Traditional Sculptor learning 3d modeling questions

Hello there,

I’m a professional clay sculptor for the film & collectible industries with over 15 years experience & I just discovered Nomad which I feel is an amazing program & so much easier to use than all other 3d programs……I am a complete noob to 3d although I have played with zbrush a wee bit.

I have a few questions I was hoping you guys could answer….

  1. I want to start to incorporate Nomad & 3d printing into my work process…… My main goal is to print items in order to create duplicate molds for Maquettes, props & costume parts.
    Do I need to use any other programs like Zbrush in order to achieve this? Or can I achieve this with Nomad alone ?

  2. For a full body Maquette, do I have to cut it up into separate pieces or can I print it all in one piece?

  3. What is the standard program for creating the building / printing posts?

Thanks again & I hope to share my Nomad work on here as I learn the program…!

How you digitally sculpt and how you print will likely hinge entirely on what kind of printer will be used.

The KIND and model of printer deployed will dictate its BUILD ENVELOPE — the physical material volume the printer is capable of outputting.

The first fork branches between filament (FDM) 3D printers and resin (SLA) 3D printers. In the hobbyist realm, FDM have generally had larger build envelopes over SLA, but the (fine) resolution detail falls overwhelmingly in SLA’s favor. In the unobtainium commercial realm, SLA has actually been around much longer used in industries with very deep pockets.

FDM extrudes a bead of molten material at 0.1mm or thicker. SLA prints individual voxel detail down to 0.05 and even 0.025mm. I’ve yet to see an FDM print that doesn’t look like garbage when scrutinized up close with just the naked eye, but it IS relatively easy to find units that will print large torso-sized 1:1 scale objects. This MAYBE has some limited usefulness in the film industry — or maybe if the FDM print is merely used as scaffolding for further crafting.

SLA has been used by numerous collectible workshops. There are no shortage of ZBrush Summit videos on YouTube showcasing an endless bevy of industry pioneers creating staggeringly detailed SLA resin prints and using it in the molding process. At the same time, jewelers have relied only on SLA printers to print accurate prototypes custom tailored for specific gem shapes. SLA’s main limit so far has been offering hobbyist priced machines with large build envelopes. Some progress has been made in the last 3-4 years. Formlabs’ Form 3L initially offered the largest build volume for $11,000. Others like the Elegoo Jupiter at $1300, Phrozen Sonic Mega at $2200 and Peopoly Phenom at $2600 followed soon after.

Prior to that, workshops deployed mid-sized resin printers with a roughly 6” x 6” x 7” build envelope. Whatever collectible model couldn’t fit whole into that space would need to be cut and printed in pieces for re-assembly afterwards.

The current crop of large-format SLA printers have build envelopes:
Form 3L 13.1” x 7.8” x 11.8”
Elegoo Jupiter 10.9” x 6.1” x 11.8”
Phrozen Mega 12.9” x 7.2” x 15.7”
Peopoly Phenom L 13.3” x 7.4” x 15.7”

From the Summit videos I’ve watched, the industry folk are sculpting into 30-50 million polygon models and I presume using ZBrush’s retopology and decimating tools to squash that down to a much smaller polygon count to avoid their 3D printers choking.

From the discussion in other threads lately, Nomad likes to stay under the 15 million polygon ballpark — PERFECTLY suitable for miniatures and most things up to the mid-sized build envelopes. This still keeps Nomad on the consideration list as lower resolution form-finding sessions and ideation can be done on an instant-on mobile platform with the intention of exporting the OBJ file into ZBrush for hyper-refining detail.


Thanks for the detailed reply…. Much appreciated!