Mudbox Hotkeys and Quickstart Tutorial: Sculpting a Bell Pepper (Introduction to Mudbox) Part 2

Sculpting Details

So far, you have sculpted a sphere into the general shape of bell pepper using the Grab, Bulge, Smooth, and Pinch tools. You have learned that some sculpting tools may be inverted by pressing the Ctrl key (Control Mac) so they push in instead of pulling out, and that the Smooth tool can be toggled on by pressing Shift while working with any other sculpting tool. You have also learned to manage the size and strength of the sculpting tools to get the desired amount of sculpting effect. In the next section of this tutorial, you will sculpt the floret and stem of the pepper with new tools like Freeze, Flatten, and Fill, and continue to practice with the sculpting tools that you have already been working with.

Use the Freeze Tool to Paint the Area Where the Stem Will Be Sculpted. Then invert the Freeze Tool to Freeze the Rest of the Pepper and Leave the Stem Spot Unmasked.

FIG 2.22 Use the Freeze Tool to Paint the Area Where the Stem Will Be Sculpted. Then invert the Freeze Tool to Freeze the Rest of the Pepper and Leave the Stem Spot Unmasked.


Before moving on to sculpting the floret and stem, add a new layer and name it Stem. In this way, you can practice sculpting the stem without disturbing the work you have already done to shape the pepper. If you mess up the stem, delete the Stem layer, create a new layer, and try again. After you have created a new layer, subdivide (Shift + D) the pepper twice to level 5. At this level, the pepper has 393,216 polygons. The added polygons will allow you to sculpt with the smaller details of the floret and stem.


In the following steps, you will use the Freeze tool to create a mask that will allow you to sculpt the stem. The Freeze mask will protect the masked areas, allowing the sculpting tools to work only in the unmasked areas. Rotate the camera so you are looking down at the pepper. Select the Freeze tool from the Sculpting Tools tray, set its Size to about 10 and Strength to 100, and paint the area shown in Figure 2.22. Now, press Shift + I to invert the Freeze. Make sure that you are working in the new Stem layer by clicking on it once to make it active.

With the Grab tool set to Size 20 and Strength 65, pull out the stem as shown in Figure 2.23. The Freeze mask is not necessary any more, so turn it off by pressing Shift + U. Next, use the Smooth tool to smooth the base of the stem if necessary. You can shape the shaft of the stem by using any combination of the Grab, Bulge, and Smooth tools. Try experimenting with different tools to see how they work together. The top of the stem can be shaped with the Flatten tool. If you like, you may turn off the wireframe by pressing W. At very high subdivision levels, there are so many polygons that the wireframe is not useful.

The floret of the pepper is made up of very small, lumpy leaves. In the following steps, you are going to suggest the floret without really sculpting all of the details. Use the Fill to fill in the area around the sections of the pepper and the stem, as shown in Figure 2.24. You may have to determine the appropriate Size and Strength for the Fill tool because your pepper and stem will probably be different than what is shown in the figures. However, a Size of about 30 and Strength of 25 is a good starting point. Next, use the Bulge and Wax tools to sculpt the lumps and bumps of the floret and use the Pinch tool around the edges of floret to separate it visually from the body of the pepper, as seen in Figure 2.24. At this point, you should have a recognizable sculpture of a bell pepper.

Use the Grab Tool to Pull Out the Stem. Once Finished, Turn Off the Freeze Mask and Shape the Stem.

FIG 2.23 Use the Grab Tool to Pull Out the Stem. Once Finished, Turn Off the Freeze Mask and Shape the Stem.

Use the Fill Tool to Fill In the Area around the Stem. This Will Give You a Base to Sculpt the Floret. Then Use the Bulge and Wax Tools to Sculpt the Lumpy Leaves and, Finally, Use the Pinch Tool around the Edges to Delineate the Floret.

FIG 2.24 Use the Fill Tool to Fill In the Area around the Stem. This Will Give You a Base to Sculpt the Floret. Then Use the Bulge and Wax Tools to Sculpt the Lumpy Leaves and, Finally, Use the Pinch Tool around the Edges to Delineate the Floret. 

Adding Texture with a Stencil

Although the skin of a pepper may appear perfectly smooth, if you look closely, it has a slight texture. So, in these last few steps, you will add a texture to the skin of the pepper, using the Sculpt tool along with a Stencil. But first things first, create a new layer and name it Texture. As with the other two layers, adding this layer just for sculpting the texture preserves any work you have done so far and allows you to experiment without worry.

Select the Sculpt tool and set its Size to about 20 and Strength to about 5. Then, from the top row in the Stencils tray, choose the third image to the right by clicking on it once. If you hold the mouse over the stencil images, the file name is displayed; the one you want to choose is named bw_finestonedetail. png. As soon as you select the stencil, it is displayed in the viewport along with a HUD that has instructions on how to manipulate the stencil image. In this case, the stencil should be smaller, so press S + RMB and drag to scale it down (Figure 2.25). Next, click on the Sculpt tool once more to display its properties in the Properties tray and turn on mirroring across the x axis by selecting X from the Mirror menu. Mirroring allows the Sculpt tool to texture both sides of the pepper at the same time.

Now that everything is ready, start brushing with the Sculpt tool along the surface of the pepper. You should see a texture appear underneath the sculpted area. Rotate the camera so that you can apply the texture on all of the pepper’s skin. Don’t worry if the texture appears very rough; apply the texture to all of the pepper’s skin, but try to avoid the stem and floret (Figure 2.25). Once you are finished applying the texture, click on the Off button in the Stencils tray.

Use the Sculpt Tool with a Stencil to Add a Texture to the Pepper's Skin. When Finished, the Texture Will Appear Very Rough.

FIG 2.25 Use the Sculpt Tool with a Stencil to Add a Texture to the Pepper’s Skin. When Finished, the Texture Will Appear Very Rough.

Use the Opacity Property of the Texture Layer to Reduce the Skin Roughness.

FIG 2.26 Use the Opacity Property of the Texture Layer to Reduce the Skin Roughness.

At this point, the pepper has a very rough skin. To remedy this problem, go to the layer named Texture and in the Opacity field change the value from 100 to 10. You should see the texture become very subtle as in Figure 2.26. The opacity property of the layer may also be changed by using the Opacity slider.

Summary

Congratulations on completing the first sculpting tutorial. By this point, you should be familiar with the Mudbox interface and be able to locate the sculpting tools, the Layers tab, the Properties window, and navigate the scene using the mouse or stylus. In this tutorial, you used many of the sculpting tools and managed layers and subdivision levels to sculpt a bell pepper. That is quite an accomplishment for a beginner. And you have probably figured out that there are many possible ways to sculpt a bell pepper. Becoming proficient with Mudbox requires practice, but the great thing about Mudbox is that it makes practice fun. In the next topic, you will sculpt a portrait bust. You will take everything you have learned in this topic and apply it to a more challenging sculpture.

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