What is Digital Sculpting?

All you need to know about digital sculpting

Posted By on Jun 12, 2019 |

Do you know what digital sculpting is and how it can help you with your project? From amateurs to professionals, anyone could need to use digital sculpting one day for a project. This is why, today, we will explain to you what is digital sculpting and why it could be a good idea for you to start using it. We will tell you about sculpting software, but also about the difference existing between digital sculpting and 3D modeling.

Be sure that digital sculpting will not have any more secrets for you after reading this blog post! Is organic modeling the perfect solution for your next 3D project? Let’s find out right now.


The world of digital sculpting


What is digital sculpting?

Digital sculpting can also be called 3D sculpting, but what does it refer to? First, let’s say that digital sculpting is more specifically used by artists, 3D sculpting basically refers to the action of using 3D tools in order to sculpt some digitized clay, like traditional sculpting.

These 3D tools are made to recreate the tool we could use in real life, sculpting real clay: brushes, push, pull, smooth, etc. 3D sculpting software allows you to create what you could not create using 3D modeling programs. Manipulating a digital object as if it was a real-life structure is possible with these kinds of software.


Who is digital sculpting for?

Creating digital sculptures can, for example, be used for video game design, but also in films and TV shows where they can create impressive visual effects and 3D animation.

Indeed, 3D sculpting is perfect to create photorealistic results, but also for character design and character animation. It will be easier for character designers to use sculpting tools than 3D modeling programs to create their characters and their movements from scratch.  


Digital sculpting software: Which one you should choose?

There are actually two types of software you can use for a digital sculpting project. It can be using mesh-based geometry or voxel-based geometry. But what is the difference?


  • Mesh-based geometry


A mesh-based geometry is made by an interconnected surface mesh of polygons that it is possible to push or pull. One of its advantages is that the mesh can be edited at different levels of detail: some parts with fine details can have small polygons while other ones can have larger polygons.

  • Voxel-based geometry


But there is another option, the voxel-based geometry, where the volume is actually a basic element, with material that can be added or removed. It is pretty simple: this technique allows complete freedom in your digital sculpting project. Working with a low level of detail is risky and could destroy finer details.

There are a lot of digital sculpting programs available today. But you need to really choose one that will perfectly fit your project. Some of these programs use complex calculations in order to create the polygon meshes that you can sculpt just like clay.

ZBrush, 3D Coat, Cinema 4D or Mudbox, which one of these 3D sculpting programs should you choose? In order to help you with this big question, we made a little selection of our top 8 of the best digital sculpting software. Figure out what are the sculpting features you need for your creation, and choose the program made for you.

Keep in mind that 3D sculpting is not for everyone, it might require some work to create really good, photorealistic models. But don’t worry, we have a solution for you: You can follow our tutorial on how to create a good 3D model using Sculptris, or SculptGL.

As you will see in detail in these tutorials: 3D sculpting can also be useful for 3D printing projects. Once your 3D model is created, don’t hesitate to upload it to our online 3D printing service. Then, you will just have to choose your 3D printing technology and your finishing, and you will receive your parts in only a few days.


Artist: Barry Croucher

What is the difference between 3D modeling and digital sculpting?


In order to avoid wasting time on your project, you first have to determine which one of these 3D techniques you need: digital sculpting or 3D modeling? Yes, these two seem to be quite similar, but they are not exactly the same thing. Only the nature of your project will determine which one you should use.

Sculpting digital is an organic way to create your 3D model, while 3D modeling software use lines, shapes, vectors to create your 3D model. There is definitely an artistic feeling with sculpting software, as they really allow to create free form from scratch, work on textures, but also add some digital painting. Organic modeling is more intuitive than traditional 3D modeling software.

3D modeling will be more adapted to technical projects, needing a really precise toolset, and less intuitive features. For example, you will never use a digital sculpting software to creating a mechanical engineering project, it would not be appropriate at all.



Are you already using 3D digital sculpting for your project? What 3D sculping program are you using? If you are a digital sculptor, don’t hesitate to share your experience with us!

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