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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Plans, Part One

Ok, in between squashing long code down into a tiny MCU, I've done some research on good VFX software and decided to throw my time into Blender.

Why? Because of the comprehensive particle and hair systems, the volumetrics, speed of updates and bug fixes, and availability of free help.  In theory I can use it as a compositor as well, but I'll stick with Visionlab Studio and Movie Edit Pro 17 for now.  Blender will do the job until I outgrow it (if ever).

Otherwise, my next goal is to clean up all my poetry collections, turn them into Kindle eBooks, and GIVE THEM AWAY.  Clever marketing scheme!  Then I'll finish DEAD RINGER, and move on to THRESHOLD and THE VICKY DIARIES.  DEAD RINGER will be sold in 2 parts, and I'll likely do the same thing for THRESHOLD.  More clever marketing!

So, I need to purchase a decent HD camcorder, a still camera, tripod, and a new high-end laptop.  In addition, I'll need a wireless NAS to back stuff up to (and software to do it automatically).

This will see me well into the second half of the year.  Eventually, I might get Vegas Pro to replace Movie Edit Pro, but that won't happen until my current tool(s) stop working.

Also important is connecting to the film and writing community in Austin - time for me to get my tail out of the house and meet people!

Video Insanity

Well, I started a new blog called "Austin in Austin" to chronicle my Austin, TX adventures.  At the same time I canned my Project JV blog since it was going nowhere now that the project owner has lost interest in it (urgh). just as well, 3 blogs is pushing it  - this one and "Austin in Austin" are plenty.

I've begun prepping for doing heavyweight video work.  While I can't justify After Effects YET, I am going to invest in a decent camera, tripod, stabilizer, and some VFX/NLE "budget" software.

I own Magix Movie Edit Pro 17 and FXHome  Visionlab Studio, so for "entry prosumer" software I'm in good shape.  From here, I want either Sony Vegas or Premiere Pro - likely I'll get Vegas for its Acid Loop handling (and I really don't like Adobe as a company).  Next will possibly be Lightwave for VFX, although After Effects + Particular might do the job (but ecch, Adobe again). Lightwave has other advantages as well for VFX, but I need to do some research - if I can keep things to 2D, it'd be a LOT faster.  There's Houdini.. for $7000.. ouch!  That makes After Effects at $995 look CHEAP!

Otherwise I guess I could write my own VFX software, or take some open-source package and customize it for my purposes, but I'd rather not do a lot of coding outside of my day gig.

Much to contemplate.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Just when you thought.. was safe, insanity intrudes!

Suddenly I have a demand to write a screenplay and do some amateur video shoots! Glad I didn't de-install my video editing software (argh).  Looks like I'll be picking up an inexpensive HD cam and a tripod in March, along with a book or two on digital cinematography.

I'll need better video editing/NLE woftware, but it can wait for now - can't justify After Effects quite yet (expensive) or Sony Vegas (don't want to bother with Final Cut Pro, forget buying a Mac, ecch)!

More as it happens!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Write and Wrong

Ah, the joy of deleting a ton of stuff off my laptop!

I've mothballed all my 3D software, the only things left are the installers (all 20GB of them).  Most of my music software is also mothballed, I've left the basics (Orion Studio 7, all my virtual instruments, all my virtual effects) and my sound effects and vocal wave files.  All my video editing software is installed but moved to a folder and not directly on the desktop - same for all my software development tools.

I spent last night re-reading all my writing.  It's in pretty good shape, not yet publishable but well on its way.  I need to decide on a single writing program and move all my works into that, instead of scattering things all over.  That'll help me focus on what I'm doing instead of learning new software every week!

I'l be publishing on Amazon first.  What I want to do is make a "best of my crummy poetry" and publish it as an eBook for free, then work from there into short stories/serials (like The Vicky Diaries) and thence into novellas (Dead Ringer, Strip) and novelettes (only vague ideas here right now).

My new place is ideal for writing - interesting people to talk to, but quiet when I need it, places to sit outside and write, easy trip to downtown Austin and several parks, and no loud idiots to disturb me!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Moving Day!

