Crystel's Chimeras

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OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 10
Hey everyone! :D I wanted to share a personal project of mine, I'm working on a lineup of collectible figures based off of mythological creatures that I'm calling "Crystel's Chimeras" With that kind of name of course I had to start off with a chimera! :)  I have a store up at http://crystelschimeras.com/ and a newsletter here if anyone wants to follow this at all. 

To talk about the process for the chimera a bit-

I started doing a couple sketches in zbrush/painting over them in photoshop to get an idea of where I wanted to go with it. My buddy (onelung) pushed me to go for a more dynamic pose and I ended up settling on one where he was chasing his tail. 
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I took that idea and polished it up 
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Since ownage is known for their quality work, I contacted them and got things going. I decided to go with a run of 40 and to sell them as a limited edition figure.
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They never sent images of the final casts, but I was thrilled when they arrived and looked like this.  They've arrived as one piece and all the seams have been filled/smoothed out. 
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I'll do a photo dump again when I have results for the gargoyle. :) I'm very excited to be trying out a different approach for that one so hopefully it goes well. 

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  • Gav
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    Gav sublime tool
  • turpedo
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    turpedo polycounter lvl 9
    Nice print Crystel!
  • FullSynch
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    FullSynch polycounter lvl 5
    Looks fantastic! Can't wait to see more :)
    Link to site needs fixin' 
  • Neox
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    Neox interpolator
    looks soooo nice! If you dont mind asking, who printed these and on what machine at which price?
  • OrganizedChaos
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    OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 10
    Thanks guys! And thanks Fullsynch for pointing that out- the link should work now :) 

    Neox- I mentioned it, but I went through ownage, no idea what they use, but it took almost 5 months to get done (they're a busy company!) :)
  • weisheng
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    weisheng polycounter lvl 8
    that print turned out sexy as hell, great stuff!
  • erroldynamic
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    erroldynamic polycounter lvl 12
    Nice! Very cool idea and they are looking great.
  • OrganizedChaos
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    OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 10
    Thanks guys! Kind of a weird question to ask, but does anyone have any tips on where I could possibly market these? I'm looking into vending at a convention sometime next year, maybe the local wizardworld at the very least. I'm a member of the clubhouse forums too, trying to get enough posts to sell on there.  I might be looking into doing a kickstarter for the bakunawa, kickstarter seems like a good place for this kind of thing.... hmmm. 
  • SveinY
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    SveinY polycounter lvl 6
    Awesome work! And if you start a kickstarter I will def support it!

  • ArmpitLazers
    Awesome sculpt and the prints came out crisp (well worth the 5months IMO)! Was the process pretty smooth? Did you have to do anything special with the mesh? Or did you just hand over the file (zbrush project?) to them and they did the rest? 
  • OrganizedChaos
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    OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 10
    Thanks armpitlazers! Ownage can do cut/keying on their end, so I handed over the mesh and we agreed on size and a quote and they went forward with it. I've heard that you can specify where you want the cuts and also that you want the finals to remain unassembled but did not know that beforehand. 
  • ArmpitLazers
    Thanks armpitlazers! Ownage can do cut/keying on their end, so I handed over the mesh and we agreed on size and a quote and they went forward with it. I've heard that you can specify where you want the cuts and also that you want the finals to remain unassembled but did not know that beforehand. 
    Awesome! I do a lot of art shows and conventions in the LA area and was planning on getting some prints done as well (currently teaching my self zBrush). Thanks for the info and I can't wait to see the rest.
  • pior
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    pior quad damage
    Congratulations !! The end product is looking great.

    As for selling them : I am currently asking myself the same question for my own future projects. I can confirm that selling a limited run like this is definitely possible through online forum posts / facebook / word of mouth, as I did precisely that for my previous figure projects. However doing so takes quite a bit of juggling, especially when it comes to figuring out who voiced their interest in buying a unit first. And then there is a waiting list to maintain because of possible cancellations, and payment to figure out on a case by case basis.

