Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Full Moldy Jacket

After all that data mining, he created a cave-in.

I read up a lot on mold-making. Followed several blogs and watched videos. Bought a book and read it several times. So of course when I go out to make my first jacket mold, I accidentally get latex instead of silicone.

It took three days to lay down enough coats of Casting Craft "Mold Builder" latex to be comfortable moving on to the mother mold. Then the resin I used with the fiberglas matting didn't set up properly. After a long struggle I got the master de-molded, but the mother isn't supporting the latex properly, the latex didn't capture sufficient detail, and the fiberglas is still sticky and really annoying to be around.

So three days and fifty bucks of material wasted, and a nasty clean-up job with acetone to boot. The only thing that prevents it from being a complete failure is that the master survived with only a few dings.

So it will be back again with Rebound 25, and if I mother mold, I'll lay up plaster bandages or even paper-mache. I have no interest in having more resin to mess with.

But time is getting to be a real problem. I just got yanked into yet another show to help set lights (I can't say "design" because it was literally last-minute -- not even enough time to read the script, much less get familiar with the show).

And there's a new director on one of the upcoming shows I have.

And I've finally got a lead on what to do at the venue I'm trying to improve, thanks to one of my commenters here, but I haven't got approval yet and time is getting very, very short before the big end-of-season musical there.

The next two sound designs are going to need a lot. New libraries, new effects. I need to build stuff into sampler in order to properly construct some of these effects. Which means I need to get my software organized. Figure out which samplers, which libraries actually work, and which are dead wood.

Because not only is there the ongoing problem of system upgrades breaking all the installed software, sound libraries are rampant with horrible copy-protection schemes. If you look at them sideways they de-authorize. And then you are left with a bunch of broken stuff cluttering up the menus of your DAW and sequencers. (And of course de-installing is also a vast pain for most of these libraries).

Yeesh. Something as simple as two libraries from the same damned company. One only opens in a proprietary VST host from the same company, the other only opens in Kontakt. Which keeps changing their authorization and support so one can never tell which version of Kontakt one is actually able to use at any moment.

It makes me really, really miss the rack-mount synths. When I never had to deal with passwords and having to be online just to play a flute patch. And where I could work up the patch libraries and have one single method of access across all the hosted sounds that was searchable and organized.

Sure, it is fun having another dozen random synth pads with every library you purchase. But you can't remember all of them, and you can't search them, and even when the libraries/engines still work (instead of being broken or deciding you need to renew a password at a site that requires a membership) you have to go through loading each new engine one at a time and squinting at their tiny displays in order to try to navigate through their poorly-labeled selection of patches.

I just went through a couple of hours of this just trying to track down a brushed cymbal sound. Eventually gave up and purchased a sample from SoundDogs.

But somehow, I need to sort out the stuff that actually works and is useful, and get my pallet organized to where I can roll out the effects I need for the next couple of shows.

And maybe then I can find a spare minute or two to write some music again.

To add a couple more percentile points on to "almost complete failure" I threw the dregs of my previous bottle of Smooth-Cast into the latex mold. And it reacted with some impurity and boiled up in an unpleasant way. But now at least I have some sense how those materials behave and what kind of mold I can get out of them if I ever need to use it again.

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