Yes, it's finally time to leave Hells Halfway House and go back to the Real World. After eight months of living in this cesspool, I'm moving back to where I was living when I first came to Austin, just in a different room in the same house.  It's an hour closer to work, 30 minutes closer to the bus stop, and easily within striking distance of downtown Austin.

No more listening to my alcoholic on/off the wagon housemate that likes to play his punk rock music at 1:00AM, sings horribly but thinks he's a great singer, and who can't manage to keep a job longer than 3 months before he falls off the wagon/gets fired/ends up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning.  In the time I've been here he's chased off 3 girlfriends and almost everyone he knows.  He's a perfect bad example and has taught me that moderation in drinking is a VERY GOOD THING.

No more listening to him fight all night with the evangelical Christian on the other side of the house.  This guy is the most persistent whiner - he whines if you don't help clean the house, he whines if you do, he whines if it's warm, he whines if it's cold, he whines if you don't listen to him lecture you about how RFID is really the Mark of the Beast and 2012 is when Jesus comes back, he whines if you DO listen because he's whining about how you're going to Hell and he's not, so sorry (argh).  I've never seen this guy leave the house longer than enough to get a ride to/from either the bank or the grocery store, he has ZERO real-life friends.  Eight months and he's never left the place for longer than 2 hours.  Urgh!

The one more or less sane long-term tenant is moving to California in March, he only comes out of his little suite (he has a private bathroom) to cook or do laundry.  He had the right idea.  And the other sane tenant is moving out to Houston and his gf is staying here just long enough to find "a place to stay where I don't feel like the only normal person".

I will admit I've learned a lot while here.  I've learned I can live on almost no money.  I've learned that friends are important to have.  I've learned that drinking a whole lot will land you in the hospital, broke.  And I've gathered enough interesting experience from it to write a nice novella-length semi-fiction work, which I will sell via Amazon CreateSpace the instant I've finished it!

Anyway, I'm almost completely packed - just the last laundry to dry and it's done.  All my worldy  possessions fit in a medium backpack, a large rolling duffelbag kind of case, and the laptop backpack.  Eventually I'll get a second laptop for backup/writing/music (a more powerful dual-core I think) but for now I'm going to pay back all my loans and debts, and save up six months worth of expense money so if this happens again I don't have to move out of where I live!!

Back to getting hot tea and finishing things up, yippeeee!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Finally, I have a day job!

Well, after 4 long months of searching, I have a day job!  Programming microcontrollers for building automation, which is my kind of work - REAL coding, down to the bare metal, no operating system to get in my way.  Small processors that need extremely optimized code, in assembly and C.

In other news, I'm moving closer to down - within a 1/2 hour bus ride of downtown and 45 minutes of my new job.  It's a six month contract to hire, but I'm going to assume just six months and continue doing things like learning Web programming and working on my music and writings.

Once the money is rolling in, I'll get a beefier music laptop, update my current machine to 8B of RAM and clean the keyboard out (it'll become my writing machine and backup) and generally prep for a two-machine existence again.  I want a machine dedicated to music so that I can optimize it for audio work.

I won't be doing video editing as the retinal damage in my right eye makes doing pixel-perfect VFX complex and painful.  Saves the cost of After Effects. I suppose!  And a new video-capable sequencer!

I WILL be resurrecting the radio show, and will also produce/perform audio plays (which I will score AND do Foley for).  I'll need a better mic and headphones, but that's comparatively affordable.

Fun times! Now back to beating bits and registers into submission!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The joy of Re-Installing

Fun fun times? Nope.  I've been spending today downloading updates to all my music software and re-installing everything I had removed in the past.  My first focus right now is music and writing, so I need my full arsenal of tools and weapons to combat alien audio! Or something like that.

I have a fairly solid instrument package: Korg M1, Korg Wavestation, Big Tick Rhino2, Camel Audio Alchemy Player, Audio Damage Tatoo, and Garritan Personal Orchestra.  I sure don't need more instruments!  My audio effects rack is also pretty beefy, but I might need more sound mangling or perhaps more reverb and delay choices.. mastering and compression are in good shape, as is EQ.  Maybe a Voxengo plugin or two to add to my already large list of Voxengo effects.

