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Case Mod - In Progress Project: Airbrushed Beast Computer ( final fantasy )

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by R B Customs, 19 Sep 2008.

  1. R B Customs

    R B Customs New Member

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    Hi Guys,
    I'm sure at least some of you will have seen some of my other project logs. Well this one will be a little bit different.

    Besides the projects I do for my self, my friends and family, I also do the odd job for paying clients. In this case the client has come through Beast Computers ( http://www.beastcomputers.co.uk )
    I will be detailing the process of a start to finish job that a Beast customer has signed up for. Many people never see any of the stuff I am about to show you. usually it is kept between me and the client


    With the kind permission of my client, I have been allowed to post a project log on a custom painted BEAST.

    This log is to give people an insight to how ordering your very own custom painted beast computer works, and the steps that are taken to get to the finished article.


    said process is a much bigger operation that most people would think. As my clients will tell you, most of the time is spent planning the paint job to get it to a point we are both happy with.

    Here is where it starts:


    The customer calls the BEAST H.Q. to place an order. When Custom paint is selected, I will be contacted to get the ball rolling. I normally start with an email to the client, introducing my self and so on.
    Obviously, I need to ask the client what kind of paint job they would like to go for, I try to keep this as vague as possible, usually a theme or even a colour! In this case the client initially only wanted a black cherry / pearl black straight paint job. Then the project changed to a realistic fire paint job, and then the whole thing evolved to a realistic flamed paint job, with a final fantasy 7 twist.
    I was asked by the client if it was possible to get his favourite game character 'sephiroth' from the final fantasy series. so we planned for a flamed case with a single portrait of the character.

    I explained to the client that I would draw up a very rough sketch, to see if we were even on the right wavelength, The client was happy with the direction the design was going in, so i took some more ideas from the client, and added some elements to the design.

    Things don't always work out as planned though. He wanted a final fantasy logo painted on the case, and the phrase 'one winged angel' No matter how i tried to fit these elements in, it just never sat right in the design. I explained this to the client, and we agreed to leave them out. Instead I researched FF7 a little further, and found a pendant that the other 'hero' character, 'cloud' wears. It is of a wolf's head.
    I decided that this logo could work well in the design, and then came up with the idea of airbrushing a faux scroll of paper on top of the case with the phrase 'one winged angel' on it.

    With the client happy for me to go ahead, I drew up the first concept of the full design.

    [​IMG]
    (parts have been blurred out for my client's confidentiality)


    The client was happy enough for me to start painting as soon as possible.

    Beast were notified and I had to do was wait for the laser cut side panels to arrive before could start painting.




    The paint work:

    The case in question, is the brand new BEAST chassis. It is a heavily modified lian li PC-P80b
    The case is huge and allows for some very smooth paint work.

    It was stripped down, and brought back to my workshop to be prepared.

    The first thing I do is mask off the entire backs of the panels, so no over spray can get to them. and mask off anything that does not need to be painted. I do not mask the folded edges of the panels, where the panels meet the chassis. These are left bare so they do not cause any issues with fitting the case back together.
    The main chassis is wrapped in cling film, and receiving holes are pierced. I use cling film because it is extremely thin and allows the panels to fit onto it without raising them, or damaging masking tape that would normally be used.



    The most important thing to do with a case that has been handled, by many people is to give it a thorough clean. I use panel wipe ( also known as wax and grease remover) and scrub the panels down.
    I then use a hand sander to reveal some of the bare metal from the parts, then I tack rag and clean the parts again. From this stage, latex gloves are worn at every point to prevent further contamination.

    I use a special etch primer that etches into the anodised aluminium as well as the bare aluminium. It also acts as a filler to fill the brushed texture from the metal.
    After 24 hours, the parts are wet sanded smooth, cleaned and tacked off once more.
    [​IMG]

    Using a spray gun, Base coat black is applied to the surfaces starting with a very thin coat and building it up gradually.

    After the base coat has dried over night, I will come back to clean them once more and start with the artwork... now the gloves can come off :D


    Artwork:

    The digital age has greatly helped with this process. It is now easier than ever to compose artwork in photoshop, and change anything in the blink of an eye.

