Category: Tools/Software

How to Turn/Scan Objects Into 3D Models With Just a Camera

In this video I’ll be showing you how you can turn almost any object into a 3D model with just your camera and some free software.

Now I’m not an expert at any of this. I’ve tried as best as possible to read through all the documentation, at least the parts I understand, and condense that into a video.

Also please note the cleanup process was aimed at getting it ready for sculpting. I know that people like to scan objects to then 3d print them, but I don’t have a 3d printer, so you’ll have to look somewhere else for the details on how to do that properly.

Lastly, I would love to share the project file so you can see what I tested but it’s HUGE (15GB) and I’m not sharing the 3d model just yet because it’s an original character of mine so I’m working on a generic version for practicing lighting the face, and I’ll make that available to patreons when I finish it.

LINKS

Regard3d + Tutorial/Documentation

Meshlab (I was using 1.3.4BETA)

Blender

If your object is particularly small I recommend you look at this part of the tutorial I wrote on magic lantern (you don’t need it to apply the concepts descriped but it’s helpful if you have an DSLR camera).

PS: To give you an idea of the type how long it might take on your computer, or what type of computer you need, I’m using a laptop with an Intel i5, 8GB of RAM, and a NVIDIA 650M GPU.

Polymer Clay Basics – Part II

This is part two of the polymer clay basics tutorial. See Part I here.

Armatures

My first tip is to use a sturdy bulked out armature that’s a attached or can be easily attached to some sort of base. You do not want to try sculpting anything complex without an armature because you’ll never find a place to grip it without ruining a different part.

For a figure you can run the main wires through the base of a piece of wood like this. And on the top and bottom I used a special 2 part epoxy clay to secure it, more on that in a bit.

Read More…

Polymer Clay Softening Experiments

This is an extension of Polymer Clay Basics – Part I.

First & Second Test

I initially did a few rough experiments myself though with different substances. I only thought of a few things I had on hand (not baby oil), then I redid part of the test with the baby oil but I didn’t bake it exactly the same (the first test you see in the pictures was slightly overcooked). So it was a bit of a mess but it told me that in a pinch you could use just about anything. At normal cooking temperatures there was very little difference in coloration. There were some differences in flexibility but Fimo is so flexible no piece broke from the bending.

Read More…

Art Supply Haul + Updates

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5HkRKTgaYw

Sorry for the lateness I had a lot of trouble uploading because it was so long. There might be some audio gap/jumps because I had to split the video into parts to upload and the youtube editor is horrible for stitching them back together.

Tutorial Links

Bottle Cap Palette Containers Tutorial

Keeping Your Acrylic Paints Wet – Retarders

Keeping Your Acrylic Paints Wet – Stay Wet Palette

First Painting with New Setup

Springy Sketching Pen (Coming Soon)

Torso Tutorial (Planned)

Better Table Saw Push Stick from Scrap Wood

You can also find this post as an instructable.instructable.

I’ve also submitted this instructable to the Leftovers Challenge contest over there, so please vote for it if you like it.


I hate the basic push stick that comes with our table saw. It’s uncomfortable for nearly everything but especially for smaller cuts. I was doing a project that needed long (60cm) cuts as tiny as 1cm and I was going to chop of my fingers off if I attempted it with the included push stick. So in the moment I improvised and made myself a better push stick or as I like to call it, my helper hand, out of a scrap piece of wood. I’m sure there are better push sticks you can buy and I could come up with a few other designs, but this was about a fast, cheap, single material solution, plus you can put some of those scrap pieces of wood from larger projects to good use and you don’t have to worry about accidentally cutting the stick.

The one in my right hand in the photo was the “prototype” I made in the moment out of a failed attempt at some fingers (hence the angle + grooves). I managed to make all my cuts with just that one and the white scrap piece to hold the wood down (so the reverse positions from above), but if I had made two it would have been even easier, I just didn’t have the time. So in this tutorial I’ll be finishing the second one, and making it a bit neater. It’ll get some cuts in it eventually, but the main surfaces on my first one where a bit uneven. Plus there’s less random cuts to ignore.

Skip down to see some examples.

Materials

Wood – You’ll need a piece about the size of your hand and at least 2cm thick. I’m using a piece of MDF (my dad builds MDF cabinets). He always has relatively large scrap pieces like this one that he has no use for. When you grab it your fingers should be an inch of two from the bottom to make sure even with thicker pieces they don’t reach the blade. And then it should be just slightly longer than your hand when you’re grabbing it.

