Bas Relief & Other Works

Hi All,

Again something I did back in 2010 when Skulls were all the rage.

The sculpt was far from perfect but hey I still wear them to this day. The flat spot on the back of the skull is purely for balance when taking them off.

You can see the finding base is fairly chunky, this was to leave enough material for customisation per client.

Set with 4 x 10pt (3mm) RB White Diamonds (although the photograph shows a variation in pinks and a large diamond base).


Just rooting through some of my old files.

This is a mock up bas relief in the rough stage. Originally this was for his ‘100th test century’ but unfortunately the project never came off so all work stopped.

Maybe one day I’ll finish it off for fun. Test cut in aluminium:


Beautiful works! :+1:small_orange_diamond:+1:small_orange_diamond:+1:

Thanks Lexxx69, I really enjoy looking at your work, keep it up :smiley:

super works ) can u add video tutorial to explain process? )

Hey thanks Brightori. I’ll try to post a video soon, but similar to how you would create a full 3d model each defining area is broken down into separate subtool. example: Face, Eyes, Hair, Stubble/Beard, Clothes. Then to make it 1 model I’ll use ZProject to a high res plane, refine then export.

A question if you don’t mind
say you finish a model in zbrush do you export it as a stl file? I dont see many export options

do you use a stl file in powermill? No surfaces
Im attempting learning 5 axis simultaneous but its a shot in the dark
way more difficult than any 4 axis work ive ever done without any direction
even more so with an stl file thats got no surfaces and it seems uncontrollable
at least to a scrub like me


Good to hear from you.

If you use Decimation Master and 3d Print Exporter from the ZPlugin menu you should be able to generate the STL you need. Failing that I would export the OBJ, scale, size and position in Rhino, then export the STL from there.

You can then import the STL directly into Powermill along with any IGES surfaces you may have created.

To rough out the piece I use 3+2 (2 axis position, 3 axis cut), or use 4 axis roughing strategies (turning).

There is no easy way to determine which simultaneous strategy works best on a model. You often and to create more than one to cover the whole piece.

Take a look at and play around with point projection. This angles the cutter at a central point within the model. (you are able to move this point to a desired location, example: you may choose to place the point directly in the middle of the skull head).

As with all these things its trial and error,

Let me know how you get on,

All the best,


Thanks for the response I really appreciate it
from someone who is doing what I want to do
ive still got a way to go but im chipping away at it everyday
while developing my sculpting hand
I haven’t even drawn since I was a kid im kind of suprised ive rediscovered my artistic side

The rhinocam asks for boundary vectors for swarf and most of its other tool paths

I’m just lost how in the world are you supposed to have boundary lines on meshs
that’s the part that gets me with stl files no surfaces that have boundaries just 1 glob Of mesh
kind a wants to cut every where and ends up cutting the id while at the same time cutting through the outside destroying the ring

Excellent work

Nice Stuff!

I’m familiar with sculpting in Zbrush. Just got a job at an embossing shop. I want to explore sculpting in Zbrush, then importing directly to Artcam.

My question is: how do you figure out real-world sizes in Zbrush? For instance, I’d like to make a relief that will fit into a 1 1/2" area. Can Artcam do that? Can I figure it out in Zbrush before exporting?

Thanks for your info.

Wonderful reliefs! Nice to see a fellow user of Artcam along with Zbrush! The connection of the two programs is a window worth exploring for any jewelry designer. Going back and forth between the programs is also very beneficial when generating toolpaths for the CNC.

Hi all, thanks and sorry for the late replies. Works been pretty full on.

Thanks beneath_the_surface, much appreciated.

Thanks Germinate:

  • I almost always create both zbrush and artcam reliefs as a square (not rectangular) plane, it just makes it easier to align / import back to artcam. So no matter what the x/y size is in zbrush, import the model at set the size you want in artcam.

  • To gain an accurate z depth of a model I’ll do the initial sculpt in zbrush, import to artcam, scale the relief, take it back to zbrush and refine some more (and so on).

  • If you have an existing artcam relief you want to add to, 1) Export the relief either as an STL or BMP/TIFF and use as reference (settings accurate depths etc) 2) Create masks in artcam (add bitmap, fill the masking vectors with black or white) and export. 3) Add masks and sculpt on a separate subdivided plane.

Thanks camarafineart: Exactly, jumping between both applications is pretty seamless these days. I’m meeting more and more people using zbrush in the manufacturing world, especially jewellery.

Speak to you all soon,

Thanks for all the good info Angus :+1:! Definitely helped!

I’ll be CNCing my first die today and it looks good in the computer anyway.

I have a few follow-up questions about sculpting reliefs in Zbrush however.

First, how do you keep the sculpt within the mask? I had a mask around the outer border of my design, but things like inflate and clay would sometimes push it out beyond the masked area. I tried to fix as I went along, but I missed it in a couple spots.

Another problem I had along that masked edge was not getting the good smoothness you did. Afterward I thought if I remeshed and put some polyflow along that edge, it would’ve helped. Do you have any other ideas?

Another problem along that same masked edge was that I pushed some of the sculpt behind the plane. I though I cleaned it all up, but I missed some of it, which Artcam was not happy with. How to prevent or fix that issue?

Lastly, I’m wondering: Is there any advantage to sculpting in relief as opposed to sculpting in the round and then projecting onto a plane?

Thanks for all your time.

Gr8! Very similar to the relief of the XIX century

how do you get the obj mesh that zbrush exports converted to surfaces for programming
or does powermill pickup and work with objs

ahhh I just discovered deskproto

this will do

Thanks lingz57 :slight_smile:

beneath_the_surface: I often add surfaces to the project (like a cufflink shank) but never convert the mesh from zbrush to a surface. Powermill can handle mesh objects really well.

Germinate: How did the die come out? Did it work?

  • If you have a solid black and white BMP and import it into zbrush you should’nt (in theory) be able to move the masked areas. If you are masking by hand you may get some falloff.

  • Smooth edges depends on your sub-division, if you start low to add ‘the meat’ to your relief you should be able to refine it as you bump up the sub-div. If its still an issue I flip the mask, blur it slightly and manually smooth the edge.

  • If you have another plane as a separate subtool u can see which areas are dropping below. I’ll often project them back to make it perfectly flat.

  • Sometimes I will create a full 3d model and use project yes (like in the dragon sculpture). Works very well.

I used my image as an alpha for the masking brush, then dragged it out onto my plane. Is that what you mean about the BMP?

I started out with a high resolution in order to get a crisp edge on the mask and I used Sharpen Mask to make sure. The mask itself didn’t really move, it was the geo underneath that moved, dragging the mask with it.

My die came out nicely thanks. It’s for a video game that hasn’t been relesed so I can’t share yet. The client was happy and now the video game company will see the proofs and we’ll see if they have any changes.

Reprojecting onto a new plane as you mention should pretty much solve my issues. Also, I discovered in the meantime in Artcam the Zero Under Color or Zero Inside or Outside Vector. Very simple and quick :cool:.

One isse I ran into though was the geo in Artcam. I can’t find any options for exportring the mesh so it seems to decimate. It was a ittle rough and not very good for sculpting. I suppose next time I would remesh and try to get some smoothness back with subdividing.

Thanks Again!