Saturday, 5 May 2007

Day121 sketching n hammer

Had fun doing a bunch of sketches again today. I will have to grab one and play with Photoshop CS3.

Added a whole bunch of extra detail to the Squarehouse Map. Still a huge amount to do if it is going to actually BE the squarehouse rather than just having avague resemblance. This image shows the current state of the walkway that heads to the gym and the front entry wall - you can just see through into the first studio as well.

[current state of the Squarehouse HL2 map]

Friday, 4 May 2007

Day120 Photoshop CS3

Photoshop CS3
Yay, finally got my hands on this new juggernaught (Design Premium) from Adobe. I have played with Photoshop (Extended) only at this stage and am pretty impressed thus far. The new selection tools and filter methods are great and there is a good deal of polish in everything else.
One thing I was really hoping to see fixed was the inability to scroll an image away from the border of the work window (as you can do when you zoom way out). This silly window failing makes it really hard to work on the edges of images when you zoom in - grrrr.
Had a quick play with the 3D layer tool and it seemed to have potential along with the expanded vanishing point capabilities (which I am far from getting the hang of). The tools in the Liquify option are just super - you can see what happened to the eyes in my test pic below - just with a few simple clicks. Using the tablet seemed about the same as before, this was one of my test pics - full of fun stuff.

[just a silly test pic playing with the photoshop CS3 tools]

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Day119 Director3D & V-ray

Director3D samples
Deano (Dean Utian) sent through to me a couple of nice Director 3D samples from the web following our discussions on the way to and from CeBIT. Here are a couple of them - some are very nice actually:
* Snowglobe -
* Multiple -
* Vitual City Flyaround -
* Light Interactive -
* Information Interactive 2D -


This pearler of a renderer is a staple amongst architectural visualisation and a host of other areas. Their site ( isnt very good really, it has old news articles talking about upcoming plugins for Sketchup and Rhino etc - but nothing about them actually existing etc.
Despite the complete lack of useful info - here are 3 pics from their gallery (in the architecture section) which show how nicely it can render things up for us:

[images from the Chaosgroup/V-ray gallery site]

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Day118 CeBIT

Yes computer show time ( There was a definative service and business relationship thing going on. So nothing too glitzy and consumerish - not nearly enough anyhow. So even though we didnt get all the big supplier folk exhibiting (though I wish we did) - there was still some fun stuff to see.
My favourite was the CSIRO guys stuff, in particular their virtual 3D skin model combined with the force feedback stylus - just awesome. I got to play with the big Cintiq panel from Wacom using Modo and photoshop. Qld IT has some interesting 3D comms tower radiation modelling. Panasonic had their simply HUGE 103" plasma - wow is it impressive, plus they had touch screen 50" models and capabilities for joining multiple panels - all gooood stuff.
Google was there - though with an adsense and analytics flavour - rather than consumer services.

Heroes Ep14
The ride continues and still gives me the nice shocks all the way through while slowly progressing the understanding, characterisation and plotlines - beautiful.

Worked up some more of the squarehouse as it stands. The more final plan should be with us on Friday which allow more permanent work without any need to shuffle later. This isnt slowing me down though, adding details and elements on the fly.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Day117 Hammering and Mags

Hammering the Squarehouse
more work on the squarehouse HL2 project. Lots of subtle yet critical things I dont know the answers to at this point. For instance, should glass panel window walls be constructed as geometry or using textures - I might try both ways and see how they look.
I think it weird that you use CTRL-t to set values while alt-enter just shows them to you. Anyhow - here is where it's upto. Temp textures and brushes in most locations, so even though it is rough - it is starting to look like the squarehouse.

[pic from inside gmod/HL2 of the squarehouse project]

Magazine Subscriptions
I subscribed direct for 13 issues of both ImagineFX and 3D World from the UK !! This isnt cheap, but will save a bundle over the course of the year. Cant wait to start getting the mags now. It is sad that I am not supporting the local stores that bothered to stock these titles, but at $20 a pop here it just isnt sustainable.

Monday, 30 April 2007

Day116 Hammering

Hammering the Squarehouse
Armed with some real-life measurements (in inches) and a nice new plan I set about building the structure for the squarehouse in Hammer. For some reason (not yet knwn) my compile times are kinda loooong. Despite that it is coming together as a really basic piece of work. Once I build some more internal and glass feature walls it should really look the part already. Should we make the doors, machines and lights etc actually work - I think this would be a nice touch.
I will have to see if there is a sane way to get an image into hammer to use as reference - so I can copy over the top to build bits without measuring.
The image below is from GV3 and shows where I am upto so far. The map compile time was simply unbearable for a while there. I changed all the columns and beams to func_detail - that fixed everything!

[images of my squarehouse HL2 level built in hammer to Gmod]

Magazine Subscriptions
Subscribing to 3D World direct to the UK is a princely $180AU. 13 issues in the shops (at their slowpoke rate) is more like $260AU - so this is a very sensible idea!!
I have contacted the 2 big local subscription companies to see if they can help me out with 3D World and ImagineFX. If not, I will go direct :-)

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Day115 Sketching and Hammering

Sketched a handful of quick pencil pieces - I like the edgy wild-west type ones, they could show some promise of more development. They ended up hinting at a fusion of Lara Croft and Anime in a western shell.

Hammering the Squarehouse
Armed with a plan, a rough moch-up of the squarehouse began to come into being. Nothing too fancy - but enough of the bits to at least invoke the reality...

Day114 - 3D World Mag

3D World 89 Mag
Got the new 3D World with the CG gibbon on the cover. The info covering the advancing tech of the game engines is pertinant. That the real-time engines are catching up with the movie-type rendering is changing many things. The feats performed by the current engines are what we drooled over from movies just a few years ago - and now it happens live. The impact this can have on industries like Architectural Visualisation are obvious - and this is one wave it would be great to ride.
The reviews are interesting for the likes of Softimage XSI 6, DAZ's Victoria 4 and Solidworks 2007.
The new Nvidia Quadro's geared up for DirectX 10 are here and with suitably super specs to go with them. Have to look into this some more. How ready is Vista for all these sexy apps we use??
[cover of 3D World 89 from their website]