Some thoughts that may help people. Feel free to add tips of your own.
First things first, make sure you know what the properties are of the putty you�?Tre using.
Know your putty
Grey Stuff. Aka ProCreate.
This stuff has all the same properties as greenstuff, but it is much faster drying. If you had it under a table lamp you could probably sculpt a dwarf model in one day with this stuff.
I also find with ProCreate that whereas greenstuff can look rough when filed or cut, grey stuff tends to remain smooth. It also seems easier to make the putty smoother, perhaps because it is sold in separate tubes (see tips later for why this is better).
The uses for grey stuff are exactly the same as for greenstuff, however it is more expensive.
Not everyone has heard of brown stuff it seems, it�?Ts uses are in theory the same as greenstuff or grey stuff.
However, as it dries considerably harder mostly you will see people using it for weapons or armour plates. Basically anything you want to hold a razor sharp edge.
It�?Ts not as tacky as green or grey, but it smoothes well. It�?Ts the most expensive of the putties, so probably better to use in small amounts. This is sold mostly in two separated parts.
Everyone knows what this is used for. It is probably the softest of the putties listed here.
Ok, I made that up, this is just Milliput.
Milliput can be used to make exceptionally sharp edges. Professional sculptors use this all the time for weapon blades.
Tips on using Green Stuff
Age and how it�?Ts bought
Firstly, things to bear in mind with this are the manner in which it�?Ts bought, and how old it is.
The greenstuff I buy comes in a pack of 90cm. The yellow and blue are joined together. You can buy it in tubes with the two parts separate. Whilst this has the advantage of not being joined, it does mean the yellow has a much larger surface area to dry out. This is a problem with greenstuff as you�?Tll see.
To get a smoother mix of greenstuff what I do is to first cut across both yellow and blue to get the desired amount. Next I slice out the bit where the colours join. This part is likely to be a solid lump that will ruin any part of a sculpt where it is on the surface.
Finally I slice off the outside edge of the yellow. A problem I had a while back was when I bought 2 packs of 90cm, then left one for about 9 months until the other was used up. In this time the yellow had dried out all along the outside edge.
When it came to mixing and using it I had dozens of tiny hard flecks of yellow all through it. Not ideal at all. So now I just slice it off just to be sure.
Save all the little lumps to make the core of a model later, so nothing is wasted.
How quickly to use it?
You often see with sculpting tutorials they say to leave it half an hour before working. For the most part this is a rubbish idea.
In my experience Greenstuff remains tacky for about 10-15 minutes. After this you�?Tll find it increasingly harder just to get the putty to stick to the model where you want it, let alone actually sculpt it.
So I suggest you get the putty onto the model as quickly as possible.
There are some occasions where it�?Ts actually better to leave it a while before working (say 15 mins). An example of this would be sculpting fur. It�?Ts much easier to get dynamic looking fur that sticks out from the model if the putty is harder I think.
Another example would be blending smooth the folds in cloaks, or anything where you have a very large area needing smoothing.
Also getting sharp edges on anything.
Keep working on the putty until you feel the sculpting is done, even if you have to come back an hour later. You may not be able to do detail sculpting, but you can usually keep smoothing and sharpening edges.
Keeping tools wet.
Everyone knows this. Bear in mind as well that if your tools are dripping wet you�?Tll never be able to get the putty to stick on in the first place!
After the putty has dried
This is an important step in sculpting, but one which very few people seem to do. You can always tell if people have done work after it�?Ts dried on a model because there will be light patches on the putty.
Once the putty is dry you can:
- Carve it
- Slice thin layers off
- Drill holes for pinning wires, then sculpt spikes on these
- File it.
I�?Tll tackle each of these in turn:
Carving I have had a lot of success with carving procreate models afterwards. This is especially good for carving say a chaos warrior leg, as you can quickly whittle it down without it looking too rough
Slicing thin layers off This is an important step I think would improve virtually every sculpt. By scraping off the top layer you can make edges sharper, as you take off the rounded surface and leave it flat. Scale armour especially looks better with this done if the scales are rounded.
Bear in mind that it�?Ts very easy to slice off too much, and make sure you use a very sharp blade!
Drilling Occasionally I see people sculpting spikes on a shoulder for instance, where they�?Tve just worked the same blob they used for the whole shoulder pad. It�?Ts often better and sharper to sculpt the pad first, file and scrape it so it�?Ts looking sharp, then drill a hole, glue the pin and sculpt the spike.
Filing Filing can be done quite easily, but bear in mind if you use one that is too coarse, it may leave a very rough surface afterwards.
I use two type of needle files; some for filing metal down and some finer ones for greenstuff. That way I know it won�?Tt be too rough.
Scraping This can be a little fiddly, but essentially you�?Tre scraping the flat of the blade across the greenstuff with the aim of just taking off a really fine surface layer in places. Very good for refining sharp edges. But you need a razor sharp blade to do this at all.
I wasn�?Tt planning on writing much on this, but I thought I�?Td mention that it�?Ts a lot stronger if you build in the armature for anything that is extended from the torso AS SOON AS POSSIBLE in the sculpting process.
As an example:
Say I�?Tm sculpting a dwarf and I�?Tve bent the wire that goes through both feet. After this I will feed through a piece of wire for the arms and then I�?Tll cover this basic frame with greenstuff including a lump for the head.
This is important, because what I could have done is sculpt the torso, let it dry. Drill a hole through for each arm separately and pin. Sculpt a blob ontop of the torso that will eventually be the head. What you would find though is that the arms and head are now considerably weaker joins than they could have been. Infact the head could break off entirely later on accidently.
This works for things like spikes on shoulder pads as well. Ideally you�?Tll have the wire in place before the arms are even sculpted.
So basically when you�?Tre sculpting anything, make sure that there is some sort of armature underneath as soon as possible in the sculpting process.