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Making wax photos look like metal


#1

Is there a way to convert photos of waxes to looking like gold,
relatively easily?

I confess that I have always skipped over any discussion of design
programs, Rhino, etc, on Orchid, because I like to design and render
the old fashioned way.

In my new job, as I have mentioned in the context of help with
casting flaws, we do a lot of wax models. It occurs to me that it
would help our customers visualize their finished jewelry if we could
photograph a wax, then make it look like gold.

We don’t design on the computer because most of our pieces are
asymmetrical and organic, plus no one has CAD skills at work. A
couple of us are good at Photoshop, but it would be cumbersome to try
to change the color, add highlights and reflections, etc, “by hand”.
Is there a ready-made way to do this?

Thanks
Noel


#2
In my new job, as I have mentioned in the context of help with
casting flaws, we do a lot of wax models. It occurs to me that it
would help our customers visualize their finished jewelry if we
could photograph a wax, then make it look like gold. 

In 27 years of showing wax models to customers, and red wax at that,
I have never had anyone that did not understand what the finished
piece would look like. I have done some really crude and rough models
just to get the idea across.

I cannot do renderings. I have never had the desire. A sculptor will
make a maquette, and that is how I work.

I do not charge for the initial model. I do not do a model unless I
feel I have a really good sense of what the customer wants. If they
like the model, I take a deposit and then I make the wax model that
will be cast.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#3
In my new job, as I have mentioned in the context of help with
casting flaws, we do a lot of wax models. It occurs to me that it
would help our customers visualize their finished jewelry if we
could photograph a wax, then make it look like gold. 

One of the older wax catalogs I have here suggests to use bright
gold spray paint to paint waxes to show to customers. I know that
Lowes (big-box home improvement chain store) sells very bright, shiny
gold, copper, and silver spray paint. I think it’s made by Rustoleum.
Just look for the very shiny caps on the paint cans. You might try
that first before messing with photo editing.

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry
www.featheredgems.com


#4
One of the older wax catalogs I have here suggests to use bright
gold spray paint to paint waxes to show to customers 

It’s hard to imagine that the paint would not interfere with spruing
and casting, let alone seeing the fine detail! Metalic paints
contain, I think, fine particles of brass or aluminum, though I
won’t swear to that. I appreciate the out-of-the-box thinking, but I
am pretty sure we need to do it “virtually” if at all.

Thanks, though
Noel


#5

Picasa is the very best to achieve this. Many adjustments can be
made, and it’s a free/easy to use program. Margie Mersky


#6
Picasa is the very best to achieve this. Many adjustments can be
made, and it's a free/easy to use program. 

Better than Photoshop, which we already know how to use?


#7
In 27 years of showing wax models to customers, and red wax at
that, I have never had anyone that did not understand what the
finished piece would look like. I have done some really crude and
rough models just to get the idea across. 

Well, in my relatively short experience with this, many customers
are nervous about the models in a way that leads me to think they
have trouble with the leap from blue wax to metal, especially when
the process is done by email. If there is a way to make it easier for
them, that would be a good thing, don’t you think?


#8

Maybe if you go into the hue/saturation you could at least adjust the
color of the blue wax to yellow in photoshop. Photograph the wax with
a white back ground. Also you use “apple l” to adjust the the levels,
which might help it look more 3-d even though it is 2-d.


#9

Hey Noel,

Your boss probably does not want to change waxes but this is the
very reason Kate Wolf made her wax gold colored. It does really help
with visualizing the model in metal.

Cheers-Carrie Nunes


#10
Well, in my relatively short experience with this, many customers
are nervous about the models in a way that leads me to think they
have trouble with the leap from blue wax to metal, especially when
the process is done by email. 

Makes more sense that the customer is nervous doing business by
email. Since I work with people in person and I have other jewelry
that they can look to understand how it will look, my customer has
more confidence they are going to get what they want.

I assume it is easier when you have someone in the store and you show
them other pieces and you can give them an idea of what the finished
piece will look like.

