Saturday, April 23, 2016


I tried out the NextEngine 3d scanner. Confirmed that working up a sculpted prop in 2x scale, digitizing it, then 3d printing it at final scale is a plausible workflow. The NextEngine software is pretty good with stitching and with decimation/retopology, and scanning is relatively fast. There are limitations on size, however; a 4" x 5" window, for instance, for anything using the attached rotary table.

Yet I am still torn on the design of the Wraith Stone. It seems defensible within the information presented in the game that this is a manufactured thing, an item of Atlantean technology like Excalibur or the Galali Key. You could even defend the green blobs as Atlantean blinkenlights (or as some necessary aspect of their technology, like the fiddly bits Howard Taylor puts on everything technological within the Schlock Mercenary universe.)

Really, though, the kind of thing I'd like to have (and like to try building), is something that looks more like a proper archaeological artifact. Something old, worn, rubbed smooth around the edges. Something that comes from an aesthetic before the Classical Greeks and their primacy of geometry; something informed by other aesthetics that to our modern eyes looks lumpy, off-center, misshapen.

I mean this with absolutely no insult towards two wonderful renditions in this direction I managed to find.

The first here is a sculpt by DeviantArt user and cosplay enthusiast Very-Crofty. I love the beard on this one; it feels very Green Man or something (whereas the high forehead with markings feels somehow Maori to me -- a nice mix of cultural elements that feels like the real product of a complex cultural heritage)

Reverse image search on this one turned up an eBay seller but I was unable to find any real information about the artist. It is also a sculpt, and I am impressed with the way they've incorporated the "glow-y bits" into it. It also has both that "primitive" aesthetic and the worn-by-countless-hands that gives it a proper feeling of unutterable age.

Even in-game, the artifact looks more like this than it does in the development art (or the derived image that gets used in the title movie for Tomb Raider: Legend).

This is a texture -- possibly from the one-and-only in-game closeup -- ripped from Tomb Raider: Legend by a user posting at the Tomb Raider Forums. Again, the shape is much cruder, although the general proportions are still recognizable. The way this image is strikingly different is that in all the other in-game shots the stone is dark but the face/skull is picked out by being much lighter.

Ah, well, back to the Holocron. I still haven't resolved the glue issue with the "circuitry" layer. The last idea was to push the connection out to the edge and hide it behind the edge of the shell, but that makes that part of the shell too wide to look right in the Stolen Holo pattern.

Also, TechShop just got rid of all of their Epilog lasers. So I need to go back and take and pay for ANOTHER damn class just to be able to keep using the cutters. At least the new lasers are faster at engraving...

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