Wednesday, July 31, 2013

From high tech to low tech

I still have an easier time drawing designs on paper than I do using software meant for this sort of thing. Once I get the lines right, I just draw the template in GIMP and voila!

So, here's my work-in-progress today:

I start by sketching out lines. I've been noting the dimensions of each line right on the model, so when I DO end up making a template for this, I won't have to re-measure everything.

I went back over all the lines so I can photocopy this, then cut out the cardstock page. The only reason I used two colors was so I would remember where to cut and where to score on the tabs.

Here's the pieces cut out:

And the quick test to see how things fit:

That little gap between the roof line and the front isn't as bad as it seems - I'm squeezing the box together since I have nothing to hold it otherwise. Still, I'd rather see (a) a textured flap on it that could rest inside, to minimize this/glue in place to hold it steady, or (b) have a small (1/4" or less) overhang so you wouldn't even notice.

I forgot a couple things, too. First, there's got to be tabs on the bottom of the box, allowing for it to be permanently fixed to a base. Second, I might try to make the tabs that hold the roof to the box a wee bit shorter (1/8" maybe?) in case you want to make the whole thing collapsible. It can go together, but it should be easy enough to shave those tabs down and still have em lock in place well.

I'll texture this at home (maybe not this week...) and see what it looks like against some actual buildings.

I bet if I took this and made it a 1"x1" base rather than 2"x1", it'd function as an outhouse!

Monday, July 29, 2013

More options for SwiftScenics buildings

I had fun putting together the new style of gable, and recently I had some thoughts for quickie kitbashes that might also be fun. Here are some quick picks from SketchUp:

The first is a simple bump-out that might follow the roofline, allowing for a door that comes off the building a little. I'm thinking it'd be 1" deep, but I suppose it could be less. The roof, hopefully, would slot into the thing just like any other SwiftScenic roof, and it'd support folding it flat or being a permanent box build.

The windows in this picture were offset a bit through a bit of magic. I'd want to release a booster set of walls to accommodate the width of the piece better.

This is the same kind of thing, but with a different roof line. It's not very sexy, but it's an idea. Again, roof would hopefully slip into place, though if it's a permanent box, it might be best to put the roof in, then affix the whole thing to the building.

Last one for now. I think this might work, but I'd have to play with the textures. It just changes the roofline (using the awning as a starting point) enough to let me change the shape of the building. I could put one on both sides for an interesting effect.
That's the idea at least. No need to add all these doo-dads onto one building. It's just nice to have some simple tricks to make the buildings seem a little less boxy.

Now, if I wanted to go crazy, I'd invent a simple slotting mechanism that would allow adding or removing these boxes from buildings without it being too obvious that there's something there. Before I go that crazy, though, I should spend an evening doing up the geometries. They're just boxes! How hard could that be?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WIP: Mining Tunnels continued

Tiles! These are the mine track tiles I've worked out. They are in an unfinished state here. I've got to lighten up the textures a LOT, and I've fixed issues with the highlights on the tracks.

I started with a base texture from the Cathedrae Noctis set. There is some color manipulation at play, a lot of cloning, and some other filters that bring it to this state. It's a pretty good base for a cave, I think.

Here's a bunch of different tiles that add mine tracks. I'm not really shooting for super-realism in how train tracks work. I can imagine adding some 3D props, like levers and switches. I've seen some brilliant ones available free on the Cardboard Warriors website.

I started by looking for a metal texture. I found a lovely picture of a pistol, and grabbed a strip off of the barrel and started from there.

The  gravel under the track - I don't even remember where I grabbed that from. It was a bunch of mucking with something that was very un-gravel-like.

The ties suffer from a bit of copy-and-paste. If I ever feel motivated, I should try to reduce the obviously redundant aspects of the boards.

In this one, the gravel looks terribly brown. Must have been trying something when I grabbed this. Maybe I had some layers turned off accidentally. I know I had several layers of grime, and they all looked great on my monitor, but made the prints so dark as to be unusable.

I learned some tricks about turning long, narrow textures into circular shapes, which helped with the corners. I can only do 90 degree turns, though, so that's too bad. I'd like to be able to bend the tracks in a more natural way for some types of tiles, but it'll take more practice and experimentation.

Adding the puddle only took a couple minutes. I've been trying to reuse this one texture on other tiles, without it being obviously duplicated. Still working on that...

This was my first attempt at a grid system. I used a crack brush texture to put some large but natural looking cracks along the grid. Ultimately, it was too subtle and yet still looked too out-of-place, so I tried another idea.

This is what I'm going with (though I might clean up under the water). I made a layer of stone stuff with a blend mode that lightened the underlying texture. I then applied a mask to it, so only some of it showed up along the grid lines. It's an obvious grid, but I don't think it's an obnoxious grid. So, I'm sticking with it.

So, now I'm focusing on getting the textures to print out well. Everything is so darn dark. Thankfully, I have a continuous ink system that is easy and cheap to refill! I've started working on a little mine cart, too, but that's a ways off.

WIP: Mining Tunnels

I've been slacking off, posting pics here. I've been slacking off, in general, with papercrafting. But, I have been doing *something* and I should really post the results here. I started creating my own set of tiles and walls to make mine tunnels. Here's a flood of pics to bring this blog up to speed:

Walls! I went through some iterations, and am unlikely to use these ones with torches. It served its purpose, though, letting me explore things like adding lamps to the walls and lighting.

I also added some scenery to the walls. Rubble piles, picks, shovels and buckets. It turns out everything I've done is way too dark (more on that later...) so I think it looks great and atmospheric on my bright screen, but on paper, it's muddy poo.

I expect to make a cave system too, not just mine tracks and walls with support beams - something more organic. I made some 3" wall pieces that provide for doors, archways and additional supports:

Just another pic of some in progress walls. There are picks in various positions, and shovels and buckets.

These are the lamps I worked out. I might still play with the contrast a bit, but not until I solve other issues.

So, those are the walls. Next post will be the tiles.