Tag Archives: weathering

Pool restoration, pt1

When I bought my house back in March, I knew it was a foreclosed fixer-upper and there were a lot of things that had deteriorated after years of neglect, but I’m a sculptor at heart, have worked in construction before, and love getting my hands dirty.

In the listings the pool looked like this;
Untitled by bradisdrab, on Flickr

either the previous owner started, or the leak drained it partway, because when I got to it it looked like this;
GOPR1748 by bradisdrab, on Flickr

Note the giant tree, which I suspect was the cause of the cracks;

GOPR1595 by bradisdrab, on Flickr

That and years of bad chemestry had left the plaster in pretty bad shape, a lot of bad staining, and softened corroded areas, especially around the cracks. The areas of blue/green aren’t paint, it was just eaten from the old/bad chemestry I think. That discolored plaster was softer and crumbly.;

Untitled by bradisdrab, on Flickr

So the first thing was the tree, it had to come out;
Untitled by bradisdrab, on Flickr

Untitled by bradisdrab, on Flickr

Sad to see such a cool old tree go, but there was no point to restoring the pool if the tree was just going to continue breaking it up.

I drained it, knocked out the old tiles, and got a better look at the damage. About half the coping had seperated from the bond beam, and some of the cracks went pretty deep, through the gunnite,

Untitled by bradisdrab, on Flickr

Then a couple rounds of pressure washing, my fiance got in on the action as well;
Untitled by bradisdrab, on Flickr

I’d started by hand, but got an air-chisel to chip out the old/bad/delaminated plaster, and open the areas around the cracks;
Untitled by bradisdrab, on Flickr

It took a few solid days to chip out;
Untitled by bradisdrab, on Flickr

After the worst of the plaster was removed and a couple rounds of pressure washing it looked like this;
Untitled by bradisdrab, on Flickr

But I could see that simple patching wasn’t going to cut it, a couple of the crack were pretty bad;
Untitled by bradisdrab, on Flickr

I’d come up with a plan to fix the cracks, but first I needed to finish preparing the rest.
( continued in part 2)

Gynoid Robot Doll #5

This week I’m sending off one of my ball joint dolls, the Robot gynoid, the fifth of the series.


Its always sad to see them go, but I’m glad she found a good home, and I will be casting a new round of dolls very soon.


This was available through the Zerofriends store, where more will be posted early next month. See more photos in the full gallery; here;

You can see my work in progress ball joint dolls in the flickr Gallery gallery here;

Texture map tiling

Last week I brought my camera to the secret laboratory and shot a ton of texture reference of the VN armor, LINK so now I’ve been banging my head againsed this for the last three days.

I’m working on texture maps and I’m getting some weird edges and tiling, seems like the model is repeating the diffuse map. I have played with the tiling but it repeats and centers the map, wondering if its something that can be fixed from your side, is it a normals thing or a UV map in the OBJ?

Right now I’m importing the texture in iClone and opening the texture in photoshop, edit…update…edit… there has got to be a better way to paint this map but not sure what it is.

you can see the tiling more clearly here, its as if each face repeats the same diffuse map centered on the face of the obj.

I’ve heard the new photoshop can paint directly on OBJs, but i don’t have access to it right now, I tried using this uvmapper, but I’m not sure what I’m doing – http://www.uvmapper.com

I know there must be a way to ‘unwrap’ a model to get the texture to stretch across the whole thing.

Minor update:

I’m pulling reference of the UV maps and it seems like that is the problem. I must be overwriting the UV data while I’m doing teh textures;

You can see here that the end caps are placed over the unwrapped sides;

That is in comparison to this, which is the UV ref from a primative generated from within iClone;

I’m still unsure how to fix this, but I feel like I must be getting closer…

Minor Update #2

I’ve spent a couple more hours putting together teste and think I’m getting closer to understanding whats happening, but I still think there must be a better way to do this.


Here are three different tests. The first from the left is a primitive generated from inside iClone, the texture is wrapping properly, the UV ref seems to map correctly, however I am NOT going to try and create the whole model from this method, the shapes are just too complicated to make without a real modeling tool set.

On the right is the first exported prop, generated from the OBJ. It seems like I must have replaced the OBJs UV and regenerated it through iClone, which appears to have overlaid the side and front faces causing the tiling problem. As far as I can tell there is no way to revert this UV swap.
Using OBJ’s UV in iClobe
Replacing UV in iClone

In the center is the OBJ imported and using it’s native UV, which is supposed to map like this;

But as you can see it isn’t. There is a split happening in the middle and it seems to be grabbing from the ‘back’ to fill it…


Seems like I’m closer and further away at the same time.

