2012.12.31: This part of EmGee's web site is being shut down. Material is being migrated to the new EmGee's Place, which is using a different wiki engine whose strengths and weaknesses are a better match for what EmGee is attempting to do.
Artie Wood and his Electric Flying Machine has been moved to the new site. The link now directs to there.
20121103: Several things worth noting:
- http://emgee.nopoco.net/Html5Trial.html is an ongoing experiment in what is possible with HTML5 / CSS3. There is no content there.
- blenderpdx.org is up and running, and is the public-facing web site of the Portland Oregon Blender User Group. We also have a wiki for development, etc, at wiki.blender.org.
- Portland Blender User Group's next meeting is Saturday, Nov 17, 3:00 pm, at the Portland Art Institute (directions on the web site).
- I have not as yet found solutions to some of the problems of the EmGee web site. Part of it is that I have very limited time for web site maintenance, which really limits my options wrt securing the registration process and otherwise doing my part to limit the damage Internet abusers can do to search engines, etc. So registration on this site remains closed.
- I am looking at Dokuwiki, which I have chosen to use on another web site that I administer. On that site, the ability for users to easily upload images from within the browser is of great importance, and Dokuwiki does that much better than any plugin I have seen for Wikkawiki. What is particularly noteworthy is that Dokuwiki's ACL, group, and namespace structure may solve the problems I have run into on the EmGee web site, so I may migrate this site to Dokuwiki.
20120916: There are plans a-foot to start a Blenderhead Meetup in the Portland Oregon area. Hooray! First meeting will probably be on Sunday, October 14, 2012, 3:00 - 6:00 pm Saturday, October 13, 2012, 3:00 - 6:00 pm, possibly at the Art Institute of Portland. At the moment all this is rather tentative. The discussion is on-going at The Portland Blender User Group Meetup Page-- check it out!
I have room to spare on these NoPoCo wiki sites, which I will be offering to the Portland BUG. At the least, a wiki could be a good way to collaborate on developing toots or solving common problems in Blender usage. Animation and larger .blend and resource files take up a lot of bandwidth, so there will probably be limits on what can be done through NoPoCo.
If I have time, I will cobble together the basic frame of a Portland BUG wiki before the October meeting. [Not going to happen.]
[Comments below are in chronological order]
20120107: EmGee, under his nom réel of Will Woodhull, has begun auditing a 3D modeling course. Something that is clearly needed is a cross reference of the Blender commands he knows and their equivalents in Maya which is the application the class is using. There will be other things as well so it makes sense to begin an AdventuresIn3D section of this wiki.
As it turned out, the keyboarding differences between Blender and Maya were too great and my attempt to learn Maya only eroded my grasp on Blender. However I was able to follow what was being taught in Maya and find Blender's equivalent instructions. The class was worthwhile. But IMHO, Maya is not. Unless you have $5,000 to throw away on its tool chain or are working with a team of a dozen animators. An individual can get further, faster, with less fuss by using Blender and Gimp.
20120708: The advantages of using 3D modeling to add graphics to the awahefm story are too great to ignore. The two quarters of classes in the techniques that I have taken have been sufficient to get me started, but there is much yet that I have to learn before I have an effective style. This is slowing progress on the story.
I am comfortable enough with mesh work now, and I have a good sense of what to do with the lighting and camera to make good scenes. What remains is learning enough about UV textures to do the necessary detail work on the models. I need to develop a work flow that fits the story's requirements. But I am at the stage where I am frequently getting sidetracked into what turns out to be dead ends as I explore possibilities that I eventually realize just will not work for what I am attempting.
At the moment I am exploring the use of high poly count models to generate UV maps that I can apply to low poly surrogates in the actual scenes. I am beginning to think that this is another dead end: suitable for highly realistic art, but not for awahefm, which happens in a surrealistic realm where fantasy and realism intermingle and get all mixed up.
The multiresolution approach did turn out to be a dead end for me, for now at least. I think it fits better with animation work rather than illustration work. For the series of still scenes that I will be producing, low to middle resolution meshes coupled with well painted UV textures looks like the way to go.
20120731: The 3D modeling studies are moving along quite nicely. I have a good mesh of a dreambird and will be completing its uv textures soon. I have just finished a prototype partially rigged character that would be satisfactory as is for some of the awahefm work. Since this is the kind of thing I have been trying to do for several years without satisfactory results, I am feeling pretty good about things.
20120902: I spent August in continuing studies of 3D modeling, focusing on organic models— of persons— that can be posed. I have completed the mesh and texture work on two of awahefm's main characters, and expect to have a third character completed in the next few days. I expect to have the rest of them done by the end of September. Each one goes faster, and ends up more polished, than the last.
It is too soon to say whether I will run into another major delay in developing the rigging. The same basic mesh is used for all the characters, so in theory what works with one will work with each of the others as well. The goal is to start posing characters and rendering scenes by the end of October. Once the first scenes are rendered, attention will turn more to writing the story.
The illustrations are not additions or embellishments to the written story; they are an integral part of character presentation and development. There will be fewer illustrations than in a graphic novel, since I want the reader to use their imagination in the more free-wheeling way of the traditional novel. IOW, I am not interested in playing mind shepherd and driving the imaginations of the readers from one frame to the next. Let them explore the possibilities on their own. However I hope to be presenting subtleties of characters and of scifi elements that can be absorbed immediately through pictures, and thus save us all from the tedium of thousands of unnecessary words. I see no reason why the reader should have to wade through a thousand words where a glance at an illustration would work as well for him; nor do I want to write any more than I have to.
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