Toward sculptris-like sculpting!

Hi :)

As my new year surprise for the community I will show you my recent advances in the subdivision algorithm for Unlimited Clay: now those ugly long and thin stretched triangles belong to the past! hope you like it :)

PS: before you ask, no, this is still not committed to my branch: there´s a bunch of issues not shown in this video that will prevent this for public usage yet but don´t worry, I´m working very hard to get as soon as possible a public build!

Best wishes for this new year!


note from the blog’s maintainer (Lapinou) :

Farsthary has been working on the unlimited clay algorithms during many monthes (so he doesn’t just tinker code, he also polishes it!): as often in the computer science world, developing a new feature follows the Pareto law : it takes 80% of the time to develop the 20% remaining stuffs (bug fixing, optimizations…), which explains why Farsthary is “only” posting “unlimited clay” stuffs in the mean time..moreover, he keeps learning new area of the blender code with limited help..

Thanks to the new skills in the mesh editing field he is learning, he will than be able to tackle the surface generation tool for fluid particles with more maturity (better designed code, etc)

As a gift for the new year, I suggest for those of us who are able and willing to, to save a extra few dollars  (more is difficult because of the crisis, I know what I am speaking about (issues to find a job)) for him and offering a little donation:as an example, it can be translated in simply smoking or drinking less during a week for his sake.

If many of us do even a tiny donation (not optimal relative to paypal, but better than nothing), this will keep his living condition at the same level than the previous years. Thanks!!

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113 thoughts on “Toward sculptris-like sculpting!

  1. You sir, are a genius. With people like you, Blender will find its way into more and more big studios. I for one am already using it in my editing department as a quick previz solution for our feature films. Nice work, you are truly one of the great

  2. Wow! I really enjoy seeing your contributions to advance Blenders state of the art in 3d modeling and fluid dynamic animation. Please keep it up! If only the sculpt could be recorded, that would make great animation!

    You know, this subdivision algorithm really makes me think it would be useful also as a Adaptive Subdivision Modifier. The ability to subdivide a mesh on the fly both interactively and at render time would be great. Connected to the right inputs (camera distance, screen size, distance to object, texture displacement) it could produce very powerful results. Anyway, thanks again! I hope to see this sculpting advance in Blender trunk soon.

    • That’s correct. Paypal doesn’t deal in Cuban Pesos and given the US Governments embargo of Cuba (which all US companies have to obey) Canadian dollars in this case are an easier currency to get money through to Farsthary.

  3. This is marvelous.
    Actually, i didn’t see a difference between this and sculptris!
    Apart from this being not stable, will there be any more changes to the subdivision algorythm?

    • well, I plan to develop a code (thanks to the suggestion of an artist) to improve/eliminate verts poles, and few other small improvements here and there but essentially will remain … the stability issues are not related to this, are related to the sculpting PBVH spatial data struture.


  4. This has come along very far!

    Will you also cover polygon reduction/removal?

    Using sculptris, the “reduce” brush and the “reduce selected” tool get a lot of use.

    How does the performance compare with sculptris or is it too early to say?

    • Hi :)
      is too early to say ;) the issues with the PBVH are preventing to make such a comparison because is collapsing as soon as the meach reach more than 20k verts.

      Also the nature of the EditMesh tools, that are mainly iteratives over every mesh elemnts , make this not very performace wise so i expect performece lower than sculptris for now, but usable, in firts public versions if it get integrated intrunk some day. But in the future, I plan to tackle the heart of the editmesh mode to allow much more faster and local editmesh tools that will also jump ahead the speed limit of UnlimitedClay but that will be another awesome project :)

  5. As always, very exciting work! It is wonderful that you are writing papers to share with the computer science community and also that you implement this in Blender to share with the artist community.

  6. The performance and cleanes of the sculpt are jaw drooping, seems better that sculptris!!

    This video was so exiting to watch!!! Raul you always bring breath-taking features to blender!

    Bravo Raul! Bravo!!!

  7. I want to say only one thing : You are a very gifted person but like any gifted talent there it is some sacrifice. This it is translated to this : If you want him to continue this road you must support him if you can! So people that are used to smoke just cut some smoke sessions and give some $ to this man! Same for drink habbiters!

  8. . . .
    . ^ ` ^.
    . \ | / . <—– Mind being blown.

    Holy cow. This looks so clean and flexible… and the way it changes the resolution based on, not sure if it's the brush size or how zoomed in the camera is, but either way seeing it adapt the detail level to exactly whats needed to get it looking right is just awesome. Amazing to watch the detail of the surrounding mesh adjust and improve the topology in reaction to the strokes even outside the brush stroke itself.

    It's great seeing all your previous research (even the stuff I didn't understand ;P ) coming together into powerful features like this. The thought that it's also helping to create what's needed for bringing other features into blender like surfacing the SPH particles is even more exciting.

