smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Default)
Setting my goals for the week -

Work on Spot Illo for Mary
Getting more sewing done (need to finish some placemats as gifts for folks, finish before FC)
Work on my 3D animation project

Bonus - sew a floor length barista style apron of fleece for myself. What? I can dream, can't I?

So for my 3D, I have bit the bullet and started reboning E'lara from scratch. Screw Maya's auto-rigger. Screw ART since it won't run on Maya LT. No more counting on PhysX for cloth and hair. No more counting on Unreal's chain bone physics. I'm just gonna have to do it all myself, as part of the animations, like I should have done in the first place. All of the above claim to make the art's/animator's job easier but all it's done is give me headaches and frustration. So, it's back to the basics for me.

Cross you fingers that I can make this work, finally.
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Spit & Polish)
You know, I use to find this easy. But as the technology has advanced it has acutally become more and more obtruse to the point of unworkable.

Case in point. Maya LT on Steam did another major update, breaking my model as I was just getting it finalized. Because it's subscription, I have noway to tell it not to update, and no way to revert. At least Adobe got that right with thier cloud model.

I've cleaned up the corrupted data as best as I could, and exported it out to Unreal only to find that the FBX exporter is dropping REALLY IMPORTANT sections of my model.

Yeah - I think I'm gonna take some time off and open my commission docket this week. I ment to do it last week, but I was so close to getting to stick a fork in this thing that I just plowwed though instead. But this... I don't know if I can recover from this.

So, I'm having a nasty round of medical hit money wise. Nothing life threatening but stuff that adds up quickly. New glassess after my old ones broke at a really inconvenit time, me hurting my back over the weekend, and dental coming up fast after loosing peices of fillings on two teeth, means lots of outta poket.

To help offest costs, I'm opening up 4 commission slots to start with.

$40.00 gets you a single character sketch either Traditional or Digital,
$60.00 for inks Traditional or Digital,
$100.00 color Digital Only,
$150.00+ for Traditional Watercolor.

All work will be 8 1/2" x 11" in size. PG 13 max subject matter. I reserve the rights to refuse any subject for any reason.

Drop me a note on FA or DA or use this contact form here, and we'll see what we can do.
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Spit & Polish)
Okay - whoever's going around the bush with a industrial bicycle pump needs to stop. NOW! Before I die from laughing fits!



Three more under cut! )
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Default)
So, my health has gotten to the point that I am thinking about re-entering the workforce. Yes, I know, easier said than done.

I have cleaned up my folders on DA a bit to help put a portfolio together. No, I have not deleted anything, just shuffled things around so that a lot of my furry and fan artwork is not sitting ontop.

However, I realize looking at things, I need to create some work to fill in some gaps. scanning my life drawing sketches is one. Adding more 3D stuff (since I am trying to apply for a 3D animator position for games and cinematics) is another.

On the 3D end, what do folks think I should create? I know I'll need a model or two. And some animation. But should I invest in making a reel? And if so, what should it highlight?
smudgedragon: (Anime Smudge)
Been feeling better these past few days. Still sleeping an awful lot, and crashing hard at about 8pm, wish is really unusual for me. But I am getting up and actually getting work done now, so that's a huge improvement.

So since I was feeling better, I opened up a 3D project I've been working on for ages. Trying to get Hash A:M to output a .BVH file so that I can input it into Daz (or any other program). Let's just say it has not been smooth going. Sure, every-time I build a test to see if something would work it goes off like clockwork. But as soon as I try doing something larger, it falls apart like a house of cards. Today, it was the discovery that it was not baking key-frames to any bone that was controlled by an IK rig. Well HELL! There goes my entire setup.

I am so frustrated by all this! I cannot seem to find a program or programs that will play happily with each other AND me so that I can, you know, actually FINISH something. It's hard to be an animator in 3D when you literately spend all your time modeling and rigging. I *know* it can be done. I see other people do some really superb stuff all the time. Why can't *I* get over this stupid, technological road-block, while still keeping a roof over my head*.

GAH!

Enough of my whining - I'm going to go to lunch and try again on this later. Grrrr.

*and if anyone even suggests Blender, I will shoot them and kick their bodies in a ditch!
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Default)


This just keeps getting more bizarre all the time. They have released footage for the new session of Mysterious Cities of Gold... and it's 3D characters on 2d painted backgrounds.

And it's working! I've used this 3d art technique myself and rather like it. It see it put forth in a full production made me want to sit back and say "See! I told you it would work". I know they probably came up with it purely independently from anything I've done. After all, I am sure I am not the only one. But it still makes my ego swell.

With how sick I've am, it's not like I don't need the ego boost. ^.~
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Default)
Going to try and keep this short but I have to talk about it because it makes me happy.

I've been stalled in doing 3D work for ages due to technological and financial constants. But Over the last week, I have made a serious breakthrough. Mostly, I have found/created a system to export character/bone animation from HASH A:M to Daz Studio Pro or just about any other 3D package that can support .bvh (BioVision Motion Hierarchy) files.

This allows me to use one of the better character animation systems on the block and combine it with a different programs that have strengths in other areas, like rendering, model management, environment creation ect.

I will post test later - must work on next page of Ebin & May now. ^.^
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Default)
Most folks who know me, know that I love animating. Something I do very rarely now. A combination of not being able to afford the programs I *really* want, and a hand that has gone from "okay" to bad to worse in pain. It's no longer just my fingers; the pain, though mild, has spread to my wrist, and up my arm to the elbow and shoulder joint. But bitching about the hand pain is for another post at another time.

