Author Topic: A Cap's Journey  (Read 485 times)

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Offline 9999hp

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A Cap's Journey
« on: Tue, 26 December 2017, 22:44:25 »

      I'm fairly new the the keyboard community, I started earlier this year and found a strong interest in making some keycaps to cut it short. I do have some art background, but mostly in painting etc. Nothing professional, so the sculpting part was very fun and felt natural. With all the new caps coming out, and the existing Artisans there was an immense catalog of inspiration and motivation. I had some trouble coming up with something interesting, new to the scene which led me to these sculpts.

The first being a sculpt designed around Anubis, which I later added a headdress and traditional Egyption garb, but I didn't really like it so I didn't follow through. Still might revisit the idea someday unless someone beats me to it. ;P

The second being the hannya, I enjoy Japanese culture and lived there for some time so it was a fairly fitting inspiration. And I thought it was really cool, this sculpt is what led to my first pressure potless casts that resulted in abominations of a cool idea.

Those were the hardiest of the bunch, there were a few casts where the cap didn't even fully form etc. I had some problems with the ratios, I thought I was being high-speed by using a scale to measure my resin, however it weights and volumes do not match up. That led to several rubbery casts. I eventually managed to get some new resin and learned my lesson about the volumes, that became this cap. This was also when I had recieved my $ynth. 

Not having a pressure pot in AZ meant terrible bubbles all throughout the caps and molds. Bubbles everywhere. Couldn't find a way around it, so I chilled out until I(we) had funds to get a pressure system. I initially had 3 $ynths, 1 v1 and 2 B stock v2. I gave one to my brother, and the last one didn't make it out of a cap because I didn't use the correct release and have yet to figure out a way to pull the stem key out. I might have to heat it up to pull it out.

Well, during this time I managed to get two sculpts in, one of which I am actively working on now which is the "Inner Keymon". It consists of a demon coming out of someones head in an old cartoon style. I really enjoy this cap and I hope you all do as well.


This was the initial sculpt of the demon part of the cap. Below is how the end sculpt looked.


I had some issues with this sculpt, the biggest perpetrator being a very thin core, so I had to bolster it. I ended up making some bold changes which I think overall helped the cartoony look.


After the green stuff cured, I recasted it with the changes to make this creeper.
In gold lol

That's the journey for now. I have found the shape I want the cap to be and am refining the cap currently, one last pic of a cap on the board.


I hope you all enjoy it!

*Longer version* 12.282017

The last one I just kind of threw up there to get a thread started and document a little of the process, this one I'll go into a little more detail. I think I'm doing to stick to doing sections as it will be easier on my schedule.

Today, I will do over the materials I've been using.

 -Dentist tools
 -Cheap Clay Tool
 - Ribbon Tool Set
 - Various generic paint brushes cut into specific shapes
 - A single silicone brush
 - Exacto Knife

Below are my favorite tools and if I could've found a set with only these tools I would've bought that in a heart beat. I do not know the name of these specific tools, but they have been the most useful to me and I probably do somewhere around 90% of my sculpting work with this set here.

The first tool I really fell in love with was the hooked blade with the diamond blade on the other side, the clay kit was my first set of tools and I found that the combination of both of these ends worked well on the sculpey for pushing and pulling the clay. Lately, that tool has been replaced by the Dental tool with the L shaped ends. One end is a "parallel to surface" blade is with a dull diamond shaped point, the other end is a perpendicular to surface blade with a rounded end. I find the Parallel to Surface to be the most useful tool I have and is very much like a little metal finger and I sculpt a majority of my shapes as well as smooth surfaces with this blade. The other end I use significantly less frequently, and its probably psychological, but I feel like it provides a softer smoothing experience if I have failed with the former's blade to achieve a smooth gradient. The next tool in line is the flathead screwdriver looking one, with the needle point on the end. Perfect for wedging or smashing stuff; the needle point being very useful in most cases for picking stuff out of narrow cracks. Up next is my brush that I use with Isopropyl alchohol to smooth out my sculpts. This is a huge boon and motivator for me and helps the project look closer and closer to a finish sculpt. Last but not least is the exacto knife. Useful for all things knife.

The sculpting materials I have tried this far are Sculpey soft and firm, and affectionately, "Green Stuff". The first in the trio was the Soft Sculpey, which by itself I do not like. I found this stuff to be extremely delicate, and for the most part its softness as a hindrance... Until I got used to it. I figured out that I have to have a very, very gentle touch with this clay and as I learned that I managed to find some joy and use in its softness. I sculpted the Hannya, Osiris, and a mystery cap out of this stuff.

