MissMelons

Sculpting Advice

20 posts in this topic

So I fiddled with sculpting today and man it's my least favorite experience so far. Mostly due to my inexperience and inability to keep my fingers out of the way. 

 

Anyway, I'm trying to sculpt plateish armor on a dragon. Its not pretty, its not perfect and man I pray a decent paint job will cover the mess. There are touch ups I will do to expand on it, but the nexy project is for another piece of armor. 

 

 I figured I should reach out to the professionals before delving much further. For scultping into bones, maintaining a flat even texture devoid of finger prints, nail prints and stray prints, what is your secret and what made it easier to manage? 

 

I have a few tools at my dispoal, miniature clay shapers, vasoline and determination. Oh, and heres an image of my mess. @_@ 

 

I was stupid proud of the chain linking the armor together, you've no idea. @_@ I'm likely going to sculpt over the top part so it stands out more as its something essentially nailed to his chest. 

0404171948.jpg

10 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

needs more determination :;):

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool!

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks pretty good so far.  My only advice as a fellow novice sculptor is to use a tool, rather than your fingers.  Anything'll do, but I like shaved/sanded bamboo skewers and chopsticks personally for flattening and smoothing and applying.  You can dip your tools in water or spit to keep them from sticking to the GS.  People use petroleum jelly too.

 

You could also just use your fingers to plop on kind of a basecoat just to bulk up whatever you're sculpting, let that cure, then use more delicate tools to shape a smaller amount of GS.  Hope this helps a little..

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Got any needle files? I've developed a fetish for using them lately, my preference being for diamond-coat files rather than the regular type.

Gently run a file over your work to "sharpen" it up; it's a very easy way to reduce unwanted bulk and define basic shapes. Wear a dust mask; the dust is very powdery and it's probably best not to breathe it in.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If possible, wear nitrile gloves while working with epoxies.  Uncured (unhardened) epoxy and its components can cause severe skin irritation.

 

Most drugstores sell really thin nitrile exam gloves which are pretty good for this.   Nitrile gloves can be rubbed with vaseline to keep them from sticking to the epoxy (vaseline disintegrates latex and epoxy can leach through it, so latex gloves should not be used).

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good start. Let's tackle your issues.

 

Smooth and free of finger prints:

1. Roll out and cut the shape you need on a flat surface like a cutting board (making sure it is well lubed with Vaseline.  You are going for the general shape and size here, not perfection.

2. Using a flat-bladed tool (I use a dental spatula that I ground into a leaf shape and made almost sharp), carefully lift it from the board and move it to the piece, putting it in place.  Do this over the table as you will likely drop it several times (I've spent way to much time on my knees looking for dropped putty.

3. Lightly tack it down using the metal tool, well lubed, refining the shape as you do so.

4. Smooth it out, using your finger if possible and clay shapers if not.  Yes, I said using fingers.  Fingers are the BEST putty smoother.  Put a bit of Vaseline on your finger and slide it over the putty.  The secret is not to stop on the putty.  If you do and leave a print, just re-slide it again. Fingers are the best tool for getting rid of fingerprints.  Use the clay shapers to smooth and blend the areas that you can't reach with your fingers.

5.  Use a bladed tool to refine, adjust and sharpen the shape and edges as needed.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have it shaped exactly as you need it to be. (Note, this process typically repeats 5 to 10 times before I am happy; typically, I use my fingers only on the first few passes, then use clay shapers for the refinement. Sculpting is all about laying down basic shapes and then refining those shapes into something.  Don't rush the process.)

7. Sculpt in the fine details using smaller tools and such.

 

Nail marks and touching finished areas:

- Consider cutting your nails; long nails and putty do not mix.

- If possible, mount the mini so you do not need to touch it.  If you do need to to steady yourself, always be aware of where you are putting your fingers.  

- When you start to get too many areas done that are in danger of being touched, stop and let it cure.  Better to wait than ruin something you just spent a 1/2 hour on.  That's why pros always have 2-5 models going at once; it allows one to keep sculpting while letting other models cure.

 

 

9 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a set of wax sculpting tools for bulk/crude work where I need a heftier tool when I apply more pressure.  I use a set of color/clay shapers (extra firm) for fine things. I coat the tools in a bit of vaseline which helps me keep them from sticking. Sounds like you're already got that part down!  When I do the smoothing I can't apply much pressure- just a gentle motion of the tool over the area.  Consider doing a small area at once- that way you can get it where you want and when it dries, a stray finger won't mar it while you work on another area.  Some parts where you want a hard edge you can cut with a scapel or an xacto knife afterwards. Getting a hard edge is something I still work on, which is one reason I like organic forms better!

 

Main hint I think is just small areas step by step. I also cheat and use jewelry bit for things like chain or link or rings.  

6 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, BLZeebub said:

You could also just use your fingers to plop on kind of a basecoat just to bulk up whatever you're sculpting, let that cure, then use more delicate tools to shape a smaller amount of GS.  Hope this helps a little..

