lume3I personally take a liking to costumes, whether it be a cosplay design of a well-known character from a movie, video game or comic book, or just a completely made up design that comes from one’s own imagination, I’ve always thought that the idea of taking on a new persona through cosplay was quite interesting. I particularly take a liking to masks — the more unique and more detailed the better. While I love admiring the creativity, artwork and design aspects that go into creating these facial coverings, other people simply think that they are disturbing or scary. Perhaps it’s the “not knowing” who is behind the mask, that simply gives these individuals the creeps.

lume1For one woman, named Melissa Ng, she has been designing masks for some time now, through a process of 3D modeling and printing. We’ve covered several of her unique creations in the past, ranging from the masks she made for the JiHAE music video, to others she designed and has offered forsale on her website, Lumecluster.

Now, Ng has taken things up a notch with her latest line of “finished” masks which take on an entirely new metallic look.

“Learning how to finish my masks has been on my mind for a while,” Ng tells 3DPrint.com. “I’ve just been avoiding it because I knew it would be a challenging new task that I probably wouldn’t get right the first time. I knew zero about finishing, acrylics, mediums, clear coats — all of that sounded like too much to deal with. But I also wasn’t satisfied with leaving my masks plain white, rough, and unfinished 3D prints. They just looked incomplete and it was driving me crazy.”

The masks which Ng 3D prints on Shapeways, aren’t just fabricated for the heck of it. They actually all have some sort of meaning behind them.

For Ng, it wasn’t easy getting acclimated to finishing her masks, but one thing is for certain, it was well worth the time and energy that she spent learning, experimenting and iterating upon her creations. Over the past 9 weeks, she has been going through a lot of different finishing techniques as well as various material options out there, to try and find out which worked and looked the best.

“It’s been tough because I quickly learned that the white strong and flexible nylon 3D print material soaks up paint like a sponge, which has been pretty wasteful,” Ng tells us. “The other issue was the occasional printing steps on my 3D prints, which kinda ruined the feel of the masks.”

While many different artists who 3D print their creations tend to use Bondo or other filler primers prior to sanding them down, this wasn’t an option for Ng, whose masks were too intricately detailed for this method of post processing. At the same time, she wanted to avoid adding too much weight to her masks, as she feared the weight would collapse the rather delicate creations.

Ng, instead, came up with her own unique process of finishing her masks, a process which has led to some spectacular creations. To start off, she uses a clear grain filler to seal the mask and then she sands it down in order to get a smoother surface.

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“Depending on the texture I wanted, sometimes I would paint on a layer of gesso mixed with airbrush medium, which helped it self-level a little more easily,” explained Ng.

This is then followed by more sanding, a spray painted black base coat, metallic painting, then more painting with acrylic paints if he wishes to leave a patina appearance. She then uses “Rub n Buff” to create some accents, followed by a clear coat finish, and then a layer of varnish to bring out the shine.

Ng spends a lot of time on each mask, usually about a few days, and then makes them available for purchase on her Lumecluster website. You can see more of these designs via the links below.

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Considering the time and energy that goes into Ng’s creation, her prices, which range from $168 to $195 for the finished masks, are quite low in comparison to other similar masks we have seen before.

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