3D from 2D

Pestilence introduced me to a new craft hobby last night: making 3D cards and tokens from collectable card game pieces. He was remembering when he first noticed the art and how much money people were making selling these pieces. He told me I could do them on occasion, that there was this guy he knew that made them every day and just sold them all of the time.

He had a couple of examples to show me that he’d traded some of his collection just to get. (I coulda killed him.) I confess they are neat looking. The one Pestilence gave me is an abacus counter sort of like this one made from a Magic the Gathering exhume card. The bottom of it has beads so that I can count life and the top has the image cut into several layers. Pestilence told me that there were a lot of tutorials online, I should get into it!

Screw tutorials. I examined my neat new toy and set to work last night to make a 3D token using a Warrior token from MtG. It didn’t take me long to reverse engineer the art; it’s simple enough. It’s not like I’m a genius or anything. And then I set about making some of my own methods to build these things because I was told it took hours and hours. 30 hours. Millions of minutes. Your entire lifetime!

Yeah, hours and hours I would do on an oil painting. Hours and hours I do on someone’s ebook cover or The Heavenly Bride. This was not something I wanted to spend hours and hours on. So I hacked the process. It took me a few minutes – maybe 60 or even 120! – to think up my process. Then it took me somewhere over 3 hours (but not up to 30 hours) to execute my plan.

Would you like to see my first 3D Magic the Gathering token?



Pestilence pointed while I was making the card that I could have more layers to it than I was putting in. Pestilence was right, but this was my first card and I was more interested in the challenge of reverse engineering the process. The final card is a little under half an inch thick and has three layers to it. I look at it now and I think I could have added two more layers, giving it five.

I could also have added a real feather and a clear front to protect the very fine cuts I put into it…. I did some very fine cuts. Pestilence pointed out this morning that these fine cuts were fragile. Yeah. I’d have to change the 3D process just a tad so I could have these fine cuts. I like my fine cuts. I noticed none of the other artists were doing cuts like that, and I’m thinking… but I like my fine cuts….

This morning I set about looking around the internet to check my process and see how the pros do it. I have no idea if I reverse engineered accurately or not because all of the tutorials are on Youtube and, as I’ve ranted before, I fucking hate video tutorials. But something else I saw worth mentioning was some of the 3D artworks were simply amazing. 10 layers. Things just popped at you. Wow.

And how much do they sell for? One guy is selling his tokens on etsy for a whopping $6. Other cards I saw with more layers than this one were selling for $15. I did see one guy selling his cards for what his hard work was worth: $50. But… just one.

I don’t think this craft would be the savior to my bills, no. But it was fun and I’d make another. I think they’d make awesome Christmas presents and, sure, I’ll sell ’em when I make ’em. Why not?

But today as much as I wanna play, I gotta concentrate on more important things. Normally I take Sunday off but there’s this movie I and Pestilence have been working on for a lovely lady over the big water. We’re almost done, and I’m at that point in the project where I want to get done done done! So I can bask in my genius. 😉

Oh, and I’ve got an Elfquest entry to finish up today as well. For the fanart calendar contest.

And then we might play Magic the Gathering, if we can find the time.