Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Category: Art (Page 1 of 12)

Will It Blend?

I tried the writing thing for a while. That didn’t pan out, as evidenced by the death of the 3WA project.

I thought I’d take up photography again. Turns out I bought entirely the wrong camera for most of the uses I wanted to try, and I can’t really afford to throw tons of money at that solution. Never mind that our living space is cramped enough without trying to carve out a workspace for that sort of thing.

I still want to exercise my creative impulses somehow. So, what next? Turns out that a friend on the bird site suggested I look into some tutorials by a guy who bills himself as the Blender Guru. Thus began my immersion in the wonderful world of fake-donut creation.

The hardest part was agreeing with myself to allow myself to be bad at something at first. Seems obvious, but I carry some deep-seated mental baggage about trying something, doing poorly at it, then never being able to try that something again. And boy howdy have I not really matched the tutorial for the type and quality of results. But that’s not the point, the point is to learn, I must remind myself every time I tackle another video.

It all started modestly enough.

A 3D donut mesh complete with 3D icing

Yum, sure looks tasty, doesn’t it?

Then I learned a tiny bit about working with materials. Too bad my sense of color was a bit off.

3D donut with 3D icing, in color

I was aiming for the look of chocolate icing… and missed.

Vyx suggested an improvement to the color scheme, which when paired with my lessons in making colorful sprinkles resulted in a vastly superior donut-looking image. Lighting’s still a mess, though.

3D donut with chocolate icing and multi-colored sprinkles

Right about at this point in the process I started craving a donut. Heavy-duty craving.

Then came the coffee cup section of the tutorial, which was easier than expected in some ways yet annoyingly fussy in several others. It doesn’t help that I completely missed one important part of the instructions so my cup ended up a bit… frosty.

3D glass (frosted) coffee cup on saucer

I actually really like this frosted-glass effect, but it’s not what I need to finish the tutorial properly. Whoops.

I also found a better “de-noise” add-on than what comes in Blender 2.8 natively, which truly improved the quality of my renders. Once I sussed out some of the problems along the way I was able to stage and render the not-actually-final product. (This is as of the end of the third “stage” of videos, with one to go.)

3D donut and 3D coffee cup on 3D saucers

There’s still a weird glitch with the coffee cup but you know what? I’m pretty happy with this so far.

Additionally, after each section of the tutorial I’m re-watching the videos and taking notes that I put into a wiki for later reference. It feels like the process of taking notes after having done the work is helping reinforce the learning somewhat. And what learnings aren’t reinforced are at least documented!

Now, let’s be clear: I’m not doing all of this so I can render snack foods. I have something a bit more… on-brand… in mind.

3D test render of a "Rusty" type duck toy model

I created this model entirely from scratch, though the rust effect involved following a tutorial video (not from Blender Guru).

Yeah? Yeah.

Idle Hands, In Time Lapse

Ingredients:

  • One (1) box containing many small plastic parts, some stickers, and instructions for assembling said parts into a model car.
  • One (1) tablet with a copy of Lapse It Pro installed.
  • One (1) tray table with lip to prevent plastic parts from sliding off onto the floor.
  • Two (2) hands with which to assemble the parts.
  • Five (5) hours of idle time on a Sunday afternoon.
  • One (1) copy of Adobe Premiere Essentials.
  • One (1) Blue Snowball USB microphone.

Result:

The First Real Installment

On Tuesday I posted the first installment of The Critter Conundrum, which is a nice foot-in-the-door moment but there are only a few hundred words in that prologue and not much to get excited about.

Today? You get the first and (currently) biggest real installment, where we meet Charlie and get reacquainted with Andrew (this version of him, anyway) and so on. Action! Snarky dialog! That sort of thing!

I still really love this one, even a month or so after I wrote it. This is wildly out of character for me, by the way: Usually, once I write something and gain more than a few hours’ temporal distance from it, I can’t stand to even think about it ever again. This? I’m delighted with it. Truly.

Now, Tuesday’s upcoming installment… that’s where I’ll either lock in my readership or lose everyone forever. I honestly don’t know. Were I prone to biting my nails, I’d be doing so…

The Critter Conundrum

Starting today and running for thirteen weeks, Tuesdays and Fridays at 10am Pacific Time, provided nothing goes horribly awry during the following three months, you may read installments of The Critter Conundrum, my NaNoWriMo-fueled serialized story project, over at the new Stories site.

Share and enjoy, won’t you?

Serial Story Project: Preview

Well, only one person showed any interest. Since I haven’t been doing much of anything other than working on this story all month, however, if I want to crank out a post this week I suppose that dipping from this well of 30,000 or so words I’ve created is as good a solution as any. So, without further ado, please enjoy this not-entirely-finished snippet from what may be the third installment of the forthcoming serialized story posting project…

Continue reading

Tidying Up Loose Threads

Yesterday’s Quacked Panes comic doesn’t include a punchline. It is, instead, the end of a nearly-four-year running joke which popped up from time to time: Roger, the glib and witty punster, is tongue-tied when it comes to the object of his affections, Rei.

Early on I thought I’d be doing story-type things with the comic. That didn’t pan out, but I went back to the well of story ideas from time to time for humor value. With the four-year run coming to a close I realized that I wasn’t going to get a more appropriate time than Valentine’s Day to put that particular story thread away for good.

I don’t have a lot of other loose ends to tidy up, mind you. (Maybe the Commandos need to make an appearance before it’s all over…)

 

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