Jeff is reclaiming his unique digital identity with a sense of clarity.

computers

phatch

For those interested, when I do the watermarks on the images in this blog, I’m using
phatch. It’s a great piece of software for doing stuff like this in batches.


motion capture cheap…

http://freemotionfiles.blogspot.com/2009/06/cheap-motion-capture-with-free-software.html

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22cheap+motion+capture%22&hl=en&rls=com.microsoft%3Aen-us&sa=2

Yes, Chris, and anyone else who cares to read this. I did post this and the last few posts. This is NOT a robot. I usually bookmark this sort of stuff with del.icio.us but since I don’t have the toolbar for that installed on this computer, I’m just posting it the stuff here…

Believe it or not (yes, you probably do believe since I”m a bit nutty sometimes), I had a jogging suit with pom poms sewed on way back 6 or so years ago when I wanted to get in to this d-sculptor, imodeler, and greenscreen junk. However, way back then the computers I was using were way too slow to do much… Aura 1 used to be in Newtek’s ftp site for free. Not sure if it still is. Newtek is the company that makes Lightwave 3d… There was some sort of a pixel tracking thing in aura that could be exported to lightwave… so you could record motion and create paths for it in 3d. Now that I’m starting to get back in to 3d and stuff mentally, a lot of this old knowledge is starting to flood back in to my brain… interesting stuff.

I have a couple of 1000 watt spotlights that are typically used for construction jobs in my basement. I was going to use them to make a homebrew photo studio, or greenscreen studio a few years back. Not sure if I will do that or not… never used the lights yet since I’m not sure how safe they are (warning label on the side of the box talks about lead)…

I might use them to set up as cheap homebrew strobes to shoot my portfolio in the basement someday.

Need to clean out the basement someday before all of that can ever happen though, or before I can convert the basement in to a descent painting studio like I envision it to eventually be… (assuming I can find some way to ventilate it).

It’s still got quite a few things in it that is a bit unorganized from last year, when mother-in-law moved and father-in-law passed away, and we inherited quite a bunch of odds and ends that are now in storage in the basment…


More archiving… and re-installing…

I am a bit of a Scatterbrained individual sometimes. I have a tendency to want to do many things but have little time to do any of them to completion.

I mentioned re-installing some stuff on the computer in the last post.

What I have going on is a collection of random doodles, random digital photographs, and just a lot of other stuff that I want to organize, much of which will likely end up here in the artfolio section of this blog. I want to get as much stuff as I can backed up on here and in to a few dvds and other places so that the one copy of all of it that I have digitally won’t suddenly dissappear someday to cyclical strorage errors (i.e. broken hard drives and cds/dvds). I can’t tell you how many hard drives I’ve had crash over the years, or how many cds and dvds I’ve had stop working after being in storage a few years.

This is a bit of a priority for me now, so I need to make it a bit more of a priority and focus more time/energy on it then I have been up til now… because otherwise it’ll never get done… and the random collection of stuff will just sit unorganized on the computer’s hard drive for years, taking up many gigabytes that could be used in other, more productive ways, and that will dissappear someday when the hard drive goes out or someone reinstalls some other operating system on it down the road a few years from now after I am long gone from the face of this earth.

The photos need to be sorted out in to various collections. Right now they are somewhat chronological, which is fine for family photo type stuff, but for the other things, like stock photos, it’d be better if it was organized by structure type – for instance, one collection of asphalt textures, one collection of bricks, or maybe even subgroups it – like dry asphalt, wet asphalt, cracked asphalt, red bricks, yellow bricks, white bricks, cobblestone, etc. I did a collection like that many years ago, around the end of 2002 and beginning of 2003, when I had my first digital camera, a little 1.3 megapixel monster… and it’s online at http://www.cafepress.com/mastermesh.9229150

https://i0.wp.com/images0.cafepress.com/product/9229150v0_350x350_FrontCover.jpg

https://i2.wp.com/images0.cafepress.com/product/9229150v0_350x350_Disc.jpg

https://i2.wp.com/images0.cafepress.com/product/9229150v0_350x350_BookletPage1.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/images0.cafepress.com/product/9229150v0_350x350_BookletPage2.jpg

https://i2.wp.com/images0.cafepress.com/product/9229150v0_350x350_BookletPage3.jpg

https://i0.wp.com/images0.cafepress.com/product/9229150v0_350x350_OutsideTray.jpg

I want to do something similar to that, but with newer stuff in it too… I also want to do this for my own reference as a bit of an archive to use as reference for paintings, 3d textures, and other creative projects. Eventually, I need to get a newer computer with a larger hard drive… but that’s down the road a bit.