    THANKYOU Farsthary for all your hard work under difficult circumstances to let the rest of us enjoy these amazing features in Blender for free. You're amazing!

    • Oh yes! In fact the paper I´m elaborating is a bit more general, not only about reducing but other mesh operators … the sky is the limit! I just need to finish the first iteration and set the barebone of the dynamic subdivision sculpting and the rest will be much, much more easier to add :)

      • Seeing your results makes me glad! ^___^
        This technique reminds me fractals… I just imagine how interesting and wonderful things we can create using your Unlimited Clay! One mesh can be a base for the whole psydelic animation :)) And after adding node features in Blender I think that here can be some other great improvements and usage. Just imagine… Particle based sculpting – one displace map texture can be projected on different places (using particles on a surface as centers) – almost in the same time. I’m sure this will be real with nodes. And your adaptive subdivision+new smooth will make this method possible. Create Part.System -> Choose baked mesh-brush, goto Sculpt mode -> choose Particle clone sculpt (an example name :) ) – click – wooala! :) The whole coral tree just in a moment! :))

  9. great progress hope to see wonders in 2011
    nothing but best wishes
    Would be nice to see unlimited in the hands of an ARTIST

  10. You sir are sick, I hope you get well soon, well not really


    No Sir I hope you have a good start to the new year, you’ve certainly brought another smile to my face, and that of my 4 1/2 yr daughter, who would it seems be migrating away from playing with sculptris to this baby.



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  12. !!!!!!! cannot wait for the builds. awesome work, and sooo much progress since the beginning of unlimited clay. WOW

  13. Your work on blender CLEARLY should have regularly funding, its a shame that blender development is at this sad point where the best of the best like Raul, are having to ask for money just to cover basic expenses. What if he had a family to support, stable regular income is required, donation’s wont cut it. Somebody needs to raise the flag, call out the community and setup a financial support system for key blender developers. BMesh is another example of where too little funding came too late.

  14. Awesome Farsthary!!! You are a Genius!!! Is it possible to make donation from Italy? I read there are difficulties with Paypal…other ways? (this 2011 will be amazing for Blender…)

  15. I never thought I would describe triangles as being delicious but those ones certainly are.
    Excellent work!!
    Thanks Farsthary.

  16. WOW!

    When this sculptris-like-thing is finished we only need a good auto-retopology tool/ algorythm and Blender will be one of the fastest tools for mesh creation around!

  17. Hi, love what you are doing here, I’m not even yet using Blender, but what you are doing is wanting me to start using blender, anyways I just donated 25$ in American $, I hope that currency is good with you :)

  18. OMG! such an incredible response from the community! Thanks a lot everyone! you all are my fuel to keep up :)

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  21. superb! thanks for all the grate things you’d do 4 blender!

    im just trubled with it’s placement – the modifirie stack? thats because modifires are suposed to be un destructive and te options you change modifie the thing you’d like to do more like prush porps or something
    a posible location could be in the toolbox and contexted in python to be visible only in sculpt mode

    • It’s not really destroying your mesh.
      If you turn the modifier off, you get your original (from which you started) mesh back.

      • i mean the settings normaly the settings efect the entire mesh. curently they seem like tool settings

    • perhaps you are right.
      Those buttons on the modifier are brush options, which is against Blender design. :/

  22. This is really nice, I can’t wait try it out myself.

    Regarding the EditMesh related performance issues, did you look into BMesh?
    Afaik it will should be merged into trunk after 2.5

    May be you could try if it solves your issues

  23. Amazing work !!
    Just a question, if it’s a modifier, that means that we don’t need a retopo tool? It would theoretically possible to sculpt on a base mesh, and then disable the opengl view!!

    • No, we still need a retopo tool. No idea how you got to that conclusion.
      You can’t disable the OpenGL view in blender, everything in blender is drawn in OpenGL. Unless you mean “The 3D view”, but what does turning off the 3D view have to do with UC?

  24. Hey, I just have a few suggestions, on what would make UC and your smoothing algorithm a little better. Hope you don’t mind:

    1) Notice 4:57, where the blob is intersecting with the mesh, that line looks distorted. That is because some triangles are going against the ring. Would it be possible if UC would always make a clean ring around your brush, or automatically make a ring in sharp edge places (Such as the blob on the plane, or places where you used the crease brush). Sculptris doesn’t have that.

    2) In the previous video, where you shown your smooth algorithms, i noticed that your “Shape preserving” algorithms do no preserve the shape very well on sharp objects, such as subdivided and triangulated cubes. Hows about if you make your smooth algorithm ignore smoothing faces which are 90 degrees or less with each other? Treat the edge between them as unselected.

    • About 2 , in that video only where the hard edges triangulation where not simetrical the shape was not preserving, I realized that after i made the video, bcause the automatic Blender triangulation does not always output an optimal traingulation, but in general if the force are balanced the shape will be preserved.

      About 1) Seems like a blurry line because that blob was made with not high enough detail to capture the high frecuency of the sharp edge, but is easy to solve adding more detail to the brush.


