30 day personal sculpting challenge

For the month of June, I’m conducting a personal challenge to create a new 15 to 30 minute sculpt. This challenge is partially to get me used to the sculpting tools and workflow and partially as a way to take action. After all, who can’t find 15 to 30 minutes in a day to do something? Right?

The other thing that limiting myself to 15 to 30 minutes does is with that limited time frame, there’s not a lot of time to get into high details. This forces you to focus on the overall general details and at least the start of the more important details, such as the mouth and nose in faces, etc.

Here are the first 4 I’ve done, and I’ll try to add more as I go. Feel free to comment and make suggestions. While it may not improve these pieces (unless I decide to take them further at a later time), it may improve my workflow or my ability to reach the stated objectives!

Just a quick note: The sculpts themselves is what I’m limiting to 15 to 30 minutes. Most of these, I set up at least a quick simple scene to show off the pieces, giving them a material, giving them HDR lighting, etc. This scene set up time is not included in the time figures, nor is the rendering and tweaking time included.


The first one I did is a bear. This one was done from memory, not from reference, so there are a few details, such as the mouth, that aren’t completely accurate. Overall, though, I think I did get the shape down.


The second one is of a dog. As I worked on the features, a type of terrier seems to have emerged, though I didn’t aim for any specific breed. This one was also done from memory, rather than reference. I’m not really happy with the legs, but there’s enough detail in the face that, overall, I like this one. It has some promise if I choose to take it further.


Day 3 is a fantasy creature, probably an orc or ogre, or something along those lines. I was going to go more full body, but just had enough time to work on the face and get a rough body. I almost think this is the worst of the first 4, personally, but he could have some potential with a lot of work. And such a dopey grin :smiley:


Day 4 is a frog, done from a reference of a red eye tree frog. Although this isn’t quite specifically that species, it is recognizable as a frog. With some work on the placement of the limbs and feet, I really think this one has a lot of potential.

More to come!

it looks tasty!

Thanks, Modron. A number of people have told me the “glass” ones look like either “gummy” or “gel” or “Jello” or something similar. :smiley:

And now for day 5’s entry to my 15 minute sculpting practice. I know it might not seem like it, but I was aiming for a lion head. Didn’t quite get to do the mane (this is supposed to be a male one, after all). I feel the snout is a little long and the nose a little flat. Things I’ll work on if I go back and work on this piece some more. Not bad for a base, though lots of work to do to make this a great piece.


I’m almost starting to think I should have set a 30 minute minimum, but at least the 15 minute minimum is at least having me make progress. I haven’t failed to do one yet (though I did push the time a bit on the latest one :smiley: ).

I’ve never kept at anything for 30 days straight, hope you get through the remaining 25 days!
Also, try challenging yourself by making an asymmetrical character without the mirror modifier/symmetry enabled

Hmm… Might have to give that a try, mStuff :smiley:

I did miss one day, but that can easily be made up with a double dose on another day :smiley:

Here is the 7th 15 minute sculpt. This one is a quick head sketch. Wasn’t going for anything particular. I need practice on different parts, so I may do that for a later project.


Here’s the latest 15 minute sculpt. Well, I spent a little longer than 15. Closer to 20. But that was enough to at least get the basic form down. With a little more work, I could start roughing in the patterns on the back and get the details on the head started, but the basic form is almost completely in place.

I paired this sculpt with the car paint tutorial by Kent Trammell on CG Cookie.


Hmmm… Not seeing a lot of images here on the site just now… I’m hoping this does upload and show up with the others later…

Anyway, I wasn’t going for any particular kind of creature here. I was just trying to get the “basic shapes” in. It does have a kind of terrier or possibly a horse look to it, but nothing really solid.

The cool thing on this one is the texture. It’s essentially the same as the turtle with some modifications. For those interested, the texture is simply a variation on the car paint tutorial. I added an extra Mix shader controlled by a musgrave texture into the factor to get the mixed colors. The result of this is what I fed into the diffuse color and the upper color of the glossy mix. For the darker color of the glossy, I fed the result of my multi colored mix through another mix shader that mixed the output with dark grey.

I used a musgrave texture, but you could use whatever texture you wanted to get the look you like using this trick.


Here are 3 more of my quick sculpts!

This first one is an owl. I only spent 15 minutes, so I didn’t have a lot of time to do much detail on the wings and I didn’t add in tail feathers, but otherwise, I like how this one turned out. I was trying to go for a frosted glass, but I think it turned out more like a gummy bear or honey.