    I personally don't see an absolute need to go through Kickstarter for a project like this, especially if you can afford to pay for the cost of the 40 units run upfront ... but I feel like it might bring a certain layer of safety to the whole process, while also simplifying the juggling mentionned above. I suppose that KS would allow you to collect the money for the production of the final runs ahead of time, but as I personally never ran a KS before I have no idea if there is any delay in the payment or any sort of catch. Maybe the KS support team could help you directly with that ?

    Regarding selling them at conventions : I'd suggest you to directly contact artists who did so in the past. It is certainly possible at places like Monsterpalooza and Son Of Monsterpalooza.

    About the casts : for future projects I'd definitely recommend you to at least get the base separated. If the statue was to fall on the floor I believe that a separated base would limit any damage to the base only, as opposed to propagating it up to the character. You can also ask Ownage about magnetized parts, which allows for limbs or any other elongated elements to be knocked off rather than broken off if someone bumps the statue. With some careful planning some parts could also hold thanks to gravity and to some extent friction, but that depends on the material (for my own stuff I went for gravity for the base, and magnets for the limbs). You could also instruct your customers to glue some parts, like with most traditional resin garage kits. All this also allows for a better and easier packaging in foam layers, and an overall tighter package for shipping.

    Good luck !
  • OrganizedChaos
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    OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 10
    Thanks @pior !

    Things are going better than they were initially :) I didn't have any sales on the site in the first two weeks so I was a little worried XD My posts on social media and forums had gotten a lot of positive response but no actual sales. It's giving me a good perspective of what it must be like for the other people who do this kind of thing, you see 1,000+ likes but they probably only made 5 sales. It's a really niche market so I'm not expecting to sell these anytime fast, I'm just trying to figure out how I could keep this alive :) It really would be great to keep making them, there's a ton of mythological creatures so I can do this for years.

    My thoughts with doing a kickstarter were that I can afford the first two runs of prints, but then I would run into money issues. I made some mistakes and lost money on the chimera figure rather than pull in a profit, so I've been off to a rocky start and kind of pre-planning how to smooth it out. I'll know after I am able to sell the gargoyle figure if I absolutely need to go the kickstarter route or not. I've seen some successful kickstarters for this kind of thing (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/238292504/sharktipede-20/description) (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/161464728/creepy-hill-bobby-collectible-toy-figure/description) and could probably send them a message for advice.

    I've actually contacted a few people who've done conventions already and had mixed results. Some people have been helpful and some have had a more competitive response. I forgot about Son of Monsterpalooza, so thanks for the reminder! Someone else brought gencon to my attention so I might look into that too. We'll see how timing works and having enough variety to sell/getting the flight/table/etc. From what I've gathered, the best part about doing those will be the exposure.

    I actually sent the file to ownage with the base separate, I honestly have no idea why they decided to combine them. There was no communication on their end to me about the decision to combine anything in the final product aside from the mouth on the lion, so it was a bit of a surprise. I also didn't realize they offered magnetized parts! That's really awesome. There's so much about that company that's a mystery, I wish I understood what they were capable of there. Another benefit to having separate parts is it's easier to paint. Honestly, I would have preferred this come out as a kit. It looked like it was heading that direction when they sent me the image of the 3d print. Live and learn I suppose :P 
  • ArmpitLazers
    Also try browsing local comic/hobby shops. I have a bunch of friends that just walk in and start talking with people and they usually have space to display things you are selling (sometimes they dont even take a %). 

    Also try and either hire someone (or your self) to paint one of them super nice as a display/promotional version showing people what it could look like with some color. That may help drive some sales. Thats what we do in the toy industry to get concepts approved and I know thats how the warhammer people get people excited about buying their stuff. 