    I use a vinyl cutter / plotter to cut my masking out. People are quick to point the finger and call this cheating.
    I use this equipment because it aids repeatability if anything goes wrong. It helps to get the artwork to the right size, first time. and it prevents damaging the panel by cutting into it in the conventional fashion.

    the downside is, I still have to sit and draw / trace the images in corel, line by line. This is a very time consuming process indeed. Using a plotter actually ends up just as big a job as the traditional method.

    Here is what I sent to be cut out by the plotter.
    [​IMG]


    I use the outline of the portrait, and I cut in some basic lines to help position facial features. There is NO POINT in getting this wrong. Working for BEAST means that deadlines are tight. I do this to get everything right, first time.



    The cut design is then applied tot he panel.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    This is the point where mistakes can happen. If I positioned the mask wrong, and it was cut by hand, I'd have to start over.
    and I begin to peel away selected parts for the design and spray very gently to give me the indication of where things will be laid out.
    [​IMG]




    As you can see, some parts of the mask will not peel away as one part. I simple lift the edge up, and spray just to give me an indication of where the features are.
    [​IMG]


    I then remove a all of the facial mask, to leave just the 'heart' shape of the face. Then I begin to airbrush in the shapes and detail.
    [​IMG]



    My painting always start off looking pretty rubbish, and slowly take form. when you see the next few pictures you will be thinking 'eugh, what the hell has he done there!' don;t worry - it will take form.
    [​IMG]

    I start to peel away some more sections of the masking, filling in parts of the hair piece by piece.
    I mask section of the hair in order to get the lengths going in he correct direction, and at the correct size.. Copying a hair style is incredibly hard to do without firm reference points.

    [​IMG]

    The paint that I am using is still quite a dark grey, this is the most light shade on at the moment
    [​IMG]

    It looks grey in the brush, but looks white on the panel.


    The way I normally paint is by constantly over highlighting, or over shading, then bringing the tones back down. I've had no formal airbrush training, and I'm sure it will be frowned upon by most but this is how I work.
    If you pay attention to the belt / strap you will see stark highlighted lines. I wanted to paint in some stitching, So instead of painting the stitches in white, I do a thicker line then paint the black around them. It's a lot easier this way and works better.
    [​IMG]

    so here it is with the highlights reduced:
    [​IMG]

    the colour has a reddish tint to it, this does not matter.


    A friend of mine decided to try out his photography skills:
    [​IMG]

    not bad for my mug!


    The next step is to start shading areas. For this I use a black candy, or some refer to it as 'smoke' Really, it is just a very weak black tint from the mixing scheme. Here is how it looks :
    [​IMG]
    It allows me to shade areas without spoiling their existing tones. Each tone is shaded equal - if that makes sense?
    for example, where some sections of the hair over lap others, this paint is used to darken everything equally, without saturating it in black. It's also used to cast the subtle shadows of the hairs lying on the characters face.
    [​IMG]

    That's all for now folks, I'm pretty much done with the portrait, so will add some finishing touches in the next session and start adding some colour.
    I hope you like RED !


    [edit]
    I forgot to mention that a little way through the painting, I stopped using the reference as much. The reason is because the reference image is very very bad, I have a decent ground for the portrait now, so I began to paint it, reflecting what was already there - not trying to make it look more like the reference - if that makes sense.


    As always, I'm more than happy to answer any questions, and will do my best to make things clear. I cannot answer questions about my client though.



    p.s Can a mod change this to project log, I've only got the option for case mod, or scratch build :(
     
    Last edited: 19 Sep 2008
  2. R B Customs

    R B Customs New Member

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    It appears that a lot of the images are not working, please chack back ( should be around 16 images in total)
     
  3. jhanlon303

    jhanlon303 The Keeper of History

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    I got all the images. He looks like Elric, the albino Prince with the sword that steals souls. Melniborne or some such. Michael Moorcock if I remember right.Way cool, I'm gonna have to give up project logs, this paint raises the bar beyond me.
    Well met.
    John
     
  4. wbdog206

    wbdog206 not me

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    very nice.
     
