October 26, 2007 . New Gallery Post permalink ] [ trackback ]

After a very long silent period, the gallery has a new post.  It’s something I started in the early summer and actually had some time this month to finish up.  It’s a model and animation of the Planet Express building from Futurama.  Check it out in the gallery section!

Posted at 4:00 pm [ 1 comment ] | [ Post a comment ]
October 2, 2007 . I’m Back permalink ]

The last month was a bit hectic – I got married and spent two weeks in Italy for my honeymoon.  So, now that the wedding and honeymoon are over, I’ll have more time again to focus on hobbies and other pursuits (like maybe posting more on this site).  I’m also hoping to get back into Lightwave soon, so I hope to have more content in the gallery in the near future.  Or at least I’ll be able to learn more about the latest releases; apparently Newtek has released Lightwave 9.3!

On a totally unrelated topic, a while back my brother released his demo reel.  Check it out, it has some clips from University State plus some completely brand new clips of things he created on his own (with some slight technical assistance from me when needed).

Posted at 2:32 pm [ 0 comments ] | [ Comments Off on I’m Back ]
June 18, 2007 . Vista Can Kiss My Ass permalink ]

My new Dell arrived Thursday and I spent a lot of time since then copying files, installing programs, and rebuilding my old computer into a backup file system. My new Dell runs on Microsoft Vista, the new computer operating system that Microsoft considers to be “cutting edge”. Well I’m here to tell you: it’s not.

Granted, the average user probably will not run into issues on this system and may find the new interface designs cool and fun. But as a power user, I am ready to throw Vista into the trash. I can make many small complaints that together wouldn’t make me give up on the OS (Vista’s constant security questions about performing tasks, the complete redesign of where system files are located, major changes in where configuration options are in the Control Panel icons, etc.). These are all annoyances, but after a while you just get used to the changes. But there is one major problem with Vista that I cannot get past: Vista has serious driver problems. The problems are so serious that I cannot use applications that run exceptionally well on Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

One of the main purposes for this new machine is to run 3D modeling and animation software, which relies on the stability and performance of OpenGL drivers. OpenGL is an open programming API used for graphic displays and is the main competition to Microsoft’s proprietary system, DirectX. Video card manufacturers provide OpenGL drivers as part of the video card and graphic programs can then use OpenGL to display graphics. Unfortunately, because of the way Vista handles drivers, it is much more difficult for a manufacturer to release a Vista-compliant driver (something I talked about in a previous post). And right now my video card driver, which was released about exactly a month ago, does not handle OpenGL displays well at all. On the main program I use (Lightwave), the program’s buttons are half blank and if I move the viewports around too fast, the application crashes.

I’m at the point now where I’m going to try a few more tech support calls (first with the software company and then with Dell) and if there are no solutions, I’m going to wipe the system and reinstall with Windows XP, which I know provides a stable platform for running my applications. Which means I have to do a lot more data copying and reinstall everything I spent the past few days installing.

When is Linux finally going to have a distribution that rivals Windows?

Posted at 2:01 am [ 0 comments ] | [ Comments Off on Vista Can Kiss My Ass ]
February 28, 2007 . Planet Express Update permalink ]

I did a little work last week on the Planet Express model that I’m doing for fun. Here are the latest renders. I still haven’t finished the basic modeling and I also have to spend some time improving the textures of everything, especially the windows.

Planet Express 1

Planet Express 2

Planet Express 3

Posted at 12:15 pm [ 1 comment ] | [ Post a comment ]
February 8, 2007 . Latest 3D Works permalink ] [ trackback ]

Last week I posted a new entry to my gallery, which was an attempt at a photo-realistic render of a melting ice cube and a glass. I’m very happy with the results, although I feel like I still need some work on lighting. Check it out in the gallery.

After I finished that piece, I started working on a new side project: the Planet Express building from Futurama. This will let me try out my skills with creating a cartoon-like setting. Futurama was partly created in 3D (the shots I’m using as reference were completely created in 3D, I think), so it’s a great level to strive for. My current progress is posted below.

