Digital sculpting vs. traditional sculpting
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Thread: Digital sculpting vs. traditional sculpting

  1. #1

    Question Digital sculpting vs. traditional sculpting

    Digital sculpting is becoming more and more popular in the world of miniature painting hobby. But as many new things it is still a controversial thing to many of us. How does it compare to traditional sculpting and what do you think about it?

    Just another tool for sculptors? Completely new direction in sculpting? Or just taking a shortcut which will eventually result in worsening sculpting skills?

    Read more about digital sculpting vs. traditional sculpting and share your comments

    cheers,
    Mahon

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  2. #2
    Brushlicker Bloodhowl's Avatar
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    Can a digital sculptor sculpt when the power goes out?

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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloodhowl View Post
    Can a digital sculptor sculpt when the power goes out?
    lol

    As I see it, digi sculpting is a tool. Seems to work better with inorganic stuff. Tbh I think digi stuff will get better as people get used to it
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v433/freak-in-a-cage/freakinacage-1.jpg

  4. #4

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    Digital sculpture is just a kind of tool, and the arguments for and against are basically akin to those about airbrushing v. working by brush. And the similarity extends further as just like with airbrushing there are some things that are only possible/better done digitally while there are things where it's better (or necessary) to work manually.

    Ignoring issues of any surface texture from the output process, personally I don't like a lot of miniature digital sculpture I've seen so far although that's not inherently due to the technology.

    Einion

  5. #5
    Brushlicker Bloodhowl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freakinacage View Post
    lolAs I see it, digi sculpting is a tool. Seems to work better with inorganic stuff. Tbh I think digi stuff will get better as people get used to it
    I equate it to knowing land navigation. (Former Infantryman) Using a GPS is fantastic. It's a great tool. However, if you don't have the basic skills of dead reckoning, terrain association, map reading and intersection and resection, and can't use a compass, what happens when you are on a nice hike in a heavy wooded area and you manage to break the GPS( more likely the batteries die and one forgot to pack spares). What now? Run around the woods like the idiots in the Blair Witch? If one's livelihood relies on sculpting it seems to me that the sculptor should be able to sculpt digitally and manually. Knowing both ways to do it can only make you a better sculptor and prepares you for extreme times like power outages after storms and whatnot.
    Last edited by Bloodhowl; 12-28-2011 at 01:33 PM.

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    Why choose Space Wolves over other chapters?
    ‘They are desperate, and as savage as beasts.’
    Magnus lost his smile.
    ‘I no longer think of them as animals, Ahmuz, though I once did. I now think of them as the purest of us all. Incorruptible. Single-minded. The perfection of my father’s vision.’
    Excerpt from Battle of the Fang



  6. #6

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    imho it's just a tool to use. Einion's example of the similarity of the airbrush-brush is really on the point, couldn't have found a better one myself.

  7. #7

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    actually it was the same example that I used in my article (even added HR Giger's work as an example).
    was he any worse kind of artist only because he used the airbrush?
    cheers,
    Mahon

    visit Chest of Colors - All About Miniature Painting and Miniature Painting Service

  8. #8

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    While I will always be impressed by 'traditional' sculpting, I'm a collector/painter, I don't care how the minis get to me, as long as they do.

  9. #9

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    I'm not that aware of the difference as I haven't seen up close specific examples of both. Other than the fact that most/all of the GW plastic figures are at least partly if not wholly sculpted in a digital format.

    As to whether it will result in worsening sculpting skills - yes it will in the traditional sense of people sculpting a physical object - but that does not mean that a sculpt produced in the computer will be any worse than a physical one. The difference will be the skill in producing it. Force feedback input devices mean that a digital sculpter can 'feel' what he is sculpting so in theory as technology improves he could still retain physical sculpting techniques despite producing work in a virtual world.

    There is no reason why a digital sculpt should be any less detailed than a physical one.... in fact because size doesn't matter in a computer you should be able to produce more finer detailing than by physically sculpting. That said it will still be up to the skill of the digital sculpter to realise what detail will actually show on a sculpt and what will make it through the molding casting process.

    At the end of the day to quote Supervike -"I don't care how the minis get to me, as long as they do."
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  10. #10
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    Just another tool for sculptors.
    As long as it makes for minis to paint I'm not too concerned.
    If it makes poor quality then I vote with my wallet.
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  11. #11

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    Now that 3D printing is starting to get good enough and is on the cusp of being affordable enough, it's interesting to watch the reaction. Some people are enamored with it, others threatened, most are just confused or unaware of it.

    We saw the same thing happen in the print industry 15-20 years ago with 2D printing and scanning. First, there was resistance, then there was some acceptance by early adopters using service bureaus or working in large corporations' art departments, and then once it became affordable enough that artists could have good a enough printer and scanner in their studio and schools started teaching those tools in addition to traditional media tools, it quickly became dominant, with most artists using it for at least part of their workflow (but often not for everything - for example, a lot of comic pencilling work is still done traditionally and is then scanned for cleanup and inking)

    I was working in the print industry when the 2D transition happened. I also dabble in both digital and traditional sculpting and know a handful of professional sculptors, so I find it fascinating seeing the ways this is playing out the same, and the ways that it's different.

    For larger scale sculpture (like 12" comic book collectibles), we're already seeing the transition happening. Many (but not all) of the DC Direct collectible statues are being done digitally now. Disney is also using digital for a lot of their collectible figurines. Currently, it's basically sculptor's choice. If the sculptor wants to work digitally, the company will pay for the printing, but if the sculptor prefers traditional media, then that's fine too. On the other hand, the US Mint has gone all-digital, to the chagrin of a few of their sculptors.

