inspiration – speed model

Awesome little video I found on youtube showing someone modeling in 3d with lightwave:

I really need to get back in to Lightwave. I might start doing some stuff with it in 30 minute bursts from time to time to get back at it a little. I’m still on version 9.6 so am a bit behind the times, but it does the job for now.

Eventually, I wouldn’t mind learning blender, but it’s got a gui that will take some getting used to. Who knows maybe there’s a online learning class for it somewhere? I have a book or two on it, but it’s still hard to learn. I’m still in the Canvas Network Social Media Class right now, and loving it. I signed up for a few other freebie classes there and at a few other similar places. I actually have http://www.class-central.com/ as a home page tab nowadays so I don’t miss sign ups. Not sure I’ll have time to do all these classes, but they are pretty fun, and free, so it’s definitely worth giving a try. Really makes you think and learn new things, even on topics you may already know a heck of a lot about.

Speed Model Challenge: Spear

Spear © 6/8/2011 Jeff Thomann

Spear © 6/8/2011 Jeff Thomann

Spear © 6/8/2011 Jeff Thomann

This is a 3d model I created tonight for the speed model challenge over at http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=122&t=984188.

The Model took me approximately an hour and a half to create, but I was a bit distracted since we were watching America’s Got Talent at the same time, and I was also using an internet browser to look at various spear reference images at the same time. I was originally intending to base this on the Hofburg Spear of Destiny that supposedly the spear that pierced the side of Christ according to some, but decided that since I was on a timeline in order to complete this in less than 2 hours, I was going to sort of go off in my own direction with it as a generic spear that just has the rough basic shape as that spear.

I probably spent about 45 minutes adjusting various settings in the procedural texture settings in Lightwave to get the texture I was aiming for. I didn’t focus too much on lighting the scene. It’s just using the generic default light from Lightwave. I didn’t do my usual 30 minute ball point pen drawing tonight, but that’s ok because we spent some time at the mall in Barnes and Noble tonight where I looked at several books and magazines related to 3d modeling and drawing. I’m going to consider that a part of my weekly ‘artist date’ for this week. The ‘artist date’ is a part of The Artist’s Way Process. It involves spending time ‘filling the well’ by doing various things your inner artists guides you to do.

Another part of my ‘artist date’ earlier this week was playing Grand Theft Auto, Vice City for a few hours over the weekend. It’s always a little fun to go and act like a crazy stuntman driver in that game causing all sorts of havoc. Neat way to blow off a little steam.

Speed Model Challenge – Dumbbell

Speed Model Challenge – Dumbbell
© 2011 Jeff Thomann

© 2011 Jeff Thomann

The above is a quick ‘speed model’ I did tonight for the speed model challenge over at cgtalk http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=122&t=984188

I plan to do more of these speed model challenges in the future to get my 3d modeling skills up to a level where I want them to be. The above model took me a little over an hour to do, and the texture (which I’m not 100% too happy with at the moment) took about 20 or so minutes. The model was created in Lightwave 9.

Plant

Plant Render

Plant Polycount

A quick little plant I just created for the speed modelling challenge over at http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?p=6915314#post6915314. Total time to create this was about an hour and 25 minutes or so.

interesting reading – diy greenscreen

http://www.lifeisaprayer.com/articles/photography/diy-greenscreen

http://www.google.com/search?q=homemade+greenscreen&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1

http://blog.mindbites.com/how-to-make-a-homemade-green-screen/

http://www.zazzle.com/jeffthomann

I’m going to start using Zazzle more. It’s similar to Cafepress, but also different. I will likely go back to each of my artfolio images and re-upload them to Zazzle eventually, putting a new link to my zazzle account in each of the posts that I’ve already created on Cafepress. That way my products are in both Cafepress and Zazzle. I am also probably going to do likewise for Createspace, and Lulu. Additionally, I’ll likely move some of my images that are on Turbosquid over to Zazzle and Cafepress so that the good photos are on all the markets out there. I’m also investigating a few places that let artists sell their real world artwork directly and not electronically. I might use one of those places to sell originals of some things eventually.

My Zazzle shop is located at http://www.zazzle.com/jeffthomann

History of Caligari… and a little 3d industry history.

