Orca Counter

Here the full photo series for this project

Details Below:

This is one of my more recent pieces, and is the counter top that is on one side of my, very large, fish tank I am building in the basement room, that I also built,  but more on that in future posts, as I wanted to show the process I went through to make this counter top and the mosaic.

Originally I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do with this brick wall.  I knew I wanted to make a counter top to extend the side of the tank stand, but wasn’t sure exactly what that would look like. At first I thought I would put the plywood up and then tile the counter in white subway tiles but I wasn’t in love with the idea, or the added cost to of grout, sealant, thin set etc…


We have kept a deep rock bottle for many years that we put all our bottle caps in, and I had always intended to use them to make some mosaic of sorts. I had tried a bit with setting them as mosaic tiles before with our house number sign, but the sign needs to be bigger for the mosaic to work. I also had several types of  cements in the garage outside, including white Portland cement, as well as a few different colored aggregates, which I had been using for building rock formations for the big tank.

I started by sorting all the beer caps by color groups, and took about 2 days to sort them all out. This was, in many ways, like taking census of your household beer drinking habits for the last 10-15 years, so it was kind of interesting to see. Heineken, Boulder Beers and Breckenridge are apparently are our top 3 beers.

Next I started trying a few different designs, including turtles and fish, but decided I wanted something that would stretch across the counter top, like a whale, or porpoise. In the end the Orca patterning and body shape worked best for this.

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After I had decided on the design, I penciled in the pattern before I removed the bottle caps, so that I could build the frame of the box around the counter to hold it all in. I then masked off all the edges I wanted to protect from the next steps.

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For the next part, I had decided I wanted to use different color concretes but to do that, I would need to make some sort of temporary form mold to hold the shape of the different concretes. During the process of building the tank stand, I had squared off a bunch of 2×4 boards, this meant I had quite a few super thin strips of wood, which I soaked in water to prior to setting the form. I used small finish nails to hold the form in place.

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Once the form was in, I mixed and poured the first concrete mix, which was White Portland cement and white reef sand. This went in all around the outside of the form for the ‘sea water’, and as soon as I spread it out, I would press the bottle caps it the concrete and then smooth it around the cap using various tools and a spray bottle.

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Let it sit for a few hours, then come back and remove the forms, and make the forms for the white spots on the Orca. I poured those in with White Portland cement, and a black sand for the aggregate, just to set it off from the other white cement. As soon as I poured both the white I started on the gray cement, which I used standard mason mix with some added black sand as well. You have to work quickly and methodically to get all the beer caps pressed in and cleaned before the cement starts to set.

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Somewhere during all this I had decided I was going to pour an clear epoxy resin over the top of this, so that it would look awesome, be solidly encased and waterproof, given there is to be a large saltwater fish tank next to it.  I did some research and settled on a Bar top epoxy that pours out in 1/8″ layer and is self leveling. At first I only ordered enough epoxy to do one pour, but once I did a bit of math I decided I would buy enough for 2 pours.

In hindsight though, I should have ordered 3, as one more pour would have filled the edges of the counter perfectly, but each pour costs about $80, and I had already exceed my budget for the month. I am still thinking of putting a third layer on it though, to fill it up before, I fill the tank and build some bar rails around it.

Doing the pours themselves are fairly nerve wracking and quite a process. For starters you have to build a tent around the area, and heat the inside temp to around 85 degrees or more. You then have to mix the epoxy, which is very specific in amounts and mixing times. Failure to meet any of the directions for the pour can result in a bad pour and ruin the whole thing. Luckily though I did my homework and planned it all out ahead of time.

Had one issue with the seal coat not completely sealing the surface underneath and some micro bubble made it into the first pour, but otherwise it turned out great and has really become one of my favorite pieces so far.

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To do on this is to add a molded bar rail around the front and maybe one around the feet area, but that will likely come sometime down the road.


Tank is leaking..OMG!!!

At about 4-6 months with the new saltwater tank, the tank started leaking a bit. It wasn’t huge or anything. In fact it was just this odd spot of salt creep that kept appearing in the front right corner of the tank. Luckily it wasn’t huge as this gave me time to prepare to take the tank down and reseal it.

