Sculptember 2019

Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019 — 940 words / 5 minutes

I 've been challenging myself with new projects lately, attempting to stretch my creative horizons. For September, I decided to participate in Sculptember 2019. I would complete a new speed sculpt each day of the month based on a specific list of prompts.

Sculptember 2019 Prompts

That’s thirty sculpts in thirty days.

But that didn’t seem challenging enough, so I decided to do it with a beta[1] version of Blender. I’m familiar with ZBrush[2], but I’d been hearing great things about the new sculpt tools in Blender 2.81 and wanted to give them a shot.

How did I do? Quite well, I think. Each day after work I’d download the latest build of Blender and start crackin’ on the prompt du jour.

Not only did I complete the challenge, I feel like I finished stronger than I started. Blender got more stable each day, and my comfort in using the new voxel remeshing, and other new sculpt tools, were improving just as rapidly.

So here they are, all thirty sculpts from the month of September. I have my favorites, what are yours?

Day 01 - Spiky Day 02 - Soft Day 03 - Half Day 04 - Square Day 05 - Portrait Day 06 - Broken Day 07 - Plated Day 08 - Monster Day 09 - Beauty Day 10 - Cyborg Day 11 - Elf Day 12 - Troll Day 13 - Anatomy Day 14 - Bones Day 15 - Damaged Day 16 - Teeth Day 17 - Old Day 18 - Hammer Day 19 - Box Day 20 - Furry Day 21 - Smile Day 22 - Round Day 23 - Evil Day 24 - Cute Day 25 - Armor Day 26 - Magic Day 27 - Helmet Day 28 - Holes Day 29 - Hybrid Day 30 - Crown

BTS[3]

If you’re curious, here’s my typical process when creating a sculpt.

  1. Blockout – Just get the basic shapes in place: spheres, cubes, etc.
  2. Shape Up – Do a first pass of each object to get them close to the right shape.
  3. Refinement – Work on all of the objects, focusing on proportions and likeness. This step is usually the longest. I’ll wind up merging a lot of the objects at this point.
  4. Color – For these sculpts I used vertex painting and a custom shader that let me use the vertex paint data for specifying Roughness and SSS.
  5. Posing – Up to this point I like to keep the model as symmetrical as possible. I can keep the X Mirror option enabled to speed up the process. But I’ll break that here, you don’t want to have a “t-pose” as your final (Although I did a couple of times – Ran out of time on those).
  6. Rendering – I used Eevee, so this was super fast.
  7. Publishing – Post it on social media with the right hashtags and call it done.
Blockout Shape Up 1 Shape Up 2 Refinement Color Final Blockout Shape Up Posing Final

That’s it. I had a blast doing these pieces. I’ve been very impressed with Blender’s new sculpting tools and (probably by 2.82) could see forsaking ZBrush and using Blender as my go-to sculpting tool.

Oh, it looks like there’s a “SculptJanuary” challenge too – This one was so fun, I think I’ll have to do it. By then I guess I can test Blender 2.82.


  1. Alpha, actually. Blender 2.81 didn’t officially reach “beta” until October. ↩︎

  2. I took Shane Olson’s awesome course on ZBrush, and re-sculpted the Drumpf game model with that knowledge – I highly recommend signing up if you’re interested in sculpting stylized characters using ZBrush. Or Blender, I guess, since my knowledge transferred pretty well. ↩︎

  3. As in, Behind the Scenes, not the Korean boy band. ↩︎