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Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?

Hand sculpted
64 (91.4%)
Computer designed
6 (8.6%)

Total Members Voted: 70

Author Topic: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?  (Read 3717 times)

Offline Cubs

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Re: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?
« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2023, 04:51:31 PM »
For me? Hand sculpted all the way. But that's because what I like most are individual human(oid) models with character and life above all else - crisp and precise detailing or large numbers of 'troops' aren't my bag, nor are vehicles, robots, terrain pieces, etc..   I get the advantages of computer design and 3d printing and actually enjoy the fact that the hobby is able to provide that option now for others, but it's not for me.
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Offline Robosmith

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Re: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?
« Reply #31 on: December 07, 2023, 06:46:19 PM »
I think that's a good point actually.

I much rather prefer miniatures that are designed as game pieces first (easy to assemble and put together; easy to paint without lots of hard to reach recesses; easy to rank up and that take up no more space than the base they're meant for etc...) rather than a model that might look great in theory but is fiddly and risks coming apart if I were to actually use it in a game.
We're in the unfortunate position where the most popular model lines for the most popular games are hyper detailed messes. Annoying to build and even worse to paint. So even as a market gamers are embracing the bad aspects unfortunately.

Offline Easy E

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Re: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?
« Reply #32 on: December 07, 2023, 07:00:34 PM »
This topic makes me bitter.   lol

Why? 

I spent a lot of time in the Aughts learning how to sculpt figures to a passable, but not great result.  Then, everything went to computer sculpting and all those skills I spent way too much time getting better at were useless! 

Hmph..... hmph I say!
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Offline Freddy

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Re: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?
« Reply #33 on: December 07, 2023, 07:10:08 PM »
This topic makes me bitter.   lol

Why? 

I spent a lot of time in the Aughts learning how to sculpt figures to a passable, but not great result.  Then, everything went to computer sculpting and all those skills I spent way too much time getting better at were useless! 

Hmph..... hmph I say!
I do not think it is useless
-you can not modify existing figures with 3d printing
-I do not know how much time it takes exactly to make a figure properly in 3d, but should not be that much less as doing it by hand, from then on it is a question of preference rather than one being superior over another, and having an off-screen hobby is always nice.

(this is all nothing compared to what coloured 3d will mean for the hobby... all that time spent on figure painting will be pointless as you can replicate the result by pushing a button.)

Offline Robosmith

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Re: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?
« Reply #34 on: December 07, 2023, 07:41:05 PM »
I do not think it is useless
-you can not modify existing figures with 3d printing
-I do not know how much time it takes exactly to make a figure properly in 3d, but should not be that much less as doing it by hand, from then on it is a question of preference rather than one being superior over another, and having an off-screen hobby is always nice.

(this is all nothing compared to what coloured 3d will mean for the hobby... all that time spent on figure painting will be pointless as you can replicate the result by pushing a button.)

3D models can be modified the same way they're created and basic reposing isn't too difficult and time consuming if you have the knowledge. All the advantages of pre-made assets doubles up with 3D printing as well. I can make 1 space marine body and within an hour I can have it in 60 different poses. You can take the exact same sword and copy it into 10 different arms by hitting ctrl C and then ctrl V. And that's without the additional time saved using mirror mode where everything you sculpt on one half of the model is mirrored to the other. Making clothing is half the work digitally as physically. And that's without pre-existing assets you import and work off of. Digital is significantly faster before you take curing time into consideration.

Offline Freddy

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Re: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?
« Reply #35 on: December 07, 2023, 08:46:24 PM »
3D models can be modified the same way they're created and basic reposing isn't too difficult and time consuming if you have the knowledge. All the advantages of pre-made assets doubles up with 3D printing as well. I can make 1 space marine body and within an hour I can have it in 60 different poses. You can take the exact same sword and copy it into 10 different arms by hitting ctrl C and then ctrl V. And that's without the additional time saved using mirror mode where everything you sculpt on one half of the model is mirrored to the other. Making clothing is half the work digitally as physically. And that's without pre-existing assets you import and work off of. Digital is significantly faster before you take curing time into consideration.

