Sunday, November 30, 2014

Severing a Dendrite - Update

Well the end of November is here and my book is as finished as it will get. At least the words are. When I uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing, several formatting issues became apparent and I need to work those out before I release it. I also am working on a cover that will take more time to completion.

I intended to wrap that all up this weekend, but other things got in the way. I'm performing in a play this Saturday, and that consumed much of these final two days of November. So I pray your patience a little longer before this thing will be out the door. Honestly this delay is probably bothering me more than anyone else, but I felt an update was still in order.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ant Practice

Some more work on F. polyctena, based on the Eric Keller tut I mentioned in the previous post. Again, this is a practice run through to learn ZBrush and the workflow. I'm expecting to do a more accurate and careful model for the real thing, which, even though I'm paying more attention to the morphology, should go faster, now that I'm getting more comfortable with the program.

Retopologizing the dynamesh down to a cleaner mesh.

Adding some interesting detail.

Painting using photographs of the ant as stencils.

I am also getting quite close to finished my book, in a process I'm calling amateur copy-editing. Just a couple chapters left. So the book should be available Nov 30 as promised. I'm hoping to create a nice cover, but time is short. It remains to be seen whether I will compromise on the cover for the sake of time, put up a placeholder for the time being, or execute with aplomb.


Thursday, November 20, 2014


As part of my research at the UofT, we're designing an experiment to look at how students learn complex motion through animations. The complex motion in this case is an ant walking, so as a part of that, I'm creating an ant model for the animation(s).

This is my first attempt. There are anatomical problems, and it's not tremendously accurate. I'm mostly using it as a practice run as I learn how to use ZBrush better. I'm going through Eric Keller's Hyper-real Insect Design tutorial. I finally feel like I'm getting a solid handle on how to use ZBrush, even managing to troubleshoot some strange issues that I've run into.

In other news, I'm about 2/3 through "editing" my book, so I'm hopeful I'll be able to release it as promised on Nov 30.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

NaNoWriMo Revisited - First chapter and release date

If you are a long time reader of this blog, you may remember that way back, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This adventure is chronicled here, here and here. All of the links and widgets are now broken, but you can visit the NaNoWriMo site to get an idea of the process. Today is the right time to start if you want to try it yourself.

I've written more explanation in the foreword of the book, but the brief-ish (brie-fish? mmm) story is this: I wrote the book in November 2009, saved it, and closed it. I meant to go back and edit it or at least read it, because I quite enjoyed the writing process, but it wasn't until this year that I read it in its entirety for the first time. I've decided I don't want to spend the time on a really deep edit and reworking, because other projects are more pressing and relevant to my career goals, but I do want people to get a chance to check it out. So I've just been doing some basic formatting, typo correction, few tweaks, grammar, that sort of thing.

I'm announcing that I will be releasing my debut novel "Severing a Dendrite" via Kindle Direct Publishing on November 30th! The minimum allowed price for that platform (with 70% royalty) is $2.99, so that's what it'll be. But just to pique your interest and hopefully get you to throw the three dollars at Amazon so they can throw two dollars at me, I'll be sharing the first chapter now and another several chapters on the release day for free right here on this blog.

Here is the link to download the first chapter in pdf format:
You may have to right click and "save link as..." if just clicking on it doesn't prompt a download.
And if you like clicking on pictures, here's one with the same result, i.e. pdf downloaded.

The text on the pages should be large enough that reading on a mobile device or e-reader will be possible. For reading in Adobe Reader, I would recommend View > Page Display > Two Page View for a more book-like experience. For the final release, I will be sharing a more substantial section of the book (the first five chapters!) for free in kindle and epub formats so you don't have to bother with pdfs, although I think for full compatibility and ease of reading, I will post a pdf of that too.

Hope you enjoy it!