Meh - need to make music next.  And get new headphones (Sennheiser HD280Pro) and a small keyboard (Akai MPK25) at a minimum.  Meh.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sound, vision, and words

After some poking around on Craigslist, it appears that there are a lot of people here in Austin looking for multimedia-type help.  I'm talking about video editing and conversion, sound soundtrack/Foley work, and a bit of writing here and there.

So, Wooly Loach Productions is going to morph into Wooly Loach Creative Services!  I'll provide video, audio, and writing services for a reasonable fee, and farm out anything I can't do to reliable third parties.  I figure that I should take my big-dollar investment in software and content and find some way to get some use out of it!  There HAS to be a way to (ugh) "monetize" all this stuff, and all the time I've put into learning digital photography/cinematography/sound design/composition/production.  Not to mention that I enjoy creative work more than hacking code!  Arrgh!

Well, back to studying Web development and installing 3D content.  Oh, darn - I need to redownload all the Photoshop brushes I've purchased in the past and set those up for use as well, for Gimp work.  Sigh, there's no rest in sight!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tons of Stuff Lying Around

I took inventory of my creative tools today, and I have to say - I have a TON of stuff lying around!

Over 20GB of loops and SFX for video and film.  Over 8GB of virtual instruments and patches.  Over 30GB (!!) of 3D content, 5 3D animation programs, 2 pro audio programs, 3 video/film editing and effects packages, and a partridge in a pear tree! OK, I liked about the pear tree part.

I'm not sure if I can actually wipe any of it as I want to use all this to get Wooly Loach Productions going (art/music/writing/animation) and see if I can get some work on the creative side, maybe intros/VFX for small indie films.

Lots to dig through - some not even installed!  I'll have to fix that.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Day, and Welcome To It

Someone asked me what I'm doing since I don't have a full-time job, thinking that I sat around eating and posting on message boards.  Well, that's as far from the truth as you can get!  Here's my typical day:

- Get up between 8:00am and 8:45AM
- Check my Hotmail for job-related emails
- Check my 2 primary accounts for job-related emails
- Go through Craigslist and submit resumes to promising looking jobs
- Answer any emails from potential jobs
- Scan through the daily list of openings I get emailed from 5 different job boards
- Answer any voicemails, make any required callsCha
- Work on my 2 primary Websites
- Work on getting Drupal running on one of my sites
- Learn: Ruby, Java, HTML5/CSS3, Javascript, C++, PHP, Python, Netbeans, STL
- Write: resume updates, cover letters, documentation for my Web design customer
- Work on open-source PROJECT JV (design, use UML, research technology)
- Drink lots of cheap hot tea
- Eat lots of beans, rice, hot dogs, chorizo
- Work on my 3D art tools, install content, create Web graphics and logos
- Research and apply for online jobs (eBook writing, remote Web work, freelance graphics)
- Blog on my 3 blogs
- Read technical books, literature, emails, Websites to keep up on technology
- Compose music as soundtracks for logos, Web animation, etc.

At any time during the day, from when I wake up until midnight, I'm doing SOMETHING.  I typically chat a sum total of an hour or so a day MAX, sometimes a lot less if my workload is high.

I hope I get a job soon before I die of overwork!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

More 3D content to install

Well, with all my renewed 3D activity I've decided to reinstall Bryce 7 Pro, as it's faster for some kinds of scenes than Carrara or Daz Studio.  Amazing discovery - I have several gigabytes of Bryce content!

So, back into the downloads I go, and grab all my old Bryce stuff before it falls off the face of the earth.  Who knows how long Daz will keep the older Bryce goodies?  They still work with the new Bryce, but Daz has a history of dropping things past a certain point.. better safe than sorry!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Yes, sounds like SPAM or WAREZ, rht? BUT IT'S NOT!

Daz3d has gone insane and is giving away 3 of their best products - Daz Studio 4 Pro, Bryce 7 Pro, and Hexagon 2.5!  That's about $800 worth of goodies free and legit!

Run, do not walk, to Daz3D and put 'em in your cart for ZERO DOLLARS.  I already owned HEx 2.5 and Bryce Pro, but now I have Daz Studio 4 Pro.  This saved me a $480 upgrade cost!!

Tell 'em the Wooly Loach sent you!