inspirations…

tutorials…
http://www.smashingapps.com/2009/07/01/60-incredible-tutorials-and-resources-collections-for-designers-to-discover-the-best-of-the-web-in-june.html

http://www.webgranth.com/useful-tutorials-on-how-to-create-typographic-portraits

http://naldzgraphics.net/tutorials/how-to-create-a-simple-face-text-portrait-in-photoshop/

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.)

Inspirations – http://www.wordsaroundtown.com/

Clarissa left me a little comment over at https://jeffthomann.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/mall-small-19-drawing/ talking about her friend’s website at http://www.wordsaroundtown.com/ so I figured I’d visit and do this Inspirations posting about it. I have not really done many (read any, lol) inspirations postings up til now that have to do with anyone’s art that I did not know about before now. Time to change that, and start exploring the art world in these here intra-web tubes.

As indicated at http://www.wordsaroundtown.com/page8.php wordsaroundtown.com is owned by Kevin McCartney Studios.

Kevin appears to be a very good photographer.

The words around town site seems to be made of various pictures that Kevin has taken and converted in to fonts to spell out words.
He’s using the forms he finds in his compositions as letters.

As stated in the site, Kevin has a real enthusiasm about this obscure typographical artform…

The challenge of finding objects around us that we normally pass by everyday without a second glance which look like letters has been exciting and fun!

Finding the hidden beauty in everyday things that we often pass by without a second glance IS, in my opinion one of the great things that exploring art does for people that get in to art.

Finding the invisible forms as Kevin is doing and making it visible is sort of a theme that has run through art for many years. It is an obscure idea that can be traced back to the Surrealist movement, especially in Salvador Dalí’s paintings… but the idea actually goes back a lot further than that.

Trompe-l’œil means “fool the eye” and that phrase is what is best used to describe or categorize this form of art. Actually, almost every form of 2-dimensional work that goes back to the earliest known cave arts is somewhat in this to some degree – since after all making a window out of something that is not a window as paintings do is fooling the eye so to speak.

It’s all about hidden messages or meanings, and really being a keen observer of the world in order to see the form and the way that simple basic design principles can allow multiple things to happen in the same plane.

The idea of bringing the reality of the 2-dimensional canvas of a painting or photograph in to the viewers plain sight so that it’s simple beauty can be observed in and of itself outside of all other rules and principles of creating illusion is a very modern idea that is seen over and over and over again in 20th centrury art. That’s why I say that genres like Cubism, Op-Art, and a lot of other genres that focus on the 2-dimensional existence of the plane in an artwork are MORE REALISTIC than simple little paintings that pretend to be windows showing pretty landscapes or cityscapes that most other people classify as Realistic…

Is it realistic to pretend that the 2 dimensional surface on a wall is something other than a surface on a wall? Sure there can be little pictures in there, just like there is on that flat plane you are looking in to to see these words, or that you will view tonight as you watch Prime Time TV… but isn’t it more realistic to acknowledge that what you are looking at is really a 2 dimensional flat surface?… as Kevin has done by seeing the letters in his photographs?

Some folks even take this sort of idea in photography to a whole different level in the form of Photomosaics… After all, if a photograph is really just a bunch of dots made up of 4 colors, CYMK (Cyan Yellow, Magenta, and blacK), it makes sense that each photo is balanced more towards one of those 4, so it makes sense to use an entire photo as one small element in a larger picture… Actually, given enough time and photos, photomosaic technology could go to a whole new level and allow an infinite amount of images to exist hidden inside of a set of photos… the first level would look like something from space, then as you approach it to the airplane level it would phase and each level as you get closer and closer could phase in to a new image, hidden… only to dissolve as new ones come in to play. The hidden typography that Kevin is searching for is a little different than Photomosaics, but not completely. There is a lot of similarities there – searching for what is hidden in plain view.

