Thursday, December 13, 2018

VR Sculpting

Got a good deal on a Mixed Reality kit, so picked it up immediately!
I'd bookmarked it 6months back when it was 45k.. got it for 24k (INR).
Store link (was sold out when  I checked last)

The headset tracks the controllers.. via "inside-out" tracking cameras, hence theres no need for external sensors and time consuming calibration processes.

So far its been a blast!
Here are some things I've sculpted in Masterpiece VR today
(click to load the model and touch+drag to rotate)

Some quick things to note if your getting into a Mixed Reality kit:
1) There is no "mixed reality" content available yet.. a year after it launched

2) Unless your using it with a laptop, you will need to buy a bluetooth adaptor yourself. They don't mention it as something you will need.. but you do. Thankfully I had been reading up on it in forums and discovered I would need one, so was prepared.

This is the generic one I got and it works fine.

3) Batteries. Buy a set of rechargeable AA batteries. the controllers drain them very fast.. especially(I suspect) since theres no off switch on them.

4) I'm mostly interested in sculpting and painting..not so much in gaming in VR(yet.. I am a PC and mobile its possible that I might like VR gaming too)

5) We're using it with a desktop that has a GTX 1060 (6gb)graphics card, 16gb RAM, Kaby Lake Intel Core i7 7700 @ 3.60GHz
It runs great.

6) To the artists out there, I can say that this kit gets the job done and while being way more affordable than either the Occulus Rift or HTC Vive right now.

7) Discovered this obscure issue with the bluetooth controllers.. they would disconnect and not reconnect at times.

The solution:

1) Plug the dongle into the front of the cpu so that it gets no interference from any other wireless devices that might be plugged in at the back(in my case the wifi dongle is plugged in at the back)

2) Remove the troublesome controllers from the devices list

and re-pair them manually in the windows settings area.

Monday, November 19, 2018

2500 Followers on Sketchfab

Just hit 2,500 followers, so decided to do a commemorative scene.. using a bunch of recent models and sculpts.

A big THANK YOU to the 500 new followers since my 2k followers post!!
Heres the old one(for 2000 followers) -

Featured models and sculpts:
Skybus (Blender) -
Winged Dragon Creature (Zbrushcore and Blender) -
Xeno Mech Suit (Zbrushcore) -
Spider man (Zbrushcore) -
Birds (Blender) -
Vitruvian Creature (Blender) -

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Inktober 2018

Here are all my Inktober creations.. 

If you want to see them individually head over to this page.

Following the word prompts by @mrjakeparker

From day 7 onwards started using a "Smartie" sketchpad kit by lilorosh

It holds my pencils, pens and crayons

Fits comfortably on one hand..

..and has a strap that attaches it to my other hand so I don't struggle to balance it when I'm standing.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

What is the best software for 3D modeling?

Originally asked on Quora here.

There are two kinds of modelling workflow you need to consider. Forget about what is the best "big brand" or free vs payed.. thats not something that should affect your decision on what kind of modelling you want to do.

Of the two methods I'm going to explain.. 
one may work well with your existing skills.. and 
2 or you may prefer the other which will give you the complexity which is what I think you might be really looking for. 

You decide. 
You might windup using both at some point, so its best to try both of them(or at least read up on both).

Solid Modelling and Surface Modelling(detailed description - Solid modeling ..surface modelling has a simillar workflow)
In programs like Rhino, Inventor, AutoCAD (and solidworks and others) once can model objects by inputting precise measurements and geometric parameters. 
Eg: if you want to build an organic arch out of steel rods like this 
Portal of Awareness, An Arch Made Out of Coffee Cups in Mexico City

You would input the length of the rods, and a few simple parameters for the bends.. all these parameters can be easily translated to the real world.. when you have to get down to actually constructing it.. or give an instruction manual to someone else.

However with this method you will be limited by the rules of geometry.. and only very experienced modelers are able to use this method to create something as complex as a fluid form one would sculpt out of clay.

Mesh Modelling commonly called 3D modelling in Computer graphics

This method is typically used in programs like Maya, 3DsMax, Blender
(Zbrush and Sculptris use a different workflow but are more compatible with mesh modelling programs than solid modelling ones).

A mesh model consists of vertices, edges, and faces that use polygonal representation (including triangles and quads) to define a 3D shape. 

You can then modify mesh models in ways that are not available for 3D solids or surfaces. For example you can apply creases, splits, and increasing levels of smoothness. You can drag mesh subobjects (faces, edges, and vertices) to deform the object. Clay like sculpting is achievable and is usually done with Zbrush or Sculptris(free) .. Blender also has a sculpt mode thats fairly good. 

Example from one of my old projects: 
A wildlife photographer and a product designer sent me this picture of an otter.. 

They needed me to create a model of it that could be 3d printed and used to create a cast for some teracotta clay statues people can put in their garden ponds/fountains.. 

Because I used Blender.. I was able to make multiple iterations to the design and get it all done in days. 
heres the viewable 3d model -

So in a nutshell, think of the kinds of projects you want to be doing.. and then decide on which 3d workflow is best for you.

Unlike solid models, mesh models have no mass properties(necessary for running simulations etc..). For 3d printing the model has to be exported to stl or other solid formats(a simple process).

Sketchup is a fun maverick.. I'm not sure where i'd put it. Mostly under solid modelling .. though its much easier to use.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Want to learn Blender(or some other 3d software)?