This is all ancient news to those that pay attention to the 3d industry, but I’m posting here anyways just for folks that may not be aware…

http://www.caligari.com/company/timelinenew.asp?Subcate=Company&SubV=Timeline

1982, Roman Ormandy defects from Czechoslovakia and spends three years in New York. Starting in the shipping department of a suitcase factory making Apple suitcases, he breaks into the PC business.

1985, Roman attends Siggraph ’85 in San Francisco. He admires the SGI workstations, but buys an Amiga PC and the trueSpace vision is born!

1986, Video tape of Caligari prototype is displayed in Commodore’s booth at 1986 Siggraph which generates tremendous interest. Octree Corporation is founded, setting out to revolutionize the 3D marketplace.

1988, Caligari1, one of the first 3D visualization products for the Amiga is released. It does not do much yet but it has a novel interface and integrated workspace.

1990, Caligari2 is released for the Amiga. Positioned as a design and video production tool, it supports photorealistic rendering and “real time response to all user actions”. (2Mb of RAM required)

1991, Caligari Broadcast sports animated deformations, sweep tools, interactive spline based hierarchical animations, a visual time editor and resolution up to 8000×8000.

1992, Caligari24 is released with upgraded features such as 32Bit color, organic deformations and further improvements in perspective interface. It soon becomes clear, however, that MS Windows would become the standard operating platform.

1993, Octree moves from New York to the Silicon Valley. Leaving the East Coast behind, it designs a new software architecture and changes its name to Caligari Corporation.

1994, trueSpace, powerful, usable 3D graphics and animation for Windows is released. It changes the landscape of the 3D market with the first integrated 3D animation and modeling package.

1995, trueSpace2 is released to receive critical acclaim and industry awards. It is the first 3D software to support 3D acceleration, alas no 3D accelerators are shipped at the time.

1996, Pioneer is released as the 1st VRML authoring tool integrated with a built-in browser. Wins critical acclaim but VRML fails to live up to user expectations.

1997, trueSpace3 builds upon the excellence and ease-of-use legacy by integrating VRML, inverse kinematics, physics, metaballs, 3D paint and collision detection. More awards follow.

1998, trueSpace4 – Born to Accelerate. 8th generation and a major step forward in 3D authoring, trueSpace4 closes the gap between high end and ease of use.

2000, iSpace – a web graphics tool that enables the creation of stunning 3D graphics in HTML and Flash format. It delivers photorealistic web sites and uses simple drag&drop interface.

2001, trueSpace5 – Reality Designer, providing designers access to an affordable and powerful 3D design tool for all stages of the creative process including conceptual design.

2002, trueSpace6 improves workflow and professional design tools like layers and deform tools. It also reduces repetitive tasks through arrays, mirror modeling and more, making everything from modeling to final render, faster and simpler than ever before.

2003, trueSpace6.6 – introduces non-linear animation, and improved physical simulation. Workflow and modeling are further enhanced, keeping trueSpace the ideal choice for animation, design, illustration and game creation.

2003, gameSpace – 3D content creation for game development software and game engines, based on the trueSpace6.6 core and providing tailored modeling and animation tools, import and export, at a realistic price point. 2006, truePlay – free application to allow anyone to enter the shared 3D spaces, for collaboration with colleagues, friends and peers.

2006, trueSpace7 – introduces a whole new software core, which includes the first ever collaborative workspace that allows people to work together in the same shared 3D space. V-Ray renderer, new DX9 real-time view, and new scripting, physics and procedural objects also introduced.

2007, trueSpace7.5 – expands on the tools introduced in trueSpace7, adding better character animation, and more tools in the new workspace aspect of the program.

2008, Caligari and Microsoft join forces – Now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation, Caligari is able to release trueSpace7.6 for free. With further expansions and improvements to the tools, now anyone can make professional 3D at no cost

It’s been interesting seeing this company come to life, and die by being bought by one of the biggest companies around. Caligari was a neat startup. Unfortunately, a lot of neat startups get gobbled up by gigantic corporations. This is just one of the latest examples of this in the 3d industry…

Autodesk and Adobe are too other giants that eat their competition like Microsoft did with Caligari, and other companies are too to various degrees..

