Sculpting The Toy

I changed the idea for my toy since the last assignment. Initially I had an idea to have a bottle of pills and a group of four pills with different personalities, but then I thought the pills would be so small, I wanted to work on a slightly bigger scale.

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So then I changed it to a series of four different pill bottles with personalities based on what the medication creates.

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One of the mock ups, the Prozac pill bottle, made me laugh and I settled on a group of four Prozac bottles, all laughing except for one that’s crying as well. (All housed in a medicine cabinet)

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Since I have experience with VectorWorks, I quickly created two cylinders and pulled them by .5″ and 3″. For this mockup I didn’t include the spring and have since decided that I might not want to take that approach because it could look kitschy.

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Once I placed the two together I realized the body needed to be cut in half so I copy and pasted the 3″ cylinder and created a 1″ and 2″ to create the mouth.

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After creating the mouth I rotated the top half to add expression. It should look like it’s laughing.

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After adding all the shapes together and saving as a .stl I brought my file into Cura.

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This screen shot is for the low resolution print which I didn’t end up with because I wanted smooth edges.

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The whole process took 5 hours. Almost immediately I noticed that the size of the bottle was way too big. I realized that I had haphazardly created the circles in an unknown size that I eyed out.

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Once my print had finished it confirmed my thoughts about the size of the bottle. I want it to be true to size and am now considering kit-bashing with the cap or the body.

Another thing I realized was that the position of the bottle as straight up and flat on the table didn’t give a lot of emotion to the laughing that’s supposed to be going on.

I didn’t include eyes in my 3D sketch because I wasn’t sure about what I want to do with them yet.

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The back of the head didn’t work out so well in the 3D print, probably because of the angle of it.

Going back to my CAD sketch, I tried playing around with the Fillet tool and gave a rounded edge to the upper lip.

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But once I tried making the bottom lip rounded I lost the whole head!

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Unfortunately, when I tried to play around with the shape of the body by using the deform tool, I kept getting a “deform tool failed” error.

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I wanted to create an angle at the bottom of the model so I started trying to sand off the material with sand paper by hand. That didn’t work out so well so I moved on to clamping it to the table and bringing it down with a metal file.

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This proved to be laborious and I applied too much pressure at one point and it snapped a bit of the mouth.

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Despite breaking it a little, I learned that I want all 4 toys to have a different bend or angle to the bottom to differentiate them.

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Next, I wanted to try and alter an actual pill bottle.

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After heating the plastic up with a hair dryer, the mouth was cut with an sharp knife and bent back.
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In VectorWorks, I tried making some pill shaped objects but found that I wasn’t getting anywhere trying to make an oval and a round rectangle rounded on the sides but I kept getting a “Edge Filleting Fail”. Even when creating a 3D sphere, I couldn’t find the right tools to manipulate them into a pill shape.

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Finally, taking some modeling clay, I sculpted some eyes to mess around with the expression of the character.

What I got out of this exercise:

1. The scale of the toy should be true to size.
2. Kit-bashing is something I might want to explore
3. Each toy should have a slightly different stance
4. Eyes might want to be closed
5. Details like teeth, maybe a tongue, pills coming out of the mouth should be added
6. Label should be added (need to work this part out)

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Upon exiting the subway station and seeing the statue of Theodore Roosevelt, I immediately became flooded with memories of seeing the outside of the Natural History Museum as a child. I was always enamored by the size of the building and excited about revisiting the space center.

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Right inside, not a lot had changed.

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After buying a ticket I headed toward the first exhibit.

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The hall of African Mammals.

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I’ve seen these diorama’s many times.

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And remember thinking, as a kid, how hyper realistic the scenes were.

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After the elephants, I wandered through the Hall of African Peoples.

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The colorful displays were very informative with easy to read descriptions.

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The diorama’s in this hall reminded me of the ones in the hall with the elephants.

