    Carl, why don't you try this? I'm sorry but your post in many respects is wide of the mark. Nobody uses a MOUSE!! LOL! That would be like sculpting a figure with a house brick! As for being the emperors new clothes forget it! The software is utterly amazing, true, printing is in it's infancy at the moment but I don't recall anyone saying it was state of the art. One attitude on Planet Figure with 3D and 'trad' that baffles me is the 'either or", there's no embrace of it or even mild curiosity. It's just SHEER TERROR!!!! and any bad example is held aloft in a kind of vindication of ignorance. It's like a lot of people are waiting for it to fail. That ain't gonna happen. You made good points, an artist is an artist and if they can sculpt a figure with a house brick that is their innate talent. The software is a tool, nothing more. Like I say I use ZBrush and Maya and the whole process is as organic and rewarding as using wax or putty in the traditional manner. Printing isn't a lottery, it's about researching who is out there and what service they provide and who to. No use going to a company that produces large scale industrial prototypes that don't require fine detail, there are companies that cater to figure manufacturers but that is reflected in the cost. I was on the verge of giving up with printers but now am encouraged knowing there are ways of catering for figure sculptors. The future of this technology looks good.
    yeo_64 and tomifune like this.
  13. Waterman Active Member

    Well when it is perfected then I would be interested, because at the end of the day it is the finished product that I buy. How you got to it, is interesting but not of paramount importance to me as a customer. It is the quality that i look for. At the moment I think it has been presented to the figure buyers,before the problems have been ironed out, which is a pity as it has alienated me towards considering it when making further purchases. Just my observations , no axe to grind against anyone, no desire to cause World War 3 over what people think and do. I am just a paying customer, who made a disappointing decision.
  14. zodiac Active Member

    I see your point. We are from different perspectives. I see it as being an advantage in what I do. I said in an earlier post that 3D is more for the commercial prototype maker and master pattern maker. Not necessarily for someone just buying figures ready to paint. I am kind of amazed that this wasn't pointed out to you that the figures would require an enormous amount of reworking. Now that is fine if you are producing masters for molding, it's like making a 'waste mold'. I expect to do that and by the time a piece goes in the silicone it will be just as good as a 'traditional' hand sculpt. Where 3D stands as regards our hobby is as follows:

    The software ie. 3Ds Max, ZBrush, Maya etc etc is capable of anything, in the right hands... literally anything. The idea that it can't ever replace or better hands is bogus and anyone who has done both will attest to that statement. There is no difference. I speak from experience here for the record.

    Printing is lagging behind however be prepared to be very surprised, this technology is one of the current 'big things' so expect breakthroughs.

    This technology should be welcomed because we all will benefit from it.
  15. Waterman Active Member

    Thank you Zodiac for your explanation,much appreciated. I will keep an open mind on this now, but in future I will if ever buying again,wait untill I can examine the finished product.
  16. carl reid A Fixture

    I really can't see the point of sitting there for many hours creating a digital sculpt, send it to the printers. Only to receive a piece that requires a monumental amount of work to actually create a working pattern out of it.
    Why not just sculpt it by hand in the first place?

    What ever possessed the sculptor to send out a piece to Waterman, that requires that amount of work in the first place?

    In my opinion if your going to offer a sculpting service, client would and should assume they recieve a workable pattern. Not a box of junk that require a huge amount of clean up. How is that a sculpting service, when you have to do half the job yourself?

    I'm affraid thats not a them and us situation, its fact it seems.

    Until this stuff is sorted then it really isn't a viable option for anyone.

  17. zodiac Active Member

    Watermans lousy experience is not how I see 3D to be honest Carl. He should have known what he was going to get in the post. Like I say I use ZBrush Maya and most decent wax and putty, all very viable.
  18. Blue Thunder A Fixture

    Gentleman, I see manual sculpt versus digital sculpt in these days, just like this in the older days:


    It is not a paint versus a photo. This is "manual portrait versus technical portrait"

    Photography changed art forever. Before photography only the best gifted could capture someone on a canvas. After photography anyone could do it. Suddenly, in the middle of the XIX century, artists were no longer needed. People wanted photographers. So, painters breakthrough was developing styles photography couldn't reach.

