29 November 2015

Making BJD eyes (BJD Blog #03)

The modelling clay didn't arrive here yet - still. Right now I wonder if it will arrive here at all, hrh... ~.~
I spilled half of the pastel powders, 'cause I'm being the usual clumsy clutz that I am. Anyways...

The eyes are almost all done!

I made a pair of eyes with more or less normal sized pupils and a pair with huge ones, lol. Like nighttime huge. That's because the pupils I bought turned out to be somewhat too big for the iris', but I guess it works anyhow...

Here's the progress for y'all:

I used Fimo Soft white, because of the lack of proper modelling clay. Fimo or any polymer clay tends to attract a lot of dust and fiber, though, as you will see in the following pictures...

I made more eyeballs than I would need, because making a ball, sticking a bead into this ball for creating the iris, tends to make uneven eyeballs. By making more eyeballs than needed, I had more candidates to be somewhat near to perfect round shape.
First I made the eye "core" that looked somewhat like this:
(I forgot to take a picture of those cores, so I hope this drawing will show you what I mean)

After the core was done, I added some more Fimo, to make the ends of the eyeballs kinda coned. This will help inserting and adjusting the line of sight later on when you put the eyes into the eye sockets of the head. After the coned eyeballs where shaped and baked, I started sanding them the 1st time, in order to make them and the transition from core to cone smooth and even:

Then I started painting the iris. For this I started with a light coat of acrylics, some yellow, white, brown. I added the first layer of shiny yellow and highlight pastel powder and sealed everything with a layer of matte varnish. I let every layer of paint and varnish dry properly, to avoid the paint or varnish to blister. 

After they were all clean and dry, I started using colored pencils. I added more yellow to the iris, making small lines to imitate the structure of the iris, a tint of orange and green, also some light brown. I added light and darker brown to the edge of the iris to make it darker and to give it somewhat of a frame. I again added yellow and highlight glow pastel powder and again sealed everything with matte varnish. Again I added another layer of shiny highlight pastel powder, because it wasn't shiny enough yet, at least for my taste, hrh.
Then I inserted the pupils. First I tested how they look like, removed then again and then glued them to the center of the iris, adjusting their exact position gently with a tooth pick.

I know, I know... the big pupils look like someone's smoked too much of a certain weed, hrh.
For the smaller pupils I split 2 red plastic beads I had at home and painted the best 2 halves with black nail polish (hrh). After they were all dry I also insterted them into the iris using glue and a tooth pick.
After I made sure the glue was all dry, I cleaned the pupils and white edges of the eyeballs with a cotton bud/swab and some alcohol (99% isopropyl alcohol) to remove excess pastel powder and dust.

Then, the tricky part followed. It was my first time working with resin, so forgive the not perfect results, I'm still working on it xD
I mixed the resin and hardener as instructed, but I couldn't keep the mixture from having some air bubbles in it. I tried my best to remove them by using a straw and a lighter, but unfortunately I couldn't remove all of them. Well, for my first attempt, it's not the worst result, so I'm kinda happy with it anyhow.
Well, yeah, I mixed the resin, let it set a bit, removed the bubbles and then gently added drop after drop into the iris using a tooth pick (wow, much handy, very tooth picks). But the resin wasn't thick enough (should've let set it a bit longer), so it kinda flowed over the edge of the iris and the intended eye dome turned out to be flat. Ke sunu oer. It took the resin about 36 hours to cure.
Using sanding paper again, I tried to create a more roundish shape.

Since I'm not satisfied with the flat dome, I tried to think of a way to create said dome to the eyes. I want the dome (cornea) to be more round, more prominent, so I now try to achieve this the following way:
I added more (uncured and hence still soft) Fimo by making a little strand by rolling a small ball of Fimo and put it around the iris, to get kind of a mold for the dome.
Then I mixed a bit of resin again and added it to the iris/mold using a tooth pick. Now they're still curing: 
(This pic was taken before removing the air bubbles several times with a lighter... It takes some time for all of the air bubbles to come towards the surface ^^)

Once they are fully cured, I want to sand the cornea to a nice and round dome (starting with coarse grained sanding paper and ending with fine grain).
This sanding will make the resin look dull, but I will make them all nice and shiny again by sealing everything with a layer of high gloss varnish.

I hope they'll be cured by tomorrow evening, since I added a little bit more of the hardener this time. I can't wait to finish these eyes, because they're already starting to be a little pain in the ass hrhn :D
All in all it will prolly take me 2 or 3 more days to finish them T_T

So yeah, that's it for making the eyes of my BJD. I'll add more pics here to this post after they're done (I didn't want to wait until then with posting the progress hrh).

Update: So, I let them cure overnight, removed the Fimo mold and did a very rough touch up of the "sharp" edges with sanding paper.

The resin was not fully hard, so I put them in the oven for 1/2 hour at 50°C (122°F) to fasten up the final curing a bit. Warmth will speed up the chemical reaction and since the resin layer was not very thick, it needs more time to cure (the more resin and the warmer the surrounding temperature, the faster it cures).
More sanding is the next step to give them a nice round dome.

Getting there...

Final shape... that's more like it, eh?

A bit of polishing and evening out the sanding paper scratches...

And finally adding 2 - 3 layers of high gloss varnish to them. Finally done! :)

They're far from perfect, but I think for my first try of making BJD eyes, they turned out not so bad at all. I'm quite happy with them and I'm sure they'll be of good use... Maybe, if I feel like it, I'll make some more eyes and using the stuff I learned in the progress of making the first pairs of eyes.

