New Year, New Blog

Wordpress Logo

Well the new year is upon us and I have finished designing and migrating my blog from Squarespace to Wordpress. It has taken me longer than I would have liked, but I think that I have pretty much finished the migration. I seem to have gotten all my posts, comments, and images transferred from the old blog to the new one, and it looks like I have worked out most of the bugs. Of course, now that I say that, the site is probably going to start breaking down. Such is the worry with technology.

Well, those of you who have been reading since I started back in 2009 might wonder why I switched from Squarespace back to Wordpress after originally switching from Wordpress to Squarespace. Well, it was not that I was unhappy with Squarespace. In fact, I would wholeheartedly recommend Squarespace to anybody. The reason why I switched is that I would eventually start learning how to create themes for Wordpress and I figured the best way to begin would be to jump in feet first. I purchased and excellent ebook: How to be a Rockstar Wordpress Designer from Rockable Press to help me learn some of the ins and outs of starting my first theme. You will notice that I have adapted the theme from the book to suit my own needs. I am sure there is some bloat in the code, but overall, I think this transition has been a success. Over the next few days I will continue to tweak the code and test in various browsers, but all looks good right now. I just hope it stays that way.

If you are looking at this in an older browser, it probably doesn't look right. Honestly, I don't care. You need to update your browser. It is free to do so and there is really no reason why you shouldn't be using the latest browser. I do understand if you are using a work computer and you have no control, but in that case, I hope you go home and look at the site in a newer browser. In my usability class we discussed things like this, but honestly, with technology changing as fast as it does, there is no excuse to use and older browser. Unfortunately, the browser with the most problems is Internet Explorer.  The site seems to run fine on version 8, but is messed up on version 7. If you are using version 7, just update to version 8. Please.

Since I am looking to start creating my own themes in the future, it is entirely possible that the look of the site will change from time to time. Hopefully the designs will become better and more cutting edge as I learn the ins and outs of creating the themes. I can say that I have learned quite a lot over the past few weeks. I am still a beginner, but I have really enjoyed myself.

Now on to the fun stuff. I really aim to update this blog several times a week. I have some interesting ideas in the works and I really want to create more tutorials that cover a wide range of topics. I think creating tutorials has been one of my favorite things to do. Over the past 6-7 months I have created three photography related tutorials that have been pretty successful, and I really hope to expand that and produce at least 2 new tutorials a month from here on out. I also hope to do some things with stock photography. I don't want to say too much now, but I am excited about where the new year will take me and this website.

For everyone who is reading and watching, I want to wish you a great new year. I think this is going to be a great year and I hope we can get to know each other. As always, feel free to leave comments, or contact me if there is anything you would like me to write about or cover. Thank you again for reading, and I will see you soon.

-Andy

A Missile Hits a Building

http://www.vimeo.com/10420944  

This was my final project for a compositing class. The building was shot locally by me and I used a mixture of elements from Video Copilot’s Action Essentials 2 and Digital Juice’s Compositor’s Toolkit to make the comp in After Effects. Tracking and roto was handled with Imagineer’s Mocha. I am happy with the way this turned out. This was my first major compositing project and while there are some things I could have done better, I am happy overall. My next goal is to add some sound effects.

Fun with Particles Part 2

http://www.vimeo.com/5469238 Here is another particle test I did. This time I created it entirely in Cinema 4D. I followed a tutorial by 3D Kiwi over at C4DCafe.com. This was created in version 10.5 using the MoGraph and Thinking Particles modules. I am just trying to come up with a couple proofs of concepts and hope to make a longer, more detailed animation soon. This was really fun.

Fun with Particles Part 1

http://www.vimeo.com/5465681  

This is a logo for a consortium I am a member of. This is a particle test using the Trapcode Form plugin for After Effects. The logo was created and rendered in Cinema 4D. I used object buffers for the floor and the logo to isolate the different elements. This was just a fun little project to pass the time, but I intend to expand upon it and try to work on particles a little more.

 

My 3D Journey Part II

Silo Logo

The first program I tried is strictly a modeling program. I do not use NURBS when I model so I didn’t need to find a program that handled those. I am mainly a Sub-D modeler and the first program I found for that is Silo. Silo has grown to be quite a good modeling program. They are now in to version 2 and Nevercenter keeps innovating and adding new features to this relatively inexpensive program. The modeling tools are easy to grasp and the interface is excellent.

