I continue to be amazed and inspired by Blender’s new sculpting tools. This morning I finished working on this Owl garden ornament sculpture after about 7 hours of sculpting the day before:
Here is how the workflow went for this project:
I began with a base mesh of 642 verts. For this part I used the mirror modifier across the x axis to develop the shape of the figure.
Once the initial shape was developed, I applied a level 5 Subsurf modifier on the mesh. This resulted in a mesh of 655,362 verts.
Upon entering Sculpt mode, I activated Partial Redraw, which enables you to work faster on such a dense mesh.
Next, I resized the Grab brush (G KEY for Grab; F KEY to resize) to around 30 with a strength of 50 (SHIFT F KEY to adjust strength).
Using a tablet, I rotated the model, beginning from the bottom and working my way up in order to draw out what would be the feathers with the Grab brush.
I activated x axis Symmetry (X KEY) (later to be deactivated for asymmetrical work).
Angling the model properly so grab went into the proper direction was essential, so I kept the model tilted and worked mainly from side views while grabbing parts of the mesh and pulling it downward/outward.
This went on for quite some time
As I moved to the smaller feathers I reduced the size of the brush from 30 to 20 to 10 (F KEY).
Some feathers got snagged and overlapped while grabbing them, so to correct this I either performed an Undo (CTRL Z KEYS) or Smoothed the mesh (S KEY).
Once the feathers were done, I worked on the eye areas, using the Smooth brush (S KEY) and Draw brush (D KEY) to prepare the eye area for further detailing.
Once that was done I used a larger version of the Grab brush to slightly reposition parts of the mesh.
The Grab brush in this sense can perform comparably to dragging some verts in proportional editing mode. Grab mode actually works faster but only affects parts of the mesh it can physically touch.
Once that was done I worked on the feet using Draw mode, using both Add and Subtract. You can make the Draw brush carve into a mesh by pressing the SHIFT KEY.
When the final detailing phase was entered, I created a new procedural texture brush by going to the Textures buttons panel (F6 KEY), clicking Brush, selecting the first texture slot, then clicking Add New.
I selected a Distorted Noise texture.
Returning to the 3D view, I began apply downward Draw brushstrokes on the mesh, once again rotating the model. Strength was reduced to around 25, so that textural qualities could be applied to the mesh without disturbing the details previously achieved.
This went on for quite some time
Sometimes there can be an overabundance of detail on a mesh that causes parts of the mesh to overlap, so the Smooth brush once again comes in handy.
Finally, the environment needed to be established. After exiting Sculpt mode, I created a branch beginning with a mesh circle and continued to extrude and develop it until the basic shape was there.
A quick Subsurf (level 3 I believe) modifier was applied to the mesh. Sculpt mode was once again entered. To achieve the ridges in the wood I used a Wood texture procedural brush.
Since the wood texture produced diagonal lines, I had to position the tree mesh in such a way that the procedural texture lines would match up with the tree mesh. This took several attempts to get right.
Next, I returned to the Distorted Noise Draw brush and added some details to the tree branch mesh.
The modeling at this point was done. Next would come lighting and texturing.
For lighting I used a fairly standard 3-point light setup, with the main illumination coming from a shadow buffered lamp overhead.
For textures I used a variety of Blender’s procedural textures.
After some test renders and lighting/material adjustments, I duplicated the tree mesh twice and revised it, using mostly proportional editing, to even out the composition and give it depth.
For the DOF I wanted I used the Blender render nodes, using the Map Value node, with Z input from the Render Layer, to control the Blur node. The Map Value Offset helps determine how far away from the camera the Blur begins. In this project, it was 3 Blender units away, so I used a value of -3, leaving Size/Min/Max at their default values. The Blur node used a Gaussian Blur with X and Y values of 10.
Add to that a RGB curves node (for contrast enhancement), a Sharpen node (.1), and a HSV node (Sat: .85), and we’re done
I hope some of this information is helpful.
Thank you for your interest in my work,