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Although I still didn’t read through the entire paragraph, I found it easy to read with a nice font choice on a simple white background, lit up.

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To the point.

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Nice description, perhaps a little too much text though.

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A beautiful blue diorama.

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With a nicely lit description.

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Once I got to the Hall of Asian Peoples, strangely titled “The Lure of Asia”, I started noticing that the diorama’s started getting busy and cluttered with hard to read text.

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Above is a picture of “The Georgians” display.

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In my opinion, there is way too much text here, and the descriptions of each artifact seen at the bottom is so small and illegible against the strange green color chosen as a background.

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The description didn’t even include text about what is in these little slim pockets on this shirt, which I found to be a drag.

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Down the hall, things got sketchier. This window display had only half of the show lights working.

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And this display features the text on the side walls, making it really hard to read.

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When looking closer, it seemed like part of the ceiling fell down!

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Hard to read text on the side wall.

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More examples of text heavy and cluttered window design.

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Oddly placed text with strange color choices.

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Dense and text heavy descriptions.

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Can you find the text in the window above?

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Way too much text and very hard to read.

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This display looks more organized but the text is hard to find in this case and they used a very hard to read color and font size.

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I snapped a photo of this because I loved the way they played with perspective within the space. It’s clear and to the point with no need for much explanation.

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To the left of the window above the hall looked uninviting and I wasn’t sure if I should even go down there. Exhibits were on display but the lights were off.

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I don’t even know what’s happening here.

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I couldn’t take a good picture without including my legs in the shot, but as you can sort of see, the blue lit up text is not lit up consistently and the text everywhere is cluttered and hard to read.

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Moving on to the Eastern Woodlands Indians, which I mistook for the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians which is being renovated (perhaps that why I couldn’t find it), I noticed a few changes to the exhibit design.

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An intense smell of a 1970’s basement hit my nose, and everything looked vintage.

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One of the worst thing I found were these paintings of Native American’s by colonialists that seemed inappropriate because there was nothing in the exhibit that talked about all the horrible things the colonialists to them.

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Another example.

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I stared at this one for a while. It really took me into the space.

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Right around the corner, the Hall of Pacific Peoples, had a very different feel. As I began thinking about the museum as a history of exhibit design I certainly felt like this was a newer and included more information about each object.

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A glimpse down the hall where everything was well lit and inviting.

With all of this in mind, and with respect to the Hall of Asian Peoples, I would certainly make some changes. There were so many wonderful things on display but too many missed opportunities to explain their relevance and describe the history behind it in a clear way. A general renovation of the space surrounding the windows allowing visitors to walk through inviting, well lit spaces would be beneficial. Including some aspects of interactivity might make it more fun for kids. I would also change the font, colors, and font sizes on almost all of the windows making it easier to obtain information about what’s in front of you. To break it down:

  1. Renovate the halls to allow better light for the flow of movement for visitors and to highlight each window.
  2. Change the color of background walls and font style, color and size.
  3. Add an interactivity element to engage younger visitors
  4. Simplify the body of texts for each window and put windows into a series together that make sense in a narrative.

Before I left, I couldn’t skip a visit to the big bang theater. The feeling of this wing was drastically different than the other exhibits I had just walked through. Everything was very “high tech” although navigating up to the theater seemed confusing to some people. There was a “no exit” sign at the bottom of the ramp down from the theater that people just flat out ignored, walking up the ramp only to be turned away from a security guard at the top.

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Blank Modification

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With the three blanks provided to us, laid out on the table in front of me, I started sketching out ideas of how I could use juxtaposition, appropriation, emotion, and complexity.

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With this sketch in mind, I quickly brought one blank to the shop and chopped its head off.

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Taking some spray paint I had at home, I painted the head red and wanted to play around with a full gold body or a half black half gold one in case one didn’t end up like I wanted it to.

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And what do you know…I didn’t love the way the black and gold paint job turned out initially…but then I thought the solid gold one was kind of boring.

