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  1. Location
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    Sculptris modeling tool

    Edit: This thread quickly degenerates into an unproductive flame war, I have summarized the information here to save the community the displeasure of reading the whole thing.

    Sculptris offers a great work-flow for creating low poly meshes from start to finish including textures. However there are some drawbacks: there are some unanswered questions as to the suitability of these models for animation. Also the auto-generated UVs are inferior to manually generated UVs.

    Pros:
    • *Extremely fluid workflow, easy to use.
      *Exports models into Unity compatible .obj format
      *Auto-generates UVs so you can paint textures and normals straight onto the model using your own custom brushes.
      *Builds meshes with tris which will have better lighting than quads.


    Cons:
    • *As with any sculpting tool you cannot use it to create flat planes for buildings, it's more suited to organic shapes.
      *Auto-generated UVs cannot be reused for other models like manually generate UVs can be.
      *Auto-generated UVs make it difficult to reskin a model.
      *Auto-generated UVs don't allow you to dedicate more texture space to high detail areas such as the face.
      *Models lack proper edgeflow, it is widely believed that this could be problematic when animating




    ------------------ original post ------------------

    Hey all,

    I came across a free modeling tool 'Scuptris'. I've been playing around with it a little bit and it's pretty simple and easy to use.

    http://www.tigsource.com/2010/05/22/sculptris-v1-0/

    It only exports to .obj which Unity can only import as models, without textures. I'm not even sure if .obj format supports textures.

    It is in alpha and it's worth mentioning I did experience a bug where some polygons went through a mesh. It says on the homepage:

    "I've released an alpha version that is available for anyone who wants to try it out. Be aware that it's an early build though, and it is known to crash and misbehave occasionally. Save your work often to avoid getting burned."

    I'd say it looks very promising and worth checking out.[/list]


  2. Posts
    1,943
    Hmm, may i correct something here?

    Official Sculptris page is here: http://www.sculptris.com/index.html

    You may notice that it is Version 1.0. Not Alpha, not Beta, it is final

    It only exports to .obj which Unity can only import as models, without textures. I'm not even sure if .obj format supports textures. Confused
    Sculptris meshes are NOT meant to import into Unity. The polycount is in most cases much too high. Sculpt modeling usually works in Mid- up to High Poly range. For games and realtime applications you need Low Poly content. Sculptris can nevertheless be used in the art pipeline, for creating the normal map for example. That`s where you need the detail at your mesh.

    And yes, OBJ supports textures. Unity is sometimes in trouble to import/assign the texture for OBJ. Means you have to manually assign the texture afterwards.
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  3. Location
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    Sculptris meshes are NOT meant to import into Unity. The polycount is in most cases much too high.
    Sculptris has it's own poly reduction tools. It has 'reduce selected' and a 'reduce brush'. It's sculpting tools subdivide polys creating a very high poly mesh but then you can manually reduce the poly count where the level of detail isn't needed. I made a character and it had 120k polys, i reduced that to 6k without losing much detail.

    It also includes a tool for bump painting directly onto the model for normal maps. So you don't need a high poly mesh to create normals.

    And yes, OBJ supports textures. Unity is sometimes in trouble to import/assign the texture for OBJ. Means you have to manually assign the texture afterwards.
    Thanks for clearing that up. I could see texture coords in the format spec but since it's a text based file format I couldn't workout where the texture data would go. It makes sense that it's an external file.

    I have since found the options for exporting textures and normals from Sculptris.

    Edit: I have successfully exported a model, texture and normal map from Sculptris and imported them into Unity.


  4. Posts
    1,943
    Sculptris has it's own poly reduction tools. It has 'reduce selected' and a 'reduce brush'. It's sculpting tools subdivide polys creating a very high poly mesh but then you can manually reduce the poly count where the level of detail isn't needed. I made a character and it had 120k polys, i reduced that to 6k without losing much detail.

    It also includes a tool for bump painting directly onto the model for normal maps. So you don't need a high poly mesh to create normals.
    True. But i stay with my opinion. A by sculptris created mesh is not meant to be used in Unity directly. The by Sculptris created topology is no go for animation. And it is no go for static stuff too. We talk about low poly content where you normally battle with every tri you can save. You would need to retopo the mesh. And then it makes more sense to directly model your low poly mesh in most cases. Without going across Sculptris.

