Tag Archives: forge

Five New(ish) Baubles!

A thousand pardons, my friends. I stepped over my personal Schwarzschild radius and fell into an art singularity over the last two weeks.

Some light has escaped; peer into the Scrying Pool to see what I’ve been working on, among other things. That particular opus is still gnawing the inner walls of it’s chrysalis, so #staytuned for another update, coming soon.

I’ve managed to zeldovich a few crumbs from beyond the event horizon and stuff them into the Baubles section of The Forge with the remainder of my 3d-modeled miscellany. They are, in no particular order:

The Tinkeriffic BB Bearing, cousin to the 40mm spool spindle and 32mm spindle, all of which use Tinkertoy rods and 4.5mm BB’s to provide a smooth ride for your filament spools.

Tinkeriffic BB Bearing Spool

Magnetic Pocket Gears! that use these magnets to freely rotate while sticking to clothing. I’ve got these fellas on Shapeways too, in case you’d like a set in stainless steel, gold, or silver.

Pocket Gears

And finally a Bonsai Gibbon, designed specifically for the Lovely and Talented Mrs. Zheng3’s winter hobby but made available to lovers of pines and primates everywhere.

Bonsai Gibbon

How do I get my pennies so shiny? Vinegar? Hells no. H2C2O4 FTW, y’all.

The blogging backlog is cleared, so watch this space for new models. I’ve got three or four new concepts in the hopper.

Magic: The Gathering Soldier Token

soldier_token
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I’m still working my way through the list of Magic: The Gathering creature tokens. This time it’s back to White with the Soldier token.

This model is distributed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 US license. It’s also available as a 3D print on Etsy.

I’ve worked as a game industry artist for getting on ten years now (note to 16-year-old-self: WIN) and I frequently get the same question from relatives of non-industry kids who want to get into the business.

What should I study if I want to get a job as game artist? This question comes up at the dentist’s office more frequently than you’d think.

The short answer is: study art and, to a lesser extent, math. Study drawing first, then sculpture, then painting. Get at least a B in an art history class so you’ll have an inkling of how to evaluate your own work. Have a decent grasp of geometry and dabble at least a bit in C++ (or at least Python) so you know what the programmers are talking about.

Worry about learning software later.

But if there’s one sub-subject I’ve found incredibly useful over my career, it’s the study of armor. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to create a suit of armor for a job. Or just a helmet. Or a dwarf rocking a hauberk. Or a Marine from 2125 with her ballistic combat gear.

If you’re a fantasy nerd you’ll probably absorb a fair amount of knowledge by osmosis, but be careful about learning from fantasy art. An awful lot of non-functional armor has been rendered by artists who haven’t hit the books.

Years ago before I retired from combat with the Society For Creative Anachronism (I kept losing dental work from being whacked in the helmet with rattan cudgels), I spent weeks building a lorica segmentada out of sole leather and 3/4″ copper pound rivets.

Wearing, tweaking, wearing, tweaking, and then fighting in that armor taught me volumes about pinch points, flexibility, and ventilation.

I wrestled with this model for a while, going back and forth between what’s historically accurate and what’s cool, all the while hindered by what’s possible with the current generation of 3D printers. I put in a fair amount of detail that I can’t print yet, especially in the skirt.

soldier_token_in_maya

And of course I’m limited by the 3D printing overhang rule, so the pose is fairly static. And that sword is crazy large but that’s about the smallest it can get and still print reliably.

Unfortunately it’ll be a while until consumer-level 3d printing technology catches up with modeling and scanning software. I’m looking to create miniatures that are at least of the quality one can get from a large-scale foundry like Games Workshop. The resolution’s almost adequate on the Replicator 1, but the lack of ability to print overhangs is a huge limiting factor.

The Form1, and up-and-comers B9Creator and mUVe are looking like serious contenders for my next upgrade, since they appear to have a higher resolution and their prints are mostly unfettered by gravity.

Saving the Beast for Last

Here’s the last in a series of posts describing my process for creating a 3D-printed Magic: The Gathering Beast token.

beast_token

After many iterations and test prints, I settled on this pose for the Beast token. The neck and limbs are angled with minimal overhangs so that the printer can build the model all in one go.

And here’s the final model, preening in front of a pile of test prints.

beast_token

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This model is free to download and distributed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 US license. Please remix and enjoy.

I have another MTG token in the pipeline, so stay tuned: follow this blog or find me on Twitter for updates from the Forge.

MTG Beast Token, Test Print

This token and an ever-expanding list of others like it is available for free in The Forge.

I like to run a test print before I start posing a model, just to see where the problem spots are going to be. Consumer-level printers like the Replicator are hindered by gravity and overhangs; one can’t print too far out into empty space without the melted plastic drooping and bunching up.

beast_token

The base pose for the Beast isn’t too bad, but I can see that I’m going to need to angle the head and chest up so that the printer creates its own support as it prints.

The long filament coming off the back of the base is leftover from the printer clearing its nozzle at the start of a print.

You can download the completed model here, completely free.

No printer? I’ll print you as many as you need at my Etsy Store. A half-dozen should do it for most games.

This model is distributed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 US license. Please remix and enjoy.

MTG Beast Token, Day 7

I’m preparing the model for posing now. No more geometry edits.

The idea is that each bone in the character’s skeleton affects the vertices around it. Rotate, translate, or scale a bone and the vertices go along for the ride. This is Character Rigging 101, no fancy dynamics or muscle deformers or puppeteering controls.

Maya does a pretty good job of deciding which vertices are affected by which joint, but sometimes it needs a little assistance. I help it along by painting weights on a per-joint basis. Black vertices are not affected by a given bone, white vertices are totally affected. Gray vertices have a percentage assignment, which helps smooth out transitions between two joints.

Read my original post showing the completed model, or you can download it model here, completely free.

No printer? I’ll print you as many as you need at my Etsy Store. A half-dozen should do it for most games.

This model is distributed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 US license. Please remix and enjoy.

MTG Beast Token, Day 5 and 6

beast_token

Here’s the Beast Token on Day 5. I’ve added some rhino armor and replaced the tail and horns. I have maybe one more day of details and then it’s on to the posing process.

I’m going to pay for adding the armor when it comes time to weight the vertices to the skeleton, but Rule of Cool trumps all.

And here he is on day 6:

beast_token

I added some final details in the shoulder and eye socket, and scaled everything down to fit the standard base I’ve been using.

There might be some minor edits after this, but for all intensive porpoises the modelling is finished.

The next step is to rig the model with a test skeleton to make sure all the joints deform properly without too much distortion. In theory, I’ll be able to pose this model any way I like.

You can download the completed model here, completely free.

No printer? I’ll print you as many as you need at my Etsy Store. A half-dozen should do it for most games.

This model is distributed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 US license. Please remix and enjoy.

MTG Beast Token, Day 4

beast_token

This is day 4 of my ongoing Beast blogging. If you’re new to the series, you might want to skip to the end and see what the finished 3d print looks like.

I realized the fancy headgear wasn’t going to print, so the horns had to get a lot simpler. The back spikes and teeth are joined to the main body, and much of the facial detail is filled out. I scaled down his eye to keep him from looking being too cute. I decided on hooves because the claw details probably wouldn’t have printed well. The tail’s a placeholder for now.

You can download the completed model here, completely free.

This model is distributed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 US license. Please remix and enjoy.