Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bandit Ambush #6024

Well it's finished! Finally after many hours of messing with animation, render settings, and encoding presets (plus about 12-15 hours of actual rendering) I got a product I'm relatively pleased with.

http://vimeo.com/13793075

So.... check it out! And show it to your kid brother, who probably thinks that lego only comes in Star Wars and Harry Potter sets... c'mon kid...

And here's a frame (with signature, no extra charge):


No idea what's next. I'll have to either finish an existing project, work on some photography, do some tutorials, who knows? Oh yeah, and that community project is finally getting started (I think). Hope it doesn't end up dead in the water... no pun intended.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two forest guys

And here's the other guy all textured up. And he stole the first guy's weapons.

I think I'll have time... animation tomorrow, rendering setup Friday, rendering overnight to Saturday, Saturday final assembly and upload. Fingers crossed :)

Later,
Stuart

Slightly painted forestman

Here's a shot at some texturing.

Not entirely happy with it yet. Looks a bit MS Paint, but then again, the lego up close looks a bit shoddy too. Haha. Anyway, gotta press forward and get the other guy done, then animate. Got kinda frustrated with the rendering this weekend; it takes quite a while to render out an image and then you need to tweak something and try again. I'm not experienced with it enough to figure out exactly what attributes change what, and where you can turn stuff on or not. And sometimes it's really hard to tell if something is turned on or not, so you have to really crank it up and then sometimes it still doesn't show up, so maybe a setting is wrong... and all that takes about 10 minutes for a couple back and forth cycles, and it still looks like poop.

But I digress. Less than a week to finish off my project... :S

Later,
Stuart

Friday, July 23, 2010

Canon Rebel T2i

I bought my first DSLR today! A Canon Rebel T2i, or 550D as it is otherwise known.
Hated having to wait for the battery to charge when I opened the packaging, why can't you just get up and go? But eventually it was done charging and I fired it up. Love it so far. Can't wait to learn more about getting the right exposure and messing with the aperature, shutter speed and all that. My previous camera was a lame-o Nikon Coolpix, where the most you could do was adjust the white balance and change the exposure level up or down a bit.

Things I like about it: 18 MP, 1080p 30fps full manual video recording (by full manual I mean you can change the aperature, shutter speed, iso, all that), proximity sensor for your face so the LCD turns off when you bring it to your eye, and a bunch of stuff I haven't played with yet.

Things I don't like: The expensive-ish SDHC card I bought isn't fast enough to handle the video. I guess I'll have to buy another one. Grrrrg. In case you're looking to get one for your T2i, don't get the SanDisk Ultra Class 4 16GB "15 MB/s" <-- majorly false advertising, it can't even break 5.5 MB/s writing apparently.

So I haven't updated my lego in a couple days cause I'm taking some time to learn a lot more about mental ray and rendering. I wasn't happy with my quick 3-point lighting render, and I'm totally getting schooled by a few other participants in the competition. I thought it would be best to buckle down and finally get to grips with Final Gather and Global Illumination among other things.

Happy Friday,
Stuart

PS I've added a couple elements to the blog on the recommendation of Google, so feel free to take advantage of the new sharing features (maybe share some previous lego posts instead of this one).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Assembly and a splash of color

Assembled the set this evening, which was quite fun. About as easy as a regular lego set, except you know for sure all the pieces are there. Still lots of work to make this look realistic, it looks very CG at the moment.


And as per tradition, the wireframes of all the pieces:
I'll either move on to a bit of assembly animation next, or finish up the minifigs (lego guys) with hats and textured faces, fronts and shield. This stage is nice cause I can switch back and forth between several modes, so when I get tired of animation, I can play around in Illustrator for a while. I'm going to use Illustrator to do the textures (and then export for rasterization) because I think I can get the nice clean lego lines that way, solid blocks and curves or color.

Oh yeah, and thanks everyone for getting my little counter past 1000 page views! Small milestones are good to celebrate. Of course most of that was probably me, but hey, still good. I added that somewheres in 2010, so don't think that's a comprehensive total. :)

Stay tuned for a potential video link one of these days..

