1 of 5
Rick's popeye model all printed apart from the pipe and the collar
2 of 5
What the Popeye model looked like fresh from the MakerBot Replicator 2
3 of 5
The scale of the model
4 of 5
Rick also printed a smaller version and painted it in metal
5 of 5
Some of Rick's other creations including Wolfman
Rick Baker is a seven-time Academy Award winner, his credits for special effects makeup include classics like Star Wars, An American Werewolf in London , The Exorcist and Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.
As a child Rick was fascinated by Frankenstein’s Monster in the Boris Karloff 1931 adaptation of Mary Shelley’s famed novel. After reading about Jack Pierce’s process of creating Frankenstein’s monster Rick Baker decided henceforth to be known as Rick Baker-Monster Maker.
Rick has always been known for keeping up with the times and using digital effects to complement physical makeup, movies like his last Academy Award victory, The Wolfman used CGI for the transformations but Benicio Del Toro was still covered in Yak hair come the end of said transformation.
His latest leap into monster model making involves 3D printing. Rick is an avid user of the digital sculpting tool ZBrush, he makes prototypes of his monsters on the platform and often posts the results in the ZbrushCentral forums were he uses his nomme de plume MonsterMaker.
Recently during a charity auction he took a punt on a MakerBot Replicator 2, and decided to try print out some of his ZBrush models, the results you can see in the gallery above are astonishing.
Rick had little to know knowledge of how to use the MakerBot when he acquired it and like all good printers trial and error were involved as he explained in a forum post: “It took me quite a while to get up to speed with the MakerBot mainly because I don't really know about this stuff. I finally got these results with a lot of trial and error, about a month’s worth. Most of the problems were (down to the fact that) I don't know what I am doing. At first I tried printing models with millions of polys. It took forever to slice the model if at all. Once I started decimating the ztools and using the 3d print exported plugin- I love you pixologic - things worked a lot better.”
Obviously the prints didn’t come off the printer looking like that, Rick used his make-up artist skills to bring the prints to life. Almost like changing Eddie Murphy into Professor Clump the white PLA models are transformed into grotesque works of art.
Here he explains the process from start to finish, remarkable stuff!
“The biggest clean up is getting the supports off and the build lines. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any solvent that you can brush over the surface to remove the build lines except for solvents that are too dangerous to work with. Acetone does a little but then leaves dry flaky patches. I have been sanding and using dental tools to clean up the prints. Also really valuable is using a soldering iron with a variable temperature setting. Many of the pieces that I have printed have had a problem when for some reason a couple of rows don't print. To save the print I pause the printer and with some scraps from previous printouts or just more of the PLA filament I basically weld it back together with the soldering iron, then resume the print. Otherwise it will continue printing and after a while the top few layers fall off and the printer continues to spew out plastic, which results in a big mess (Ed:true dat!). Once the print is finished I will then carefully weld the seam on the surface and try and bring it back to what it should look like.
The hat on the flesh coloured Popeye had this happen several times. It took something like 8 hours to print and I didn't want to have to do it again so I welded it all back together and then added the threads that run horizontally across the hat. I used real thread and melted it into the printed hat. That took a while but I had to do so much welding and patching on that had that I lost the modeled threads.
I painted the Popeye with Alkyd paints, a fast drying oil paint. Many thin glazes, with a day in between glazes so that they dried. It does appear though, that I can scratch off the paint if not careful. The metal one was painted first with primer then gold spray paint then glazes of acrylic. “