Looked at Zbrush longingly, but been put off by its pricetag/crazy UI/maxon buyout? Get Nomad for your mobile device. It's a steal at $15, works pretty well on phones, works incredibly well on an ipad with a stylus, it should be a mandatory purchase for anyone even vaguely interested in 3d.
There's even a web demo, try it right now, will even work with a pencil, in safari, on ipads with iOS 15 and webgl 2 enabled (should be all ipads now) : https://nomadsculpt.com/demo/
Here's a timelapse I recorded, the fluid feel of this even at speed is pretty much how it feels to use the app. Incredible:
Always curious trying to convey tips in a non-procedural system, as I can't just share an annotated hip. Anyway, here's some stuff that I find handy, you might find the same.
- Almost all the tools are too extreme at full strength. Turn the intensity slider down until the tool feels controllable. Often thats at 50% or less.
- Some tools like SelMask stop the drag-in-empty-space-to-rotate-the-camera mode. To avoid having to leave the tool, touch with 2 fingers which starts a pan camera mode, then lift a finger, and you'll be in rotate mode. The other option is to drag on the view cube in the corner.
- 3 finger drag horizontally will rotate lights/matcap, handy if you want to check for lumps and bumps
- 2 finger tap will undo
- I use 4 tools for 99% of my sculpting: move, clay, crease, smooth
- Move brush for big gestural change of shapes. Almost always go a bigger brush than you think you need, like twice as large, but bring the strength slider down to about half. Much easier to control.
- Clay brush for building up and scraping away of form. Again, use a bigger brush than you think, at a much lower intensity than you think, build up strokes gradually. Click the 'Sub' button on the left toolbar to scrape away material. Eg if sculping a head, use clay in regular mode to build up the brow and cheekbones, go into sub mode, scrape out the eye sockets.
- Crease brush to sketch lines on a surface when starting out for planning, and later for, well, creases. it's sub mode makes a raised crease. I use this a lot for mouths; regular crease mode to define the line between the lips, then sub mode to define the upper lip outy ridge, and lower lip round shape.
- Smooth brush to, well, smooth.
- Flatten to quickly hammer a shape down. Also good if a shape is going mushy, and you need to refine it, make some choices. Stop being so wishy washy and soft with your sculpt, define some planes! Again, lower intensity until it feels controllable.
- Inflate brush to puff things up. Handy for lips, big jowels. As always, lower that intensity until its controllable.
- Mask to protect things, handy for if you're posing limbs close to the body, and don't want the body to move, or to create fake cloth layers; mask in a shape, then move tool or inflate tool on the edge to separate it from its surrounds.
- Mask has handy shortcuts by default; single tap in empty space to invert the mask, tap on the masked area to blur, tap on the unmasked area to sharpen.
- SelMask lets you use shapes to create masks. Select the tool, then select the mode on the left.
- Lasso is a quick freehand selection, handy for most quick cases. Can use this as a shortcut to clear the mask by quickly scribbling a lasso in empty space.
- Polygon expects you to tap 3 points to define a triangle, then you can clikc-drag on the triangle sides to add more points. Tap on a point to swap from smooth to sharp. Drag a point into another to 'fuse' them. Click the big green button to apply the mask.
- Mask also lets you copy the masked region into a new shape, eg for making a wig. Mask the region you want, go to the menu, click 'Extract'. Switch to the gizmo, pull it up and away, there's your new extracted piece.
- Subsurface material is the best. Takes off the harshness from face sculpts, and has a very effective backscatter for ears.
- Most materials are PBRish, controlled from the brush menu. You can control colour, roughness, metalness, click on the shaderball to see some nice presets.
- Subsurface has an extra control on the material for reflectance, I tend to boost this to get more of a sheen on things.
- Before going too deep with lights, make sure to go into post processing, turn on tone mapping, and set it to ACES mode. It applies a grade curve which looks more pleasing and correct to my eye, but the balance of your key to env lights is quite different to the default viewport.
- I use a tip from Etienne Marc for lighting; start with just your environment light, treat this as your ambient 'bounce' light. Turn it down just so its making shapes readable, this is what you'd see in shadows. Pick an env map and rotate it so that it gives good shape, helps the forms read. Often this puts the brighest parts of the map towards the back of your sculpt, so you get a good soft rimlight effect, volumes have nice shading.
- Next add a regular light, angled 3/4 top. Boost its intensity above 1 if you need to, helps with that sunlight look through the aces tonemapper.
- Extra love comes from other settings in the post process menu...
- Reflection looks great, use it.
- Global Illumination looks great, use it. It's screen space based, so ensure anything you want to bounce light has its front faces visible to camera. It's noisy by default, but thats fine, enable max samples and turn it up to say 50, that looks pretty good in most cases, and only takes a few seconds for a final frame.
- Ambient occlusion can help restore detail to crevices. Play with strength and size so that creases look as they should, just don't go too high with strengtht that it starts to make your render look dirty.
