Miscellany

  • As usual it has been a busy couple of weeks. In that time Pixologic, the Zbrush people, decided to release version 3.0 of their software. I have to say that this is one of those really ‘fun’ tools. I wish they had more clear documentation and training material, but you do with what you get (hey, maybe I should create some video tutorials… then again, maybe not). I sculpted this head in about an hour (with more time spent later noodling). The tool has a bit of a learning curve, but most of your questions can be found on Pixologic’s forums (although that can take even more time if you don’t know what you need to search for). Hopefully they will create some decent documentation in the near future.
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  • On the game front I finally had a chance to try out a DirectX 10 game on Vista. If you don’t know, DirectX 10 requires Vista and a new breed of video card (NVidia 8800+ and ATI has a similar version – how can you tell I’m an NVidia fan) in order to run. I downloaded a demo of Lost Planet . It was pretty cool. It took advantage of HDR and some cool new shaders. I cranked all the settings to high and it ran really well (at least 80 fps, if not more). A neat feature was the ability to run the game in window mode in Vista. Overall I think that the eye candy of most games have reached a plateau with today’s latest graphics cards. You probably won’t get much more ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ from the visuals (unless you get into 3d monitors or something like that).
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  • On the movie front: There is an animated film being created by Berkley Breathed, based on his book “Mars Needs Moms!” (say that 9 times in a row). Breathed is the creator of the Opus comics. He’s apparently teamed up with Zemeckis to do a mo-cap feature. According to Breathed they are using mo-cap to ‘annoy the animation community’. Well, at least he’s honest. If you know me at all then you know I won’t be seeing this movie at a theater or on DVD.

    One other note in regard to movies… what’s the deal with all these sequel movies? I know, they make money. If the first one is a hit, then people will go see all the other ‘versions’. Your marketing job is already half done. Personally I don’t get what people see in a movie like Shrek. I saw the first one. It was okay. The second was not so okay. From the trailers the third one appears to be even lower than ‘below okay’. Even though it’s animated I have no desire to see it – whatsoever.

    On the other hand I’m itching to see Ratatouille – 1) it’s not a sequel (sequel = yawn – generally speaking); 2) it’s actually animated (and what I’ve seen, animated really well); 3) it appears to be an actual story (an interesting story that hasn’t been done before)! I don’t buy all the hype that Remy’s (the main character) being a rat is going to affect people negatively. He’s a darn tootin’ cute lookin’ little rodent and that works just fine for me. Even his fat brother, Emile, is appealing. I think the designs of the animals as well as the humans are well done. They totally fit the genre and are interesting to look at. Moreover, the acting really sells the characters’ charm.

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  • On the web front there are a couple of new favorites in my favorites links. I don’t know why, but this guy’s work (Florian Satzinger) is totally interesting and appealing to me. I just really like his designs. More of his work can be found on his blog and his company website. Needless to say I’m spending time analyzing his work. Too bad he doesn’t have any training/tutorials on character design.

    Another blog that I make sure I visit is Chris Walley’s blog. Chris is a Geologist and, among other things, he writes Christian Sci-Fi Novels. I’ve only read two of his books so far, but I have really enjoyed them. They are the Lamb Among the Stars series (with a third book on the way – keep writing Chris!). I also enjoy reading his blog.