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To add the first element of emotion I took the two main bodies back to ITP to sand down the bottom. It proved to be a bit difficult to get the angle correct so that the model wouldn’t fall over. I only sanded one as a result, because I didn’t like how much of the body had been taken off in the process.

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The model would fall down easily so I knew I had to balance it somehow with the head in its arms.

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I started with the nails since I would need a lot of surface area to rest the wood on in order to get the nails in properly and bend them into arms with a pair of pliers.

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A second after I took that photo… it’s arm fell off.

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Out with the glue!

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The red head would bit fit inside a tiny box.

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With dead eyes.

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I super-glued the box to the nail hands…

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Fit some soldering wire around the antenna…

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And then went to get some tin foil to make a cape out of.

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The head moved around too much so I put a little paper towel inside to stay in place.

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But then I realized that the box, when open, blocks the eyes and face completely!

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So I cut off the sides.

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And I like how it came out!

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My cape was open on the side,

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So I took some of these heavy duty adhesive and proceeded to spray it all over my hands and get it all over the place and that was a disaster for 5 minutes. I remade the cape and ran into the same problem, which led to making it into wings instead, and I’m pretty happy with the result!

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Toys That Made Us – response


I had already watched the whole series of The Toys That Made Us and gladly re-watched the episode on G.I. Joe. the world’s first action doll, because let’s be real, it’s a doll. I remember having one of these, although it wasn’t a G.I. Joe. It was a Mickey Mantle doll. He looks a bit like this ginger lad below, who doesn’t really look like Mantle, and I think he was wearing the away uniform.

And I remember being impressed by the level of detail in his uniform and thinking that I had no idea what to do with it other than to marvel at how well made it was. It stayed propped up on a bookshelf for many years. The action figure I did like, however, was a smaller, plastic G.I. Joe who had a string attached to it’s hand that I would drag and fling him around with.

I thought the whole conversation around dolls being promoted to boys as something that needed to be heavily masculinized (is that word?) to be pretty hilarious. It reminded me of an interesting advertising choice you can find on tv today promoting yogurt for men, as though yogurt needs to be packaged in a severely manly way in order for men to want to eat it.

And again…

ok I’ll stop.

Character Turnaround

One of my sketches in class included this odd looking figure with hot teeth.
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So I sketched a bit to try and get perspective drawings of the character.

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I found myself wanting to recreate it on the template sheet and was happy with the first redesign.
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Trying to get a perspective from all angles of my character was a bit difficult as I’m not an avid illustrator.

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I scanned the sketch and brought it into Photoshop to resize each perspective.
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And ended up with a scaled character turnaround.

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Inspiration / Class Notes

Talking about characters and appropriation during class today had me thinking of visiting Amsterdam Duck Store in, well, Amsterdam. It’s a store dedicated solely to rubber ducks, painted to represent many different recognizable political figures, fantasy characters, cartoons, figurines, etc.

IDEAS: busts, nesting political eggs, edible, puns, altered ordinary object, fake candy, bottle of pills (xanax, adderall, etc. inspiration link). Teeth Wheels.

THEMES: political, absurd

METHODS: 4-axis, OtherMill, lathe

Notes from class: Focus on characters, keep functionality limited, use appropriation, nostalgia.

Trip Through Time in New York City

Using a MIDI keyboard as an interactive interface, and Isadora to program the projection, this installation allows you to have a seat and take a trip through time in the historic New York subway system. After visiting the Transit museum I took a few photographs at the angle which you would see when sitting inside the train. I then photoshopped the windows to be see through so I could bring those files into Isadora and project archival footage street and underground scenes as though it were happening out the windows.

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A photograph of a photograph of the inside of Brooklyn’s above ground trolly cars, circa 1880’s.

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A 1930’s underground train.

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Inside of a 1950’s era subway.

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Subway car with a 1970’s era interior — still in use today!

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Modern MTA subway car.