Monthly Archives: September 2015

Museum Summer Project

Our Summer project this year was to visit a museum and select an object and do some drawings and maquettes from them.

I initially chose this Victorian till from the Kirkstall Abbey Museum in Leeds.


The only problem was that I only had one reference picture. I decided to find a picture online of shopping tills from the same period and the one I found that had useful pictures I could use to get the proportions right weren’t anywhere near as nice as this one.

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This time I thought I would think outside the box and try and actually model the real object as was instead of stylising or abstracting it. It was a good opportunity to learn some more skills in 3D rendering.

till 1

I built the basic shape
till 4

Added more detail

till 5

And built a tray with a normal map on the front.
till 14

I modelled two types of key, plus a tray, and then fittings with an accompanying glass tray. In this picture I have just baked a normal map for the body, which simulated ambient shadows and adds a lot more realism to models.till 15  This is where I stopped working on it. Most of it is finished but it needs normal maps of Victorian designs for the surfaces, as well as a few extra little details.

I decided I would rather use this penny arcade machine from the same museum instead and modelled that too.

vintage pinball  vintage pinball7vintage pinball14 white vintage pinball14png  vintage pinball15hdvintage pinball17

The wood actually looks nicer in some of the previous versions, I think. I may have to change that.

abstract pinball 5

This is my spin off project which looks nothing like the first project but it’s definitely inspired by it even though the link isn’t totally obvious. I had something very different in mind but there was a degree of improvisation which took me away from the thing it was based on.


More Blender Experiments

Over the past six months I have been developing my skills with Blender in the hopes of being able to translate my models into real life art objects using unusual materials. At the moment it’s mostly just visual experimentation although I have considered materials and methods for the construction of these pieces.


In these two images I experimented with having a multi-coloured sphere light inside a waxy shell. Playing with the shaders in Blender is pretty fun.

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I really like this star shape. This was mostly just about playing with shaders again though. At this time I found myself ending up with a lot of objects with five way symmetry.


This was my first attempt at modelling a head using Blender’s sculpting mode. I ran into some issues when it came to texturing it because it was made of too many faces to unwrap. The solution is to make a head made of less faces and then project the detailed one onto your new simplified low poly model as a normal map, which creates the illusion of complicated geometry. I haven’t tried this yet.

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These were two of the first things I made where I painted textures on them. The pyramid one I painted in Blender directly onto the model and then put the texture through Crazy Bump to get a normal map, which gave it the damaged rubber looking surface.

The one on the right I played with Blender’s liquid physics and had fluid run out of my object.The physics are a little bit glitchy in Blender so so there’s a little bit of weirdness.


This is my first attempt to use Hexels to create textures for my models. It’s a program that lets you draw with tessellating shapes.

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I made this guy afterwards. I think it’s a bit more successful than the other one.

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With this thing I was experimenting with using a black and white imageto determine the materials of an object. Without doing this you can only assign the material type to the triangles the model is made of, but with this you can draw onto the model which parts are which material, which allowed me to paint those gold blobs on the front and add the swirl. Also putting that through Crazy Bumps let me create normal maps which creates the illusion of the gold parts being indented in.

gold white blobman5

I added more details to this blobby monstrosity just so I could try out samples of different patterns and see how they look with normal maps added. I also figured out how to do ambient occlusion which simulates the way less light gets into crevices on objects, but I struggled to implement it very well on a glossy surface.

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These are more visual experiments. The cube with the corners was particularly about getting more familiar with how to make more complicated objects out of multiple pieces.


This was using a black and white image to determine materials which allowed me to scribble glass material onto a rough glass/translucent mix material so you get a steamed up glass effect on the surfaces.