Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Process

As previously mentioned there are 5 ways Varner Studios can go about taking something from design to production.

• Sculpt from scratch in house
• Receive scan data from the client.
• Receive 3D files through the client from the animation or video game development house. (we can use most all animation files)
• Scan in house with one of our five scanning methods

Traditional sculpting is something Steve Varner has been doing for over 30 years. Every Sculptor at Varner Studios has one way or other been mentored in traditional and digital sculpting for the fine art of toy making by Steve. There are a few steps involved in traditional hand sculpting.

• Start by making wire armature or skeleton of figure
• Build up clay over armature (clay can be soft so it moves quickly)
• Add articulation points so figure can move
(Clay is a soft material so fine detail isn’t possible)
• Mold figure
• Pour wax into mold
• Clean up figure in wax
(Wax is hard so precise detail is possible)

Specific safety requirements must be met to be safe for children. Varner Studios is familiar with all specifications required by the U.S and Europe for toys to be sold and safe for our children.

Digital Sculpting is done in a few digital programs we utilize in house. Sometimes we receive raw scan data from a client which we use to start the project as with a scan provided to us of Hayden Christensen as a younger Anakin Skywalker from an earlier Star Wars movie. Here at Varner Studios we use a number of different 3D programs integrated into our workflow based on the type of work to be done.

The raw scan of Hayden Christensen that was provide to us was an unrefined raw scan and we needed to make the scan work so we could utilize it as an older version of the actor for Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith.

In Freeform we cut away the hair, ears and eyes and worked on them separately. The features of the face needed considerable straightening and resculpting mostly in Freeform. The guys at Varner Studios later integrated the eyes and ears while they resculpted the hair in a different program. When the hair was finished they integrated it all in Freeform for final finish. They printed Anakin’s head on our Thermojet, then cleaned and molded the head. Thereafter they poured their special sculpting wax into the mold for final touch up. We molded the wax, poured urethane into the mold, and created a casting and painted it.