Sunday, December 31, 2017

Doomsday Machine

I made my brother a Sculpt of The Doomsday Machine from the Star Trek episode of the same name. I started with aluminum foil and covered it in Apoxie Sculpt. I used a crinkled up piece of paper to press in the texture on the skin. The lights are from a 1993 Hallmark ornament, Santa's UFO. The original idea was to have the front section be able to separate with magnets to be able to better access the lights. However, when I skinned around the seam, I was unable to ever separate the two sections. Thus 6 miniature neodinium magnets will forever be encases inside. I used aluminum foil on the inside and the effect is amazing!!! I was happy with this relatively quick build! I built a black box for it and invented a fake 'Black Edition' Hallmark label for increased Christmas unwrapping fun!

2017 in Review!

I had a damn good year. One of the best I can remember, honestly. Lets review...

1. Finished Hammonds Cane Topper in Zbrush
2. Grew Pumpkins
3. Signed Petitions for the first time EVER
4. Started the violin again
5. Got a Porsche 911, my dream car.
6. Tried Crystal Pepsi
7. Went to a new airplane museum, with my brother no less!
8. Lost our dear dear little Bear. I'm not sure when I'll be over his loss but I'm making sure I       appreciate Stryder that much more because of it.
9. Took my Nephews and Niece to Universal for the first time ever!
10. Mastered some Dungeons and Dragons again
11. Started doing hand drawn animation
12. Went to my first Model Train Show
13. Rode Great Movie Ride AND Universe of Energy for the last time EVER
14. Saw an almost total solar eclipse
15. Went to Sanibel Island
16. Survived Hurricane Irma
17. Went to England!!!!
       A. Saw the rosetta stone
       B. Saw the Dodo skeleton
       C. Bought a first edition book
       D. Visited 221 B Baker street
       E. Walked on Abby Road!!!!
18. Did 'Inktober' for the first Time
19. Went to England AGAIN
      A. Flew business class for the first time.
      B. Was Driven around with a private car company for the first time
      C. Flew on a 747 for the first time! Walked UP STAIRS IN FLIGHT!!!!!!!!
      D. Saw hand written Beatles lyrics, Mozart Journal, Beethoven sheet music
20. Got my VW Bug Back!
21. Finished a third Bubo
22. Started getting ready for stop motion
23. Zbrushed a Giraffe skull, printed it and fully painted it.
24. Printed and assembled my first multi piece 3D printing
25. Finished Big Boy, the largest Zbrush project I've ever done.
26. Finished a custom sculpt for my brother.

Pretty incredible. If you were to take all these and divide them evenly over the year, something noteworthy happened every 10 and a half days! I feel very lucky to be able to live like this. Next year we plan on going to Hawaii again and Japan! The adventure is just beginning!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Dasos: Spirit of the Forest

   Here he is so far. I've got a hollow head of Shell Shock, nose and inner mouth of Apoxie Sculpt. The eyes will glow a frosted white. He'll have a translucent blue set of horns on top of his muzzle that get progressively larger the more forward they get. His antlers will be tree branches (I know, it's played out...) and the tips of the branches will be fiber optics. His eyes will have no motion. They'll be an even white glow (Think god mode on Wolfenstein), but he'll be expressive through his eyebrows and eyelids. 

   Here's the rub. He's too complicated. I'm utilizing every tool I've learned as a prop fabrication artist and this thing is pushing the limits. That's fine as far as IF he'll work. I'm not worried about the IF. I'm worried that this isn't what I should be doing for my quick and simple foray into Stop Motion. You don't start learning to paint by trying to out-do Rembrandt. 

But I have a plan! Remember the Rankin Bass Parody? Since it's Christmas month now, we've been watching a lot of Rankin Bass specials. The animation is actually quite terrible and the puppets are simple. So I started creating myself as the Fred Astaire Post man from 'Santa Clause is Comin' to Town'. It's easy and fast so far! I'll post photos soon! But I'm not done with Dasos. He's going to be amazing!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

PBY: Engines!

It's been a while for the PBY, but that's because I've been scratchbuilding two very detailed and complicated engines. They're 14 cylinder engines EACH!!! I sculpted one cylinder and made a tiny mold for it. I got 14 pulls out of it and was ready to rock, until one of my co-workers again pushed me to just make the other 14 and have them be complete engines. The piping and wiring on them really make the thing work. The black shapes on top are the oil coolers. Don't worry it looks all clean and good when they're inside their cowling. 

On a side secret note.... Eventually I'm going to build another 1:18 scale plane for a present. I can't say what it is, but I call it Project L-16. It also has a 14 cylinder radial engine, so I've technically started working on it!

Monday, October 16, 2017


Finally the third and final (for now) Bubo from 1981's Clash of the Titans is finished and off my plate!!! Now I can more fully focus on the PBY, traditional animation, violin and stopmotion!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Stopmotion: room upgrade!

