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Tutorial: Making your own figures - PreformingTutorial: Making your own figures - Preforming

naisornaisor1 maand(en) geledenTutorial
Hi. Sculpting anime figures is a fun and satisfying experience for me. Many times I hear from my peers how they would like to be as "talented" as me to produce a piece or two they would like to have of a character they like which might or not have a commercial figure available for purchase.

Nevertheless, as with many things, I think talent just plays like 10% of being able to make your figures; the remaining being in the lines of 20% research, 20% interest, 20% dedication (i.e. trial and error), 20% patience and 10% money.

One of the first things I hear people want to know about is the proportions and how to get them right. I have no doubt people understand proportions better than others, and they will be able to come up with the right ones by just going with the flow from the start by getting a small section done and they grow the other ones attached to it and so.

However, I'm more of a "I have to see the whole body first" to get the feel it it is right or not. Just as with drawing, I usually build the "skeleton" of my subject by doing the basic shapes stuff I see many people might overlook because they would like to focus on one part first (like the face, or head) and then as they progress they realize the head is too large or too small compared to the rest or the body, or the hands or too big or small, or the legs are too long or short; especially if you want to make a specific character. This is why personally my very first step in drawing or sculpting would be to do what I like to call a "preform".

In the case of drawing, here is an example of a pre-form I made:

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-j03zlu8Zm5M/XLiyNHyBFgI/AAAAAAAABCk/Jp3YyV1lMM01ZQh2j0K0-uQmV91SA8DKACLcBGAs/s1600/20181215_125036.jpg

In this preform, I try to establish the size and proportion of the parts, the pose and some of the perspective (I am not well versed yet on more interesting perspective techniques). And from this general form I proceed to go into every time more and more detail to get to the final product.

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-hDuz3zhLAco/XLiyOIoJ3BI/AAAAAAAABDE/93XNTpmYRlAYrWzZJ7euMp7OLEpi-aCbgCEwYBhgL/s1600/20181216_204210.jpg

And more and more detail is added, and in between I try to "correct" some things I notice in the way that feel the require a better touch.

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1anrPqqWfy4/XLizoO4gM7I/AAAAAAAABDM/ofksf5TPEuYCS58gYnjSn36GC7Yd_UMgQCLcBGAs/s1600/Rias.png

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-jHC7HgkJF3c/XLizoJyLRyI/AAAAAAAABDQ/W5TCbpPMuvIOFA2algCYZqiKQcNj2oofACLcBGAs/s1600/Rias1.png

This is just an example of my personal paradigm that has given me the best results. In order to translate this into sculpting, I use the preform principal in order this predefined skeleton to have things started.

So, to get started I first research a little about which is supposed to be the actual height of the character I want to do. This information might be very easily available or not available at all, so guessing or comparing with other similar character of known data is valid. Like drawing character's overall general proportions are determined by their "head count" or how many of their own heads more or less equals their overall height (it doesn't strictly need to be an integer number). So I usually assign my recent figures to either of three sizes at approximately 1/8th scale:

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-PZXQK1wRpWA/XLjVTj232II/AAAAAAAABDw/DYlpiGrP4ME2WbW68JKSsLKB4ReNejAjACLcBGAs/s1600/preforms.png

They are roughly divided in the 5-heads-tall (i.e. Schwi from No Game No Life), the 6-heads-tall (i.e. Black Heart from Neptune series) and the 7-heads-tall (i.e. Rias Gremory from High School DxD). With these sizes sketched, I proceed to "filled" them with basic shapes in the form of blocks and sticks made of air-drying paper clay:

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-FN4uL5WK-I4/XLiyMA3yf6I/AAAAAAAABDE/bJYzIe6wW-Ayj_sZsAqBafL8jWZK-BRxACEwYBhgL/s1600/20181130_201019.jpghttps://4.bp.blogspot.com/-NyflDla1b7U/XLiyMsER86I/AAAAAAAABDA/-HghEgliyp0CeMMiIXJMXaneUGl5m7ygwCEwYBhgL/s1600/20181130_201212.jpghttps://3.bp.blogspot.com/-AE-aofqHKwY/XLiyLmZ2FCI/AAAAAAAABC8/7cP6zIHt5OUDLvDreVpuJHOqUfisr1OvACEwYBhgL/s1600/20181130_200953.jpg

After this, I will have a silhouette type form that looks like it came out of a cookie-cutter.