One of the things I like most about Silo, besides the price, is the way you can customize the interface to suit your working style. You can do this with a lot of other programs, but I think the folks at Nevercenter really got this right. I also like the way that you can change subdivision levels by hitting ‘C’ or ‘V’ on the keyboard. This makes it extremely easy to model and check your progress.

Airplane

This is a plane that I was making while playing around with Silo. This is about 20 - 30 minutes of work and I started with a simple cube or box. This technique is called box modeling and works well for a lot of things. This is the un-subdivided model. As you can see, it is quite squarish and angular. This is the way I work with the model most of the time. I can then change subdivision levels on the fly to see what my smoothed model will look like.

It’s not too bad for about 30 mins of work, but the wings are too thin and the engines are too small. This was modeled in Silo 1, and now that I have some time I am going to be playing with Silo 2 to see how I like it and whether it will fill all my needs. If you want more information on Silo, just go to http://www.nevercenter.com. Like I said, Silo is extremely affordable. Right now the Core version is on sale for $79. It is normally $99 and still a great deal at that price. The Pro version is on sale for $129 which is an absolute steal. Even its normal cost of $159 is a bargain. If you are looking into getting into 3D modeling you really cannot go wrong with Silo.

modo Logo

The other program I am really thinking about adding to my pipeline is modo. I have been playing with modo on and for a few versions. The modeling tools are top notch. I really learned a lot of my modeling techniques from my Lightwave classes and had to overcome the obstacle of translating the Lightwave tools and workflow into Cinema 4D. The cool thing about modo is that a lot of the people in the company are former Lightwave developers. It was a lot easier for me to model in modo than it was in C4D. What is really great is that the models I make in modo can be imported without any problems into C4D. This makes it an ideal program to add into my pipeline. In fact, I know a lot of C4D users are doing this exact thing. Since I haven’t played with modo for quite some time, I do have to get back up to speed. Luckily the team at Luxology have put together some great videos for everyone. They also have a terrific forum for people to talk about all things modo. If you do go to Luxology’s website, you will see a lot of work by Andy Brown. Unfortunately, this is not me. The other Andy is absolutely amazing and I am hoping I can some day get to that level.

Camera

This is a camera I started working on a few years ago. It was from a tutorial on Luxology’s website, and I think it was by Andy Brown. This whole model took maybe an hour or two. I found it quite easy to use modo’s modeling tools. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to adapt, but it was not hard at all. Luxology has really implemented some nice things in modo such as the workplanes and the tool pipe. I won’t go in to detail here, but these two innovations really make working in modo a great experience.

Enterprise

I think most, if not all, 3D artists at one time or another decide to model something from Star Wars or Star Trek. Well, being a huge fan of both, I decided to start modeling the original USS Enterprise. This is a work in progress (WIP) of the saucer section. Once again, this is not a lot of modeling time, but I am happy with it.

In order to help me learn modo once again and to learn some of the new tools I am turning to Dan Ablan. He is a great instructor and has training DVDs and books. I have his modo courseware and his Lightwave 9 Courseware. I don’t have a whole lot of time to watch the sheer volume of video in the courseware so I decided to buy one of his books instead. I bought The Official Luxology modo Guide Version 301 a few days ago. I got it in the mail, and as soon as I sat down at my computer with it I got an email saying modo 401 would be released in 2 days. Just wonderful. I just spent money on a modo book and a new version was coming out. Well the cool thing is that everything in the 301 book will work in 401. See, when I started with modo it was just a modeler. Now, in 401, they have texturing, rendering, sculpting, and animation. There is a lot of stuff that I missed out on while trying to find myself. I downloaded modo 401 the other day and I cannot wait to start working with it.

I think that as of right now, my main 3D applications will be Cinema 4D and modo. Between the two of them I have a complete modeling, animation, and rendering solution that works for me. Maya is crap. Lightwave is better. Cinema 4D is great. modo with Cinema 4D is unbelievable. I am looking forward to 3D once again.