Monday, September 16, 2013

Animating Cubify Sculpt Objects Just for the Fun of it.

I have a very old copy of COOL3D that at one time was marketed by Ulead.  Ulead ended up selling all their products to Corel, which appears to have abandoned COOL3D.  Too, bad, because while it is admittedly buggy and tempermental, it was also the easiest way to create animations and motion titles.

In fact, all the openings for the videos that I create for this and other blogs are created in COOL3D.

As I played around with Cubify Sculpt, I began to have some fun creating fantasy creatures and objects that really weren't as suitable for 3D printing as they are for useless; but, fun animations.

So, I decided to throw a few of them into COOL3D and see what would happen.  Here's the result.

Cubify Sculpt's DRAW CURVE and PIPE work together in a very powerful way to create unlimited ornamentation and/or appendages.  ALL of the characters and objects in the above video were made possible due to DRAW CURVE and PIPE.

The whole process was enormously enjoyable.  Expect to see more Cubify Sculpt creations finding their way into future titles or independent animations.  It's just too much fun not to do it!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sculpt Tutorial #7: Mashup - Unlocking the Power of Cubify Sculpt

OK, so we're getting things a little out of order here.  Tutorial #6 was suppose to go over the usefulness of changing the shapes of the primitives (Cube, Sphere, Cylinder & Cone).  But, I became so excited about extending that concept to creating NEW primitives that I just had to show you that first.  We'll get to #6 as soon as possible.  :)

First, a side topic that you may find interesting.

Before trying Cubify Sculpt, I tried any number of sculpting applications.  Each of them were decent.  And, among the best is Sculptress... IF you are a true artist!!!  I tried it again just to see if I'd learned something since trying Sculptris that had made it easier to learn Sculpt.  The answer is, "No!"

I was no better at Sculptris this time around.  It is DEFINITELY an artist's tool and not for me.  There is nothing wrong with the product.  I just get lost in it.

What that means...

It means that there is something fundamentally different about Cubify Sculpt that is making it easy for me to accomplish more than I have with any other sculpting program.

But, there is more!

I already understood that I was able to get more done and better with Cubify Sculpt.  But, then something dawned on me that blew the doors wide open.  And, that is that I do NOT have to create everything about an object from one single primitive.  I can save the basic primitives in multiple forms and bring them back into my working environment multiple times if needed.  And, THAT little realization boosted my ability to create with Sculpt exponentially!

It made it possible for me to create, in a reasonably short period of time, these Hippo models.  My granddaughter LOVES Hippos and I have been trying for YEARS to create a 3D Model of a Hippo that even remotely looked like one.  The proportions aren't perfect.  But, as you can see by this very short video that I made for her, they at least don't look like fat cows!  LOL!

The Breakthrough

The breakthrough for me was the realization that I do NOT have to create a form from a single primitive that is stretched and pushed into submission.  I can create PARTS as standalone pieces and then assemble those parts together as a MASHUP, or mixture of parts.

I could never, in a million years, have created the above hippos from a single shape.  But, by using different primitives for the body, head, ears and legs, the process was not only doable; but, relatively quick.

So, here is the process that I am talking about.... Tutorial #7, Mashup!

By the way, there is WAY more to cover when it comes to creating new primitives, like the Torus in this video.  I'm really excited to show you what that is all about in Tutorial #6... even if the order is a bit disconcerting!  :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sculpt Tutorial #5 - Repairing Poor STL Files

There are a number of developing ways to create 3D objects based on already existing items.  Scanning, while expensive now, is destined to both drop in price and yield more useful results.  Another way that several companies, including 3D Systems, are pursuing is turning a series of 2D images into a 3D object that can then be printed on a 3D printer.

But, all of these techniques can have difficulty capturing things like hair or highly reflective surfaces.  This is where an application like Cubify Sculpt can be invaluable.  As a test of these capabilities, I decided to see what I could do with an object that I created several years ago using the beta version of 123D Catch (Then called Photofly).

The item captured was a hair styling manikin.   I sometimes use these to test new photo lighting configurations. 

Styling Manikin Head

123D Catch did a great job on the facial features.  But, the hair didn't turn out as well.  This is common in 2D to 3D capturing.  The defects in the hair made for a poor 3D print.  Until Cubify Sculpt was released I had no way to correct the problems.  I've been waiting for an application that could fix the head so that it printed well.  So, it was natural to bring it in to Cubify Sculpt and see what we could do with it.

Here is a video that explains the process and shows the outcome.

While we do not need to paint objects that are to be printed with the Cube 3D printer, I decided to go ahead and see what I could to color the head.  The painting functionality of Sculpt is pretty basic.  So, it turned out to be the most difficult part of the process.  My primary criticism has to do with the inability to make the bush small enough.  And, my primary suggestion would be that the developers add the ability for us to place an image, for each axis, in the background to help select colors and refine shapes.  What does help is to use the BLENDING function to create the appearance of finer features.  

It was a lot of fun tackling this one.  And, it encourages me to look into Cubify Capture to see if it will allow me to capture members of my family to create 3D printed sculptures.  There wasn't much point for me to attempt to use Cubify Capture before this because I know that it would probably have the same issues with hair, etc.  But, now that I know what Cubify Sculpt can do to repair that problem it just might be time to give Capture a try!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cubify Sculpt - Yes, We CAN Do It!