It’s strange but all language and all these ideas that get thrown at us daily in these little windows that are not windows are something that connects us all as a society. People from 200 years ago would think we are crazy staring at computers and tvs and spending as much time as we do daily on these devices that are really 2 dimensional boxes producing light. Works like this make people think. They can become kitsch or cliche sometimes if overdone, but they do start to open the mind, and let people begin to question reality itself on some level, which, in my opinion is what all great art should do.

Keep looking for the hidden meanings Kevin. Your typographic photos are amazing. Keep spreading the Love.

Interesting Reading – A few Technical “Bibles”

I just wanted to throw these out here because they are amazing books that I use a lot and recommend a lot of other people to use too!

The Photoshop Bibleis THE book that you will want to get if you want to learn how to use Photoshop. I am sad to say that I’m still running Photoshop 5 LE, so I have not picked up a newer version Photoshop Bible that is for newer versions of Photoshop myself, but have read a few pages out of the newer versions in a bookstore now and then. It still appears to be the best source to go to for all things Photoshop. It covers just about every main function in the application and gives you a simple plain English explanation of why everything is there and what you should be using each function for and which Icons you should push on or quick keys to hit to get what you are trying to accomplish done quickly and competently.

The JavaScript Bible is THE book to have on Javascript. You CAN learn some of the basics from visiting websites such as Web Monkey, but when you really want to start digging deeper and understanding how to do things on a more complex level, this is the to go to book that you will be wanting to get. Just about every aspect of Javascript is covered and there’s coding example after coding example that will get you up and running quickly and give you a working understanding of how all the spokes in the wheel run together to get your website advanced to a new level of interactivity.

Beginning Game Programming with Flash is another great book to have for web design. Surely you have played a few flash games on occassion. They are all over the internet. This book teaches you from the ground up how to start building those sorts of games yourself. If you thought Javascript was fun, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The graphics and programming power behind Flash can let you create just about any sort of game that you want online if you have enough time to program and test your stuff out. There are definite limitations to what Flash can do, but many of those limits dissappear with every new version of flash that comes out, especially as more and more people are getting off of dialup and heading to dsl or other high speed internet carriers.

The Artist’s Handbook, or The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques: Fifth Edition, Revised and Updated (Reference)
is just about one of the best “Bibles” on traditional art methods.

Both of the books cover many of the same topics. Mayer’s is considered a little “better” by some since I think it is actually the older of the two.

They cover just about every technique that there is in the traditional arts, and gives some really neat in-depth information that you just won’t find many other places, especially in a single book. It’s actually pretty hard to believe how much information there is packed in this book…It tells you some of the little known facts about how to make pigments, what formulas to use to make your own gesso, explains in-depth information about various surfaces and how you should treat them and more importantly, why. It just has a lot of little key bits of information that are invaluable to anyone that really wants to create artwork.

Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings (California Studies in the History of Art) is another great art related book. While this book is not really a Technical Bible per se, it is a bit like the more traditional Bible in that it goes directly to the source to get first hand accounts of what is going on in the minds of various artist in the contemporary art world. The book is filled with tons of interviews done with artists, diary entries created by artist, and a variety of publications created by artists and those that have an in depth understanding of artists. It gets to the heart of why contemporary art really exists, and has more in-depth, behind the information than you are likely to find ANYWHERE else all in one place.

Interesting Reading…

I’m constantly reading various books, blogs, websites, reviewing new material, reviewing old material, and rethinking about some of the content in those books, blogs, websites, etc.

Moving forward, I’m going to reserve the “Interesting Reading” tag and category in this blog for interesting reading articles, website links, links to books that I’ve come across, new thoughts I’ve got on old material, etc. This is not necessarily for “book reviews” so much as to toss an interesting piece of information that I’ve come across at you to think about a little – a pebble of thought, in to this wide Ocean that is the Blogosphere.

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.

