15 May

3D Printing an R2

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R2-projector

It probably would have been easier to just remake this damn thing. And I still might end up doing that.

I downloaded a free 3D print R2  and imported it into Lightwave. It was pretty good to begin with, but it was not 3D printer ready. I cut off one of the projector knob things and it had some free edges inside of it, which would not have printed.  And I’m not talking about the part I cut off either.  I filled into some spots, then realized the entire (now) pink area of polys were also free floating with no thickness, so I had to use the Thicken tool on it. Except it didn’t quite work because of all the funky triangles. It also had a free floating cylinder inside that didn’t intersect with anything for no apparent reason.

A couple of months ago, my husband got the bug to build his own R2 unit, specifically, Whistler, who is Corran Horn’s droid in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Whistler is green and grey but otherwise is built the same as Artoo, Luke’s famous companion with a bright shiny silver dome and catapults and whatnot.  The biggest difficulty so far has been obtaining a proper dome – as an R2 dome isn’t quite a half sphere, but is slightly extended, almost egg-shaped.  My hubby has managed to collect motors, wheels and has even programmed the R2 brain in a Raspberry pi.  Whistler has a projector, sheets of styrene set aside for body and feel paneling and even piles of MDF that will be CNC cut out for the legs. The dome has been nearly impossible to find or have made – it is 300 mm high and 465 mm across, but 45 cm is acceptable, as are true half-spheres for the purpose of the approval of the many droid building communities – many of which share around free information and are happy to discuss building methods, parts and their own solutions to the myriad problems of  re-inventing the sci-fi astromech that is so universally well loved.

Since we’re going to the trouble to build and modify 3D printable parts ourselves, I’m making it to those oblong proportions. The free model that I found has a true half-sphere dome and I can’t quite use it.  So the plan is that I’m going to cut off or duplicate all the pieces on the dome, then stretch the dome, cut out the new panels and doors, then cut the dome up into printable pieces. That’s going to be a lot of chopping.

The 3D printer we’ll be using can only handle a 9 inch wide by 13 inch tall area, so the dome must be broken up into at least 8 pieces.

My biggest gripe with the free model (besides sizing) is that it isn’t smooth. If someone printed it as is, it would require a lot of smoothing, which would remove some of the outer shape, which might make pieces too small.  But they couldn’t print it, because it has random floating cylinders in it.  Gr.

3D printing requires some smoothing process as it is, so that’s not a huge issue. but the dome is very complicated, and having to remove too much could have serious consequences for the fitting back together stages.

 

 

 

 

13 May

What will it beeeeeeee?

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r2Panel

 

3D printer is being built. This past weekend, I mostly morally assisted my husband while he worked on fitting the 3D printer parts.  Most of the hardware parts are together, and the computer parts remain to be finished.

Can’t test print my item, YET, but hopefully very soon. In the mean time, I’m working on something that he requested for his project.

 

 

 

11 May

Architectural project

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I’ve done some virtual sets for work, but I haven’t really attempted to make something from existing plans.  The virtual sets tend to be 3-walled rather than four, and single room, or implied single room only. Final renders with lighting and textures were needed, of course, but the structure of the room itself wasn’t all that important. I also feel a little rusty since no one at work has wanted or requested a new virtual set in a while.

Here are one of the preview plans that my husband and I rejected for our future house building adventures.  As you can see from the linked page, the plans are not complete.  It seems to not be showing the light house like tower as a separate plan, but that shouldn’t be a problem.  As an exercise, potentially for the plans we do settle on, I’m going to see if I can replicate the house in Lightwave. I’ll likely populate it with free table and other household objects, since plenty of those already exist online and there’s not much point in spending time on chairs and say, curtains.

If it all works out, there will be two final versions of the house project. One project will have furniture and lighting and be rendered. The other will be empty and suitable for 3D printing in blocks.

China recently made the news with 3D printing components of houses.  This kind of put a little bug in my brain about possibly doing 3D printed mini-houses in a compartment manner so they can either be assembled or snapped together in boxes.

