Saturday, 29 October 2011

Manny's skull in the matter

At last, after weeks a fumbling with 3D images, I am touching concrete, material, stuff! I have just received my 3D prints for Manny's head, based on Tom Beg's original modelling.

What a satisfaction to hold Manny's skull in my hand.

As you can see there are 2 models: one, based on the original artwork from Tom, with teeth, and the other one without teeth. The latter will be the master shape based on which I will make a Silicon mold to create many other heads. The mouth cavity will be used to place sculpted replacement mouths to give Manny's ability to articulate via lips-sync.

A word about 3D printing: I have in fact tried two well established 3D printer : shapeways and i.materialize. Both companies had kick-ass customer support and delivered high quality product on time for about the same price. Shapeways' product smoothness was however slightly better... but very close.

Unfortunately, 3D printing remains fairly expensive and can be used only for fairly small objects. Manny's computer desk for example, would cost several hundreds dollars to 3D print because of its bulky volume. That said, for small, intricate shapes, such as puppets head or Manny's computer, 3D printing is an option to get the props done.

Original fan-art by Thomas Beg

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Set Building: Manny's chair

Well, this is a very approximate modelling, but don't ask me to do any better. I spent far too much time on that one... far too curvy for my good. No idea how I am going to get this props built... but at least I have some dimensioned plans now.

The good news is... I am done with the modelling the furniture props. A couple of lamps and ashtrays, and Manny's office is now fully charted and rescaled in 3D.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Set Building: Celso's chair

This is the "client" chair in Manny's office, the very chair from which Celso is given his "ticket" to the ninth underworld. This should be relatively easy to build.

Set Building : Manny's Apple II+

Here is another piece of prop. If I 3D print the whole console, I will get the computer as well. These are fairly important props as they are in a lot of frames in the intro movie.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Set Building: Manny's Computer Desk

This one was a bitch. Well, I have learned a couple of things in Sketchup in the process... I am not sure how I am going to build this piece. Maybe Print 3D, but this is voluminous and could be a bit pricey.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Set Building : Manny's Sofa

The sofa is a mostly unused piece of prop in Manny's office... but it's there and needs to be built as well. I am probably done with the easy part. The 2 chairs and the computer console promise to be much tougher...

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Manny's skull : printer 3D ready!

I just heard back from the guys from i.materialise... well it did not turn out to be straightforward to get Tom's skull printed... as the design was not intended for 3D printing : it was not waterproof (i.e. the model had tiny holes), the wall thickness too thin, and the "normals" where inverted in the eyes (whatever this means). Luckily the guys from i.materialise have been super helpful in helping me fixing the model to make it print ready. So with a bit of luck, I will have Manny's Iron skelleton and polyamide skull flying to me over the next 2 weeks. What a great encounter this will be! Manny has never been so close to be reincarnated.

Set Building: Manny's filing cabinet

There is definitely a few things that I don't quite get in Sketchup... anyway, here is another piece of props rescaled and ready for building.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Set building: Tackling props

I leave in a country where it is possible to find talented model makers without breaking the bank, and I am hopeful to be able to "outsource" a big part of the props construction workload. However this require very specific specification documentations, and a careful resizing of all the props at the required 1/7th scale. To do this I am recreating the props using Google Sketchup which seems to be one of the only tool that the mere mortal can self train on in a matter of few hours. The model are first recreated at human size with all the required details, then scaled at 1/7th and from this I extract a simple construction plan. I have started with something easy... Manny's desk, and side table in his office. Which are almost identical.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Manny's armature

Manny's body will be articulated with a metal armature. I have chosen to buy an armature kit Animation The puppet will be 25 cm tall, which is consistent with a set built at a scale of 1/7th. The trick is that Manny's body, as you recall, has not an anatomically correct body: he is short on his leg, which is the reason why DOD has given him some pneumatic leg extender to help him do his job more credibly as a reaper. I have therefore redrawn Vectorially the anatomically correct scale drawing given by Animation Supplies, found some descent original concept art for Manny that gives me a good stand-up view of Manny's silhouette on Grim Fandango Network (thanks guys for your concept art collection), and finally adapted the lenght of some parts of the armature. I now know also that Manny's head will have to be about 7cm from scull-top to chin-bottom.

Removing Manny's teeth

In this earlier post, I marveled at the 3D remodeling made by Thomas Beg as part of its CG arts studies. Well, I contacted Thomas to beg (no pun intended) for the source file. Not only he replied, but he very generously sent the Maya and Obj source file of his model. Well, thanks Thomas, that's very cool of you. The source files were in Maya. I have not clue about 3d modelling and this software looks very scary. I downloaded the demo version which gave me 30 days to inspect the model (even though Thomas had given me the Obj export as well). And.. aha!, I discovered that the teeth were modeled as separate object and very easy to remove! A teeth-less skull could prove to be very useful for mouth replacement purpose. Next step was simply to export the teeth-less Manny from Maya into an Obj-file, resize it using a cheap 20 USD tool called Accutrans 3D (I was incapable of finding the scaling/sizing function in Maya using a good old metric system) and then send the model to a 3D printer, place the order... et voilà! I should receive Manny's head within 2 weeks. This 3D printed model will become the master model based on which I will sculpt the replacement mouths, and also do a silicon mold for creating many more heads for replacement and other puppets.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

First Set: Manny's office

Here is the plan for Manny's office set construction. Quick luckily, among the "lost arts" that can be found by exploring the game with a tool such as Scummrev, there a very usable floor plan of Manny's office which has been very helpful to get the proportion right. Beginner's luck... all the other sets will not be so well documented. This document contains the floor plan, various pre-rendered background of Manny's office, and some Sketchups that will be used to build the model.