Saturday, 20 August 2011

It's a Fish! (yes, again...; this one's in 3D, though)

Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk

This is just an extra post. Regular readers may remember that I tried my hand at ZBrush in the past. I still try it from time to time, but found that it, as everything, takes time to master, and digital painting takes precedence. The ZBrush people keep out churning new options, so I will probably never get around to mastering even the simpler elements. Pixologic, the same firm that produces ZBrush, now offers a similar program but completely free: Sculptris. It offers only a few controls, which really helps to learn it. It is very impressive. The controls are the same as those of ZBrush, so experience with one program helps the other. I could not resist trying it, and found it a pleasure to work with. Go to the Pixologic site to see what can be done with it, because my meagre efforts only show what you can do with it in one evening. It is very useful for 2D artists who do not plan to go into 3D, becaue it is easy to sculpt a rough shape to help get the perspective right.

Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk

So here is a Fish, of the Fishes IV type; I showed one before. I painted four now for The Book, and will not publish these paintings here on the blog. But having done that, Fish IV anatomy came natural to me, and here it is: six flippers, usually attached higher on the body as you go aft, a large head merged without a neck to a stiff body, and three gills on each side with separate inlets but a fused outlet. You knew about the four eyes and the four jaws. As I said, typical Fish IV anatomy.

Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk

Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk


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P.S. As Luke remarked in the comments section the Fish shown so far are fairly large. Aren't there smaller ones? Yes, there are. I had realised I had a tendency towards larger ones, so I explored the possibilities of size on purpose.

Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk

Here is a rough sketch in Painter11. Its smaller size is indicated by relatively large eyes and by having thinner flippers, that as a result resemble fins more (the second pair are probably too large). I also experimented with a general 'fishy' look by giving it a glistening skin. The counter-colour pattern (dark on top, pale below) is probably a universal trick to blend into the background.

12 comments:

Luke said...

Awesome! It's always nice to learn more about Furahan biology.

Do the different classes of fish occupy different broad ecological niches from one another? It seems as though all of them are more like marine reptiles and mammals than "fish proper". Are there smaller organisms that play the roles of regular fish?

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

Luke: The differences in anatomy between the different Fish classes cause some differences in niches they can exploit, but only moderately so. Fishes IV, V and VI are therefore found almost everywhere.

And there are smaller ones too. I just altered to post to give you an example...

rodlox said...

very interesting post.

I'm trying one of the programs you suggested (Sculptris), and its fun - but I'm not sure how you managed to get an oval for the fish shape. (for me, its stuck on sphere)

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

Rodlox: Sculptis has only two 'primitives': a sphere and a plane, which you might as well forget. Anything you see on the Sculptris site or the forum starts with a sphere. To produce an elongated shape, use a large brush and the 'grab' brush. Place the brush on the side of the sphere and drag the mouse sideways. The sphere will form a bulge. Do this with adjacent areas, and you can make a cylinder. Once you have that, you can repeat it for limbs, etc.

Luke said...

Nice sketch, that definitely clears things up :) . I still like the way the Fishes have taken over secondarily-aquatic-tetrapod niches.

So are cloakfish and tubefish bit players in the world of swimming animals, like squid and krill on Earth?

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

Luke: that is basically correct. But do not underestimate the biomass of krill and squid: I found estimates stating that each makes up about 20-40% of the biomass of fish. I guess that tubefish and cloakfish make up a smaller proportion of Furahan Fish (IV, V and VI; I, II and II hardly count).

Of course, there are also secondarily aquatic hexapods...

Evan Black said...

I'm excited to see more free 3D programs available, even if they are only basic.

One question I have is about the ability to clone shapes. Your model, for example, has four fins; were you able to make only one pair then copy them to make the second pair or did you have to sculpt each pair separately?

Also, is there any option for posing a model after the details have been sculpted? Can you work out all the shapes and details of the model then move the elements around to put the limbs in different positions or turn a head to one side or the other?

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

Hi Evan,

I have not seen anything like a clone feature in Sculptris, so I made all flippers separately (ZBrush probably has).

As for posing, yes, I this is possible. There is a rotate button, and you can set that to global I think. If you mask a large part of your creation and apply a rotation on the rest, that will happen. I only played with that once to see if that helped sculpt the inside of a long mouth.

One thing that I did not figure out immediately: I had trouble at first when 'grabbing' the fins: their end consisted of very few triangles, losing details. To see them press W. I had not understood that this was because the detail slider was at zero. With a higher value it adds new triangles all the time (that you can then reduce again when needed).

Evan Black said...

Excellent! Perhaps it's time for me to graduate from SketchUp and start doing some actual 3D sculpting.

Evan Black said...

Sadly, I've found that my current computer doesn't have a powerful enough graphics card to support Sculptris. It looks like SketchUp is here to stay until it's time for a computer upgrade. :(

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

Evan: that is sad; I was looking forward to sculpted Nereidian animals.

Evan Black said...

Oh, it'll happen. Just not with my current computer.