Finally, production on University State ep. 4 has started and that will be taking up more of my free time. You can check out more details at Pi Visuals as they are released.

Planet Express

Posted at 10:38 am [ 2 comments ] | [ Post a comment ]
December 23, 2006 . My First Finished Model permalink ] [ trackback ]

I’m finally finished with my first model. I’ve put her on the shelf and moved on to newer projects. I created a (very) short animation to test out the controls where she jumps up and lands. I shot the same animation using two different cameras, one using a full shot and the other with a medium.

(click on the images to the left to view the two short clips)

Posted at 1:53 pm [ 1 comment ] | [ Post a comment ]
December 21, 2006 . Been Busy permalink ]

Well, I finally finished my first character model, rigging and all. I originally created the character without clothes, weight-mapped her, and rigged her in Layout. I spent this past week reworking the model to include clothes. I’ll have a finished image or sequence out very soon.

In the meantime, I’ll be working on a new model that will get used in the next episode of University State (the fourth – the third is finishing up post-production this week). I’m hoping that this model will go much faster than the first, now that I have the experience of making a model plus I can use my first model as a basis for creating the second one.

Posted at 2:12 am [ 0 comments ] | [ Comments Off on Been Busy ]
November 26, 2006 . ClothFX permalink ]

The other day I searched the Internet for a basic LightWave ClothFX tutorial and had a hard time finding anything. Eventually, I gave up and decided to try to get a basic setup working: draping a flat cloth over a simple sphere. After spending a fair amount of time guessing at settings, I finally got it to work.

And now to hopefully prevent other people from experiencing this frustration, I wrote up a quick tutorial describing my setup. Enjoy!

Tutorial link: http://www.moridin.com/tutorials/clothfx/basic/

Posted at 10:35 pm [ 2 comments ] | [ Post a comment ]
November 16, 2006 . Weight Maps and Plug-ins permalink ] [ trackback ]

The rigging of my model is taking longer than expected, mainly because I hit a speed bump this week while trying to weight map my character. Based on someone’s advice, I added a plug-in to LightWave that is supposed to make the mirroring of weight maps extremely easy. Of course it worked when I initially tried it, but subsequent tries failed by crashing Modeler! After trying different config options and tests, I still can’t figure out why it fails so miserably on my model.

So, I took a different approach. The crashing plug-in is written in the C/C++ SDK, which makes it difficult to debug. But there is another alternative for writing plug-ins: LScript. LScript is a C-like scripting language that gives you programmatic access to many of the features of LightWave. Armed with the Reference Manual, User Guide, and someone else’s code as a base example of how to create a plug-in, I actually wrote a working version of the plug-in, although it doesn’t have all of the flexibility of the original. However, it works and satisfies my needs.

I’m excited because I use scripting all the time for other tasks on the computer (in fact, my day job involves writing and maintaining a large collection of scripts that do a ton of work automatically). Extending those skills to LightWave has the possibility to be extremely beneficial down the road. I look forward to building a nice library of scripts to automate those tedious, repetitive tasks that computers are soooo good at finishing in seconds.

Posted at 12:49 am [ 1 comment ] | [ Post a comment ]
September 28, 2006 . Massive Attack and a Model permalink ]

The Massive Attack show was worth the wait – it was great! If you’re lucky enough that they are coming to your town, buy tickets to the show. The price is worth it just to see “Angel” and “Future Proof”. If you don’t know who Massive Attack is, look into them – they have a great, distinctive sound.

The show ended earlier than I expected, so I finished up the work on my first model. You’ll recognize the head from a previous post – I’ve added a body! Take a look: both links are to short movies that show a 360 view of the rendered, cel-shaded model.

(click on the images to the left to view the two short clips)

Posted at 2:50 am [ 1 comment ] | [ Post a comment ]
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