      • Thanks for the reply.
        However, Blurriness is not the problem, noise is :)
        Look at these:

        If UC could somehow rotate the edges that cause noise to orient to the crease, it would make it clean without adding to much polygons.
        This would result in cleaner models with less polygons.

        This kind of bothered me in Sculptris.

        Best wishes.

  25. Donated – sorry it couldn’t be more: we’re all battlers, here. You’re very talented : you deserve whatever help we can give you. This is what makes Blender such an incredible programme:developers like *you*!!

  26. Great work! If I had money, I would give it to you! Blender is just getting better and better by the day!

  27. This is wonderful work.

    I have a certain art style i’d like to bring into 3D, this will start to make it possible. With this development of unlimited, almost fractal like sculpting, i see new animation possibilities too.

    two idea’s:

    New brushes can be developed specifically for this kind of sculpting.

    For instance, some ‘fill brush’ that bridges big gaps, in the video branches were extruded, so if you could mark an area on a branch then paint fruther one another, a bridging mesh is created. maybe i need to make some drawings… think wings between dragon arms like in Sintel.

    An inflate brush already exists i suppose, to control the radius of those branches? generally it would mean 3d influence brushes, so working on a sphere instead of a projected circle.

    then when the demo showed the circles being made, some algorithm could crea

  28. whoops… posted to early

    Then when the demo showed the circles being made, some algorithm could create a new mesh that does’nt have overlap, like some realtime boolean merge.

    Another idea is a way to easily select and rotate brances, for instance to make trees, ie to reorient stuff you draw out in a 2d plane. Or, with simultanious input of two mouses you could turn the view or ‘workplane’ while scuplting…

    Maybe some automatic calcualtion of a ‘direction spline’ is possible, to use with certain tools and brushes.

    Great work, looking forward to play with it!

  29. Hi Farsthary !
    I think what you are doing is really amazing!

    However I have a little question, what happened to the raytraced indirect lighting (blender internal) ? Why it was never merged into the trunk? Is that project dead?


    • The Blender team are planning to recode the Shaders and the whole renderer for the incomming project. You will get GI.

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  31. I’d like to welcome Raul Fernandez to the 3D-Coat “core” development team, (not to steal a term or anything).

    I felt, and Andrew felt and Stas felt that Raul is definitely “the man for the job”. Dynamic subdivision, I mean. At least, that will be his starting mission. But, you can expect a lot more from a guy of his talent.

    Fasten your safety belts and get ready for the best. What a combination, what a team!

    Maybe Raul, himself, will chime in here, to introduce himself more thoroughly.

    Greg Smith


  32. Whilst I’m happy for Raul and 3d-Coat, I can’t help but wonder what the implications are of this for this project from a Blender user’s viewpoint.

  33. It is simple it is dead in the water – don’t think farsthary will release something that improves a direct contender of blender… .

    Good luck farsthary it is only a shame that for some of us tools like unlimited clay will be out of reach.

  34. <> Well, I hope Farsthary will say something to reassure the Blender community that this wasn’t just a ploy to get Raul a real job (much as he deserves it) but that the Blender community will benefit from what is being promised in this thread.

  35. Seriously some people need to take a deep breath before writing and being afraid.

    Most of the Blender develloper have a day to day job at other companies develloping tools/software that are in competition with Blender, and it doesn’t stop them from comitting. Raul is extremely talented, and a position like this will only help improve his programming skills even more, and in the end, as he said himself (and as Ton said on blendernation) it will benifit the blender community.

    Chill out guys, Raul totally deserve to have a job where he can devellop his skills.

  36. “Chill out guys, Raul totally deserve to have a job where he can devellop his skills.”
    I agree completely. He did finally send out a reassuring note that he wasn’t under some NDA or non-competitive agreement where he wouldn’t be allowed to continue supporting Blender with his work. That sort of thing happens, you do realise.
    Oh, and I completely agree that he needs to take opportunities when he can. None of us would do otherwise. He definitely deserves it.
    Oh, and I’m not a guy. Girls do Blender too :o)

  37. Many people said it before but I must say it too:
    YOU ARE A GOD, MAN !! Incredible work!
    The world needs such super talented people like you.
    When I get my next wage I donate you as much as possible(I’m in apprenticeship, so I’m not rich).
    And please – you other folks out there: Donate, he has truly deserved it!

    I wish you the best.

  38. Awesome Man I will get a paypal account and donate soon!

    PLEASE release a demo to the public! I am a fledgling modeler and am desperately looking for free software that i understand and this i understand! It sure beats trying to shell out for *cough*autodesk*cough* software…. If I ever make any money off of this I will be sure to donate a percent of it back to the Open Source community you guys are great!

    Thanks a ton Man can’t wait to try this!

  39. I was curious if you ever considered changing the structure of your blog?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.

    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images.

    Maybe you could space it out better?

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