1999 News Updates (Partial Remnant)
- I hope you are having a wonderful holiday! Jessie and I flew home to Bloomington, IL on the 21st and returned to San Diego around 11 last night. I really enjoyed seeing my family again and spending a few precious hours with some old friends. I just wish my brother Eric would have come home from Ohio! Highlights from the trip included attending midnight mass with Jessica (who wants me to be Catholic), and having a too brief visit with Chad (my best friend since 7th grade), his wife April, and their two adorable kids Jordan (she's 2) and Dylan (the baby).
Lowlights from the trip included snow, bitter cold, and being very antsy to get back to work. All three of those are history now. I know a lot of you are still enjoying winter weather so I won't bother you with how warm and sunny it is in San Diego.
My presents? I have a few of the Field Guides I asked for on my Amazon Wish list. Thank you K Morgan for sending me the Insect guide! My favorite gifts were "Coral Seas", a stunning photography book featuring flora and fauna from coral reefs, and Akira Kurosawa's "Ran" on DVD. Of course I gave all my family and friends copies of my CD-ROM, except for my grandfather (who uses a Mac). I gave him my personal portfolio 8" x 10" prints, which he seemed to enjoy.
Enough "relaxing" now. I'm more than ready to start making wallpapers again.
- Security Update: From what I can tell, my custom security program has been 100% effective at blocking access from "password sites". Since I last mentioned the issue, there have been 6 DB logins posted on various sites. The latest was this morning. Each login was disabled almost as soon as it was posted.
I've decided not to waste my time or energy writing programs to track password traders. I've contracted with a security company to monitor login activity. You are still welcome to log in from home, work, and school, but if I feel you that you are logging in from too many networks I will have to disable your account until we can discuss the matter. If you feel your account requires special treatment, please drop me a line.
My last security related chore will be to make it difficult for "script kiddies" to use brute-force programs for cracking passwords. This is a daily occurance and I'm getting tired of it.
Cable Modem/DSL users: Your PC is especially vulnerable to hackers ad your connection is "always on" and your IP address is fixed. Anyone on the Internet with the right software can easily break into your system. You can easily protect yourself though by using an excellent little app called "BlackICE Defender". It sells for $39.95 and can be downloaded from the Network ICE website. This is totally unrelated to my site and my security problems, and I'm not getting anything for this (or any other) endorsement. I just want you all to be safe!
- I'm going to be taking a break for the next couple of days, relaxing and re-charging my creative batteries. Both Jessie and myself wish all of you a safe and happy holiday. I'll be back with some new imagery soon.
- I just picked up a new plugin for Lightwave called "Ozone 3D". It's from the makers of Vue d'Esprit and it allows you to create skies and atmospheric effects (haze and fog) within Lightwave 3D. So what? Just wait. You'll see...
- Still looking for a last minute gift idea?
- "Snowball" is new today in the Interiors gallery and the WIP. It's as finished as it is going to get (at least for this year).
- Blue Christmas was "picked" as one of CNET's top "desktop enhancement" downloads. Their description: "Blue Christmas is a beautiful 3D-rendered wallpaper that will brighten up your desktop with an unusual, mesmerizing, and sparkly Christmas tree set in a blue, snowy background.". Wow. Seven adjectives in one sentence.
- I'm working on one last Christmas pic (spirit hitting me late I guess). It's isn't very close to being finished, but I thought I would give you all an early look. It's (tentatively) called "Snowball", and it's in the Picklejar. Click here for the thumbnail or here for the large size (1152 wide) image. Modeled and rendered in Lightwave (which has been collecting dust since I got World Builder). As you can see, I haven't worked on the background yet...
- I added two different versions of "The Low Road" to the Pickle Jar. The first image like the one I posted yesterday, except that I removed the dusty haze. This was the version that Jessica said was too dark (see yesterday's update below). The second image retains the atmospheric effects, but I "chopped down" the trees which had been surrounding the camera. It may be a case where less is more. What do you think?
