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Da Clumsy Noob Goes Batty

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As I move further into finished pieces I thought I would document some of the things I am doing for those who may like to play a bit. This does not mean I am not doing fractals anymore, just varying things a bit and having fun ? Ain't that what it is all about? And, if you do not agree, then, well, I shall cry. Honestly, there may be tears shed.... ?


So, I had this concept for piece that I want to do soon in the future and it requires a bat. Now, I decided to start modeling the bat just to get a jump on things and, as usual, the mind took off and the bat got a life of his own. But, I will still use him in the project he was designed for. This was my story....the bats have been changed to protect the innocent. and this was the process:


1. Breathe deep, it ain't rocket science and just have fun! I also have been modeling a while and have figured a set of shortcuts that get me from concept to finished model as quick as possible. And, it is a pretty standard modeling process these days too. The two main programs I am using is 3DS MAX and 3D Coat. Now, this should be broken into the types of programs they are. 3DS MAX would be a mesh modeling program. So anything that can do that would be just fine. You could use Blender or any free program that will let you work on half a model and mirror the other half over so you can get easy symmetry and only worry about one side. 3D Coat is a mesh and volumetric sculpting program that is cheap and powerful. It allows for fast sculpting as well as a mirror mode for when I need symmetry. ZBrush is a very powerful alternative. Blender can do volumetric sculpting, but I am not sure how well.


2. I started with a box. You can see the middle line for the main body. It is jut a basic set of extrusions and pushing a few vertices around. The eyeball is a separate sphere and the teeth are just two bent cones in place. They are left separate for easy working in 3D Coat.



3. I applied a modifier that added more polygons by subdividing them and it also relaxes the corners for a more rounded shape. I added a nose too.....



4. This then gets exported out to a set of STL files (Body, eye, teeth, nose) and then imported into 3D Coat. Here is the model in 3D Coat and a bit of stuff done already.



5. Here, I have done about as much 'symmetry' work as I can. Time to get asymmetrical. As I sculpt out the details, I decide which wing will be on top and therefore, more detailed. But their wings are very thin and so I made sure to put some details of the the other wing into it. Since their wings are modified hands, I wanted a really knuckley look to them as well as stress the bone structures. I should note at this time, that this is why I kept the eye, nose and teeth separate. I can sculpt on the body and not disturb the eye and teeth, yet still use them as a marker for when they do get added. And, I did use a ton of Bat Pics (Holy old reference!!) to get it as right as possible for a cartoony character.



6. Now, I have released the Kraken! Ooops....sorry...wrong topic.... Ermmm, eyeball, nose and teeth. I continue to refine the model in front and back.



7. Believe it or not, the squinty eye was the most difficult part. I went back and forth and back and forth until I got it right.



8. Now, back to 3DS MAX. I had modeled the Bat "Right Side Up" because I could see the features and details better that way. But, this means that when going back into 3DS MAX, I had to model the base tree model upside down. For some reason, this was not an issue for me. I dunno....I am strange.....The tree is a set of lofts with a twisted up circle lofted across some splines to make the tree base and limbs. Since it is just a form of a sweep, I could play with the twisting and scaling.



9.  And back into 3D Coat to dress it up. I prefer volumetrics for some operations because it is boolean proof. So, I joined all the tree parts together and turned the whole thing around for sculpting. This time, it was easier to sculpt the tree in proper orientation.



10. Now we is all sculpted and swampified ?



11. Back into 3DS MAX for a final check of all things to make sure I am happy and all is scaled properly. 3D Coat can go straight out, but I like to run it through a package I have the most familiarity with for that final check.