A before and after shot of the closet. I built new tables right into the walls so that table shake is impossible! I figure I can have two scenes going on at once here. Since everything is wood, I'll also be able to drill right into the table no problem! Tomorrow I start building the test Forest Spirit head. But I've also been mulling around a quick Rankin Bass christmas parody as well. The possibilities are literally endless!!!!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Stopmotion: First Test!!!!!

I got my cord in today and set everything up!!!! I found my shuttle Tydirium and thought the movable wings would work as a good test! Sadly, one wing didn't have friction all the way through and just fell early on. The movement away looks like a Gumby animation. But HEY! EVERYTING WORKS!!!!!!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Stopmotion: The right gear.

  Over the weekend I bought a dedicated laptop for stopmotion and just today I got Dragonframe 4 in the mail! The laptop is a Samsung 15" Touchscreen from Best buy for $649.00. Dragonframe was about $325. I accidentally ordered a separate blutooth controller for it for another $65 (GRRRR!). I thought I could digitally download just the software so I ordered the nicer controller first. Then I found out that you can't purchase a full version of the software for download. You HAVE to get it with a USB controller... oh well.

My old Canon Rebel T1i will work with Dragonframe 4, I just checked the website. I went on Amazon and ordered the camera's USB cord. So, in theory, on Wednesday I will be able to plug everything in and start animating!!! Now I just need to build the armatures. I'm going to start with the larger close up head first. I can do tests with it and such. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bubo III

 This is the third Bubo I've made and the 2nd most relaxing. I still have till December to finish, but I'm sure I'll be done WAY before that. Just got the legs worked out this weekend. I put the clay ribbing on the lower legs this morning (not pictured) and finished cutting out all the metal pieces to finish the head. The Beak was also sculpted on this morning, but will still need to be sanded and painted. We go to England for a week starting next Friday so progress on everything will grind to a halt for a little bit. Hurricane Irma was actually a blessing for me since we maintained electricity and I got 40 hours paid time from work despite only going in for maybe 10! All the rest went to Bubo!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Animation: Pooh Bear head turn.

 One of the exercises in the book is a typical head turn. I wanted to have more fun with it. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Stopmotion update

  I've actually done quite a lot on the stop motion front since last I posted. As you can see from the photo above, the armature is coming along quite nicely. I hope I'm not making it overly complicated.

The storyboard has been finished on my end and Max is reviewing and making some notes as we speak. I've updated the design of the Spirit of the Forest who now has a proper name! His full name is Dasos Fos That's greek for 'Forest Light'. His wife/mate/partner/whatever (who you won't meet in this animation) is named Silva Tenebris. That's Latin for 'Forest Darkness'.

I admit, things are slowing down now that I'm taking up so many projects at once. If I can just keep it up, I'll get the PBY and Bubo III finished and lighten up my load. I just have to remind myself that the ONLY deadline I have is with Bubo. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

ZBrush Project: Giraffe Head.

  I know I was trying to take a break from Zbrush but some stuff came up at work, so I need to fill out my portfolio with one more piece. Luckily I only need another organic thing and those are dirt simple and fast to do! I've been itching to sculpt a giraffe skull and print it out at work! This will be a quick weekend project. Here's the top of the skull without teeth. This only took 4.5 hours! Click on it to see a larger picture. Tomorrow, I'll do the lower jaw and the teeth. Then I'll render it with the teeth a slightly different color. And, hey! I got the boolean subtraction to work!!!! I STILL need to teach myself how to paint this in Zbrush and then render it PAINTED!!! That would change EVERYTHING!!!!!!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Timing Test

  Second exercise from The Animator's Survival kit. This one makes a point about timing. Both magnets leave at the exact same frame and end at the exact same frame, but behave completely differently. I adjusted the white balance on this, but not the color balance. Looks like part of an indie music video from Portland.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Well..... it's a start.

   In an attempt to be thorough with stop motion, I'm also going through Richard William's "The Animators Survival Kit". I'm going to do EVERY exercise in it! I figure if I develop a good natural sense of animation, my stop motion will be better for it.  What you see above is the very first exercise. Don't worry, it gets more interesting as it goes (the book, not THIS animation).

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Stop Motion?!

    I'm about to embark on a very special side project. I've decided, after years of threats, to actually create a full stop motion animation. I've come up with a very short little story to tell. I don't want to go TOO big my first time out. This one is a simple scene involving the Spirit of the Forest walking about on a moonlit night and finding something he cherishes. 

    I've wanted to do stop motion animation since I was 11 years old. That was 1993 and I stumbled across 'Wallace and Gromit: The wrong Trousers' on PBS. That short film changed everything. I desperately wanted to start sculpting. I consider it to this day to be a perfect short film. Two years later, they would release 'A Close Shave'. I'd have another injection of inspiration and a second film to add to my 'perfect' list. Not only were the characters and storytelling amazing, the sets and the lighting were incredible in both of those. I strive to match that level of lighting in my work. If you go to my website ( and look at my sculptural illustrations, you'll see that aspiration in everything I do. 

   What I'd like to do is show you every step of the way in starting a stop motion film through this blog. I have little to no experience in this so you'll have the advantage of seeing me stumble and fall time and time again. I'll continue posting my other projects of course. I have a list of builds I have no intention of stopping. Besides, variety is the spice of life! 

