About Spinny

First Dollar of Profit from Rome Chamber, 2003

First Dollar of Profit from Rome Chamber, 2003

Spinny at a Mohawk Valley Chamber function, 2012

Spinny at a Mohawk Valley Chamber function, 2012

Howdy! So you want to know more about me, eh? (The highlighted text is clicky.)

I currently live in beautiful Central New York, in the Mohawk Valley and the foothills of the Adirondacks. The winters can be harsh and the golfing season short but, after having lived all over the USA and the world, this is where I want to be.

Profession. I’m a retired USAF officer, having served over 23 years (my service career ran the gamut from military intelligence operative to combat aircrew on electronic warfare aircraft to research engineer) before I settled down to civilian life. I own and operate a 3D modeling and animation studio where my niche is providing small local businesses an alternative to outsourcing their CGI and VFX needs, and doing so at a fraction of the cost of a big company—without compromising on quality or vision. Over the past 15+ years I’ve built and animated add-on 3D aircraft models for the Microsoft Flight Simulator line, built real-time interactive data displays and controls for DoD clients using 3D gaming engines, designed and built web-based database-driven data visualization displays for a major government contractor, built and animated 3D models for industrial firms, crafted 3D animated logos and complete animated television commercials for corporate clients, provided VFX support for feature films, and created technical illustrations for multiple projects (including an ISO standard). I’m proficient in a variety of graphics and 3D modeling tools, including Lightwave 3D, ZBrush, 3D Coat, Rhinoceros 3D, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop Extended, and Xara Designer Pro. In the web coding realm I’m proficient in HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, JQuery, PHP and web data-driven interaction with MySQL databases. I can also make magic with your vision leveraging the Unity 3D gaming engine as a web-based application. Besides standard website coding I’m well versed in both the Drupal and WordPress CMS platforms. I bring a rich and varied set of skills and experience to the table.

Education. I hold a BS in computer science from The Ohio State University, a MS in computer science from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and I studied 3D Game Art at Sessions College for Professional Design. I also studied Korean and German at the Defense Language Institute.

Spinny (Photoshopped) with his beloved SPAD XIII

Spinny (Photoshopped) with his beloved SPAD XIII

Spinny at a Utica Chamber mixer, 2014

Spinny at a Utica Chamber mixer, 2014

What’s up with “Spinny?” As I mention above, before I retired from the Air Force I had a job on the side making and animating add-on 3D aircraft for the Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator series of games. I was also a member of a “virtual combat flying squadron” made up of fellow AF folks, specializing in simulating World War I aerial combat. The simulated Sopwith Camel, true to its historical nature, was prone to spinning out of control and learning it initially gave me a lot of difficulty. I once joked that if you sent me up in one with a load of wet laundry I’d spin it dry before I hit the ground. As such things happen, “SpinDry” became my nickname (and call sign) on the spot, and people took to calling me “Spinny” in casual conversation. I ran with it, and soon everything I did was labeled “Spin-something,” including the current name of my Studio. pilot

So what’s up with the logo? The main sigil has kind of a fun genesis—especially if you’re a math geek. In Chaos theory there is a concept known as strange attractors. The important thing (in this case) is not to understand the theory behind the concept, rather to realize that if you graph equations that fit this pattern you get some really weird, cool results. There are some fun freeware applications out there for this very purpose, such as chaoscope. Using as a basis the “double helix” class of equations, and applying a color gradient to the calculation, the basic shape was born. After some Photoshop tweaking the final sigil emerged. The concept relates to what I do: spinning form out of Chaos. The fonts are also meaningful: the machined-look “SPINLAND” represents the tech-geek aspect of leveraging computer software to create imagery, while the legend flows from there into the script “Studios” to pay homage to the artistic side of the computer graphics and animation process.

Golf. There’s a four-letter word if ever one existed. During our playing season golf is one thing that can pull me away from the computer on a regular basis. I’m a proud member of one of the best golf courses in the area, Crestwood Golf Club. Weather permitting I make a point of getting out at least once during the week, and I sometimes even manage get in a round with my wife on weekends. On some days I suck so badly I’m ready to put my clubs up for sale, but then along comes a really good (for me) round and I remember again why I love this game—even if it wants to break me.

Family stuff. I’m blissfully married to a beautiful lady from Utica. We’re happy empty nesters, all three progeny having somehow survived to become twenty-somethings (stop the presses! My oldest is now a 30-something. Oy!) and someone else’s problem. We also serve as staff to several cats, all of whom have been gifted with way too much personality.

Mind Spew. Like pretty much everyone and their pet these days, I maintain a blog. It’s called SpinRants and it’s billed as “The place where Spinny gets stuff off his chest.” I write about technical and computer modeling/animation topics, but also golf and other “slice of life” stuff that catches my eye—or amuses me. I usually don’t get too controversial there, despite the “Rants” theme. rant

Other Notes. There are a couple of nice write-ups about me and the Studio in the the Utica Observer-Dispatch. Click here to read the article from June 4th, 2014 and click here to read the article from October 10th, 2016.

And that’s the scoop. Any comments, questions, observations? Just want to say hi? Please click here to send me a Spin-O-Gram and I’ll be sure to get back to you promptly.

Cheers!
Spinny

Enjoying the Adirondacks

Enjoying the Adirondacks


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