The Ease of Sculpting on a mini iPad!

Good evening everyone! Awhile back I got myself a mini iPad to discover more creative possibilities! One of these is my favorite pastime, drawing! I’m still figuring out which drawing app works best for me. Anywho, a big reason I got the mini iPad is because of Autodesk’s 123D Creature app! This app allows you to create 3D models with the ease of your finger and/or a stylus! So far I’ve enjoyed the app immensely! It’s a great way to kill time and on the go! Every time you create a new project, you’re given a simple biped skeleton. This app reminds me so much of Autodesk Mudbox(I imagine it would also be similar to ZBrush–another similar program to Mudbox–) with how you sculpt your creations! The best part? I can email myself the models I make and edit them more on my computer in 3D Studio Max (and Mudbox if I want to….by the way for any animators out there wondering, it gives you a .obj file. So I believe it should open in any cg animation program.)!! That just blows my mind! Let us begin!

Basic skeleton

From this skeleton, you are free to create whatever you want (not just a bipedal figure). If you want to make something with more than two legs or arms, you can either touch the screen with two fingers to turn the model sideways. The other option is to drag the limbs down so that they’re in the position you want. Next you can add points on the skeleton by tapping on “create” and add them either on the limbs or extending new ones.

From there you can tap on “move” to re-position any new points you’ve added. Then you can tap on “shape” to add or subtract volume to your creation.

adding volume

With “pose” you can rotate parts of the model to get your character into a position you want them to be in.


The “scale” tool is almost identical with the shape tool in that you can also add volume to any part of the body where the limbs branch out from. For example, the legs extend from the waist and the arms from the shoulders. So you can add or subtract volume from the waist shoulders, as well as in the neck regions. By the way, if you want to undo or redo an action you made, tap on the left or right arrows at the bottom.

Once you have the skeleton the way you want it, tap on “Bake Skeleton” so you can proceed to sculpt!

From my experience so far, I would recommend tapping on “Sculpt” to refine your project before painting it. The paint (aka the technical term would be ”texture”) is the icing on the cake! An easy way to think about computer modeling is that it’s like sculpting in clay on the computer. For those of you who’ve had experience working with clay (whether you did it for fun, as a serious hobby, or pursued it as your college major, as a career….any experience level is fine) you will find out that the tools here may work similarly to the ones you’ve used when you sculpt with real clay. The “sculpt out” tool does as it sounds and bulges out details. Something crucial to keep in mind is to keep the “mirror tool” (The symbol at the bottom right with the squiggly lines with the dotted line in the middle) on when you sculpting (and later on adding texture to your model). This is so that whatever you do on one side, will be replicated on the other side in real time! This is fantastic for facial features, ears, and limbs. It’s a good idea to turn it off sometimes so that you can add details on side so that both sides don’t appear so identical.


At the bottom you can change your brush size and the intensity(for how strong or weak you want to make details come out). You can also think of these tools like CG Photoshop in that you are “painting in 3D” except that you are sculpting a model. But that comparison can be better applied to the painting options (texturing) in the app(I will discuss texturing in a future blog post). Any who, with “sculpt in” you can make concave areas. This tool is great for creating areas such as the mouth, the inside of an ear, and the inside of a nose.


Smooth is a tool perfect for well….smoothing out rough areas with hard edges. In contrast, the sharpen tool is good for making seams on your model such as skin folds, bumps, eyelids, claws, and teeth. You can see a skin fold sharpened with one of the bumps in the picture below!


The flatten tool does as it sounds as well. However, it can also be great for smoothing out areas more that the smooth tool didn’t work out so well in (especially for the inside of the mouth!).

Finally with the grab tool, it’s kind of similar to the sculpt out tool. The difference being that it’s like having your hand grab at some geometry of your model and pulling it out. This is good for making ears (Although I would use the sculpt out tool so you can have some bulge to begin with to make it easier to grab from), lids, nostrils, spikes, teeth, a tail tip, fingers and toes (I would recommend adding those while in skeleton mode so you have them), fur and feathers(Same recommendation as fingers and toes too),and any other finer details.


You don’t necessarily have to use the tools in this order. It’s more fun to experiment and use the tools in a random order over and over to see what kind of results you come out with. So really, it’s a lot of trial and error. It’s perfectly fine to make mistakes since you can always correct them with the tools provided. As the saying goes, art is subjective. What you create is up to you :)! Be sure to tune in next time to learn about texturing the model! Thanks for stopping by!

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