Thursday, December 14, 2017

Star Trek Figurine Description

The idea behind my Star Trek figure came from the connection between the new Star Trek Discovery and the original series. Specifically, the connection between Sonequa Martin's character Michael Burnham and Leonard Nimoy's Spock. Burnham's parents were killed by Klingons during the attack on Doctari Alpha when she was young. She was fostered by the Vulcan ambassador Sarek and his wife Amanda, who are also the biological parents of Starfleet officer Spock. Even though I admittedly knew very little about the original collection of series Spock has always been a really intriguing character to me and I've been following Sonequa's acting career on the Walking Dead for years so I was immediately drawn to her character in the new series. The duality of these characters coping with the friction between their highly analytical, logic based Vulcan upbringing and the emotions they fought with due to their human heritage was really interesting to me. 

There is a lot of things that connect Spock and Michael outside of familial ties but, at the same time, they are uniquely different from each other and are stand alone characters in their own rights. I thought the best way to express these connections and differences visually was to do a side-by-side rendering of half of each of their faces. I've seen this done many times in flat, two dimensional images but had never seen it done in the round. It posed a few issues with alignment of features but with a bit of adjusting I was able to piece each half together without having any features jutting out or overlapping too distractingly.

I feel like the overall look is pretty strong and the paint work is relatively clean. If I could go back and change anything I might try to thin out Michael's face a bit more under the chin and around the cheek to give her a more feminine look.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Week 15 Debrief

This week I finished up Split Bust Scuplture in Meshmixer. Spock's half had been significantly weaker but I've managed to work in some good detail over the past week. Michael's side feels a little off and perhaps a bit to broad but I'm hoping to round her features out more smoothly with a really tight paint job.

The overall look seems pretty clean and solid and I have no worries at all about stability or any inherent frailness which I'm hoping will free me up to get a really good finish on this thing. I want to keep the color scheme relatively simple to give it that iconic figurine look but I plan to put a little more detail in the faces since they will be the many focus of the piece and because that is where the strongest "split" will occur. I'm going to go with Acrylic paint again just because that's what I'm used to and I'm pretty confident with being able to apply it thinly and cleanly and later on I might give it a top coat of gloss if I'm feeling brave. I'll hold off for the time being because I've done it wrong before on some painted rock and it was DISASTROUS.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Week 14 Debrief

I've decided to go with my second design option involving a split bust sculpture of Spock for Start Trek the Original Series and Michael Burnham from the new Star Trek Discovery series. I knew I wanted to do something involving Spock from the beginning because he is such a iconic and interesting character. I particularly enjoy how dry and salty/snarky he can be sometimes. I was watching the Man Trap episode with my cousin and his fiance and made a joke about how he would be far too salty for that salt sucker and sure enough he basically says he survived the attack because it couldn't handle Vulcan salt. But, I digress. I knew I would be interested in Michael's character because I loved her actor Sonequa Martin as Sasha in The Walking Dead. There's a lot of interesting parallels between these uniquely differentiating characters aside from the fact that they are adoptive siblings. They both have human blood that conflicts with their Vulcan upbringing and ideals which causes them a lot of emotional strife which to a Vulcan would be a foreign concept to begin with. She even gains the alias of "mutineer" after incapacitating Captain Georgiou and taking command of the Shenzhou, preparing to attack the Klingons by firing on them first. This point is particularly interesting because it creates a parallel between the characters in the sense that Spock was court martialed for mutiny under similar circumstances in The Menagerie episode.

I've started with the generic, human head form and have built on additional forms to create the rest of the bust (neck, shoulders, etc.). Michael's face is shaping up pretty cleanly aside from a few structural issue with the hair as it was made almost entirely with the drag tool but Spock's side still needs a lot of refinement. I think I will pull up some high definition reference images behind the Meshmixer screen next week to get a more accurate fix on each of their features.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Week 12 Debrief

This week we looked at a new program called Fusion 360. This program may not help much with my current design ideas as they have a good bit of mass in any direction which fits in better with the "virtual clay" like usability of Meshmixer but it is a good resource to familiarize myself with for future projects. It connect fluidly with flat illustrator files which may prove useful for quickly sketching a two-dimensional form and extruding it into three dimensional space in specific increments.

I have narrowed my ideas down to two options. One involving an extreme high relief figure of the Star Fleet insignia with characters molded into each of it's planes and a split bust of Michael Burnham and Spock.

I had originally thought the first option was a little two on the nose for this project but it seems a lot of people are going in a pretty direct route with their projects so I don't feel as though it is too unoriginal. The addition of the character moldings will definitely add interest and uniqueness though the variety I want to achieve may cause a lot of struggle later on particularity if I decide to paint it.

The second option will be far less work in terms of number of characters but will have it's own set of pros and cons. On one hand I am really interested in both Spock and Michael's characters and the relationship between them as well as the idea of doing a three-dimensional split bust. On the other hand matching up two totally different face and head shapes to fit together smoothly in the round without losing or severely warping any iconic feature will definitely be challenging. My plan to overcome this issue is to start with one solid, generic, featureless base and add or subtract volume where needed.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Week 11 Debrief

This week I continued to research episodes and information on Star Trek, particularly of the original series and we presented our ideas in class. I had plenty of information and a couple of nonspecific ideas that I'm not totally sure of just yet but I'm not really confident enough on them to share them just yet. I think listening to how others were approaching this project is helping me to be a little more sure of the direction I won't to go in. I have a habit of not opening my mouth unless I am at least 70% sure of what I'm talking about to prevent me from looking stupid. It usually works in my favor but can sometimes come off as me being stubborn or appearing a little less motivated than a really am. I'm putting a lot of thought into what I'm planning to do I'm just not sure how to describe it or put it into a physical representation.

I can say that Spock is by far one of the most interesting characters I've looked into so there is a high chance of my project revolving around him in some way. Additionally, I've decided not to pull any files from outside of meshmixer because I want to see how well I can work out forms with this program with as little help as possible. I may watch some tutorials over the weekend to help me gain a better understanding of how to navigate all the tools and avoid creating any problems or overly fragile areas which was my biggest problem in the last project.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Week 10 Debrief

This week we talked a little more about the Roddenberry Universe with special emphasis on the Star Trek Series.We will be getting the opportunity to design limited addition figurines for next year's Pensacon in February which will look great on a resume and will be pretty cool to be able to say we were a part of in general.

I'm not 100% sure what I want to do my project on but I plan to do a little research in my free time in addition to the presentation we are supposed to put together to present in class. I have a cousin who is super into Star Trek and can help me narrow down the episodes that will help me get the best understanding of what the show is essentially about. So far I know I'm interested in the psychological and even moral conflicts that arise within the series as well as the vast diversity among characters and actors.