Next came the Firm sculpey, I'll admit this stuff sat in on my desk longer than it should have. Once I figured out the sculpey soft, I just stuck with that for the most part. I have yet to use Firm all by itself, and instead opted to do a 50/50 mix of firm and soft to achieve a "just right" bowl of porr-- meld of clay. I sculpted "Inner Keymon" and "Slogi" from this mix.


Lastly, green stuff. Again, due to my place on the path of learning to cast this stuff sat around longer than it should have. I have yet to do a full sculpt out of this material, but have used it for "post-bake" modification on clay. It really is a valuable material to have in your hands should you start sculpting as well. The fact that you can customize/alter both the consistency, and the cure time by altering the ratio of blue to yellow epoxy makes this stuff really interesting to use. One drawback is if the surface isn't rough it can lead to some hurt feelings and result in difficult to place epoxy as it will stick everything but your sculpt. Highly recommended that you keep you tools wet at all times. I generally just keep a small cup of water by or literally a bottle cap and just dip my tool in the water. This also has a smoothing affect. If you find your epoxy "tearing" as you're trying to spread it, simply wet your tool or the area and then continue.

--------------$ynths and Caps-------------------

 My first sculpts were on the top of DSA caps. I thought the low profile would be benifical and allow for a lot larger area for the clay to occupy when compared to something like DSA or otherwise. Make sure you use PBT caps so you can bake them. I had to google the heat resistance of PBT so I didn't melt my cap when I bake my sculpts. I have no complaints about this method and I'm trying to work out a hybrid method. As purchasing multiple $ynths is very pricey in this already expensive hobby.

  My first experiences with $ynths were both elateful and tumultuous. Sculpting on these things is an absolute joy. Before my setup consisted of a sticking clay the the bottom of my sculpting cap and then sticking it to the corner of a glass loaf baking tray. Which worked, but limited my mobility. The $ynth changed that. I as suprised at how easy it was to grasp the whole of the sculpt, flip it around, rotate it etc. I really have no cons other than price to the $ynth, however the quality and ease of use justify the purchase of at least one in my eyes. So Props and thank you to all those that contributed to the development of that ( Binge, i3oilermaker, kenlee, and goobee6 as they're known on Slack.). Now to the tumultuous part, I am not a fan of through reading most of the time and I absolutely skimmed over the part where Binge mentions that it is imperative you use a specific mold release. Well, I did not do that and wound up using a generic mold release which I shall not name, and the casts that I made stuck and damn near melded to my $ynths. Thankfully the steel $ynth was hardy enough to take a blow by a hammer, I managed to get that cap off with relative ease. The 2.0 made out of aluminum was not so fortunate. I have yet to figure out how to remove the stem key from the aluminum $ynth, and honestly anger and other butthurt feels prevented me from thinking of a smart answer.

That's all I have time for today.

======shoutouts and tutorials======

Gonna take a couple minutes out to shout out and point people in the direction a couple of the "Old Masters" of keycap making whose tutorials helped immensely in point me in the right direction. ImpendingxDoom first, the video "proof of concept" video they posted helped my visual brain and I put pictures to words for the first time in my initial interest phase. This video answered many many questions. Next would be Binge, if you have not read through his entire thread of keycap making, I would suggest you do so. One, it's an extremely entertaining to watch and find out where he started knowing where he is now with his sculpting prowess. That goddamn hungr key is amazing. And not in like a covetous way, but the idea behind it. I have yet to see something as impressive in my eyes as that key and the thoughts/ideas that led to it. Just the $ynth pics of the sculpt and its pieces together alone blew my mind. I may not be very smart, but the way that cap came together was amazing. Then Zorb's thread answered many of my casting questions and clarified some things that were in the ether of my mind but couldn't solidify without having the materials at the time. Those are just the people that directly influenced my knowledge, and I do acknowledge that many of them are building on knowledge and teks discovered by others and their hard work, and to them I thank you also!

There were also several sculpting videos/tutorials on youtube that I watched in order to better understand my materials, as well as understand the process of sculpting itself. Many of these individuals are not part of the keyboard community, but are accomplished sculptors in their own right sculpting everything from sfx to miniatures for warhammer.

« Last Edit: Thu, 28 December 2017, 19:55:59 by 9999hp »
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