N122OU Scanner Problem…

Has anyone found a way to get a Canoscan N1220U Scanner to work under Windows Vista yet? I’ve been trying various google searches for this and am seeing websites and forum info on it that says that there is a fix in the works, but no actual fix yet. Surely there is some way to make this work… If nothing else, maybe there’s a way to get cygwin to do it with some linux driver or something. I would have tried XP or 98 under Virtual Box or some other virtual solution, but I don’t think that sort of thing is workable since usb connections on virtual stuff is pretty slow, and/or might not work at all?…. Need to get my scanner working so that I can actually try scanning some stuff small paintings, and sketchbook things…

=====EDIT=====
I have a found a temporary solution – I’ve hooked up my scanner to a second computer that is using XSane in Ubuntu Linux to do the scanning… but if you folks do find a solution to the Vista problem with this scanner, please do leave a comment with your solution, because I’m not sure this temporary fix is doable for the long term.

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 Artists – Columbia Art League

I consider all members of the Columbia Art League as “Fellow Artists” since they are all local folks. I am not currently a member of the Art League, but was a couple of years ago. I quit because the gallery was only open during hours I could not get to it, and because real world cash flow issues kept me from having a lot of free flowing cash to spend on art membership fees and art supplies over the last couple of years. Since my work schedule will be changing in 2010, I might look in to joining again. The Columbia Art League’s “Online Artist’s Village” is located at http://www.cal.missouri.org/village/index.html.

Fellow Artist – Ben Mudd

Ben Mudd and I were in college together. He was a photography major and I was a painting major. We had a few classes together. He got darn lucky because I think Truman State University closed down the photo part of the Fine Arts Department about a year or two after he graduated. He may have been one of the folks that got Grandfathered in. I am not sure if they ever brought it back, but am guessing/hoping they did. It was a pretty good program. Ben shot the photos that were used in my Senior Exhibit.

Ben’s website is http://www.muddphotography.com/.

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/.

Fellow Artists

Items tagged with the tag Fellow Artists are going to be dedicated to some of my fellow artist friends and their websites. Here, I plan to link to websites, blogs, and other interesting online projects that some of my fellow art friends have created, run, or maintain. I’ll try to keep the list narrowed down to artists that I personally know, or have some affiliation with. A copy of these postings will also be added to the Fellow Artists Page in my blog.

Jeff’s Art Folio

People say that it’s not good to show “everything” in your online art creation portfolio or “artfolio”. I’m of a different opinion. Although it is important to show things in a pleasing manner, taking display and presentation issues greatly in to consideration, etc., especially in a resume/full portfolio presentation website that is being used to try to get a job, find new clients, etc., it is also fun to show off every darn thing you can… let the viewer see your mindscape in it’s totality. Where have you been, where are you going… what does a work-in-progress look like. What techniques were used to get from point A to point B to point C to a finished work. Process and technique are sometimes just as important, if not more important than the actual finished work of fine art. Sometimes, especially with artwork that uses the dimension of time and space, temporal attributes of the work are part of the main essence of the piece. For that reason, among very many other reasons, I likely will upload some of my older works here someday soon, assuming I can get halfway descent scans or photos of the works.

I’ve tried to do this sort of thing before, many years ago, but never succeeded for a number of reasons – it was simply too time consuming, my digital camera at that time just did not have enough pixel depth to capture things, or my real 35 mm camera cost me too much to have tons of pictures developed that didn’t come out very well since lighting was poor. My hard drive kept crashing due to the unstable Operating System known as Window 98, or Window XP… CDs of my work got scratched due to improper handling as I moved from apartment to apartment on an almost biannual basis, etc… my never-ending quest for a cheap or free webhost provider always ended unsuccessfully – If I am going to do something like this I want it to be around for a while and not disappear the first time that someone forgets to pay an Internet Hosting bill or the first time that a free website provider goes under, as many of them have done in the past. Before blogs became popular, I was going to do this by creating my own website(s), hand coding things, etc. I studied Flash. I studied Javascript. I studied ASP. I studied PHP. I studied Dynamic HTML. I even studied ways to hand code VRML. I studied all that I could about web programming… I studied Photoshop… I studied Illustrator… I studied Quark… I tried to learn as much as I possibly could about doing websites so that I could create the greatest website ever known to exist on the face of the earth…That was an epic failure because of my lack of time and ability to cohesively get everything together, and/or find a webspace provider that offered enough free web space to consume all the stuff I wanted to put online… Nowadays, with this blog, which I hope to maintain for as long as I possibly can, and various free image hosts, I think it’s time to make this never-ending quest for Jeff’s online artfolio to come to a real conclusion right here and now!

