Elf Ears!

October 10, 2014 3 Comments

Got a request for elf ears! Elf ear version of Oriana and Ngaire will be available for this order. I have some higher priority work before adding this to the order form, so for now, if you would like them, just specify in the comments.

Heel Feet

September 30, 2014 Leave your thoughts

Heel1I’ve started working on heel feet. I’m planning on including them with the first order. I’m not sure if they are too high – they’d be about 4.25 inch heels with no platform if she was a real person. The highest heels I personally own are 3.75, and I don’t think I could walk in higher, but I’m only 5’1″ with size 5 shoes, so maybe 4.25 isn’t too high for a doll that would be 6′. I am going to try to get some measurements to see if they would fit in other company shoes, since that is the one thing that is hard for people to make themselves.


Edit: After looking at this more, I think her feet are too vertical. I am also debating connecting the ankle to the foot for the heel parts so it looks smoother. But that movement is probably still important. I also want to use the same ankle so it is easier to change the feet. I’ll think about it a bit more before deciding what to do. As always, opinions are welcome!

Current Faces

January 11, 2014 5 Comments

These are most of the faces I have worked on over the years. Most of them still need work. more

Hip Joint

April 6, 2013 Leave your thoughts

I think I finally figured out what I am going to do with the hip joint.  The idea I wanted to do was not really working, so I went back to something similar to an idea I had a year or so ago.  Most hip joints follow one of two designs – the sphere is on the leg and the leg goes into the hip, or the sphere is on the torso and the leg is on the sphere. Both have the advantages and disadvantages.  I am trying to combine the two – the top of the leg is a sphere inside the hip, but the butt around to where the purple “shim” is is inside the leg part.

I work in three primary stages.  One is cutting my model up into piece.  This involves a ton of testing with the pivot point – I keep changing the pivot and moving the part around to try to figure out what point gives the best movement and least gaping.  I first simply cut out parts that collide  then I go in and make and cut-lines of non-colliding parts.  Second, I build out the geometry, like adding the sphere to the top of the thigh, and the inner part of the butt (that is the ugly piece in my screenshots).  Here I have to figure out how everything is going to be put together, and how to actually model the parts how I want them (this is pretty much what I am doing now).  It is mostly trying to create parts that fill in the gaps for all angels of movement.  It is hard here to think about the movement as a whole – for the thigh I generally think moving the leg forwards, and when at 90 degrees moving to the side, but it is much more complicated than that.  I really need to account for a whole range of movement which is hard to do at once and can end up being a huge problem.  Last, I give the parts thickness and make the inside.  I have to account for how all the parts are going to fit together and move, which is probably the most difficult part, and where it can all go wrong.  I try to keep in mind how it will work in real life while making it, but there is always the chance that it just won’t and I’ll have to start all over.

I still have to do a lot of testing to see if this joint actually works well.  You can see right now the butt area looks pretty bad – if I want the top of the leg to conform to it nicely it bumps out and does not flow smoothly at all.  I am going to mess with the cut line to see if that helps, but since it rotates around a single pivot (which is good for movement and stability), it will always bulge out more than I want it too.  The plan now is to create a piece inside the butt or thigh that extends out to cover the gap, that is shaped in a way that makes it looks smooth for all angles.  I am not sure yet if this is going to work, but I pretty much need something like that or there will be some horrible gaps.  I think I have an idea to make it work but I’m not sure..

I am also not sure about how I feel about the cut line for the shims (the purple parts, I am not sure what else to call them).  I realize it is an awkward cut, but everything is where it needs to be to have the parts fit together.  The leg can move 45 degrees forwards (and 20 backwards) without moving the shim, then it moves to get the final 45 (still debating how to get the leg to move more than that, but that isn’t too bad).  I hate when doll can’t sit up straight, so I really want that 90 degrees which forces the cut to be so high up.  Frustratingly, I really won’t be able to tell if it looks okay until I finish modeling it.

I don’t know how much longer it will take me to make this joint work.  Hopefully if what I am planning works out it won’t be too long (my goal is to have my model done by the middle of May).  After the hip is done I can focus on the other joints, but since they are much much easier they shouldn’t take too long.  The knee is pretty easy, and once that is done I could print the waist and the thighs, which means I can start getting some clothing ready, so those joints are first priority.

And I really need to fix the way the gallery displays at the bottom – sorry about that!


June 9, 2012 Leave your thoughts

Character Colors: Silver  Black

Skin color: Skin 1

Eyes: Blue

Hair: Black, Straight

Outfit: Black leather with silver chains and accents.