Alias bought Kaydara in 2004. Kaydara had created some awesome software called Motionbuilder, and they actually were selling it to individual artist very cheaply. Go check out the history of it on the forums at 3d buzz… Back when I got my personal edition from Kaydara itself it costs about 100.00 or 200.00…

Autodesk bought Alias in 2005 thereby taking over both Motion builder and Maya…

and looky here at what happened… Now the personal edition is long gone and Motion Builder costs $3995.00!

Adobe did the same thing with Flash a long time ago (originally owned by Macromedia).

It is nice that what used to cost a lot (TrueSpace) is now free… I originally bought version 3, then upgraded to 4, then 5… and quit upgrading after that because I switched over to Lightwave around that time… but it is sort of sad to see a company get gobbled up… especially one that was nice to new users and had a very good interface that helped developing 3d artist learn the ropes.

If you like the fact that trueSpace if free since you are an artist or want to become one, you might check out http://www.wings3d.com/, http://www.anim8or.com/, and http://www.blender.org/since Wings, anim8or, and blender are also free. Other freebies are out there, but these are the main ones that I know of that a lot of folks use.

Gmax is also free, but it’s several years old and is really just a dumbed down version of 3d Studio Max, which the big corporation Autodesk owns and wants you to pay a lot for…

It’ll probably just be a matter of time before Microsoft execs figure out some way to make Caligari’s trueSpace and gameSpace technolgy become massively expensive toys for the rich.

(If you can’t tell by the tone in this post, I’m not a huge fan of Micro$oft. I can’t tell you how many crashes have killed my artwork and other creative endeavors because Windows 95, 98, and XP all were pure junk. Vista is not far behind, but it a little more stable… Also, as someone that plays Entropia Universe a lot, I have a little bit of a grudge against Microsoft for when they tried to kill of Project Entropia in it’s early days by falsely accusing them of being pirates.)

A few thoughts about illustration… copyright, trademarks, why “Work-for-hire” is EVIL… and Zombies, or actually Golems Really due exist!

While I say I love illustration, and want to get in to the illustration field, I think it only fair to give you a little bit of background about me, and some of my own personal biases and things about illustration… In the wide world of illustration, usually the client always comes first. The artist does work for the client. The artist creates things, but seeks approval from the client at each step of the process. The preliminary concept art is just thought of as something to hand to the client to seek approval. The client and artist then have a disucssion and talk about things, and go to the next step… and the artist continually changes the idea to be in agreement with what the client is wanting since the client has the ultimate say as the artist is seeking payment for the work from the client.

A little bit of a philisophical problem that I have with that sort of thing, at least in my own works, is that I consider each work of art that is created in every stage of creation as a seperate and unique art form… something that is not just a preliminary work for something later, to be discarded like pretty wrapping paper that is torn apart as a Christmas present is opened. The process of creation has multiple stages. Quick little doodles done in a sketchbook are just as valid as a final work of art as something that’s been re-worked three hundred times by an illustrator or designer that is seeking permission from his or her client.

Another huge issue in all of that is the “work-for-hire” issue. Many clients want illustrators and designers that work for them to consider their work as “work-for-hire.” According to the way contract law works, art that is created as “work-for-hire” is artwork that the client will own the copyright to. In other words, if an artist creates work-for-hire artwork, the artist will have to seek permission from the copyright owner to republish the work that he or she created, and the same thing applies to and “derivitive” work… that is work that is dervived from the original… That puts artists that work in “work-for-hire” contracts in a really sticky situation since they can never use the work for hire stuff unless they get permission again, which might actually end up costing them money, etc. The derivitive issue makes the bad situation even worse because most artist tend to build a sort of visual library in their subconscious that forces works they create later in life to resemble works they created earlier… which is something they could possibly get sued for if the earlier work was a work-for-hire form of art.

For this reason, I’m not sure if I could ever “really” be a full time illustrator. However, I do like the idea of illustrating things, and creating narrative structures, so it’s possible that I might be able to get in to this field sort of. One reason I really am attracted to using Public Domain stuff as the basis of illustration is that the original copyright owner no longer has copyright over that stuff, nor does anyone else… so it’s free game for anyone… However, writers that no longer have copyrights on their books are probably long gone, and so other people probably have created derivitive works of those books and artforms over and over throughout the years, so it leaves the ancient stuff as content that will be difficult to gain any economic profits off of in a direct manner… since dead writers won’t pay anything usually… That’s why I got interested in Cafe Press, Lulu.com and other similar types of places in my exploration of all of this stuff. The internet has created a lot of new little niche areas for many of us to investigate if we want to take the time to get in to it. There’s a lot to explore and play around with in the huge playground of tweaking public domain concepts, ideas, and works, and redistrubting them with our own little additions, changes, etc.

