Monday 30 June 2014

An End and a Begining

We're Moving!

Well, in the interests of centralisation, I've retired this blog, and started a new one built into the Ex-Manus page itself. Not only will it put everything together in the same place, but it should be easier to make regular updates there. You should also be able to follow what we are doing on Facebook & Twitter, if you so desire.

So, what are you waiting for? Go check it out!

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Making the Monk - Final

Sorry about the gap, but here is the final part of Making The Monk!

Step 19 - With the head, weapon and hands done, I began building up the fore-arms in preparation for working on the bracers.

Steps 20 to 25 - The bracers came next, along with the connection to the right hand. This was a multi-step process with work on the inside of the forearms to create the impression of the braces being held on with cloth bindings, followed by the curved shape of the braces, their edging and the tiny swirls for detail. I also added some prayer beads at this point, though I'm not totally sure they look good or not.

Step 26 - The detail I added was some extra details on the disk on her waist. I was trying to evoke an iconic Chinese symbol like the Shou symbol.

And that it, the sculpture is finished.

I hope you all enjoyed the process, I may do another one in the future. If you are wondering, it looks like I wont get her painted in time for the close of the competition, but I will still submit her.

Friday 7 March 2014

Making the Monk - Part 5

Now for another digression from the main part of the project: the staff. In the interests of a dynamic pose, I decided to make the staff a separate part, (so that it may be cast separately, but allow for a final model with pose impossible for a single piece miniature). This process continued along side the sculpting of the rest of the model.

With the staff, the first thing to do was create the haft of the weapon, by rolling green-stuff (with a wire core) into a long tube. Once set; it was cut to the right length, and I added the first 2 flanges using ProCreate (better for post-set machining). Once these were 'fully' set (allowing much more time then usual), I used files and a craft knife to shape the flanges. I then repeated this process for the next two flanges, perpendicular to the first two.

With that done I added a rounded cap to the top of the staff, and a raised loop around the haft at the base of the flanges.

I then repeated the whole process on the other end.

Lastly I sculpted a hand wrapped around the haft, creating a connection point at the wrist where it will be attached to the finished model.
And that's the staff.

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Making the Monk - Part 4

Step 13 - (Done while simultaneously working on the hand) Was the addition of a face (here's one I prepared earlier). This is how I usually work with faces; making a whole bunch of faces separately, and choosing the best ones to be moulded and added to miniatures. You cant see it, but I used a small section of wire to anchor the new face to the neck.

Step 14 - Rounding out the head with additional green-stuff to give it a proper shape. Smoothing it into the neck to make the connection seamless.

Step 15 - Sculpting on her ears comes next, as they will be visible once the hair has gone on. I did both ears in a single session this time, which is tricky, as it can be tempting to support the head by putting my finger on the far side to which I'm working (which would flatten any un-set ear I had just sculpted :p).

Steps 16, 17, & 18 - Her hair went on in 3 stages; first the back, then the fringe, then the two side area where the back and the fringe did not meet.
More to come soon.

Monday 3 March 2014

Making the Monk - Part 3

Ok, at this point we are going to take a moment away from the overall sculpture to talk about one of the most difficult parts of this sculpt: the hand, namely the left hand, which, for this pose had to be double sided. This was a pain, the first 3 attempts were very flawed, and only the final one worked.

The first attempt was a process I've made work before, by building a putty support, sculpting one side of the hand on to it, carving it back, and then sculpting the other side. :( did not work too well this time).

The Second attempt used a hand from another model I've made previously and taken a mould of her hand. Turns out it was too small a hand.

The Third attempt was similar to attempt #1 (these pictures show the support a bit better) but the support was left inside the hand. Also; did not work out.

In the Fourth and final attempt I sculpted the hand separately, using a paint brush haft as the initial support, before attaching it to the model, and sculpting the other side of the hand. Much more satisfied with the results.

A lot of this required extra setting time before the putty was rigid enough, or attached enough to do the next stage. So this kinda slowed down the overall process a fair bit. But I did do little bits of work on the rest of the model while  I was struggling with the hand. Which you should see in the next post.

Thursday 27 February 2014

Making the Monk - Part 2

And now for some more work on the monk:
Step 8 - I sculpted the (stone?) guards around her calves (they are not in the concept art, but I like the look of them). This took 2 sessions as I didn't want to damage a soft one while I was working on the other. (See the next picture for what I mean, as I dont have photos of this particular step.)

Step 9 - A small step, I sculpted in the shoulders, neck and left bicep, (a necessary step before sculpting the top half of her cloths) as well as supporting material for the hanging cloth.

Step 10 - I extended the sculpting on her left arm and added in the bottom half of the robe taking extra care to add folds and curves to make it look like fabric.

Step 11 - Here I added the hanging cloth and first layer of her top (seen over her left shoulder).

Step 12 - In this step I mainly did one thing: sculpt the rest of her top. I also sculpted the rest of her right arm.

Ok, thats it for today, but there will be another update soon.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Making the Monk - Part 1

I recently saw this competition on Deviant Art, and I thought to myself, 'I can totally do a miniature for that' (it helps I've been wanting to do a female monk style miniature for a while). I also thought it would be cool to document the process in aseries of blog posts; to give people some insight into how I work. It should be noted that each 'step' represents a single sculpting session, I like to let the putty set before moving on to the next part of the model. This will also only be a broad overview, it's not a tutorial, just a tracking of the process I'm going through, tutorials and similar discussions will come in the future. Anyway; on with the show:

The First Step in creating a miniature is reference art. Usually I draw on the expertise of a concept artist, but in the case of the D3 Monk, there is plenty of official art, and fan art online. A quick search yielded some choice references:

The Second Step (sort of, I kinda did steps 3 & 4 first, but this stage is flexible) is basic plasticine mock-up. This is not meant to 'look good' it's mainly to help me solidify my ideas and finalise the pose.

The Third Step: Armature!, or at least the legs armatures. The armature forms a rigid (mostly) wire skeleton for the rest of the model to be sculpted around. I often favour doing the legs separately, then wiring them together, to allow me better access to shaping the legs.

The Fourth Step: Proper sculpting time: the legs. I like to sculpt a whole leg in a single go; that lets me really work on getting the proportions right. I also usually do one leg first and try to match the proportions of the second to the first. You'll also note I have the excess wire bent back and stabbed into the cork to give it extra stability.

The Fifth Step involved tying the two separate wires together to form the spine of the armature, then building the basic torso form on to that.

The Sixth Step was to flesh out the form of the torso slightly, to give me stuff to work the clothes around when I get to that stage.

The Seventh Step was to give the monk some pants, or at least pant legs, by layering a thin coat of putty (1/1 green stuff & pro-create) over the legs then shaping it to suit. It is at this stage I noticed I'd got the length of the shins out of wack, so I cut the putty of the shorter one, and slid it down the wire.

That's all for the moment, it's a pretty big post anyway, I'll have more updates soon.