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-G-zNUIDg66A/XLjVTKtpcHI/AAAAAAAABD8/Cav8TWSM3XwAhOkh75lpD7m1vTHMwEz0wCEwYBhgL/s1600/20190418_140620.jpg

After this, I just flesh out most of these forms to be more 3-Dimensional to the point that I have the preform in a neutral stance, but at least with the proportion of arms, legs, head, torso and hips more or less balanced.

Then, I just cut wherever there's a joint, knees, elbows, waist, in order to re-position the figure in the pose I intend to, glue the parts or just put more paper clay to dry into a more solid union. You can cut again and re-position as much a you need until you feel satisfied.

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-cJQBHZ-pkkI/XLjVSnlfaoI/AAAAAAAABD0/_6OUr2Tpays9RUhpqhjp6LmDHwq6AMnpACEwYBhgL/s1600/20190418_135441.jpg

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Mi0_mmmcPvY/XLjVSqfaJZI/AAAAAAAABD4/Rf4eVgmrhPk0FPs7Df2Nwn_6I8s-BxMZACEwYBhgL/s1600/20190418_140325.jpg

This is one of the reasons why I always recommend to "never use skeletons, unless you have no other choice". I have no doubt some people have already things figure out since the beginning, but I'm a more experimenting kind of guy, so I prefer to not have a skeleton getting in the way while posing.

All this from here on is to flesh out more the figure and give it details. While doing so, you can cut here and there while the figure is still not so detail so you can break it into pieces to make easier the making of molds and painting different colors.

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/--FTPE1QjDvs/XLjVSmncH7I/AAAAAAAABD8/IZzNTaaFxe0J4mtRv-XS9lU7sACMdTvBwCEwYBhgL/s1600/20190418_134713.jpg

It is important to mention that, because all the cutting and sticking together and cutting again, this technique I'm presenting is more of a prototyping technique rather than the final product will be painted, it is more to produce the pieces, to make a mold of those pieces, cast, and then do the final figure (and have spares).

I'm always interested in discussing other technique people have. Please feel free to ask any question, to comment and I hope this has been of interest and help to you.
1,275 hits • 19 berichten

Berichten19

1pt
Echizen-Momoko Echizen Ryoma's Wifey
naisor (1 maand(en) geleden) #57406740I use paper clay. When I used to live in Japan, one of the most common brands I used was Fando and New Fando. I found an almost equivalent in the USA call simply Creative paper clay (since importing Fando from Japan can be a little expensive). www.hobbylobby....
Please note that this is different from DAS or earth-based clays; this is more like paper maché in principle. It is cellulose-based and the final dried product is very light and easy to cut, carve, sand and add more fresh material that will bond strongly once dried, but if you used glues like super-glue or so, it will first absorb it like a sponge and the bond will not be as strong. I used a home-made "oven" made out of a wood box, foil paper in the inside and light bulb to make it dry faster.
One block usually can give you enough material to make around two to three figure at 1/8th scale like the ones in the preform examples with all the added details with they are not that large.


Cool thank you very much :3
28 dag(en) geleden
1pt
naisor (1 maand(en) geleden) #57433871To be honest, I'm was not so eager to play kankore cause I'm not into that type of strategy games. And even their designs while good and I have collected a lot of figures I appreciate until this day, are getting a little behind to the content Azur Lane has been pulling out. I find Azur Lane designs more "toyetic" or that "I want a figure of that" feeling more. And Azur Lance Crosswaves is coming at the end of August to PS4 from Compile Heart (one of my favorita game companies for the Neptune series) and I swear I told my friends years ago Azur Lane existed that I would love for KanKore to be this third person action game over water where the ship girls were like skating over the ocean like in the Anime. Well, Azur Lane is making my wish come true and I'd gladly put money in that.
The tamiya putty is the one component, yes, the Polyester one is the yellow with a little catalyzer tube, which I wrongly referred to as the Epoxy one. The epoxy putty is the two component with equal size bars to cut and mix, but I was referring to the polyester putty as the one many Japanese pro's use to make things faster.

