Monday, July 21, 2014

Kara Walker Sphinx toy

Immediately upon my completing my work on Kara Walker's "Subtly" I was asked by Tim Daly to model a squeaky toy version. Why a squeaky toy, I was never entirely clear. Tim told me that the toy was to be presented to Kara as a thank you for her opening gala. That was all that I needed to know. Tim told me that it should  be a  foot long kin to a rubber ducky. Internally the piece would be known as "Sphinxy".
Sphinxy started life as a copy of the Kara's sphinx scan. It's mesh was converted from triangles to quads in Zbrush. Kara's subtly has been described in many ways since the exhibit opened, toy like hasn't been one of them. so began the next challenge
I cut up the original mesh, dividing the head from the body, the hands from the arms as well as slicing the body in half in order to reverse and repeat it so as to perfect it's symmetry. Once these elements became separate sub tools, their proportions could be manipulated individually.
When Sphinxy was deemed to be sufficiently cute, all of the components were merged into a single mesh and the surfaces were refined. When the models are viewed from the bottom, the proportional changes are most clearly radical.
Sphinxy was saved as an STL file and handed over to Zeven Rodriguez for rapid prototyping. As Zeven's mill is only 3 axis, quite a bit of mesh slicing was required to deal with the ins, outs and undercuts. As can be seen in the image below, all of the parts milled quite nicely in extruded polystyrene.
The parts and pieces were glued together and then textured by Eric Hagan, the leader of Kara's sugar crew to emulate the surface of the Domino original.

The finished prototype was then handed over to Tim Daly for molding and casting Sphinxy just like a real rubber ducky, squeaker and all

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