TUSK

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Tusk is the elephant watchman at the oasis of Lund. He keeps the peace around the waterhole and watches the gates at night. He can often be heard teaching his son Rollo about life. Tusk is rumored to have been a gladiator for the Blue Faction in the arenas of Kor–prior to Kor’s destruction by the Chiktakk Horde…

Comic book lettering on iPad

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I’ve been working out some techniques for creating a graphic novel on my iPad Pro. One of the things that I didn’t want to do is go back and forth between my iPad and computer just to do lettering in Illustrator…

So I did a little research, and found that you can install comic book fonts to your iOS devices using an app called AnyFont. Now I can simply format my script in Pages using the font that I want for my balloons.

I’m doing the artwork in Procreate. I import a screenshot of my Pages document into a new layer, and use select and transform to move the dialog into position.

My template document is 2100px x 3150px so that I can create 7″ x 10.5″ @300dpi. The trim size is 6.75″ x 10.25″

iPad technique

This is a technique that I’ve been experimenting with on my iPad. Using Procreate and an Apple Pencil I start with a basic charcoal sketch over a 50% gray background. 

Working with only black or white I refine the light and dark values on a layer set to “hard light”. This means that everything that is darker than 50% gray is multiplied while everything lighter than 50% gray is screened on the layers beneath. Switching to color with an airbrush, I fill in the color values on a layer beneath my hard-light layer.

The values that were painted in grayscale interact with the color to give the final result.

Here is a time lapse video!

Fibermesh

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Another work-in-progress of my Hyena villain. I’m just learning to use Fibermesh in ZBrush, but I think looks pretty cool!

The Hot Mess

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I was setting up a Matter Control Touch to run my Printrbot Simple Metal so that I don’t have to have my computer connected to it, and I had to give my printer a nickname. I named it  “The Hot Mess”.

The reality of 3D printing is that for every really cool awesome print that I can’t wait to show everyone, there seems to be half a dozen failed prints and wads of PLA spaghetti…
I guess that’s why it so exciting when it turns out nice.

Returning villian

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Just a little work-in-progress of a character that I’m remaking in ZBrush. Apparently TAR didn’t wipe-out the entire clan of Hyena assassins….

3D Printed Custom Jewelry

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One of the cool things about using a service like Shapeways is that you can get 3D prints made in materials like metal–even precious metals. This clasp was a commission for fashion designer Katie Bickford-Sawkings. It is printed in polished silver from a model created in ZBrush:

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Shapeways first prints the model in a castable wax, then uses a traditional lost-wax process to cast the final piece in metal.

Each material has it’s own design constraints, which has been a sometimes frustrating learning experience for me, as I’ve had to keep tweaking things to create something that will print successfully and pass through multiple steps to become a finished product….

Sometimes a customer wants text engraved or embossed on a small piece of jewelry. While I can model it as small as I want–there are limitations to how fine a detail you can get. The smallest detail that you can get is about 0.3mm, so when you model the text you have to think about the thickness of the strokes and serifs rather than the height of the letters. You also have to be aware of the space between letters!

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On this jump ring, the customer wanted the word “C.U.R.E.” in a font that had thin serifs. To scale the text up so the serif was 0.3mm would make the word too big to fit on the ring! So I had to go in and modify each letter, offsetting the original curves to create letters that would make it through the process.

But even though there are some design constraints with this process, there is also a lot of freedom when it comes to sculpting digitally and then reproducing that piece with 3D printing.

An example is this Bahamian conch shell. The client wanted this specific type of shell in a piece of jewelry, and airmailed me an actual shell so that I could use it as a reference.

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I used a Structure 3D scanner to capture the basic geometry of the shell and then imported into ZBrush.

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The scan data gave me a pretty good base mesh for the shell, and I had the actual conch shell in my lap as I went in and sculpted the details. This 3D model of the conch was then incorporated into a custom pendant.

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For Shapeways and other services that offer custom jewelry from 3D printed wax, there is a minimum feature size that affects details that are engraved or embossed. Because of the lost-wax process that the design must go through, the smallest feature for polished metals is 0.35mm

For an example, look at the ring above. The strokes of the letters in the text “One Ring To Rule Them All…” is scaled to 0.35mm. The ratio of width to depth is 1:1, so it mustn’t be deeper than it is wide…It is possible to print details in wax 10 times smaller (.03mm), but it will be rejected when it comes to manufacturing.

If you would like some help turning your idea for a custom jewelry piece into reality, you can contact me on the Designers for Hire page at Shapeways. I would love to help you bring your dream to life!