Practical Project

Further to looking at the Romanesque style, because the book tells me that the race of the Clayr goes back millennia, I have been looking at various ancient cultures and their architecture. This is where I began researching rock cut architecture. I also want to take the influence of the huge blocks of stone used in ancient Egypt for the pyramids, for any built work in addition to the rock cut areas of the city.

Of course this research was done earlier in the year and has been a huge influence on my sketches and ideas for the look of the city. At this point I think it is important to catch up and show where a lot of the visual ideas originated.

Most rock cut architecture is found in South Asia, like the examples below (Ellora and Ajanta) which are both found in India. Other famous examples would be the sphynx in Egypt and Petra in Jordan which I have written about previously. I have taken the idea of carving straight into the rock face rather than the architectural styles that ancient civilizations had.

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For my practical project I tasked myself with making a miniature, something which I have no previous experience with, in order to test some of the theories of why miniatures have the potential to achieve a visual effects shot better than a digital version. After 8 solid days of working, which I have documented on the page “The Build Diary”, I have now finished my model:

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For more information on the actual build process please look at the The Build Diary page.

Before I began building the model one of the most important decisions to make was what scale to build at. Too small and there wont be a big enough capacity for detailing the model, but the bigger the scale the more expensive the materials become despite being able to make it look more realistic. In the end I decided on 16th scale, which has a balance between the two arguments. This makes the model 500mm square and 750mm high. Depending on the shots planned by the director, in industry the model could well have been made to a bigger scale, but as a student I am restricted by work space, time and budget.

I have now added a separate page for The Build Diary where I will write about the progress of building the model every day. In this way it will be easier to see the timescale of each task and where tasks were simple to achieve/problems occurred. I will be updating The Build Diary every day to explain where the days tasks have taken me, so keep following to find out how it goes!

I have recently ordered some materials from the 4D Model Shop, based in London ( after recommendations from David Neat on the range of materials available only from this shop.

One such material is Kapa-Line Foamboard which contains polyeurathane as opposed to the standard polystyrene. Once the paper lining is removed this allows you to emboss the material, which keeps the shape. One way of exploiting this quality for my project is to make custom stamping tools with designs specifically for the Clayr’s Glacier environment. Another option is to use found objects to create patterns.

I have been experimenting over the last couple of weeks with this technique of testing found objects. The images below show how really simple basic found objects can be used and can be very effective, without spending money or time.

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I’m hoping to use my recently made stars from the 3D printer to make a custom tool for embossing the foam. I have also made a stone block tool so that I can make a repeated pattern that gives the impression of the slight depressions and raised areas of a stone wall like I have demonstrated with the practice piece below. You can also see how beating the foam with a wire brush can give the texture of stone, and how the foam keeps this texture even when I compress the foam by pressing the stone block tool into it.

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3D printing is a way forward for props and indeed miniatures, by best utilizing the time given, so for my project I want to make some element of the miniature using the 3D printer we have available. To do this I needed to teach myself how to use the appropriate software in order to digitally build up the elements. From my previous studies I know how to use the vector program, Adobe Illustrator, but for this purpose I have chosen to teach myself how to use 3d studio max.  In order for the printer to recognise the design it has to be saved as an Stl file (STereoLithography). I managed to design a simple star shape, and using the 3D printing technology produced the following:

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The 3D printer works by looking at the 3D shape and converting it into slices, then “printing” the material, plastic in my case, in sequential layers, beginning with a simple base which you can see above.

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On this photo you can see how the required shape is printed on top of the lattice base, and below how the star can be peeled off the base.

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Once all the stars are popped off, you can see below the left over bases.

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I plan on using the stars, which fit into a 10mm square for my 1:16th scale miniature, for decoration. Particularly for the moulding on the bridge which I am working on at the moment.

Last week I managed to get down to the laser cutter and try out my window trellis design. The following series of photos demonstrate the process:

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I have used mountboard as the material, which is solid enough to keep its form. The only problem with this is the potential for warping when it comes to painting up the model, so I think I will laser cut a second set in a different material as a second option. I am also planning on making some leaded window designs for windows in other sections of the Clayr’s Glacier environment, which will need to be done using a thinner material.