I had never resealed a glass tank before, but after some internet research I found that it wasnt really that hard to do, and only had a few easy steps to do it. First step was to get the tank emptied. So I acquired a 30g and a 10g tank for the task of housing everything for a few days. I plumbed the 30g directly to the existing sump and started moving the rock, corals and critters to the 30g, and I moved all the sand to the 10g.


I pulled the main tank down, and cleaned it completely with vinegar and water.

Next step, and actually the most tedious step, was to remove the old silicon. You cant remove just a small section of the silicon either, you must remove all of the silicon; except the stuff that is between the panes and holding the glass in place.

Once you get all the silicon cut out you have scrub and clean any residue left behind from it, which takes a bit of elbow grease, some razor blades, rubbing alcohol and at least a few beers.


After that you use masking tape and you tape up all the edges of the tank. You tape both sides of the seam and leave about a 1/2-1/4 inch gap between them. Once you do this its just a matter of laying a bead of aquarium safe silicon and then quickly removing the tape before the silicon skins. Then its 2 days to cure before you can refill it.




Refilled and running like a champ again.



First saltwater tank

When my daughter was born I had a decent freshwater tank. It was a planted 55g and had tetras and bala sharks. My friend Ryan Knope had given me the tank to get me back into aquariums, which was something I had all my life until I went to college, and couldn’t afford one. I had that tank up and running for several years, and the Sharks were starting to outgrow the tank, so I was looking to upgrade to a 75-90g bowfront.

When I told my wife that I wanted to upgrade the tank she suggested that I should go to saltwater, since it was something that I had always wanted to do. She very much regrets that suggestion, but to late now. mwahahaha 😉

Thus marks my entry into the very addicting and amazing world of Marine Aquatics.

I did a ton of reading, bought a few books and read everything I could find on the internet to decide exactly which direction I was going to go with the tank and how to care for it. I still wanted a bowfront though as I has seen a few of them and really liked the shape. I hunted for the right tank for several months via craigslist until I finally found this beauty of a tank.

It came with tank, stand, canopy, the rock, a couple corals, a crab or two, a 20g tank for the sump and a return pump. The rock and stuff was already cycled and ready to go, so I made the dividers I wanted for the sump and then got the tank moved and running.  I added a few chromis, two clowns and a jawfish at first. Most of which sadly didnt survive to long since the tank was fairly unstable at this time. I do still have the clowns and the scarlet hermit crab however and they likely will get to be the first inhabitant in my latest monster tank build, but more on that in another post 🙂

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Jesus Character Game model

Did a Character model for a game called ‘Savior’, which is still in production as far as I know. This is to be the main character in the game. and the player will take control of him and play through various biblical stories.

In the end the model was under 20k polys total with full uvs, normal map, color, specular, and bump maps.

Zbrush, 3ds Max and Photoshop

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Civil War Captian’s Sabre

Started working on some weapon collections so time ago. The idea was to made a few sets of period specific weapons starting with the civil war and working toward the present. To-date though I have only made the first melee weapon for the civil war set, but hope to get back to these models in the near future. When complete the models will be game ready low rez, normal mapped, models to be posted to turbo squid to sale.

This is the completed highrez model for the sabre. Next step would be to build the low poly model and project this onto it.


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Time for a revival

Been a while since I posted. 5yrs in fact as my last post was 2 weeks before my daughters birth, and now she is in kindergarten and learning about the world. Since then my wife was kind enough to rebuild my site and installed wordpress, which should make it easier for me to post to the site finally. 🙂

In those 5 years I have done quite a bit of 3d and other art pieces, So I thought I would start adding some of those older art projects, as well as some of the 3d and my marine aquatics projects. So I will try and do an image dump soon to bring things up to date and then start some posts on my current projects. So stay tuned for that.

Nextgen m1911 .45 cal pistol

This gun was done for a client test, to see if they liked my work. Fortunately they did, so there will likely be more weapons like it to come.
This gun is a classic model of the M1911 .45 cal pistol. It has been standard issue in the military since WWI and still in service today. I was able to obtain technical schematics of the weapon parts and as a result the model is perfect scale to the real thing and has all the working parts, well the ones that will be visible in game anyway. The model itself is 4660 polys and has a 1024×1024 diffuse, specular and normal map.