Name Meaning: Silver Fern

She is Oriana’s counterpart.  Or nemesis maybe?  I don’t really know.  Her name is pronounced “nyree”.  If Oriana is your typical RPG cleric (chain armor, mace, etc), she would be an assassin (leather, daggers).


June 9, 2012 Leave your thoughts

Character Colors: Gold  White

Skin color: Skin 3

Eyes: Teal

Hair: Blonde, Long, Slightly Wavy

Outfit: White lacy dress with fine gold chainmail.

Accessories: Mace, (Wings?)

Name Meaning: Gold, Dawn

I see Oriana as sort of like a cleric from your typical MMORPG.  Since her name means gold her colors will be gold and white, and I may do some opal effect where I can.  I want her to be soft and delicate but with a sense of strength.  Her skin will be a light tan and her hair will be a golden blonde and she will have light teal eyes (since that looks better with gold than blue or green).  She will have gold micromail (tiny chainmail) armor on top of a delicate white dress with a matching mace to go with the cleric theme.  I am also debating big white wings, but good humane feathers are hard to find and I do care about that sort of thing, and I don’t think plastic feathers would have the desired effect.

Zombie Pin Up

June 6, 2012 Leave your thoughts

I was messing around with faces since I am still stumped over the hip joint.  I think I am going to keep her :-P .  She started as a mix of a few of my previous faces.  I just wanted to create a face that worked well with that Marilyn Monroe type hair.  Then I needed a some sort of fantasy/sci fi/creature for her, since I want all of my dolls to have some sort of visually interesting character.  I think a zombie pin up girl suites her :D.  Of course the doll will have more zombie like features than my quick render.  I am looking forward to doing the details.

I still need a name for her.  I like my names to mean something without being too glaringly obvious.  It is hard to find a name associated with death that isn’t too weird or obvious.

I’d love to be able to release her for Halloween (I also want to make my spider lady for Halloween, but I highly doubt I will get that done since that is going to have a ton of parts – I will set my goal for her for next year).  I love doing silly things for holidays and such.  I want to release Oriana and Ngaire (I haven’t posted about her yet) first, so I am hoping to have that ready before September so I can release my zombie for October.

Oriana Head Print

March 23, 2012 2 Comments

I got my print back a couple of days ago (the face and head are different materials).  It is nice to see her in real life with real lighting and perspective.  The material makes hard to visually take in, since it is a bit translucent and the print lines capture light differently than a smooth surface and create a blurred effect.  It makes it hard to photograph too.  At least being white gives a better preview of what she will look like when finished.  I can’t wait to get her smooth and cast – everything looks nicer in resin.  I am really looking forward to giving her a face-up too, but I don’t know if my skills can create my vision well enough.

I was hoping to cast asap, but I made the latch inside the top of the face too thin, so it broke right as I tried it (which I knew I shouldn’t have done, but I just had to try it).  You can see the broken piece above the logo.  The print material is weaker than resin, and I am guessing the way it was printed doesn’t help, because it broke in the same direction as the layers, but I want to make it thicker anyway as to not risk it breaking in the future.  The last things I want is for people to buy it and then have it break on them.  I don’t really want to print out a whole new face for it, but I don’t want to simple sculpt it on since then it wouldn’t be consistent for future faces.  My plan now is the model the latch and new latch holder (which I made separate from than head any way for molding purposes), then get it printed out and carefully glue the latch to the face.  That way, future faces should be ready to go.  This is going to take time though because of shipping, so I probably won’t be able to mold her for a few weeks.  I also want to get a few things done to print before, so I can get it all shipped at once.

I do love how the logo and name turned out, even though you can’t really see the face on the logo.  I could probably get the better material and the face detail would print, but it isn’t really worth it – all the other detail would be smoothed out from sanding anyway so it wouldn’t really help the doll’s actual face.  The big hole was to make it hollow for cheaper printing – it will be filled before molding.  And, where it looks like two different textures is where there was support material for the print.  She was printed face down so the shiny parts are where there was no support.

Here she is in my hand, for size.  Her face is actually the same size as other 65cm dolls, but her head is much smaller and closer to actual human proportions.  This will be a bit of a problem for wigs, since they are made for big round heads, but I really wanted to make realistic head proportions.  I am planning on making silicone (or some other soft material) head caps so hair can be implanted in to look realistic.  I pulled the hairline back a little so that a layer of lace wig could be added to hid the line between the parts, and to allow a custom hairline (and so that it wouldn’t be seen when she is wearing a normal wig).  This would all be a lot of work, but I am hoping the effect is worth it.  I tried not to make the hairline too far back so that it would still look okay without the lace part.  I am hoping to address the wig fitting problem with a thick silicone head cap to bring her head closer to more typical doll size.

