Thursday, April 29, 2010

Last Minute Illustration Friday

Illustration Friday: "Ahead." Please click above for higher resolution. It's worth it.

OK, I know I got this one in at the very last minute, but it took a week to make, goddamn it! The hardest part was modeling my head in Poser. I eventually gave up trying to use the Face Room utility that's supposed to line up photographs of your head with splines, and instead saved their default texture and matched my webcam photos up to it in Photoshop. Once I had a texture I could live with, I imported it back into poser, and did a lot of trial and error to get features that were close to mine.

I exported my pretty-decent head into 3ds max and edited the mesh (soft selection is very useful) until it looked pretty much like my dear old self. Next I used Boolean tools to cut the top of my head up into pieces. After that, I used Reactor to simulate blowing a musket ball through the top of my head, and let the pieces fall where they may. I now had a head in pieces, but it looked too clean. I went back to my friend Photoshop and created some cracks both as an opacity map (making it look like my head was missing pieces) and to add to my texture.

Ah, but what's inside? Zbrush is very organic, but it makes wonderful gears very easily. I created some different gears, imported them back into 3ds Max, created a few springs, multiplied them until I had a handful of 64, then used reactor to dump them all in a heap around my open skull.

The marble floor was a bit of a pain in the ass. I couldn't get the tiles to look exactly the way I wanted. I used different smoothing groups, but the effect still gives the individual tiles too much slant. I don't think it's noticeable to anyone but me. (I made it by creating a cylinder, and extruding and beveling certain faces to get the raised tile look. The grout is a plane with a noise texture.)

But why did my head break in the first place! I know, it's because my unwanted, squatting tenant escaped! I spent half a day creating a mechanical bug and just didn't like the result. had a free ant mesh by someone named 3DMB. I gave him a metallic look and he worked nicely.

OK, so I rendered it and put it all together in Photoshop. There were a few problems with the ant's reflections and shadows and I fixed them by drawing in a few extra shadows and rendering twice, once with and once without the ant, and composting between the two. I then decided that I just didn't like the way my beard looked- there was too much artifacting in the texture. I took the original webcam photo I had used to make the texture from, pasted my mouth over the 3d mouth, scaled and skewed with free transform, added appropriate shadows, matched the color and contrast, and voila! A wee bit of Gaussian noise and everything matches up pretty well! I blurred the far tiles to give it a little depth of field, and there you have it!

I hope you all enjoy, and I'm glad to squeeze it into IF with two hours to spare!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Vomiting Trees

When it rains, the trees in Queens like to vomit their flowers onto the sidewalk.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Out of the fog, into the smog!"

Illustration Friday
: Detective. Bonus points to whoever can tell me where the post title comes from.


Monday, April 12, 2010

I came home the other day and found this notice posted in our building lobby:

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Fooling April Blahs

The hot water’s not working. I wanted to shave and take a shower, now I’m resigned to being hairy and smelly. I can’t find the charger for my trimmer either. It’s somewhere in this unholy mess. I’ve unearthed six adapters so far. Two are for phones I no longer own, the other four I have no clue what they do. Can you say pack rat?

I have some slightly overdue library books to return. I also have paperwork to drop off at the union. I’ll take my son with me, it’s such a beautiful day. I’ve been trying to clean and I’ve found a stack of the kids school pictures over the years. If all they do is sit in a stack, why the hell do we order them?

My daughter has built a wall out of the ottoman and couch and chair cushions to block the living room from the rest of the apartment. I’m dealing with stepping over it right now because I just don’t have the heart to dismantle it.

I did some editing this morning. Getting closer and closer to getting my second draft the way I want it to be. I got caught up last night in playing Civ 4. It’s so easy to get distracted, to do things to pass the time instead of living. I’ll have to walk to the grocery store later and get some fresh fruit and smoothie ingredients.

That's my exciting life, hope everyone's having fun being foolish.