Eventually, if I do get in to making book covers and interior illustrations for Public domain books I will build up a lot of variety and introduce new fresh ideas, in hopes that maybe someday a real writer that is alive today might ask me to do some works for their books, magazine articles, blogs, etc. If that does happen, this whole work-for-hire issue will likely come up down the road. I guess I’ll cross those bridges if/when I get to that point. Regardless, if you create artwork, this IS something you should be thinking about somewhat. There’s a lot to copyright and trademark laws. I don’t claim to be a lawyer, but do know that this sort of stuff can be a major hassle if you don’t think about it before you dive in to a contract or situation similar to a contract that is all done with verbal agreements, etc.

Do you really want to give away your right to be creative?!?… Just something to think about.

A similar thing to think about – be sure that you are honoring the Copyrights and Trademarks of other… If you want to create a work of art depicting a soda can or car, are you aware that you could be sued by Ford or Coke, or any other company if the work looks too much like theirs? This is especially true of photographs. Speaking as someone that has had some photos removed from Turbosquid a few years ago because Turbosquid received a Cease and Desist Letter from Ford due to the fact that there was a Ford car somewhere in the forground of a picture I shot once, even though it was not the main focus of the composition, I can say this stuff is a reality you SHOULD think about before and while you are making your artworks. The possibility of having to go to court and pay high lawyer fees and court fees just because you clicked your camera in the wrong place is not a fun situation to be in! Ford is probably one of the biggest companies that chases people down for this sort of thing, but any copyright or trademark owner can do similar at any time because copyright and trademark law DOES apply to “derivitive works.”

For yourself, this can be a good thing, as you could possibly sue others if they create artworks that are in your style or just look too much like your work for your liking… However, what comes around goes around, and the you can find yourself on the receiving end of the same issue if you create works that are too much like other folk’s stuff too… which is something we all need to think about a LOT as everywhere you turn today there’s some namebrand, logo, or copyrighted thing in your face 24/7.

Your computer has a logo on it… oops better not photograph or draw it. You want to take a photo of a street – oops there’s a car on it that was created by an automobile company that has a trademark on that design. You shoot a photo of a gargoyle on a building – oops there’s an architect or sculptor somewhere that owns the copyright to that design. You shoot a picture of the sunset – oops there’s an airplane flying low there that was designed by a company with a trademark on that shape. You take a picture of a wall in your house – oops someone has a tradmark, and probably a copyright on the design of that wallpaper… Where is nature? That is one of the few things people can’t copyright… Nope?!?… someone has done a picture of a deer posing in that posture before! YIKES!

If you take a photo of someone, or create any form of artwork depicting anyone – you have even more issues to deal with since there are privacy laws. That’s why you always see notices in various films, literary works, etc. say any resmblence to real people in the characters depicted is coincidental, etc. It’s also why photographers need to get the permission of anyone they photograph, usually in a written form so that they can prove that the permission was obtained. The little photo of Barrack Obama standing next to the China Wall that was put in Times Square by the coat company is just one of the newest little examples of where these sort of issues can come up and cause major problems for all parties involved…

All of these little issues are amplified by the fact that Zombies, or at least Golems really do exist! As mentioned in How to Argue & Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Everyday, corporations and money are both lifeless beings that we give life to… things that are really dead that we give power to.

(*Perhaps the Golem are the invisible corporations and the Zombies are the employees that become “dead” 40 hours a week to serve the golem?*)

Sometimes, actually far more times than we probably want to acknowledge, we actually give our entire lives to these souless, lifeless beings! Corporations are our society’s gods from the ancient world. They don’t really exist but everyone knows that they are there. Everyone talks about them… shares stories about them… We even give them Social Security Numbers and call those Tax Identification Numbers… We give them life through our <a href="Memes“>about them.