   And of course, stop motion is anything but fast. So bear with me. This might take a few years!

   The images above are the preliminary character sketches of the main character, The Spirit of the Forest. I'll probably name him or her properly later. Between the first set and the second set Maria was kind enough to do a sketch which, as you can see, completely guided me in a new and better direction. Sorry they aren't good quality scans. I didn't really think about posting these when I drew them!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

PBY: Wing tips all ready for rivets!

 The wing is broken up into three pieces. I finally have the 2/3 outer wings ready for rivets! Once I order more rivets and apply them, then these are simply ready for paint! As you can see, I finished the mechanical struts that raise and lower the pontoons. I also went the extra mile and made the navigation lights function! The pontoons, sadly, are static. I

Sunday, July 16, 2017

PBY: Pontoons!

  I've scratch built my own pontoons. The first photo shows the pontoons that came with the plane. Eww. They're cartoon y and huge. I'm sure since this is an RC plane and you CAN actually land on water, those monstrosities were necessary, but mine is a static display. The wooden structure in the top image is the actual wingtip the plane had. This was actually a very good shape, but I had to build my own because they needed to be 1/3 wider and symmetrical. The little silver eye hooks on both sides are the tie downs for the actual plane. The rivets are resin printed water slide decals from Archer. Now all the wing tip needs is the mechanism that raises and lowers the pontoons!!! That will be fun and make it look beautiful!!! The last photo shows the pontoon strut, cavity for the strut and semi-accurate white detailing of the panels of the wing tip itself.  

Sunday, June 25, 2017

PBY: Cockpit exterior done!

  Well, let's be clear, it's ready for paint. Once it's painted, I still need to install all the glass and make two little windshield wipers. THEN it's all done! The next step for this piece is creating the ceiling mechanics, like the throttle and the cables to the engines. I've read that the engine throttle you had to put all your strength into pulling or pushing because the engines were so far away and the cable had to negotiate so many 90 degree angles to get to them. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Animation: Bear Sploot!

  Here's my first attempt to animate something on the newly christened animation disk. I'm not posting this one to Facebook. Maybe when I get a little fancier with this stuff.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Animation Table: Animation Disk finally installed!!!!

  I finally saved enough freelance money to get myself a high quality animation disk for the old table. Will I ever use it? I hope so. It's really nice. In fact, it's literally the nicest one available online. It has a tempered glass center, real brass fittings and everything else is very clean black plexiglass. We bought both sets of pegs, so we can go either standard Disney paper or the other layout. I really do intend to screw around with some light animation. I've been wanting to get back into it for years. 

My god, it really makes this table look good!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

PBY: Wheels!!

  So I've added some of the docking equipment to the PBY. The post by the turret is a retractable docking thing apparently. The white hatch on the side is the door for the anchor! I LOVE this plane!!
I also added the white stripe behind the cockpit because all the photos of PBYs I've seen have shown this plate of metal sticking out from the hull slightly. Reinforcment? Does it help subdue vibration from the propellers? The props are about right there pretty close to the hull, so it must have something to do with that. I've also finally figured out the turret, which will not only be perfectly level, but will also rotate freely!!

   Most importantly, I found the PERFECT sized wheels at Colonial Photo and Hobby. They fit the wheel wells perfectly, have the right style of tire tred and wheel hub and they're real rubber! Only $7 and it saves me from having to sculpt them from scratch!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

1:18 PBY Restarted!!!!!

Well, when last I posted anything about this, it was March of 2015. I had just finished the scratch-built machine guns..... Then I finished my office and spent just about a whole year doing ZBrush stuff. 

At work, one of my coworkers gave me a blank notebook. I decided to write down all my 'To do Projects' lists. Stigymoloch print was first, then the Kazon Ogla Ship and now the PBY. It's great having everything in order. It allows me to knock these out one by one and MOST IMPORTANTLY, not to interrupt what I'm working on with new projects. New projects just get written down at the end of the list. 

So lets talk about the PBY. The first image is me just pulling her out of storage and slapping her together. That's why all the dust. It shocked me how big she is. We measured her wingspan at almost 6 feet (70.75")!!!! I didn't believe it until I pulled the wing off, stood it upright and indeed it was taller than me! 

The second image is the entire hull sanded. This gives me a clean surface with texture so any additions have something to grab on to. It will also help the primer paint go on strong. 

The third image is the hull with the windows, rear turret blisters, and wheel wells cut out. It already looks so much better with windows!! I'm getting more comfortable with this project the more time I spend with it. This seemed really overwhelming at first. That's why I only modified the cockpit and built the turret last year. These were little individual pieces I could put my energy into without having to worry about accurate pontoons or landing gears or rivets or panel lines. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Kazon Raider: Finished!

 All finished! It's nice having a quick project! The Aztecking came out great!! Now I know how to do it if I ever make my own ship design.I was going to weather the panels with pastels, BUT I threw out the decals when I first got the model. Without decals, I just don't care about refining and finishing something that can't ever be really finished.