 

^This, always this.  If working with a large mass and you have time, lay down the basic shapes under your detail layers first and let them harden.  Then add your detal layer as a thin sheet over that,  It is a lot easier to smooth and add details this way.

3 minutes ago, Corporea said:

I also cheat and use jewelry bit for things like chain or link or rings.  

 

Not cheating, just smart. ::D:

7 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice!!! So I'm sort of going in the right direction! The gloves idea is super nice as yesterday I sort of finished up the day feel super greased up. 

 

I have some double ended scupting tools that used to apply but it was a task having things become 'flat'. I get 'flatish' with a side of 'well that's a fingernail imprint'. Bulking up is what I didnt do tjough6. I figured A tiny foundation then build up. I worked tiny piece by tiny piece though ad large pieces ended up dropped or finger printy. 

 

I do intend to build up more for the chest, but this was great insight on when I need to do imbellishments to the head, wings and tail.  Thanks a bunch! I'm tackling this again tonight!

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a sewing pin with round plastic ball end.  After using fine grit sandpaper/files to smooth the mold line of the ball it is my best smoother.  The edge of the pin is straight and works for hard edges with the point good for detail work.  I dip the pin in the water every two to three motions to keep it lubricated.

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gave it a second go of bulking up the chesta bit more with green stuff. The plates are meant to be split down the middle so I needed to pull the greenstuff back a bit, bulk the slats up so that you can see they are peeling away from the body. This did give him a more barrel chest but that was the goal. My smoothing isnt perfect yet, but hopefully some sanding may help? I want to do one more layer of green stuff to the chest to sculpt on sculpt cracks, dents and screws. 

 

A lot of the exposed inside of the chest will be repainted and covered with some water effects so I'm not too worried that I scraped up the paint underneath. Its honestly thr outside plates that I need to work on. 

 

0405171926b.thumb.jpg.14caedfe06a8041e504bdcc7100ac5f9.jpg

I started on his head to give him a large metal jaw. He essentially is not meant to have a lower jaw, buuuuut the odds of me cutting off this models jaw and then sculpting the metal one well is pretty slim. 

 

So I dont mind that the greenstuff is covering the models teeth a bit as he isnt meant to have bottom teeth Any way. I have the size of the jaw down, just ha e to add metal teeth and smooth all of this out. Ill likely do another thin layer of green stuff and try to sand it down to smooth it out. Plus, ill also need to add damage and screws too.

 

0405171926.thumb.jpg.6de1d917c67f82dfa1287d49c85a12ea.jpg0405171926a.thumb.jpg.1f210239f76adcd40adf178eec640cb3.jpg

 

Ah, and these are my tools. 0405171927.thumb.jpg.9f528ff96d887ed1dc58c4f2608fb9ee.jpg

6 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have all the tools I use to do 95% of all my sculpting,

 

You won't really be able to sand the GS well.  It isn't very toolable.  It tends to tear too much.  For a toolable mix, blend 1:1 GS with Apoxie Sculpt. You can sand, grind, and do whatever to that mix once cured.  Be careful not to inhale the epoxy dust.

 

To smooth straight GS post cure, take a sharp scalpel or razor and scrape it with the blade at a 90 degree angle to the surface of the putty.  That will give pull a burr off of the high points and give you a nice smooth surface after many passes.  It is how I got these guys so smooth:

 

03726_g_1.jpg

6 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so excited to see your progress! I can't wait to see how you'll do the scales. ::D: 

 

1 hour ago, TaleSpinner said:

To smooth straight GS post cure, take a sharp scalpel or razor and scrape it with the blade at a 90 degree angle to the surface of the putty.  

 

You have given folks SO many tips, and we're always happy to have them! I used this particular tip with my conversions last year and it was incredibly helpful - there were no surprise lines in the middle of shirts or connections between the arms and replaced hands when I was painting! 

 

And yeah, smoothing out fingerprints with your fingers sounds like a silly initiation joke or something.

But it WORKS:blink:

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Morihalda said:

I'm so excited to see your progress! I can't wait to see how you'll do the scales. ::D: 

 

 

You have given folks SO many tips, and we're always happy to have them! I used this particular tip with my conversions last year and it was incredibly helpful - there were no surprise lines in the middle of shirts or connections between the arms and replaced hands when I was painting! 

 

And yeah, smoothing out fingerprints with your fingers sounds like a silly initiation joke or something.

But it WORKS:blink:

 

The reason it works is ironically because of your finger prints themselves.  Each line of the print acts like a micro squeegee smoothing the putty down.  You don't get as good of results wearing gloves.

 

New Tip: the 90 degree sharp knife scraping method, also works well to scrape and remove lines and such from Bones plastic, resin, and even pewter.  It is the best method I have found for removing small flash lines and imperfections from Bones (which makes sense considering that Bones and GS as about the same consistency of a material).  It is time consuming, but works.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now