Going foward in time from now, postings tagged as artfolio, painting, drawing, pastel, digital painting, oil, acrylic, color pencil, etc., will be postings of my artwork, and each will probably a little description or at least title for each work. All works considered to be a part of the artfolio will be tagged and categorized as artfolio so that you can get to them easily without reading a lot of other postings about other things that I post about.

I plan to upload a lot of art, and create more to upload in the future…. I’m also going to try to put most of it on cafepress products and link to them from the artfolio, just in case you see something you like and might want to buy on mug, poster, greeting card, or something else. I know that most of it will never get a sale that way, but you never know. I would have never thought that people would buy some of the photos that they have purchased over the years on turbosquid…

I also might try selling some of the original artwork at some point in time when the time is right… and there comes to be a need to sell some of the stuff. In today’s digital world, what exactly is an original work of art anyways?!?… there’s a philisophical question for ya.

Some of ther artfolio work is on ok quality of work. Some of it is near perfection. Some of it severely sucks as artwork, but might have some other interesting quality that makes it worth taking a look at by more people than are looking at it right now, at is sits in a closet or sketchbook somewhere collecting dust… There are some interesting transitions in my style over time, interesting themes I like to revisit over time, etc. This is all stuff that art historians typically study once an artist is dead… Why let them make guesses after I’m dead since I’m alive right here and now?!?… I’ve never understood why artists don’t try to show their ALL to the public. Reveal the inner workings of their minds. We, as creative people, have a lot to offer to the world. Without further ado, welcome to “Jeff’s online Artfolio!”

Feel free to comment on various postings. I love feedback, both positive and negative (although in most real world art classrooms, it’s typically peferred that if you have something negative to say that you offset it with something positive to say – Constructive Criticism is what I’m really looking for…). In the future I may create “Jeff’s online Portfolio” which will be a subset of the Artfolio that focuses only on the best works in a more “traditional” portfolio website type of format. Until then, enjoy the upcoming visual feast.

inspirations

Inspirations… This, and future postings that are tagged as Inspirations are postings dedicated to works of art that inspire me. The postings tagged as inspirations could be thought of as a sort of “Jeff’s favorites” list of artwork, or list of art works that Jeff thinks about somewhat when he’s creating his own works. I honestly like a lot of various artwork for different reasons – and might even go so far as to say that there is something I can find to like about any artwork in the world… at least for some reason… In inspirations tagged postings I’ll try to explain why I like or am inspired by the works of art described or linked to in the individual postings. The Inspirations postings are actually sort of a challenge to myself to think about my own habbits & thoughts, as well as force me to actually look at more artwork than I typically do today on a regular basis. I live in a city where there’s not a whole lot of art galleries or museums, and those that are here or nearby are typically opened only during hours that I have to be at work, etc. so my actual viewing of artwork is a lot more limited than it probably should. Hopefully the inspirations tagged postings here will help me get past that a a bit, and continually grow as an artist myself by looking at what others in the world around me are doing instead of only looking at myself in the mirror…

I’ve added a few more products to Turbosquid. Here’s a preview of them…

I’ve added a few more products to Turbosquid. Here’s a preview of them:





This one is a photo of a brick wall where the bricks come together. It might be useful for creating pattern textures.





I belive this ne is a picture of tire tracks on a parking garage floor





This is another photo of some concrete in the same parking structure.





This is yet another photo of concrete in the parking garage. This one has a few more interesting textures that are more in focus and might be useful for bump maps.





This one is another interesting concrete pattern in the parking garage.





This is a photo of the yellow line on the floor of the parking garage that outlines where cars should park. I love the weathered look of this line. It shows the harsh reality that these sort of places see. Mankind trys to create this neat little line and mother nature chooses to chew it up over time, creating a unique form of beauty.