12. Now, we's beez all printed now.... Man, I loves me PVA!!



13. Now just to be an ass, the backside!! (See what I did there? Ass......backside....ermmmm, nebbermind....)



14. Otay...now we be cookin' on all 3 burners...wait....that's not right.... Well, I had to check the model in the glass casing to see how it all fit. And, yep.,...only 3 burners....hadda bend the limbs and mush up a root at the base to get it to fit.....ooopsie!!! tee hee..... So, out with the heat gun and just a bit of bending and it woiked! Keep in mind that this worked because it is a very freeform shape. If you look at the prints above and this image below, you can see where the limbs got bent and the far left/bottom root got smushed up a bit. Keep in mind I am not using a big heat gun. I am using my SMT soldering kit with a fine aim on the heat. I can dial up the heat in bunches o' degrees ?



15. Now a twirl just to see it from all sides and see if we can proceed......






16. Annnnd, we are ready to proceed with the further organification of the model. For this, I used a 3D pen to add details that would be near impossible to really print well. It also lets me just '3d Paint" on the surface to add stuff at whim. At this point I am applying a set of black and white primers to bring out details and prep the surface for painting with a brush. My tree has vericose vines!! ? The Print has been epoxied to the base at this point and the rim of the wooden base taped off so I can paint at will and not be really clean about it. I can slap paint around like it is a 3Day old ham and not worry about things. ?




17. Now, we are getting somewhere!



18. On the tree, I chose to make a greyish wood color in the cool spectrum and then be able to make the creeper vines a warmish color to help them pop out. Ain't color theory spiffy?



19. The base is starting to get color too on purpose because under the foliage I will put in, I want a ground color in. This will let there be a good color other than white under it if it shows through. I also added the frog. Who do ya think woke up the bat? I printed the frog in a translucent white/clear so that in the throat of the frog, it would look translucent because of skin stretch. I also went with rain forest colors. Again, load of frog pics (Holy amphibians!!)



20.  Now I finish out the painting, complete the ground painting and then add the mushrooms I printed up at all sorts of scales.




21. Time to add the scale foliage and seal up the Bat Jar (Holy encasings!!) and we's beez dones!! Easy Peezy, lemon squeezy.....



22. All done! The foliage was applied using a PVA slurry. The same slurry I recycle for my prints. When doing research I found that a PVA based glue is what is used. And, wow, do they sell a lot of it too.....but, I am a cheap bastich and just recyled my PVA from my prints.


Edited by kmanstudios
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@kmanstudios thank you for sharing all the steps with us on how such a model comes to realization. It actually makes me appreciate the model even more. I see more details and see how much work goes into it. 


Your use of a 3D pen is also really smart and seems to work really well for the tree, nice job!! 


When you modeled the bat standing up, did you not have any issues that it did not look 'hanging', when you rotated it around? 

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3 hours ago, SandervG said:

When you modeled the bat standing up, did you not have any issues that it did not look 'hanging', when you rotated it around? 

Not really, I had reference that I could flip around in my head. The tree was different in that I just winged it.


43 minutes ago, geert_2 said:

Or do you also use it to smoothen details and layer lines?

Just to bend it. There is a bit of lines visible in the wings, but I kinda liked it as they have a lot of striations when their wings are lax. So, that was not needed. The print was made at 0.1mm layer height.

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BTW, this is the next model I am designing at the moment for a real shakedown on my S5. It is so large that it will have to be printed in two pieces standing up. I will show a new segment on its creation when done. Still in the formative stages.....


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I hope you live close to a place of education.  The contribution you can make goes so far beyond this forum.  What I see here (and it's just a slice)  goes beyond integration of media.  It's a new art form. 


Thanks for the inspiration.  Now time for me to go back printing mechanical parts.  I feel like a private pilot watching an Airbus fly over and thinking, 'wow, imagine...'



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6 minutes ago, JohnInOttawa said:

I hope you live close to a place of education.  The contribution you can make goes so far beyond this forum.

I actually did teach college until about two years ago. Then I ran afoul of the politics of the system. 17 years down the drain as an instructor.

