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

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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. 😉

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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

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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.


Gameplan…

I know that I probably seem like an unorganized slob sometimes since my thoughts seem so scattered sometimes, and I post about such a wide variety of things… but all the pieces of the master plan will come together over time… Here’s the gameplan for this blog, as it stands now. Remember, game plans are just that – plans, and they can and do change over time, so some or all of the goals listed below can go up or down in priority over time, or change completely as new goals come along…

Current Primary goals for this blog:
– Get as many of my sketchbook drawings scanned and uploaded to Cafepress and linked to from here as I possibly can. Please bear with me… I know that some of this old stuff is rough looking, maybe even what some might classify as “ugly” and amateurish. That’s ok. The newer, fresher, better stuff will get uploaded eventually. I am uploading everything that I can so that I will see it online here in the blog and it’ll act as an incentive to do better work in the future. The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is very true in many ways. I believe that each image I’ve ever made in my entire life sort of has something to say about me, my technique, and my way of doing things… some of which the casual observer can see… some of which only I can know since I was there when the artwork was created, and know what was going on in my head at the time… what logic flow there is, why certain elements are as they are, etc. The same is true of photographs, and any artwork really. A picture is actually worth many, many, many more than a thousand words.

– Get as many of my paintings, and other artworks photographed and uploaded somewhere and linked to from this blog. Most of the stuff will probably go on Cafepress. Some of it might go elsewhere. For stuff that I really don’t ever want deleted in the coming decades, I might even upload some of it to the Internet Archives since I believe that place will probably be around a lot longer than most other places, including both wordpress and cafepress. It’s just a major hassle to get stuff in to there since the interface is slightly clunky and slow, etc.

Although distributing my work in this way is not the best or neatest way of doing things since Cafepress is sort of kitschy, some of this really old stuff is not all that great of a artistic quality, etc., it does get the stuff out here where people can and will look at it. That’s a very powerful motivator for me because it gets people actually seeing some stuff I’ve done, which is a LOT more than the stuff is doing sitting in the basement collecting dust in a sketchbook, deteriorating slowly year after year. Yesterday I was watching the news and there was a story on about this whole mess Google has gotten itself in by copying entire books before getting permission from each author of the books so that they could put it online. Google’s primary argument is that that makes the stuff accessible to the masses when otherwise it would just sit in the libraries untouched as it has for years, sometimes decades or centuries. That’s sort of the same sort of idea that I have going on with all of this. My artwork is a living, breathing thing, and I’m still a living artist, at least for the moment… so why not try to get as many people seeing my stuff as I can. There’s a whole huge world out here, full of many interesting people. Is artwork really artwork if it doesn’t have a viewer? My opinion is that it is, but it’s not nearly as good as artwork that gets viewed.

– Start creating new artwork in the future and continue to upload it on to the internet and link to it here. This part of the plan may take a little while since I still have the backlog of all the stuff I want to scan or shoot photos of to upload. Ultimately the goal is to make more new stuff the primary content on here… and still have the older stuff available here to view for historical purposes, etc. What form my new works will come in is largely undecided and will likely be a lot of various forms. One of many ideas that has been bouncing around in the back of my brain the last couple of years (and actually is part of the reason I started messing around with Cafe Press in the first place) is to start doing illustrations for the books on Project Gutenburg and re-publish the books in Cafepress along with new books that I create myself, etc. A sort of similar vein of though is to create 3d animated movies that use Public Domain or Open Source projects as the basis for where to start. Some folks in the Blender community have created entire full length movies with Blender that is all open source now. At least one guy that I know of has tried to do similar on his own with Lightwave a couple of years ago. This sort of stuff could never have been a one man show just a handful of years ago, but now things have progessed to a point where that is not really the case as much… More people can do more with fewer man hours than used to be possible, and things keep improving to make it easier with every new version of every piece of creative software that comes out…

I enjoy creating a wide variety of different types of art. I would not mind breaking in to Illustration industry, animation industry, or stock photograpy industry a little more than I have, or maybe even becoming a full time art critic, game designer, movie director, or something else creative somewhere down the road. I have a lot of hobbies and ideas. This blog is a bit of a soul searching thing as well as many other things. Some day I still might write a novel for Nanowrimo or some other sort of book.