8 May

Arwen belt buckle update 2

 

Here goes nothing…arwenprint

 

Tweak mesh: check

Reize mesh to 4 inches/101 mm: check

Added posts to help keep stable while printing: check

Subdivide for density: check

Make all triangles: check

Rotate so it builds flat: check

Exported in a printable format: check

 

7 May

Arwen Belt update 1

beltupdate

I’ve updated the object so none of the leaves are overlapping. Everything is now on one single layer, but I may have to break it up again for 3D printing, I don’t know yet, but I hope I only have to add some posts to the back that can be broken or cut off to support the leaves and arches while printing. The leaves and vines are now partially attached to each other in back, also for printing support and for physical support, since there are so many free floating tendrils.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to do a test print, but hopefully soon!

I’m also going to have to make the mesh denser, it’s currently in ‘smooth’ mode with fewer polys than it looks.

In other news, Tandy leather no longer carries any grey suede, except for the super expensive lambskin hides, so I’m either going to have to go internet hunting and hope I can find enough of the same color and quality to make the chase dress, or I’ll have to just suck it up and go with a thick micro or ultra suede. I’d prefer to have my own real leather outfit, but reasonable pricing tends to win over perfect material. Or it does when I’d have to get $500 worth or lambskin.

 

6 May

“Make sure the polys are correctly facing…”

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One of the costumes I have on my “to-do” list is the “Chase” dress worn by Arwen in the Lord of the Rings movies. A very helpful person has already gone through and done every bit of necessary research I could ever think of.

The belt buckle on the costume is huge and delicate, and I cannot currently cast metal objects.  It seems like a good candidate for a 3D printer item. I used a sketch someone else had made as a basis for modeling the belt buckle in Lightwave.

Starting with this:

ChaseBuckle_Niki

 

After about four hours, I’m here:

ArwenWIPThe bottom-most leaves are slightly asymmetrical, and I’m going to modify the top set of leaf/wings to also be a little asymmetrical as well. I want to capture the feel of something hand made once it’s printed, and not completely perfect. The only thing I want to look exactly symmetrical are the long upper and lower half-loops. The belt buckle will tie on the sides with ribbon.

At the moment, some of the leaves are overlapping on each other, and I’ll have to fix that before exporting as a printable object. I’m also going to tighten the raised ridges on the half loops to make them more distinct. I’m going to have to experiment with the leaf thickness to see if it’ll be strong enough once printed. I may also glue a wire to the back loops to reinforce them if they seem wobbly.

 

4 May

Throw back … uh Sunday?

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So, sometime in the past, News 14 asked for a Gas Station sort of virtual set. The reporter that requested it wanted to be able to render out a short animation that showed the entire gas station from a distance and then zoomed into the pump.  My boss okayed the project, and then never told me to stop working on it after I finished what the reporter asked for.  For a few extra weeks between other projects, I added a bunch of extra props to flesh out the scene.  I added dumpsters modeled after the ones in our parking lot, a phone booth and air/vacuum pump, some basic shelves inside the store, wooden pallets, the ice machine, and a few other bits.  They finally got around to telling me to stop working on it, or I would have flattened the curb in front of the store to make a wheelchair access, and improved the lighting rigs. I made or modified all the textures in Photoshop, and took some of the texture photos myself from a local gas station.

Close up of the pumps:

Gas_Station_Pumps

 

further back, older file but shows more.

Gas_Station

23 April

Toothless 2 – Hoodie adventures

How To Train Your Dragon 2 is coming out in a few months, and I think I need to make something that’s going to be too warm to wear in June.

