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Friday, August 30, 2013

Too Torials

Normally I'm a real DIY kind of person - just sit down and go, maybe a little manual reading - but Vue is far too complex an app for me to come to terms with just based on a manual and a personal project.

So, I just invested some money for a HUGE pile of video tutorials on Vue 11 from GeekAtPlay Studios.  It covers everything from basic materials, to particles, to landscaping and rendering.  Heck, for under $40 it's hard to argue, and it'll save me a lot of hair pulling.

Given it's a 3 day weekend, I hope I can get some serious rendering in, and some composing, and writing too!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vue to a thrill

Vue 11 is a pretty slick piece of 3D software.  I've been playing with it for an evening (ALL evening) and I'm impressed.  It's easy to make something respectable, but it's deep when you need it.

I had some extra cash this week, so instead of spending it on beer (heh) I bought an expansion module for Vue - EcoSystems.  This lets you design large-scale systems of entities more easily than plunking down individual plants and structures, which will make some things easier to do.

Next will be KronosFX (time-based actions) and Zephyr (wind and related effects).  This will also get me Vue particles, which can do some amazing things.

Daz Studio, and all Daz software, has been removed in favor of Poser Pro 2012/Vue 11.  That combo is far more than I'll ever need for my humble works.

Still pressing forward on writing, it's just slow.  And I'm trying to set aside 1-2 evenings a week for music now, as well.  Just simple loop-based tunes, nothing super-fancy.. keep it simple.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Upgrades!

In my attempt to push myself into a higher level of 3D art, I decided to upgrade my copy of Vue to Vue 11.  Pretty affordable, and works with my Poser Pro 2012.

I'm not sure if I'll need to get After Effects right off.. a Creative Cloud subscription is pretty affordable for one license, so if my Photoshop Elements proves unable to do what I need, then I'll go ahead and cough up for it right away.

Houdini has a massive learning curve, so I don't expect to be able to do much there.  Tere is a newer version of Poser Pro (PPro 2014), but as far as I can tell it's incompatible with Vue 11, so that has to wait.. which is too bad as it has some seriously powerful improvements over PPro 2012.  Le sigh.

At least now I should be able to get some killer landscapes into my Poser scenes!

Compromise

Sometimes it's good.  If you know it's better to take a step back and "make do", or pursue a different path, then cool.

But sometimes, it's a MISTAKE - yes, in all caps.  And I fell afoul of such a thing.

Ever since I was in my 20s I've wanted to work on visual effects.  But, the learning is hard, the software is expensive, and so I went down the "take the easy route" and have just done stills in 3D, for illustrating my writing.  But as much fun as it is sometimes, it's just not real soul-satisfying.

So, this weekend I decided that I'm distracting myself from doing what I want to do.  I want to do VFX and if I don't get started soon I could Drop Down Dead(tm) before I accomplish anything.  I also decided that I'm not likely to do it for a living at my age (heh) so I can use the non-commercial version of my target software (SideFX Houdini), which saves me $8000!  They have a $99/year version that has more features, once I come up to speed with the free version I'll get that.

It's going to be tough - there's a massive learning curve, and I'm not going to be good at it overnight, or even in a month - this is hardcore, complex VX software and will require a lot of study and time.

But I'm tired of compromising. I want to make a giant firestorm in space blast a planet apart!

In other news - for the first time in MONTHS, I woke up this weekend inspired to compose.. so I put together a nice little ambient rock piece that a number of folks liked.  I need to get my mixing and composition chops back (they got a little stale over the months), but I'm sure I'll improve quickly.  I'm going minimalist this time - only my best audio effects, one DAW, strictly loops and loop-mangling - no virtual instruments - so I can focus on the song without worrying about CPU use, using up RAM with a ton of VSTi, and other annoying bits and bobs.

I feel cautiously optimistic.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rampant Apathy

Well, finally things@the.office are calming down.  No more stop-ship bugs, I found and fixed a few things before the test guys noticed (they never found them, actually) and I repaired an emergency where a co-worker broke the communications protocol and the production had to stop while I fixed the tester (grrr).

But now.. I'm tired.  I get home and all I do is stare at the computer screen, watch movies, or veg out to Animal Planet.  I did one 3D scene of a monster that's just flying guts, a head, and arms.. but.. meh.

I suspect a full month of stress has drained my motivation for a while.  I had this happen when I worked at Silicon Valley start-ups and before critical product ship dates.. you get burned out to produce, then the mind and body need recovery time before the NEXT set of idiotic disasters and/or stupidly short product development cycles.

I hope I can get about 1-2 weeks of just ordinary work, sitting and coding and debugging without 4 Priority 1 ASAP-type issues hitting at once.  At least dishonored co-worker seems to have learned his lesson, but dang!  This kind of thing has to stop!

I need to write more, and I need to illustrate it.  Otherwise I'll end up losing my marbles and end up quitting to join a commune in Oregon or be a Pizza Hut dishwasher.  Blech.

I just don't care about apathy!