I love just going out with a camera and shooting til the card on it is full or I run out of batteries (usually take at least 2 spare sets of batteries for times like that), but even then, I sometimes can run out of batteries before the card is full because rechargeable batteries do tend to have shorter lifespans the more times they get recharged…

Along with this massive re-orgainzation of creative works on the computer, I’ve also reinstalled some old programs that I didn’t have on the computer for a long while now. It usually takes me 2 weekends to get all of that sorted out since there’s so many installers involved. I don’t use all of the programs as much as I would like to, but most of them do have some use that I like, which is why I have them on there. Many of the programs came off of magazine cds I’ve bought over the years. Some are progrmas from old companies that don’t even exist any longer…
I’ve mentioned this in another post… but it’s worth repeating – for instance my copy of Motionbuilder 5 came from Kaydara, a small company that used to be in Canada that was loved by freelancers and beginning animators over at 3dbuzz.com and a lot of other places. I think I ended up spending around 300.00 or less for Motionbuilder…

Kaydara got bought by Autodesk, the big company that always sells overpriced software, and now Motionbuilder costs around 5 grand!

Autodesk also bought Maya and now it owns Maya as well as it’s own 3ds Max. One major reason that I got in to trueSpace, and later Lightwave is because the biggest competitors, 3ds Max and Maya, costed a LOT more back a few years ago, and today, that price difference is about the same. A new version of 3ds Max runs around 4 grand, and the same goes for Maya. I got Lightwave 7 back about 9 years ago for 1 grand… and I thought that was pricey at the time. I have upgraded it to version 9 but doubt I’ll do that any more unless I do get a full time job in the industry eventually, which will let it pay for itself. Until then, I’m going to try to learn to use the freebie tools out there – Wings 3d, Blender, Pov Ray, trueSpace 7 (which is now free since another great, small company, much like Kaydara – Caligari, got bought out by another big comapny – Microsoft). Back in the days before I got Lightwave, I used to run trueSpace when it costed me about 500 dollars…

Other oddball software that I’ve obtained legally (I hate piracy from a creative standpoint, as well as from a moral/ethic standpoint) is on the comptuer too that helps me with various creative tasks – including but not limited to Photoshop 5 LE (yes, I’m using that old clunker because I never wanted to pay a lot of money to the other giant company eating monster known as Adobe – remember Flash & Freehand, and how they were originally owned by a little company called Macromedia.)… Imodeler, D-sculptor, Gimp, Project Dogwaffle, Aura, Painter, Painter 3d, Daz Studio, Poser 3, Magix Video Music Maker 6, Magix Audio Studio 7, and and a lot of other stuff (might edit this post and expand this list later when I’m actually on the computer and have a list of all of it in front of me – probably around 50-100 various pieces of creative software involved, if not more; or maybe not since it’s not really directly relevant to this blog…)…

I guess the main point is that installing all the various programs and copying all the DVDs and CDs from past projects is fairly time consuming, but it’s definitly worth it in the end. It usually probably takes me a full 2 weekends to do a reinstall of everything and get the computers all networked the way I want them to be, and another few weekends copying dvds and cds so that all of it’s easily accessible for sorting, and then several weeks, if not months to organize it all the way I want… and God only knows how long to make it organized in a manner that it’s able to be stored on DVDs and/or uploaded to various places so that it’s online.

