Modeling a Sci-Fi Helmet in Blender

This advanced, in-depth Blender video course is about freeing your inner sci-fi designer nerd through conceptual sculpting and complex modeling. In this tutorial you'll learn about the mysterious art of hard-surface sculpting as well as how to convert your heavy sculpture to an optimized polygon model.

Face it. Space Marines are cool.

It’s a special time in every Digital Artist’s journey when the desire to design and build a space marine’s helmet is overwhelming. And that time is now. Take a moment to be inspired by the great sci-fi space marine designs from Blizzard, Mike Nash, Vitaly Bulgarov, Fausto De Martini, and others. The fact is, hard-surface-sci-fi-space-marine stuff is cool. So let’s create some of our own! Sculpting This in-depth course is about freeing your inner sci-fi designer nerd through conceptual sculpting and complex modeling. First we’ll approach the design of a custom helmet with Blender’s dynamic topology sculpting along with a useful addon called Sculpt Tools UI. This addon comes with several great tools, but mostly we’ll be focusing on two of them: - Grease Cut for to quickly slicing our digital ball into faceted shapes. - Extract Mask for easily generating additional pieces of digital clay.

Download Sculpt Tools UI

NOTE: The original addon can be downloaded HERE.

Once the key structures of our helmet are formed, I will show you how to use simple primitive shapes to boolean hard surface details. Sculpt Tools UI also has a feature to make booleaning quick and simple.

"My goal for you during the sculpting process is to let the tools “design for you”. If you take the gestural approach demonstrated then these tools can cause happy accidents that take your sculpture in a unique direction that you might not have foreseen. I want you to understand how powerful this workflow can be for conceptualization."

Modeling After concept-sculpting the helmet, we want to convert it to a high fidelity polygonal model complete with stream-lined topology and fine details. We begin this process by retopologizing the main structures. Retopology is important because the conversion from sculpture to model legitimizes the hard-surface structure by eliminated bumpiness associated with digital sculpting and improves sharp edge consistency. With the main structures rebuilt, we will polish off the helmet with very fine mechanical details like sprockets, plugs, clips, and screws. This final touch really helps to anchor our design into plausibility, which is a key characteristic of the sci-fi genre.

By the end of this course, you should have a complex and detailed helmet model that you can be proud of. But most importantly the techniques you learn along the way will level up your sculpting and modeling skill sets.

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Kent Trammell
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