Instructions

Step 1: Marking and Cutting

Starting Block

Starting Block Sections

My piece already had some earlier cuts so I cut away as many as possible. I couldn’t get rid of those two cuts, ignore them. To better illustrate everything I’ve numbered and color coded the actual cuts. I’ve tried two ways of doing this. I think this one is better because it’s smoother. I’ll let you battle it out with your saw if you want to do it different. See the second image for my measurements. This is for a 2cm piece with an outer L 1cm thick, sturdy but not too thick. The small white part will be cut away and the scribbled parts are the areas that will only be cut part way through.

When I say raise the saw high it’s better but not necessary if you raise the saw as high as it will go. This is dangerous. Be extra careful if you do. Regardless you’ll still need it to be pretty high (I think around 2cm higher than the piece at least) otherwise you’ll cut too much.

Edit: I’ve redone the pictures and some of the instructions. Hopefully it’s clearer now.

Cut 1 & 2 (Green & Yellow)

Cut 1

For cut #1 (yellow) raise the saw high and cut until you reach mark #2 (yellow).

Cut 2

With cut #2, hold down the piece as shown so it doesn’t fly anywhere. Cut until it snaps inwards.

Cut 2 Back

You’ll notice in the back, even with the saw raised, you’ll inevitably cut more than you need depending on how high you raise the saw. There’s ways to avoid this if this were a project where presentation was important, but it isn’t, and later you won’t be able to avoid this. Just ignore them.

Step 3: Cut 3 (Orange)

This cut would get cut away with time as you did thinner and thinner cuts, but I cut it anyway.

Set the saw to just slightly less than half the piece (~1cm). It’s better to cut too little than too much.

You can start from the outside with the [width of piece – saw width] then move inwards or do what I did and cut outwards.

Cut 3a

I set the guide to [width of piece – (1cm + saw width)] and made the cut like you see in 3a then moved the guide, made a cut, moved the guide, made a cut and so on adding the width of the saw each time and cut outwards until the section was gone (3b).

Cut 3b

Cut 4 (Red)

Now we’re going to cut the other L.

Keep the saw at ~1cm.

Cut 4a

Copy the 2cm mark in red to the other side. We’ll be cutting with the “back” up. Now cut perpendicular to it until the highest point of the saw reaches the mark.

Cut 4b

Do the same with 4b. You won’t need to mark it because you’ll already have the previous cut to guide you.

When you flip it back around it should look like the second image below. It doesn’t matter that the cut went through to the edge.

Cut 4c

Now to cut that last part off, what I did as you can see in 4c is with one hand I held the piece at about the right height and then with the guide set at 1cm cut in until that scribbled piece fell off. The first time I did this like I did cut #3 but what happens is that since you can’t cut into the little L bit sticking out you have to stop the saw way earlier and then you’d have to cut away at the remaining wood by hand. I managed, but the result was not very smooth. This method although a bit odd is better.

And you’re done!

See the next step for different ways to use them. Ideally you should make two, but you can make do with one and a block or at least one and one with and just the first two cuts.

Use Examples

Here’s some photos of me using them. They’ve completely replaced the push stick that came with the saw for me and it’s also really helped to just have something square on hand when cutting thin pieces where I either can’t put the miter guide where I need it, or it’s too far away. Plus since they’re made out of scraps there’s no hesitation about cutting into them. I can press a piece down over the saw and basically use them as an extension of my hands, greatly reducing any danger when doing otherwise dangerous or awkward cuts.

Pictures From / Used in the following Instructables/Posts

Spider Web Pencil/Tool Holder (Coming Soon)

Drawers that Open to an Angle (Coming SoonTM)

Easily Pour Paint from Small Cans

You can also find this post as an Instructable

Small Update

I’d hoped to have my drawers done by now but they’ve taken longer than planned even though I’ve been working an average of one hour a day for a month, which is incredibly productive given my state. The structure is finished but it’s the little details that are taking a long time. I don’t want to stop posting completely though so in the meantime I’ll be making a few posts about the things I did to make the project easier on myself. These will technically be posted in reverse order that I made them because I only have the prototypes now, I didn’t actually make the finished tools.

Also since figuring out a method to get paid I’ve been working on creating a Patreon, and getting a YouTube channel set up and everything so I’ve been very busy. It’s not done yet, but if you want to support me check it out and/or share my posts.

