Archive for June, 2009

Pilsner glass mesh

Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 7:49 am

pilsner

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Working on a pilsner glass, but the smoothing of the glass walls is a bit slow going, because they are so thin and the margin for error so slim.
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I’m certain that it won’t be as visually critical once I fill the glass with beer.
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Profile defined in Illustrator, saved as EPS. Lathed in modo.

More modo hair

Posted on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Thistle
thistleThis is an old exercise for a hair generator. Create a wheel and plant hair along the outer rim, with a small amount of deviation for the organic feel. I think this works, and it’s very easy to achieve. Duplicated the wheel and expanded the size a fraction to cover the texture zone. This was the quickest mask. All it needs is a stem and seed.

My fade away

Posted on Sunday, June 28th, 2009 at 10:23 pm

This is probably best described as a rant in form, though by intent, it is not. It is simply a way to express something that I have been holding back for some time. My purpose is to express things that are changing my direction in life, not to attack or point fingers. If I had wanted to do that, it would have happened far sooner and far more obviously.
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I have been a member of various online 3D communities during the last decade plus. Where there has been a worthwhile resource pool of models, textures, and various preset files for a variety of studios, I’ve been involved to some degree.
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I’ve made many friends over the years, some brief and intense, some spanning years. I’ve given away a lot of resources in some of these communities. I helped a lot of people solve problems. All of this has been in the spirit of giving back to the community that nurtured my skill sets when I was starting out. Granted, things freely available were much scarcer back when I started out. But then I had been a professional photographer prior to tackling CG and brought with me many skills that paid off greatly in the virtual world.
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Over the years, I’ve seen the communities change as the software evolve. The pioneering era of the 90’s gave way to the refinement of the early 00’s. As the talent matured in the last six years, the community became very profit oriented. Anyone with talent turned to becoming content merchants at the online stores. The stores became crowded with merchants, heavily diluting an already strong buyers’ market. The description of the stores as monstrous flea markets is one I found quite apt.
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New stores sprang up with the hopes of matching the success of the big stores. Many fell flat on their faces after a desperate series of attempts to attract a customer base. The communities became rife with politics and frustration. The talent improved with the software advances, and it became easier to achieve good results in 3D, provided one has sufficient funds to throw at the stores.
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Because of the increased ease in 3D for those who could afford to purchase commercial content, the attitude of those entering 3D also changed. The demand for easier results became far more common.
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That’s enough background. During all this time, I stayed focus on commercial production, selling my renderings as part of my design services. I never succumbed to the urge to become a merchant. I had accumulated more than the required skills to produce commercial grade content. But to be honest, I made better money selling my services.
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I have continued to create freebies for the various communities. Many can be found here on the site in the CGI section. None of them are the state of my talent. Most of them are items that I didn’t have in my collection of 3D content (about 600 gigs worth in all). It’s not always easy to make something original in 3D, but often inspiration or need would find me and I’d create the meshes and texture them.
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One of the reasons that my freebies have stayed simple is the time needed to create a studio specific package for Poser or Vue or C4D. Because of my schedule, I kept the conversions simple. No rigging, no morphs, all those time eating processes that I could create but for which I don’t have the time and energy to bring to package.
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Add to it a growing feeling that I have sufficiently given back to the communities to cover any debt that I might have incurred in the act of downloading the items that others share.
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Part of this comes from the way that people have learned to gripe about content that doesn’t offer instant gratification. If the slightest adjustments are needed, the item is considered trash by many in the forums. I find it increasingly difficult to be generous when faced with this attitude.
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One sore spot in particular is the chasm between Poser and Daz Studio. I use Poser Pro, because it is a good means of exporting content to higher tier studios, such as my current favorite modo. Daz Studio doesn’t offer the same tools for the export process. Daz Studio is geared for importing, not exporting. And it’s often so buggy on the Mac, and minus so many of the options available to PC users, that it’s just not worth it for me to even have it installed on my processors.
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Because I don’t support Daz Studio, many of its users have no qualm in trying to lay a load of guilt on my doorstep for not supporting their studio. This isn’t true for all DS users, but there are more than enough who relish in spitting venom at me for choosing Poser over their choice. Never mind that I have used Poser since 1.0. Never mind that I was an active beta tester for Daz Studio when it first came out. Never mind that the string of bugs in the constant parade of updates made me decide to quit wasting my time with it. It’s free, and I have no excuse in their eyes for not supporting their precious studio.
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Add to it that the politics of Poser is out of control in many places. You can be generous, supportive, good natured, but if you have a single opinion, you can become a target, branded a pariah, by intolerant members of the community. I quit posting at Daz for this reason. I was outrageously blasted by someone in an official capacity at Daz for having opinions that I didn’t really have (perception is sufficient), and the power structure of the company supported their personnel. So I left, refusing to support a company that blindly dismisses the opinions of its customers in such a manner. I also was growing very weary of the newest series of Daz figures (V4/M4). I felt no loss when I walked away. I’ll miss some of the people in the forums there, but overall, I’m happy to leave the bad taste in my mouth behind.
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There were other sites where I felt at home in the forums, but they dried up and eventually folded. And then there were the stores who changed and destroyed a good site with an unfeasible upgrade. I can name a few I left behind because of change for change sake mixed with poor design judgement.
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One by one, I have cut my ties with the 3D community. I still go by and check for interesting content to add to my library. But I’m finding less and less that I want in the freebie sections. The coat tail riders are as thick as flies, wanting content to create scenes and characters from their favorite movies or video games. Celebs are a big item now, one for which I have almost no interest.
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First, you can’t make money off of material for which a third party has copyright and trademark. Second, having been a writer with a number of novels, novellas, and a rash of short stories under my belt, I thrive on original scenes. Third, many of the coat tail riders are afraid to surrender the “auto-acceptance edge” that pre-identified content gives. I like the thrill of having people admire my work that is all mine, from concept to post-production. I get very tired these days of watching people beg for TV, anime, movie, and gaming characters and props in the forums. It displays a lack of self-esteem to me to see someone constantly pursuing what is already famous, and I find it both sad and annoying.
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I mean, I like movies as much as anyone, and I find a fascination in many a fictional characters. But I don’t bring anything specific from what I find fascination elsewhere into my graphics work.
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Rather than telling them to do something original, I usually keep my mouth shut. I’m getting tired of holding my tongue, and it becomes easier just to back away from these crowds to which I no longer feel that I belong.
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It’s a natural evolution for those serious about 3D to go through the lower tier communities, gain mid and upper tier skills, and then move on. If I had followed the usual timetable, I would have departed years ago. I am involved in Lightwave circles, modo circles, C4D circles, but I always held a soft place in my heart for the low tier communities. There are a lot of good people there, it’s more relaxed than the mid-tier groups, and far less snobbish than the high-tier groups.
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I have moved on, but I never completely cut the cord with low tier. I have been fading for a couple of years. Since I discovered modo, my interest in 3D has re-blossomed. I love the concept of the GUI. I love the shaders and lighting and rendering engine. I love the modeler and UV tools. I love all aspects of it. (And I’m not the only one.)
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My presence in the Poser community has faded considerably in the last couple of years. Some of that may be due to a change in lifestyle. Some of that may be due to a loss of interest as I moved upward. Some of it is due to so many of the friends along the way already having made their departure before me. Some of it is due a weariness with the current state of the community. There are a lot of reasons for the shift away from a presence in the online 3D communities. But one reason is not a loss of interest in 3D.
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I wouldn’t be starting this blog if I were growing tired of 3D. But I am starting it largely because I am fading away from the last places where I still post in the communities. I don’t know if I will fade completely or not.
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I have also been growing tired of the mid-tier communities. While there is some sense of community, it is a far more commercial atmosphere. Friendships are rarer. The companies are less generous. The tolerance for error, real or perceived, is less. Generosity is rarer for the most part. The pursuits are more defined by plugins, so people aren’t on the same page nearly as much.
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So this blog is here primarily to insure that my 3D discussion doesn’t vanish online entirely, even if my presence in the established 3D watering holes does. People who want to find me can find me here.