The next one is a Kicking Bear. I had just finished watching Kung Fu Panda and I was trying to do Po, but it wound up looking more like a brown or black bear than a panda and with the failed attempt at a frosted glass, he looks more like a kicking gummy bear. Still, I like how he turned out. I believe I spent a little closer to 30 minutes on this one.


This one is a butterfly and while I like the model itself, I’m not crazy about the texture. I was trying to do something along the lines of the car paint but with using a texture to create something different. I should have scaled the bands so that there were more of them. Still, I like how this turned out. And the butterfly wings were great practice for another model I was soon to do…


And here are the most recent 3. These three represent a subtle shift in my modeling. I had been trying to use references for the most part, but the shift here was in taking closer to 30 minutes to complete the sculpts rather than 15. That’s still within the time range that I was aiming for, so it works for this project.

This first one is a chameleon. The legs look quite strange, and if I had taken more time, I probably could have gotten them more accurate. But I was also trying to not spend all the time on the legs. Because of the tail and the odd placement of the legs, I didn’t give him anything to “rest” on, so he appears to be floating. For the texturing, I used the brushed metal Shader Forge tutorial by Kent Trammell on CG Cookie, though I had to turn up the noise scaling quite a bit on the brushed metal “grooves”.


Ever since I got into doing 3D modeling, one of my goals has been to get to where I can do fantasy art. This next image is a step in that direction. It’s one of the few pieces that I didn’t use a reference directly (though I did look through a number of pictures before doing this one). This is the first full body sculpt of a “human” type character I have done and the first fantasy character that I did more than a head on. Though the proportions are off, I still like how this one turned out. And I finally figured out how to do a kind of convincing frosted glass. It seems I was leaving out a translucency component :smiley: I just may come back to this one and work on the detaling on the hands and feet and the overall proportions.


The latest one I have completed was this cute little elephant. I used pretty much the same shader as in the Fairy picture, but with a darker color closer to the grey of an elephant. I could improve this one by going back and adding in some folds and maybe working on the trunk, legs, and feet some and just general all over detailng, but I still like how this one turned out.


After the results of the last 3, I think I’m going to aim for closer to 30 minutes for the remainder of my sculpts. The main reason I had set a 15 minute limit on the minimum was simply to get into the habit of doing something every day and with a 15 minute limit, “not having enough time” would no longer be a legitimate excuse. But I like the results of the longer sculpts better. This may open up the opportunity to explore more fantasy creatures as the month progresses, pushing me further toward my eventual goals :smiley:

Any comments on the modeling, texturing, or anything else that you think could help me improve future postings (or even these if I go back and work on them some more) is welcome!


Well, this was an attempt at a centaur, but the proportions messed up all over the place on this one. Just as I got things looking right in one place, I’d pull back and they’d be messed up somewhere else. Still, I don’t think this was a complete waste. If nothing else, the practice will be good for working on future projects. Also, this particular one might have been better started with a skin modifier base mesh, which I may give a try at some point.

Well, it seems as though I need to get in here and update with the pics from the rest of the month :smiley: I have several more to add, and I will, but if you want to check them out before I can get in here and update this thread, you can check them out on my site: http://www.blendercanvas.com/image-gallery/30-day-sculpting-challenge-june-2014

You are good :slight_smile: And i would say that also skilled, i never understood the sculpting very much.

A 30 day challenge is a great idea! I’m doing something similar myself. Maybe I will do sculpting next!

I think 15 minutes is way too short. I would personally go for at least an hour. But if 30 minutes is all you can do, then by all means, do what you can. I think reference will really help you out here. We often think we know what something looks like, but unless we have reference, we will always be off.

Yeah, after doing the challenge, I think 15 is too short, which is why after about the first 10 or so, I went closer to 30 for the rest. The intent behind the short time frame, though, was not that I didn’t have more than that time but to make the objections to taking action on doing the challenge minimal.

And with 30 minutes to an hour, you can make some pretty cool stuff!

I’ve already taken a couple of the pieces that I did during that month and spent a little more time polishing and detailing them. Still plan to do that to some of the others, which may be something I work on in September.

Which reminds me… I need to update this thread with the remaining sculpts :smiley:


Of all the sculpts that I did, this one from Day 17 was the one I spent the most time on. I spent a little closer to an hour on this one, in part because I was watching TV as I worked on him and wasn’t paying close attention to the time. This is also one of my favorite pieces from the month, and have used him in testing out materials since I finished the month.


