Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cave wall progress

Just stopping in to post a pic of where I'm at with cave/cavern walls.

I haven't played with dropshadows to blend the layers together better. I'll spend some time coming up with some variants, too - I can try t warp the wall more and in different ways, and I can try adding things like monster claw marks to the walls. I'll do some with different formations of stalagmites as well. It's one of those things, though, where people aren't going to want to make a dozen variants for the cliff walls. Still, I'd like each separate wall to have some slightly different characteristics.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The dwarves have been busy!

I said I'd post pics when I cleaned up the inserts. Well, here you go!

So, you can now drop in some coal into your carts. They fit perfectly and remove easily. One more thing I can tick off my todo list!

What's remaining on my todo list? I need to tweak the wheels to look a little more 3d - increasing contrast on the wheels might do. I need to try to increase the size of the tabs on the tapered mine cart. Right now, they're so fiddly that they were not fun to assemble. I'm ok with something being hard to assemble, but these were unnecessarily so. And, then I need to create some step-by-step instructions, and I need to invent some branding.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Filling those carts

I whipped up some inserts for the carts to make them appear to be full of gravel or stone or whatever. I feel bad about not posting pics, but I have a little more tweaking to do before I want to show them. The texture looks OK but I need to make the inserts smaller so they slip into the carts much easier. They look good, though. I don't mind taking baby steps, as long as I keep moving forward!

Friday, January 17, 2014

If at first you don't succeed...

It's too bad that most of my actual modelling work has to happen late at night when I'm really tired. I took a stab at finishing off the hand cart, but several iterations later, I'm still not happy with it. I'm trying to make it so that two figures with 1" bases would fit on it, but boy do things get fiddly at that size.

I have a couple more things to try, but I'm getting tired... Thank goodness it's Friday - maybe this weekend I'll be able to spend some quality time on this!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Creating my own cave textures - take 1

I've been relying heavily on YouTube videos to learn techniques for creating textures in GIMP. If you're interested in trying your hand at some things, consider watching these videos by user jxtutorials. I've used the tutorials to make wood textures several times now, and noone has complained about the quality yet. :)

This time, I'm trying out the tutorial on making rough stone. Here's an example of something I was able to whip up literally in seconds:

With a little practice, it looks like I can easily control the roughness to the stone as well as make the overall texture have more rounded, sagging areas that appear more organic.

I will spend some time with this technique and post some results to see what I can come up with. I would imagine some version of this would be good for a number of textures. Maybe it'd allow for a good snow texture for winter tiles. Maybe it would make for a good base texture to lay down on cobblestone.

I saw some a nice simple tutorial on making marble texture, too.

I'm not sure if I want to go and make a completely new texture for my caves, if in the end I end up submitting it as a kitbash. I'd like to be able to push totally new material through my own channel and not be dependent on the WWG community. It's too bad TLX is off-limits for folks like me outside the WWG community. I mean, I could do my own thing, but I wouldn't be able to share it. Bummer. Maybe I'll end up being like everyone else - fragment the build systems even more by making my own, or succumb to making chunky pieces that clip together and maybe have it compatible with something like Fat Dragon stuff. I dunno. I guess it's something I have to really start thinking about.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

It's not as easy as it looks...

Bit of a demoralizing day today. I'm just not able to set aside enough time to gain traction on these cave walls, and it bums me out. Well, that and the fact that I really don't have the talent necessary to create most of the textures I really want to create. I'll keep trying. It's just slow going, and sometimes (like today) I end up with very little to show for it.

Tonight, I decided to spend a little time making the broken floor tiles that will top the cave walls. They're actually super easy to make, considering I have the floor textures already done up from the mining kitbash. I have the tile faces done, and so I'll need to texture the paper strips that edge the side of the piece, and pull out the anchors. Honestly, doing the anchors is what takes the most time, but once I get rolling on that, I'll be able to finish quickly too.

I'll go ahead this week and start making some of the regular mine tunnel walls that are in the kitbash. It'll give me a chance to try out making posts without perforations. I'm hoping at work early this coming week to have time to finish sketching the hand cart pieces and start test-cutting some stuff. That's how I do some of these things - I draw it by hand, cut it by hand (sometimes coloring pieces with markers) and seeing how it assembles. If I like it, I cut it apart and measure what I've done so I can remake it in GIMP. You'd think it'd be faster for me to work in Sketchup or something, but really I enjoy just experimenting in paper.

Grr... While typing this, I figured I'd go ahead and print out a page of posts and get started. Sadly, I've been getting really inconsistent results from my CIS lately... Not sure what the problem is. Probably going to have to pump some ink through it (again) and see where that gets me. Sigh. Bit of a demoralizing day today.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The devil is in the details

Today I snuck in enough time to assemble one of each type of 6" mine tile that I had kitbashed. I must admit, they look pretty good... :) I made them without anchors, as that is a lot faster, and I didn't want a bunch of half-made pieces lying around. I'll go back and add anchors when the time comes - when I have some walls and posts done. I'm looking forward to snapping some pictures of an actual mine!

