Saturday, April 11, 2015

Black Sun Passes

So yesterday finished up the current order of Aliens grenades. My timing was good, and I was able to quickly set up some artwork in Illustrator and run a few more pieces off on the Epilog laser. I had some black 1/16" acrylic, which is a lot thinner than I've cut before, and some .04" styrene -- and in both cases, my estimated settings for the laser were almost dead-on. I guess I'm getting a sense for the thing.

With no better job openings, I'm pushing hard at multiple prop projects now. I need to start cutting metal on the raygun by the end of the month. My Poser content store is looking sad -- my pose-able drum kit just went into clearance:

It's insanely detailed. I built it because there weren't any drum kits that could stand up to detail renders, and could be posed at will, and were texture zoned and UV-mapped to allow for easy custom texturing. Unfortunately, Renderosity is not set up for niche products; they are designed around flavor-of-the-month skins (character packs) that typically have a life-cycle measured in weeks. Products that have a steady but low selling history over years and years don't fit well in their boxes.

As this was. The lifetime history of my Poser store is about $2,000 to me. The drums only netted me about $400. Rigging clothing items has gotten so painful, though, that even though they all pretty much count as niche products the only models I can face these days are props. So I'm looking hard at pushing out another themed set as quick as I can model it (I already have a start) --

(What's hilarious about this promo image is I actually unlimbered Bryce 3D in order to make the backdrop!) And, yes, this is modeled on my own Pogue uke; friction tuner, tie bridge, no purfling. And is of course excessively accurate; the frets are placed correctly and the strings are actually different diameters!

The idea is to throw various "folk" instruments that work in a solo, casual, pick-up setting; concertina, mountain dulcimer, native flute, etc. into a small set. Which, based on history, will show a couple hundred in profit over the first month in store. So try not to spend too many hours building!

The commissioner of a custom holocron hasn't coughed up the first paying order yet. So that project rolls over into a general RPF offering, meaning my priority now is to make the files for several different shell and panel options. And laser at least one of them as an example. I've got the "Academy" shell on the paint table right now. But need to laser up a new set of interior panels for that one before I can show it off.

Meanwhile I've taken on three different projects that shouldn't involve any software component at all. Re-dressing a helmet and oxygen kit into a alternate-history-pulp space helmet, throwing together a Morrow Project laser, and seeing if I can't make some stackable vacuumform huts in figure scale that will go with a Dragon Age campaign.

All of that should be traditional modeling, foam and wood and bondo and....oh, right. That laser cutting I was just talking about? That was for the emblem on the helmet.

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