    Good luck and I just picked up one :)
  • OrganizedChaos
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    OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 10
    @ArmpitLazers  That's not a bad idea! There are a couple comic/hobby shops around here I can talk to :) Dragons Lair is pretty large and has some displays for figures, I'll have to try that out! 

    I've been working on the painting bit, I'd like to learn airbrush so I can do that and brushes so I've been practicing. I have a friend who's working on one now that's looking radical https://www.instagram.com/dbeaulieu77/  

    Thanks, and thanks! :D I hope you didn't feel obligated to get one, but I do appreciate the purchase XD
  • OrganizedChaos
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    OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 10
    Hey guys! I'd been wanting to have something I could offer people at a lower price and to practice molding/casting off of, so Jeremy suggested I make baby versions of the existing chimeras :) 

    I did a few sketches to get an idea of where I wanted to head with this



    I had a vote on my facebook art page on three designs I dynameshed out -


    And then refined the sculpt a bit on the winner


    And had it printed out through a company called owlbox3d, since I plan to use this to make molds/casts off of they recommended I have it printed in ABS D20 Grey on an Envisiontec ultra 3sp





    Next step, molding/casting! 
    I'm still waiting on Level52Studios. So far it has been delay after delay, but I'm really hopeful that they will manage to finish up soon and I'll be able to share/ offer those for sale. 

  • OrganizedChaos
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    OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 10
    Hey guys- I wanted to share the second "chimera" in my lineup! The gargoyle. I approached this one differently, working with level 52 studios instead of ownage on it. They're offering me the chance to pay up front for the 3dprint/ cut and key/ mold and then pay per cast, so I'll be able to offer this one without the limited edition part :) 

    For the process, here are some of my initial sketches

    And then my dynamesh/paintovers. 

    I've got videos up of the first two here- 



    My final sculpt! (well, actually, under a suggestion from a friend I ended up removing the Crystel's Chimeras logo and placing one on the bottom)

    It's been since December 1st since I first sent over my file and I just got the first few casts today. We're discussing a few changes (ie. I had wanted a grey resin, not a cream resin that had been primered) and once things are sorted out I should be offering this for sale on my website :D 

    Regarding the timeframe- they ran into a couple issues along the way (printers weren't there for the first month, needed to hire someone for the molds, etc) so hopefully moving foward it'll go a lot more smoothly! They're doing pretty ok for a start up and I'm looking forward to working with them :) 

  • slosh
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    slosh interpolator
    That's awesome Crystel! 
  • StephLee
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    StephLee polycounter lvl 6
    That gargoyle is amazing!
  • Nuclear Angel
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    Nuclear Angel polycounter lvl 6
    These are wonderful! Such a nice style. 
  • OrganizedChaos
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    OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 10
    Thanks so much guys! I'm excited to be able to offer him for sale soon, they should be finishing up a new cast next week!

    I wanted to share some photos of a painted chimera I did for my mom. Third figure I've ever painted! 





  • OrganizedChaos
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    OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 10
    I documented my molding/casting adventure with the mini chimera - https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.428778527332392.1073741837.186570281553219&type=3 
    And now I have some up for sale! http://crystelschimeras.com/

    I've also made the decision with level52 studios to limit the gargoyle to 15 copies. The mold has been having issues with the sharp parts and this way I can manage to sell enough to make back costs. It's been an interesting learning experience for me. I had a lot more of a positive response to the gargoyle sculpt but have been falling short on sales so far. I'm not sure if the problem is in the design or costs, but I'll be thinking on this for the third, maybe going for a less menacing design than I had planned. Things are looking very likely that I'll be doing some sort of fundraiser for that one to make sure it's worth getting made before taking another loss. I'm really hoping I can keep making these, and definitely trying my best! I also signed up for a booth at Designercon this year :) Hoping to get the word out to the right audience.





    Here's a picture of the updated gargoyle kit. This comes in 16 pieces- one of my buddys got his today and sent me a shot of it assembled. Level52 Studios is sending me a copy to see the changes they made and I should be getting more images online of the updated cast soon.


