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tonofelephant 08-29-2013 11:21 AM

3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
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Am looking to use Sculptris for presentation of ideas to clients of abstract sculptures – see attached jpeg of sample sculpture to see what I am trying to do.

Am interested to make sure that when I carve a stone block that the design generated in Sculptris will closely approximate the size of the block. Want to make sure before I start promising a sculpture to a client from a design in Sculptris that it is doable in the real world. In addition, want to make sure that the design is actually carveable (can get my hands into all the tricky places to chisel & sand).

To make sure it is doable in the real world how do I put a template/ruler over the work area that approximates what the size of design I am dealing with is? For example, my next block to work on is a 24” x 24” x 36” tall block of stone to carve. The aspect ratio of the stone could be seen as 1:1:1.5. Or is there a ruler I could use that is set on the x, y, & z axis (analogous to Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop) to make sure that the fantastic design I come up with will fit within the parameters of the existing stone. Would hate to blithely start carving a design on a block of stone to find out it does not work & ruin a 2,000 lb block of stone. That would be about a $4,000 oops – like to avoid those kind of mistakes.

Would like to get input to see if Sculptris would be the best software to use before investing a lot of time in a marginal venture. Sculptris has the right price, but will it work or can I get plug-ins to make it work?

Appreciate your input.

Andrew Werby 08-29-2013 04:20 PM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
Sculptris is a free application that was purchased by Pixologic to act as a feeder program, hoping that people would get started with its simple interface, want more features, and then upgrade to Z-brush, which has them, along with a button that exports your Sculptris model into Z-brush. So I don't think you're going to get a whole lot more features or plug-ins added to that product.

I believe Z-brush has the sort of rulers you're looking for; here's a video that shows how to set them up: Z-brush 4R6 (the current version) lists for $795 and works on Windows or Macs. (We can do a little better on the price). Using free software is a good place to start, but it might be worth spending a little if it will help you avoid expensive mistakes.

Andrew Werby

tonofelephant 08-30-2013 11:32 AM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris

Using free software is a good place to start, but it might be worth spending a little if it will help you avoid expensive mistakes.
Agree completely Andrew. Late last night dropped Sculptris because of it's irritating limitations & am now working on a 30 day trial of 3-d Coat. They seem to be geared more to how my brain works. Time will tell.

GaryR52 11-14-2015 07:11 PM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
Hi, Andrew. My first time back on the forum since 2010. How have you been? :)

I just (re)installed Sculptris today, oddly enough, thinking I'd give it a try again. I have rekindled my interest in doing 3D-printed sculpture, now that the build envelopes have enlarged and the costs have shrunk a bit. imaterialise looks like a good site for getting prints made relatively cheaply. Their prices are lower than Shapeways, anyway. I also read that, as of 2010, their maximum build dimension has reached up to 6 feet, as well. Good enough to finally accommodate the dimensions considered to be "small sculpture" and to finally avoid being stuck with something jewelry-sized.


Blake 12-15-2015 11:55 AM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
5 Attachment(s)
Hi All
I have joined the ranks of the 3 D world.
Spent a few hundred hours learning ZBrush and love it.

Now what I am doing is creating works in the usual way (Analog) and adding an interior structure using ZBrush to design it and then I will print the mold and sand cast just the interior in bronze and weld the two together.
A mix of analog and digital!

I am very excited about it and this is the first piece.

I created the original piece in 2013 and did not like the stand that held it up.
The Frame was not strong enough and I was afraid it would break in shipping.
As well I did not really like the frame, aesthetically it did not work for me.

With Zbrush I created a new support system that I am about to print.
here are the photos of the bronze as it is and the design of the supporting structure.

Having great fun…

Let me know what you think.
Don't worry lots of thick skin on me!

The first three pictures are the piece as it is now
Photo 4 is a bad scan of the original piece with the interior structure inside
The last photo is only the interior design.
I'll post the finished work when it is done in Jan. 2016

Cheers Blake

Andrew Werby 12-15-2015 03:13 PM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
That piece is an interesting blend of the organic and mechanical. Is the whole thing going to be in bronze, or is the outer skin going to be some kind of plastic? Is it going to stand up by itself, or will it need that suspension device? How far along is it at this point?

Andrew Werby

Blake 12-15-2015 04:22 PM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
The piece is in bronze and the interior will be cast in bronze.
I will print the mold in sand.
The piece will stand on it own then.

negative 12-20-2015 04:53 PM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
Nice work. I remember loving Z Brush back in my motion design days. The software is nothing short of brilliant.

mkochsch 09-27-2016 10:14 AM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
Blake when you wrote " print the mold " how exactly did you do this. Was this to scale? Thx.