Until then... I'm still waiting for my modelling clay, hrh, and once it arrives here, I'll finally get my hands on sculpting the head. So, as always, stay tuned! >:)

20 November 2015

Preparing stuff while waiting for the starting shot (BJD Blog #02)

I gathered almost all the materials I need, except for the most important thing: the modeling clay, hrh. It's still on its way to my place. OTL

Anyway, I use the waiting time for preparation.

As you may already know, I prepared the hair for the wig a few days ago (see BJD Blog post #01).

I already made a mold for the eyes/eyeballs, so I can kinda easily ceate several eyeballs, paint them and fill them up with clear resin.

I just ground up some pastels I still had at home, mixing various colors and thus preparing a fine ready-to-use powder for blushing the body, face and eyes.
Here's what it looks like:

The various shades of blue will give the skin more depth and natural look. If you look closely, you can see that a Na'vi body has different blue colors, for example the belly is lighter than the neck or shoulders. After I will have given a blue base coat of acrylic paint to the finished body, these blue toned pastels will make a huge difference and add so much depth to the overall look. At least that's the plan hrh ^^
The darkest blues will prolly be used for the striped skin pattern.

Same goes for the pinkish tones, I'll mainly use them for the ears, nose, waterline of the eyes.

The yellowish tones are for the eyes. Well, for the iris, that is. Na'vi eyes are not bright yellow, they are indeed a bit less saturated in color and have various shades from yellow over brownish tones to a slight tint of pale green.
I added a pearl shine thingy to these colors, especially to the eye glow highlighter. It will reflect the light on the iris and will make the eyes pop and more lively. In fact, Na'vi eyes reflect light almost like (or even stronger than) feline eyes, you can see that in the scene from the movie where Neytiri attacks the group of Nantang which are attacking the still noob called Jake :D

It will take a few more days for the clay to arrive here, so I'll be using the waiting time for preparing the base for the body. The body needs to be hollow in order for the strings to go through the whole body and joints, so yeah. For this I'll prolly use paper tissue and foil, so it will be somewhat easy to remove after the clay has cured.

And yep, I think I've decided on making the torso somewhat longer. Right now I see the blueprint I made more like a guideline than a strict plan, hrh. Except for the joint sizes. Btw, I also decided on what joints I wanna make; I prolly wanna give the doll a doublejoint for the hips to give here a bigger range of movement, but this will make the legs look a bit more unnatural. Like "this is obviously a doll and not a real Na'vi, duh". I also wanna add doublejoints to the knees for the exact same reason. Well, one round joint on top and directly attached to that joint a part which can slide out of the shin.
I still don't know how to make the ears, fingers and toes posable, though. I guess I'll have to figure it out while working on those bodyparts.

Also, I think I wanna get GlowInTheDark or UV active paint for the sanhì, the glowing dots/pores.

Fyi, here's one last pic for today, showing all the materials I gathered so far:

Tse, that's all for today. Kìyevame ma smuk ^^

18 November 2015

Nothing to talk about... except for a Na'vi Ball Jointed Doll!!! :D (BJD Blog #01)

I kinda tried more than a bunch of times to write something about anything nìNa'vi, but I couldn't find an interesting topic, so I wrote nothing in ages... again. So I decided to report my progress of making an OOAK Na'vi BJD here, which I wanted to make for quite some time now, but I finally got myself to invest some money in all the materials needed for this project.

I tried to create a Na'vi BJD 2 yrs ago or so before, but failed miserably, because of some project ruining mistakes. Well, it was my first try, I read and learned a lot so now I feel ready to go and being able to succeed.

I ordered proper modeling clay (LaDoll Premier), wool for hair, resin for the eyes, bought some beads and styroform balls for joints (joint base for perfect round shape), pastels, doll pupils, and so on... this time it will work out >:3

 I want the doll to even have posable ears, fingers, toes if possible. Will have to figure out a way for making that possible first, though.
And, of course, a posable tail!

I even prepared a more or less professional blueprint, lol:

(Looking at it right now makes me wanna make her torso a bit longer, so maybe I'll fix that)
The doll will be approx. 65cm tall. I also want to create a dagger, bow, some arrows, loincloth, herb pouch, armor, jewelry. Damn, a lotta work, eh.

The wool was the first thing to arrive here yesterday, so I spent the whole last evening creating dreadlocks (the palms of my hands still feel like I massaged coarse stone instead of wool lol). I used merino wool in black, mocca and dark brown instead of only one color to create a more natural look (hair isn't always the same color everywhere, especially dreadlocks). Basically I used this tutorial here (go have a look, it worked quite well for me).

After they were all done I removed the soap by washing them in a water/vinegar solution, neutralizing the soap, which is supposed to make the wool more durable and "vibrant". I let them dry over night and today I ripped some in half in order to make all of them more or less the same length and added some beads I had at home. Still need some differently colored beads, like red or green or something like that.
Anyway, here's the result so far:

I'm not quite happy with the tswin (long braid) yet, so I'll maybe create another one from smoother wool.

I don't wanna glue the dreads and tswin to the head directly, so I'll be making a wig cap. Because I maybe even wanna change the hairdo of the doll every now and then.

Next step will be making the eyes, because imho the eyes are the most important thing in a face/head, and the head is what is most important to get all body proportions right (even if you have a solid blueprint). For the eyes, I'll be using a mix of this and this tutorial with a personal twist.
So, stay tuned, for more BJD progress stuff will follow here! :)

And txopu rä'ä si, rutxe, a new page of Layon Yayo is also already in the making^^