Logos and employees are just one sign of their existence, as are all the contracts created in their names… Curators of Universities, CEOs, Company Presidents and others in power in the coporate world, just to name a few, are the priests of this religion that we don’t call a religion, but they are NOT the corporation itself, even if they think they are. They are hired and fired by the invisible zombies or golems that we breathe life into, just like everyone else. The piece of paper that creates a corporation is NOT the corporation itself. The corporations don’t really exist in our world, but we all pretend that they do and continue to bring life to them in our belief in them… continue to pay homage to them every time we think about that brand name we want to pay for, etc…. They are the true gollems that all of us helped bring in to power to submit our entire beings too in some way, shape, or form.

Advertising, and all of the little illustrations that come from it is just one of the many little offerings that are given to these souless, lifeless zombies to help them exist. You can call me a crazy lunatic if you want, but when you really dig deep and think about it, you have got to know that it’s true!

Does this mean I don’t want to be an illustrator. Of course not. I love to illustrate things, tell stories, bring life to the lifeless objects around me.

In a strange way, all people that create art, or anything really – letters that you made when you hit the keyboard on your computer (you do know that each letter and phrase is different from place to place in the world which is why there’s different languages that exist – we all breathe life in to our own perception of reality that the elders in our tribe have taught us IS reality and so we make it become OUR reality too), recipies you put together to eat, All Things that we do really… sort of do the same thing, whether it’s for a corporation or their own needs and wants to create. Art itself is something we breathe life in to, and it sort of takes on a life of it’s own in that process. Maybe all of this is something Jesus was talking about when he said you cannot serve God and Mammon?… but in reality, that’s not really possible is it, at least not if we want to live in this world and exist – Give to Ceaser what belongs to Ceaser…

Anyways, I am a living being, just as you are, and as The Universe’s Creator is. The act of creating things is in some ways the real and ultimate goal and meaning of the universe?… or is it? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, be sure to make your works your own, and unique enough that you don’t get sued for copyright infringment by other humans or the golems that exist in our society.

Just something to think about…

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.

Fellow Artist – Rachel (Michael Tiger) Elliott

Rachel and I were classmates together at Truman State University in the late 1990s. We attended quite a few painting classes together. I remember fondly having some in-depth discussions with her as we both sat fatigued on the painting studio floor after having been in our own little corners of the room pulling all-nighters.

Her work has a serene beauty to it. A few of her drawings are sometimes simple on the surface, but very narrative and complex under the surface. I really enjoy her mastery of color and simple lines to evoke a lot of feeling. Her use of compositional space draws the viewer in to the little worlds that each individual painting or drawing depicts and describes. Her works may be small, and intimate since they require the viewer to get up close and personal with the work, but they pack a powerful punch.

Rachel’s Blog is located at http://michaeltiger.wordpress.com/. Her blogging is one of the many things that have inspired me to start blogging again.

Fellow Artist – Chris Mast

Chris is the webmaster for the popular gaming website http://www.merqurycity.com/

I’ve known Chris since high school. He and I were on the high school newspaper staff together at Boonville High School way back in the day (16 years ago, geesh, I feel old now). Back then, Chris lived one and a half blocks away. Chris, Chris’s brother, Sam, my brother, Danny, a few other close friends, and I used to play many video games and pen and paper role playing games together. The main games that we played were Heroes Unlimited, Beyond the Supernatural, Ninja and Superspies, Rifts, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT – no longer in publication since the Copyright and Trademark owners dumbed the TMNT down and made it in to a kid’s cartoon instead of the gritty, urban ninja comic it originally was intended to be). In my college days, we even played a few games of Nightbane, and a weird role playing world that I created using Palldium Books game system with modified versions of World of Darkness characters on occasion. (I won’t publish the conversion rules here in this post, but might in a future post – they are fairly simple).

I have many fond memories of role playing with Chris. Him and I used to take turns being the Game Master. Role Playing is one interest of mine that got me interested in taking up theater in college. Chris was one of the grooms men in my wedding. I keep in pretty close contact with him and see him about once or twice a year most years nowadays. He’s a very talented artist, and with two bachelor degrees behind his name, is about as well rounded of an artist as there can be.

Chris’s portfolio website is http://www.chrisjmast.com/.

