Picture of the Week

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30 Dec 2012

Hot Box for Roma

One of the most useful DIY tools in the workshop - a metal-tape lined box for heating up and softening oil-based clay. This simple box saves a ton of time when sculpting.

Location: The Workshop

23 Dec 2012

Twenty Years Ago

Here's Lance Pope in a repainted Boris back in 1992. This was taken while working for an independent 16mm film (shooting title "Verdun Manor", finally renamed "Sign of the Werewolf," produced by Randy Neely and directed by Harry Keane - they approached Lance with the idea).

Location: A movie location in Texas

16 Dec 2012

Dragon Feet In Progress

A side shot of one of the dragon feet sculptures. In the background is the rough maquette that was the starting point.

Location: The Workshop

09 Dec 2012

Three Heads

Rearranging the storage area in the workshop presented Ysengrin with this unposed shot.

Location: The Workshop

02 Dec 2012

Dragon Feet Front Scales

The big overlapping scale plates for the front have now been added. This is just the start of the finer detailing. There are more large scales for the back of the foot, some medium overlapping scales to add, and a whole bunch of smaller scales. Ysengrin made three quick press-type molds to make the individual scales used since the scales were too big to uniformly cut from a roll of clay.

Location: The Workshop

25 Nov 2012

Dragon Feet Shaped

Now the dragon feet have been given their base shape. They've been made a bit taller (about 11") and the underlying forms have been better defined.

Location: The Workshop

18 Nov 2012

Dragon Feet Buildup

Here, Ysengrin is starting on the buildup for the dragon feet sculpture. There's a lifecast of a large - size 14 - pair of dive booties being used as the core of these sculptures. At this point, there is only the suggestion of the shape of the finished feet. Those are also the test claws from last week being used.

Location: The Workshop

11 Nov 2012

Dragon Claws

Ysengrin needed to make a run of dragon claws to use in the sculpt of the new dragon feet, and took advantage of not needing a color-matched set to experiment with various additives, including uv reactive powder. The black and bronze claw in particular looks like it will be a popular choice. Normal light on the right, uv on the left.

Location: The Workshop

25 Aug 2012

Creature Body Suit

Apologies in advance for the cluttered image. This is an in-progress photo of a creature body suit showing off the back tentacles. This creature was delivered to the new owner last weekend.

Location: The Workshop

18 Aug 2012

A Non-Lycanthrope Paw

This is the other-handed paw from the same project as last week, just farther along in the process.

Location: The Workshop

11 Aug 2012

A Non-Lycanthrope Paw, In-Progress

In-progress photo of a non-lycanthrope paw, built up on a spandex base. It will be skinned with latex when finished, embedding the pads and the claws. This particular project is DarkFang's work.

Location: The Workshop

04 Aug 2012

Foam Claws

These claws might look hard, but they're cast with expanding flexible foam.

Location: The Workshop

28 Jul 2012

Heavily Reinforced Paw

This is looking into a paw bottom mold with heavy reinforcement -- for heavy use, naturally.

Location: The Workshop

21 Jul 2012

Making More Paws

Here we're running brightly colored latex in a set of molds. For special markings, the latex is painted into the molds before the molds are assembled.

Location: The Workshop

14 Jul 2012


Alternate designs of werewolf head maquettes.

Location: The Workshop

07 Jul 2012

DarkFang Sculpts

DarkFang sculpting on a set of werewolf head maquettes.

Location: The Workshop

30 Jun 2012

New Jawset

A new jawset, based on the old Fox jawset. That's the masters, a fresh cast out of the old fox molds that several teeth were ground away then new teeth sculpted by hand with dental acrylic in their place. They're filled with plaster to make the masters easier to handle and cast.

Location: The Workshop

23 Jun 2012

Fresh Fox Pull

Here's a fox head, freshly pulled from the mold, before the flashing from the mold seam was removed. The colors you see are cast into the latex - think of them as a suggestion of the the markings the final airbrushing will have.

Location: The Workshop

16 Jun 2012

Black paws

A set of black and grey werewolf paws.

Location: The Workshop

09 Jun 2012

Maker Faire 2012

Yeah, it was something like that ... one of Shawn Thorsson's suits of Halo armor, wandering around the Faire.

Location: 37° 32' 52" N, 122° 18' 07"W

02 Jun 2012

Maker Faire 2012

Yeah, it was something like that ... Face Forward by artist Christian Ristow. It's a 12-foot-tall robotic human face whose performance is guided by audience participation. Look close - the pupils are mirrors.

Location: 37° 32' 52" N, 122° 18' 07"W

27 May 2012

Maker Faire 2012

Yeah, it was something like that ... Gon KiRin in the daytime. Looks a bit different at night.

Location: 37° 32' 52" N, 122° 18' 07"W

20 May 2012

Maker Faire 2012

Yeah, it was something like that ... Brollyflock by the Flux Foundation.

