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 Post subject: Need help with relief of cat from photo see attatched
PostPosted: 25 Sep 2005, 03:39 
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Hi, I'm trying to do a relief of our cat from a digital photo. I traced various vectors around different parts of the cats face and seperated onto layers accordingly. I was wondering if any of you that have a little time, could take a look at my file and give me some pointers to what I'm doing right or wrong. You guys make it look easy, but I'm pretty frustrated with myself right now. I can't seem to get it to look right. I'm not sure if it's the shape of my vectors, incorrect relief heights and shapes or what. I want to learn how to do this, but I'm a little stuck. I looked through the various user group videos of years past, which helped a little, but nothing really touches enough on what I'm trying to do here. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. I'd love to see what someone who's good at it could make the file look like. Especially to see what shapes I should use as a starting points and what relief heights etc.. I'm semi comfortable with using the sculpting tools, it's the starting shapes I'm having difficulty with.

Thanks in advance,
Brad


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PostPosted: 25 Sep 2005, 07:02 
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I have a problem opening the file, it says it is not compatible with my version of ArtCAM. I did get the picture of the cat but no vectors or reliefs. Cute cat but I would suggest that a profile of the face would be much easier to create. The angle you provide would require (I would expect) a very advanced ArtCAM user/sculptor.


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PostPosted: 25 Sep 2005, 12:56 
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echobravo, your approach and shapes are fine. Your major problem is the resolution. The image you are working with is very low (approx 400 pixels square) and the cat face within this is only about 150 pixels square. This means the model will look choppy and the sculpting will be impossible as it will have too strong an effect. In addition if you plan to use the image as a texture to apply to the model later then it is not high res enough.

To get a decent result from what you have:
Print the image so you have a hard copy which will help with the sculpting.
Select the vectors and copy.
Start a new model which is the size you want to machine it - make sure it is at least 1000 pixels square or even better 1500 - 2000 square if your PC can still work OK at that res.
Paste in the vectors and re-assign them to layers (sorry the layer information goes when you copy/paste).
Now build up the basic shapes you want.
Greyscale the model.
Pick Yellow and then sculpt excluding colour (this stops you losing the edge) and go to town with the sculpting tools using the image as a refernece.

As flipant as it might sound that's it. The shapes you were creating looked pretty good and after that it is practice with the sculpting.


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PostPosted: 25 Sep 2005, 19:49 
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James, is the angle of the head/body not a difficult one to sculpt, sort of like the difference between a profile of a human head (reasonably hard to do a good job)and a 3/4 view (very hard to to a good job)(at least given the postings and info I have seen on the forum). You make it sound easy. Is it really?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 25 Sep 2005, 19:55 
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also echobravo, dan-joan has provided some excellent sculpting tutorials and tips, you may find some of them here

http://forum.artcam.com/viewtopic.php?t ... t=tutorial

http://forum.artcam.com/viewtopic.php?t ... t=tutorial

http://forum.artcam.com/viewtopic.php?t ... t=tutorial

PS: what version of the software are you using.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 25 Sep 2005, 21:39 
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The angle can make it slightly more difficult especially if you have a lot of depth change in a small area. It is really just a case of thinking about how you are going to represent it in 3D and producing the basic shapes you need to put in the levels you want (close stuff high and distant stuff low. Then you use the sculpting tools to blend them together to get the right transition. This is why, at least for me it is essential to have the image printed as then I can constantly refer to it and tweak the part. I guess it takes practice too. There are some tricks to creating a lot of apparent depth on a part. The ideal example being what the Mints manage to acheive on a coin in a fraction of a mm! Spend a few minutes looking at one under a loop and you'll see what I mean. Cheers, James

PS- I think he has version 8 as I managed to open the part with no problems.


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PostPosted: 25 Sep 2005, 22:25 
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Thanks James, I guess I need to get the idea that just because some things look particularly hard does not mean that they are.

I def. remember the discussions surrounding dan_joans postings and how many people will go to poser for 3/4 views rather than try to create something from scratch (given how difficult it is to get a decent looking model).

The the cat on such an angle appears extremely difficult. I mean there is very little that is especially distinct in the image. The ears pulled back and the head on such an angle that it sort of blends into the neck & body. A shallow plane with little that is especially visually distinct.

I look forward to seeing how the finished model comes out.


