Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Face Page

A few months ago, I was talking with my Grandma over the phone. She had been spending a lot of time with one of my Aunts, at that point. She had also been getting regular access to a computer and internet.

Let me give you some history: When I was about 8-12, my dad build a computer for my grandma so that she could email us and so that my parents could send her pictures of us adorable youngsters. My grandma insisted that it was 'too complicated' and that she was not at all technical. So, my one male cousin inherited the computer.

Many years later, I'm on a phone call with my grandma, talking with her, catching up and the like. Then, she starts talking about how wonderful this new fangled 'Face Page' thing is.

It took a few seconds for me to figure out what she meant, and then a great deal of will power to get through the call without laughing my brains out my nose.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Monsters University: I'm Seeing It For the Lighting

Well. Crap. I might just have to see Monsters University, now.

Apparently, Pixar is the grand master of faking shadows, reflections, and refractions in its movies. At least, they were. Now, apparently, they completely reworked their lighting system to use REAL raytracing, shadows, etc.

The reason I'm not super excited about seeing it is because of the advertisements and because of Brave. The ads I've been seeing in the theater for MU have been pretty bad looking. It looks like there's little to no plot, the characters look like cardboard cut-out representations of the original characters, and the monsters from Mon. Inc. seemed more like the GED, blue-collar type to me than college grads. In their defense, the ads for The Incredibles were horribly terrible and portrayed the movie as being a series of fat guy jokes. Turns out, the movie was AMAZING. All the same, this movie seems to be built for a 'target audience' of college students, post-college grads, and anyone who loves dumb college jokes/humour/setups.

But, in light of all of this, the inner animation nerd in me screams that the movie could be okay and enough to tolerate, especially since it will be a demonstration of animation technology. Pixar, regardless of how bad the plots and stories are for their movies, the technology is always top-notch. And a job at Pixar is what my dreams are made of.

I went to see Brave for the hair, even if the story was an old story, rewrapped and trimmed. Now, I'll probably see MU for the lighting.

As complaints go, though, complaining about having to see a movie is kinda low on the world problems list.

(Bee tee dubs, guys, here's the article that I found out about the lighting in.)

Friday, June 14, 2013

ZBrush: The First Experiences

My First Sculpt

While I was going to school, this year, I was eagerly anticipating the time when my classes would end. I couldn't wait until I had free time because, as soon as school was over, I could begin learning how to use the amazing modelling program ZBrush.

For those of you that aren't into modelling or animation, ZBrush is essentially a program that lets you sculpt and model on the computer in the same sort of fashion that you would with clay. It gives you lots of flexibility and a lot of tools to fully express your creativity. It's also one of the best programs in the industry, not to mention one of the cheapest at the low price of $700. For those of you that just suffered from a minor heart attack, let me give you some examples: 
AutoDesk Mudbox                    $795
AutoCAD                                 $5,525
3DS Max                                 $3,675
Maya                                       $3,675
Cinema4D Prime                       $995
EIAS 9                                       $895
LightWave 3D                        $1,485

Since Autodesk Maya is one of the most commonly used software packages for 3D modelling and animation, I hope you can see why $700 is such a bargain. But even with this price tag, the question arises: "How did a poor college student (with claims of a savings of 7 cents) afford ZBrush?" Let's just say that I have connections with a business owner who owns the software.

All that aside, I've been working with ZBrush for a couple weeks now. While it can be EXTREMELY frustrating, it is also the most beautiful and glorious thing I have ever used. My first forays into ZBrush produced some bizzare creations (especially when I learned clip brushes). But, I also produced some semi-finished pieces, the first of which you can see in my picture and here, on my YouTube Channel. My dragon head was created with nothing but the sculpt brushes and a PolySphere. For those of you that know about ZSpheres, you can understand why, shortly after I learned how to make a ZSpheres body for my dragon, my first proclamation to the world, via FaceBook, was:

I have just discovered my true love: ZSpheres. We will be wed next week.

For those of you that don't know what ZSpheres are, I recommend you go here

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Punk: The Non-Conformist's Uniform

You know what bothers me about punk? It's not supposed to be mainstream. And yet darn near everyone, their uncle, and their dog is 'punk.' The spiky, multicoloured hair isn't edgy: it's cool. Stickin' it to The Man is commonplace. Anarchy is considered to be thoughtful, not rebellious. And you know what really drives me crazy? Punk, while claiming to be the Rebellion, attributes it political philosophy to one of the most common and accepted types of political thinking: Liberalism. (Based on the election results, anyways.)

What I want to know is why kids aren't trying to rebel more. Why are kids rebelling against their liberal parents? "Forget the Earth! We don't need it! We've got Mars! KILL THE EARTH!" "I don't want to be gender-conscious! One way or the other! I'm going to bake a cake, sew a dress, then weld my robot together."

And don't get me started on their clothing. While they claim to be Stickin' It to the Man, they buy mass-produced clothing from multi-million dollar corporations. "I'm gonna wear clothing that every other nonconformist wears!" LAME. Why not make your own clothing? Get the cloth out of a dumpster, use your floss for thread. And put some ruffled collars on your shirts. No one will see that coming. And, you won't be paying money the The Man.

Know what? Forget punk. I'm going to start my own nonconformist movement called Skunje. We don't wear mass-produced clothing, we don't side with any 'proper' political philosophy, and we'll frost cupcakes and program in C++ in the same day.

THAT'S non-conformist.

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Brief Summary of Every Manga/Anime, Ever

So. In shonen manga, there are several stereotypical character archetypes:

1) The weak one who wants to be stronger, and who cries more water than any human can hold in their body.

2) The super awesome, bad boy. He can take out anyone except for the main bad guy.

3) The amazingly annoying and brash young man who believe he can do anything, even after he's had his butt handed to him on a silver platter.

4) The big breasted woman with a bucket load of attitude. She's bossy, mean, and pushes everyone around, but she's still still top dog and no one can kill her.

5) The crazy, evil genius that everyone trusts until he starts killing people. Even then, the main character still tries to believe they're a good person. And fails.

6) The psycho, crazy kid who JUST HAPPENS TO BE WHERE NO CHILD SHOULD EVER, EVER BE, BUT NONE OF THE CHARACTERS SEE IT COMING.

I mean, seriously. Kid in a super dangerous dungeon/maze/laboratory/whatever. If I had a nickel for every time a manga-ka did that, I'd buy a plane ticket to Japan and personally ninja kick each one I could find in the face.

Now that I'm done ranting, I would just like to say that I think I've out grown manga and anime.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Life Lessons Learned from Mad Men

I've been watching Mad Men, lately. In short, it's a show based in the late '50s, early '60s about the business men that work on Madison Ave. in NY. There's a lot of politics (not the congressional sort), people interactions, and a few clever advertising schemes. The men are either married, have mistresses, or both.

The show's gotten me thinking. A lot of the smart women in the show get what they want, but they put themselves out to get it. Sometimes, I think that I could get more out of life if I were to be like that. I always come to the conclusion that it isn't worth it, though, and that I'm not that kind of person. I have to get what I want the hard way by working for it honestly. And then, there's the fact that I can't flirt to save my life. I'm better at putting my feet behind my head. God help me.

So, thank goodness for some personal short-comings, eh?