Entropia Tree View – http://x1z.net/EU/

Entropia Tree View is a very nice little website tool that helps you keep your inventory organized in Entropia Universe. You simply copy your inventory list from Entropia Universe’s Website in to the window and the Tree View creates a neat tree view of your inventory that lists all items in containers together in one location that you can easily check on or off to control the little text form created. This makes sorting out your inventory infinitely easier than trying to cut and paste your inventory line by line to sort out which items are in what box, storage, estate etc. Thank you very much for this amazing tool Snow Leopard. You have save me and probably a lot of other people from a huge amount of headaches, and probably carpel tunnel! 🙂 😉

Entropia Survival Strategies and tips…

As someone that has had an avatar on Calypso a few years, I have a bit of experience in surviving in Entropia Universe (EU). This is the first of many little Survival tips, hints, tutorials, etc. I’m probably going to be posting in here.

If you don’t know what Entropia Universe or Planet Calypso is yet, go take some time to read about it at http://www.entropiauniverse.com.

Also, go take a look at the entry for Entropia Universe on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropia_universe

Take particular note of the stories on there about Neverdie, Jon Jacobs (Deathifer), Mike Everest, and a few other success stories. THESE types of stories are usually true. HOWEVER, they are not typical stories of average participants. Most people that participate in the virtual universe can and should expect monetary losses when playing. This is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) after all, just like Warcraft, Dialo 2, or Everquest. However, unlike those other games, the losses in EU should not be extremely great unless the participant in question wants them to be because EU is free to participate in on some levels. Sweating, gathering dung, fruit, stones and oil are all free (well oil is probably the hardest of those to get because the rig is in the middle of a pvp zone that’s always full of avatars)…

There are many risks in EU. Many consider the main professions of crafting, hunting, and mining in the game to be similar to gambling in a slot machine at a real world casino. However, there ARE ways to participate and make money and come out ahead. It just takes some work to figure out how to come out ahead… it also takes a bit of luck on occassion. Trading is one of the main ways to do this. HOwever, you have to be smart with the way you trade to make money in this game. You also have to have a lot of persistence, strategy, and sometimes just plain luck.

FORUMS
There’s quite a few forums run by participants (players) of this virtual universe with the real cash economy known as Entropia Universe. Forums are THE primary way participants share information with one another. In a “game” (even if the developers don’t want to call it a game – but a virtual universe instead) such as this one, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, and getting knowledge from other participants through forums is probably the easiest way to get knowledge quickly.

The largest, and probably most popular one in English currently is probably http://www.entropiaforum.com (EF). I participate in that forum a lot, as do many other helpful individuals. EF is a huge place – take time to read, read, and then read some more before you ever think about depositing a lot of cash in to the game. There’s a huge learning curve to this virtual universe known as Entropia Universe, and places like EF can help you get over the major hurdles of that learning curve much, much, much faster than you can overcome the learning curve on your own.

Other forums exist. Http://www.entropiaplanets.com (EP) is one example of such a startup. A few years ago Entropia Pioneer’s forum was hot, but that got so stale and stagnant that it got shut down permanantly some time during the last year or so. There’s also been a few other forums here and there that have had limited success.

http://www.entropiareality.com is another forum, but it’s mainly for flame fests since it’s not moderated. Since entropiareality (i.e. ER in other forums since some other forums actually hate ER enough that they edit their forum to keep that word from showing up in their own forum) is flame bait, some discussions in other forums sometimes end up here near the end since no moderators are not around to keep all parties posting their spit spats to one another out in the open like little elementary kids that like to cuss because they have not potty trained their speech yet.

When it comes to the forums, remember to use netiquitte. Also remember that theories are just that, theories… not something that can be proven, and if it can be proven, the system might just be altered to make the theories false again later… This is important to know since there’s a LOT of various loot theories out there…. and if the Mind Ark and FPC are smart, as I believe they are, they likely change the loot system regularly, just like online casinos or google, to keep those that want to cheat the system from doing so for too long of a stretch of time.

AUCTIONS
The in game auction is nice, but it’s limited because there is an auction fee that the seller has to pay regarless of whether the item the seller is trying to sell actually sells or not. The selling forums in EF help people bypass that little administrative fee. Similarly http://www.entropiabay.com (EB) was set up specifically to help people do this sort of stuff in a more ebay type of setting. Entropiabay is sort of a new kid on the block, but it has limited popularity. Over time, it might become one of the best places to sell stuff online in game. EP also has an auction type of thing in it’s forums, but since EP itself is even newer than EB, the number of people utilizing that system is very limited.

