Tutorial: Chess Pieces in Nomad Sculpt

Day 30 today of my 30 day 3d challenge.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you might have noticed days 27, 28 and 29 are missing. Why? Because sometimes life happens, and sometimes it is nasty. But even thought I kinda messed up just before the finale, here I am today to finish the challenge.

With a tutorial too! Many of you have been asking for nomad sculpt tutorials, which left me both humbled and speechless. So, here is a beginner friendly tutorial. Although I try to be as thorough as I can, some nomad sculpt functions are not explained in depth. If there is something you don’t quite understand, please let me know!

Because I want the pieces to be consistent, to look like they belong to the same set, I am using a reference of my own design, which you can see below.

Image 1: Chess pieces outlines

To load it in Nomad Sculpt, tap on the image tab, and click on reference.

Image 2: Adding and manipulating a reference in Nomad Sculpt


There’s this fantastic tool in Nomad Sculpt, the “lathe” tool and basically what it does is create a symmetrical object around an axis. Well, guess what! Most chess pieces are symmetrical to the y-axis! The pawn piece in particular is totally symmetrical, no “flaws” whatsoever. So what I am doing, is take the lathe tool and trace the right (or left if you prefer) side of the object. Tada! It’s done! Could you think of something easier? 

Image 3: With the lathe tool, trace the outline of the Pawn
Image 4: Pawn piece in Nomad Sculpt


It is pretty much the same with the Rook but here I want to create some dents, as seen in “Image 1”. Firstly I create the outline with the lathe tool. Then I’ll grab the trim tool to create the dents. The thing with the trim tool, is that it affects the whole object, not just the front part, but also everything that is within AND behind the trimming outline. In order to protect the parts I do not wish to trim, I will use the mask tool which does exactly this. It protects the masked parts from being sculpted, dragged or manipulated in any way. After the applying the mask, I go on and create dents as desired. 

Image 5: Tracing the outline of the Rook with the lathe tool
Image 6: Using the mask tool to protect selected areas
Image 7: Creating dents with the trim tool


Here things are a little bit more complicated because the Knight, for the most part, is not symmetrical to an axis. So, yeah, we can’t avoid a bit of sculpting here. Firstly I will make the horse body with triplanar. With triplanar what you basically do is create a 3D shape by defining the trace of the object on each of the three planes, x, y and z. It might take a while to  familiarize yourself with triplanar. Here, I trace the shape of the knight.

Image 8: Tracing the shape of the Knight with triplanar

The object I get is quite basic, but you can leave it as is, if you are a total beginner. Personally I will go on and trim the edges (with the trim tool) and smooth it out. You can watch the video at the end of this post to get an idea.

Image 9: Smoothing the body of the Knight


Well, Bishop was my first ever 3D model I created in nomad sculpt, back when I knew nothing about my tools and what they do. (I remember I had such a feeling of accomplishment!) All you need to do is create the outline with the lathe tool, and then make a slanted dent. No need to use a mask either! 

Image 10: Making a slanted dent with the trim tool


I am repeating what I did with the Knight. Firstly I am using the lathe tool to trace the outline. Then I alternate the mask tool and the trim tool to create the dents. Because these dents are slightly different than those of the Rook, I make the cuts while in top view. 

Image 11: Cuts on the Queen, while in top view
Image 12: Chess Queen in Nomad Sculpt


And last but not least we have come to our King. Apart from the cross, everything is symmetrical to the y axis, so I am taking the lathe tool once again to trace the outline. For the cross, I am gonna add a rectangle and then use the trim tool to cut out rectangular pieces at the four vertices and turn the shape into a cross. 

Image 13: Cutting the shape of the cross

And that’s all! Personally I went a step further, and created a chessboard as well. And like a total @#^% that I am, I left this bit out of the video. But hey, you just created the chess pieces, I guess you won’t be having a problem with a plain chessboard! However, please let me know if you’d like help and/or advice!

Image 13: Chessboard in Nomad Sculpt

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