Archive for the Pictures Category

Grey Head: WIP

Posted in Design, Fantasy, General, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, Tutorials, Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 23, 2018 by Jim St Ruth

A quick update on one of my projects, which is going to be a lamp!

It’s a full-sized bust in Monster Clay, with a clay wall around the base to contain the silicone and resin that I’ll be using to create the mould. I’ll eventually cast it in polyurethane resin, paint it in grey tones, with the eyes formed of acrylic hemispheres that will be filled with Platsil Gel 10. These will then have LEDs mounted behind them, to create glowing eyes!

The eyes have been a bit of an issue for me. I really struggled to work out how to mould and cast them so that I could fill them with silicone to back light.

The options and issues were:

  • Mould over smooth acrylic forms under the sculpt, then cast in resin and drill out the spaces for fresh spheres with a Dremel. This is a really problematic approach, as the eyes tend to be spaces where the resin pools. On a test piece, it took ages to drill out the excess resin, and it was extremely difficult to conserve the eyelids without accidental damage, or ruining the slight interior fold between the eyes lids and the eyeballs. It was also impossible to drill out exactly the right volume for the acrylic hemispheres to then fit inside.
  • Sculpt and mould as above, but then when casting place the acrylic hemispheres in place and pour the resin in around them. This was a nightmare, as although the hemispheres were held in place, it was extremely difficult to slush or paint-cast the resin into the mould without contamination of the hemispheres. Additionally, reaching inside the cast to pour the correct amount of silicone into place was just too tricky.

In the end, I followed so expert advice from the The Moldin’ Years: Rubber and Resin group on Facebook:

  • Sculpt a key onto one of the blank acrylic hemispheres.
  • Mould in silicone and cast in resin, making two copies.
  • Sculpt around these on the main bust.
  • When it comes to moulding, just mould over the whole piece in silicone.
  • Cast silicone copies of the keyed eyes.
  • Insert the fresh silicone keyed eyes into the silicone mould and cast in resin.
  • This should allow me to simply pluck out the silicone eyes from inside the cast, creating empty eye forms that should require very little clean up.

The busts just needs a final polish up… and then it’s onto mouldin’ time!


Monster Sculpt!

Posted in Design, General, Halloween, Horror, Masks, Pictures, science fiction, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 26, 2017 by Jim St Ruth

My latest monster mask sculpt!

As usual, this was sculpted in Monster Clay on a Plaster of Paris life cast of my head.

The ring of clar around the edges of the sculpt is flashing and a wall, behind which I’ll build another wall made of water-based clay, before making the mould with plaster.

The cuts with the short slashes across them will be stitched with string once the mask is cast and painted; they’ll be wound stitches.

I’ve got a little more refining to do, mostly clean up… but I’m happy with this for now.

Note On Final Detail:

To create a subtly bumpy surface, I took a makeup sponge and applied a little white spirit (mineral spirits in the US, I think). Then, dabbing all over the sculpt where I wanted this detail, the clay begins to soften, and I just kept going until the texture was right… and stopped before the clay got outright mushy.

If you try this for the first time, be aware that a makeup sponge can hold a lot of white spirit. It’ll easily run down the model, which might not be a problem… but slight glances with the back of your hand can smear previously-created detail. Caution is the watchword.

Attack Ship

Posted in 3D, Maya, Photoshop, Pictures, science fiction, Substance Painter, zbrush with tags , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2016 by Jim St Ruth


It’s been a long while since I posted to my blog… Busy world, lots of distractions and a lot of home improvement.

I bought Substance Painter a few months ago, and have been blown away by the ease of texturing a model. With so many filters, so much control and a great ability to customise, paint and make a model worn/ dirty, it’s an exceptional piece of software.

The model was sculpted in ZBrush, then retopologised and UV mapped in Maya.


Original ZBrush Sculpt

To allow for high resolution textures, there are nine different texture sets/ UV groups, each with their own materials assigned, set up as different objects. The component objects are then unified into a single object that now has multiple texture sets, and it’s exported as an .obj file; importing this into Substance Painter then allows for the different texture sets to be worked on. I’ve included a UV snapshot of three of these texture sets below for reference and, whilst one of them doesn’t fill up the space as efficiently as it might do, it did the job.

The modelling took far more time than the texturing. Completing the ZBrush sculpt was pretty rapid, and I was happy with the overall design. This was created via Dynamesh and then reduced from 5m polygons to 36k using Decimation Master. The model was then made live in Maya, curves drawn across the surface which were then smoothed to make the flow of the individual piece of the model in the next step more regular.

The retopology was then completed at a low resolution; only around 25k polygons for the whole ship. The borders of the model’s pieces were checked with smooth preview, before the next step in Maya.

Substance Painter doesn’t have an option for smooth preview, so to prevent any blockiness the objects need to be at a higher resolution. So the pieces were subdivided, and unwanted edges were deleted. The final object is around 100k polygons which, when imported into Substance Painter, made my machine run like a dog.

However, because I’d UV mapped in groups and created several texture sets, the various pieces can be viewed and worked on in isolation in Substance Painter, speeding things up considerably. It’s also worth pointing out that by cycling through the material options with the ‘m’ shortcut key, you can effectively turn lighting and shadows off, allowing the whole object to be visible with very little slow down.

I was going to take everything back into Maya to render… but the in-built renderer in Substance Painter does a very nice job using HDRI maps for lighting. Since this is just a static image, just some beauty shots of the model and no scenery or posing, I’m just going to leave it as it is.

Head Bust

Posted in 3D, Design, Pictures, science fiction, zbrush with tags , , , , , on June 28, 2014 by Jim St Ruth


Exploration Buggy: Test Comp

Posted in 3D, Design, Maya, Photoshop, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, zbrush with tags , , , , , on October 9, 2013 by Jim St Ruth

Much to do still: model the rear and inside, and add texturing… but couldn’t resist posting!


Armored Scout Buggy: Teaser

Posted in 3D, Design, Maya, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, zbrush with tags , , , , , , , on September 27, 2013 by Jim St Ruth

NewCar1a-JimStRuth2013A quick update of the model. The exterior has been completely retopologised (thanks to the use of Maya’s Quad Draw function and lots of curves to help smooth out the edges and various interior pieces of the body panels). The front wheels now have brake pads and suspension modeled too. The textures are purely placeholders… lots of exciting stuff still to come: interior modelling, full texturing, the weaponry and maybe some exterior armor plating.

Another Alien WIP!

Posted in 3D, Design, Fantasy, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, zbrush with tags , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2012 by Jim St Ruth

Sculpted, retopologised and textured in ZBrush 4.5.