Archive for September, 2009

Moonlit clouds

Posted on Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 at 9:06 am

I am facing a rather serious challenge, to achieve the effect of light fluffy popcorn clouds backlit by the moon.  modo seems the most likely candidate at this point.  It’s not going to be easy.

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At this point, I’m thinking a spotlight with a tight cone and loose fall off, working in a tightly defined volumetric layer, with shader filtration to form the clouds.  Fun, fun, fun……

Multi-tasking

Posted on Monday, September 28th, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Today was a truly multi-tasking day.  One of those tasks was this.  Note the shag carpet, another product of modo 4 hair.

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Marathon in the rear view mirror

Posted on Sunday, September 27th, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Just finished the final episode of Babylon 5’s season 5, including all the 2 hour special insertions.  As it usually is, it was inspiring, even though it was the CGI technology of a decade ago.

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When I look back on the things of the 80’s and 90’s that inspired me to pursue 3D graphics, either beginning my pursuits or further encouraging me), a distinct list comes to mind.  Some are early CGI movies (Tron, The Last Starfighter, The Abyss, Terminator 2, Spawn, The Fifth Element, Dragon Heart) , some are TV shows (Babylon 5, Starship Troopers), some are 3D designers and developers (ISO, Eric Wegner, Kai Krause, and many others).

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Looking back at a the state of the art a decade ago, I see very clearly what the last decade has brought to CGI.  In many ways, the advancement of tools has caused a revolution, and in other ways, a backlash.  Routine use of Photoshop in publications has drawn heat for representing too perfect a world for our impressionable youth.  Films now contain more CGI than people want to see.  CGI is now a hobby as well as a production industry, with many people entering the field with expectations of it to being much easier than it really is, often fed by visions they gain in digital gaming.  The hobbyist stores that expanded like mushrooms are starting to feel financial strain.

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Yet CGI continues to advance, growing better and more efficient.  And for me, this is why it is important for me to keep in touch with those things in the 80’s and 90’s that inspired me to pursue the field.  It reminds me in the face of much of the backlash why I got involved with it in the first place.

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But now it is time for me to return to end of this decade, carry that fresh charge of inspiration with me.

Arf arf…… pant pant…… arf arf

Posted on Thursday, September 24th, 2009 at 11:14 am

Use of Fur Parametric Length Gradient to define hair shading, light at the skin to match, dark at the tip.

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Rainbows

Posted on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 at 7:27 pm

There is a very vibrant double rainbow outside the window, a most glorious tribute to the sunset to the other direction.  To top it off, there are several dozen deer playing under the rainbow.  A wonderful way to say farewell to the day’s sunlight.

More modo hair

Posted on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 at 10:30 am

A fat cat…..  I think I’ve gotten the hair shader down pat now (well, 90% or better).

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Bunny adjusted

Posted on Saturday, September 19th, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Here’s a couple of dozen changes to reduce the shadow effects of the fur.  Results, a clean bun-bun.

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Bunny

Posted on Saturday, September 19th, 2009 at 9:15 am

A toon bunny, with hair.  I’m having a little trouble repressing the hair shadows, so that the fuzziness doesn’t come out quite so dark.  I think I need to separate the fur and body color shaders and apply more ambient color to the fur.

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Babylon 5

Posted on Thursday, September 17th, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Entering the 4th season of Babylon 5 in my annual marathon.  I usually watch the series from stem to stern in January, but this year has mandated that it be postponed.

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I watch the series for several reasons.  It was one of the big reasons that I got seriously into 3D back in the 90’s.  It was pretty close to cutting edge animation back in the mid-90’s, quite impressive by any of the CGI standards back then.  It was a big feather in the cap of Lightwave.

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I watch it annually to measure the distance from the cutting edge now to  the cutting edge back then, and how much that divergence has grown.  It is a good ruler in the evolution of 3D tools.  It was also a good ruler of degrees from I wish that I could do that, to I can do that, to I can do better than that.

