Sunday, November 4, 2012

GLaDOS Pumpkin tutorial

How are you doing, because I'm a pumpkin

In addition to the light show we wanted to carve some pumpkins. While looking for ideas (and seeing other peoples pumpkin's Dustin gave me a great idea of making a pumpkin sculpture of GLaDOS (an AI robot from the awesome game Portal... even if you don't like most video games, I can all but guarantee you will love this game do yourself a favor and play it)

Like with most of my crazy ideas, Halley was skeptical at first, but was soon on board. We used three pumpkins of small, medium and large size (we had to redo one of these as it rotted before we could use it).

I started with a 3d model I found online  We used this for our inspiration.


Starting materials after a rough initial shaping

There are three main shapes to her: her head, bottom and back, each larger than the last. All of these shapes are spherical, so look for relatively round pumpkins. We carved these large shapes first, then used what we had left for "cables" and other details. (the cables are just thinly cut strips of pumpkin)

Prepping for the overnight
bleach solution soak

We wanted to make sure this would last so we read a few articles (here's a comparison) on how to preserve carved pumpkins the longest, and most people agreed to use a mixture of bleach and water.


Once we  had the shapes cut out, we started on the detail work for the large pieces. We used the 3d model again for inspiration. Doing her face out of a single piece exactly didn't seem very doable, so we decided to represent negative space by removing the pumpkin skin. The only place we actually cut all the way through was the eye (We wanted to put an led from my light show here, and didn't want to be bother by carving it super thin)

The other large pieces were ellipses with "wings" so we drew the basic shape onto the pumpkin, carved it, then skimmed off a thin layer on the "wings" to differentiate them from the main piece.

For the sides of her head, we used her finished head as a template to draw the needed shape onto the side of a pumpkin scrap. The design was Halley's interpretation based on the 3d model above.


Drying pumpkins
After carving the detailed pieces we laid them all out to dry.
GLaDOS hangs from the ceiling, so we wanted to do the same. I used some left over electrical conduit I grabbed from work (we had some electrical work done recently, and the electricians threw out a couple of longer bent up pieces.) We put the conduit in between two cinder blocks and shaped it with a sledge hammer carefully.

Once we had it in a nice "J" shape, we put the largest of the three pieces on her. We just shoved it through the pipe and friction held it in place.
Tiny holes and twine to secure the middle
body section

The second piece was a bit too small to do this, so we put 4 small holes through it, and tied it on with twine 

The face we wanted to sit on the end, so we used a dowel shoved into the back of her head (close to the pumpkins stem so it would be sturdy) and put the dowel into the conduit.

After the main pieces were on, we just took a bit of "creative license" and added "wires" wherever we felt, and adhered them with small nails.


The Final Product







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