Want to learn Blender(or some other 3d  software)?
Heres what you can do.. to maximise efficiency and avoid wasting time.. Depending on your learning speed this could be achieved in anything like a few weeks .. a year.
Step 1.
Download Blender.
Don’t open it.
Step 2.
What kind of cool 3d stuff do you want to model?
example if its a spacecraft - do a few sketches or look at other spacecraft designs to get inspired and base your design on.
is it a spacecraft from the Star Trek universe or the Battlestar Galactica Universe?
is it a cyberpunk or steampunk or retro style craft?
is it a realistic craft that someone like NASA might have built?
is it alien made?
create a folder.. name it “refrence” and save images and sketches of spaceships you like.
Step 3.
By now a newer version of Blender might have released.. download and install it.
Open blender. Do not model a space craft.
Thats like a baby trying to drive a car before learning to walk.
But seriously, the problem with making a really ambitious project your first ever 3d project is that when you fail(99% guaranteed) you will be demoralized and give up too soon.
Instead go to step 4.
Step 4.
Open Blender, model a nut and bolt. feel good and confident, close blender, walk away.. go grab a beer(if you don’t drink, go do whatever you do to reward yourself).
Step 5.
Open Blender, model a pipe.. a metal pipe.. fix the nut and bolt onto it.. continue to build a bicycle. feel good and confident, close blender, walk away.. go grab a beer.
Step 6.
“How to do lighting in Blender”
“What is Global Illumination?”
“Global Illumination in Blender”
“Metal textures and materials in Blender”
“plastic textures and materials in Blender”
“glass textures and materials in Blender”
“how to render in blender”
Step 7.
Open Blender, open your bicycle file. add materials and lighting to the file.. render it. feel good and confident, close blender, walk away.. go grab a beer.
Step 8.
repeat this process with cars, trucks.. and then.. feel good and confident, close blender, walk away.. go grab a beer.
Step 9.
“How to make a spaceship in blender”
follow those instructions..
Please remember to enjoy yourself.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Kidney Stone

In October 2016 I passed this stone.. I proceeded to photograph it and then used a mobile app called flipaclip to animate it.

See the original post on Instagram at

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Airtel Trying to Convert Me

As far as I know I've been on whatever passes for a DND list in India..  Its  upto my service provider Idea to make sure i don't get unsolicited calls..
Here's a perfect reason for them to take it more seriously!
Listen to the call I got -

In case you would like to be added to the DND list, heres my old post(from 2012) about that -

Note: both DND and NCPR registeration will happen with expicit knowledge/cooperation/whatever of your service provider.. so ya.. its probably not going to block 100% of those stupid calls.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Dam Repair

An old project from last year got resurrected briefly.
Heres the post from back then.

We were commissioned to build a diorama of a dam and floodplain for an exhibition.
It now needs to be setup at Atree's campus. So we went over and took stock of the diorama, its plumbing and electronics..
I need to go back tomorrow and do some water proofing.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Scull Scan

Was out with the dogs, when they discovered this canine skull.. The lighting was just right for 3d scanning (overcast, no strong shadows) so I took out my phone and got clicking.

32 photos later, we headed home and I put them through a free tool called Meshroom  and then took the result to Blender for some minimal cleanup and mesh simplification using the Decimate modifier.

Here's the result -

I need to remember to take more closeups.. in this case you can see that the canines didnt scan right.. also need to take a few more pics of the interesting surroundings.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Phone Doodle Creature Face

This daily doodle was done (and live streamed) on my phone, a Lenovo P2, using browser based sculpting tools Sculptgl and Sculptfab (to add it to sketchfab).

See the process below

Viking Ship Creature

A daily doodle in blender and sketchfab

In case your interested, part of the modelling session can be seen below

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Steampunk Airbus

My main broadband connection has been down for months, so streaming has not been possible in a while. Anyway I decided to get back to my mid night daily doodles regardless of wether I can stream the process or not.

Heres the latest product of one such session-

A concept .. sort of steampunk.. flying bus.

Inspired/adapted from this amazing (and much more detailed) art by Concept Artist Braydan Barrett 

Heres a timelapse of the initial modelling session

Monday, August 13, 2018

Mech Dog 3d Printed

Hand painted copper details on a new print from a friend Vincent's  Prusa.
Printed in  Black ABS with  10%  Infill.

you can see the original design here

Here are some process pics..

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Undead Cat ABS Print

Had sculpted this undead cat a while back,

Here are the first prints via shapeways

I love shapeways, their quality and range of material options is unrivalled.. but
- their shipping costs sometimes cost more than the cost of the print, and
- the shipments take 2-3weeks to get to my part of the world.

So I got my maker buddy Vincent to see if these files can be printed on one of the printers he has.. heres the first print in ABS from a Prusa -

There are some visible issues with splitting etc.. but the detail is astounding!
I'm very impressed. Took around 6+ hrs with 10% infill.

Here it is after all the cracks glued back and some copper hand painted details

and here it is next to the old shapeways print

If your interested in the original sculpt,
- You can see the making of video here  
- You can view it in 3d here and if you have a printer, you may download the file and have at it.
- If you don't have a printer, you can order a print via shapeways here

Sunday, August 5, 2018

War Paint

Done entirely in blender.
Materials and lighting with Sketchfab.

Here are some screen grabs from the process...
Sculpting in Blender is so much fun these days, now that I've unlearned some of my Zbrush workflow..

Texture painting with bpainter(beta addon with more brushes) is a load of fun!