    It`s another chapter to add more detail to an already existing low poly mesh though. And then it also makes sense to create a normalmap from the mesh. It makes absolutely no sense to create a high poly mesh with all details, reduce it to low poly, then add some bump just for the sake that the normalmap isn`t flat at all

    But that`s just my two cents. In the end everything working is allowed. But i simply wouldn`t recommend your route
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  5. Location
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    The by Sculptris created topology is no go for animation.
    Granted, it will require 3rd party software to animate.

    ...You would need to retopo the mesh.
    No you don't.

    It makes absolutely no sense to create a high poly mesh with all details, reduce it to low poly...
    You don't seem to understand. It is only high poly due to the subdivisions from the sculpting tools. That doesn't mean it's a highly detailed mesh, you can clean up these extra polys in seconds. It is *much* faster to sculpt a high poly mesh and reduce it in Sculptris than it would be to create a low poly mesh with other programs.

    ... then add some bump just for the sake that the normalmap isn`t flat at all
    It makes more sense to sculpt the normals straight onto the model than to create a high-poly version just to generate a normal map.


  6. Posts
    1,943
    You have never heard about Edgeloops, have you?
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  7. Posts
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by Petroz
    The by Sculptris created topology is no go for animation.
    Granted, it will require 3rd party software to animate.

    ...You would need to retopo the mesh.
    No you don't.

    It makes absolutely no sense to create a high poly mesh with all details, reduce it to low poly...
    You don't seem to understand. It is only high poly due to the subdivisions from the sculpting tools. That doesn't mean it's a highly detailed mesh, you can clean up these extra polys in seconds. It is *much* faster to sculpt a high poly mesh and reduce it in Sculptris than it would be to create a low poly mesh with other programs.

    ... then add some bump just for the sake that the normalmap isn`t flat at all
    It makes more sense to sculpt the normals straight onto the model than to create a high-poly version just to generate a normal map.
    Wow, first you ask about simple obj exportation with no concept of the tri constraints of game development. Then you come back with this load utter ignorance like you know it all? But none the less, its better to educate you then it is to just bash your ignorance, so here it goes.

    If you do it the way you just said it makes for more work. Your way is fine for you if you are making a game in your free time with no constraints on time of completion but if you are working under a workload or trying to make the game as quick and as efficient as possible it is better to start off with a geometrically correct base mesh (which takes less time than sculpting a geometrically incorrect figure from a primitive,reducing the polycount then finding out later that you need egdeloops in the right places and end up having to retopologize anyway.)LoL since when does it take a long time to make a base mesh? (You use primitives, extrude and then connect the dots. Most Modelers can make a base mesh quicker than it took me to type this reply) You do realize those meshes are millions of polies large right? NO game engine can run that kind of polycount. Even on highend games, they try to keep their models around 20,000 tris or lower (In any game engine the geometry is always converted into all triangles). If you dont you will run into issues later on.

    Geometrical perfection is alot more important in animation than anything else. Without proper edge loops in the geometry of your mesh, unless youre animating inorganic models (which you arent, if you were you wouldnt need to use a sculpting program or it would be kinda pointless to use a sculpting program), you will run into issues in the first few minutes of rigging your mesh to animate. The geometry of any sculpting program ALWAYS needs to be retopologized with edge loops in the right places unless you are using it for still images or for 3D printing. So what if you can paint on normal maps? If the geometry isnt correct it will look like crap.

    Geometry it is also important in UV mapping, texturing, and bump/displacement/normal mapping which requires more than Scuptris. But that is a whole other beast all together...

    Unless you are making a game where the model never moves, floats around, and never encounters any other light source(s) (from any other direction) trust me you are gonna have to change the way you are planning on incorperating Sculptris into your game development process.

    note: (Zbrush or Mudbox does this process better but if you cant afford those then I guess Scuptris is a free alternative)


  8. Location
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    731
    I started this thread because I found a new modeling tool which I found refreshingly simple and intuitive. I wanted to get some feedback from people thinking they would actually try out the software.