The first HTYD movie was wonderful and my husband and I both bawled at the end.  I still can’t watch the damn thing without crying. Toothless grew on me fast – his style threw me off at first, but the animation of his expressions and body movements  and especially the eyes won me over fast.  My favorite dragons have traditionally been D&D versions, with strong, well defined bodies and distinct shining scales.  I’m still annoyed that Smaug is technically a Wyvern rather than a dragon – his arms are build into the wings rather than as another set of limbs.  Back to topic: last year, I made this Toothless for my nephew:

Toothless

Toothless was partially completed on the plane to New Zealand and during the first few days of travel.  He was finished in time to pose for photos on the South Island near the Franz-Josef glacier.  Which we got some good shots of, but our helicopter ride was canceled at the last minute due to weather, so we never actually got to go set foot on it.  That would have been my first helicopter trip ever too.  Ah well.  This Toothless was delivered over Christmas, and apparently has not left my nephew’s side since.  He was put together following a free pattern by “KatyA” on DeviantArt.  The pattern can be found here – http://katy-a.deviantart.com/art/Toothless-Pattern-Part-1-of-4-161986741 It is NOT released for commercial purposes, so I can’t make more of these for sale, only personal use.

Which leads me to this = Toothless Dragon Hoodie

Dragonhoodie

This dragon hoodie, on the other hand has no released pattern, but I suspect I can bastardize a few pieces of the DA pattern, or at least blow up the tail portion for the hoodie.  It is done by a Canadian company, and it simply looks amazing.  I’m plotting on doing my own, and I don’t know at this point if I’m going to make the whole thing from scratch or purchase 2 hoodies and scavenge tail, claw, wing and horn material from one of them.  I found a few base designs that I like – I prefer the ‘slim’ fit style, and I found a hoodie on ebay with a double zipper style that I would like to use as a base.  If I go the buy and modify route, I’d need two of the same style hoodie, maybe one the largest size they carry so I can harvest the bigger one for material. I like the diagonal seam across the front and would like to try drafting a pattern with raglan sleeves, and the lower pockets as in the ebay example (not the front pouch that most hoodies seem to have). I also like the draw string hood, so I’ll use that as well. I don’t like the puffy arms as much, however, so I don’t know if I’ll keep those as part of my design. I think that would make it different enough for me to sell if I don’t.

Using 2 hoodies – I have matching material, but it may not be enough. having a base to start with could, in theory, save me some time but I’ve become wary of ‘time saving’ shortcuts. It would be nice to not have to go through the whole fitting process though.

Using hoodie fabric – I can do my own design, make a pattern of my own (and in theory, digitize and sell that) but it will take extra time to do everything. On the other hand, I’ll have fabric to burn, and I can pick fabric that I can be sure won’t be too bulky with the added tail and whatnot.  There are advantages to being able to make another one, say for my nephew, with fabric I can buy readily.

Either way, I’ll need some black fabric paint and maybe a nice stencil for clean paint edges. I know for sure I”ll be doing a half-red tail with the viking symbol instead of all black like the one for sale.  I’d like to do my own design and sell it – perhaps a Smaug hoodie for sale instead of a Toothless, so I don’t risk stepping on the other shop’s figurative toes. My own Toothless hoodie will have the center back wing spines as well as seven pointed flappy wings rather than the four points that the already existing hoodie has.

25 February

Society 6 store

Is now open!

http://society6.com/KimberlyWillsStarin

And filling up slowly. I have to re-format my Last Pot Brewed images and it takes a few minutes per, along with deciding which ones I want to try to sell.

20 August

Random fun thing – Pony Island

Tatt Gallery

Birdhouse_tattoo_01

Queen Chrys

A few months ago, a friend got me into an online game called “Pony Island”. One of the things you can do with ponies is ‘tattoo’ them with your own images, either with a solid background or even with an alpha, but only in certain boxes. All the ponies have just one template per male/female/breed, so the image areas are a little limited. Each pony gets 3 ‘slots’ or tiny boxes that run together where images can be added to the skin.

I went a little crazy and made a bunch of Tat’s for my own ponies and sold other ones. These are my favorites. The top three I won a contest with the designs for “Seasons”

The ponies display pretty small, only around 250×250, and the tattoo area is only on the body in the middle of that square. I’ve had fun harkening back to my low-poly 3D days with small textures sizes. Some ponies get even less area than others because their wings take up so much space of the display area.

All were done in Photoshop. All pony tattoos were made from scratch and saved as .png’s – game rules prevent any photos or photo derivatives from being used, so everything must be painted by hand. Image references are allowed, but nothing can be directly copied.

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