Saturday, November 27, 2010

I took took the Red pill!

Hi guys,
It has been a while, and many things are happening right now.
A dear friend of mine told me a while ago to try my hand at Zbrush 4, another said once he heard I was trying out ZB "your name is fitting because Zkulptor almost implies you work in digital Z like Zbrush you succumbed to your destiny man"

Destiny or not...I honestly did not feel adequate with the program, the interface for Zbrush looks a bit complicated, and I am not a even well versed in Photoshop, paint, or even Tetris... or the I refused to try it out, plus a lot of the Superhero models I would see done in ZB felt a bit void of certain elements that make a sculpt ... well more organic, for example the asymmetry and such, little details, mistakes if you will, not that they were not great sculpts, but something was missing...
these new digital versions looked too perfect, and everything was too polished for my taste, then again I had seen some amazingly detailed models, but I was not sure I would ever develop the tech skills to achieve such level, heck in my mind I thought that would require years of learning not just ZB but many other programs, that quite frankly I was not willing nor I had the time to learn.....

I tried ZB once... hated the thing... I kept trying to "sculpt" but the silly mouse in my hand refused to create anything other than just erratic forms, and blobs... then my friend William told me I should use my pen tablet... oh man.... that changed everything... then I took an online course with the famous Ryan Kingslien , Ryan opened my eyes, his classes and teaching method, and most of all his extensive knowledge of the program ( he worked with Pixologic bringing a lot of cool features to the ZB software.. so you know he KNOWS what he is talking about) and his patience, were key to achieve such realization... I saw the infinite possibilities, the speed, the little cheats, or HUGE cheats I should say... like the "symmetry" option, basically I can sculpt one ear while the program mimics the same patterns of movement and at the very same time sculpts the other ear... this turns an already decently fast sculptor , into a machine! I can then go back, and turn the symmetry option off, and tweak my mirrored forms as to create the feeling of asymmetry all over.... pure genius!
I also realize I can now take on 6 models or even more at the same time rather than just 2- 3 large statues.... and in ZB scale doesn't matter.... so I can sculpt say a Juggernaut just as easy as sculpting a Superman... heck I can grab a superman model and easily turn him into a Juggernaut , or Hulk..... honest to goodness, see I told you it was fun.. and speaking if which.. this thing is addictive as heck....

After seeing the possibilities this is when I realized, the one tool I was missing, the one thing that could set me free, of the chains of insane deadlines, last minute changes that end up taking days to fix... making that body "15% larger".... was this little program... and yes all of that frustration would be gone... changes in ZB are as easy as literally clicking a button... others take just a a few minutes, but not days..TRUST me!
Technically I can now, sculpt from a base model , tweak in hours, and be done by the end of the day, send for printing and in 2 weeks I will have a perfect physical rendition of my Zb sculpt in my hands... ready to tweak certain elements like the hands, and face, perhaps even hair in wax.... sounds like fun... and not like stress to me... speaking of printing check out
and these guys are awesome for your printing needs, and their prices are some of the best.

Getting back to ZB, I also realized the most important thing about it ... it is not the software that has obvious limits, it is the user's limited knowledge of the program and his/her understanding of form, anatomy, flow, balance, contrapposto , etc.... that truly sets the boundaries... in Zbrush you can sculpt ANYTHING.... in ANY style... to me it is like that ring the Green Lantern uses, only limited by his imagination.... which takes us to the question why is green Lantern always coming up with silly huge hammers/ gloves instead of sophisticated weapons? for example if I were Green lantern I would summon a tiny little ray gun which would fire huge intergalactic sized waves of energy that would divide any evil foe into tiny subatomic particles, then re-create him/them while re-writing their DNA so that they would be slightly more inclined to do good than bad, and by each good interaction said character had with others, the same change would instantly occur to these new beings... that way I would get rid of all crime in the galaxy in about 24 hours..... hahah , yes I am a nerd....anyway.... let's get back on topic ...

My main and greatest concern with Zbrush...was that my style would not show through... well I've come to know for myself that was an unfounded fear .... I am barely taking baby steps as you can see from my sketches above, but I am confident, by this time next year I will be a bit better haha.

The fact I opened my eyes to this new tool does NOT mean I will not implement traditional means to each sculpt I do for the industry... fear not, the solution to a faster pipeline ( at least for me) will always require a final step, and that is to finish a sculpt in wax, with added small details that I know no CG program can match.... yet... so for the time being Zbrush and my traditional skills will work together to create better faster developed products.....
I will now work less hours than before, watch my daughters grow.. be able to take vacations, sculpt traditionally just for fun... and finish my own line of statues... and that my friends is such an exquisite feeling..... freedom...smells good!


  1. Man ...I can see your enthusiasm, its really great, your new sketches looks great. Am preparing some new sculpts ...would love to hear some critics from you.

    Reaaaly looking forward for your Zsculpts ;)

    PS: I just made a blog becouse of you ...

  2. lol, no wonder you initially hated zbrush, you were modelling with a mouse. Glad to hear you picked it up though, it really is a great program.

  3. hey, what kind of clay you use to make it?

  4. Thanks guys!, sorry for the late reply... I am glad you started your own blog Animato! Please feel free to send me any images to And Mark, yeah man using a mouse with Zbrush is like trying to draw with a rock or something.
    Hi Sorrow I use, sculpey, and wax.

  5. I am taking a course in digital art, learning Photoshop and Illustrator. It's true what you said about computer technology like ZBrush. It helps artists by giving them freedom and a lot more flexibility and incredibly time saving. It is also a money saver. Traditional art materials and equipment are getting more expensive.