The Alphabet – KDF Style

The Jedi Master of creative dimensional sign building, Dan Sawatsky at Imagination Corporation, suggested we get creative with textures, paint techniques,and sign making and use the alphabet as a study for sample purposes. Thanks for suggestion and the inspiration Dan!

Here is our rendition of the alphabet…

 

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and here is a little bonus of the Alien Queen in metal…

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Pearl River Saloon – Painting and Finishing Phase

Painting and Finishing is so much fun. this is where we get to see the work come alive. Brian and Mark have primed everything and have some extreme painting to do…

Railroad Tie

Railroad Ties: Insanity has set in – we decided to paint everything as if our faces were pressed against the sign – here is a single railroad tie – only 47 to go!.

Brian used several layers and faux painting techniques to create the wood color, the steel of the rail bracket and the rust.

Terraine and Letter

Terrain and Rails: Once the ties were worked out it was on to the large terrain pieces, the rails and the letters. It’s really coming together!

train-first paint

The Engine: We knew from the beginning that this would be the most important element of the sign – the WOW factor. So after assembly Brian spent a considerable amount of time testing different finishes to come up with the perfect “black steel” look of the train.

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After doing more intense painting techniques and aging the steel Brian began adding the little details to really make this engine come alive. Here you can see him adding brass and steel bars. Train-Painted

So here is engine #1 ready to go into final assembly.

 

Pearl River Saloon – CNC Phase

The CNC Stage is here – we have all of our files designed and they fit together (on the computer) and we’ve added the textures – we are ready to lay down our precision board HDU on the MultiCam 3000 CNC to start cutting.

Text on CNC

Text on CNC

We started with the letters for the sign first – these were the easiest cuts so we got them out of the way and right over to paint shop.

Dirt on CNC

Dirt on CNC

On to the heavy 3D cuts of the terrain below the tracks. we took a leap and decided to cut every part separately starting with the terrain, then railroad ties then the rails. this would allow us to build up the base for a realistic look and also give us the flexibitliy to paint the elements separately.

Railroad Ties

Railroad Ties

We’ve cut the ties and they’re looking really good.  The detail on this sign will be insane – and alot of fun to look at from up close. after some quick calculations we’ve realized the sign will be 32 feet long!

The Saloon Cut

So we have our terraine, our ties and our tracks we’ve cut all of the letters and it all fits together. So we’re done!  Oh wait – the trains….

Engine Screen Shot

I’ll back up a bit. we started here – I brought my 3D Source file into Enroute Pro – did some scaling magic on it and created my cut files.  Because we are working with 2″ Precision Board HDU  I had to slice it into 3 layers – per side! Yes thats right – each engine is 6 layers of 2″ foam.

Engine - First Layer Cut

Engine – First Layer Cut

We cut each layer seprately then during the assembly process glued them together.

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So here is two of the slices -this is when it gets exciting. We’ll now cut the other side of the engine and piece it all together.

Engines

After several hours of sanding, cutting and assembly Brian has the two train engines ready for primer! Onto the Tender cars.

Tender Cars

The tender cars were pretty simple cuts made from two layers of 2″ HDU glued together. The tenders cars are key elements of the sign and will allow us to add some real nice details once we start painting.

Tender

Another fun little detail is the coal on the tender car. Here i’m hand carving the basic shape then Brian will add another layer of detail and off to the paint shop for Mark and Brian to work some magic.

Pearl River Saloon – 3D Design Phase

3D Design – So the client is happy and now its time to get to work taking the concept sketches and turning them into 3D files that we can use to build the sign. This can be real tricky because we have to create the physical sign from nothing, mixing all of the textures, colors and materials to look like real trains, steel, dirt etc. (Oh man what did we get ourselves into.)

3D Design - Text

3D Design – Text

3D Design - Ties and Dirt

3D Design – Ties and Dirt

There are many stages of the 3D Design – sourcing files, creating elements from scratch then manipulating the images to work together.

Creating Textures for Ties and Dirt

Once we have the pieces laid out and designed in 3D its time to add some texture. Here you can see we’ve added a wood grain texture to the railroad ties and terrain texture to the dirt area. Now I know what you’re thinking – this is a sign and no one will ever see these details.  You are correct but this is the fun part for us is  knowing these little details are there and pushing ourselves to create this amazing one of a kind sign.

Pearl River Saloon – Design Phase

OK here is a great creative sign project for our friends at The Pearl River Saloon.
Our challenge was design a sign that incorporated the “Saloon” feel with their beloved train theme. Their current sign is great but doesn’t give you that feel.  So we’re off to build a better sign.
The Saloon - Original Sign

The Saloon – Original Sign

Initial Sketch Presentation

Initial Sketch Presentation

The inital sketch had a few concepts for the client. A simple outdoor sign then some fun stuff to consider for inside.  They wanted alot more of the train feel on the outside so we worked on some sketches and came back to them with the pic below.
Sign Mockup

Sign Mockup

So it began to develop into a really cool sign. we decided to not only do the train tracks but add some trains and really blow it out. The client was happy and we’re excited to design this in 3D and get started!