    Instead I got unsolicited advice from someone who, as far as I know, hasn't even tried using Sculptris. Granted I am no modeler, and both you and Tiles probably have greater knowledge than I in this area. However it's plainly obvious (even to me) that many of the criticisms aren't actually valid with regard to Sculptris. They seem like blanket criticisms against sculpting based modeling for anything used in game development.

    This is highlighted by the fact Tiles surrendered on all arguments except the one regarding edge loops. This one I have been researching myself and finding to be a somewhat valid criticism. I am not trying to win this argument, merely wade through all the bias and uncover some actual information. I don't find the antagonistic tone of your comments to be at all helpful. I do not want to put anyone off-side and if I have offended either you or Tiles, let me offer my sincerest apologies.

    Wow, first you ask about simple obj exportation with no concept of the tri constraints of game development.
    The model I was exporting had 5500 tris, that is well within the budget of most games.

    Most Modelers can make a base mesh quicker than it took me to type this reply
    Your phrasing suggests that you yourself are not a modeler. The implication you are making is that manual vertex manipulation is faster/easier than sculpting. My personal belief is that user experience which mirrors real life is generally more fluid. I wont speak on behalf of people other than myself, but with my limited modeling experience I found that within 10 minutes of using Sculptris I was significantly more productive than I was after a few weeks of using Blender.

    You do realize those meshes are millions of polies large right?
    Even though I mentioned it several times, I will say it again: The vertex subdivision algo, that makes the sculpting so easy and effective, do increase the poly count significantly. That is why Sculptris comes with powerful poly reduction tools. In a couple of minutes I reduced the poly count of my model to 5.5k keeping all the detail I required so this is a moot point as far as I am concerned.

    I wont respond directly to the rest of your post because it seems much of it is based on misconceptions about Sculptris. I think this discussion will progress faster if I just write up a summary of my findings so far, and we can go from there.

    Findings so far
    The biggest benefit of Sculptris is in the simplicity and ease of use. You can create a low poly model then automatically generate UVs and then paint textures and normals directly onto the model. All this can be done without leaving the Sculptris tool. You can then export the model and textures directly into Unity ready to go.

    There are some major downsides worth being mindful of, and these are as follows:
    Messy UVs
    The automatically generated UVs look like a mess of triangles. This makes it incredibly difficult to modify the textures in any image manipulation software. Hand crafted UVs would also give the user great control allowing for greater detail on the face for example. This is not possible with the auto generated UVs in sculptris.

    Mesh Topology
    There will be no edge loops and this can be detrimental to the quality of animations, particularly facial animations.

    There are some people who are quite dogmatic about the importance of clean topology, but I would like to see a reasoned argument or demonstration of a model without clean topology animating poorly.

    I can understand that in the days of very low poly counts that anything but a clean topology would be completely out of the question. I will also concede that to get an equivalently good animation with poor topology might require a greater poly count; how much greater I don't know. I don't know if anyone has actually tested this to find out. I am currently working on animating the 5.5k model I have made as a proof of concept to see what, if any, issues arise.

    Being a programmer, this seems to me quite similar to debates had a long time ago about assembly vs. C. People said you can never write a game in C it's far too slow, everything must be hand coded in pure assembly. This was a long held view and some people stuck to their guns longer than others. Over time hardware improved and development speed was valued over performance and the industry moved to writing code in C and reserving use of assembly code for performance critical code. Nowadays most companies write most of their engine code in C++ with game logic in scripting languages. Unity is leading the way for rapid-development and in doing so willingly sacrifices some performance.

    Taking that into consideration, It's not overly surprising that this has met such staunch resistance. Game development is an ever-changing world, with new technology, new techniques and new tools. The most important thing is to question everything and accept new ideas. I'm not convinced that the dogma surrounding clean topology is still justified.

    Since Sculptris offers faster development and a shallower learning curve I think it fits quite well with the philosophy of Unity3D. Even if this comes at the expense of clean topology that needn't entirely rule it out of game development. I haven't heard any reasons why it couldn't be used for static meshes. Even for animated meshes it could at the very least have a place in rapid prototyping.