Most folks that don’t do a lot of person to person trading in game use the in game auction system at some point in time. It is a lot more reliable than the forums sometimes because forums require that you have to meet up the people you are dealing with in game, which is not always easy. With the in game auction, you are using a system that anyone in game can access 24/7. However, since it does have fees to sellers, and high fees in addition to that, it’s not necessarily the best way to sell things.

SHOPS
In game shops are nice to have. They allow you to sell things in game 24/7 regardless of whether your avatar is actually logged in or not. Price of shops very greatly depending on location and size of the shops in question. Mall shops are the most expensive and have the highest monthly rent fees. However they also are probably the most popular shops in game. Shop owners have to deal with taxes when figuring out what prices to mark items with. They also have to deal with monthly rent sometimes. Taxes are not too difficult to work with since taxes are passed on to customers, not to shop owners themselves, and taxes also are interesting because they usually are a lot lower than the fees that have to be dealt with in the in game auction regardless of whether people bid or not. Tax money that is collected goes to Land Owners if the shop is on a land area that is owned by a participant. Some shops are in areas that are not owned by participants, and it’s never been determined if the taxes off of those shops go back to feed the loot pool or go in to the overall income of MindArk. Some estates that act as shops, such as booths in apartment basements, hangers that have shopkeepers in them, and some houses that have shop keepers in them, do not have monthly rent payments. That makes these places very interesting places to own as any income from the shop is more or less a complete income since the shop owner does not have to “break even” on a rent fee every month. However, they still may have some decay fees in the form of shopkeeper decay. Shop keepers decay approximately 10 PEC per sale… Most folks that own shop keepers are aware of this and pass that cost on to their customers. Even that small fee is typically less than the auction fee costs sellers as the auction always costs a seller something regardless of whether or not any actual sale was made.

HANGERS
Hangers are estates that have ships that can be used to fly to the astroids above Calypso, Club Neverdie (CND) and Crystal Palace (CP). It is also possible that they will be used to get to new planets when new planets are introduced in 2010. Hangers also have a number of item points on them, so they can hold furniture and other things, such as shopkeepers, just like all estates that have over 6 item points (shopkeepers require 6 item points but give you 20 back in exchange with the number of things that the shopkeeper can hold and sell for you)

ALGORITHMs…
Here’s what is believed to be the algorithm that is currently used to figure taxes.

Shop Tax = (Markup * 49.75 / (1990 + Markup))

Here’s what is believed to be the algorithm that is currently used to figure auction fees on the in game auction.

Auction Fee/Commission = (0.5 + Markup * 99.5 / (1990 + Markup))

Here’s what is believed to be the cost to pilots for using ships (although the ship system is currently offline until it’s reintroduced. This system, along with most other systems in the game have to be recreated to suit the Cry Engine 2 Game Engine that was added to EU in Version Update 10.0)

the actual flight costs, one way, to each desination are (in TT value):

10 ped to CP (4 decay, 6 ped in oil).
40 ped to cND (16 decay, 24 ped in oil).

DYNAMIC CHANGES…
As with everything in this dynamic universe, change is the ONLY costant we can accurately rely on… so the information above may be completely inaccurate by the time you read this. The systems in place in the virtual universe change every time a new version update is implemented, and sometimes even during the course of the same version of the game as Mindark can and does alter some things on the server side of the game any time they want. Getting used to changes IS a very important characteristic anyone that wants to survive in EU for long MUST have because there can, will be, and always are changes coming up… some may benefit you. Others might not… that’s why a lot of the forums are always full of people complaining about things and speculating about things. However, most long term residents of Calypso and any part of EU know that change is coming and always will happen over time…. because ENTROPIA UNIVERSE IS DYNAMIC!

I’ll add some more tips about EU and living on Calypso in future postings here. Stay tuned…

10 Days left to upgrade shops in Entropia Universe and get the December Discount!

10 Days left to upgrade shops in Entropia Universe and get the December Discount!

* +20 item points – 2,000 PED
* Live streaming with music of your choice – 25,000 PED
* Exclusive Custom Name Sign (Non interactive) – 5,000 PED

2k for 20 points beats the heck out of 3k for a shopkeeper that will always cost you 10 pecs in decay for every sale, and eat 6 points, thereby only really giving you 14 extra item points instead of 20…

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.

