Designer and artist Vitaly Bulgarov has had the good fortune to work on exciting projects such as Robocop (2014), Transformers, and Terminator as well as World of Warcraft and Diablo3. His latest project, “Black Phoenix”, explores a world in the not so distant future in which a robotics company develops its products. In this context, he has provided himself a playground for working with ideas both of a highly conceptual nature and with a greater connection to real world application.
Using a variety of techniques from quad-based SUBD polygonal modeling to non-SUBD polygonal modeling and CAD-based modeling and working with photographer Maria Skotnikova, he has developed a series of intriguing designs to populate this fictional future world. Skotnikova’s HDR environment maps allow him to place his creations in a realistic setting and give them the support of a cinematic surrounding. However, he recently decided to move beyond looking at images of his ideas to producing a copy of them that he could hold in his hands.
For this, he turned to Factor31, a newly formed 3D printing service to transform his virtual creations into a touchable reality. Factor31, located in Orange County, California is the studio of George Longo and Peter Hamilton. Each has over a decade of work experience in film and advertising behind them: George’s experience lies in computer based design and visual effects while Hamilton’s is in production design and prop creation. This means that they have an eye for and an understanding of what visual artists and the industry desire.
The Factor31 studio uses Stratasys 3D printers with Polyjet technology to create prototypes and even end-use parts with astonishingly fine detail, smooth surfaces, speed and precision. The printers are just one component of the company’s approach that allowed them to create models that would be satisfying to Bulgarov:
“There is no substitute for quality. Quality is not only measured by the precision of the printers, but by the ability to exceed a client’s expectations and help them push the boundaries of what they think is possible. Factor 31’s vision is anchored by our desire to satisfy this need of our clients and to collaborate in a way that delights.”
Because of the rapid nature of 3D printing, in only ten days, Bulgarov was able to have a 3D printed version of his visual renders in a 14″ bust. This particular creature represented Stiffneck, a member of Bulgarov’s ultraborg division, designed to do heaven’s knows what (but certainly nothing good…) and the craftsmanship is terrifyingly realistic.
Many people envision 3D printing as being as easy as pushing a couple of buttons, Factor31 has shared the process for going from print to finished model and it quickly becomes clear that is anything but easy. Once the multitude of parts were sanded, they were fixed together with epoxy and then given another sanding to keep the finish looking perfect. After further cleaning, several coats of primer were applied and the parts were dry fit. All of this was just to prepare for the application of 4 – 8 coats of epoxy paint.
Only after all of that, a set of operations that required 10 days to complete, was the model ready to live up to Factor31’s exacting standards and Bulgarov’s astounding vision. While it won’t be ready to protect the streets from an army of alien invaders just yet, it certainly does look like it could. Check out the photo gallery below: