Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Goodbye from uni this year.

Last post from university this year, I think.  Unless I have to come back on Friday for some reason.

Doodled this up:

A little scrawl for a two-week series at church next year.

That's about it.

Now that I have a day off on the horizon, I'm rather ill.  I'm going to go home and get into bed to either play Borderlands 2 or sleep.  I'm not sure yet.  Probably sleep.

Have a wonderful Christmas if I don't speak again before.


Friday, December 14, 2012

One more before Christmas.

One more before Christmas from uni, anyway.  I'll most likely be posting from home when we get back there later this month.

Here's a little more finished image of the alien:

Not posed as dynamically as possible, but I just need the hard model for before Christmas.  Skeletons can be put in later.

I'm also working on a few quick projects for different folks.  Here are a couple:

One of the homeless gentlemen that my wifey and I see and chat to.

And a doll for a "Team Bass" T-shirt that is hopefully going to get printed.  I'm pretty happy with it.  I've not worked with the Lichtenstein-type dots before, so it was nice to give it a go.  And yea.  That's a hashtag.
That's about it for today.  I'm off to play Borderlands 2, read a bit of Arthur Conan Doyle's finest writings and eat something.  Maybe not in that order.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Tuesday!

Just a quick post before I go to my first ever Lacrosse practice.  There's something.

Finished off the alien I'd wanted to get done - hopefully I'll be printing it out in 3D on Friday.  If the guy who runs the shop is in.  Which I hope he is.

Here it is:

I'm pretty pleased with it, even though I need to tidy if up a whole lot and then figure out some sort of texture...



Friday, December 7, 2012

Essay day.

My Literature and Contextual essay has been handed in.  Hurrah!

I'd've normally said that it was a huge weight off my shoulders but, to be honest, since I handed in the bulk of the writing last week and only really had to make amendments this week, once I'd handed it in today, it didn't feel too different.  I guess procrastinating and doing things last minute feels better in the end.

Now to go home and play Borderlands 2.

The Strategy Guide for which I bought this morning.

I can't wait to read it again and again.

Although I found something that made me a little sad...

I played for a while as Zer0 - an assassin that is great at sniping and ranged attacks, but also good at getting out of a close-combat situation by throwing out a hologram of himself that the enemies attack; letting you, the player, run away and flank or recover somewhat.

One of the lovely bits I found in the game was ClapTrap's storage unit - it's basically a safe that you can put items in so that they can share those items with other characters.

I thought - like with the first game - one could run concurrent games with every available character.  If you're at level 25 with one class and want to try something different, then you could go to the home screen, start again and once you've saved your second class at, let's say, level 7; you could then go back to the home screen and pick up the game with your level 25 character.  All good.

When I saw this little storage unit and made that connection, I thought it'd be great to find something as an assassin and store it for use by my commando.

I obviously didn't think about the loophole that such a perk would enable - finding a great weapon further in the game only to go back and share it with a character that would otherwise have to work for it.

So there went me signing out of a good game with a teen-level Zer0, to sign in with this guy:

Axton.  The commando.  He's like Roland in the first game, but his perk is a little better and - as with the rest of the characters - much more customisable.  I could go down one path and trick out my turret with two guns, I could add rocket launchers to it, magnetise it or even have two.  It's great.

But after I saved my second game and tried to nip back on to my first, it was gone.


I guess I'm set to play as Axton now.

But no matter.  At least it wasn't my third or fourth choice of character to play...

I'm going home.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More model work.

Thought I'd throw up another post before I go home.

Broady the Patient has been talking me through his way of modeling again - I was doing some Josh's way and it was going really well, but then my ortho didn't load, so I couldn't see what I was meant to be modeling...  Not that good if you can't really model confidently yet.

So here's the 'start with a square and go from there' approach:

From the left; a first basic shape.  I duplicated the thing after this, so I haven't got the very beginning.  But that's just a cube, so I'd hope you can picture it.  Then there's some more arm and leg stuff going on there next to it, followed by some torso shaping, more arms and a bit of leg work.  After that, I put a tail on it and shaped it up a bit more before then duplicating it again twice more - once for the shape I've been working on all day and then again so I could flip it and join the two together to get the full body.  Not too shabby.  Friday sees hands, feet, the head and a shell getting put on there.