    -Pete


  9. Posts
    2
    I was never being bias against the program and yes I have tried and still use Scuptris. -_- Even tho it still crashes on me randomly every time I use it. I never ruled it out as a game development tool. I only was giving feed back to your process. I never was excluding Scuptris with anything I said. Which is a big reason I said the last sentensce I said in that comment. Scuptis, at its core, is good for beginner digital sculptors. It is a good learning tool. But I do have to admit that I didnt know about the tool that you spoke of for reducing polycount.

    I never said that you couldnt use the meshes made by Scuptris. I said you will run into issues. Which, depending on the complexity of your game and/or game model, you will run into issues. Such as your textures not displaying (ingame) the way you originally made them. Which is just a price you pay for using a displacement application as a modeler equivalent. You will have issues with the way joints bend with out the proper edge loops. You will have issue the way lighting is displayed on and off your characters (the way shadows are projected onto your character and the way your characters shadow is cast on the surrounding environment (but with a mesh of 5k tris, unless you really messed up the geometry, should cast a fine shadow. but I just felt I should throw that in there as well) And because you cant make usable UVs with Scuptris, you wont be able to make any other maps than what Scuptris makes. Excluding alot of maps that are only created in image editing software.

    On the animation side of it, unless your character is barely seen or barely moves ingame, really depends on good geometry if you plan on doing certain things with you character. Again, Im not saying you cant animate bad geometry (because you can). To have the least amount of issues, its better to have good or perfect geometry.

    In the end it is all cosmetic and/or efficiency critiques. Its not like the character model is gonna double over on its self and/or explode if you dont have good geometry (then again it could if your script requires geometrically sound coordinates for scripted deformations, but that is another story all together) If you dont care about how your game looks or how long it takes to make the game then you are good to go with that process.


    I said Modelers because no I am not a modeler. Im just a guy on the internet that has been modeling and drawing for years as a hobby. I am not speaking crap I dont know something about. I only made an acct and commented to this post because I used to do a similar process (cept I used to do it with earlier versions of Zbrush) and because of that, it caused me to give up on a number of projects, models and games. Because once you run into enough issues with a certain model you lose the determination to continue on with the full completion of that model or anything that it is connected to. But by all means, continue on and experience the issues I spoke of (and others that I havent). Because, in the end, life is the best teacher.


  10. Posts
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    Petroz, you have very bad manners. Your posting above is pure polemic, fulfilled with lies and nonsense and twistings, with the only goal to discredit us and to defeat yourself, ignoring all facts.

    Like your introduced lie that i never used Sculptris. You are of course wrong. Or like your assumption that i bash against Sculptris. This is again wrong. It`s a nice little Sculpt Modeler. I am just against your nonsense advice to use Sculptris to create your Low Poly content for Unity. And it stays nonsense.

    Regarding "surrending". That`s one of the mentioned twistings. I just gave up at you. You live in your own little world, and don`t listen to arguments nor to good advices. Makes no sense to go on with the discussion.

    Are you even aware that you, the programmer, talked to two graphics artists? About a graphics issue? And both told you that you are wrong.

    Your problem my friend, not mine. Do whatever you want. Everybody has the rights to make its own mistakes. I already know how to make 3D graphics, i do it since years.
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    I have it. It is rather cool.


  12. Location
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    Thanks silkyskeeter for your input, it is interesting to hear of your experiences. If the benefits don't outweigh the rewards then this is definitely a futile exercise. To minimize the amount of effort to discover this the 'hard way' I would like make a Sculptris model that fails as proof.

    I would like to create a single test case, and determine what would be considered success and failure before actually creating the test model.

    From your experience, what kinds of things caused the most/worst problems?

    Some things which I think may be tricky are:
    *animation blending
    *ragdoll

    From my understanding the primary criteria for failure would be glitchy polygons. What else is likely to go wrong?


  13. Posts
    985
    Just figured I'd chime in with my sculptris experiences. I started using it and loved the ability to quickly flesh out a concept. It was much more intuitive to me than using ZSpheres was and I could quickly test ideas with having to worry about geometry.

    Of course the result of the sculpt is a horrible mess of triangle soup, so I wasn't going to use it in production. I tried a quick retopo of the mesh but it honestly wasn't worth the trouble.

