August 24, 2012


We're back with a King of the Monsters update! Maybe a little tweaking of the teeth and hands and some general cleanup, but for the most part he's ready to go. And actually he's only about 9 stories high (100' 6" or so.) Sounds kind of under achieving by monster standards, but sizing him up even to 200' just seemed overkill next to the scale of the figures and vehicles. Plus, in the films, Eiji Tsuburaya often preferred to scale down his monsters because it enabled him and his crew to build larger, more detailed miniatures. Here, big G is threatening the old Orlando Utilities Commission office which I nabbed from the Google warehouse (click on images for pic viewer.)

I mean, look at his foot next to the default scale figure. This was important because I'm planning on staging a scene with some half demolished and damaged buildings and it will add to the realism if there can be some clearly defined fleeing civilians among the debris.

Here's the rear view. Still working on a better texture for the back plates. Also, I might make another set of the large ones (just copy and paste) and figure out a "glow" for when he's using his radioactive breath. Well, let me know what you think and check back soon as Godzilla gives a prehistoric pounding to some unlucky skyline!

August 6, 2012


Dang it! Got sidetracked again. But I think you'll appreciate it once you see what the result is. But first, an explanation. For no real reason, I was fooling around with the preset textures included in Sketchup. Just seeing how some of the patterns repeat on an object and how I could manipulate them. So I made this simple barrel shape and applied one of the stone textures and found that, if you rotate it vertically, it lays out over a curved surface in an interesting way (click on images to go to pic viewer.)

But wait! That looks like...something. Hold on, let me just drag the color wheel over to the grey and darken it just a bit. Holy crap! That's Godzilla skin! Well, there was only one thing for it, really.

And below is where we're at so far. Off to the right are my reference pics. If he looks more than a little muppety, well... think back to "Monster Zero" or "Destroy All Monsters." When the tone of the films had already shifted to kid oriented and they started making him look less reptilian and menacing. That's the Godzilla I grew up with. 

Anyway, the teeth will help give him some "grrrr" back. And, even though this started out as a simple color test, that segmented tail may be the single most challenging thing I've modeled to date! But I can't wait to get started on the back plates and other details. Let me know what you think and see ya soon!

June 10, 2012

Some THINGS change...

Well, I couldn't justify my labors on one comic book character while neglecting another. So before I really got involved with Ultron (which I don't advise, socially or professionally), I knew that Ben Grimm would need to be brought to some state of completion. Let's see how he's doing. (click on images to go to picture viewer thing.)

And here he is, poised and ready for action in some kind of training facility specifically designed by Reed Richards to test the Thing's legendary strength and combat experience. As expected, the hands and feet cost me small fragments of sanity. In fact, I'm still not done with the feet but I'll know better how to fix them when I put the figure in more extreme poses.

The hands, however, turned out nice and the fingers are pretty easy to pose. That's good because I'll need to build up a library of interchangeable hand components (pointing, grabbing, etc.) that will just pop on to the end of the wrist. This model has been a real labor of love for me and, I gotta say, I'm proud of the way it turned out. But now he needs a bad guy to clobber and Ultron just drew the short straw!

May 21, 2012


Inspired by the Avengers movie (well done, Mr. Whedon), I'm taking a swing at their greatest villain, that monstrous, mechanized megalomaniac, Ultron the robot!

That hideous jack-o-lantern face, the fusion energy boiling in his fixed mouth, his gleaming indestructible adamantium body...Man! I hope they find a way to make him the villain in a Marvel movie soon. Anyway, we'll start with just the head and see how it goes (click on images to go to the picture viewer window.)

Wrong! Meet Ultron's country cousin, Clemtron! You see, I started by pulling a basic head shape from a simple sphere. My mistake was scalloping out the cheeks (using the intersect tool) which made the mouth narrow too much at the chin. And just for kicks, I'm adding some classic Avengers covers to the background. No extra charge!

Well, this is better but still not there. Closer to the way George Perez used to draw him. But the mouth seems to yawn too much and, as a whole, it seems too alien. By the way, to do that plasma effect in the mouth, just pick one of the Sketchup water textures and drag the color wheel all the way into the red. Bingo!

Now this is what I'm talking about! I started with a whole new head and really opened up the mouth. Also, the eye holes are arched to give them more menace and not just simple triangles. This, to me, is more like John Buscema's version from earlier issues. Best of all, I found a Photoshop plug-in that generates pretty good Kirby Krackle! Now the fires of fusion really seem to be churning inside his gaping maw!

Finally, here's a quick top view. I don't remember the head antenna being that elaborate but I think they look cool, as does the band of circular depressions. I think I'll continue on this for a bit and see how the whole figure turns out. See ya soon!

May 16, 2012

Haunted House Paint Job

Well, alrighty. Finally got around to slapping some proper color and textures on everything. Here's the the first scene I composed for comparison. You might notice I added some railing to the tower balcony and dismissed the 3D scale figures that were loitering around (click on images to go to picture viewer.)

Above is a closer view of the front entrance showing the revamped second story window. Hopefully you can see the tattered curtains (which turned out pretty nifty, if I do say so myself) and cracked window panes. Overall, I'm still pleased with the cobwebs but you can see that some of them catch the light a little too prominently (SketchUp's light settings are a little more blunt than true rendering software would be.)

Here's a look back toward the dead tree clinging to the cliff face. That rock texture really fails close up. I haven't looked too hard but there's supposed to be some good texture packs for free download. Finally, I've creaked open the front door a little to beckon any unwary travelers. Don't worry, I am nowhere near done with this model. But I will take a brief side trip back to superhero town. Check back to see who shows up. 

April 26, 2012

Creepy Cobwebs?

Hey, all. Just a quick progress report on the haunted house. I threw a basic rust texture on the entrance lantern  to make it standout but the main reason we're here is to evaluate these cobwebs. And I know what you're thinking, why don't I just wait till the paint over in Photoshop to add them? Well, I don't know! Part of me is just compelled to work these issues out in 3D. Plus, what if this becomes a game level or something? (As a side note, I would kill to play a Tomb Raider style Scooby Doo game!) Anyway, here's the first view (as usual, click on the images to view full size.)

These actually weren't that hard. They're just 2D planes, basically rectangles that I attached at different angles to the columns and ceiling, then just scalloped the sides and punched holes with the arc tool. Then I painted them with a stone texture but dropped the transparency to about 45%. The trick seems to be in the overlapping.

Here's from the opposite side. The big question is do they read like cobwebs? I mean, when it comes time to put tattered curtains in the windows this'll be the way to go. But my first impulse is that I like 'em. Plus, I'm really not going for photo-realism here so, if they're a little cartoon-y, that's better. As always, let me know what you think. see ya soon!

March 22, 2012

Brief Haunted House Update

Well, I've been away a long time but maybe this, all too brief, post will get me back on track to finishing some of these projects. Below is a view of my method of adding clapboard siding to the exterior of the house. since the structure is basically symmetrical, I can make these sections as components. Then I just flip and "mirror" to apply them to the opposite side of the house. But take care, any weathering or detailing you do will duplicate on the other components and could show up as a repeat pattern when the whole model is in view.

Below is the precarious front porch entrance. I've broken out a portion of the stone wall and will twist the iron fence in a similar manner to the stairs below.

I know this doesn't seem like a lot of progress but it'll have to do for now. Suffice it to say if there's an elderly person in your life, do your best to make sure they keep their mind active. Next up, I'm tinkering with a way to make (hopefully) appropriately spooky cobwebs, in 3D!

Creative Commons License
SketchUp/Screw-up by Timothy P. Butler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.