It is hard to believe that it was only seven years ago I witnessed a CNC router in action for the very first time. I was fascinated and simply had to have one! Although I had been in the creative end of the three dimensional sign business for most of my life I didn't really know what I would do with one - but I just knew it could do fantastic stuff.

Through extensive research I quickly found out that with the relative simplicity of EnRoute, CNC routers were capable of just about anything imaginable. This journal will chronicle that journey to date and continue each week with two or three entries as we continue to explore just what is possible with this wonderful software... -dan

Friday, August 5, 2011

Two things I love!

There's two things we incorporate into almost every project we do. The first is texture. Often it is accomplished within the designing of the file by using bitmaps in EnRoute to create them. The MultiCam then does the work for me. This is always effective and easy to do, but sometimes I am looking for something much more subtle. In the case of this sign for the Fox and Hounds Pub I wanted a very minute texture. Since the story we are telling is of a 200 year history the signs and other things would be well worn. Chances are they would also have been repainted through the years.  We can easily simulate this subtle texture by simply using a small brush to apply Coastal Enterprises FSC-88 WB primer. It is the consistency of thick cream - right out of the can. Although sand-able for ultra smooth surfaces we want the opposite. The random brush strokes will remain after the primer is dry, leaving a wonderful texture. The subsequent coats of paint will leave them intact. Best of ll the last coats of glaze will highlight the texture even more.

Here's the sign with the texture coat almost done. The texture generated by the primer is subtle but the surface os so much more interesting than smooth. The scroll with 'BEER' on it has yet to be sculpted. A few minutes with a die grinder tomorrow will introduce a texture and also round out the ends so it gently curves into the folds at the ends.

The second thing I love and incorporate into our work is dimension Dimension is a way of playing with light. Shadow lines are intensionally created to highlight the various levels, adding exciting drama to what would be a very static design without it. We've located special lighting over each feature we are building in the restaurant and pub. The various levels also make our signs much faster  and easier to paint. It is merely a matter if dragging a brush along the edge to create a nice clean, perfect line or letter.

Stay tuned as the many steps of this sign take place. I'll be showing them here.