    But since I like sculptris so much I really wanted to integrate it into my workflow. This is what I'm doing now:

    Sculptris for initial concept sculpts.
    Just use that sculpt as a reference to build a proper base mesh from scratch in blender. The surface sketching addon to 2.5 makes this quick and fun.
    Final sculpt and texture work in zbrush.
    xNormal to bake the texture and normals.

    So far I'm enjoying it. I have total freedom to experiment and find something I like, and building a quick base mesh once I know what I want is quick.


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    Thanks for the input niosop. It's good to hear you're enjoying sculptris.

    Have you tried using the poly reduction tools in scuptris to fix your triangle soup? If so did you run into any issues?


  15. Posts
    985
    They work great for just reducing poly count, but it's still non-quad, auto-generated topology. If it's a static (non-animated) object, you won't need to do any editing later, and nobody else will ever have to edit your model, then it could be used as is.

    But, if anybody else ever has to edit it, they'll probably hunt you down and kill you. Proper edge flow makes editing the model SO much easier and allows you to control the deformation of the model when rigging/animating it.

    Plus, when you reduce the poly count you loose a lot of the detail. So it would work well as a high poly mesh to use with xNormal and a hand crafted low poly mesh to create your normal map.


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  17. Location
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    Yes I started that thread at Sulptris when 'edgeloops' were first raised in this thread.

    Making meshes in Sculptris, then using Blender to retopo will work fine, but it's a pretty clumsy workflow.

    If this is the way you're going to go, you would only do that for animated meshes. For static meshes, they can be used straight out of Sculptris provided you have reduced the poly count to a reasonable amount.

    As I said earlier in this thread, I'm still not convinced good edge flow topology with edgeloops is required for good animations. So far no one has provided an evidence this is the case but it seems to be quite a widely held belief.


  18. Posts
    373
    Quote Originally Posted by Petroz
    As I said earlier in this thread, I'm still not convinced good edge flow topology with edgeloops is required for good animations. So far no one has provided an evidence this is the case but it seems to be quite a widely held belief.
    Is a good edgeflow required for good animations, no. But if you don't have a good edge flow you better have a master rigger and weight painter on staff to build out a custom rig to account for all the really horrible deformations you are going to get.

    This is years and years of experience developing character rigs for games speaking here.
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  19. Posts
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    In my experience, horrible topology leads to horrible deformation, yes. Elbows, knees, fingers, all have all kinds of weird creases if you don't have proper edge-flow.

    The problem is, you got mad because you thought people were saying not to use Sculptris for games or Unity, when that wasn't the case at all. They were merely saying you would never make your base-mesh in it. It still has plenty of usefulness for games.

    Here's the thing. Sculptris isn't a modeling tool, it's a sculpting tool, like Zbrush or MudBox. Typically a lower-poly base-mesh with proper edge-flow is constructed in a modeling program, then they detail it at very high-poly levels in a sculpting program like Sculptris. Then they use this high-poly model to render normal maps which "fake" the detail for the base mesh. In this way you can get an extraordinary amount of detail in games without using nearly so many polys.

    However, trying to sculpt from a sphere to get your character for direct use in games is simply not workable.


  20. Location
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    Thanks for the reply melmonkey. Can you please be more specific about which kinds of animations, on which kinds of characters are the most problematic without good edgeflow?

    The problem is, you got mad because you thought people were saying not to use Sculptris for games or Unity, when that wasn't the case at all. They were merely saying you would never make your base-mesh in it. It still has plenty of usefulness for games.
    I fully understand what they were saying, what frustrated me is there was nothing to indicate it wasn't entirely based on dogma.

    Here's the thing. Sculptris isn't a modeling tool, it's a sculpting tool, like Zbrush or MudBox.
    Clearly you haven't read the whole thread. Sculptris allows you to output lowpoly meshes well within the budget games. The only issue remaining is the lack of edgeflow, which nobody has been able to propose a concrete case where it is required. If you are aware of something which requires edgeflow please share that and we can try it with a sculptris model and see how it goes.

    All I want is to find the truth. I have been told by many people that edgeflow is required. I am not denying that, all I'm asking for is proof.

    If someone says you cannot make X do a Y animation without edge flow, we test it and it fails, then I will then be convinced. If it is more involved than that I'm keen to learn more about the problem.

    -Pete

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