- depth of field, its calculated based on the selected object this assumes you've made up a scene of several objects. Single tap to set the active object to sculpt on, it'll flash purple, its now also the object in focus.
- Bloom, use a little bit to help soften a render
- Curvature, very handy to pull out extra detail. Bump is super intense in its default settings, I drag it right down to .1 or less; just enough to give a satin feel or rounded corners feel, but not so much as to be visually distracting
- Cavity I leave turned up all the way normally; its very similar to AO, but tighter, almost like a toon outline.
- Chromatic Aberration is very flavour of the month, but I love it in small amounts, like 0.25
- Sharpness, yes, small amount
It's under the main file menu, at the bottom. It'll do the multisample render if you've asked for it, then bring up the image ready to save to your photos, or airdrop to someone.
Export to houdini via GLTF
Nomad stores the point colour/roughness/metalness in gltf in a packed format that other apps understand, but the houdini gltf importer doesn't. Benjamin Lemoine and Jsmack shared a method on the sidefx forums to translate these into Houdini friendly values. The original post is here: https://www.sidefx.com/forum/topic/75110/
To save opening up the hip, here's the steps:
- Ensure @Cd and @COLOR_1 are at the point level (the gltf importer sometimes defaults to putting it on verts)
- Put down an attribute swap, move 'Cd' to 'data'. This is required as Cd is imported as 3 ints, while houdini expects colour to be a 3 float.
- This wrangle to do the bitshifting to extract colour, and bring it down to a 0 to 1 value, and do a similar trick to @COLOR_1 to extract roughness, metalness, mask:
int packed=int(v@data); int red = packed & 255; int green = shrz(packed & 65280, 8); int blue = shrz(packed & 16711680,16); v@Cd = set(red,green,blue)/255.0; packed=int(p@COLOR_1); red = packed & 255; green = shrz(packed & 65280, 8); blue = shrz(packed & 16711680,16); f@rough=red/255.0; f@metallic=green/255.0; f@mask=blue/255.0;
Tidy up so that the only attributes left are Cd, metallic, rough, mask, and you're golden.
Export to Procreate and AR
Overall fairly simple, you'd need to do these prep steps no matter what. Steps are
- Tidy and Decimate
- UV and bake textures
I've also recorded this whole process and uploaded it to youtube: https://youtu.be/ybXCa6NSMwM
Tidy and Decimate
- Save your sculpt with a new name, this process is pretty destructive, you want to have backups!
- Bake and join all your mirroring, instances, delete lights, so you just have a single object
- Topology menu (where you'd choose subdivisions/voxel remesh), go to the decimation tab
- Set the amount to 50%, turn on wireframe, click decimate. Repeat until you're down to under 20k at least. Wireframe should look game-engine friendly, but model should look relatively smooth when you turn off wireframe.
Uv and bake textures
- Generate uv's with the 'unwrap atlas' button
- Click the 'Bake Vertex Painting' button
- Check the bake by turning off 'uv' on the bottom toolbar, and on the lighting menu turn off 'show painting', to prove that the textures are ok.
- Save at this step if you want
- File menu, scroll down to export
- Select 'OBJ'
- 'export vertex colours' off
- 'export pbr paint' on
- 'export normals' on
- 'export textures' on
- Click 'export obj'
- Choose 'save to files', save it somewhere, i usually put it 'on my ipad', in a new folder nomad/export
- It will save a subfolder named after your project, with an obj, mtl, and a subfolder with textures
Import to Procreate
Ultimately its 'drag a folder into procreate', but that needs some typical ipadOS fiddling.
- Open procreate
- Split your screen to have the files app side by side.
- Find the exports folder in files so you can see the folder nomad created named after your project
- Long press on the folder, drag it over to the procreate gallery
- You're done with the files app, you can make procreate fullscreen again.
- Tap the newly created canvas
- You should now see your model with colour/roughness/metal maps pre-assigned
To verify, open the layers, click the cube icon on the base layer, it will expand to show the colour/roughness/metal maps
If you don't see this, or the viewport is acting strangely, force quit procreate, it should be correct on the second go.
Update maps in Procreate from files
If you need to update the maps again:
- splitscreen procreate and files
- expand out the layers to see the maps in procreate
- select the map you want to update, roughness for example, so its highlighted in blue
- in files, browse to the exported maps folder
- long press on the roughness map in files
- drag it over the highlighted roughness map layer slot in procreate
AR export from procreate and reality composer
Procreate has native AR support, in the gear menu you can choose 'preview in AR', or you can export a USDZ.
The scale is often too big, this can be quickly fixed in reality composer from apple. Download it, do the following:
- In settings, find reality composer, enable 'export USDZ'
- Open reality composer, click the plus to create a new project
- Click the plus, choose 'imported model', find the usdz from procreate
- Select it to add it to the project
- Select, in its properties set its scale to 1%, and its Y transform to 0
- Reframe the view, drag to pop the model onto the ground
- Export a USDZ
- Send to your friends
- Be popular