Paint Cans

We all know what a pain it is to pour paint out. I tried to google to see if there was some sort of life hack for this but found none so I made my own. I honestly don’t even know why we still use cans shaped like they are. I get not using plastic because the metal is probably easier to recycle and more resistant (plus it keeps out light), but surely they could add better lids. This isn’t so much a problem on big cans for me, so this solution doesn’t work for them. With bigger cans you usually need to use large amounts at once and you tend to use the can all at once (say to paint a room) so controlling the amount isn’t such a problem. But with small cans this works great and I’m sure you could modify this to something larger if you find a large enough bottle, or you could pour larger cans into smaller empty ones and reuse them if say you bought something in bulk but only use a small amount at a time.

Materials

Recycle 1 Symbol

Soda Bottle or any Plastic Bottle that has a Recycling 1 – PET or PETE plastic is resistant to most chemicals (mineral spirits, etc) you’re bound to come in contact with if you’re doing art/diy/woodworking (so paints, varnishes, turps, etc). Here’s the PET specific chart because some of them are missing from the next link. If you’re working with other types of chemicals you can check to see what plastic type is resistant to them. This is the most comprehensive chart I found. Great to keep on hand for reference. Keep in mind the substance will only contact the plastic shortly so even if it doesn’t have excellent resistance this will still work.

Scissors/Razor Blade

Calipers (Optional) – Makes it easier to get the diameter of the opening right.

Silicone Caulk/Epoxy Glue (Optional) – To permanently glue it in place.

Steps

First you’re going to want to measure the diameter of the opening of the can. You’re going to cut slightly bigger than that. You can just use the groove in the sealed cap for reference. If it fits that, it’ll fit the can.

Then with the calipers it’s easy to mark this line on the bottle but you could also just cut it by eye and adjust it as you go on.

Cut Cap

Once it’s cut clean the bottle, let it dry if whatever you’re going to be capping does not mix with water.

Place it over the sealed can. It should fit snug against the cap/opening.

Now you can open the can and hold it in place and pour. If it’s a glue or a varnish if you just let it get around the rim and leave it for a day or two it should seal by itself. I’d still suggest holding it, but you won’t need to be as careful. You can do it with one hand like I did below and wipe the cap with the other when you’re done. You cap it like a regular bottle and it’s much easier to clean if it’s a very sticky substance. Update: A few weeks have passed and I finished the can so decided to take it ff, and it actually took some effort, so the seal is good when it does end up forming.

If you want this to be permanent you can glue it in place with some silicone caulk or epoxy glue or something. The can edge should be clean/dry when you do this so it’d be best to do this the first time you open the can. If the substance is very light sensitive you should keep this in a dark place or alternatively cover the plastic cap with a layer of paint or a dark plastic bag or something.

Final Result

Final Result

And there you go! Easy cheap solution, and you can also then use the bottom of those bottles to hold your paint/varnish like so. And with some clean film you can get it to keep for a day or two if you have a small amount left over (depends on the substance). You can also leave your brush dipped in a little bit of turpentine or mineral spirits if you’ll be using it for a few days straight and don’t want to be cleaning it constantly. Basically it’s a great endless supply of disposable containers.

If the cap on the bottle gets stuck you can also just un-stick the entire thing (if you didn’t make it permanently) and just make it a brand new one.

* = Optional

Some Notes on Ears

I was doing a very realistic portrait from scratch and I was having some trouble with the ear so I thought I’d do some ear studies and record it while I’m at it. The best way really to learn how to draw something is to draw it until you can draw it without reference. There’s no way around the hard boring work that studies can be. Looking at videos and posts will help guide you on what to observe and pay attention to, and mistakes to avoid, but nothing can replace practice.

A great place to get reference images for studies is morgueFile. You could also look around Flickr and such for CC licensed images but if you’ll be posting your work anywhere, those require crediting. morgueFile was made with artists in mind, as long as you modify the image you can do whatever you want with your work and that can be useful so you can just worry about doing your study and not whether you can share it later or you have to attach a giant list of credits.

Update: Part 2 is up!

I planned on talking about how to paint the ear and how it can be lit up from behind (subsurface scattering), but the video was too long already. I’ll do a second one and repost this post when I upload it. I’ve got some cool stuff ready for that video.

I think, I hope. This video was kind of nightmare to make. My computer was throwing blue screens. Turns out the damn video cache was in the wrong place. Also my internet sucks and the files are huge. Just want to mention this because I discovered this cool site called clipchamp that compresses your videos extremely well. I mean, it’s kind of astonishing. Even set on high quality it shrunk a 380MB file to 60MB! (ignore the estimate they give it’s way off). And you can queue the YouTube upload, so you can leave it to do the whole process overnight. I’m sure Premiere can probably compress as well, but I’m not very familiar with all the export settings and this is super easy.