I can't wait.

Right now, it's time to go home to my wifey!

I have a guest spot coming up soon on a friend's blog, so I'll get writing and posting that.  Exciting stuff!



Another post with a load of sketchbook pages here for you.  I've been doodling away for the past few weeks in the times between loading screens and meals.  It's been pretty nice trying to draw one character over and over again in different poses.  Something I should do more of - it's nice to get to know a character like that, I guess.

Here it is/they are:

One of the first doodles after I'd got a better idea of what I was wanting the aliens to look like.  During a lecture in which I probably should have been taking notes.  I took a few notes.

I call this 'The Tired Page'.  You know those days that don't really go right?  None of the lines you want to draw will go where you want them to.  This whole page was like that.  And I was tried which made it immesureably worse.

A bit happier with this one!  There's a little squid robot in the bottom left there, but other than that, this is an all-alien page.  I thought it'd look better for the aliens to wield more primitive weapons - guns and technology are cool and all, but I thought aliens and guns are drawn together a lot, so why not be different?

Another page of poses.  At the bottom left here is one of the royal bloodline aliens.  Their shells are much more rounded and they have a more heavier-set body type than the working classes and savages.

Another helpful note-taking session in a lecture.

Yet more poses.  There's only so many ways to introduce a page like this.  I think I've exhausted them.

And another not-so-hot doodle page.  There'll be something useable there, but it'll take a while to find it.
Thanks again for reading.  I really appreciate your time.

Friday, November 16, 2012


I don't know how many times I've told myself this.  And other people.  But I was working in Maya just now when I thought "I know.  I'm great with Maya, so I'll use this shortcut."  All of a sudden, my half-baked, half alien model seemed to wormhole in on itself and I couldn't undo it.

Just as I was shouting at myself and flailing my arms (I find this helps in any situation), the good old Broady came over and proceeded to correct the problem.

I saved it straight away and have done several times since it happened ten minutes ago.

Live and learn and all that.

Here's what I'm working on at the moment:

I'm going about it in a (theoretically) much easier way and my hope for this model is to get it printed in 3D.  Not the great 3D that I got these printed in:

No, no.  That would require texturing and all of that.  No, I'm going with a solid colour just so I can get the basic shape.  It's cheaper to use the method that gets me the same colour, too, so that's another plus.

Thinking about it; I think I may try one more way of modeling the next time I start.  It'll be slower to get going, but I think it'll save a bit more time once I've connected up all the faces and edges and verts and whatever else I decide to merge and fuse and bond.

A little more news right now; I am now the proud and excited owned of Brink and Borderlands 2.  Fun stuff.

I wanted Brink since I saw the trailer for it a long time ago.  I waited for the release and then realised that I wouldn't really have time to play it and I'd also probably want to wait until we have the internet so I can get online.  Unfortunately, a shedload of patches were released within a day of the game's release which I think hampered what could have been a huge start to the game.

Borderlands had me gripped - much to the dislike of my wifey.  Playing the main game and two of the DLCs was really fun and although I still have some achievements to get (which I so very desperately need to get), I'm about ready to start the new game and get going.

I got it pre-owned, as I do most of my games (I got Brink for £3).  I missed out on the Borderlands 2 half price week last week, which sucks.  It'd have been the first brand new game I'd have bought in a long time.  But hey.  I still got it fairly cheap.  And it's still Borderlands 2.

I may well spend a little more time on this alien model and update again in a bit.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A note.

Two things:

Sorry for some of the more word-heavy posts lately.  I'm trying to research a bit for my MA and as this blog serves as my reflective journal - my space in which to put everything that's going on while I do my Masters and what I'm looking at to help me on this little sojourn - it inevitably ends up getting somewhat wordy.  My great appreciation for sticking through it  :)  Also, check out some of the links if you're interested in this whole Augmented Reality thing.  It's pretty interesting.

