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Layered Bead Sprites - Tutorial Part 02: Construction

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Joined: 01 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:32 pm    Post subject: Layered Bead Sprites - Tutorial Part 02: Construction Reply with quote

Okay, time for part two...assuming you've already beaded and ironed all your bead sprite pieces.

Since I'm not beading these pieces myself for the tutorial, I'll be using the sprite pieces in their place. Just imagine the edges are rounded and more bead-like. Once again, here is our Beecopter for the project:

The first step is to estimate how much foam core you will need. If you remember from part 01 of this tutorial, the whole Beecopter fit nicely inside a 36x24 inch piece of foam core, so this will be the size to get. If your piece was larger, you would need to purchase sheets of that size, obviously. Foam core comes in all sizes, so you may even be able to find a 30"x24" sheet to work with, but it is better to have extra room around the edges, for when you trace the pieces later.

Looking at all of the pieces we have beaded, we can estimate that the final piece will need around 5 36"x24"sheets. How did I come to this conclusion?

The basic principle behind the layered piece is that the bottom layers are larger, closer to the size of the full sprite, and as you move up in layers, the foam core beneath the bead sprite pieces will be smaller, and thus require less foam core. I already determined that this will be an eight layered piece, which means, at most, 8 sheets of foam core will be needed. However, as I pointed out, the top layers require less than full sheets, some pieces requiring only small pieces, which can be cut from the scraps of the sheets used for the bottom layers.

So, figure that with 8 layers, you'll need 3 full sheets for the first 3 or 4 layers. Then, the next couple of layers, you can probably fit on one full sheet, using only a small area of the fifth sheet. Then, for the remaining few layers, between your fifth sheet and the scraps, you'll have more than enough.

So, here's the official shopping list before you can start:
1) Five (5) sheets of black foam core, 36"x24"
2) One (1) sheet of one-ply chip board 36"x"24, preferably larger (margin of error)
3) Two (2) 6 oz. bottles (or one (1) 12 oz bottle) of Tacky Glue
4) X-Acto blade and extra blade (gotta have sharp blades!)
5) Ordinary pencil

Your sheet of chip board will run you around 2 bucks or less - this is used as a stencil later on. Foam core at this size will be around 8 bucks a pop, and the glue should cost no more than 3-5 USD total.

Okay, now it's time to trace your bead sprite pieces on to your chip board!

I usually start with one of the larger pieces, one which meets the edges of a lot of other pieces. If your particular sprite has a large piece which runs through most of the sprite, all the better. If not, like this Beecopter, start with one of the larger ones. Below is the first piece I started with, which is the first large section of the tail. Remember, it's made of beads. The next step will be to trace the piece as close as possible to the edges. This outline should accurately represent the boarder around all the beads, so don't draw straight lines - let the pencil into all the spaces that it will fit, and make sure it's sharp enough!

You can see the number of beads along each edge - you want this! Also, don't forget to trace any inside areas.

You can set this traced piece aside for now. Next up, one by one, grab all pieces that meet the large piece you just traced, starting with larger ones first (or more obvious one, as is the case with the knub that fits inside the opening of the traced piece and meets no other pieces). You can see below that I positioned the surrounding pieces so they overlap that one pixel border. Make sure you fit them together correctly - you'll know it's right because the black outline from the piece above will not cover up any of the color within the black outline of the lower piece. You can better see this concept in the second picture below.

Trace these surrounding pieces. See in the second picture below how there is a one-pixel overlay of pieces - this will be consistant throughout your entire tracing.

After all of your pieces of your Beecopter are traced, your chipboard will look something like this (ignore the fact that the edges aren't rounded - I drew this all in Illustrator and those first four pieces nearly killed me drawing them to show the beads at the edges):

Now, here's the part where that optional step in part 01 would have come in handy, but don't worry. See, within the optional step, I showed you how to figure out layer order in Illustrator, which I did. Below are all of the pieces, which shows you a visual representation of the depth, with lighter shades being near the front and darker shades near the back. If you've ever worked in advanced 3-D programs, you can think of it like depth cueing.

Okay, once you figure out the layering (whether by means of Illustrator or by laying the physical bead sprites out on the table), number your pieces on your chip board tracing, like so:

Then we cut out the overall shape of the Beecopter. When doing so, keep in mind that we do not want to see any foam core sticking out from behind the bead sprite pieces, so use your exact-outlines as a reference. Remember, this example doesn't show the exact outlines as they will be on your chip board, but you know where they are. Cut just within these outlines, as pictured below. Your shape will look like the second picture.

Okay, now you will use your chip board cut out as a stencil, from now until the end of this project. The only difference is, you will re-cut this stencil in between every layer, before tracing it again (these cut out areas will allow for bead sprite pieces to fit in between, just above the layer below that did not have the section cut out).

So, using your full Beecopter stencil, trace the outline on to your first sheet of foam core, then cut it out as exact to the traced lines as possible. This foam core shape is the bottom layer of your piece.

Next up, let's re-cut our stencil to the shape of the next layer up. Pictured below is the stencil, along with each piece that will be cut out before we trace the next layer. All areas that are being removed are numbered eight (8), if you recall from the image above where we numbered all the pieces according to layers. This image shows which pieces are on layer 8, which is what we need to cut out of layer 7, to make room for these pieces.

Think about before when we needed to cut within the pieces so no foam core would stick out. Well, this is the same principle, only now, we are cutting around the outside of the pieces that need to fit into layer 7 (the ones which will rest on layer 8). Below, the red lines represent where we will be cutting the stencil. If you cut right along these border of the pieces labeled "8" then they will fit nicely against the edge of the foam core.

Once you have your re-cut stencil, free from all layer 8 areas, trace it onto your foam core, and cut it out. This is layer 7.

Place this foam layer 7 on top of your layer 8 foam core piece and you should get a good idea of how the following layers will rest on top. You can also grab the pieces that fit into the areas that you cut out from layer 7 and make sure they fit right.

Repeat this process for all layers. Since your next layer is six, you will be cutting out areas marked "7" (since all pieces on layer seven will be fitting into the cut-outs of the layer 6 piece of foam core). Just remember, cut out all of the same number on the chip board in between tracing onto the foam core.

Near the end, you'll really start to see the piece coming together, and your chip board stencil will get smaller and smaller with each traced anf cut out foam core layer, until the chip board is as big as the piece (or pieces) on your top layer. Once all your foam layers are cut out, you can stack them all up and fit in all your bead sprite pieces and make any extra cuts if necessary - but you should have a basically done looking piece in front of you that lines up nicely.

Part 03 will illustrate the best gluing technique, as well as contain more pictures of all the layers, in case you are curious to see them all.
_________________ - It's a secret to everybody!

Last edited by DoctorOctoroc on Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 16 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well played sir.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very glad to see you here the message, let me understand a lot
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Joined: 27 Mar 2011
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:33 am    Post subject: Very useful tutorials Reply with quote

xzarnu wrote:
Well played sir.

What a great tutorial, so detailed and so complete... Thanks for sharing it here! Very Happy
I love making silver jewellery! I hope that I will learn new things on this forum.
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