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 Post subject: Hi
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2005, 23:05 
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Hi guys, thanks for the tips. I appologize for the low resolution model, the one I was working on was about 7mb and I copy and pasted the vectors onto a lower resolution image that I resampled so I could post on here. I should have cropped the original photo from the start, so that I had just the part I wanted to work with.
To answer your question I am running version 8, I'm not sure how to save as an older version such as 5 6 or 7. If you tell me, I'll repost the file in that format. I'd love to see what someone who's good at it could do with the same file. I'll post my abstract version :D as soon as I have time to finish it. Have any of you done a cat that you could post. I haven't seen one on here, just curious. I figure people love there pets, and I want to get good at it so if someone approaches me with "Hey can you carve my cat or dog" it's not a total disaster. I've just got to practice more. Faces in my opinion are tough especially to make them resemble the photograph. Like you said that's why I have poser, sure makes it alot easier. Thanks for the links, watching Dan Joan in the one with the dog is unreal. He sure makes it look easy.

Here's another question , A few months back I was walking through a hospital and saw a wall of plaques, awards etc..
Many of the awards had a 2d sketch engraved into a thin brass plate that was painted black and wherever it was engraved you see brass. What software do these companies use to do this? I've seen one's with the original picture and they come out looking just like the person in the photo, like a sketch artist would produce. Do they sketch over the photo, or is this automated by some other software package?
Thanks again,
Brad


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 27 Sep 2005, 05:59 
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While there are programs and filters that claim to turn a photograph into a line drawing for the most part they do not do as good a job as a competent artist. I have been looking for one for years and have had no sucess at all. The one major exception to this is if you wish to turn a photograph into a lithograph. Even PhotoShops basic functions can do a good job of this type of thing. I am attaching an image generated this way below of a boy fishing.

One of the more interesting programs that does a credible job of turning a photo into a drawing (not a line drawing however) is called Gertrudis and you can find out more about it at http://www.thebest3d.com/dogwaffle/tuts/gertrudis/ .

I personally would use PhotoShop to work directly on a scanned or digital photo. I have done this for years to create line drawings of everything from nature scenes to drawings of people. Simply open the image and then create a new layer on top of it. Then trace the model as you would if you were using tracing paper. When you are finished delete the 1st layer and then save and import the line drawing into ArtCAM, run the tool-paths, and engrave away. I am attaching a drawing I did this way for a client. It was from a photo of his wife who plays in an orchestra. I made a pendant for them. I did not engrave it, but something like this could be engraved quite well with ArtCAM tool-paths. (This would be much easier to with a Tablet PC or a Graphics Tablet, not so easy to do using a mouse).

If you wish to find software that will turn a photo of a persons face into a rotate-able 3D model I direct your attention to something I found and posted in the Tips and Tricks Forum not too long ago. It is called FaceGen and you can find out more about it at http://facegen.com/ , I suspect that this program in conjunction with Poser would do a credible job of turning a photo of a client into a passable pose-able 3D model.


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boy fishing.jpeg
boy fishing.jpeg [ 30.62 KiB | Viewed 1696 times ]
woman & violin.jpeg
woman & violin.jpeg [ 176.96 KiB | Viewed 1606 times ]
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 Post subject: Hi
PostPosted: 29 Sep 2005, 01:24 
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Hey thanks for all the links and info. Very nice work with the lady holding the violin. That probably took a while. So you did all of that right in Photoshop. That's cool. I've been thinking of getting photshop, I keep putting it off because of the initial cost, but probably soon I'm going to bite the bullet. I didn't realize you could draw vectors right in Photoshop, that would be a plus.
How difficult is it to work with compared to drawing in Artcam? Any + advantages of Photoshop vs Artcam for tracing. Just curious, I'm not very familiar with Photoshop.
Thanks,
Brad


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 29 Sep 2005, 07:00 
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I apologise to all for the length of this post.

There are programs that are cheaper than PhotoShop that will do much of what PhotoShop does. One that I have heard good things about (but never used myself) is called The Gimp http://www.gimp.org/ I think it is free.

I must admit that I am not sure if you can draw vectors in PhotoShop, I never had a need to. I know you can in Corel Draw and you might want to check out a very nice sounding brand new program from Microsoft called Acrylic http://www.microsoft.com/products/expre ... fault.aspx As the blurb on the website says, "Vector? Bitmap? It doesn't care." It looks like a whole new class of graphics software has been created with this new offering.

All of these programs have somewhat of a learning curve so if you don't have one already you may as well select one that will do just what you want. If The Gimp (or something else) will do it for free then it obviously makes no sense to pay serious money for something you don't need.

As to vectors, I don't think you will find anything that will do the job better than ArtCAM (my experience is limited here so take this with a grain of salt please). You simply save your line drawing that you created in PhotoShop (or whatever) and import it into ArtCAM. Then you can either draw vectors using the image as a basis, or you can have ArtCAM convert the image for you. This process has been discussed at some length elsewhere in the forum so you might want to do a search. If you have any specific questions you can then post them and someone will be sure to help.

