Sunday, September 25, 2011

News of the Awesome

Mind, consider yourself blown! Boom!

Pixologic has done it again. zBrush 4 Release 2 (4R2 for short... sounds like a droid, right?) is coming out soon! Check out the videos here and here. I could tell you what's in them, but you really should see for yourself! I am going to have SO much fun working with this.

I do hope that 4R2 handles memory better than 4. That would be a huge help for my high polygon Bodacious Creed models.

And to make things even better, 4R2 is a free upgrade for all registered zBrush users. I mean, that just makes my frakin' day!

In Bodacious Creed news, Creed and Anna are both nicely posed for the first scene! They need some sculpting work, including getting parts of their bodies shaped up, and sculpting wrinkles into their clothes. Creed's shoulder guard got all twisted out of shape in the initial posing, so I'll be bringing in the non-posed version and getting that set on him properly. Oh, and I posed Anna down to her hands and fingers. This is something that's been tricky for me before, but yeah, I'm getting better. This time it was easy and looks really good.

I'll do my best to get another vlog out to you all in the next few days!

Oh, and in Couch Zombies news, I recently made a very short video introducing the Phillip DeFranco show. PDF is a popular YouTuber who has asked fans to make intro videos. So, I hope he uses ours! And, here it is!

More soon...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Eager to Pose

I've been working a lot on the hair for Anna Lynn Boyd and Bodacious Creed, as you've read here and seen in my latest vlog videos.

I'm happy to say that I'm finally just about done with that phase, and ready to start posing the first scene!

I think that, until I do start on that scene, I'm going to feel like there's no end to this work. Yes, I'm sure I can get it done by late November, when I'll likely have my review. Still, actually bringing this into the posing phase will really help!

I'll share some images and maybe a vlog soon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hair: Problems and Solutions

Yesterday was LONG. I had two tricky software problems yesterday.

First, I was working on Creed's hair, but every time I went to render the scene, Maya would crash. I finally figured out what was causing the problem, after hours of Googling. A forum on Digital Tutors had the answer. It was a little tricky to follow though, so I created a tutorial on how to fix it.

After that, I transferred Anna in her work clothes from zBrush to Maya, complete with all the maps, and set up the skin shader on Anna's body. I set up a turntable, though when I went to render it, Maya wouldn't do it. I don't remember the original error. However, I updated Maya 2011 with the latest release, and then the batch rendering was even worse. (Batch rendering is when you create all the images for an animation.) Maya would simply report that the render was starting... and then that it was done, of course with no images rendered out.

After a few more hours, I went back to the former version I have of Maya 2011, and it worked fine.

Maya is a harsh mistress.

Actually, it kind of feels like Maya is a wife and zBrush is a mistress. I'm glad they get along so well.

Here are two new vlog videos! The first shows a bit of how I'll be working with Shave on Creed's hair, and the second is the tutorial on how to get the skin shader and Shave to cooperate.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

200th Post!

It's hard to believe, but this is my 200th post to this blog!

I've just started working on the hair for Creed, and plan to do his, then Anna's hair, then start posing them for the first scene.

And here's my latest vlog, showing the work I've done over the past week.

With this being my last semester, we're well over half way through the blog, and the vlog. How many more posts do you think we'll have?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hard Surface Stuff

You've been reading my books on your Kindle, yeah? Well if you're not buying those, how can I count on you to read Bodacious Creed? Give me some incentive to write the book!  If you can pay $8.00 to see a movie, you can pay $2.99 to read one of my novels.

Anyhow, that's enough berating my friends for the day!  Of course I'm playing, but I did work hard on those books and would like people to enjoy them.

But, on to the subject at hand, hard surface models for Bodacious Creed!

The first scene I'm going to set up is of Creed on Anna's operating table.  As we know, she's a brilliant inventor who has started working in prosthetics and raising the dead.  Damn, I really should write this story.  Anyway, Creed is on the table, and Anna resuscitates him.  He scrambles back on the table in shock, and she backs off, but tries to assure him that it's Okay.  She didn't realize he would have such a violent reaction, or even that he would initially have the energy to move like that.

I won't be modeling the entire workshop, just what is necessary to see for the scene, somewhat like what you might see in a not-quite minimalist play.  We'll have the table (based on Victorian operating tables of the time), some operating tools hanging from pegs, the floor, and perhaps a light source.  I'll need to do my research on what other people have done for Steampunk lights, and put my own twist on that.

So, last night I started modeling the table.  I'm working on that right now.  It's fairly simple, but will have some nice detail in the form of the pegs and the texturing.  I'm about to start on the texturing bit now.  Time to find some of my good wood textures!

I have some turntables to share as well of Creed and Coconino.  So, time permitting today, I'll get a new vlog out.  If I don't have time, then in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What I've Created Before

Before I dived headlong into digital art, I wrote fantasy books.

For awhile, I had them unpublished, but recently thought it would be fun to re-release the Kindle editions.

If you've been enjoying this blog, you might enjoy these reads!

Then, you can tell me if you think I should write a book about Bodacious Creed.

More thesis news soon!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Coconino's Wires

So, you know the wires on Coconino, coming from the tubes on his back and such?

a) No? Well watch some of the latest vlogs.

b) Yes? I came up for what I think is a pretty sweet idea for them.

Obviously, I don't want them to be exposed wires. But they wouldn't have had rubber in the 1860s. Wires either, but this is Steampunk. The wires are a given. Rubber would be weird. Suspending disbelief is funny like that.

My first idea was to have them wrapped in denim. I even textured them like that, and they looked pretty cool. But then I realized, if he has to go through water, or it rains, he'd better be immune to the ether-converted-to-electricity, or zap! Dead coyote that now needs to be raised like Creed.

But hey, leather. So, I'm going to have them wrapped in black leather. Anna is a brilliant enough engineer to pull that off, and to make it very waterproof.

I'm going to texture them like that in a few. Right now I'm redoing the UVs on the wires, which is a tedious process. It's actually sort of meditative though.

Fall Semester Starts!

It started last Wednesday, and has been going pretty well. I didn't get the one-on-one instructor I requested, but Ann, who is terrific, is going to do my one-on-one again. Ann is an incredible modeler, and while she doesn't really do texturing or shading, she has a great eye for those things. With her eye, my texture and shading training, and any training I need from Digital Tutors, the end result of my thesis will rock.

I'm also taking Professional Practices for Animation, VFX, & Games, a class to help prepare students for the job market. I have a few essays to write for that. The first "week" of class is actually twelve days, so I'm going to get those written in the next couple of days.

Coconino is still coming along well. I've modeled his eyes and teeth, and am sculpting the teeth now.

More soon!