Sculpt January 2018

Blender 3D is MASSIVE

Though I’ve dabbled with 3D modeling in the past, I’ve never quite left my amateur status behind me. Blender, the go-to open source 3D software, has always loomed over me as an almost unscalable obstacle. The program is massive, and though there are tutorials everywhere on YouTube, the learning curve is steep. Because of this, I seem to have operated on the fringes of 3D design for many years.

I play Second Life, and have several models for sale as sculptures in the SL Marketplace, but most of those have been public domain or licensed models that I simply imported into SL and gave material/texture to. I also make some minimalistic 3D graphics, text mostly, for the many MEMEs that I produce. Of course, I do those in Strata Design 3D SE, a great little affordable, though limited still-image rendering program. But until recently, I hadn’t yet dived into creating things myself in Blender, aside from this silly little GIF, which is really just my version of this tutorial. Nothing truly original.

That all changed when I found the Yan Sculpts channel on YouTube, which eventually led me to this video about Sculpt January 2018, in which Yan interviews Zacharias Reinhardt, co-founder of Sculpt January:

What caught my attention was the way they structure the prize allotment for Sculpt January. Up for grabs this year are three really cool Intuos Pro M art tablets from Wacom. But they aren’t awarded to the three best sculptors. Instead, anyone who is able to submit a new sculpture, within the given category for each day, is entered into a drawing for the tablets. This was huge for me because it meant that I could win the prize through perseverance, even if my output wound up being subpar (which I had every reason to suspect that it would considering how bad I am at sketching).

But I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I have found that knowing that people will see my dailies has forced me to make shrewd decisions about taking on too much with each model, while also driving me toward pushing my boundaries. On day six, for example, I modeled a monster and used hair emitters for the first time ever. The results were actually quite pleasing, for a first attempt! I also chose, very early on, to establish a materials library which, while seemingly simple, has been a huge benefit to me as I run low on time with some of my models and need that extra kick to make them look nice before submitting them.

I’ve been so caught up in Sculpt January, in fact, that I’ve neglected some of my other projects, like the 2018 cleanup of this website. I managed to move the 2016 and 2017 content highlights to their own pages, and even added them to the navbar, but I forgot to add new content for 2018 when the new year rang in. LOL. My bad!

So, what I’ll do is summarize week one of #SculptJanuary2018 here as a single post, and then continue to update this site daily with my…well, with my dailies. ;-)

Update January 11: I’ve separated this post, which was crashing browsers with multiple 3D presentations on one page, into daily posts.

Mad Squid Productions™