Eventually, after I get this huge archive of stuff categorized, organized, and online or backed up to dvds, I’m going to try to start creating all sorts of fresh new artwork and art projects. My goal is sort of to put the older stuff out here as a frame of reference to use when talking about the newer stuff since talking about art is really fairly impossible without doing comparisons of some type – of various works to study trends, habbits, and look at the world from different perspectives at different points in time. Art is a living thing. It deserves to be seen. This blog is one way of letting myself see my own artwork in different ways and to allow you a peek at it too.

I’m not 100% sure what direction the new stuff will take when I get to that point, but one area that I’m thinking about, and have been thinking about a while, is possibly creating book covers for some public domain books. That gives me the freedom to play around with the source material however I want as the copyrights no longer exist on that stuff. I’ve also been thinking for a few years about taking public domain music and/or videos and using that as source material to create greeting cards, create royalty free sound libraries, remix videos with my own artwork and recordings, and do all sorts of other oddball things like that. Who knows, if I can prove I’m good at this sort of stuff, maybe some book publisher might want to hire me on as an illustrator, or some recording studio might find a use for me someday. I would not mind running a full time production studio of my own someday, or working with someone as a partner in one, but that requires a lot more up front cash then I have at the moment, and a lot more free time that I don’t really have a lot of at the moment. However, in several years… well, we never know what the future might bring. 😉


computers are a pain…

Computers are a major hassle for us creative types. I’ve spent the last 48 hours or so doing a re-install of the operating system, a bunch of software, and on another computer making lots of backups of some dvds and cds with lots of creative works, both 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional from about the last 10 years!… electronic forms of communication are cool, but it’s awful that you can loose it all in the blink of an eye if any hardware goes bad. Backups are something you need to do, but they can be a major hassle that takes hours to do the more stuff you get over the years. Back is hurting from sitting here so long. Neck and shoulders are too since computer is not really at an ergonomic height for keyboard and mouse…

Does anyone know if a cheap midi-usb adapter works in making a music keyboard work with a computer that has no pci slots? Thinking about getting back in to doing a few musical things and having the power to do both midi as well as audio files would be helpful.


SatelliteGuys: What does this mean for @DISHNetwork customers? Discuss it at http://tinyurl.com/ykfyngh

SatelliteGuys: What does this mean for @DISHNetwork customers? Discuss it at http://tinyurl.com/ykfyngh http://bit.ly/d2lwXm

TiVo Statement on Decision by U.S. Court of Appeals in Lawsuit Against EchoStar

ALVISO, CA — 03/04/10 — TiVo Inc., the creator of and a leader in television services and advertising solutions for digital video recorders (DVRs), offered the following statement today on the U.S. Court of Appeals decision to [ruling] in lawsuit against EchoStar.

“We are pleased that the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit fully affirmed the district court’s finding of contempt against EchoStar, including both the disablement and infringement provisions. Additionally, this ruling paves the way for TiVo to receive the approximately $300M in damages and contempt sanctions awarded to us for EchoStar’s continued infringement through July 1, 2009. We will also seek further damages and contempt sanctions for the period of continued infringement thereafter. We will continue our efforts to protect our intellectual property from further infringement.”

About TiVo Inc.
Founded in 1997, TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO) developed the first commercially available digital video recorder (DVR). TiVo offers the TiVo service and TiVo DVRs directly to consumers online at http://www.tivo.com and through third-party retailers. TiVo also distributes its technology and services through solutions tailored for cable, satellite, and broadcasting companies. Since its founding, TiVo has evolved into the ultimate single solution media center by combining its patented DVR technologies and universal cable box capabilities with the ability to aggregate, search, and deliver millions of pieces of broadband, cable, and broadcast content directly to the television. An economical, one-stop-shop for in-home entertainment, TiVo’s intuitive functionality and ease of use puts viewers in control by enabling them to effortlessly navigate the best digital entertainment content available through one box, with one remote, and one user interface, delivering the most dynamic user experience on the market today. TiVo also continues to weave itself into the fabric of the media industry by providing interactive advertising solutions and audience research and measurement ratings services to the television industry. http://www.tivo.com

TiVo, ‘TiVo, TV your way.’, Season Pass, WishList, TiVoToGo, Stop||Watch, Power||Watch, and the TiVo Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of TiVo Inc. or its subsidiaries worldwide. © 2010 TiVo Inc. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

