This little guy isn’t up to the standards of my other recent sculpts, but the takeaway of the exercise was training at retopology, using alpha images to create textures, and how this can affect a form in animation. If it sounds complicated, probably because it is, a bit. And I know far too much about fish to have designed this one as anything other than a variation of the tutorial in question. Most fish, for example, have flat, lidless, saucers of eyes, and on the sides of their heads. This one’s also missing it’s pectoral fins entirely, though it has pelvic fins. Could also use some gils. Oddly enough, fish also have nostrils. I have an aquarium about 8 feet away from me. The goal wasn’t to make a great fish, but to learn some techniques. I just couldn’t help doing some minor adjustments.

And now for a little blast from the past. Here’s a fugly fish I created some years ago:

That would be a fun fish to recreated in Blender, but I’m trying to press on and get through the tutorials.

Here’s my fish next to the one from the tutorial:

My fish is on the right.

This was the first of four sculpts in the tutorial series, and the instructor was just hammering out the basics of organic sculpting — which is why his fish is so, er, crude — the the retopology and texturing with alphas hadn’t been covered in other tutorials I’ve done so far. The scales were created using an alpha image.

There was something interesting in the animation, which he didn’t even mention. You can see it in my Instagram post below:

The tail is bending along the curves in the path, but we didn’t rig the fish. It’s almost a happy accident. It would have thought the fish would have remained solid, but perhaps because we did the retopology process, it’s more flexible. I don’t know. But there’s some potential there for interesting results.

The fish is bending

Retopology is a fancy term that means recreating the sculpture in a simple form by strategically wrapping a plane around it. You then project the original sculpture as an image onto the outer wrapping from the inside out, and remove the original sculpture. The result is a low poly version of your sculpture, which now can be animated easily, because it has a tiny fraction of the original vertices.

There should be 3 more versions of the tutor’s sculpts coming soon. The second, which I’m midway through, is much more complicated.

I’m 7 months in learning Blender, and at this point I can safely say it will take me a year to get what I consider a solid foundation. It’s a very broad-based and intensive education on every aspect of visual reality.

I don’t usually do cute, so enjoy the fish.

~ Ends

7 replies on “Cute fish exercise, with animation

    1. Yup. When people make tutorials, they have to make it something that the audience can follow along with and imitate within a short enough time frame. But then I can devote more time to it, and I pull from all the different tutorials I’ve done, and my own rich experience, in which case it’s not difficult to create something more polished than the original.

      That said, some of the tutors are going to be better teachers than they are artists. Rarely is someone who is doing Blender tutorials — all of whom I’ve seen are younger than me, or much younger than me — going to have as much traditional art practice under their belt as I have.

      That might give me an edge in the long run.


  1. Love the little smile. Better forehead, too. And, fins and so on. You gotta love fish. Everything starts with fish, one way or another. Do you think about crabs? Cross between fish and aliens, eyes on stalks, claws and those crazy mouths. Seems right up your alley. Not that you need more projects. Just for fun. Fugly fish? Crazy grouper. Underwater or outer space? Maybe not that different. Keep going. Bon voyage.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi! You have zillions of followers AND are an actual art person, so I feel a little intimidated here but I’ll jump in anyway. Thank you for the recent Likes! They mean a lot to me.
    You don’t do cute? Ha! I don’t either. It doesn’t repel me to look at it but I just can’t find enough of it inside to bring to the world. Hooray for the Uncutes.
    You combine traditional art with digital? Yay!!! It’s bliss, I think.
    Blender. Wow, tried it several yrs ago, stopped bec my computer insisted that it couldn’t keep up. I’m in awe of the artists who make magic with it. Your fish is intriguing, as is the process & what you discovered. I try all kinds of things and I’m old. That combination’s taught me that the desire for perfection is often the death of learning. Whatever you create while learning is its own perfection, imho.
    Your site makes me want to cancel the rest of this day so I csn explore what you’ve shared. Can’t, tho, so I’m off for now.
    ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ‘‹ (PS No time to proof this so I hope it’s legible & not rude.)

    Liked by 1 person

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