Secondly;  I'm 26 years old, now!

My birthday was yesterday and I've had a wonderful time this month.  My wifey and I celebrate our birth months, so as well as yesterday saw my birthday, it also saw the coming of the middle of Danvember.  I like Danvember.

On Friday, a load of guys from church came round and we had a wonderful, semi-geeky game night while my wifey had a lovely time with one of ther girl friends.

On Saturday, I was taken to an Age of Empires II tournament at a friend's house in Southport.  Wonderful afternoon!  After that, we went to my folks' house for birthday dinner and some little presents and things.

Sunday saw a huge carvery after church with another load of mates.

Yesterday, we went to Chorely to look at the charity shops there.  We found an International Aid Trust charity shop which proved fruitful.  I got a copy of Trivial Pursuit for £1!  The only one I've ever seen for less than a fiver.  Needless to say I grabbed it as soon as I saw the price and didn't let go until I was locking eyes with the cashier - lest she think someone else put it down at the counter.

All of these things we complete surprises and were absolutely amazing.  I am super blessed not only to have a huge bunch of friends who I can have fantastic times with, but the best friend of all and the love of my life - my wifey.  She's such a huge blessing, a huge part of who I am and I love her incredibly.

Danvember and Melpril see us having small things every day of the month, so I have even more to look forward to!

Also, we celebrate our birth days every month.  The 12th of the months are Dan-days and the 23rd of the months are Mel-days.  Being married is freaking amazing.

So after apologising for word-heavy posts, thanks for reading through this!

Here's a monkey soldier from some time ago.  I've more than likely posted this before, but I thought I'd better give you something to look at.



My wifey and I talk about our goals and dreams a lot.  Dreams being where we're wanting to be in a few years, what we're wanting to do, what job we want, how we can go about implementing all of this.  That sort of thing.  Goals being what we're wanting to achieve in the nearer future.  Like the next month.  Or before Christmas.

One of my goals was to have rigged a skeleton to a model that I made.  Seeing as though I've only made one model in the past month, I figured it'd make sense to rig a skeleton to it.


Although I have got a lot more to learn and a lot more to do on this one model, I am SO HAPPY that I've got the skeleton on this one!

It's a very basic thing and most of my celebrations have been met with what I can only describe as "Aww; baby's learning" faces, but it's the first time I've ever done it.  So I'm well happy.

Still thinking about how to lay out my blog again - I'm going to keep thinking and maybe try to come up with a new header picture.  I've got a lot of photos to put up, too.  I think it'd be nice to have some tags at the top so that it's more easily navigated - doodles, 3D, photos, thoughts, research, etc.  It's going to take a bit of time, but once I've got the main load done it'll be an easier task (somewhat) to keep everything in order after that.

Either way, change is in the air.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Sketchbook work again.

Just another quick update with a load of pages I've scanned in today. It's work I've been doing over the past couple of months, but I've only now put it onto the computer.

This is from a second sketchbook that I draw in.  I have a third that I will try and scan in next week to complete the collection!

As I may or may not have said in a previous post, I tend to work with two sketchbooks in front of me.  This way, when the pages start filling up I don't have to keep flicking back and forth to see what I'm wanting to continue.  It works.  The problem is, though, that when I come to scan in one sketchbook at a time, although in itself the sketchbook is in order, there are pages in other sketchbooks that I have to slip in between them.  It also means I use a lot of commas.

Just to let you know - the page that I create this post in is wider than my actual blog, so some of the descriptions will be a bit off.  For the most part, read 'left' as 'top' and 'right' as 'bottom'.  There's also a sneaky, three-page description nearer the bottom, so stay on your toes.  Thanks.

Here's the stuff from Sketchbook number 2:

Here are the first two pages from the year.  On the left are the notes from my first lecture.  Notes which I didn't really have to take, since we were giving a handout straight after with everything on.  I did enjoy the doodling, though.  That was worth it.