Blake 10-12-2016 10:04 AM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
Sorry I have not been here in a while.


Originally Posted by mkochsch (Post 106981)
Blake when you wrote " print the mold " how exactly did you do this. Was this to scale? Thx.

There are all sorts of people printing molds, it is just the negative of the digital file, but it is much more difficult as the print is built of layers of sand (or other power material) and these layers are bound together with a type of binder (glue). The rub is that you must open the mold to get all the unbound sand out of the mold in order to pour the bronze in.

It is a one use mold. You can find lots of foundries that will do it for you.
All you need is a digital file... so you build one in a program like Zbrush

I am LOVING Zbrush it is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Once you have a digital file you can make it any size you want.
I am printing a test at 20 cm and once we have a great product then we will print the same file in 3 pieces at 60cm each so the sculpture will be 180cm or about 6 feet tall.... same file different size

What I am working on with my foundry in Bologna is a ceramic shell cast.
We are working on a print in a material that will burn out of the shell without leaving ash or residue so that the surface of the bronze is smooth and clean.

I'll let you know how it works out!!!

Andrew Werby 10-13-2016 02:25 PM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
That sounds pretty cool; it sounds like you've jumped in with both feet. So in this case, you're actually printing the positive form, not the mold, right? In PLA? That's supposed to burn out pretty well. Have you tried casting in a printed sand mold yourself? That seems like a great way to cast things that would be difficult to make molds of.

Blake 10-14-2016 12:27 PM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
Hi Andrew
We are printing the positive not the negative (mold) and finding that the PLA does not burn out that well and are looking for other materials. I'll let you know how it works out!

We are not working with the printed sand as these are the same as molds and you need to open them up in order to empty out the sand that is not bound (glued) so it needs to be a two or more part mold.

Hope that this makes sense.

You have to print the positive and then cast that in order to get away from making a mold.

Yes I have jumped in and I am finding that it is not that easy to get a good cast on a large piece... but it will get better.

Cheers Blake

Andrew Werby 10-14-2016 02:24 PM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
You need to burn PLA out for longer than wax - it doesn't liquefy and run out of the mold, so it needs more time. More oxygen in the kiln helps too. You can usually blow out a mold after burnout to remove any loose ash that remains.

Somehow I pictured all the unbound sand running out of a closed mold like sand in an hourglass - but it might take some pre-planning to make that happen.

Andrew Werby

Blake 10-15-2016 06:39 AM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
The burn out has left some surface noise so far and we are trying to eliminate that.
As well I don't like the lines that the printer leaves although we have smoothed the PLA with vapor (acetone) although we are trying different materials now it eliminate both problems.

Sounds like you have successfully burnt out PLA without any surface deformation, what temperature did you use and for what time?


Andrew Werby 10-15-2016 01:06 PM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
I haven't burnt out PLA myself, but I've talked about it with people who have. If you're doing ceramic shell casting, you can get it a lot hotter than plaster-based investments can handle, which should be good for PLA. You might try a blast with straight oxygen to combust any remaining unburned ash in the mold.

I've been doing jewelry-scale castings from 3D-printed photo-catalyzed resin, though; that works pretty well. What's the new material you're using that burns out better? How do you eliminate those striations from the printing process?

Blake 10-16-2016 03:04 AM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
Hi Andrew
I am working with my foundry on all of this and they have a good amount of expertise already.
They jumped on this right away and have lent a good deal of clout, that I don't have myself, so we are making good progress.

We are restricted, of course, by health and safety issues, which would prevent the use of "a blast with straight oxygen".

However, we can burn out the shell at high temperature and for extended periods of time.

We have used a vapor smoothing technique on the PLA to remove stratification but that comes with a certain level of danger as well so we are investigating different materials in order to prevent stratification.

I was pushing for some of the power printers at .50 microns to avoid those pesky lines on the surface but that has not worked out so far. Although, few options have been eliminated at this point.

I am not aware of the exact name of the next material we will test as we are going through a lot of them and it is all in Italian (foundry Venturi Arte Bologna).

There are a lot of materials coming onto the market at the moment, but believe me, when we find the perfect material I will let you know.

Happy sculpting, Blake

Andrew Werby 10-16-2016 02:29 PM

Re: 3-d Sculpture Modeling Programs - Sculptris
What's the health and safety issue with oxygen? It's not like it's a toxic substance or anything. When I'm burning out organic materials, like bugs or twigs, I often give the mold a shot of oxygen from my oxy-acetylene torch, with the acetylene turned off. That encourages stubborn residues to de-carbonize, and also helps push them out of the mold. Has oxygen been banned in Europe?

I'd be more concerned with the health and safety issues related to acetone, if you're using a lot of it for the vapor-smoothing process.

Andrew Werby

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