A bit faster, and mirror mode is a big plus, I give you that, but you also do not hand-sculpt 60 different posed marines or 10 pieces of the same pistol individually, you cast resin bits. My entire Imperial Guard army of 1000+ infantry uses the same helmet :P Also, lets take a pouch or loincloth: 3 moves with a scalpel, you are done by the time the computer is still booting :P Also, this whole debate is a temporary thing, 3d scanning is an already existing technology even in the miniature industry, you can sculpt something by hand and then import it into 3d if you like.

Offline Tactalvanic

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Re: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?
« Reply #36 on: December 07, 2023, 09:09:29 PM »
I envy anyone able to use their tools properly  lol

Digital or physical - putty/physical assets or virtual ones.

Even more so if you have skills with both toolsets.

I suppose my view is it's a tool set and a method of achieving an end result, there is nothing wrong with either and very much like "arts and craft" preferences arise, and people will pay for what they want that's produced from it.

I don't see either being replaced by the other completely, just adding to the options available.

For that I am very grateful, and look forward to see what people come up with next. As long as a holo-deck 3D flat 2D version of a giant paperclip does not suddenly appear saying things like " I see your trying to make a miniature sculpture, would you like to add more greeblies on the greeblies and a few more skulls?"

Offline Glitzer

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Re: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?
« Reply #37 on: December 07, 2023, 09:28:34 PM »
For that I am very grateful, and look forward to see what people come up with next. As long as a holo-deck 3D flat 2D version of a giant paperclip does not suddenly appear saying things like " I see your trying to make a miniature sculpture, would you like to add more greeblies on the greeblies and a few more skulls?"
We're almost there, google "AI generated 3D objects". I give them 5 years till they start flooding the miniature market.
Far less active than I used to...

Offline clibinarium

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Re: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?
« Reply #38 on: December 07, 2023, 11:19:27 PM »
I find that digital is more versatile, but wayyy more time-consuming. Posing (in Zbrush at least) is a major pain. It has improved recently with proxy pose, but it's still laborious. I recently adopted CC4 to help with this, and it doesn't make it hugely faster, but takes away many of the annoyances. I am sure I'll get faster with more practice, but I am in the middle of a Zbrush project that's sapping my will to live its taking so long.

Maybe the biggest advantage for figure sculpting is symmetry (or mirror in some programs); it allows you to sculpt a symmetrical object on one side and it copies the work to the other side. That saves some time, but it doesn't make getting a good result much easier. It mirrors bad sculpting too. The big downside is that there is a lot to learn for digital. Blender,  Zbrush and the other programs aren't exactly user-friendly. It's taken me three years to get to grips with Zbrush, presenting hundreds of hours of practice, and dozens of hours of tutorials.
When I started sculpting by hand I had my first figures sold in about six weeks. Granted they weren't great, but they were certainly marketable (and are still being sold). And that was learning with very little guidance, just having a go. I reckon I could teach a person sculpting in a week by shortcutting things. I could teach someone ZBrush but it would take a lot longer.

Offline Iain R

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Re: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?
« Reply #39 on: December 07, 2023, 11:34:29 PM »
A very subjective (and clearly emotive) subject, but for me, for a figure, hand-sculpted will always win out. There is just something about the lack of soul in CAD designed mins that just fails to capture the organic nature of a human or animal form. It's an ethereal concept, I know, but they always just look too straight in line, too regular in appearance, and just too perfect to be natural things (the common exception being the faces, which almost always same to have the same, slightly alien, uncanny appearance that just looks wrong) and the proportions just never seem quite right. The only exceptions I've ever seen are those where a traditional sculptor makes a concious effort to match their old style in CAD.

The flip side being for things like vehicles of modern buildings, CAD works really well.
Proudly not painting Wars of The Roses since... ever


Offline ced1106

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Re: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?
« Reply #40 on: December 09, 2023, 10:08:46 PM »
> I spent a lot of time in the Aughts learning how to sculpt figures to a passable, but not great result.  Then, everything went to computer sculpting and all those skills I spent way too much time getting better at were useless!

I'm sure for personal use in, say, RPG's, and for conversions, this should be a handy skill!

Stick a piece of milliput on a miniature, give 'em a moustache or monocle.