modo 4 hair

Posted on Sunday, June 28th, 2009 at 8:01 am

ducky

modo ( http://www/luxology.com/ ) has introduced hair into its latest release, 4.0.1, and I’m in the process of shaking down the upgrade.  modo is my primary focus in 3D these days (last couple of years), and the rare major upgrades usually get my primary attention.  And I am finding a lot of new stuff to shake down.

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While there are a number of new items in modeling, most of the new features deal with the new rendering engine.  Hair, shadow catching, volumetric lighting, caustics, replication, animation advances, IK, are a few of new features that need my attention in the next few weeks.  There are modeling advances as well, such as advanced snap to tools, which will simplify the making of clothing for models.

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So expect a lot of shakedown images, first encounters with new tools.  And when I say new tools, I mean new to the modo studio.  Many of these features I’ve handled in other studios, but modo has its own state of the art GUI, and its controls are new, so diving in I am.

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And like Rubber Ducky, I am awfully fond of modo.

Welcome

Posted on Saturday, June 27th, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Welcome.

I’m Jerry, and this is my CGI blog.  This blog is where I will be discussing my graphics arts and the things that influence their creation.
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I deal in a number of high powered graphic engines, both 2D and 3D, such as Photoshop, modo, Lightwave, Poser Pro, Vue, C4D, Painter, and more.  Examples can be found in my gallery at http://gallery.fringewood.com/ Drop by to get an idea of my work.  There are also 2D and 3D downloads here http://cgi.fringewood.com/
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Some of you may know me personally, and some may know me as Fringewood and/or bog on various graphics forums.
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I also play music and sing with friends and will occasionally post mp3’s.
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And I have a few other interests as well.  More later when I get this blog whipped into shape.