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Micole Khemarrica
Late updates.... part 3
I have been sadly missing my artistic muse for some time now.  Financial and medical woes tend to depress creativity.  As I am only working part time, I need to find another outlet for income; art has always been something I make a little money with but never get enough to make it a fulltime business. 

One of the longer-running projects I've been researching/working on is what I call 'avatar plush'... stuffy toys that resemble a particular fur.  I also want to make more realistic animals -- something on the level of Steiff, even if I only make limited runs of them.  I'm pretty good at modifying patterns, but I don't have the spacial skills to make a pattern from scratch, so it's very slow going to make even a single toy. 

Back at FurtherConfusion 2007 or so, a bunch of us found a research paper by a couple of students in Japan who modified a javascript program to create a sketch-based 3D render system that would then output 2D shapes as a pattern to make the 3D object in real life.  The project software was called "Plushie" and while it was very crude it held a lot of promise....  recently, I found what I'm certain is the project's descendant in the marketplace.  A Hong Kong company called LivesForce sells a program that is a more polished version of the sketch-and-inflate render system of Plushie.  The company divided the original concept software into two separate programs: EasyToy, for the sketch to render aspects, and PatternImage, for the breakdown into pattern pieces aspect.  They have a demo of EasyToy available for download, which I immediately played with and found it was indeed the kind of software that would help me.  Alas, they do not have a demo copy of PatternImage available; worse, they don't even have a basic version of PatternImage you can buy, like they do with EasyToy.  The only way to get PatternImage from them is to by the Professional package of EasyToy, which (in typical business-to-industry fashion) costs $5,000. 

Two part-time barely-above-minimum-wage jobs are not going to give me enough breathing space on daily living needs, let alone handle that kind of discretionary spending, and yet that's the kind of necessary item that would get a small business started for me.  So, I frust and muddle about trying to do the best with what I have, meanwhile my brain goes through scenarios on how to procure a grant or loan to get a custom plush-toy company off the ground. 

It makes for rather strange dreams.

Current Mood: sleepy thinking too hard

16 comments or Leave a comment
twentythoughts From: twentythoughts Date: July 11th, 2010 12:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awesome that you've got jobs, even if they're part-time. Part-time jobs can often lead to full-time gigs, after all!

The plushie thing is a toughie, but here's an idea: While you've got the demo of EasyToy (on a different computer, if you've already exhausted the trial period), try to make a bunch of 'standard' patterns for different character types. Male cat, female cat, male dog, female dog, etc. If I've understood you correctly, once you've got these patterns down, it could be easier to modify them into more custom stuff once you've got the base down?
khromat From: khromat Date: July 14th, 2010 01:18 am (UTC) (Link)
You missed the other half of it -- the demo doesn't create the 2D patterns which is what I need. It only creates a 3D object.
twentythoughts From: twentythoughts Date: July 14th, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oop. I R dum. Yeah, that's worse. Hmm... Wonder if there'd be open-source programs out there that'd do something similar.

As with anything, there's bound to be an online community for these things. Have you poked around bulletin boards for cheaper solutions?
andrian6 From: andrian6 Date: July 11th, 2010 02:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Been reading the updates and sorry things have been so very rough, but having the jobs - even if they are part time - is a key to going further.

As for art - it's so easy for finances to wreck the process. Have you thought of taking advantage of the on-line print sale features in Deviant art? You have a wide back-stock of art and photographs and they're certainly marketable. I know a few photographers who use the feature just as a way of getting extra cash.

Just a thought.
tuftears From: tuftears Date: July 11th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, PatternImage sounds interesting but how long would it take to recoup your money on that? It's something that you kind of would have to get a group of crafters in on, so you could spread the cost out between you all.
khromat From: khromat Date: July 14th, 2010 01:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually, by my projections, I could recoup the costs in a year or two if I actually make enough plush that sell.

See, I don't plan on mass-producing stuff... I'm more into the custom art, collectible kind of toy... which commands a higher pricetag than the usual stuffie.
tuftears From: tuftears Date: July 14th, 2010 01:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Still would save money if you split it up with a few other crafters in the area, or you could even provide pattern-generating services for crafters! I.E. they would send you a sketch of what they wanted to create, you'd turn that into a 3d object, then a pattern to make it and send that back to them.
khromat From: khromat Date: July 14th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Now, THAT is an idea

I already do something like that with my button machines -- I created Photoshop templates for each machine so an artist can make their own designs and send me the file and I print out buttons for them at a discounted price.

I can certainly see doing that with EasyToy, setting up a 'build your own plush toy pattern' service to give the artist the ability to make their own toy using patterns that work.

The LivesForce folks actually do a 'create your own custom plush' on a website shop; The client sketches their idea, gets a preview of the 3D object where they can point out changes, when it's approved they next get back a completed plush (1 or 1,000). They never see the 2D pattern. Which, for me, is a complete waste of money unless they can get the exact materials I want to use in making my objects (which it doesn't appear they do).
tuftears From: tuftears Date: July 14th, 2010 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Now, THAT is an idea

I see, that's true, for instance they might not have alpaca fur for lynxy cheekruffs like I'd want to put on a plush lynx. };)

Best check the terms of service to make sure you're okay to resell patterns created by the use of the program! They may fear that their program will only be of interest until there's a big enough database of created patterns out there that people can find what they want without having to use their program.
khromat From: khromat Date: July 14th, 2010 02:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Now, THAT is an idea

I don't think that's an issue, considering that they are selling the software to "The toy industry" ... there won't be a 'database of patterns' and I won't be selling the software, just the output. :)
tracerj From: tracerj Date: July 21st, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know I'd throw a goodly amount of money at you for some unique stuffies that simply can't be found at all (and honestly, a full set of the Thirteen Ribbons crew would kick ass! ...as would continuing to write the thing.) I suppose it might be a question of pre-orders to get things started...?
elfs From: elfs Date: July 11th, 2010 09:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry to hear all of your troubles, and I agree that recent stresses have made creativity that much harder.

But still, we miss you out here.
khromat From: khromat Date: July 14th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I miss seeing you guys as well! Any chance you'll be visiting the Bay Area anytime soon?
niall_shapero From: niall_shapero Date: July 12th, 2010 12:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Stress does not help

I just came out of a seven month writer's block, due in no small part to healh problems (not mine, my SO's). I understand and sympathize.

If you're up to artwork of some sort again, perhaps you might be able to consider working on the commission we discussed ... oh .. about a year and a half ago? Let me know if you get back to drawing things...
khromat From: khromat Date: July 14th, 2010 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Stress does not help

Believe it or not, that commission is stilling on my drawing table.... waiting for me.
shikonkitsune From: shikonkitsune Date: July 17th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Plushie is available here


While it's much less pro than Patternimage, still maybe somewhat useful?

That girl has also a page


which, yup, looks awfully like EasyToy/Patternimage. Maybe it was licensed/spin out to that chinese company, maybe though the idea was lifted/stolen by them.

Possibly you could write her and ask about that Pillow prog?
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