A few healthcare tips…

As someone who works for a hospital, in a Department that works closely with insurance contract interpretion, I’ve seen a lot of behind the scenes sort of things that a lot of people don’t necessarily think about when thinking about their hospital and doctor bills – things that might be costing them a lot but that they are not aware of, costs both in healthcare being provided to them as well as monetary costs…

Here’s a few tips related to healthcare that you might want to keep in mind in the future when dealing with your insurance company, hospital, doctor, or any healthcare provider. I’ll probably post more tips in future postings as I think of new tidbits. I’ll try to keep this as specific as I can so that it’s useful information for the general public but as unspecific as I can so that I don’t get in trouble for HIPPA violations or get in trouble with my boss if anyone I work with ever stumbles across this in the future.

Reciepts…
Always ask for a receipt any time you pay a bill. Sometimes clerical errors can cause bills to continue to be sent to patients by a hospital after the bill is sent. Other times, it’s possible that the bills are being computer generated by a system that is automated, and it’s impossible to turn the system off if a bill comes in… In many cases, at some healthcare facilities, hospital bills DO get sent to patients after the bills are already paid, and in some cases, those bills will have a date on the top of them that indicates that they were produced AFTER the payment for the bill has already been paid by the patient. This usually happens because of the fact that many hospitals, doctor offices, and other healthcare providers outsource some or all of their billing, and/or rely on billing systems that are not able to always be 100% up-to-date. In some, rare cases, this could be considered fraud because the bills are being created after the claim in question is already paid, making it highly confusing to patients, who sometimes send in payments any time they receive a bill, resulting in overpayments.

Overpayments… and Small Dollar Writeoffs…

Many healthcare facilities, and some insurance companies as well, typically write off small dollar debits and credits below a certain amount. For instance some hospitals might write off debits and credits below a fifteen dollar amount, and some physician offices may write off debits or credits with values around five or ten dollars. The actual amount varies from place to place, and office to office. What is important to know about this is that this means that they are likely going to write off a certain amount of money up to a certain dollar amount if it is either OVER or underpaid. For underpayments, this can work to your benefit since it might mean that you are getting away with not paying your copay, etc.

However, As mentioned in the above paragraph on Receipts, that might mean that your overpayment on bills that you’ve already paid are being written off and you’ll never be refunded for the amount you overpaid on your bill if it’s an overpayment amount under the threshold that the facility in question is using to determine writeoffs. You would think that it would be unethical for healthcare facilities to keep your overpaid money, but they don’t think twice about it because they have deemed the amount below that threshold, whatever amount it’s set at, to be not worth their time since it’ll cost them more in paying their staff to refund you the money than the actual refund itself is worth. This can really add up over time, since some people may put off going to the doctor for many months, and then go and see several doctors in clinics in a hosptial all on one day – resulting in multiple bills for the same day…

For example… If a hospital has a 15.00 small dollar write off, and physicians at the same facility have a 5.00 writeoff policy that is similar… 15.00 overpayment could be being thrown away in a write off for one bill, and another 5 for the physician bill that’s for the same service… for a total write off of 20.00 overpayment for one clinics for one day… maybe one for diabetes, one for an eye exam, one for a follow up on something else, and a couple of others for various other problems… Lets imagine what could happen if you saw 5 clinics on the same day, and got an x-ray or mri too, both of which could result in additional bills… That could be 7 or more hospital clinic bills, and 7 or more physicial bills since the physicians and hospital send out different bills… You could have possibly overpaid 20×7 = $140.00 in total for just that one day… and never have a chance of getting it back since they consider it written off as a small dollar amount that they don’t want to mess with… Imagine how much money you could be loosing in something like this if you have ongoing problems such as chemo treatments, diabetes, or any other numerous health related issues that require ongoing visits?…

Make sure to ask what the small dollar write off policies at the facilities you deal with are. Also, be sure to always ask as many questions as you can think of related to your bill so that you know what is going on with your money.