Main Secondary Goals with this blog:
– Maybe do a post here and there about each of the various subjects that I find interesting and used to have blogs on… hobbies such as Entropia Universe, Role Playing, FTA Satellite, etc. With Entropia Universe, I was in email contact with some of the folks in FPC, and there was some discussion about having me create a World Book for them. HOwever, that idea is sort of nixed at the moment and has been replaced by my Entropia posts to this blog. I still may do something like that eventually, using some of the posts in here to help me along that path. However, there’s just too much work for one person to tackle with a project that huge, especially since it’d be a never ending battle as a lot of things change in Calypso and all of the Entropia Universe with every Version Update (VU).. so anything that got written would have to constantly be re-written as the rules of the universe and everything about it would be, is, and will be in constant flux… That’s just nature of the “Dynamic” system that is Entropia Universe is…

I still find it hard to believe that not too long ago I thought blogs were just for people who are mostly self absorbed (*Hopefully you don’t think that about me, lol), that I thought that facebook was just for teeny-bobbers, and that I thought that that I’d never get around to finally getting my artwork online after having so many false starts over the years (My first “website” was something I was starting my sophmore year in college but that was WAY back when the world was still on Windows 95 because 98 did not happen yet, and 100 mb was considered a lot of space, lol….


Exhibits Tag and Category

The Exhibits Tag and Category of this blog is reserved for artwork that I have enterered in to various exhibits. I will try to mention in each individual posting, or in the first comment of each posting which exhibits each item was in. I will also try to create a tag, and possibly as category for each individual exhibit. However, the main exhibits tag and category will be applied to all works that were in any exhibit.

Similarly, I’ll try to tag each item with a tag denoting the original year that the item was created. By default I’m tagging all artwork that I know that I created in College with the college and 1999 tags since I graduated in December, 1999, and I might not be able to pinpoint the exact year between 1994-1999 that the college artwork was created. (Yes, it took me 5 and years to graduate from college, but that’s mainly because I took a few extra classes in order to get a theater minor).

Artwork created in Highschool will be tagged with the tags 1994 and highschool because I graduated from highschool in 1994.


Artfolio vs Portfolio

I plan to tag and categorize all future posts that I consider a part of my true art portfolio as “Portfolio” at some point in the future. This is different than the posts tagged or categorized as artfolio. Artfolio is reserved for all of my artworks posted in this blog, both unfinished and finished as well as works in progress, quick preliminary sketches, ideas, notes on technique, diary type art-related postings, etc. Portfolio tagged items are a subset of Artfolio tagged items which are more finished, and worthy of viewing. A lot of artists don’t like to show the unrefined, unfinished works to the public for a variety of reasons. I like doing this so that it’s easier to see techniques being used, discuss various methods of doing things, discuss the historical rationale behind symbols and patterns being utilized, etc. That’s why I created the artfolio tag and category. The portfolio tag and category is reserved for things that I would, and may actually put in my real world art portfolio. The Artfolio stuff is more of a hodge podge mix of everything I do that’s art related.


Long List of 3d and 2d editing software

This space will is reserved for a list of 3d and 2d editing software that I’ll drop in here in the near future, and/or build over time. I don’t have time to list it all right now, but am putting this here as a sort of reminder to myself to come back here later and add more. There’s tons of great 3d and 2d freeware and shareware out there as well as higher end stuff. I’ve played around with quite a bit of it and will post my comments on each one I have some experience with here.

Blender – http://www.blender.org/
Gimp –http://www.gimp.org/
Wings 3d – http://www.wings3d.com/
Project Dogwaffle http://www.thebest3d.com/dogwaffle/free/index.html
cinepaint http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CinePaint

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_vector_graphics_editors

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_modeling_software

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_raster_graphics_editors

http://www.freedownloadscenter.com/Multimedia_and_Graphics/Graphics_Editors/Wood_Workshop.html

http://www.freedownloadscenter.com/Shell_and_Desktop/Wallpaper_Tools/flooring_contractors.html

http://wareseeker.com/free-popular-seamless-texture-generator

http://www.brothersoft.com/texture-generator-download-283505.html

http://software.informer.com/getfree-how-to-create-seamless-brick-texture/

http://www.bricksntiles.com/download/

http://www.3d-rekonstruktionen.de/de/download/

I’ll add more to this list over time… You might want to book markt it! 🙂

=== note to self – http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?p=6717946#post6717946

Also add more like it.. other lists have been in various forums before.. but forums disappear over time. Blogs can too, but not as easily all the time.