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The latest

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I’ve been working on a brake actuator animation for a couple of weeks now. The client sent me cad files that I imported into Blender and then started the process of animating each step. Animating the springs were a challenge to say the least. I made a rig from part of an old character rig control it, I still have to rename some things…
I’ll import this into Unity and capture the animation in a day or so and post the results here.

cad illustration 3D model blender game art

Green Crab

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I did a test for a new client today. Sounds like a really cool project that tests the memory duration of octopus.

Crab was modeled in Blender then composited on the photo background. I think I may make it interactive in Unity instead of a prerendered video.
More to come.

DAW

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I’ve been recording a few original tracks for the praise band this week, hopefully I can get everyone motivated and over here to record.
I’ve been using Studio One because I got it free with some audio hardware I bought…. I really like it. I almost feel bad for saying that because I have used Reaper for so long with great results. I’ve mentioned Reaper a few times its a free DAW program that does everything the commercial apps do, it even uses VSTs the same way. Honestly the only reasons I like Studio One better is because of the workflow. The pool window is right there, it groups your songs into sessions, it does multiple takes easy, it has been thought out ahead of time for sure. I love Reaper because of the customization options… I love the vintage console look and having everything dark. I honestly cant tell a difference in the two as far as the audio quality. I almost feel bad for not using Reaper because its freeware (sort of, I donated $60).

At any rate, I may post the songs when we record… We may cover some Crowder or Hillsong tunes.. We will see.

Go download reaper and try it out!

Work Process

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Happy Halloween!

I get asked about my process from time to time. I dont deviate from this workflow much because I havent found anything I couldnt produce by doing things this way.

For 2D illustrations I usually start out with a hand sketch that I ink and then scan to clean up in gimp. I try to do as much as possible by hand and then finalize it on the computer.

For 3D animation and illustrations, I use Blender. I like Blender because its free and is powerful enough to do everything I need. I use Blender for just about everything but I will occasionally use Sketchup for some CADs and architectural models. Blender can do photorealistic rendering and lineart which comes in handy and it will import just about everything.

Once I have a 3D model I export to Unity and use a screen capture program to record the animation. This cuts out any render time because Unity will do it in real-time.

I’ve used a couple other 2D apps for painting, but everyone knows what a supporter of open source/freeware programs I am, but gimp is free and can be setup just like photoshop.

 

Heres the list of programs I use, (all available for Mac):

https://www.blender.org/

http://www.sketchup.com/

https://www.gimp.org

Columns…..

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Do any of you know CSS?? This blog page is driving me insane. I have no idea why because only a handful of you read it…..
I thought the post were out of order, but they are being placed in two columns side by side. This would be great of the boxes were all the same size, but they are not.

Unity

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I’ve posted about this before, but if you havent tried Unity3D you need to.

I dont render projects anymore. Rendering individual frames takes forever and Ive been looking for a way around it for a while. Ive discovered that I can use Unitys material editor and lighting to get really close to pre-rendered quality for animations. For a while now I’ve been modeling and animating in Blender and then exporting the files as an FBX to Unity. Once I have things inside Unity I add materials an lighting and play the animation. Once everything is set I screen capture the playback and edit those files a video editor (iMovie or similar).

This really cuts down on production time but not without a few hiccups. Its hard to get the exact same sequence twice because you are manually hitting the capture key. But the headache is worth the trouble to save on the render time.

Check out Unity3D

 

http://unity3d.com

 

 

More open source

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I dont know if I mentioned this before so if I did, here it is again……

I try not to use any commercial software but instead use open source alternatives. One of the best I ave found is Open Office. As the name implies its like M$ Office but its freeware/open source.

Its completely compatible with M$ Office (I havent had any problems yet) and it comes with programs that are the equivalent to the M$ alternatives.

Go download a copy here (for Mac and PC):

 

http://www.openoffice.org/

Free and cheap apps

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In my pursuit of being completely open source based, Ive compiled a list of things I use that are free (or close to it).

I had this on the old blog and someone asked me about it…. Here you go.

Lets start with the best…
Blender
https://www.blender.org/

Pixlr
http://www.pixlr.com/editor/
Pixlr is a free web based image editor. It has some cool functions to be something that requires no download or installation.

Open Office
http://www.openoffice.org/
I refuse to put M$ Office on any of my machines and this is an awesome alternative.

Celtx
http://celtx.com/
This is a free script writing app. Its great for screenplays, comic books, or anything you need a formatted outline for.

SketchUp
http://sketchup.google.com/
Google’s SketchUp is kind of a CAD package and kind of a 3D modeling package. This in combination with Google’s huge 3D object library makes this a great resource.

Skype
http://www.skype.com
Phone, web conference, screen sharing, fax, etc, etc…..

KMplayer
http://kmplayer.en.softonic.com/

VLC
http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
Another excellent media player.

Picasa
http://picasa.google.com/
A photo viewer and media manager.

7Zip
http://www.7-zip.org/
Compression utility that works on just about everything…zip, rar, tar, iso, etc…

GXTS Screensaver
http://goheer.com/products/GxTS/
Displays how long it has been running along with other vital system information (network traffic, discs, mem, etc). Very low CPU load 0% -4%

Teamviewer
http://www.teamviewer.com
The easiest remote desktop solution I have found. You dont even have to install it.

 

Trillian Astra
http://www.trillian.im/
Instant messaging…includes aim, yahoo, msn, facebook, irc, etc……

Reaper
http://www.reaper.fm
A digital audio workstation: a complete multitrack audio and MIDI recording, editing, processing, mixing, and mastering environment.

 

Best of…

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I was informed today that I got a best of award on Thumbtack for drafting. This is kind of funny because I dont do drafting. I havent come close to doing a real drafting project in a decade or more. The samples I have are from literally 20 years ago. I really should remove them. All of my projects on thumbtack have been for 3D models, youtube videos,  gameart or video recording. Thumbtack lumps all these categories together for some reason and I dont know if it helps or hinders the process of getting work. People call and ask me for CAD drawings but they rarely ever mean they want a CAD drawing. Its usually an illustration or infographic and has even been a cartoon on a few occasions. CAD is not my thing and I will normally refer them to someone if I think it fits what that person does. Ive done a couple of projects where I dimensioned a floorplan in Sketchup but thats as far as I want to go, I cant stand all the minute details that have to be included. Give me the art part of it. Honestly if I cant do it in Blender or Sketchup I dont take the job, its worked for years why change it.

Theres so much confusion about the terminology to the average person… illustration, technical drawings, infographics, graphic design, etc. I guess its better that they lump it all into one category so you dont miss the opportunity, but its really inefficient. They said they were going to break the architectural services into their own category which will probably make it worse. I get a few dozen emails a day that I have to try and decipher and it takes forever. Do they want a cad drawing? Yes. Delete. Do they want an illustration?¬†Yes. What kind? A logo. Nope delete. Its all day like that. Then when you do get a job that sounds like what you do, you had better answer it in a minute or less or it will be gone. Its aggravating.

Dont get me wrong Im blessed to be able to sit with the dogs and play in Blender and Unity and make cool pictures and animations, but I wish it was easier to find work. I’ll put the award on the site anyway.