Interesting, was Kancolle not first on the Market ? ...a lot of those Figures from Azure Lane look a lot like those from the Kantai collection, but i dont know the Game Azur Lane itself so i can only judge by the Character Pictures so far, the Anime will be released in the next weeks i guess, then i can say more about it,...but hey, i am not even a Gamer :)
1 maand(en) geleden
2pt
MattKaySeven (1 maand(en) geleden) #57408169View spoilerHide spoilerYes, i guess you are right, i edited my comment because i had a negative feedback,...but i realy think the same way here, over politness is nice to hear, but in the End it ´ll bring you no advantage or progress whatsoever, i am glad that you´ve seen the un-edited version of it.
It is true, every Material has it pro´s and con´s, and yes SuperSculpy is not cheap, but when i sculpt i always wonder if i´am not overdoing it ( effort wise ) by investing 4 weeks in just 1 single Sculpture is of course close to insanity but actually not even close to what other Sculptors
invest, ...but when i read how complicated your Sculpting process seems to be( that is from my perspective of course)...i stark thinking...hmmmm....maybe i dont put enough effort in it,...
on the other hand i dont wonder anymore why so called Life Size Anime Figures cost more then some Cars... it is just a crazy amount of work, but for me it seems that is not even much appreciated by the mass audience...
About the Game release, well there is a solution, yes you can not access the Game server because your IP is identificated with the country that your living in, it is the same with Credit Cards sometimes even Major Cards dont work in Japan because the Card Number also Shows where the Card was Originaly Released, ...but if you use a VPN you can access every Game Server in Japan even the DMM Server for KanColle :)
The thing with sanding all the parts sounds very much time consuming,... but i can rely to that, i´ve got the same problem after i apply the Primer with regular Brushes on the PU, because of the Foamy consistence Airbrush would not work, sometimes i have to do the process twice, at a certain point the PU just break without a warning, wich is very much annoiying especial when you work on a hair pice.
By Epoxy putty do you mean Tamiya 1 componet putty ...? That stuff is very good i know, but i can not imagine how much i would use one only 1 Sculpture, even in a smaler size,
Yes that baking Super Sculpy thing realy put me away from it to, and after you ruined your Kitchen equipment for food you have to buy a new Oven of course...
Sometimes i wonder to why some characters of an Anime are released few years after the Series already ended, or not at all, that wil stay as a riddle i guess... :)
To be honest, I'm was not so eager to play kankore cause I'm not into that type of strategy games. And even their designs while good and I have collected a lot of figures I appreciate until this day, are getting a little behind to the content Azur Lane has been pulling out. I find Azur Lane designs more "toyetic" or that "I want a figure of that" feeling more. And Azur Lance Crosswaves is coming at the end of August to PS4 from Compile Heart (one of my favorita game companies for the Neptune series) and I swear I told my friends years ago Azur Lane existed that I would love for KanKore to be this third person action game over water where the ship girls were like skating over the ocean like in the Anime. Well, Azur Lane is making my wish come true and I'd gladly put money in that.

The tamiya putty is the one component, yes, the Polyester one is the yellow with a little catalyzer tube, which I wrongly referred to as the Epoxy one. The epoxy putty is the two component with equal size bars to cut and mix, but I was referring to the polyester putty as the one many Japanese pro's use to make things faster.
1 maand(en) geleden
1pt
kaitylee (1 maand(en) geleden) #57408447Wow, you make it look so easy!
In your opinion, what is the hardest part of the process?
Thanks for the comment. I guess the hardest part is to break the figure into pieces. You have to decide where to cut, do the cut as clean a possible, prepare proper connection keys and then do damage repairs. I try to do this before doing the most finer details.
1 maand(en) geleden
1pt
okami34 (1 maand(en) geleden) #57295980Teach me more of your figure making ways! :3
I would like to know how you go about coloring your figures, if possible.
Sorry, I didn't quite see the small letter part.