  • Nuclear Angel
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    Nuclear Angel polycounter lvl 6
    The prints came out wonderful. If I would not have been a student, and the shipping to Europe is quite an extra to the price I would be ordering one. But good luck in selling the ones you have, I do hope you get them all sold, as they are awesome! 
  • OrganizedChaos
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    OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 10
    Thanks for the encouragement Nuclear Angel. I really wish shipping wasn't as bad as it is, it's ridiculous. They raised prices this year too, the jerks. I hope you're right! I'm trying to be patient :)  And I hope things go well for you! I was a student once too, so I know how that can go XD
  • OrganizedChaos
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    OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 10
    Instead of doing a massive update here, just some small progress.

    I've been having fun experimenting with my casts, some good some bad



    I also redid the mold to help remove the seam line across the face of the lion


    I'm currently running a poll until 5/9 on my next design here 
      https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S286R8K

    I'm trying to figure out my tone for all of this and improve upon the mishap with the last figure. 


  • OrganizedChaos
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    OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 10
    To update- the bottom right design won, so I took the time to finish that sculpt up :)

    I've decided to start adding the lore behind these beasts, in case people don't feel like looking it up :)  The bakunawa is from Philippine mythology, a sea serpent believed to be the cause of eclipses. I followed the description giving him a large mouth, whiskers, two sets of wings- based off of flying fish wings (you can see the smaller set tucked away) and gills, which I decided to go with external gills (like seen with axoltols) 

    The final render in keyshot- and a turnaround here- http://vertexsnapper.com/Chimeras/Turnaround/bakunawa.html


    I got quotes from Level52 and Ownage for this guy and both were about the same, but decided to go with Ownage. I've been waiting quite a while for the 3 remaining gargoyle casts to be sent over from Level52 and Ownage mentioned they'd be able to print it out in a better timeframe this time around. And they were right! Here's the image they sent over of this guy in all his glory! 


    I'm very excited and can't wait to begin making the mold/casts :D This will be a limited run of 4.5" figures in grey resin with a glow-in-the-dark moon at $60 each. I haven't quite figured out what kind of demand I'll have for this guy- I've started a sign-up for pre-orders here http://eepurl.com/b-3xH5 So far 10 people have signed up for it, I'm not taking any deposits though so that number may vary for actual sales.

    It's been quite an adventure doing this. Trying to figure out expenses, how to advertise, how to build customers. A lot of things I thought would work haven't and vica-versa. I think molding/casting myself might be my best chance at making back costs. I'm guessing if I manage to sell 14 of the bakunawa's I'll be good, so it's looking positive. The only other figure I managed to make back costs on so far was the mini chimera, but not really any profit. Once the initial stock sold out and I put up the cast-per-order, a few more sold and then completely stopped selling in april (aside from one sold locally to a friend). It's made me rethink how I post things for sale. I've decided I'm going to retire that figure after designercon in November.  

    Speaking of designercon, I'm excited and super nervous about that XD I don't think I'll have a lot to sell but I'm attending the convention mostly to find people who might be interested in buying these figures :) I heard painted things do better there than blanks, so I've started working on adding some painted options.




    Jeremy got me an airbrush for my birthday, so I'm looking forward to spending some time learning that and painting figures that way :) 

    OH! And I set up my first consignment deal! Thanks again for the suggestion Armpitlazers!  A local comic book shop (Titan Moon Comics) has one of my large chimeras and two mini chimeras on display for sale. They told me they'll try it out for 6 weeks and if things work out we could possibly do more :) 


  • OrganizedChaos
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    OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 10
    Molds are made and I'm slowly going through and casting for the pre-orders now :) I'm giving my repeat customers the option to have theirs colored as a bonus 




  • Funky Bunnies
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    Funky Bunnies polycounter lvl 11
    wahh these look amazing, Crystel!  :)
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