  5. Spaceraver

    Spaceraver Ultralurker

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    Damn..
    Guess it's time to get familiar with my own airbrush. Have had it for a few years and never used it. :(
     
  6. Langer

    Langer Jesse Lang

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    Very impressive... ff7 is still tied for my favorite game ever (the other is Fallout 2). Looking forward to the finished result.

    If you don't mind my asking, what do you charge for such a job?
     
  7. modsquad

    modsquad Grease Monkey Undergraduate..

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    GREAT, you can truly-airbrush.. :rock:
     
  8. x06jsp

    x06jsp da ginger monkey!!!!

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    That is awesome :D i love it!

    Josh
     
  9. dream caster

    dream caster just lurking from out there

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    it's great to see you while working !
     
  10. The_Beast

    The_Beast I like wood ಠ_ಠ

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    Very cool paint job
     
  11. .Fatality.

    .Fatality. New Member

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    i LOVE FF! and i love the movie advent children! and realy nice painting!
     
  12. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    Thats awesome! Id love to hire an airbrusher to work for us, like BEAST have done for you or like Bill @ MNPC did, but for a company as small as us theyre too hard to pay :(
     
  13. n0cturnull

    n0cturnull Desperate to MOD!! =P

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    can i kidnap you to teach me airbrushing?? :D jk

    i envy your skill in airbrushing, keep us updated dude !! :thumb:
     
  14. R B Customs

    R B Customs New Member

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    Thanks for all the kind words guys, I'm glad to see it is getting a good reception! A lot of FF fans out there!

    A big update will be getting posted in the next hour ish.


    It works out alright, at the end of the day, the customer pays the builder, the builder pays the artist. The only thing that is difficult is when a customer calls with a 'how much' question. It is near impossible to say how much a job will cost withoutt going through the whole design process.

    I normally work for a budget, and tellt he client 'what they are allowed' for x amount. If that makes sence? it works out well this way around. Otherwise you could go on forever!
     
  15. R B Customs

    R B Customs New Member

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    Okay, Let's re-cap.

    The last update contained the ins and outs of the portrait painting, which since has been finished. I get the impression that some people are not sure where the design is going though.

    The portrait will be 'coloured in' eventually, this is normally done last though.

    I love to paint in black and white, and most of my pieces start off like this. I'm leaving it black and white because if anything were to happen to it, paint to spill or something bad like that - it is a lot easier to fix while it is still black and white. Fixing it when colour has been added would be a nightmare. It also will help me balance the colours with the flames, rather than trying to guess it.



    These updates tot he log are not in real time by the way, I'm just uploading a batch of pics in one go and writing fewer, larger updates than lots of small ones.



    The update:


    Let me tell you, These cases are amongst the most difficult to paint. As if the sharp corners and slots are not enough, I have had to pretty much re-assemble the whole case as it would come to paint it! Normally I can get away with having panels taped into place, or small wooden blocks holding things together, just so the artwork will line up when the cases are put back together, but this one needs to be completely re-built.

    here's what it looks like:
    [​IMG]

    With everything held in place, I can start laying out the base for the flames. The airbrush I use for this ( which I will go into more detail about later) has a very large spray pattern, and i always shoot at max pressure. Because of this, I knocked up a quick mask to cover most of the portrait to avoid getting orange over-spray all over it.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Nothing has to be neat here, It's only going to be used briefly. I don't press the edges down as i want to leave as soft an edge as possible.


    I mix up some bright orange and begin to lay out where I want the flames to be.
    [​IMG]

    Looks horrid doesn't it! The fact is that you cannot spray red on top of black like this.
    I spray this 'bright orange, then I will go over it with a deep red candy paint. This will make it real red.
    These red patterns will become the glow around the flame licks.

    The Red candy I use is very dark, The more you apply the darker it will get until it is almost black.
    [​IMG]

    A 'candy' paint is just a translucent paint, the best way to describe a candy is to think of a stained glass window, or a sweet wrapper from a tin of roses or something.
    When a candy is painted on black it will not show. When a candy is painted over anything lighter than black, it's colour will tint it.

    I'm using this red candy to give me a shade of red that is 'impossible' to get by any other means.





    after I have my basic layout, I begin to introduce some basic 'flame' shapes, these shapes are done in the same bright orange as before, but now they begin to show up a little better. Some orange candy is sprayed over to burn off any overspray and sink the orange into the black. It's hard to explain what happens, but the effect is instant.