Turbosquid

I have many photos available at Turbosquid

Turbosquid

I have over 9000 total published assets at Turbosquid at this point in time. I’m always adding more now and then. I love walking around with a digital camera taking texture photos of wood grain, bricks, concrete, asphalt, and a lot of different things, and taking reference shots of clouds and a lot of other things now and then. I also love taking a camera with me on vacation to various places around the country to shoot as many things as I can. I see the camera as a simple little “light” version of a sketchbook for me. I have always been interested in texture photos and can fondly remember finding out about texture photos the first time by visiting websites way back in the early 1990s when this stuff was all brand new and everyone was using early versions of photoshop that could not do much. Most of my photos on turbosquid are taken directly out of a camera card, without edits. I do sometime edit if I need to remove some copyrighted or trademarked element from a photo, but these days, I’m mainly trying to stay away from putting that stuff in the lens in the first place.

Welcome to Jeff Thomann’s “official” new blog. (or JEFF’S ONE BLOG)

I’ve started a number of various blogs on blogspot.com in the past on a wide variety of topics, but never got many or any of them too far because I would start something, get on to another topic, abandon the blog, and not come back to it later.  I am sort of doing a “redo” here and starting over from scratch here on wordpress.  I’m doing this so that I have ONE blog and only ONE blog… I’ll post a link to this ONE blog from my multiple other blogs later so that they all eventually lead you here.  I like it over here a lot better than over there because here you can do tags and things a lot easier.

I’ll warn you now… I’m a bit of an eccentric individual with a lot of various hobbies, interests, and things, so will likely post about a lot of different things over time.  I’ll try to post Tags to each entry to make it easier to maneuver around the upcoming massive amount of posts about all sorts of things under the sun…  I’m in to drawing, painting, 3d animation, photoshop, sketching, video gaming, role playing, theater, the tech side of movie making and theater, art history, free-to-air satellite reception, internet tv, and a lot of other things.

A little about me… I’m a 30 something (possibly 40-60 something by the time you read this) year old, married man.  I live in the mid-west.  I have a BFA in Studio Art,with an emphasis in painting, and a minor in Theater.  I graduated from Truman State University in last century (December, 1999). I have the most amazing child who was recently born! We love her dearly.

I love oil painting, but don’t paint much these days due to lack of time and lack of a studio with a descent ventilation system.  Instead, I doodle with color pencils in my sketch books and panels in my spare time, or mess around with creating sketchy type things in Photoshop, MS Paint, 3d Blender Portable, Lightave 3d, or whatever other artsy tools I can get my hands on at the time.

When I graduated from college, I had a lot of interests in finding ways of combining my backgrounds of theater and art, and found myself studying 3d animation on my own.  Because of that, I got in to Newtek’s Lightwave 3d, which at the time was the only halfway descent priced 3d package on the market that could do some descent levels of animation.  I never got too far in to doing a lot of in-depth animation projects with that because I didn’t have time to create a lot of stuff, and also constantly found myself having hard drive failures, cds that got busted due to improper storage, and other hardware problems that erased everything.  I might get back in to it eventually.

I also like taking digital photographs of various objects and textures that I use for reference photos or to upload as reference photos for others on Turbosquid.  I like Turbosquid vs other places because it’s more forgiving to people that upload things without doing a lot of editing.  I like for photos that are reference shots to stay unedited so that there’s more of the direct just shot looks and feel to the photos, making it like an unblemished, raw material ready for an artist to pick it up and mold it in to something on their own.

I like playing and creating video games, but have not really done any real video game creation full scale yet.  However, I have several tools to do so if I venture in to that someday – Photoshop 5 LE, Torque Game Engine, 3d Rad, 3 Impact Game Engine, Lightwave 3d, Motion Builder, and a lot of various 3d and 2d packages that I’ve picked up for cheap or free on magazine cds over the years, or outright purchased.

I like poetry.  I would not mind writing a book or play someday.  I have tried to write for nanowrimo before, but never completed the book that year since it was the year we bought our house in the same month that I was trying to do that. (We don’t have that house any longer, but it was a nice accomplishment for me to obtain it, a wife, and dog all by age 30! 🙂 )

I will post more later.  I’m out of time right now.  Thank’s for visiting.  Hope to see you here again.