This was supposed to be a cow. Or it seems that way to me. Others have seen a different creature in it. It was also me trying to do a wood texture (prior to Bartek Skorupa’s excellent tutorial).


This was just a quick sculpt I did that was an attempt at a flying creature. Created when I was on a trip. The floor was my first attempt at a procedural tile floor based off of techniques I had learned in the Shader Forge tutorials. Only thing this one was missing was the displacement (which I learned later). The creature also features my marble texture I created from references based on what I learned from Shader Forge tutorials on CG Cookie.


While I was up in the mountains of New Mexico, I was inspired to do this one. It’s supposed to be a deer. Not completely happy with the legs, but overall, I like how this one turned out. Also features the marble texture.


For this 21st image, I started out the day playing around with the curves on the sculpting tools, trying to get a feel for what each one did with the different brushes. After playing around for a bit, this creature started to emerge. If you include the experimenting time, I did go over the 30 minutes, but once I started working, I really didn’t take all that long with this one. I was also playing around with different settings on the frosted glass I had created with the fairy and elephant.


I think this started out as an attempt to do a person, but the head started looking more like a deer or antelope head, so I started pushing it more in that direction. Proportions are way off, though… The head is definitely much bigger than the body.


As I started on this piece, I was thinking of another project that I had told a friend that I would do for them. While this wasn’t going to be that piece, it was good practice for when I do it. I was going for a little bit of a chubby look, rather than a sleek athletic look.


My first attempt at doing a more active, asymmetrical pose. I was also attempting to work on proportions, after noticing how off I had been on several of the previous sculpts. Overall, I like how this one turned out, but I did develop a little bit of a connection problem on the left side, which is hidden by the angle of the shot.


I got real creative here. I was running behind and couldn’t think of a fresh idea, so I just repeated the theme from the day before with a slightly more relaxed pose. Instead of running, this one is walking. The left arm I think some of the normals got inverted, which I figured out later. Legs are a little thin compared to the rest of the body, but this one and the running one served their purpose in doing a more active pose in a sculpt.


After I finished the walking man, I went back to the creature roots that started off the month and wound up with this cute little giraffe. It was a great piece to get the creativity back to flowing as the month waned and I had been falling a bit behind.


Even without teeth, this guys looks scary. Okay… Maybe not. He almost reminds me of the gator on Sitting Ducks. I was practicing the alligator/crocodile type of snout with this one because it’s very similar to the snout I seem to like on dragons.


As the month drew to a close, I went for one last “face” sculpt. It’s a creature with a more humanesque face. I can see quite a difference between this one here and the one I did near the beginning of the month. While this one is still not perfect, for only a 30 minute sculpt, I can see huge improvements. I kind of like the multiple horns on this one.


For the last couple of the sculpts, I went back to the work I had done back in March when I had created some “clay” style characters after finding a book on clay modeling in the local library. In this case, this is actually the plush tiger I did after watching the plush teddy bear tutorial that used some of the same basic techniques on the modeling side before adding the particles. Here, I did a sculpted version of the tiger. Both the plush version and the one here are based off of a stuffed tiger I’ve had since I was a young boy. Done here with a variation on the car paint texture from the Shader forge tutorial on CG Cookie.


This last one is the diplodocus from the clay creatures book I had found back in March. Instead of doing separate pieces, like I did for that project, this is a single sculpted piece. Also testing out what my marble texture looks like on a flat surface.


All 30 of the sculpts created in the month of June. A couple of them lost their original texturing. Only one I changed was the one on the butterfly, which I think looks much better here.


After completing the 30 day challenge, I went back and did some extended work on a couple of them, adding in some more details. Here, I added the eyes and shell pattern on the turtle and made sure that his feet met the floor. Later, I made sure that the feet were completely flat on the bottom, gave it a little thickness with the solidify modifier, and put a hole in his belly to prep him for 3D printing straight from the sculpt. First thing I ever had printed. Kind of cool to think that something that once only existed on my computer now sits on my desk.


My personal favorite of the entire month, I had to go in and add in some details :smiley: I used chicken feet as a reference for the talons and added in some detailing for the chest plates. Since completing the challenge, this is the version I have used several times for testing new materials that I’ve either created myself or in working through various tutorials. I plan on doing a proper quad only mesh eventually. However, I do have him available for print on Shapeways… I just haven’t had him printed yet. (Funds. :smiley: )

If I update any of the others, I’ll add them. Hope this thread inspires you and shows you what you can do with only 900 minutes (give or take). (And I’m sure there are others who could do even more inspiring work with that same 900 minutes!)