Friday, April 24, 2015

Stolen... Holos...

(With apologies to Oliver Nelson)

I have some interest at the RPF in making a holocron kit, but I've been really struggling with the design. Here's what the first one looked like:

Since the shell design was not original with me, I have to re-think that. Here's a mock-up (I had the wrong acrylic on hand for the interior panels) for the "Jedi Temple" version I agreed to do for a potential customer:

The big differences are the use of dove-tail jointing instead of having to fill corners, the inclusion of USB port cutouts in the design, and that it is now the (canonical) 4" in size. But the diffusion-layer graphics on this one are for the Temple, so I can't use those either.

Here's the new hybrid design I've been working on, re-using the original diffusion and circuitry layers:

It works, but it doesn't inspire me. I found while working on the Jedi Temple holocron that I could cut finer detail than this in the circuitry layer. Also, the diffusion layer looks rather crude to me now (besides, it was designed to work with a shell that filled center.)

I sorta know where I want to go, but it is the sort of thing that PhotoShop is best at. And I don't have PhotoShop any more, and I have extreme reluctance to deal with Gimp or InkScape's work-arounds and other peccadillos for this particular bit of art. So I've been procrastinating.

While looking around, I found more information about one of few truly canonical holocron designs, the "Stolen" holocron from the animated series:

And, although it is a little tricky, I think I can get there with a similar construction method to my other holocrons by using both a deeply engraved detail line in the shell, and by back-painting the diffusion layer (both effects indicated but not simulated here in an InkScape file):

To really get the look of the Stolen, though, I need to do something which is only visible in some views, to wit; make an internal second cube and whatever clever acrylic cuts allows it to be suspended there.

The other major canonical holocron is one that was apparently made by prop artisans as part of the advertising campaign to one of the games. I find its design extremely attractive -- but also difficult to achieve. The simplistic method of slapping laser-cut acrylic pieces together can stretch for the Stolen, but not enough for the "Transformers" style:

The prop was apparently constructed at 2x to 4x scale in order to get all that detail in! So I'm not quite ready to try to tackle translating that into a simple holocron kit.

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