In addition to making the tiles, I got around to making some little latches for the mine carts. When I say little, I mean TINY. But, they kinda work, and really aren't THAT hard to assemble. I like posting pics, so here are a couple to show what I'm talking about.

They're really not that bad to assemble, and they kinda look cool on the models! Of course, now when I make a buffer box for the tracks, I'll have to compensate for the possible latch. Rather than a buffer box, I might make something a little different... You'll have to wait and see...

That last one shows the tiles look like when printed. I have a little bit more work to do on the hand cart, then I'll move onto a couple little details, like stuff to put IN the carts!

I'm hoping tomorrow to get some quality time on the cave walls. What I might do is make some that fit in with the mining tunnels, and some that are deeper into cave territory...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Templates for cave walls...

I've created 16 pages of templates so far for the walls, and I think I have maybe 4 more to go. Not bad! If I can get this done today, then over the weekend I can get some of the tiles textured and out of the way!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Digging deeper into the mines

It's not a LOT of progress, but it's an important first step. I've created the templates for broken tiles, which paves the way for some additional kitbashing. Most notably, I want to take the mine tunnel texture I made (just the dirt floor) and make broken floor tiles with it. It might be nice to make a simple kitbash or two with destroyed Thoumont's and Feisty Friar pieces... No! Focus! Focus!

I'm not looking towards making templates for all of the TLX cliff wall pieces.That'll allow me to create cave wall pieces, and I'll have the start of a full TLX cave system! I will share pictures as soon as I can. TLX caves is something I've wanted from the very beginning!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mine cart test builds, as promised!

Here are some pics of the built mine carts.

If there's anyone out there seeing these and they want to offer up any comments or criticisms, feel free. I've started working on the hand cart which should be interesting. I have a feeling it'll work better with paper standees than fully 3d minis, but that's not really a problem for me now, is it?

Scoring with the Silhouette SD

I'm sure others have tried this, but I've never done it myself. I've got all these old Silhouette SD blades lying around, and I thought - what if I cranked it down to the smallest cut setting, and used it to cut rather than score? "Scoring" to the Silhouette means perforate, and it is terribly slow. Cutting seems much faster.

I tried it out on a 6" tile, and it worked perfectly. Now, I realize for reverse scoring, it isn't going to work too well. So, what I'll do is use this on the tiles (and posts, for example) to reduce the amount of perforating that goes on. Aesthetically, I don't mind it either way, but anything that saves me time (and makes less noise) is a good thing.

UPDATE: A word of caution... I've been cutting tiles out with this method, and I like it a lot. The edges are clean and easy to edge, and it seems a LOT faster than letting the machine perforate. However, I've apparently been forgetting to switch the blades between cutting and scoring, using the cutting blade for everything. It's still doing an OK job just scoring and not going through the tile, probably because I've got it set on the lowest pressure possible, but I'm a little worried that it's cutting deeper than necessary and making some of the corners weaker.... If you try this yourself, don't be lazy like me!

Minecart texture, part 4

I think I'm "done" with the basics of the boxy minecarts. I might revisit the texture I made for the wheels to increase the contrast, but that's not a high priority.

I have a test build at home, and I'll snap some pictures tonight to post. In fact, I'll build all three variations in metal so I can snap a picture of all six.

I'm moving on to the last minecart - a hand cart - and the pieces needed to join the carts together. There's a light at the end of the tunnel!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Minecart texture, part 3

I've been making incremental progress on the mine cart models. I've got three different models prepared with a wood texture (like the ones pictured earlier) and I've started work on a rusty metal cart. I hope to complete a fourth mine cart model this week to wrap up the geometries, and with any luck I'll have the metal variants done as well. As an additional detail, I'll be making some little hooks that can join carts together, if that sort of thing floats your boat.

No pictures yet, though I've done a test build of some. I'm going to print off a couple of my kitbashed mining tunnel floors and walls as a backdrop for some pictures.

As an aside, I've taken the leap of setting up a free publisher account through I hope to release these mine carts, and other paper creations through the site. I'm taking care to make sure I'm not using any textures or templates that aren't wholly my own. My mushroom standees are one example. This mine cart experiment is another. I hope over time my texturing skills will improve along with my 3d modelling skills, and I'll be able to satisfy my need to create without being tied down by someone else's process.

I hope it's an exciting 2014!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Minecart test build

Here are some pics of a test build:

It's just a box, but I think the textures look pretty good. I need to work it out so the base will wrap around the bottom (for this, I just have some hand-cut white cardstock under there). Underneath, there will be little metal wheels that line up with the tracks.