McDonald's is a very nice place to work.  We go there, get a coke and while my wifey goes online and catches up with her folks, I draw and take notes on what I'm wanting to do.  On the right is the first page from one of these Maccies sessions.  It came after having a good idea of what I wanted to do, so I was pretty focused.  It's also the first place I drew the body shape that the aliens - increasingly - look like they are having.

On the left here, I was bouncing ideas around with a friend here at uni and seeing what the possibility was of creating a game that has a lot of information stored and ready to use - what the best type of data storage would be, how to go about uploading it and receiving it, etc.
On the right is another page of notes.  For both pages here, I was thinking about what items I could include in my game, what sort of storyline the game would follow and what sort of additions I could think of - in terms of releasing the game and carrying on creating more useable cards for the game in the future.  Already...

The page on the left is called 'The pros, cons and everything else that comes with deciding whether or not to fight for or against the alien race that reanimated your corpse.'  I wanted to think of the storyline as soon as possible so that I could design with it in mind - environments, characters, items, etc.  I thought it might be important.

On the right is a page of designs for the main character.  I started drawing him in a style taht I don't really use to get a feel of his shape and general design.  I drew the guy again in my more used style after that at the bottom right of the page.  Next to him is a few doodles on what I thought the layout could look like on the device that the game would be played on.

It was between these pages and the next ones that I drew out an orthographic of the main character and started to model him.

From there, I thought I'd go about drawing out what the alien race would look like.  The good guys.  I was modeling the main character and it hit me that instead of creating him and the working backwards from his implanted arm to create the aliens, it'd be better to draw out the aliens and then add their arm to the main character.  It looks the same anyay, but it sort of made sense to me at the time.
The top of the left page has a rabbit playing the trumpet.  I'm thinking things through for a big design for a friend.  The spider-thing next to that is from a game I created a few years ago.  So is the little blue guy next to that.
At first I drew the alien with a snake body to see what it'd be like.  I thought it was alright.  I think it'll suit the enemy characters better.
I worked on these two pages in a very roundabout way.  It's all here, so let's see if you can find them in the order I drew them;  first I threw some basic shapes and body-type ideas down to see what suited the aliens; from there I drew the centaur-type body but didn't really like it; then I scrawled out the regular body - two big arms, two little arms, two legs - I liked it; I drew out running poses and movement ideas before then - finally - scrawling out some heads.  I think it was through this process that I decided to give the aliens their shells and turned out thinking of a heirarchy based on shell shapes and conditions.  A good couple of pages.
Since then I've drawn the aliens out again and again.  They're in the elusive third sketchbook, so they'll be shown next week.  This one I did on a tag that was in my pocket after work.  I put a thicker border on it in an effort to make it look a little like a drawing by an artist I follow.  I like it.  I think it worked.  Coloured it in Photoshop this afternoon.

Then another drawing I did in a lecture this morning.  Coloured up there on the right and then textured somewhat at the bottom here.  Broady, the reluctant-but-patient Maya hint-giver textures his characters in a similar way.  I grabbed an image of a map turtle (because they have some nice patterns) and put it behind my line drawn layer and my colour layer.  Flicking through the layer options (normal, multiply, etc.), I stopped when I found one I liked.  I forget which one it was now.

In an effort to map my thinking, I got another turtle picture and did the same thing - this time making a note of the layer options I liked and then putting them all onto the same page with the setting below the image.  Clever, right?

It's been a pretty good day.  I'm going to be experimenting somewhat next week with the layout of this blog to make it a bit more friendly.  It'll more than likey be seeing some sort of problematic layouts before I find the one I like.  Trial and error and all that.  Apologies in advance for that.

Also, it's my birthday on Monday.  Huzzah!  Little me will be turning 26.  I'm nearly a grown-up.

Have a great weekend.  And have some cake for me.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Blast from the past.

Found some charcoal sketches that I did a couple of years ago.

Tree frog.


I had a good laugh drawing these.  It's really nice getting your hands dirty and making a mess.

I've been having a look through some of the pictures from my year abroad and it's nice to see the bits I've done but didn't remember!

