Thursday, January 22, 2015

Project XII work in progress (4)

And now, the cores. I start with a rough sketch to have an idea of the actual volumes and how they are placed with respect to the armature. The cores aim at:

- easing the application of the clay by creating large and stiff surfaces over which it can be laid firmly,

- creating an inner volume of large parts (like the head, the torso and the pelvis), so that when you shape them with fresh clay, it does not tend to deform everything and ultimately to tear the clay from the armature (it brings robustness from the inside, much like the core of a fruit).

- give an early vision of the volumes and of the dynamics of the mini, and directions for expanding the volumes further.

This approach mostly makes sense if you bake the cores before starting creating the actual volumes.

For more general considerations related to the armature and to the cores, refer to this post.

The cores are shown above, in the final stage before baking. I chose to add cores for every large volume, thus also including the limbs. I left the articulations free. First because I'm not totally satisfied of the pose, so that it will allow me to change it after baking; by doing so, I will also benefit from the cores to gain a better overview of the global outlook. Second, because articulations are usually thinner, narrower areas (especially the ankles, the knees and the wrists) and/or in that area, the skin is very thin on one side. So I want to make sure that I won't have an excessive thickness of baked clay, as it is hard and stiff, thus difficult to remove without damaging the soft clay here and there. Also, that kind of modification often appears necessary when most of the volume shaping is already done, sometimes even with some detailing, which leads to a significant loss of time.

On smaller minis like the Vato Minimonsta, I usually don't put cores on the limbs as they are not so much thicker than the armature. For that reason, I rather use twisted wires as the basic component for the armature as mentioned here.

Notice that I systematically scratch the cores with many crossed little cut-outs to further ease the adherence of fresh clay. This step may seem a bit cumbersome, but with a good blade it is quite quick, and it will save you a lot of time (and sometimes screams of anger) later, when struggling with adherence on difficult parts (legs, arms,...)

At this stage, I usually use Super Sculpey (SS) because it is a bit more sticky (easier to create an adherence with the armature than with Fimo, SS Firm and mixes of these clays), cheaper, soft, and easy to scratch. I also know by experience that there is no risk of crack during later bakings caused by differential dilatations between the lower and upper layers (for which I use SS, SS firm and Fimo, either pure or mixed together) which can occur much more likely with milliput/green stuff cores. Also, the latter are not meant to be baked in a domestic oven, so I think it's wise to avoid it.

This is the result right after baking (above). Below, you can see that I have changed the position a little bit, to avoid the pronounced gorilla-like attitude, and try to get closer to the badass outlook of the initial concept. I'm much more satisfied of the position now. Next step will be the creation of the volumes.

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