PDA

View Full Version : Sculpting vs Poly Modeling


Doomc
07-20-2010, 09:26 AM
The reason I ask is ever since I started learning 3d/maya about 1 month ago, and even before I started learning, this question has been in the back of my mind. And even though I've read a lot and watched a lot of videos the answer has evaded me. From my ignorant perspective I'm curious why everyone doesn't just sculpt all their models? From what I've seen, the time to sculpt something is light years faster than standard modeling in 3ds or Maya.

I know most people will use both making the base mesh then adding detail in zbrush. But even creating the base mesh can take upwards of an hour when you could already be done with it sculpting. I haven't seen a polygon modeling video of a quality person, or monster that hasn't taken several hours, but I've seen dozens of 15-30 min sculpt videos where they finished the entire thing. So my question would be, what are the actual benefits with poly modeling/nurbs/splines etc compared to sculpting? If it's taking much more time, there must be some kind of benefits to doing it this way.

InfernalDarkness
07-23-2010, 01:21 AM
A very valid but as you stated "beginner" question. The root of the answer comes down to two main factors, both of them being based around animation, as opposed to still renders of objects (sculptures) that never move. It's about topology, and how the model will deform when attached to a character rig.

Poor topology means your mesh will not animate predictably and important techniques like facial animation, expressions, and even simple movements will fall apart or look horrible, or bend and stretch in ways you don't want. You can't just rig up a model and go to town with it and expect to have decent results.

Topology is also very important when texturing. But modern tools like Zbrush and Mudbox work in conjunction with Photoshop instead of against it (BodyPaint) much easier, these days. And you can retopologize characters in these types of sculpting programs now with decent results too.

But to make a long story short, if you're not animating, it doesn't matter how you sculpt. You can use as many polys as you want. You don't even need a displacement map, if you have a decent workstation; I often use full high-poly models straight from Mudbox.

But if you're animating, you need to know low-poly techniques if you want your models to ever be usable. Sculpted animation (displacement maps) is then possible, but your model needs to "work" first. Rigging up a high-poly model is not only ridiculous, but very anti-productive in an animation pipeline - you want your animators to have a simple rig they can use on ANY workstation, really. Even a laptop. This means you need a nice low-poly model too, generally.

Just some ideas and reasons why you need both. Learn low-poly, but when you're feeling annoyed/stumped/bored with it, don't ever be afraid to just sculpt and be artistic!

ddg
07-23-2010, 02:18 AM
Man thanks for this answer. I have been wondering this for a while myself....

Berserker44
07-23-2010, 05:17 AM
Yeah I feel like I'm in the same boat as you. I learning a lot on my own and I'm definitely discover things like this on my way. I used to believe i could animate these super photo-realistic models until my intership boss gave me a little talk.

one thing I could add is that from what I've seen is that many modelers create a high poly model, then, from that model create poly model, but by using different techniques like using the map from the high poly character, they can achieve a low poly model which greatly resembles the high poly model.
What I'm going with this is that maybe you can sculpt out a highly detailed model but keep that as a static model, then model a low poly character from that character.

hopes this helps!

rtrska
07-24-2010, 01:24 PM
With the advent of tools like topogun its getting easier to just sculpt and then build your topology on top of the reference sculpt.

For organic modeling I'd go so far as to say that straight poly modeling is a time burner. In the time it takes to wrangle polygons into both a nice shape AND good topology you could have a kickass sculpt with way more detail. Throw that sculpt into topogun and you'll have a damn nice topology done up in no time.

Seriously, it feels like easy mode compared to the nonsense we had to do in the past.

InfernalDarkness
07-25-2010, 02:00 AM
With the advent of tools like topogun its getting easier to just sculpt and then build your topology on top of the reference sculpt.

Totally hear and agree with you on that point. Zbrush and Mudbox also have similar tools, although TopoGun and Zbrushes are still much better than Mud's. I was only making the other points so the OP and company knew the distinction, and the "why" of low-poly modeling.

rtrska
07-25-2010, 02:13 AM
I was only making the other points so the OP and company knew the distinction, and the "why" of low-poly modeling.

Haha, I might have come off a bit gruff, I hadn't yet had my morning coffee :P

I absolutely agree that a working knowledge of low poly techniques is still needed today. Without a decent knowledge of edgeloops, topology "flow", ngons vs quads/tris, etc. a good sculpt will end up with a crappy retopologized mesh.

Doomc
07-27-2010, 11:54 AM
Poor topology means your mesh will not animate predictably and important techniques like facial animation, expressions, and even simple movements will fall apart or look horrible, or bend and stretch in ways you don't want. You can't just rig up a model and go to town with it and expect to have decent results..

But if you're animating, you need to know low-poly techniques if you want your models to ever be usable. Sculpted animation (displacement maps) is then possible, but your model needs to "work" first. Rigging up a high-poly model is not only ridiculous, but very anti-productive in an animation pipeline - you want your animators to have a simple rig they can use on ANY workstation, really. Even a laptop. This means you need a nice low-poly model too, generally.

Just some ideas and reasons why you need both. Learn low-poly, but when you're feeling annoyed/stumped/bored with it, don't ever be afraid to just sculpt and be artistic!

If I understand correct you need the low poly model in order to make a proper rig? Are the steps the same for games and movies? I'm learning cg mostly with cinematics in mind.

CGTalk Moderation
07-27-2010, 11:54 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.