Here's a few things:

A couple of other charcoal bits.  I really enjoyed the two ways  I worked - the bottle at the top was very quickly putting down charcoal and erasing it and then putting it down again and taking it off again in order to build up the image.  The still life at the bottom was done by meticulously building up the charcoal in a much more refined, slower-paced, definite manner.  Both were really great fun to do, though.

Then I did a bit more colour-based stuff with pastels.  Mine's the skull and fabric.  Based on Degas' ballerina drawings.

Staying with the colour but moving to paint, this was a doodle that I did.  I usually have a sketchbook on my person and doodle a lot throughout the day.  While I was getting into learning how I could push paint round and all that, I did a series of small pieces.  They were anywhere from 3"x3" to 6"x6".  Good fun.

Back to the pens, I got a lovely Copic Ciao - the brush pen that they do.  I threw together a few pages of arm and leg gestural drawings.

Sculpture was one of the classes I took.  At the top is the skeleton for a huge papier mache beetle.  I did have more fun making the skeleton than I did in the rest of this project.  And I really didn't want to cover it up because I liked it the way it was.  But such is life.  At the bottom is a sculpture doodle.  I found that with two bottle caps, twisted wire, thread, string, paint and epoxy resin, I could make a bottle cap monster!

Silhouette of me on a huge artillery piece down the road from my wifey's place.

Even though we can only talk sporadically, this guy is still one of my amazing friends!  Brian and his wife Jenny showed me a huge amount of kindness and great friendship.  I love those guys.

Standard rifle picture.

That was fun, but now it's lunch time.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday's post.

More model work.  That programme is running really slow, so it's a headache to get a lot done.



Shift + click.


Shift + click.




Wrong thing selected.



Here's what I've done so far:


A slow improvement but an improvement nonetheless.

I bought Hurt Locker from a charity shop yesterday.  I've been told it's very good, so I'll watch it with my wifey tonight and let you know.

I also sold this guy last night:

Although it's one of my all-time favourite dolls I've ever made, he's in a great home and - as my wifey tells me every time I'm low after saying goodbye to a doll - I can always make another one  :D


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

One more thing.

I got onto the ARToolKit site to try and download a basic programme to create an AR test piece.


It's not worked yet.  Not that I know of anyway.  It might well be running and doing everything for me right now.

Accessed on the 30th of October, 2012.

Also, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=nez9X4GMIRwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Augmented+Reality&hl=en&sa=X&ei=4siPUNvZDeaa1AX8qoDAAw&redir_esc=y is where I found the link to the book I mentioned before.  It's nice to find the books online but it's nicer to hold that actual thing in your hands  :)


Reading? On a Games Design course?!

I've started reading a few books about Augmented Reality.  Not so light, this reading.

At the moment, I'm looking at 'Prototyping Augmented Reality' by Tony Mullen.

Somewhat sidetracked, I remebered one of my favourite skateboarders - Rodeny Mullen.  Same surname.

Here's Mullen - Rodeny - talking at The University of Southern California about context shaping content.  http://skateandannoy.com/2012/06/rodney-mullen-on-ted/

It's pretty nice.  The link is to the website I got it from (visited on the 30th of October, 2012 for my Masters reference), but if you just want the video I'll try and put that below...

Nope.  Not going to happen, I'm afraid.  You'll just have to go the site and watch it there.  I'd recommend it, though.  It's nice to hear him speak - I've never heard him speak before today!

It was pretty nice to watch and he was making a good point.  When he was defending his titles in championships, he felt trapped.  But when he lost his title he found that he had the freedom to crate tricks for the sake of creating tricks.  I find it's the same with my drawing for the most part - if I have a project, I get increasingly unmotivated but as the project comes to and end I get the thirst to draw things for myself.  Even if it's the same thing I've been drawing for the project, the fact that I can do it for myself makes it that little bit sweeter.

I need lunch.  We'll see if any of the links here have worked and I'll fix them later if not.


More model work.

After getting a splitting headache last week after spending 5 or 6 hours in front of Maya - non-stop; I thought I'd give this whole 'take a break' thing a go.  I think it'll work better if I move away from the screen.  We'll have to see.