TiVo Products


Prizes worth €20,000 up for grabs at this year’s invaZion 2010

PRESS RELEASE

Brühl, Germany, March1st, 2010: One of the most prestigious competitions for creative film makers and with a top Hollywood jury, is hotting up. The invaZion 3-D Short Film Challenge (www.invazion.org ) is taking place for a second time…

http://bit.ly/bR9jlh

——————————–
3d Short Film Items on Amazon


Studio Tip – Get Rechargable Batteries – And use them!… Also get organized…

If you have a digital camera, mp3 player, voice recorder, or even a cell phone, you probably already realize how important it is to have batteries that work on hand at all times. If you ever get in to creating stock photos or just using a digital camera or video recorder to give you source material to work with in whatever form of art you work with, this becomes even more important.

I can’t tell you how many times when shooting digital stock photos that I was out clicking away with a camera in a park or downtown somewhere and the camera I had on hand quit working because I ran out of battery power. That is a huge annoyance, especially if you like shooting clouds like I do, and you are in a time when the sun is either rising or setting, so each second lost that you did not get a shot of is gone forever because the clouds shift on you constantly and/or the “magic hour” changes dramatically as your big lightsource, the sun, is moving quickly under or over the horizon. “Magic Hour” really is not an hour. Twilight hours of sunset can cause dramatic changes in the light and way that things look on the horizon, and everywhere else outside in literal minutes or seconds.

My advice is that you have a lot of rechargeable batteries on hand and a couple of rechargers for them, and use the rechargers often. Some people say that rechargeable batteries have some sort of memory thing in them and remember how long each recharge took, so it’s bad to put the batteries in to the recharger before the battery is completely worn down. For some batteries, that may be true, but for most regular AA and AAA rechargable batteries, I don’t think that’s really quite the truth. I typically recharge my batteries when the camera shows that they are about down to one quarter power and have never really had a lot of problems. Of course, I am constantly recharging some batteries, so it’s hard for me to tell if that is an issue…

I have two rechargers. One of them holds a lot of batteries and I keep it at home, the other only holds four batteries, but it has a plug in that folds down. I keep that one in my camera bag, and carry it with my camera so that I can plug in at any time, anywhere. The bigger recharger is too large to do that with. However, I keep the bigger recharger full a lot of times and rotate out batteries from there often. I basically try to keep a handful of batteries charged at all times. If some of the the batteries sit unused for a few weeks, I go ahead and recharge the pile anyways so that they are ready when I need them.

Storing a bunch of batteries in a camera bag is a major pain, especially since most of the time, when you buy batteries they come in boxes that are meant to be thrown away after being open. For storage at home, I keep the clear plastic part of the boxes that the batteries came in, and might cut that down to size, and fit it inside of a Altoids box. Those little metal boxes that Altoids come in make fine battery holders since they are just big enough to hold a few AA or AAA batteries and still allow the lid to close. You would think the metal boxes would shock me since I’m putting batteries in them, but so far, I’ve never had any shocks or anything, so I guess the paint or ink they use on the box must not conduct electricity. Even if it does, I’m putting plastic liners from the boxes the batteries came in between the actual battery itself and the metal of the box, so that makes it all work well. To keep the Altoid boxes closed, I simply rubber band them shut.

I used to keep at least one of those Altoid boxes in my camera bag, but lately, I’ve gone to not keeping those in the camera bag since they are a bit of a hassle to mess with out in the field, especially as the rubber bands age, get weaker, and break, leaving the batteries to roam free in the camera bag, where all sorts of potential problems could happen if the acid ever did leak…

Now, in the camera bag, I keep the two batteries in the camera that the camera requires, and keep two batteries in each of the two voice recorders I carry in the bag, for a total of four spare batteries, or two battery swaps between the voice recorders and the camera in case the camera battery charge runs down. I find this ideal since the batteries are stored nicely away in the recorders, and if I do feel the need to use the recorder to record my own voice for notes or just feel like recording something out and about, like a bird chirping, a motorcycle whizzing by me, or whatever, I can just pop out the recorder and it’s ready to go. The reason I have two recorders is that I bought one, thought I lost it, bought a second one, and then a few months later, discovered where I had put the first one… It’s funny how that happens sometimes with little gizmos and gadgets.

