How I Sculpt With An iPhone (Forger Tutorial)

In the Japanese version of this website, somehow, an article “Why I Draw With An iPhone” has huge popularity. But unfortunately, I draw with it very rarely in this year, 2020.

Yes, the world has changed. Chances to draw outside has almost gone. But the biggest reason why I don’t draw with an iPhone now is – 3DCG.

If you are finding somebody who makes 3D graphic design/illustration, please consider me to join your project (Because I have 10+ year experience in web/graphic design field). Also, I’m interested in designing AR/VR contents. Portfolio is here.

“Aha. With an iPhone, you can do nothing for your 3D gigs.” But, if there is a way to make a 3D model with that tiny device?

Well, I know that there are some 3D sculpt apps which helps our three dimentional creativity. You can make 3D models for still images, animation, or 3D printing with those apps. And I have one of them – Forger, which sometimes called “Lightweight, mobile alternative of ZBrush”.

At this time, I’ll share very basics of this app. I want to make a kitten on this sign, so, let’s sculpt it. Autumn Leaves: A street illustration with Blender 3D version 2.9 Autumn Leaves: A street illustration with Blender 3D version 2.9

This is made with my favourite tool Blender. Powerful freeware, it holds modelling to VFX, and business usages are increasing worldwidely. One of my experienced Finnish friend says he use this tool both in business and private.

Contents

Let’s Sculpt With Forger

Create A File

When opening Forger app, you can choose “Start from template” or “Open recent”.
Forger Start screen
From templates, you can choose qualified basemeshes like “Bust”
Forger Template Bust
or “Body”.
Forger Template Body
But, for now, I start with a simple “Sphere”.
Forger Template Sphere

Various Tools

Before starting, let me explain part of the features of this app.
By tapping “>”, you can see “Main Menu” on the left side. This contains “Tools”, “Mesh”, “Layers” and more.
Forger menu
In “Tools”, you can pick a sculpt brush from many options.
Forger Tools
In “Mesh”, you can select a object to sculpt/modify.
Forger Objects
And in “Resource” panel, you can import multiple pictures to refer without switching app! This is very convenient when you have no sub device around you.
Forger Resources

Tap a sphere on the tool bar on the bottom, then turn on “Wireframes” in Display Mode pane…
Forger Bottom tool bar
Forger Display Mode
Now you see wireframes. Mesh resolution reflects the ability of detailed sculpt.
Forger Display Mode: Wireframes

Sculpting

Basic operation

Digital sculpt means, in extremely simple words, pushing and pulling certain polygons.
And the very basic techniques are: using symmetry option (long press “X|X” to show options),
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
toggling push/pull by pressing and holding “+/-” button,
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
and smooth surface by pressing and holding “~” during sculpting.
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone

“Textures” which can be chosen from the bottom of brush icon are useful, too.
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
It’s easy to make surface more real.
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone

I also use transform, rotation, scale tools to combine meshes. Now I’ll show how I do…

Sculpt a kitten

Okay. Let’s start to make a kitten. But please note that I’m going to make this detailed, because this is for a very small part of a small sign in the illustration. I follow an advice “Not everything should be detailed”. So the result will be disappointedly simple…

By the way,

First of all, I make a basic shape of whole body by adding objects and transforming them.
Add a cylinder for left front leg and place it,
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
then “Symmetrize” it.
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
In this way, symmetrical left and right legs are made quickly.
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
Duplicate this object and then moved back. It turens to back legs in seconds.
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone

However, it’s unable to sculpt head, torso and legs seamlessly with these separated objects.
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
So, let’s combine objects from “Object” menu,
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
then “Remesh” it.
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
Now I can sculpt its whole body seamlessly.
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone

Once I’ve done making basic shape of a kitten, I add ears with sculpt brushes,
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
make a tail to bend certain meshes,
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
and sculpt details in higher subdivision levels. (Actually, I didn’t need this phase at this time, by the way.)
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone

To export this, open “Export” menu from the “>” icon below.
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
Tap “3D Model”.
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone
At this time, I chose OBJ format.
Sculpting with Forger for iPhone

Rendering In Blender

Finally, I imported this OBJ to Blender, set a material, and rendered!
Autumn Leaves: A street illustration with Blender 3D version 2.9 and Forger

Close-up.
By the way, “Noč i kotka” means “night and a cat” in Interslavig language (a slavic-based constructed language).
Autumn Leaves: A street illustration with Blender 3D version 2.9 and Forger

Notice

I use an iPhone 8(64GB), so this maybe doen’t happen to recent devices but Forger takes huge amount of memory (as a mobile app). I launched the app after quitting all background apps, even though, 88% of my iPhone 8’s memory was used as I made a new file. It often increases to around 95%, when it comes to complex form or in higher subdivision level. This means Forger sometimes crashes because it can’t keep plenty of memory to retopology such a high resolution mesh.
I don’t mean Forger is useless but this is a hardware issue. Forger is very powerful, reliable tool. But I think you must keep in mind that this is “a mobile app”.

For all iPhones, I found several limitation in Forger’s official document.

  • The iPhone version has different UI from the iPad version. For example, Toolbox isn’t available on iPhone.
  • Shorcuts of stylus pen can be used with Apple Pencil. (But you can draw with other styluses.) Reference: Interface - forger
  • There was “Texture Painting” in-app-purchase, but for now, this isn’t available on AppStore for maintenance. (People who subscribed this before can still use this feature.) Reference: Texturing - forger

But, anyway, I think Forger is a powerful handy app for commiting your creative activity in fragmented time and taking 3d notes to keep your inspiration to real.