Previous experiences with 3D modelling software was largely restricted to Maya, despite Sketch Up’s straight forward and user friendly design, this actually made the software fairly difficult to get to grips with, as commands were note completely mapped to keyboard controls, and an increased difficulty in regards to making a curved surface. Previous methods had largely involved sculpting in a similar fashion to physical sculpting, taking a flat surface and manipulating the shape with curves to create the desired effect. I found working with curves in Sketch Up to me quite the hassle, as manipulating them to the desired length and curvature became increasingly frustrating.
Originally, I had planned to recreate something small and simple, thinking that by going off an existing object, it would be easier to plot out where lines and curves would need to be, and how best to build it up. I chose to recreate Superman’s emblem as a flat shield, using the design featured in Tomasi and Gleason’s current Superman run. With the continuing evolution of the emblem in the last 78 years plus else-world variations, it was better to pick a specific reference image as a basis, luckily, the first issue of the new run contained a full page spread of the symbol.
With the design in hand and an understanding of the tools, I set to work to create a replica. The problems I was facing in regards to crafting curves, became overly apparent when attempting to recreate the iconic ‘S’. After multiple attempts, and a stubborn attitude in regards to what I wanted to build, I experimented with attempting to create it with straight lines. The end result was heavily reminiscent of pixel art, the early limitations of computer graphics, and the resurgence of the style to invoke the retro aesthetics and ‘digital nostalgia’.
- Tomasi, P. & Gleason, P. (2016). Superman #1: Son of Superman – Part One. DC Comics: Burbank.