A live ZBrush Sculpt-Off was held at the 3D Printer World Expo in Burbank, Calif., Jan. 31 - Feb. 1, 2014, pitting professional artists from major studios against each other in a competition dubbed "Aliens From Beyond." The event took place on the Expo's center stage. Identical Dell XPS 8700 workstations running Windows 8.1 were set up, each with a Wacom Cintiq graphics tablet as primary display and a Dell 23-inch HD touchscreen for secondary reference. The primary display output was replicated to larger monitors above the stage, so Expo attendees could see exactly what the artists were doing in ZBrush at any given moment.

The Sculpt-Off was sponsored by ZBrush maker Pixologic. The artistic equivalent of a programmer's hackathon, it served as an amazing demonstration of what can be done in a short period of time with ZBrush and 3D printing. In a span of just 24 hours, eight original alien characters were conceptualized and turned into finished products.

Left to right, Bill Craig of 3D Rapid Prototyping, Rafael Grassetti – Sculpt-Off winner, Paul Gaboury of Pixologic and Bob Titsch of 3D Printer World.

On the first day of the show, contestants took turns in pairs, each having only 90 minutes to sculpt their alien bust and paint it. Once the designs were done, the Pixologic team worked into the night, prepping and sending the models out for printing. 3D Rapid Prototyping in Garden Grove, CA. really came through, burning the midnight oil so their 3D Systems X60 printers would have all eight statues ready for delivery to the show the next day. Before morning was over, the full color prints were on the Expo floor where attendees joined Pixologic's Facebook followers in voting for the winner.

Rafael Grassetti won 1st place and was awarded a Formlabs Form 1 3D printer. You can check Rafael's Facebook page to see what he's been doing with it. Frank Tzeng won 2nd place and was awarded a Wacom Cintiq 22HD.

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