Well, to paint my figures, it is not different from painting any other Garage Kit. I think there are a couple of blogs already touching that subject in MFC. I guess my only advice is to use white primer over skin to try to give that milky peach tone of PVC.
1 maand(en) geleden
2pt
kaitylee Kawaii Mistress
Wow, you make it look so easy!
In your opinion, what is the hardest part of the process?
1 maand(en) geleden
1pt
naisor (1 maand(en) geleden) #57406272Thank you for the comment. Also, please feel free to express what you think and we can discuss it; that's the whole purpose for me to do blogs about my work in the first place.
Regarding the preform step, it is only the beginning of the process actually. It is true that paper clay by itself is not able to produce a smooth surface. At much, after sanding with the finest grades you'll get a kinda fuzzy surface; however, that doesn't end there. In the very last picture of the Rias figure, that's actually not finished yet, and you may notice it looks grayish instead of the natural white color of the paper clay seen in the other preforms.
To smooth the surface, first I use a jewelry file level evenly all the marks from adding material and molding with my hands. Then, I use different grades of sand paper from #320 all the way to #1000 to smooth as much as possible. As said before, you'll get as fuzzy surface at much, and so little remaining micro-cavities here and there.
To smooth even further, I start with Tamiya modeller putty; they sell it gray or white color, I prefer gray most of the time because it contrast with clay color. I use paint thinner to dilute the putty to the point that I can brush it to the surface as if I was painting the part. After drying I proceed to pass the sand papers again to smooth. I do this a number of times, each time the surface becomes smoother and smoother.
After all this, I use surfacer as the ones used to prepare Garage Kit; this I airbrush or use spray cans to put the surfacer onto the pieces as if I was painting again. The result is a very smooth surface which is the final goal.
This process is maybe for me the most difficult to document, cause the sanding and adding surfacer is a kind of messy process, my hands get very busy and stained and I don't feel like using my phone or camera to document this, so I don't have much on that for the moment. I'll see what I can do in the near future.
As for the kantai thing, I was drawing that Rias because I'm currently into Azur Lane (cause KanKore won't release the dem game outside Japan) and because there was a recent collaboration with the Neptune series I thought "I want a collaboration with High School DxD", but then I reflex on that and said "Nah, I'll do it myself". I still have to finish that drawing (I'm still not very good drawing mechanical parts) and I want to make a figure of that. XD
And for sculpey, it was actually one of the first materials (besides school clay) that I used when I was a kid long long time ago. The fact that I work by adding and adding material makes it a little troublesome for me, since I have to bake everytime I make a progress. It can get smooth, yes, but I would still prepare the surface as described above to get it even smoother. I have used sculpey thoroughly in the past, but I prefer paper clay better as of now. I should also maybe explain in a next tutorial about the little "oven" I made to make the paper clay dry faster.
Paper clay is used widely among Japanese Garage Kit makers; it is a basic technique, because sculpey is ver expensive in Japan. That doesn't mean people don't use sculpey, and there are also other materials. What I consider a more advanced technique from Japan is to use Epoxy putty. Since it hardens way faster, it lets you work faster too. I have tried it, but since it is a more carving-sanding technique, with a lot less molding, I have struggled and left it for the moment until I can get a more grasp on the paper clay technique.


Yes, i guess you are right, i edited my comment because i had a negative feedback,...but i realy think the same way here, over politness is nice to hear, but in the End it ´ll bring you no advantage or progress whatsoever, i am glad that you´ve seen the un-edited version of it.

It is true, every Material has it pro´s and con´s, and yes SuperSculpy is not cheap, but when i sculpt i always wonder if i´am not overdoing it ( effort wise ) by investing 4 weeks in just 1 single Sculpture is of course close to insanity but actually not even close to what other Sculptors
invest, ...but when i read how complicated your Sculpting process seems to be( that is from my perspective of course)...i stark thinking...hmmmm....maybe i dont put enough effort in it,...
on the other hand i dont wonder anymore why so called Life Size Anime Figures cost more then some Cars... it is just a crazy amount of work, but for me it seems that is not even much appreciated by the mass audience...
About the Game release, well there is a solution, yes you can not access the Game server because your IP is identificated with the country that your living in, it is the same with Credit Cards sometimes even Major Cards dont work in Japan because the Card Number also Shows where the Card was Originaly Released, ...but if you use a VPN you can access every Game Server in Japan even the DMM Server for KanColle :)

The thing with sanding all the parts sounds very much time consuming,... but i can rely to that, i´ve got the same problem after i apply the Primer with regular Brushes on the PU, because of the Foamy consistence Airbrush would not work, sometimes i have to do the process twice, at a certain point the PU just break without a warning, wich is very much annoiying especial when you work on a hair pice.

By Epoxy putty do you mean Tamiya 1 componet putty ...? That stuff is very good i know, but i can not imagine how much i would use one only 1 Sculpture, even in a smaler size,
Yes that baking Super Sculpy thing realy put me away from it to, and after you ruined your Kitchen equipment for food you have to buy a new Oven of course...