    A lot of traditional media sculptors are dismissing 3D printing as "not as good". But the technology currently exists to print out with extremely fine detail, it's just not affordable enough for most people to have access to it. Having to work through a service bureau adds cost and time. If your file doesn't print properly due to minimum wall thickness problems or because a part is too thin to cast or a host of other possible issues, you have to do trial and error, sending the revised file back to the printing service for each revision. On the other hand, if you want to create 10 similar figures in different poses, you don't have to start from scratch for each one, and if you want to make a change to a completed figure, you also don't have to start over, you just make the change and re-print. Plus, undo, copy, paste, resize… Priceless tools.

    Large companies with in-house sculptors are already starting to move to digital because it's cost effective for them now. I don't think traditional media is going to diminish quite as rapidly as it did with 2D because there's not as much consumer demand for 3D printing to drive the cost down, but 3D printing will continue to get better and cheaper and eventually having a 3D printer on your desk capable of doing miniatures will be feasible. Heck, if you're willing to research and get your hands dirty, you can build your own stereolithograph 3D printer capable of doing extremely fine detailed work now. The medium is extremely expensive, but the technology is not hard to build for a halfway decent maker or engineer.

    As for the "I've never seen digitally sculpted miniatures that wow me" comment, think about this: Tom Meier has been honing his skills sculpting in putty for 40 years now. Digital printing at this scale has only become a practical reality very recently (at MOST 5 years, more realistically 2), meaning the digital sculptors are either less experienced overall, or at least less experienced with the medium they are working in by an order of magnitude.

    But traditional sculpting will no more die from this than has traditional painting or drawing. Go to an art or hobby store and there are still aisles of traditional media tools: paint brushes, paints, palettes, etc.

    Most miniatures are produced by small companies, however, and hiring a traditional putty or Fimo sculptor is likely to stay price competitive to digital sculpting in this field (except for the big players like GW) for a very long time because of the difficulties of scale and resolution, the need for re-training to sculpt digitally, and the low production runs that are typical.

    tl;dr: just another tool.

  12. #12

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    Agree with you guys in that it´s just another tool. But at the same time, miniature painting should be a hand craft, not something done in computers. This hobby from my point of view, has it´s beaty in it´s simplicity!
    This is my view, i may be conservative, but that´s how i feel. I wont be buying any digital sculpts unless i feel that they are so awesome i just cant not buy them:P

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by ischa View Post
    But at the same time, miniature painting should be a hand craft, not something done in computers. This hobby from my point of view, has it´s beaty in it´s simplicity!
    I have yet to see anyone build a machine that prints or paints on 3D objects, so I'm thinking you're safe for now

    It is, however, already possible to print 3D objects with different colors. The technology is still pretty crude and not at all suited for our scale - the results would be nowhere near as nice as a good hand-painted mini done by somebody who's good at their craft. Won't be any time soon, I suspect, but it will happen.

    That being said, if you enjoy painting, it shouldn't matter if producing painted miniatures becomes possible, just as it shouldn't matter how good 3D printing becomes if you enjoy sculpting in traditional media. Just because something gets displaced for commercial use doesn't mean that it doesn't have value, just that it's not as cost effective.

    I enjoy digital "sculpting", but I don't enjoy it as much as I do real sculpting. It lacks the tactile aspects. Both good, both different, both have value.

  14. #14

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    One thing that I'd be really excited about coming out is the one-off 3D prints. Imagine for a second grabbing a mini you really like, that's got a 3D representation done right, and being able to pose and repose the figure until you get what you'd like. The computer then recomputes the way the fabric falls, add the base desired, change out accessories and weapons, even fully clothe that poor female mini that can't seem to afford the right clothing (daughter's pet peeve right there). Suppose the horn-dogs could de-clothe her as well. Four to six weeks later, it arrives in the mail for little more than what is paid now.

    And honestly, I'd be more interested in a unique mini, even if it was me just playing around with a standard skeleton model, than something that came out of a injection molding machine as one of a million copies.

    A bright future is what I see, and not one that destroys what we all hold dear either.
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  15. #15

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    [QUOTE=jlamarche;640155]I have yet to see anyone build a machine that prints or paints on 3D objects, so I'm thinking you're safe for now [\quote]

    http://www.shapeways.com/themes/full_color

    Full colour 3D printing is already here. Give it 10 years and cheap consumer 3D printers will let your kids print out custom Lego parts....

  16. #16

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    When I show people a miniature many people assume that they are designed on computer or sculpted larger first then through the magic of machinery scaled down to be cast smaller. When I tell them how an artist makes them by hand at this scale they are fascinated. Sure digital sculpt is just another tool but hand made is so much more inspiring.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacemunkie View Post
    Full colour 3D printing is already here. Give it 10 years and cheap consumer 3D printers will let your kids print out custom Lego parts....
    Indeed, I referenced 3D printing in color in my first post in this thread. That's not quite the same thing as a machine that prints on 3D objects. Those color are part of the printing process, and honestly, right now, the quality if roughly equivalent to those early 100dpi bubble jet printers.

    I'm not sure if it'll take even 10 years, but it's hard to gauge because the consumer demand for it hasn't really been created. It's starting, but most people don't really even know these things exist, let alone think they must have one.

  18. #18

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    3D printing will take off when the porn industry comes up with some things for it. Of course try telling the package delivery guy you are using it to create minis to paint when that happens.

  19. #19

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    One of the things that excites me about digital sculpting is the idea that things will be consistent across ranges. So you'll no longer get two miniatures that are supposed to be wearing the same armour but two completely different sizes :s I also think that traditional sculpting will never go, but you'll end up with a hybrid of both (which is what GW is starting to do).

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