rant Spinrants Blog

Retopo For Fun and Profit

  • February 24, 2016
Retopo For Fun and Profit

In a previous post I went into a little detail about sculpting a model as though it were made of virtual clay in an app such as 3D Coat. I mentioned that, once you've sculpted in the desired detail, the next step (in order to return your model to a mesh that you can animate) is something called "retopology" (or "retopo" for short). Let's explore how that process works. In sum, you draw your new mesh over the top of the sculpted model and the new polygons adhere to its surface. Think of wrapping a dressmaker's dummy in cloth as you cut and sew a new garment. If that sounds tedious, you're right—but...

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Sculpting in Virtual Clay

  • February 14, 2016
Sculpting in Virtual Clay

A while back I wrote a post here likening 3D modeling to creating a model in virtual clay. Today I'm going to extend that metaphor by talking about a modeling technique that makes it all but literal. To set the stage, let's recap the structure of your standard 3D model: in sum, they're made of a bunch of points in 3D space that define the corners of a bunch of polygons, like this: In calculus a curve is approximated by a bunch of line segments that, if you make those segments small enough, starts to look nice and smooth. That was Newton's magic trick to make them computable and the same...

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A Little Peek into Where the Magic Happens

  • February 13, 2016
A Little Peek into Where the Magic Happens

Whatever's in the glass, make it a double. I had some down time this weekend which I've been spending tidying up my Studio. After I was done, and took stock of my now-decluttered digs, I thought it would be fun to share it with you. First picture is of my workstation area in general. The rest of my Studio is taken up by bookcases, filing cabinets and guitar stands and isn't nearly as interesting to see as where I actually do my thang. The monitor on the left is a 32" curved Dell. Apple has really dropped the ball on modern display technology so I had to turn elsewhere for a primary screen...

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The Anatomy of a 3D Character Build: How I Create a Virtual Character

  • January 31, 2016
The Anatomy of a 3D Character Build: How I Create a Virtual Character

I've already posted about the fun 3D gargoyle character I'm creating but today I decided I'd like to go more in depth into the process of getting the model from concept to fully-realized and ready to animate. That last is still a work in progress (a "WIP" in the vernacular) but it's quite close to completion now. I'm always excited when a build gets to this point because then the real artsy fun can begin! To recap, I became intrigued by a gargoyle statue in my neighbor's coffee shop and decided I wanted to do something related as a 3D character. This is a photo of the statue itself: With...

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Be the Change that You Want to See in the World

  • January 27, 2016
Be the Change that You Want to See in the World

No one else is going to look out for your interests; it's all on you. Some personal slice of life musings. Read on at your own peril. I've been wanting to "get involved" for a long time. As I see it: if you want things in your life to change your next step is to get off your keister and set processes in motion to affect that change. I've stood by that philosophy in terms of my professional and personal life, and I can honestly say I live by my principles. But what about the stuff around me? I can b*tch and moan online until my fingers fall off but apart from indulging some catharsis WTF am I accomplishing?...

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Fun 3D Gargoyle Project

  • January 25, 2016
Fun 3D Gargoyle Project

Keepin' things real. You know what they say about all work and no play! My next-door neighbors own the Utica Coffee Roasting Company, a most amazing local coffee shop (they roast their own blends, as you might have guessed, and they use only top shelf beans they purchase from all over the world) that could hold its head high in NYC or Boston; on a shelf there you can find a really cool gargoyle statue keeping an eye on the place (see above). I've long wanted to have a play modeling and rigging something similar but only recently has work allowed the time. After a weekend of experimenting...

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Creating a “Toon” Style Character Head

  • January 22, 2016
Creating a “Toon” Style Character Head

A star is born This post is a followup to my earlier piece explaining how 3D modeling can be likened to sculpting in virtual clay. Last time I used a basic torso build for my example; today I'm going to up the ante: I'll not only go into the beginnings of modeling a "toon" style head, I'm going to do it live, with video. W00t! Before we run the film I'll give you a little background to help put what you'll see into context. First, the style I favor for this sort of modeling is known as "box modeling." The name comes from beginning with a very basic shape, such as a simple box primitive, then...

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Spinny’s Networking Tips: Selling Yourself

  • January 13, 2016
Spinny’s Networking Tips: Selling Yourself

Just don't This post will eventually devolve into a diatribe about sales tactics and techniques. That process is inevitable, as I see it, because the primary goal you are trying to achieve when networking is to get others to "buy" you, buy your brand, and establish you in their mind's eye as an attractive source for what you're selling. The process might be a gradual one, but that is your end goal. Yep, it's a sales thing. I say that with no small amount of trepidation because I consider being a "salesperson" tantamount to having every hair in my head plucked out while being forced to watch...

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No, you are not ‘running late’, you are rude and selfish

  • January 10, 2016
No, you are not ‘running late’, you are rude and selfish

Oh, my fur and whiskers! Inspired by reading this fine article whose title I stole by Greg Savage. As we said when I was in the USAF: if you're not 15 minutes early you are late. I live by that. I don't expect a full 15 minutes early from you but if it's 10:05 for a 10:00 meeting you can expect I will be texting or calling you asking whether there's been a problem—and we will not have gotten off to a good start. Leave earlier. Don't overbook your time. Tell your current meeting sorry but time's up, you have elsewhere to be, and you can talk later about a followup to finish things. You are "not...

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Spec Work? Just Say No!

  • January 8, 2016
Spec Work? Just Say No!

Wakely is not amused. I'm going to start setting up the grounds for this rant by sharing a little recent personal anecdote: For the first part of 2015 business at Spinland was more than slow: it was nonexistent. That situation was of my own making as I let myself become drawn into a lengthy on-spec project that consumed all my time (which also meant no time spent marketing). This project was potentially a Big Deal™ with promise of paying back the time investment handsomely. It actually fizzled when, after no few months of hard (and uncompensated) work on my part, circumstances forced...

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