Q. What’s bas-relief?
A. Bas-relief is a branch of sculpture that deals with forms that are not fully 3D. The best example of bas-relief is the design of coins and medals. These feature forms that convey a sense of depth, but in reality are very shallow sculptures. However, bas-relief can also refer to architectural mouldings, memorial headstones, or decoration on silverware.
Q. What do you actually do?
A. We design, and sculpt bas-relief forms from a supplied brief. For example, you could ask us to design and sculpt a portrait of a loved one, for use on a headstone, or a decorative plaque featuring a family pet, or a building. The opportunities are wide and varied, but we basically design and sculpt decoration for flat surfaces.
Q. Is it expensive?
A. As with all design work, that depends on what you want! However, in reality, our ethos is to make bespoke bas-relief as accessible as possible to as wide a range of clients as possible. Drop us an email with an outline brief, and we’ll give you an estimate. We won’t chase you afterwards – it’s not how we do things.
Q. I’ve seen other companies offering bas-relief from photos. What makes you any different?
A. The majority of bas-relief companies out there use basic CNC packages to ’emboss’ a photo into a 3D form. This is not sculpture. ‘Auto-embossing’ just analyses your photo, and treats light areas as high spots, and dark areas as low spots, generating a 3D form accordingly. This means that cast shadows (such as a nose on a face), become deep holes in the 3D form, and look seriously ugly.
As trained bas-relief sculptors, we take our clients source material and physically sculpt it, using techniques that are centuries old, This results in bas-relief that captures the light, to convey a sense of depth and finesse.
Q. So do you work in clay, or something like that?
A. We work entirely digitally, which might sound odd, given our answer to the last question!
We use industry standard hardware and software to ‘hand sculpt’ via computer. The skills we use are identical to those of a ‘physical’ sculptor, but the clay we use is virtual.
This creates a unique opportunity – we can truly offer a traditional craft without the expense of prolonged labour. Imagine if a sculptor working in marble could ‘undo’ a bad cut…well that’s exactly what we do.
There are other, very talented sculptors out there, working digitally, but we don’t think there’s anyone doing so in such a commercially flexible way as ourselves.
Q. So, if I commission you, what do I actually receive?
A. For most of our commercial clients, we are the first link in the production chain. We supply a digital 3D model file that our clients can pass to their production units, and that can be engraved, or laser etched into whatever physical format they need.
For private clients, it’s usually a bit different, as they don’t have access to production facilities. In these instances, we can either connect them with a suitable production partner, or, for bespoke one-off commissions, we will discuss manufacturing options, and undertake that stage ourselves.
Q. What are the terms and conditions for using the free 3D assets?
A. We like to be productive, so when things are slow, we take some time to test new processes, or simply to sculpt up generic objects that we know clients will find useful.
These models are supplied in a universal ‘.OBJ’ format, so they should work with just about every 3D software package. We take every effort to make sure that they’re suitable for use, but they are supplied ‘as is’, and we’re not able to make any adjustments to detail or scale. We build the models to fit a 38.61mm diameter Crown size coin, so they’re as generic as possible.
We offer these models as royalty free assets, and do not require clients to identify us as the authors or originators. However, by using them, you agree not to offer them as your own IP, either specifically, or through insinuation; nor to offer them for sale outside of any original work that you have created that utilises them as part of a wider design composition.