I also suggest you check out Gizmo Richards website http://www.techsupportalert.com/issues/back_issues.htm and do a search for Graphics Programs. Gizmo reviews software programs, the vast majority of which are Freeware. He is excellent and I have had great success following his recommendations.

Another very good site specifically for graphics programs is the AgfaPhoto website http://www.agfaphoto.com/en-GB/photogra ... index.html Here you will find reviews of many 3rd party programs by the very knowledgeable folks at Agfa. Check out the Picture processing & Other software sections for some amazing products. Many of them free. You will find a review of The Gimp at the top of the list on the Picture processing page.

PS: I just reread your last post and noticed I missed your question about drawing in ArtCAM vrs drawing in PhotoShop. I have been using PhotoShop for years so I never bothered with the drawing capabilities in ArtCAM. I am a bit leery about saying anything about this since I really don't know, but I would suspect PhotoShop (and most other good 2D graphics programs)would beat the pants off of ArtCAM in term's of 2D image manipulation.

For example, when I do a line drawing in PhotoShop I do it at 600 DPI. Even at this resolution the the lines are not crisp and smooth. You want as smooth a line as possible when you import your line drawing into ArtCAM so that if you do use ArtCAMs "convert bitmap to vector" function (and I highly recommend you do) you will have fewer areas that need to be cleaned up.

So what I do is save the drawing that I created at 600 DPI, and I change the size of the image (I enlarge it by 500%), I look for any obviously messed up areas and clean them up, then I select the "magic wand" tool and select all of my black areas, I then use the "Gaussian blur" filter to blur my lines (it will make more sense if you do it). I then select the "magic wand" tool again and adjust the sensitivity of the tool so that it will select an area part way between my original lines and the edge of the new blurred "cloud" surrounding them. I then fill this area with black, invert the area selected, delete it (which gets rid of the remainder of the cloud), and now I have a very very smooth line.

I then reduce the image size to 20% (that is back to its original size) and re-save the file. It is now ready to be imported into ArtCAM and to be converted to vectors.

I am not trying to overwhelm you with this. The process is actually very simple to carry out and if you do get PhotoShop and would like more details about this process, just fire off an e-mail to me and I will be happy to be of whatever assistance I can. What I am really trying to impress on you is that I doubt that I could do this in ArtCAM. For what we are talking about a good 2D graphics program will (I believe) be invaluable. ArtCAM is great, but it cannot be all things for all aspects of image manipulation.

PPS: I was just looking at the Agfa site and they used to have a large list of software reviews. I cannot find them but if I do I will post the link.


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PostPosted: 29 Sep 2005, 13:44 
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good post...
I think that becoming proficient in any type of vecot editing is the solution.
In the long run, the shortcuts seem to work for a project here or there, but for use in a wide variety of different projects, shortcuts miss the mark.

gene

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 30 Sep 2005, 00:59 
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Hey thanks for all of the info, I really appreciate it. I sort of misunderstood on my last post. When you were saying drawing lines, I was thinking vectors in Photoshop, not realizing you ment bitmaps over the photo( which now makes more sense)
and then you have a nice clean bitmap to vectorize in Artcam. I was thinking of getting Photoshop just to have for image cleanup, cropping out difficult areas of a photo, etc.. Plus a few months ago I bought Adobe Illustrator CS2 and I figure the two would work well together.
I'm pretty comfortable with vector drawing in Artcam, but like any program ,in my opinion it does some things very well and some things could use a little improvement as far as working with vectors. I've still got alot to learn too, especially with sculpting. That's why I posted just to see if that's how someone with alot more skill and experience would go about doing it? I have a hard time determining what the underlying vector shapes should look like to create facial features in people and with animals. I'd love to see more tutorials on this subject from Artcam.
I guess that just comes with experience.
Thanks, Brad


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PostPosted: 30 Sep 2005, 05:00 
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You might want to check out the books by Burne Hogarth, he exaggerates his models so you can get a good sense of the underlying musculature of a body and this might help with the underlying shapes.

Books by Burne Hogarth
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/searc ... 03-8049562

I would think that books on sculpting in general would also provide info and clues as well as books on chip carving.

I also did a google print search of the terms how to sculpt in 3D, the results may be found at http://print.google.ca/print?q=how+to+s ... D&oi=print you may find some of the books of interest in a general sort of way because they do not relate specifically to ArtCAM.


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PostPosted: 30 Sep 2005, 05:23 
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Also you might want to check out this collection of google links

http://www.google.com/search?complete=1 ... +tutorials


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