They really are not that up to speed on a few things and as soon as you have things that can do better and the students start asking why they cannot get what I can produce, well, it does not bode well for the people who are in charge of some things. For instance, I found out that the CG department's IT squad had a hand held scanner for 18 months and never let us instructors know anything because the head IT guy wanted to be the one to make things happen....and, they never could. I found out about that when an IT guy walked into class and I was showing the students how to scan with it using my own equipment. And, forget about it when they found out I was getting the UM3E and could do PVA and all sorts of stuff for cheaper than their systems could and with much better results.


And, to implement things can take two years on switching directions.


And, I am completely a non-political animal. Too blunt and really am not interested in their ambitions. And, with the communications issues, when I get in situations like that, they can run circles around me while the brain is going into disconnects with all the false equivalencies and the brain disconnects from the mouth completely.


However!! Even though my health put my school plans as a student on hold until Spring of 2019, I will be in a different position. Then I will be able to just do and show and not fight bureaucracies. I gotta do what the profs want, but that does not mean I am limited by things on my own to show.


But, thank you for your kind words. And, your works are what is difficult for me. I am just in awe of the stuff you guys do.


And, @cloakfiend, wow! Whatta talent! See, I am just a cartoonist, but he can do such amazing likenesses.....This is something that I struggle with. I just do goofy stuff....

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Oh...The Barbarian will be done the same way as the Batty sculpt was done. Concept to completion. I just purchased a new material to print that with and I am hoping it works. I like to push the machines to do strange things like all those crazy overhangs, balances and thin, spindly parts.

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Thank you for sharing this story.  And what a sad indictment of a place that says to the world that it values learning above all.


I have two sons in the post grad world, my eldest has told me of similar power struggles in his field (music).  


My background is about as artistic as a wrench.  When we get into disagreements, it is funny for outsiders to watch, as we have jurassic social skills when it comes to dealing with units that require oxygen.  That said, it has been my experience that, when those in the arts decide to fight, they are almost too skilled at administering life-changing lacerations to the psyche of their foe. 


Good on you for keeping your art alive.  And for bringing it here.  Our gain.


All the best


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On 7/16/2018 at 2:12 PM, Brulti said:

We all bow in front of the creations of the madman and his printers.




We all bow in front of the creations of the madman kman and his printers.

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5 minutes ago, SandervG said:

We all bow in front of the creations of the madman kman and his printers.

I think madman was appropriate ? ?


Edit: I keep thinking about Albert Finney in "Network" "I'm mad and as hell and I am gonna print MORE!!"

Edited by kmanstudios

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Thanks for the kind words @kmanstudios, hopefully I'll have a few sexy prints to show ya'll soon; some urban stuff, some geeky stuff, and some arty stuff, and some personal stuff, I can't ever finish one I hope to do so very soon, I tried to print it so many times, I tried to print it back in the day when PVA was new but as it was on a beta UM3 that was not mine anyway I never got to see it finished as it kept failing every 10 minutes... now with an S5 lets hope it comes out ok and I actually get to see it before the world ends in two months odd, lol. The barbarian thing looks super cool and you are most certainly not simply a cartoonist! Not that that would be a bad thing anyways! You got skills man, or kman! I bet your meshes are clean and pretty. Mine are pure raw un-remeshed dynamesh scupts with zero edge loops and all, Your work also makes me think about my games workshop days and Warhammer. the amount of time i spent glueing sand to bases and removing flashes from cast lead figurines! 


My obsession with detail and surface quality, is that i have an older brother and back in the day when i was like 12 (long time ago....very) he would examine my work and insult me until it was perfect. I could only do so much as a 12 year old, and always admired amazing artists like Renaissance artists, and stuff like Classic revival architecture. Im a sucker for detail but only in the right places.