Sometimes i wonder to why some characters of an Anime are released few years after the Series already ended, or not at all, that wil stay as a riddle i guess... :)
1 maand(en) geleden
3pt
Echizen-Momoko (1 maand(en) geleden) #57396285I am curious... what kind of clay do you use? >w<I use paper clay. When I used to live in Japan, one of the most common brands I used was Fando and New Fando. I found an almost equivalent in the USA call simply Creative paper clay (since importing Fando from Japan can be a little expensive). www.hobbylobby....

Please note that this is different from DAS or earth-based clays; this is more like paper maché in principle. It is cellulose-based and the final dried product is very light and easy to cut, carve, sand and add more fresh material that will bond strongly once dried, but if you used glues like super-glue or so, it will first absorb it like a sponge and the bond will not be as strong. I used a home-made "oven" made out of a wood box, foil paper in the inside and light bulb to make it dry faster.

One block usually can give you enough material to make around two to three figure at 1/8th scale like the ones in the preform examples with all the added details with they are not that large.
1 maand(en) geleden
1pt
MattKaySeven (1 maand(en) geleden) #57335295View spoilerHide spoilerThis is realy nice, and after i read the whole thing twice i realy think you should do more of those Blog´s
Interesting is that you dont use any support structures like wire or tinfoil underneath the Clay.
Thank you for the comment. Also, please feel free to express what you think and we can discuss it; that's the whole purpose for me to do blogs about my work in the first place.

Regarding the preform step, it is only the beginning of the process actually. It is true that paper clay by itself is not able to produce a smooth surface. At much, after sanding with the finest grades you'll get a kinda fuzzy surface; however, that doesn't end there. In the very last picture of the Rias figure, that's actually not finished yet, and you may notice it looks grayish instead of the natural white color of the paper clay seen in the other preforms.

To smooth the surface, first I use a jewelry file level evenly all the marks from adding material and molding with my hands. Then, I use different grades of sand paper from #320 all the way to #1000 to smooth as much as possible. As said before, you'll get as fuzzy surface at much, and so little remaining micro-cavities here and there.

To smooth even further, I start with Tamiya modeller putty; they sell it gray or white color, I prefer gray most of the time because it contrast with clay color. I use paint thinner to dilute the putty to the point that I can brush it to the surface as if I was painting the part. After drying I proceed to pass the sand papers again to smooth. I do this a number of times, each time the surface becomes smoother and smoother.

After all this, I use surfacer as the ones used to prepare Garage Kit; this I airbrush or use spray cans to put the surfacer onto the pieces as if I was painting again. The result is a very smooth surface which is the final goal.

This process is maybe for me the most difficult to document, cause the sanding and adding surfacer is a kind of messy process, my hands get very busy and stained and I don't feel like using my phone or camera to document this, so I don't have much on that for the moment. I'll see what I can do in the near future.

As for the kantai thing, I was drawing that Rias because I'm currently into Azur Lane (cause KanKore won't release the dem game outside Japan) and because there was a recent collaboration with the Neptune series I thought "I want a collaboration with High School DxD", but then I reflex on that and said "Nah, I'll do it myself". I still have to finish that drawing (I'm still not very good drawing mechanical parts) and I want to make a figure of that. XD

And for sculpey, it was actually one of the first materials (besides school clay) that I used when I was a kid long long time ago. The fact that I work by adding and adding material makes it a little troublesome for me, since I have to bake everytime I make a progress. It can get smooth, yes, but I would still prepare the surface as described above to get it even smoother. I have used sculpey thoroughly in the past, but I prefer paper clay better as of now. I should also maybe explain in a next tutorial about the little "oven" I made to make the paper clay dry faster.

Paper clay is used widely among Japanese Garage Kit makers; it is a basic technique, because sculpey is ver expensive in Japan. That doesn't mean people don't use sculpey, and there are also other materials. What I consider a more advanced technique from Japan is to use Epoxy putty. Since it hardens way faster, it lets you work faster too. I have tried it, but since it is a more carving-sanding technique, with a lot less molding, I have struggled and left it for the moment until I can get a more grasp on the paper clay technique.
1 maand(en) geleden
1pt
Echizen-Momoko Echizen Ryoma's Wifey
I am curious... what kind of clay do you use? >w<
1 maand(en) geleden
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