If you don’t have a vocie recorder, but have some other tiny gadget that uses the same sort of battery as your camera, you might look in to getting something like that to hold your batteries so that you don’t risk having the batteries just jubmled in the camera bag or case, ready to give some nice acid burns to your camera or whatever else is in there. I’ve only seen a battery leave an acid burn on something one time – it was an old plastic mug that I used to store non-rechargeable batteries in many years ago before I started using rechargeable batteries. The marks it left as the acid dug in to the plastic of the cup were horrible looking. It’d really suck to see something like that happen to a digital camera.

Other things I keep in the camera bag other than the camera, the voice recorders, and the little battery recharger are the top part of a big tripod that actually attaches to the bottom of the camera, and a mini-tripod. I also keep a couple of thumb drives and spare digital camera chips in there to make it easy to store things. The thumb drives are attached via a little stretcy cord that the casino gives out with it’s cards for people to use to remember to not leave their casino cards in the slot machines. I like that because it keeps me from loosing the thumb drives as they are attached to the camera case.

I actually have 3 camera cases. The first one is a little one that holds my little bitty camera itself and came with the camera. It’s very flimsy, but I keep it on there to cover the lens. I put the camera and that little case in to the second case, which is a big bigger and is what I mainly use to carry the camera around my neck when out and about. The third is a Polaroid camera case that I keep the other case in. I use it because it’s big enough to hold the littler case and a few other odds and ends – the tripod top and voice recorders, mentioned above.

I have an entirely seperate bag that I use to keep color pencils and sketch books in the car. At one point in time, I tried to avoid using the Polaroid case, and just put the little camera case in that bag, but that got to be too much of a hassle. Now I just leave the color pencil and sketchbook bag in the back seat of the car, and take the Camera in and out of the car, and with me wherever I go so that it’s handy, and does not get left in the car during hot/cold temperatures that could damage the electronic equipment inside.

At home I have a few toolboxes that I use to keep other things around the house/studio organized. I love the big tool boxes with different slots in them – nice way to organize pastels, pencils, ink pens, etc.

When I was in college, I used to haul a lot of big sketch pads, drawings, and some paintings in a plastic portfolio that I carried around campus to class. That was a major hassle since the classes were in various buildings scattered around campus and my apartment was several blocks away. Carrying big portolios is a tough enough job by itself since they are big and bulky… That only gets worse as you get more and more things in there to carry. You would think paper, being as thin as it is would not be heavy in big bulks, but you would be wrong… especially on humid days when the paper absorbs a lot of moisture just to make itself heavier for you. To make that walking around campus more handy, I ended up taking a duffel bag strap and attaching it to the portfolio handles. That made it much easier to handle the bag and still carry other things like books that I needed to take to class. I have NO idea why porfolio making companies have not made it an industry standard to put shoulder straps on portfolios yet. It’s something that really is needed to help make it easier for all those art students and aspiring artists everywhere be able to carry their stuff. Some Art Directors might like the neat little polished look of the little bitty handles on portolios, but I suspect that they would like the portfolios a lot more if the artists were more comfortable actually walking around with the portfolios so that they could bring them in more often, and have a descent amount of work in the portfolio to show off. I know a lot of artists aching backs and shoulders would be thankful if big art portfolio started getting made with shoulder straps.

Getting organized, and able to transport your art making supplies, is one key to creating great art. A tool such as a camera, voice recorder, pastel, conte crayon, paintbrush, or color pencil is not very useable if it’s buried in the back of a closet in a box underneath of a lot of other things. Each individual artist has to come up with their own organizational strategy that fits their own personalities and needs. If you are not organized yet, you might look at ways that you can start getting that way in the near future. It really can help you be creative when you have tools that are handy that you can grab any time and just start using. Digging around for stuff is a major hassle.