Her eyes are also much smaller than most dolls.  They are still larger than human size, but compared to most dolls they are very tiny.  This is another risk, because she might not fit in well with people’s doll families, and it will be hard finding eyes that fit, but it is another thing that I just couldn’t compromise on.  I do like some large eye dolls, but I find more realist sculpts have more potential for that “wow” factor.  I am planning on making urethane eyes for my dolls, but people will obviously want more options (and I don’t know how many I’ll be able to produce).  My eyes are 12mm with 5mm iris which is very different than most available eyes.  I tried out some 11mm eyeco and they fit really well, but I also tried some 10mm acrylics and they weren’t horrible but the eye itself was a bit small and the iris was too big.  She might be able to fit in some 12mm with that large iris look.  I have some 13mm eyeco that, while a little too big to fit nicely, the large iris didn’t look too bad.

Another difference from most dolls is that her neck is much bigger than most – it is much closer to human proportions.  I think it looks nicer and it allows the head to move more naturally, but it may be another problem.  Her head should be able to fit okay on other doll bodies, but I will probably make different neck pieces for a couple popular bodies so it fits and looks better than just plopping the head on top.  Having other heads on my body is going to be a bigger problem.  I doubt they will just fit on with no modification, so I may make a separate chest piece with a thinner, longer neck that is more typical.  This isn’t ideal but at least it will give people options, since I really want my dolls to be customizable to the fullest.

Jointing Progress and Oriana

January 28, 2012 2 Comments

Here is my jointing progress so far.  I have the head and chest/shoulders done.   The neck is the easiest part since it is just a sphere.  A lot of the difficulty with these easier joints isn’t so much figuring out what to do as figuring out how to properly execute it.  I needed to somehow make the sphere that I used for the neck blend with the neck itself.  I won’t go into detail because it is hard to explain, but it required a bit of trial and error with different scripts.  The shoulder joint was very difficult to figure out how to execute.  I don’t even really remember what I ended up doing, but it involved a lot of expanding and shrinking and relaxing and spherify-ing until it worked.  Maybe I will make a video of me working at some point – I’m sure there is someone out there who would find it useful.  My hard-drive is almost full though so I need to wait until I get another one.

The neck will have a plastic elastic holder instead of s-hooks, since I really hate s-hooks.  I remember when I got my first doll, the first things I did was try to remove her feet to get her pants on and to replace them with the high-heel feet, and the s-hook shot through the leg and I was so scared something broke.  The neck also got a dent from the force of the s-hook when the head was off.  It wasn’t visible with the head on and really tiny, but annoying none the less.  This way, the force will be very evenly distributed.  It will also be easy to take the face and head off without worrying about things snapping back into the body.  And, the elastic will be moved at central pivot point when the head moves around, so movement should me more fluid and stable than the more typical joint with a large hole in the head.  That little hole in the bottom is for molding purposes so I can align magnets.

It is hard to see, but there are a bunch of circular indents all in the head-cap for magnets.  I don’t have any specific plans for horns or special fantasy ears at the moment, but I like to keep my options open.  Having the spaces for magnets will allow consistency for accessories, and it will make taping in magnets easy.

The head will come off by simply picking up the thing the elastic is around a bit and rotating the whole middle part.  Taking apart the doll’s torso will be easy too.  The elastic holder just moves sideways,  rotates, and lifts up to release the elastic.  Super simple, but at the same time, it isn’t going to happen by accident.

I am putting the name of the sculpt and my logo on the inside of the face-plate.  Indenting it would have been smarter since then I wouldn’t have to worry about it getting in the way (hence the curve on the thing the lock goes into on the headcap, if you can see it), but I like the look of it this way.  I may put a domed decal in the head-cap, but that would mean loosing a magnet space or two, and I don’t want to put it on the outside.  It is more to help prevent/identify recasts than anything, but I can hope not to have to deal with that.  Sculpts that have an open mouth will have space for a tooth-piece, since trying to paint teeth that are part of the face is a giant pain.  I’d love to make expression face plates, but it is very hard to get looking right.

I will show pictures and explain the chest and shoulder in another post.  And, I apologize for the weird graininess of the renders.  I figured out how to fix this problem, but I can’t get the lighting to look as realistic when I do it right, so I am sticking with this set-up for now.

Next up is the hips!  They are the hardest thing to joint, but I’d rather save the smaller joints for last.  I have tried so many things but I just can’t get it perfect.  Hopefully I will think or something that fulfills all of my requirements, but I may have to start compromising.    I even got a chunk of the hip printed so I can test things in real life.