|My real-world interpretation of the deku shield from Ocarina of time|
|Hi there! I'm relatively new to the whole cosplay and prop community, as I only got my start back in May of this year (2015). But it would seem that I have a bit of a knack for making things, so much so that I decided to make a go of it professionally! I really enjoy making things for myself and for other people, and I try my best to make the best quality things that I'm capable of making. I'm a quick learner, and my skills are only improving!|
Hey there everyone, and here's another edition of T&T's! This time I'll be sharing with you all how I go about making bullet mark effects for foam!
First, you're going to need to have a rotary tool (aka Dremel) in your possesion. A rotary tool is one of the work horses of just about any prop maker out there, so if you don't have one, you should acquire one! Next, you're going to need a specific kind of grinding stone bit for said rotary tool. The bit your looking for will look like this:
Now, the reason that you want this particular bit to use for making your bullet effects is because it, well, looks like a bullet! I've found it to be absolutely perfect for getting realistic effects specifically for this purpose. There are three different types of typical impacts that I'll be discussing in this article: a straight on impact, a grazing impact, and finally, an angled impact. Here's a look at all three:
I'm sure that you can probably tell which ones are which, but we're going to discuss the techniques for each one individually.
First up is the straight on impact:
This is what happens when a bullet makes straight on contact with a surface. Basically, it just looks like a hole in the object. Now, of course the exit hole of the bullet would be much bigger and less perfect than this one, but we're only trying to simulate an entry at this point. What you want to do is hold you rotary tool perpendicular with the surface of the foam, and slowly lower the bit onto the surface. Depending on what speed you have your tool set at (if it has variable speeds) will depend on how much you might have to fight the torque of the spinning bit, but this is really only more of an issue when your using the side of the bit, rather than the tip (this will be important later). Once the bit breaks the surface of the foam, be careful to hold it still and don't let the bit wander. Try to move the bit up and down only. If you want a light impact, something that looks more like a dent, then don't push the bit in too far. If you want a deeper impact, push it deeper into the foam. As you can see in the picture, I opted for a more shallow of an impact.
Next up is a grazing effect:
Whenever bullets hit a surface at an angle, they tend to bounce off of it. This bouncing off leaves a physical trace, as the force that the speeding bullet impacts the surface with causes the sheering of material from the surface itself. Thus, we get an enlongated indentation on the impacted surface. So, how do we achieve this with our rotary bit? First, you need to hold your tool at a rather low angle (10 degrees, give or take a few degrees). Now what you're going to do is to start with the END of the graze line first, and move your way backwards. This way, it's easier to get a good taper to your impact line. You'll want to press the bit into the foam and get a sort of deep part of your trench going. Once you've got that, move the bit back towards you, while gradually pulling the bit out of the foam. To get the upper taper, move the bit from the deeper part of the trench forward, while gradually pulling it out. Note that your exit (upper) taper should be shorter in length than your entry (lower) taper. You can see in the picture how the very top and very bottom of my impact line taper off to being shallower and shallower, while being deeper in the middle of it. This is because a bullet would impact the surface, dig into it a bit, and then skip back out.
Also, remember the torque from the bit that I mentioned earlier? Well, this is where it's going to become important. Since you'll be using the side of the bit to make this effect, when you touch the bit to the surface of the foam, it's going to want to pull your hand to the right. DON'T LET IT! I've found it best to brace my hand against something (like the surface I'm working on) in order to counteract this pulling motion. I highly suggest practicing on some scraps so you can get the technique figured out before you attempt it on an actual project. In fact, I suggest that for pretty much new thing you're going to try out!
Finally, we're going to talk about angled impacts, which are more or less the middle ground between a straight impact, and the grazing impact:
Making an angled impact is pretty simple and straightforward, as it combine the techniques and methods from previous two into one. The only difference is that you just need to hold the tool at a higher angle, and viola, you have your angled bullet impact. You still have to watch out for the torque from the bit (as was the the case with the graze), but a little bit of deviation shouldn't harm the outcome of this effect too much. Just don't let it go wild on you haha. When you're done, you might notice a little bit of really thin, flappy material at the top of the hole you just made. It should mostly go away when you hit it with heat, but if if you not satisfied with that, you can stick you finger in the hole, and pinch it with your fingers. This should press it into the top surface of the hole, and it'll stay there. Your first instinct might be to just pull it off, but doing so might rip up the surface of the foam, and it could ruin the effect.
Well, there it is guys! That's how I go about making my bullet impacts, and the techniques for making them. Now, these aren't the only ways that people do it, and I'm sure there are many other ways that others have achieved the same look, but this is just what I've found that I like the look of the best. So, hopefully it was easy enough to follow along, and if you've got any comments or questions, feel free to comment on this article or hit me up and we can talk!
P.S. I will say that I have used these same techniques successfully with plastic. However, the cleanup after doing so is a little bit different with plastic that with foam. If you'd like to know more about that, feel free to ask me!