VN digital stuntman

I’ve been continuing some of the experimenting with iClone for my digital stuntmen, and

First I wanted to see if I could match light and camera the model into the shot, and try a little bit of animation;

Then I tried moving the armor parts away from the iAvatar to try and make the “explosion” feel a bit bigger.

I’ve even gotten a bit of modeling assistance from my friend and ex-coworker James Sathre, here I’ve begun swapping in modeled parts for my own kit-bashed ones;

Gynoid Digital stuntman


I’ve been attempting using IClone for all my digital characters, including doubles for actors. I’ve been calling these “Digital Stuntmen”. This is a continuation of the project I started here; iClone; Brad Isdrab, digital stuntman (part 1)


This is testing new Gynoid texture maps with some quick bump maps and using Image Based Lighting. I’m seeing a lot more realism in the surface textures coming through from the bump maps and I think they will bridge the gap created by the low-res IClone models. I’ve been geeking out on tweaking the Reflection, Refraction, the amount of IBL influence, the Ambient Occlusion…

approx 3hrs work, lighting/texturing.

The next steps will be further cleaning the texture map, refining the bumpmap, and looking for other ways to improve it.

Since I had it all set I wanted to see it in motion, so here it is with very little anim, watch in Hi-Res…

The anim is *very* wonky, but my main concern was just to see her in the scene. It isn’t quite photorealistic, yet, but its come a long way since my first Image-based Lighting test with just the mapped texture on the model.

Gynoid Kick

Gynoid Robot

Painting the robot gynoid doll

Full gallery

The newest edition to my Gynoid dolls which I am selling to help fund the production of my Drab Future series This robot shows his age. I wanted to use many exposed parts, to show it in a state of disassembly.

I dug into some of my jars of parts and gathered watch bateries and hardware, radio tubes and wire and weathered with layers of mixed pigment and rust
To complete the base I also mounted the flywheel from an antique steam engine.





This doll will be on display at the Zero Friends group show


I like rust. The patterns of oxidization and weathering of old things… its beautiful.
I mean look at it, the color and texture. yum.

I’ve spent a lot of time researching methods of faking weathering, scale model forums have been good for that 😉

I’m curious about this stuff but at $120 a gallon not curious enough to buy it;

The sophisticated finishes stuff works pretty well and you can get from the craft store. I love that they have a full range of metals, brass, copper, steel… and a variety of patinas for bringing out different colors in the ‘paint’.

I used a variety of these on this Annexbot;

The basic idea is there is a paint which contains metal, and an ‘activating agent’ which is essentially a patina, to trigger the rust. Different metals have unique reactions, ferric metals tend towards orange while cupric metals towards green. Its a good idea to familiarize yourself with this process. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patina

I like to use atomized metal suspended with a bonding agent, then force it oxidize quickly.
I like to mix something like this:http://www.douglasandsturgess.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=DAS&Product_Code=FM-1044&Category_Code

As far as bonding agents, I’ve tried mixing it in paint, liquid acrylic medium, floor polish, all of these will work to some degree, but can tend to have a bit of a ‘plastic’ sheen to them. The other problem I’ve encountered is they can potentially seal the metal and prevent the patina from penetrating. One solution for this is to mix some of your patina with your paint mixture, but this can lead to a very even and unrealistic pattern. The thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to seal the metal away from the chemicals and air, so keep the paint mix thin.

Most recently I’ve been using a mix of steel with plaster as my bonding agent. It can be a bit chalky, but the plaster holds water/oxidizers and prevents the seal as well as adding more texture.

The other possible bonding method is to spray an adhesive over the surface and apply the powder directly. Don’t go over board and grab the Super-77, you just need something subtle to hold the powder in place without messing up the rest of the surface, hair spray, or matte spray work well.

Now as far as ‘activators’, there are a few solutions. You can use water, a bit of salt will make it rust a bit faster, but that is not fast or dramatic enough for us, now is it? What we want is a stronger patina. These are essentially ‘oxidizers’ because they speed up the effects of air’s weathering on the surface of the metal.

The real stuff, used for treating bronze statues and the like, will work great;

The ‘Sophisticated finishes’ stuff is basically re-branded patina chemicals, so it works really well both on faux metal as well as real metal plates;

But I’ve even had great results from simpler stuff, for example Hydrogen peroxide…