Its only now that I can look at something and say, I could do that. but never really figured out why I couldnt do it before???? strange that huh? the moment you realise the many countless hours/days/years of practice have finally paid off doesn't really register. But the learning never ends, its such a pain.....whatever you want to make, you need to know its form and how it looks like from EVERY angle. I simply dont have enough time in my life to examine EVERYTHING I like. Some things I Iike more than others and Ill spend far more time researching and admiring them and that what makes us all unique. I dont quit regardless of how much time i waste as I only make things I like so I dont see it as time wasted, even if its a gift for someone I barely know. I get pleasure out of seeing people happy with the objects I give them, and even if they don't care much, I'm happy I made what I set out to make, as I always deliver on my promises. Unfortunately for me I make a lot of promises.....I've stopped making them so much now, as I have to wipe the slate clean and start some fresh projects.


Sorry for the essay......as usual! and keep up the eternal practice!!!


BTW what layer height is the batty print? im guessing 0.1? I want 0.06 how long would that take IYHO?

Edited by cloakfiend

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13 minutes ago, cloakfiend said:

I bet your meshes are clean and pretty. Mine are pure raw un-remeshed dynamesh scupts with zero edge loops and all

You would lose that bet once it goes through sculpting. It is just a voxel object turned into a  mesh with a gazillion triangles. Since I do not intend to animate, there is no need for that sort of thing. I just try to get the mesh to a level it will import properly for printing. ?


I am waiting to see your new works!! ?

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Yes true! sculpting for fun is far better than for animation, I'll leave that to others, But you forgot to mention the layer height!!


I hope my new revised model prints without failure, I may ask a few favours @kmanstudios and send you the cgode as I want to try it with PVA for the first time, but with good settings and you seem to use PVA a lot!!!

Edited by cloakfiend

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Nope...that seems to be someone trying to crib the name. 20 years ago there were no "Kman" anything, anywhere when I registered my domain. But, now, there are a gazillion of them. not an original bone in their bodies.


As for gcode, I would be better at sussing out a curaproject file so I can see the settings and such. Remember though that I keep my apartment cooled and dried with A/C all the time and use polybox on top of that. Environment plays a huge part in that.

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On 7/16/2018 at 7:04 AM, geert_2 said:

Thanks for describing the workflow. Do you use the heat gun only to bend things in shape, or out of shape, as desired? Or do you also use it to smoothen details and layer lines?

OK, Spurred by this comment, I am beginning to experiment on heating up, rebuilding and adding detail using a heat gun.


Below you will find the very first/just a few minutes of playing on a sculpt I made just to test this. This is just the beginning and leanring, but I think it has merit and, if I get it down, I will post a Tut on how I did it and all the steps. The sculpt is something I threw together in just a a couple of hours. Not much detail....it did get revised for a more complex look at how to do this. Basically, this is the print to really mess up with and then refine things. I am print out variations to test on and things to try. But for now, this is where I am with very little work or really, not knowing what I am doing. Just winging it and playing. Please remember that this is just a beginning. But, I believe it has promise.


Basic Sculpt:



First up close on layer lines.



And, not much definition in how it printed too.



First Heat smoothing on arm.



Got a little too hot and had to rebuild a bit with the 3D pen and smooth back in. Had to rush out to a Dr. Appointment, so, this was in a hurry. I also delineated the area between bicep and pectoral. Still needs work Starting to put in skin fold/creases. You can also see the start of smoothing on the abdomen.



I also had a very bad line in the face.



Beginning to smooth and rebuild face.



This was the quick, get it printed at low res (0.2mm Layers) and can totally mess it up learning.


This is the higher rez version that has been sculpted a bit more.....not everybody likes nekkid cavemen ?



And, as I am wont to do, this is the fully realized concept that is printing also at 0.1mm on the UM3E. This printing right now at 3 days for completion. The S5 version is a ten day print at full plate size.....that will wait a bit ?


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Thank you. ? Revising the caveman process and getting much better result now. Will noon have a new post on how that works from concept, early print, secondary print and full concept. This will have an eye on production work for people in a facility using 3D printing in a place designing through final for mold making./mass production.

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