For today, I've just been working a bit more on the model I posted last week.  I'm still a bit out of my depth but I think I can feel myself starting to flost somewhat.  I still can't touch the bottom and stand properly, nor can I swim or even tread water.  But a slow ascent to the surface is a start.

At the top right is a different model.  The left hand side and the bottom right are the same model in different positions but I started thinking that the arm wasn't anywhere near big enough.  So I duplicated the model and blew the arm up some.  I like it, but I think I'm going to finish the smaller-armed model and then tweak the arm.  I don't know why.  It might bite me in the bum in the end.  We'll see.  And learn.  That's the goal.

Lunch time.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A little progression before home time.

Not a lot of detail or anything, but I'd been working on the bigger, alien arm of my character for a while, building up the forearm and then the hand.  Josh came over and told me that I could use the 'fill hole' option and ...  well..  fill everything in and then split up the shapes until I got something that was easier to work with and that I could arrange and rearrange until I have the shape I want for my character.
Here's how it's going so far.
As you can see, there's still a big hole through it.  That's going to get filled in next week.  The way I've drawn out the character means that the head doesn't attach to the body as it normally would, so I'm going to be looking at how to join everything up in an effective way.
Actually, Josh was talking about the way I join things up affecting the way they move, so if I'm not too worried about things moving at all, it might be worth just smashing everything together and making it look good.  Aesthetics beats function, right?  That's what most fashion has taught me, anyway.
Snack time and then home time, I think.

Sketchbook work.

I only have one of my sketchbooks with me today, so I thought I'd scan all the works I've done so far and put the pages up here.  I'll do it again with my other sketchbooks when I find them...

This is my first page of the year - two different monkey janitor designs.  One with a slop bucket, one with a mop.  The writing is just ideas of where to take the project this year.

The first designs I drew out trying to think about creating/finding a drawing style that I could more easily transfer to Maya and the 3D stuff therein.  I'd also started to draw out textures that I was going to scan in and use on the models themselves.

The Ant-headed monkey here was a doodle that came about in one of those lovely moments where nothing is really needed to be done and so I was free to draw anything.  I'd seen a good picture of a monkey on a ledge, as you do, and tried to get that position with the body on here.  Then I drew an ant head on it because I was too tired to figure out how a rabbit head would look.

The drawings starting at the top left, making their way down and then round to the middle of the page are my explanation images whenever I try to tell people what I'm doing at the moment.

Some notes and thoughts on what I thought I could try and do.

More notes and thoughts.  At the moment, we don't have to internet, so my wifey and I go to McDonald's and get a drinky.  For a few hours.  She catches up with her family and I draw and write out notes in my sketchbooks.  This is one of the pages.  I often work with two sketchbooks at once; one above the other.  It's nice to have four pages to go to and from instead of flipping back and forth.  The pages that came from this are in the sketchbook that I don't have with me today.

Here's the page I drew up when I was thinking about how to market the game that - at the moment - I've thought of.  The ideas for the game may well change but at the moment this is what I'm thinking it could look like.

The idea is as follws:
The customer buys the box that the required card comes in.  The idea is that the required cards carries the information needed to see the main character of the game appear in 3D when looked at through an Augmented Reality app.  As the game progresses, the character levels up and becomes stronger, more powerful, better equipped, etc.  To do this, he must fight monsters that he comes across and these are in the form of other cards.
The cards will be sold in booster packs and will be level-orientated.  Booster packs with monsters at levels 1-4, 5-9, 10-14, etc.  As the character levels up, the player buys the appropriate booster packs.
The box will come with the character card and three level 1-4 booster packs.
Also in the box will be a code that enables the player to download the app. that the game runs on.  The cost of the app. will be included in the price of the box.

In as smooth a nutshell as possible; that's the idea for now.

A few posts ago I made a little image that (hopefully) explained what I'm wanting to achieve.  This is the robot that I used for the card design.

Designs and poses for the main character.

More designs and poses for the main character.

And then this is today's progress at modeling the character.  It's not too strongly adhering to my usual style, but it seems to be working, so I'll not complain.

Time for lunch.