Now, with much effort and penny pinching I have a computer that can, for the most part, run anything I want. I have to say, I've been really happy with the jump to Windows 7. Most I need right now is either some new ram, or to upgrade my processor/motherboard. But what I have now will most certainly do the job.

So that leaves the programs.

I have Hash atm. While a good program for learning and messing around, the version I have is sorely out of date. I'm also feeling uneasy with the companies slow, steady decline. Also, I keep bumping into issues that drive me nutz, mostly involving importing and exporting to other formats. Hash very much follows the "Don't play well with others" model that programs held 20+ years ago. That and I keep running into technical issues. So much so I've pretty much stopped working in it.

I love Vue. It does one thing and one thing really well: environments. I cannot sing this program's praises enough. However, it only does one thing. And I'm a character animator. Even using Vue, I'll need something else to do the characters in. But considering most other programs fall to pieces trying to do what Vue does without blinking, having two separate programs is not bad way of going. Oh, and Vue very much likes playing with others. ^.^

What I really want - Maya. There is a reason why Maya is on the top of the heep. I've worked with Maya in the past when it first came out. It's an environment I know and like. It's modeling tools that work well, and gives me options on how things will be built. And some of the available rigging plugins from 3rd parties are to die for (looking at you, The Setup Machine).

But what I am being forced into - Blender. The Gimp of the 3D world. Le sigh.

^this is what I have had to choose and wrestle with for some time. So far, my choice is to not work in any of them and help Radio get back a web presence. But this stalling action is not going to last forever.

However, there's a new one on the block for a limited time, Messiah. For a limited time - they are offering a mass deal of $10.00 basic and $40.00 pro versions of their animation package. In fact- according to their site- I have 7 hours to make up my mind, as of this posting. Problem is, this is an animation only program. feh. I dislike making split second decisions on funds I have so few of. Frack it! *hits the buy now button*

Also... got an email today. AutoDesk, the makers of Max, Maya & Softimage are offering 0% financing until April. It's really temping. really really tempting. But I know that I have no income, per say and we're not out of debt consolidation yet.

Why? why do you mock me so?

In other tech news - Watson (IMB's AI) is playing Jeopardy this week. So far the match is off to a good start.

pt.1


pt.2
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Default)
Ugh - So I have made the decision last night that after I finish Longing for Home, I'm giving up on Hash Animation:Master.

This was a hard and painful dissension since I've used the program for 10+ years now and I do like it very much, mostly for it's actual animation tools. I have a fondness for limited pallets and tool sets, using skills more than tools to get the job done. There have been great things done with A:M so it's not like it's not capable of reaching that level of existence.

But...

A:M has suffered a lot these past couple of years. Most of it self induced. The program itself is easy "cracked". So much so that it's impossible to sell in the Asian markets due to all the illegal downloads. The bottom "consumer" end of 3D market has also had it's feet kicked out from under it by Blender, an open source 3D program. Combine that with a company attitude (most imposed on it by it's owner) that it *won't* compete with the high end programs because professional artists are "all ass-holes". You end up with a company that has purposefully chained itself into a death spiral.

I've also been really fighting the tools the more complected I try to get with my productions. If it's just a single, simple character or two it's fine. But as I try to get more complicated with what I'm trying to achieve, all hell breaks loose. We're talking full on screaming hissy-fits at Micca. Yes, animation should make you think hard about what your doing. That's much different than sending your stress level though the roof in frustration.

Don't get me wrong - there are some really good people working on that program. They recently did a new particle engine. There fur and hair have come a long ways. So has there cloth. They now have a 3rd party 3D pain program plug in that looks pretty decent too. I, unfortunately, have not had the luxury of trying new versions past v13.

All that, however, does not help the fact I'm seeing less and less high-end work coming out of Hash users. Hell, I'm seeing less and less Hash users all together. The less of a user pool, the less knowledge floating around to learn from. In the end I feel like the company won't be around for much longer. I'm starting to feel like I need to jump ship before the run gets pulled out from under me.

But where do I go from here? The current consumer end is in love with Blender. After working three months in it I really want to drop kick the UI on it's head and shoot my computer. Not really an option. My preferred platform would be Maya at this point, along with some plug-ins and other programs to get my up to date. This would cost me about the same as buying a new car.

I just don't know what to do any more, short of just not trying to do any animation anymore.

Pardon me, I need to slink off and cry.

3D-ness

Jun. 30th, 2008 12:31 pm
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Default)
So, lately I've been trying to learn Blender. For those who are not in the know, Blender is a free, open-source 3d modeling/animation/rendering package aiming to be available on all platforms. Think the GIMP for 3D. I'm mostly doing this to reacquire my RTFM* skills.

Initial opinion: It does not suck. I can see where under the right hands it can be very powerful. The question here lies whether my hands are the right hands.

The basic Noob-to-Pro Wiki book is a great way to dive into the program. However, like most 3D applications, rigging is not considered basic and is not giving until the "Advanced" book, which is by far less though out and doesn't explain how to do things, just that they are available to do them. Thanks guys, love you to. I expected BS like this from freeware. It comes with the territory.

So off onto the internet I go looking for non-source tutorials on character rigging. First tutorials I find has a beauty of a quote, which very much sums up Blender for rigging:

"Take a patience pill. Blender is a very powerful piece of software, but getting used to all of its quirks can be frustrating. When you want to take your mouse and hit it with a sledge hammer because clicking the right mouse button never does what it should do, step back, take a breath, and think happy thoughts. Then try from a different approach."

To be fair, all 3D applications tend to have this sort of thing as a "feature". Long nights beating your head against the wall saying "Why the F**K did you do THAT?!"

If I didn't love 3D so much, I'd hate it. Feh.

*Read The F**king Manual

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