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Project Blog - Earring painting
Project Blog

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The start! 
Monday, June 30, 2008, 10:33 PM
Posted by Administrator
Note: this is in blog form but I made it sort so the first post is at the top. Which means it goes on from here. Carry on.

If you want to just skip to the good stuff, I recommend checking out arenanet's flickr stream from PAX 2008 - here is a good picture to start on.


Well. Here it is, my first blog. It's not a personal blog though, just a journal of my progress in a project. This post is just an introduction. I'm not quite sure when it really started, so I am just pretending this was posted on July first.

The project:
A rather large Charr.

What?
Well. Some background. I've been making plushies for awhile now. Just every so often. Most of them have been Guild Wars related (but not all).

More background. A friend called and asked if I wanted some scraps of fur she found while cleaning. Sure! I can always use more scraps.

Right.

Scraps.

She drops off a huge bag, with ONE PIECE of fabric in it. This piece is about 2mx2m square. This is not a scrap.

So of course, I have to do something with it.

Thus, the megacharr is born.
view entry ( 5316 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 237 )
Which one? 
Wednesday, July 2, 2008, 10:40 PM
Posted by Administrator
So we're making a large Charr. One thing you may not have noticed about Charr is a lot of them are different. There's different colours, different shapes, different stances... We need to pick one that works.

The most restrictive thing here is of course the colour. I've got the fur already, and it's polyester so I can't bleach or dye it (don't think I didn't try).

It obviously has to be a brown charr, but most of the ones I see are orangey and this fur doesn't have a bit of orange in it!

Then, there it is. Another friend was helping me out, looking through the wiki for pics and found the perfect one - the Charr Mind Lord. Of course, he's a quest specific one. Gah. Then we realised that the Charr Chaot uses the same skin, just had a bad picture in the wiki. He's much easier to find. Yay! We have our Charr.
view entry ( 3927 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 165 )
Reference screenies 
Sunday, July 6, 2008, 01:46 PM
Posted by Administrator
Now that we have decided which type of Charr we're going to make, we need to get some reference shots.

This mostly involves going ingame at the highest graphics settings you can get and taking screenshots. I had Jonathan help me for this step, he used pacifism and amity to keep the Charr still while I ran around taking pictures.

I ended up with a bunch of decent shots, from which I selected the most useful and generated a composite image. I've attached a reduced version here. You'll note if you look closely that some of the background is unusually white, I went in with texmod ahead of time and blanked out a lot of the hill textures so that it would be easier to see the Charr.



I also used texmod to pull the Charr's skin texture from the game, but it is remarkably low res and rather confusing, with Charr bits all over the place. So I'm likely to end up only using it for a color reference.
view entry ( 1254 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.8 / 126 )
Skin Test 
Tuesday, July 8, 2008, 04:44 PM
Posted by Administrator
More planning!

This is a huge project. To inspire me to finish, and to get something started, I decided to do a bit of work on the embellishments.

This guy's clothing is pretty simple. He's got some underwear, which is fabric and braided rope, and a bunch of wraps, which are fabric, braided rope, and... armadillo skin. I learned the identity of this material at PAX last year from Katy Hargrove.

So: the challenge. How do I get armadillo skin? I certainly wasn't going to use the real thing. Even then, the pieces the Charr use come in... interesting shapes, bordered by a texture that looks like the armadillo's rings. I suppose I could have started breeding armadillos for their skin shapes, but I don't really have that kind of time.

Something else, then. Fabric? Hard to find the right pattern, still border issues. Not very textured. As always, if I want it done right, I'm gonna have to do it myself.

Let's skip the time I spent researching mold making and making it out of silicone. It was a neat idea but not really viable unless you are already into is (or know someone who is) so you're familiar with the materials and already have a supply of them. Even then, this is a bunch of one-off pieces.

I needed a material that was flexible, easily molded, and paintable. I've used this Crayola Model Magic stuff before, and had some small chunks that I never got around to using, so I decided to try it and see if it would fit the bill. Note: this stuff is doomed as soon as you open the package. I had bought a six pack of half ounce packages that I bought on sale once, and decided to sacrifice one to use as a test.

I picked the yellow pack, and while I was at it I ripped off a piece, rolled it into a snake, split it in three and made his earrings. May as well, rather than wasting a whole new pack on them later. I hadn't been able to find earrings of the right size in my shoppings.

The rest of the material went between two pieces of plastic wrap. I rolled it out flat, then stamped circles into it using the end of a lip gloss container. I made the border lines with a wooden skewer. The plastic wrap was left on during this so that my stamping would make round bumps rather than just cutting into the material.

Removed the plastic, let it dry. Tomorrow we'll see how it turned out.
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Earring painting 
Wednesday, July 9, 2008, 05:31 PM
Posted by Administrator
First, let's check on the 'skin'. Yay it is perfect! A little fragile, but flexible enough. Painting with acrylic paint and then wiping the top with a damp sponge seems to do a decent job of keeping the paint in the deep parts. I only had white acrylic, and the base was yellow, so obviously the colours are wrong, but the concept is sound.

Next, the earrings need to be made gold. I have some 'antique gold' enamel paint and some gold bronzing powder from my model painting days. I've forgotten how to use the bronzing powder so the enamel will have to do.

A few hours later I finally get the tiny jar open.

A couple coats and a day later, the antique gold ended up a little too antique for my tastes, rather more green than yellow.



So, onto the bronzing powder. Pushed it on with a q-tip, go to buff it in with a tissue. It comes right off. Great. The internets say you can laquer over it with a laquer made of egg whites, but that sounds flakey. You can mix it with clear enamel, but I don't have clear enamel. OK, I mixed it with the antique gold enamel. That worked decently well. I now have a set of gold Charr earrings!
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