I also have the experience that when I feel like I understand what
the customer wants, and I convey confidence knowing that I can meet
or exceed their expectation, the customer trusts me and when I
deliver, they are very pleased.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#11

Hi Noel,

Stick with photoshop if you think you’re up to it. It’s the 800
pound gorilla for a reason.

That said, wax doesn’t photograph like metal: the highlights are all
wrong, and metal isn’t transparent, so that’ll screw your shadows
too. You’re going to end up with more of a painting than a
photograph, and I strongly suspect it’ll be more time efficient to
do it some other way.

Off the top of my head, I’d think of doing a rough wax, and then
using one of those ‘bronzing’ pastes that they once used to 'antique’
picture frames. It was some sort of metallic paste that wiped on like
shoe polish. Came in a 1oz tube, and would be just about perfect for
this. Yeah, it probably junks the wax for casting, but even with
the overhead of carving a new wax, you may well come out faster than
futzing with photoshop to make something semi-believable. It might
even be faster (in the long run) to suss out a CAD system and use
that to cook up a rendering that you can output to a wax printer.

Regards,
Brian


#12
I have here suggests to use bright gold spray paint to paint waxes
to show to customers. 

Didn’t think of that, and some of the chrome paints (gold chrome
paints included), spray on okay, but when you rub them with a cloth
they become reflective, not awesome, but not bad.

Regards Charles A.


#13

You might try wolf silver and gold wax tubes…

Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold


#14

Noel, have you tried the wolf waxes that come in gold and silver.
They don’t give an exact look but they are certainly better than just
red or blue. Frank Goss


#15

Photoshop has many good ways to colorize or otherwise alter the
colors in a photo. You could make an action of the steps so that the
process becomes repeatable with but a click of the mouse.

The main thing would be to finish the waxes with a high polish and
photograph them under quite bright light so that there were already
good specular highlights in the original image.

Elliot Nesterman


#16

Noel, on coloring wax to gold At one point Kate Wolf was making gold
and silver wax just so the customer could see what the final product
would look like. I don’t know if that’s still available.

Donna in VA


#17

Thanks-- most of our waxes are built-up from prior molds, so it’s
injection wax. Maybe we can get some Wolf Waxes for the ones that are
carved-- are they good, aside from the color?


#18
Makes more sense that the customer is nervous doing business by
email. Since I work with people in person and I have other jewelry
that they can look to understand how it will look, my customer has
more confidence they are going to get what they want.[snip] I also
have the experience that when I feel like I understand what the
customer wants 

OK, Richard, this is all well and good, but really, what’s your
point? The question isn’t really one of comparison between the way
you do business and the way we do, is it? FWIW, the customers getting
"viewings" by email are never new customers, they are repeat business
now moved out of town, or on trips but not wanting their jewelry held
up til they get back, etc.

But, glad as I am that you meet your customers’ needs, I don’t see
the relevance to my question.

I am just looking for an easy solution to retouching wax photos to
help our customers visualize-- even if they’re in the store looking
at the wax in person. So far, Photoshop seems to be the only option.
I can do that-- I just thought there must be a ready-made solution
for this, because it seems like something many jewelers would find
helpful.

If there were an app or a trick or a program for such a quick fix,
you folks on Orchid would know about it. So I guess it isn’t out
there (yet).

Thanks for the suggestions I have received!
Noel


#19

Hi guys:

Do the rest of you really like the ‘gold’ & ‘silver’ waxese I tried
them when they first came out, and by the time I got the waxes down
thin enough for casting, the things were essentially transparent.
Couldn’t see much of any coloring to them, and they certainly didn’t
look like metal. They were transparent enough to really make it
difficult to carve detail, so I went back to standard Carvex green.

Have they gotten better in the past couple of years?

Regards,
Brian

PS–> This isn’t any criticism of Kate, and certainly not for having
the guts to come up with something new. It’s just that I don’t
like them.


#20

Hi Noel,

Try a gold colored metallic marker. They come in a silver color as
well. They are the smelly messy type with a big square felt tip.
Swipe it over the model, let dry and it looks like the real thing.
Fast orange or any wax cleaner takes it off again.

Brigit