Applying Overpayments…

Similar to the issues mentioned above, some facilities tend to move money around on various bills that a patient has where they see fit. In other words, if you overpay a bill one month, and you incur another bill the next month, some facilities will apply the payment up to the amount owed, move the overpayment and apply that overpayment amount to the next bill that still has a balance, resulting in a very messy accounting of where the money you paid was actually applied, and also making it very confusing to know if you have overpaid anything or still owe money on something. This typically happens if you pay a copay or coinsurnace payment to a healthcare provider at the time that the service was provided, and then later, after your insurance is billed, it’s discovered that the insurance paid your bill in full, and there was no actual balance you should have paid in the first place, or the insurance has left you with a copay, deductible, or coinsurance amount that is smaller than what you paid at the time of service. Make sure you know your benefits, and are kept updated with changes, and know exactly how much to pay when, if possible.

Discounts

Many healcare providers and insurance companies have negotiated contracts between one another so that the insurance company can pay a smaller amount than 100% of the charges billed by the healthcare facility, and the payment with that discount makes the payment considered to be “paid in full” by the healthcare facility. These managed care contracts can be very confusing, and often can be interpreted in a number of different ways by a number of different parties, depending on how the contracts themselves are worded. Many of these contracts also have new amendments, negotiations, etc made to them yearly, or on some sort of regular basis. Make sure to check all explanation of benefits that your insurance company sends you to make sure that you only paid the amount that you should have to the healcare provider. If you paid the amount that should have been discounted, request your money back.

Some facilities will work with uninsured people, or people that have out-of-network benefits at a particular facility that they go to (out of state provider that specializes in something that a place more local cannot handle, etc.). Similarly, some facilities are willing to negotiate with under-insured people, such as Amish communities, Church groups, people who have no health insurance that are willing to pay a certain percent of the bill immediately, etc. Make sure to ask as many questions as you can think of to both your insurance company and healthcare provider to make sure you are not overpaying on something that should have been discounted.

Medicare… and other Governement Programs can be very odd sometimes…

Did you know that Medicare pays a flat Diagnosis Related Grouper (DRG) rate on inpatient claims? They also pay something called an outlier in addition to that if the amount billed is high enough and falls in to certain conditions. What is very important to understand about this is that sometimes, the flat DRG payment rate is MORE than the amount that some healthcare providers charge. In other words, if a DRG rate is something like $1500.00, and the hospital is only charging $1200.00 for the bill, Medicare is paying the hospital $1500.00, and this is considered to be legal since Medicare paid the DRG rate. What is even more odd about this sort of thing is that even though the hospital is getting paid more than it’s billing, they can still legally hit you up for even more money in addition to this because you still legally owe your copay or deductible amount… In other words the hospital is getting paid more than it’s charging and you are still on the hook for more money than that. No wonder the folks in Washington are trying to reform Healthcare. Tricare (the insurance for our armed service men, and retirees) is set up very similar to Medicare. In addition some insurance companies use Medicare as a bases for establishing the amounts they pay… so in the past some commercial insurance companies have been known to pay hospitals more than the hospital charged for certain services, due to the fact that the insurance(s) in question were paying based on flat DRG rates, in contracts that did not have a “lesser of DRG Rate or total billed charges” clause in it – and patients still were getting billed copays in addition to this payment over the total billed charge amount… Ask as questions to both your insurance company and healthcare provider(s). Things can and are confusing sometimes…

Scanning money…

It is illegal for healthcare facilities, insurances, or anyone else to scan paper money at 100% of the original size of the money in question. Doing so is considered by the United States Government to be counterfitting. In the past, some healthcare providers have scanned dollar bills as proof of payment for some low dollar copays. If you ever see anyone scanning money, ask them why they are doing that, where they are saving it, and at what size they are saving it or printing it. Some newer software, such as Adobe Photoshop, will actually try to not save scanned money. It is legal to scan money, so long as certain rules are followed, so Adobe actually is going a few steps too far in completely stopping the scanning of money. http://www.ustreas.gov/usss/money_illustrations.shtml

more posts will likely come in the future about healthcare…

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.