When I lent my services to a collegue who was working on a film about 12 years ago, I was introduced to the world of cnc. I remember watching this huge machining centre milling out a slab of mdf and turning it into a fantastic set of gears. I knew that it would have taken me hours to achieve the same thing with traditional power tools. I decided then that I would invest in a cnc router for my own business Oxenham Design. At that time I could turn on a computer, but even to check email seemed like a crazy set of operations. I persevered and learned every piece of relevant software I could get my hands on. I am now fortunate enough to be using Vectric's ASPIRE software, and Techno cnc routers, which has helped us to create some amazing projects, both in part, or in full. I thought that this blog would be a great place to share "behind the scenes" adventures with the software, materials and equipment we use, as well as the projects we build.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Mythraic Stone Sculpture

Say that really fast. Yesterday we had a meeting for another upcoming feature film. Due to non-disclosure agreements however, I am not allowed to mention any details or plot lines etc. I can however, talk about the specific part we're making. We will be fabricating a 6 foot tall Mythraic stone sculpture of the God Mythrias slaying a bull. We received some pictures from the art department, and I also did a ton of Googling to find out as much info as possible. This will be the first digitally sculpted relief completely built in our Aspire software. I weighed the odds of poly-modelling this in Hexagon, but the ability to draw my vectors right over the downloaded image in Aspire was WAY easier, especially as this is a bas relief.  I won't detail every single step, as all the steps are so similar to each other.

 To start, I opened the image in Aspire, and started to break all the parts like hands, arms, legs, animals, etc into separate vectors. Just by tracing the profile of them with the line tool. I quickly massed the shape up by using the create shape tools, using all domes for the most part. The only exception was the cape. As the definition of the wrinkles was very easy to see, I used the 2 rail sweep function. I did each wrinkle separately to allow full control when merging each wrinkle component together.I would bounce back and forth between the various tools, including the sculpting tools, to achieve the look I was happy with.
As this is the first "Aspire only" model I have done, it started slow for me, but rapidly got quicker. I could probably re-model it in less than half the time now!
 When the whole relief was finished, I added the original picture, as a texture, over the whole relief. This gave me the enhanced stone look, as well as all the little details that would have taken a vast amount time to model.

The next step was to model the strange recess that the figure is set into. I opened a new file, brought in the image of the actual monument, and traced the recess opening. I added a negative relief with the dome tool. Did a bit of sculpting and smoothing and voila!
 The next step will be to add a rough texture to the background and merge the two reliefs together. It will be a blast to watch the Techno carve this bad-boy out. The relief is on 3 of the 4 sides. This is why we switched over to digital sculpting and cnc. Once the file is generated, we can scale, stretch and duplicate it as many times as required.


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