Hand-sculpted usually means metal and resin, which can have mold line annoyances that sprues don't have, and sprues are computer-designed. So that's as far as I get. But I have some decades-old D&D figures whose hand-sculpture has a charm.
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Offline Aethelflaeda was framed

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Re: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?
« Reply #41 on: December 11, 2023, 06:29:34 PM »
Traditional sculpting is already a cottage industry and as the current guard retire (or kick the bucket for the already retired ones doing it to keep busy) the medium will almost entirely fade away. Which is a shame because there are things physical media does better. Things like fur are very hard to make look right digitally (most 3d stuff doesn't model the fur but apply it on top as it's own thing, which obviously doesn't work for a static model). Oathmark's wolf riders look hideous because the wolves are weird chunky anime looking things with barely any texture. While almost any fool with a tool (like me) can sculpt some basic fur onto minis.

I like both sorts of figure makers, in the hands of a real artist, digital sculpting  a powerful tool but i can say as a jeweler with much the same skill set as a figure sculptor digital sculpting has some real perils.

First, digitally created files tend to look like they were digitally created.  they can end up looking kind of “style-less” and looking just like everyone else’s output.  as was written earlier , they can lack “soul” and the serendipity from “happy little accidents” from a slipped knife or chisel, non-existent.  In the hands of a non artist without talent, it won’t please many, certainly not enough to pay for it.

Secondly, digital files are often easy to pirate and get knocked off.  Not a problem for amateurs but a pro might not be so happy.

The main virtue of digital sculpting comes from speed of alteration. A fig master came out a bit small for 28mm…scale the mesh up.  Want a new pose? Duplicate the mesh and tweak it.  less lost effort.

I don’t think “cottage” hand sculpting is going to disappear any more than a picture painter will because of Photoshop or painting programs.  The digital tools help the professional (as they still have to have an “eye”), but the pleasure of manually creating something tangible will never go completely away.  If it didn’t we would have trashed our hand painted armies long ago and only play video games.

Mick

aka Mick the Metalsmith
www.michaelhaymanjewelry.com

Margate and New Orleans

Offline WorkShy

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Re: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?
« Reply #42 on: December 11, 2023, 09:49:38 PM »
As someone who only focusses on late antiquity/dark age periods, I have to vote for computer designed but with caveats.

For me, Victrix historical plastics have blown the hand sculpted minis somewhat out of the water. More variation, better detail, more realistic proportions (you even get both hands the same size!) etc. The kitbashing (which is my favourite part) is so much easier with plastic. You can swap parts so easily. It also helps price is so much lower. Rarely do I even have to pay more than £1/mini which helps when I'm buying 500+ 28mm minis for every faction.

By contrast, with hand sculpted there has been very little in the way of new product in my era in the last 5 years and even 10 years in some cases. Gripping Beast was the benchmark but these days their minis really show their age. Some companies such as Footosre have great hand sculpts but the casting quality is poor. Only Aventine seems to able to get both right and thus is really up to the same standard as Victrix. 

Where I have been disappointed is the 3d printed minis, often in resin. I think sometimes CAD makes it too easy just to churn out stuff. I'd point to some of Wargames Atlantic's digital STL products. Some of the dark age stuff is really mediocre. Many are very simplistic, unhistorical, have weird physical proportions etc. The barrier to producing another STL is so low that quality goes out of the window.

So I'm not sure it's really hand sculpted vs. computer. It's more that some companies produce great products (whether CAD or hand sculpted) and some just don't.

Offline Freddy

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Re: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?
« Reply #43 on: December 11, 2023, 10:06:25 PM »
For me, Victrix historical plastics have blown the hand sculpted minis somewhat out of the water. More variation, better detail, more realistic proportions (you even get both hands the same size!) etc. The kitbashing (which is my favourite part) is so much easier with plastic. You can swap parts so easily. It also helps price is so much lower. Rarely do I even have to pay more than £1/mini which helps when I'm buying 500+ 28mm minis for every faction.
There are topics where hand sculpting is out of the market- who would buy a new hand sculpted metal early Imperial Roman legion for example? But that is because of the injected plastic kits themselves, does not matter how their master sculpts were made.

Offline tikitang

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Re: Hand sculpted or computer designed - what's better?
« Reply #44 on: December 12, 2023, 10:48:32 AM »
Hand-sculpted, hands down.

I just prefer the old-school look and traditional craftsmanship.
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