    Michael Porter, a theorist of management and strategy call this "replacement products".

    I see 3d sculpting the same way. Things are just beginning, but 3d sculpting allow anyone to ... sculpt.

    Well, as many of you said, there is a room for both traditional and tech sculpt. But now comes the game changers that will affect immensely traditional sculptors. Take the Girl with the pearl earing and Sarah Bernard as samples: How many portraits of the first Jan Vermeer made? One. And how many of Sarah exist? Countless.

    So, this is major difference one - today, in shoe industry, creating master forms of all different shoe sizes takes a single "click". The traditional procedure takes weeks. In figures, Wargaming particularly will be affected the same way. Modifying a position, a scale in digital art is easy. In traditional sculpting to create 54mm or 30mm figures require an immense amount of time.

    Second: We are too close of a future where print will is cost effective. So "plot 100 pieces" will take about half an hour and it will cost a dine. So, Traditional sculpt and traditional cast will be severely affected too.

    Third: It is this "ctrn+z": You print, you dislike, you change, you print, you rearrange, you move, you change, you print, you ... you ... you ... this is digital age - a mistake is easy to fix and to improve. Traditional sculpture doesn't work this way.

    Forth: Detail - in digital, features such as scale mail, feathers, plumes, wool, fur, can get an unprecedented level of detail. And when laser printed, all this minute and realistic detail will appear.

    Five: Library files - in digital a file is a file: A figure can become an aggregation of files, done quick and easy.

    But then ... why do you see so much digital rubbish? Above all because digital sculptors don't know nothing about anatomy, composition, art, balance, elegance, concept, ergonomics, motion, body language, feelings, emotions ... they pick a mannequin, enlarge some muscles and voilá ... a digital creepy figure is born.

    What we have today is on one side digital sculptors that don't know what sculpture is ... and traditional sculptors about to be slaughtered by technology because they flak technology instead of embracing it.

    Who will win - Easy. The winner will be the same as ever in all businesses: The guys with good ideas, with stories, with creativity! This process occurred already in entertainment: Before Toy Story you had marvelous drawers, but nowadays you have hundreds of digital designers ... however, only the very few bright ones can concept a brilliant villain such as Lord Shen.

    My advise: To the very best top sculptors - when the phone appeared, many joked about it, claiming it could never replace the power of a letter. When Steve Wozniak came out with the personal computer, Hewlett Packard joked about the computer anyone could work with and showed him and Jobs the exit door. Industry has thousands of these stories. I sincerely hope that you can think about your future and learn lessons from the past - learn now the digi world, because a digi guy will never know what "balance" is ... but you can easily learn what this "add /layer - block /create - roughness /choose from file / load " is ... and how the learn curve is short.

    To summarize - computers became mass produced once anyone could use them. Digital sculpture and digital printing are the same, now they are niche tech and expensive stuff but, once democratic at the cost of the dine, some of you that are now leaders will be on the back of the train. Don't let others take your place and learn from the past what happened in so many industries.

    PS: In about 1o to 15 years figures and so many other things, will be sold as a zip file: The customer adds a figure to the cart and plots it at his home. In his privacy he and only he will choose scale and quantity. Traditional sculpt will take the same place a music album has nowadays - cute, great gift but marginal in the market.

    I hope the great creators out there can read my words and watch some educational clips on youtube. Learn something new is always worth
    yeo_64 likes this.
  19. zodiac Active Member

    So much of what Blue thunder says is true, the way he puts it over is straight to the point. However digital sculpture software doesn't make a sculptor and never will so anyone thinking of buying it and hey presto they are instantly top sculptors can forget about it. Also home based mass produced print outs are a long way off. I like to share knowledge that I've acquired but the attitude of some people on this forum and I include 'top' sculptors is rather disappointing. Hostility and fear lead to derision. I couldn't care less if they never try out sculpting software but at least have some rudimentary knowledge and respect of what its about before jumping in. I embraced ZBrush and Maya because it is wonderful stuff, never thought in a heartbeat I would ever throw my wax and putty away, it's just fun to sculpt in any medium! Rather than be big fish in little ponds expand a bit and always be open to learning, push yourself, I find sadly people are rather loathe to leave their particular comfort zones, even for a minute.
    yeo_64 likes this.

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