Archive for work in progress

Cracked Mould… and Repair

Posted in Design, Fantasy, General, Halloween, Horror, Masks, sculpting, Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 18, 2017 by Jim St Ruth

Things went far better than my nightmares predicted!

Yet when I tried to pry the mould from the sculpt and its underlying life cast, the damned thing split into four pieces; three large pieces and one sliver along one of the main splits, right between the three pry points that I’d put into my flashing.

The solution was easy, and it’s worked really well:

  • I repositioned all of the four pieces together, which thankfully slotted together with mostly only hairline cracks visible on the inside of the mould. There were some larger chunks missing, creating some small, ragged-edged holes… Also, I realised that one of the nostril cavities had broken off.
  • Using Modroc bandages, I patched across the seam lines, then ran a ring of bandage around the whole of circumference of the mould’s outside, to add further strength. I then let this dry for a good half hour.
  • Mixing small batches of dense plaster, I then filled in the holes and the hairline cracks, only doing an inch or two’s work at a time. Moistening the surrounding plaster first, I applied the new mix, dipping my index finger in some clean water, and using this finger to remove excess plaster. Keeping that finger clean is important:
    • I didn’t want to spread the excess plaster.
    • The mould’s existing plaster soaks up water like a sponge, and this dense plaster is only in small patches, so it dries out  very quickly. A wet finger keeps it damp just long enough to smooth it out and remove any excess.
  • To restore lost wrinkles I used a pen-shaped sculpting tool with a firm, rubberised tip. Repeatedly dipping this in water as I worked on each small section, I was able to ‘sketch in’ in the wrinkles. It’s worth noting that usually I’d have to be aware that I’d be trying to created the inverse of wrinkles; as this is the mould, I’d need to texture in raised lines that would turn into the groves on the final mask. However, the ‘sketching’ I did was only shallow, and it matched the surrounding texture. I was very lucky here; the fine detail I was recreating was already faint lines and groves around where I was patching.
  • I then mixed a small batch of plaster and applied it in a relatively thin layer, around 3-4mm thick, on the whole of the outside of the mould. This covered the Modroc gauze completely, preventing me from snagging it in the future, and giving a little more strength to the patched seams.
  • Once this was dried, I found the broken nostril piece, and used a *tiny amount of superglue to stick it back on. Be careful if you need to do this; you don’t want glue seeping out of the join and into the mould itself. This can retard curing with liquid latex, at least, and leave thin spots in your creations… With foam latex, I’m not sure, but I didn’t want to take the risk. I then smoothed over the hairline joins with plaster, and used plaster to smooth over some ragged parts of the nostril, to reduce the risk of tearing when it comes to taking foam latex from the mould.

So here are pics of the outside and the inside of the mould.

casterinner1castouter1

This is now being left to dry for another day or two before I try and do my second ever run with foam latex… but this time, I’m confident I can reuse the mould for multiple runs, that the mould isn’t going to have to spend an hour in the over getting up to temperature to allow the foam latex to actually bake, and to be damned careful when I’m opening up the mould.

I was too eager. I’ll be more patient in the future. This *is a learning experience, and it’s fun… so don’t panic if this happens to you. Take a step back. Consider your plan of action. Make sure you have everything you need ready for use before you start… and maybe a glass of wine waiting for when you’re finished!

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.

alien1aWIPJimStRuth2012

Space Ranger: Update, with Zbrush Ship Concept Sculpt

Posted in 3D, Design, Fantasy, General, Maya, Photoshop, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, Uncategorized, zbrush with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2012 by Jim St Ruth

So here’s an update to my Space Ranger. I’ve added some texturing to the figure, plus his basic clothing (with texturing). The clothing was created in Topogun, using the base Zbrush figure as a guide; a really easy process of drawing out polygons over the figure’s surface. I’m not sure that the denim texture of the trousers will stay; I don’t think it really says ‘Space Ranger’ TBH, so that will be re-done.

I’ve also created the shoulder strap and his rifle (which will be slung over his back), and there’s a blaster that needs to be modelled to; I’ve not added the rifle or shoulder strap yet because, if I’m honest, it looks rather fine and it’s almost a shame to have it covered up from view in the final scene. Some thought is needed there, I think.

Next up, we have the work in progress for his ship, from Zbrush concept sculpt, to topology in Topogun (with a little help from Maya for the circular shapes that I wanted to keep perfectly shaped), to the beginning of the refinement back in Maya.

I’ll probably go much further than I need to with his ship; I like to detail the insides as well as the exteriors of ships and, hey, it’s not for a production environment so I can go the whole hog if I feel the need.

As the final scene wasn’t based on an initial concept sketch (just an evolving idea), everything’s still pretty free-form right now. Once the basic ship is modelled, I’ll assemble things as a composite in Photoshop and do a sketch-over to rough out that final image, then build everything else around that concept.

I’ve included a few tips on the ship images that might be of some use to a modeller; concepting a ship in Zbrush is a lot of fun, but developing that into a full, neat model takes time and, in the past, has left me stumped, so here’s hoping that the scant tips help someone out.

Space Man WIP: Update

Posted in 3D, dancing, General, Photoshop, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, zbrush with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2012 by Jim St Ruth

Here’s an updated to my Space Man project; now with texturing, materials and hair. The materials were made with Zbrush’s excellent Matcap feature; the first time I’ve ever used it, and a great way to get the cartoon-esque lok that I’m after.

Spaceman WIP

Posted in 3D, Design, Fantasy, General, Maya, Photoshop, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, zbrush with tags , , , , , on March 23, 2012 by Jim St Ruth

A Zbrush work in progress, with additional modelling and refinement done in Maya.

Zbrush Does Hair!

Posted in 3D, Design, General, Pictures, sculpting, zbrush with tags , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2012 by Jim St Ruth

Zbrush 4R2b has been released with the amazing addition of a full fibre creation system… that means hair, grass and just about anything else that you could thing of in a fibre-related way.

The system is easy to use; just mask off the area of your model that you want to apply hair to, and then use the ‘FibreMesh” drop down to start creating. It’s easy to style the hair too, and during my limited tests I’ve been amazed.

Check out my test renders below.