Personalized jewelry from idea and design to silver cast
In this article I will introduce you to the very fun process of creating our own jewelry design. The process is mainly artistic and like everything design related – with a reasonable amount of experimenting (something to spice things up and keep the work flow more exciting).
Something else that made the whole experience even better was the collaboration with few of my friends that were involved in the different steps of the process of creating the jewelry. Some of them are Stanislav Nanev (Shapers3d) and Dinko Dinev, who you might remember from the article about “How to create silicone mold for casting 3d printed figures”. and let’s not forget Ani (Kulinarendom) and the well known in the bulgarian art community – Kosta Atanasov.
If anything I hope you take one thing from thes article – spend time on projects that are not work related, involve your friends and have fun.
As a character designer I always start the creative process with putting some ideas and words on paper before I even reach for the pencil (or in my case the graphic tablet).
The idea behind the design.
The initial idea was to create a design that has something to do with water. I started with words like “pearl”,” movement” and “drop”. Chances are I must have felt like going to the sea side, what else can a character artist be thinking about while sitting in front of his desk.
Water is the symbol of purity and source of life.
Pearls have a simple and elegant shape, white-silverish in colour and considered precious by kings, pharaohs and emperors.
Waves represent free spirit and movement.
You will notice these things incorporated in the final design. I feel like every woman wants to represent these things and why not show it with a jewelry.
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The design phase.
Normally I am creating characters and creatures but this time the task was extremely fun and different from everything I do.
When you don’t need some sort of function from a product design you only need to think about the aesthetics of it.
As soon as I finished generating ideas I started doing quick sketches and thumbnails. The workflow is the same as the one I use to come up with characters. In the “Character design course“ I teach the same fundamental principles and steps since they are universal for any kind of design.
As a 3D artist I do believe a design is completed when you can see it in 3D.
That is why I did some quick 3D models of the sketches I liked the most. These models helped be and the rest of the team evaluate the design from all angles.
That’s how me and Stanislav Nanev (The 3D printing guru), managed to talk about which design would be easy, difficult or impossible to print.
Dinko Dinev (the expert in creating casts) managed to make comments and notes on how the cast would be created and if it would be possible to make.
Together we decided to go for one of the designs that we though is nice and in the same time is possible to create. No matter what you do you will always meet some kind of technical limitations, if you are doing game characters that would be – the topology, the rig, textures and shaders, but when it comes to jewelry it is about how easy it is to make into a cast and how much time and money it would cost.
On this topic a person with a background in making jewelry can be the best to talk to, so if you are interested I promise to to invite a professional as a guest author for the next article.
Do you find the topic interesting? Let me know on firstname.lastname@example.org so you can share. I would like to know what would you find interesting for the next article.
We are not finished with the design – the next thing we need to do is work on the details. I did few variations based on the first design so that I can test different shapes and motifs. I do this by overpainting on top of the 3D model.
Overpainting is skill you definitely want to have in your set of skills if you are a concept artist even if you are not interested in knowing the 3D part. In every studio I know the designer has to be able to over paint the 3D models that came from the modeling team in order to give notes and feedback for the project.
In this case we are doing it on a jewelry but in a game studio it can be a robot, a piece of clothing a character or whatever goes wrong in the modeling process you are supposed to use your designer’s super powers to fix it.
After we have solved all the design problems we have to do the final 3D model and get it ready for 3D printing.
Since we are talking about product design we don’t want to have it only in digital format.
There is no better way to appreciate and evaluate your design than having it 3D printed and holding it in your hands.
Stanislav Nanev helped us for this, he printed the jewelry in few different sizes. We had to test which size is the best since so far we were only seeing the model on our screens. We tried different thicknesses and we cut some parts out to see the result.
Stanislv was a CGzen student and is a professional in 3D printing! He has his own company for professional 3D printing and you might have seen him as a co-writer in this article – “How to create silicone mold for casting 3d printed figures”.
Since we are talking about casts we are getting closer to the end of the process. We did not want to stop here and decided to have the model made out of metal.
We either make it as real as possible or we go home, there was no other option.
Dinko Dinev started the task and for no time we ended up with a silicon cast (if you ever need a cast created – Dinko is the person to go to) that we used to make a cast for wax. Why wax you might wonder? Go check out the article I just mentioned and you will find out.
After that we gave the cleaned up wax to a professional molder, who “converted” it into silver. We started from the idea, digital sketch, plastic prototype, wax version of the model (that looks so much like chocolate on the picture) to finally the silver jewelry.
Keep in mind that even though we had few 3D printed sizes of the model to help us get a better feel of it we managed to get a clear idea once we had it made of silver. Then we got another thing figured out – how heavy the jewelry would be once it was made form the material it is intended for. This is a rather important factor for a young jewelry designer to have in mind when working in order to make sure the model would not be uncomfortable to carry.
And the best part – > Presentation.
After all the hard work it’s time for the presentation, which can be the best parts of the whole project especially if you have a beautiful model like Ani from Kulinarendom, who took part in our photoshoot.
I want to say special thanks to my dear friend Kosta Atanasov, who was the person behind the camera and took the pictures.
It is very important to have some energy so that we can make a good presentation. Normally we try very hard while we are working on the project no matter if it is a jewelry or a character and in the end we don’t put much effort in the presentation part. This is a rather bad strategy since it makes all the effort we have put in be in vain.
If you are struggling or lack motivation for this step I can suggest few things:
- Use stock images and graphic design. If you are good in character design but you don’t feel confident with graphic design you can save yourself a lot of effort and it will make your work look better. It will save you time and you will not be starting from scratch. I use templates and already made design from graphicriver.com
- Even better option is to hire a professional who will present your work in the best way possible. It can a photographer, a graphic designer – depending on what you are presenting.
- And finally – make it fun!
Involve your friends like we did in this project. Co-working with artist and professionals for other fields made the process so much fun and everything was like a game.
Thank you for reading this article I hope you found it useful!
If I can be of any help or you just want to give me your thoughts – > email@example.com
See you soon!
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Works with exciting projects for well known computer games (“Firefall”, “Wildstar”) and toys (Blizzard, Hasbro). Projects, which covers everything from concept art and illustration to the final 3d model for a game or a 3d print. Martin is the founder of Cgzen and dedicates his time to active teaching.