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
    Here you can see parts of the panel which have been covered in orange candy, and the parts that have not.


    [​IMG]
    I'm using a mini spray gun to do this. This gun's spray pattern starts where my 'biggest' airbrush finishes. It gives me large, quick but accurate coverage with minimal over spray.




    The 2 airbrushes I have been using so far have been these:
    [​IMG]

    The kustom custom micron, and the Eclipse CS

    I've used this image before, but I'll post it again as it's quite informative:
    [​IMG]


    The Kustom Custom micron has a very fine needle and matched head system. I use this for the bulk of the detail work, and most of the flame work. It's a little fine for the flames but it has a very nice atomisation at it's thickest spray pattern.

    The eclipse has an upgraded needle at .5mm (which is BIG for an airbrush) It has a very large spray pattern, and can empty the cup very quickly. I use this as a quick alternative to a mini spray gun. It does have a lot of overspray though :(

    Briefly, the way an airbrush works is that you push the trigger down for less or more air ( they are very sensitive to control) and pull the trigger back to pull the needle back - which lets out more paint. A combination of these two actions gives you the ability to do what you see here:)




    Back onto the update,
    After a few more orange / orange candy layers, I start with the next step. Each step the flame licks will get smaller, and tighter, and also brighter.

    BE WARNED - this step always makes people think 'oh my god, what on earth has he just done there! it looks awful!'

    All will become clear on the next update. Please be patient here as this step always looks bad before it looks better.


    I'm using the yellow paint in the picture above with the 2 AB's in it. It's bright yellow, straight off the mixing scheme. It is as yellow as yellow can get. I over reduce this, so it gets quite 'dangerous' to spray in terms of it is very easy to apply too much and get a run. It also creates tons of overspray so frequent tack-ragging is needed.

    What I am doing here is creating new shapes int he fire, which you will notice are smaller and tighter. I'm also giving the fire more 'body' toward the source.
    [​IMG]

    Any questions, just let me know,
    Rick
     
  16. 330td

    330td Member

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    oh my god, what on earth has he just done there :duh:

    joke :D


    Really nice paint job, my sister loves FF, you could paint another FF character on the other side, maybe Cloud.
     
  17. R B Customs

    R B Customs New Member

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    Hi all
    So this is where I left you all last time, with a small warning that it looked crap but the next step would make it.
    [​IMG]


    Th next step is just to add some dark yellow candy. When I say 'dark yellow' I mean it is dark to look at, but when applied it comes out almost like an eggy yellow / golden orange. All of the red underneath will darken it too.

    This 'dark' yellow is also 'dark' because if you applied enough coats It would eventually go to near black. It's very easy to over-do and defy the point of the previous step.

    Here's what it looks like straight after the dark yellow, To give you an idea, most of the face has been painted with the same colour too. but remember that is painting candy yellow over white, not yellow over yellow so the results are different.
    [​IMG]
    See, Told ya it would all change :)




    Next, I go in with an orange candy and reduce some of the bright spots and add some shading into the face.
    [​IMG]

    I pick out some 'highlights' with a 50/50 yellow / white basecoat, Although it appears to be white when sprayed on, it is actually a very pale yellow. Using pure white would just kill the whole thing.
    [​IMG]

    and halfway through adding the yellow candy over the pale yellow:
    [​IMG]



    Finally I go over the whole piece with this 'light yellow' It gives a similar tone to the dark yellow ( Oh my... Could I make this any more confusing? ) but no matter how much I apply, It will not make anything any darker.
    [​IMG]
    By rbcustoms
    [​IMG]


    I'll have to take some pics of all of this dark and light candy business, It is quite hard to explain !


    The next step is the Wolf design, the beast signs / logo's and then the artwork on top of the case, which is a mini project in its self.
     
  18. Hiren

    Hiren mind control Moderator

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    Awesome work as always Rick :thumb:
     
  19. lamboman

    lamboman New Member

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    Brilliant work.

    All I can say is that it is good that Beast haven't come down like Vadim, they also produce great systems, and are the next best thing IMO.
     
  20. skullen

    skullen Member

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    Awesome :thumb:
     
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