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I was also a Harlan Ellison fan, and he definitely left his dark side to be felt in this one.  True, the alien races were pretty humanized, their differences clearly illuminating known aspects of the human psyche, but it was TV, not a movie.  So I forgive that.  The plot was good for TV and all it requires.  It’s a fun watch if you can get past the depressing parts without succumbing.

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This time, I am stringing it out a little longer than usual.  I’m not jumping in during the dead of winter when I’m caged from the cold.  The weather is actually enjoyable now.  So it’s taking a little longer than usual, fewer episodes per day.  But that’s okay.  There is construction going on here, and it makes for a good medium to drown out the incessant banging.

Warp speed

Posted on Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Been modeling on a commercial project, essentially a model of a control panel, the key controls being T-bar sliders, the kind often seen for manually cross-fading scenes in a TV station.  That is just part of the concept.  Naturally what is on the monitor is also of importance to the theme…..

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Also did some Photoshopping on a virtual lawn.

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Back in the saddle, it seems…… despite the banging of hammers at the other end of the house.

Rolling westward…..

Posted on Sunday, September 13th, 2009 at 8:43 am

Packing between rain showers for a return to the golf course in hill country.  I have a server to set up.  And I’ll be working on graphics as well.  Any physical work will be inside, and I can kiss the DEET goodbye for a while.

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I have a lot of sorting to do, as I will be gaining a 500G external drive, which I need desperately.  1.2 T just isn’t enough.  And I’ll be burning quite a few backup discs too.  I’ll be busy, but hopefully not too busy to use the extra processors there to do some graphics work to post here.

Rain delay

Posted on Friday, September 11th, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Been raining off and on all day, something I haven’t seen in a long time.  And it’s all over the places that need it most.  The drought falls with summer.  In the low 70’s and humid.  *sigh*

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It did slow the work planned for today.  But that’s okay, there isn’t all that much hard work left to do.  Seen plenty of heat delays in recent months, but a rain delay has a certain novelty, enough to make being stuck in a dry building bearable.

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Music jam was fun last night, and it was pretty tight.

Lingering

Posted on Thursday, September 10th, 2009 at 10:13 am

Hanging around here for the music tonight, even though I had fulfilled my commitment here.  I also agreed to do a little more physical work around here to help prep the new location for the carport.  (Not that the old location’s efforts went entirely to waste.)  So I’m waiting to  be called into service when  the work begins.

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Three weekly jams in a row is a record.  I’ll be  headed west to the golf course when I get finished here.

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Just deleted my first spambot junk comments on the blog.  I’m not unfamiliar with them from other blogs that I’ve assisted.  That is why people need to wait for their comments to show.  It saves a lot of real time policing.

More Nursoda

Posted on Monday, September 7th, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Added a few new Nursoda characters to the collection.  Bong, Bonga, and Kena.  They join Loik, Theo, Kelm and Kali, Kalinka, Koit, Zlata, and Telka.  I almost got Mo, but I’ll wait.  I need another TB of hard drive first.  I really enjoy his figures.

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Tomorrow is my last full day here.  I should be rolling Wednesday.

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A few days to play….

Posted on Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Got a new credit card.  My bank was bought out, so they sent me a new card, even though I had another two and a half years left on the current one.  Deposited a check today, so it was convenient to activate it at the ATM.  At least the number and pin are the same as before.

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I’ve also finished the physical work here, and now I get to sit around for a few days, which promise to be cooler.  That will hopefully translate to a new 3D project.  This summer has not been exceptionally inspiring in terms of verts and polys.  It’s hard to get excited about the virtual when the real is too brutal for conceptualizing.

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Music tonight.  Tuned the twelve string after letting soak up a little of the moisture from this afternoon’s light rain and cooler air.  Expecting a number of song leaders tonight, so it won’t be all on my shoulders.  So things are good……