It's a given that those with true artistic talent can use Cubify Sculpt to create art.  But, what about us.  What about NON-ARTISTS.  Will we be able to create items that even come close to creating anything even resembling art?

I have to tell you.  That was one of my biggest questions as I downloaded and installed Sculpt.

After all, over more than a few attempts at various sculpting applications, I had struck out on all counts.  I loved Cosmic Blobs and CB Model Pro.  But, try as I might, I never even came close to creating anything that remotely resembled a human head.

This short video answers the question in the affirmative in a huge way for me.  No, the head I was able to sculpt is NOT great.  But, it CAN be recognized as an attempt at creating a human head.  And, believe me that is a huge leap forward from all of my previous experiences.

Two factors, I think, helped me feel more confident about my ability to effectively use Cubify Sculpt.  The first is that the designers have come up with just about the perfect set of controls for non-artists.  There are not too few.  Nor are there too many.  And, each of the controls seems to complement the others.  It's not perfect.  But, it certainly is useful and relatively easy to learn.

The second factor is that I ordered and received the 3DConnexion SpaceNavigator.  Being able to quickly position the working piece is an enormous help.  Again, we cover that in this video.

If you, like me, are a non-artist trying to do artistic things, I hope that this video is an encouragement to you.

The results of our artistic pursuit does not have to be great to be rewarding and fun.  And, I had a LOT of fun trying to create my "Bearded Rustler" character from the default sphere.  He's rough, just like my rendition.  But, that's OK.  He's better than the last guy I tried to sculpt.  A WHOLE lot better.  And, that is why he was a rewarding project.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Cubify Sculpt and the SpaceNavigator

Good News!

The SpaceNavigator 3D Mouse device from 3DConnexion works well with Cubify Sculpt!!!

I had noticed that the Options Dialog had a tab for "SpaceBall Device".   Since I knew that the original SpaceBall had been discontinued, I asked Sculpt Support if that feature would work with the SpaceNavigator that seems to have replaced the original Spaceball.  They indicated that it would.

So, yesterday, I ordered the SpaceNavigator from B&H Photo and it arrived today!!!  That was a big surprise since I expected it no sooner than next Tuesday.  B&H Photo must have UPS trucks lined up at their loading dock because that was amazingly fast shipping from New York to Kensington, MD!''

I will include a short demonstration of the control that the SpaceNavigator provides in an upcoming tutorial.  It's going to take some practice to isolate just the motion I want without affecting other motions.  But, I can already see that it is a great investment and works quite well.  The speed with which it works can easily be controlled either from Sculpt or in the SpaceNavigator control form.

Control Includes...
  • Pan Up and Down
  • Pan Left and Right
  • Zoom In and Out
  • Spin
  • Tilt
  • Roll

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cubify Sculpt Tutorial #3: The Beauty of Emboss Area and Texture Maps

I mentioned Emboss Area and Text Maps in a previous post.  I expect to explore these two features in many more tutorials.  They are SO powerful and make adding ornamentation SO easy that it truly makes designing in Sculpt child's play!

When I first heard that the president of 3D Systems was committed to the democratization of 3D printing and design, it was difficult to know if it was a sales slogan or a fundamental core value.  With the introduction of Cubify Sculpt, I now know that it is definitely a fundamental core value and a true commitment.  Cubify Sculpt has the potential to bring 3D design to just about every age group and just about every level of technical competence.

As an educator that taught from 1st grade to high school students, I always hoped that someone would create a product that could be used at the elementary level as well as the higher grades.  While younger students might not be able to create great works of 3D art with Cubify Sculpt, I am convinced that the feature set WILL allow them to successful create nice objects to be printed on a 3D printer.

Cubify Sculpt has the potential to be a major tool for school projects in STEM, Art, Geography and other disciplines.  In this video we show how a simple 2D STENCIL and TOPOGRAPHIC MAP are easily turned into Texture Maps to create reasonably complex 3D features. 

As you can see, a simple paint program can be used to create a tool to be used with EMBOSS AREA to complement any shape.  The fact that Texture Maps WRAP make them particularly powerful.

Cubify Sculpt has exceeded my expectations in a HUGE way.

Cubify Sculpt Tutorial #2 - Setup and Potter's Wheel Simulation

I'm simply amazed that I have been able to actually complete some demonstration projects so quickly in Cubify Sculpt.  I can assure you that this would not have been possible in any of the other sculpting applications I've tried to learn in the past.

One of the first upgrade features that I asked for when I first opened Cubify Sculpt was the ability to manipulate the clay in the fashion of a Potter's Wheel.  Well, it turns out that we can do just that using some hot keys or, I hope, by using a Spaceball type of device.  I've been told that the SpaceNavigator device can be used to spin objects with one hand as the other is used to sculpt.  But, we don't have to wait until a SpaceNavigator arrives to test the concept.

It turns out that the ARROW KEYS can be used to spin the object a specified number of degrees and by holding down the ARROW KEY we can do so continuously.

Here is a video that shows the concept!

The image used for the video preview is the SpaceNavigator.  I have ordered one and should have it by next week.  I was under $100 and I am looking forward to seeing how well it works!

The combination of being able to start with an STL, like the chalice, which is VERY easy to create in a CAD program; but, slow to create in a sculpting application and the having the ability to quickly add features while spinning the piece is a VERY powerful capability.  The ARROWS and other Hot-Keys are good things to explore.

I love it!