Location: 37° 32' 52" N, 122° 18' 07"W

13 May 2012

Base Plate Two-Piece Mold

Here's the final two-part mold (using Mold Max 30) of that base plate, just after opening the mold with a casting in place. The two tabs coming off to the right side of the casting are a pour hole and a vent hole; that edge would normally be the top of the mold when it's in use.

Location: The Workshop

06 May 2012

Failed Cast

You need to not be afraid to fail when trying something new - this is why. We found that the one piece mold suffered from two problems. First, the mold had to be absolutely level for a good cast, as the whole bottom of the plate was open in the mold and that surface needed to be level in the pulled copy. This proved to be more finicky that we'd expected, and would have slowed down the production of the plates. Second, the plate was too thin for the casting resin we were using, and was too fragile to demold in one piece.

Ysengrin went back and remolded the base plate as a two piece mold after adding a piece of foam board to the bottom. The extra thickness, as long as it was consistent, would not be an issue in how we would use the casts.

Location: The Workshop

29 Apr 2012

Molding the Base Plate

At first, we molded the base plate as a one-piece silicone mold. This photo shows the setup just before adding the silicone. The base plate was attached to a sheet of paper with rubber cement, and the paper taped down on the cardboard base. This is how we make most of our jawset molds.

Location: The Workshop

22 Apr 2012

Shapeways-Printed Master

This is a master architectural model that was roughed in with Sketchup, cleaned up in Blender and printed via Shapeways. We'll be making molds of both pieces and making multiple copies for our internal use.

Location: The Workshop

15 Apr 2012

Paw R&D

This is a casting test for new materials. In this case, we made a single paw with Dragon Skin Pro to test techniques of casting the silicone and the durability of the finished paw.

We will be offering silicone paws and heads when we're satisfied with how the finished product performs.

Location: The Workshop

08 Apr 2012

Designing New Feet

Here's the *second* step in designing new feet. The first step is a set of rough sketches and doodles to get an idea of what we want to make. It's followed up with a composite like this image, so the (supposed) internal structure of the creature's feet will make some sense.

More on these later, when the maquettes are done.

Location: The Workshop

01 Apr 2012

Making Paws - The Palms

With the pads finished we now paint in the palm color. As you see, the palm color overlays the pad color. When the two or three layers of palm color are laid in, one layer of the main skin color is laid in. Once that's skinned, fiber reinforcement is added at the high flex points between the bases of the fingers. Then the molds are assembled and we run the main skin color as a normal slush casting.

Location: The Workshop

25 Mar 2012

Making Paws - The Pads

We use colored latex in our paws, so as they wear they rarely need to be touched up. That means we have to make them from the outside in, even though they're cast in molds. Here, we've painted in the black latex for the pads in a set of wolf paws. Normally, we'll lay down three layers for the pad color.

Location: The Workshop

18 Mar 2012

Finished mold

Here's the finished silicone mold from last week - a successful test. We were using this mold as a chance to try out a new silicone we hadn't used before.

Location: The Workshop

11 Mar 2012

Experiments in molding

That's a super sculpty foot maquette that's been around the shop for a while, and we thought it would be nice to have a few copies so we can work up new paw designs. This photo is at the start of making a two part mold. A box has been made out of Lego™ blocks and half-filled with water based clay. The foot was then embedded halfway, and the top of the maquette sealed to the box with more clay. A glass marble was used to make registration keys in the clay, and as an experiment, a long trench was cut into the clay as an additional alignment key. Exposed surfaces were brushed with mold release in anticipation of the silicone.

Location: The Workshop

04 Mar 2012

Premature Spring!

Spring is enthusiastically greeted by the Osteospermum in the garden. It's a little early, but we have quite a mild winter here normally, and this year has been warmer than usual. A larger version (379k) of this image is also available.

Location: The Workshop

26 Feb 2012

Black and red forepaws

Black and red forepaws for a client; these were replacements when his first pair wore out.

Location: The Workshop

19 Feb 2012

Black and grey forepaws

The matching set of black and grey forepaws for a client.

Location: The Workshop

12 Feb 2012

Black and grey hindpaws

A set of black and grey hindpaws for a client.

Location: The Workshop

05 Feb 2012

Canine Pawpads

A batch of canine pawpads for a client.

Location: The Workshop

29 Jan 2012


Godric, taken during Further Confusion 2012.

Location: Somewhere in California

22 Jan 2012


Kodi, taken during Further Confusion 2012.

Location: Somewhere in California

15 Jan 2012

Psycho Donuts

The Psycho Donuts nurse, downtown San Jose, California. Taken during Further Confusion 2012.

Location: Somewhere in California

01 Jan 2012

Wolf Skull Test

Just a test of an in-progress 3D model of a wolf skull. We decided that we needed an accurate digital model of the skull for several projects, so Ysengrin started in on it. Proportions are based on an actual skull.

Render done in Blender/Cycles with simple materials.

Location: Somewhere in California