Making Of

Andy’s Tree-Sculpting Timelapse

13 February, 2015 |  6 Comments | by Elysia Brenner

Remember Manu’s tree model from the December 12, 2014 weekly? Andy has been sculpting in all the details. Better yet, he’s provided a timelapse of his sculpting in action (an hour and a half condensed into 17 minutes) AND notes on what he’s done below. Enjoy!


Andy’s Notes

For sculpting, the Multires Modifier was used to subdivide the model instead of using Dynamic topology.

Since the tree is only seen out of focus and in relatively few shots, not a lot of detail had to be sculpted; it’s more about enhancing the silhouette and then adding the final detail pass using bump and color maps.

First pass of sculpting is using the Clay Strips brush to break up the surface and add the first hints of the bark pattern. The original model is very stylized, so we have to adapt the sculpting process to that — you can’t simply slap a bark texture on it and expect it to work.
Second pass uses the Crease Brush to deepen the creases of the bark. We carefully follow the surface flow in a sort of cross-hatching pattern. Looking at real trees helps for reference! :) It’s very easy to make this patterning seem too repetitive, so keep it loose and spontaneous!

After that we go over the bark and further mess it up using Clay Strips and the Blob Brush.

In the final step I tried to add some texturing and got a bit carried away testing different textures. Also, the model was subdivided 6 times — in the final tree file I stripped it down to 5 again.
Andy's sculpted tree
Total time spent on this was 1.5 hours. It could have been much longer for more refined model, of course… but it’s only a background model and we have a lot of movie stuff to make. ;)

I might go back to this file and UV unwrap and texture it — if so, I’ll try to capture this process as well. Stay tuned!

6 Responses

  1. Brian L. says:

    Lovin’ the viewport depth of field! A nice touch to sculpting.

    I see that sculpting seems to be a noticeable factor in the project, I was wondering, how likely Blender might perhaps see a simple working attempt at a layer system implemented to Sculpt Mode, as a result of this project?

    • Warren says:

      very nice! Making a set of stylized trees for cartoon forest scenes has been on my ‘want to do’ list, but the sheer amount of work involved is daunting – especially if you have to add leaves.It’s basically as much work as a complete character.

  2. Nicola says:

    amazing!! about 20Mpoly!!.. is it possible to know the hardware you’re using? and which OS?..

  3. Peter says:

    I think for “just a backdrop” 1.5 hour is a long time (but making a video takes time too).

    But what i mainly wonder is, why not use a raw shape+subdivide and then use bump map displacements, Unwrap a bump texture image and create a tree skin, by painting on it. As If you had an image for displament, you can draw on that image and see the results directly into blender directly.
    Since you have developers nearby i can imagine then you ask them to have option to paint bump maps while showing the end combined cycles material. (so you could do bumps on the tree while it has the color of the tree)

  4. Br Blue says:

    Amazing Works.
    Are you gonna use dynamic topo for other part in goosberry ?

    And if someone has the name of the musics, some are very cool !

    • Elysia Brenner says:

      Hey BR Blue, I’ll leave the artists to answer your first question, but as for the second, you can see the music credit on YouTube…it’s a mix tape: Instrumental Beat 2013 – Mixtape by hood2handle beatz — glad you like it!

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