Thursday, May 29, 2008

Learning on the Fly

The more things change, the more they stay the same. These words were never more true than in my current job.

Sure I'm still a 3D artist. Sure the things I've learned before are still applicable to what I'm doing these days. But there are differences, some subtle and some blatant. Fortunately for me these differences aren't so hard that I can pretty much understand what needs to be done.

And if I don't understand it I still learn from my mistakes. So far I haven't bungled anything up big time.

I have learned a lot. I've learned new rigging techniques, I've learned new modeling techniques. Hell, I've learned that I'm actually a hell of a lot better in 3D than I thought. Must have been all those trainings in my previous job. Those times I had to do revisions for art directors who wanted their products tweaked even if those tweaks were almost totally unnoticeable to the naked eye. I mean, c'mon, increase a product size by 10%? I did that in 3D and I did not see the difference. Change the hue by .005? Shit, dawg, I didn't notice anything. And yet these art directors approved those changes. Must be why they're art directors. Either that or they're the greatest con men (and women - gotta be fair here) out there. Or they just feel like they need to say something so people will think they're doing they're goddamned jobs.

But back to the present.

Lotsa new things I've learned since shifting to 3DS Max. New rigs, new commands, new techniques. Plus I've also gotten an idea how people make games. And it is hard.

Fortunately the environment I'm in is excellent. I am in the right mix of working hard and playing hard. And I've got a lot of new officemates who are pretty good at what they do and these guys are helping me learn new things.

So while I can still use the things I've learned before, I've also managed to add a shitload of new things. And that is gravy.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Pondering Things...

Okay. It's 12:06AM. I should be asleep already and yet I am not. I've got a good idea why I can't sleep, and it's probably because I fell asleep this afternoon. It seems my body's gotten used to not getting any shutdown time during the day that it f*cks up my body clock whenever I do catch some afternoon shut eye.

This isn't the first time that this has happened. And every time I nap in the afternoon I cannot sleep at night.

So what am I to write about?

Work's been great so far. Just got assigned to a project recently. It's not that bad, and my skills are improving constantly. I'm also handling the 3DS Max a lot better now. It's not as second nature as how I handled Maya before, but it's getting there.

Speaking of Maya I should probably start practicing with it again, just so I don't forget most of the commands. I still remember some of the shortcut keys but it will be totally different once I start using that again.

My biggest problem now is what software to use for practice. I'd really like to use Maya again just to stay in shape with it, but modeling in Max has been a lot easier for me, what with all the ease of commands and the smoothing groups and stuff. Final models in Max eat up less polygons than what I used to make in Maya.

The big advantage I see when it comes to modeling in Maya is the image plane. You can create an image plane attached to the camera views in Maya, and adjust it's opacity. In Max you have to create a literal plane to attach an image on.

Blah blah blah, all technical stuff. I'm sure it's boring to you readers who don't know 3D. Bottom line is, both softwares have their strengths and weaknesses and I am glad that I know how to use both.

On to other things... Like, cars.

Two vehicles I'm currently fawning over that's being sold here in Manila are the Mitsubishi Outander and the Subaru Forrester.

The top of the line models of both cars cost almost the same, and no one seems to be doing any comparos of these two vehicles in the local car magazines.

From what I've read both are really nice, spacious vehicles. The Forrester has a slight edge in power and torque output while the Outlander does have that cool paddle shifter option AND a Rockford Fosgate sound system on the high end version. What the Forrester does have is an STi body kit.

Both of them use gasoline, both of them have huge engine displacements (I think the Subaru has a 2.5L engine, and the high end Mitsubishi has a 3.0L engine) so I can probably guess that they WILL be a bit thirsty for gas. Which isn't a good thing considering how expensive fuel is already.

But if I had the money to buy one of them I'd most likely get the Subaru, just because I like the Impreza a lot more than the Evo. Of course this could swing anytime as I am also a big fan of the Evo. That's another thing both vehicles have in common - WRC pedigree. The Outlander has Evo roots and the Forrester has Impreza roots.

The latest car I've been drooling over is the BMW 320d. Yes, 320d. A diesel. I've read the tech specs. According to it's web site it goes 12km/liter of diesel in urban areas and 18km/liter in non-urban (I forgot the exact term they used) areas. That is amazing. Plus it's a BMW.

I'd just add an AC Schnitzer body kit and BAM! A car that is a bit eco-friendly than other cars
and at the same time sporty. Who can go wrong with that? Plus the funny thing is the 320d has better diesel consumption than the 120d. What gives?

And so the purpose of this blog has been achieved. I wanted to write out some thoughts, and get myself sleepy enough that I can risk lying down again with a better chance of going to dreamland.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

I Am Iron Man

Holy. Shit.

I saw Iron Man the movie last Thursday here in Manila. And those were the two words that instantly came into my head.

Iron Man is so damned kickass as a movie. The acting was great, with Robert Downey Jr. pulling off an excellent Tony Stark. Terrence Howard playing Jim Rhodes was a bit strange, seeing as how the Jim Rhodes I remember from the comics was a more physically built, jock type character. But the acting was great for everyone.

Then the story. They stayed true to the origins of Iron Man, at the same time modernizing it and making it occur in Afghanistan instead of Vietnam, where the original Iron Man story took place. Another small change which fit the movie was in the number of suit prototypes. Sure he had all those years to develop prototypes and versions in the comics, which was why they only had to make 2 or 3 versions in the movie. I understand the constraints of a movie.

Which is why I totally enjoyed the movie.

The CG was also most excellent. My faith in CG has been restored, though there were times when you could clearly identify the CG character because of how it moved.

On a side note, isn't it interesting to reflect upon the fact that even though all the advances in technology have been made, CG animation for live action films seems to have taken massive steps backward? If you see the original Jurassic Park the animations of the dinosaurs there were almost flawless. They looked like they were really there. Then sooner or later animations started getting more obvious, maybe because too many directors or whatever are relying on motion capture technology. Maybe good old fashioned keyframes will help CG animation. Take a look at Pixar movies, the characters move so smoothly and so lifelike. But I digress.

Iron Man was a solid movie for me. It was so damn good I'd definitely want to get a DVD copy of it. That's how good it was.