Later,
Stuart

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weapons 2

So the rest of the weapons (and essentially all the modelling) done. Should be some color coming up any day now.

I need to figure out if I want to catalog all the pieces as separate data files so I can easily import whichever ones I need for any Lego project. Could make things nice and simple, but the overhead at this point might make it not worth it. Especially since it's getting a tad late in the month already... Yikes!

Hope you had a nice weekend; I had a really good one.
Stuart

Friday, July 16, 2010

Weapons 1

Haven't been at this for a couple days, but back into it again. Did the two pole based weapons (the easy ones). Fiiiive more pieces!

I'm now project manager for a sort of group project at Digital-Tutors, so that's taking up some time, doing organization and setup. The topic is "Fishing for a sea monster" and we're going to be doing a bunch (I hope) of concept sketches and character designs. I'll still try to focus on lego until the month is over of course, but that project will be coming down the pipes bit by bit.

Looking forward to the weekend,
Stuart

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Through the fire and the treasure chest lid

So... guess what I modelled... no, you're wrong, it's not a ferrari, it's some lego!

Next up are the weapons, then some color hopefully, and a bit of putting it together. But I shouldn't get ahead of myself, still more modelling to do yet. The bow and arrow look tricky for one.

Happy Monday,
Stuart

Monday, July 12, 2010

A few more legos

And getting ever closer to that enviable assembly goal.


Some really fun pieces to make here... I quite enjoyed the "leaves" and the ladder. Hope you like 'em.
Later,
Stuart

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Some more pieces

Here's a few more. All the easy ones are already done... took a stab at the little flame piece, but couldn't get it. I'll try again tomorrow. These things look pretty easy, but it takes quite a bit of fiddling to get a clean mesh with all the holes and a few curves etc. I'll get faster with more practice.



Just did some googling... apparently this set is called "Bandit Ambush" #6024, and it's from the Dark Forest theme. Released in 1996.

Later,
Stuart

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Some bricks

Here's some bricks that I made. Found measurements online and have been making them to spec (including the 0.1 mm tolerance for between bricks).

This is most of the pieces necessary for my forest set, except for all the hard stuff (ladder, treasure chest, weapons). That'll be fun too. Loving this so far... maybe that's why I love using Maya, it's a little bit like playing with Lego...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Microwaved Lego

Yeah, I know microwaves aren't UV, but I'm having a hard time with the post titles these days... "Groovy UV"?
Anyway, here he is all UVed. I've picked out the Lego set I'm going to do, a forest fort with a treasure chest.

I don't really know why I UVed the hands and arms and hips and the little bit of plastic inside the legs that they pivot on, as there will be no textures there. But it's all good practice, and it looks a bit nicer all checkered up.

So on the reading front... I finished Tarzan... which was completely different from all movies, TV, comic books. Yes, with a cliffhanger ending. Good thing there's 25 more books in the series. But I'm going to start Pilgrim's Regress by C.S. Lewis next. A bit more philosophical than Tarzan, which was quite a fun read. It's a response to the classic Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, chronicling an allegorical character through life's trials. Should be interesting.
Hope you all have a good week,
Stuart

Friday, July 2, 2010

Leggo my lego

Started out on my entry for the DT competition. It's a legoman! My project will take a bit of a different tack from this point, so you'll have to wait and see how it goes. I did a three-point lighting setup for these two renders, a bit different from my usual ambient occlusion. It would probably look the best with a composite of occlusion and three-point lighting. I'll have to try that next time.
 Whenever you post a model on a maya forum, someone will go "wires, wires!" Well not quite like that, but it's good to see the wireframe on shaded model so that you can see how it was built, how high-poly, etc. This is the wireframe (on shaded) version of the unsmoothed model. The legs were the most complicated to do, with the hollow bottoms and holes in the back.

Stay tuned for the textured version! It's so good to have a long weekend. I get so much more done :)
Later,
Stuart