Most game objects need to be optimized to have the least polygons possible to reduce the total size of the game through compression. By using a texture map from a digital sculpt, game designers can keep the polygon count low while cramming in as much detail as possible. You create and manipulate an object using polygons quadrangles or triangles.
These are mathematical calculations inside the program. You cannot shape models organically like this. Instead you use shapes, lines, and vector points to create a 3D model. Because you are in deliberate control of each polygon the mesh maintains its integrity and there are no extra steps needed to topologize it.
Digital Sculpting with Mudbox: Essential Tools and Techniques for Artists Read Digital Sculpting
By using brush-like tools a sculptor can manipulate the polygonal mesh of any object. The tools are soft in nature for softer work. And although making hard, angled objects like a chair is not impossible, it takes far more time than modeling. Sculpting allows the artist to reach incredible levels of detail in the texture of the subject.
Because the mesh is complex, sculpts need a retopologization before use in another program. If the creation is being used for animation it will be modeled first.
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The model will be sent to a sculptor for detailing while an animator then animates using a basic, low-res model. At the end of this process the sculpt will be layered over the animation and rendered. This achieves the final look with the least amount of computing power. The most popular and widely used sculpting software is ZBrush.
Because of its intuitive toolset and easy integration with the 3D software it is a favorite across the 3D industry.
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Mudbox is a close competitor and is more popular with beginners. The learning curve is gentler than ZBrush but it does not offer the same brushes and toolset.
The company behind ZBrush created a free sculpting program called Sculptris. But there are plenty of choices to pick from. Much like a traditional sculptor, a skilled digital sculptor can use brush-based tools to manipulate digital geometry basically fake clay that mimics organic structures. Any good sculpting program will let you do that.
Claire is a traveling creative living in Osaka, Japan. She spends her days writing things, learning things and eating ungodly amounts of sushi. Read about her adventures here or secretly stalk her on Instagram and Twitter. This book guides CG professionals through the process of creating amazing digital sculptures using the Mudbox arsenal of groundbreaking digital sculpting and 3D painting tools. Additional Product Features Dewey Edition.
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