- Where is my Christmas spirit? I meant to work on a happy holiday image these past couple days, but somehow that's just not what came out. Recent security issues have taken their toll on my "good will towards men". In fact, if it weren't for Jessica I probably would have produced something much more dark and sinister. You have her to thank for the little dash of color I added to my latest offering: The Low Road. "It's too dark Ryan," she said, " you should have made that at Halloween". The Low Road is available in the Night Scenery gallery and in the WIP.
- I posted my Holiday Gallery on the free site. Nothing there that you haven't seen before, except for maybe this poem that I composed to go along with my text for "Let it Snow". One of my new year's resolutions is to sit down and fully annotate every image in the member's gallery (with more than just a few sentences on what software I used to make it).
I'm still working on some new holiday images. To tide you over I've added a directory to the member's gallery which I call simply "The Pickle Jar". During the process of making one of the images you see in my galleries I usually go through three or four different revisions. Some of them are just plain bad and I won't waste bandwidth or embarrass myself by showing them to you. Others were just a pixel or two away from making it into my gallery, but then something stoped me from posting it and went back and worked on it some more. The "Towers" images are a good example. They show off the towers that I later used to make up Gotham 1999 (I decided a city setting was more appropriate). Right now the Picklejar directory is unindexed (hence the name) and it contains 11 images. Check it out, and if you see an image that you think really belongs in my gallery, drop me a line.
What's the difference between these and a Work in Progress? A work in progress, when I post it, is an image that I feel is strong enough to make it into my gallery. Sometimes I'll look at it later though and decide to make changes. I never planned on posting the images in the pickejar, but then it occurred to me that 1) they were doing no one any good sitting idle on my hard drive, and 2) sometimes an image that I don't think is very strong turns out to be a favorite of others (Adrift is one example...).
Like I said though, I'm working on some new stuff right now. Stay tuned!
- I was meaning to work on some holiday graphics this weekend, but I was sidetracked by another issue which required immediate attention. I did, however, manage to tweak "Sierra" into a night version which is up in the Night Scenery Gallery and the WIP. No, I didn't use Photoshop. I wanted to learned more about atmospheric lightning in World Builder. I do plan on getting started on some holiday images this week. I have a few ideas of my own but I would love to hear what you'd like to see (the more detail the better). Write me!
- A big thanks to everyone who has ordered a copy of my CD so far. Maybe I'll even make back all the money I spent having them made...
- I'm still ironing out the issues involved with shipping overseas. It's rather complicated and I want to make sure everyone involved gets the best possible deal.
- Don't pay any attention to my Amazon.Com wish list at the bottom of my pages. That's for friends and family who want to know what I'd like to get for Christmas this year. You're free to check it out to see what my tastes are or to get ideas for someone you care about, but I'm not asking for anything from people I don't know. Of course, I wouldn't send anything back... :-)
- The Digital Blasphemy CD-ROM is now available. Member price: $14.95. Ground shipping and sales taxes are waived. Check out my CDROM page for more info. Get some for the ones you love! Sorry, but it's Windows only and I'm only shipping within the US for now. If you live outside the US and would like to order the CD-ROM, please write me and I'll see what I can do. Please include the address you want the disc(s) shipped to and whether you place greater emphasis on speed of delivery or economy.
- Still trying to figure out World Builder. My second offering is now up an ready for your review. I call it: "Sierra". Hope you like. Check it out in the WIP or the Day Scenery Gallery.
- Thanks to everyone who's written me with feedback regarding my imminent CDROM release. One common thread was that shipping costs should be low. I hear you. The average "member discount" was somewhere between $10 and $20. The pricing is still undecided though at this writing.
- Look for some holiday themes in the weeks ahead...
- A couple of updates for you today.
First of all, I should report that I spent most of this week and part of last putting the finishing touches on my upcomng CD-ROM archive. It's now in the hands of my distributor and is in the process of being being made as we speak. It should be available early next week, and it will contain every image in the gallery up to "Aftermath". Personally, it think it would make a nice stocking stuffer, but that's up to you. Aside from the fact that it will be discounted for members, I haven't decided what to charge for the CD. I'd appreciate any input you might have on what would be a fair price. Either way, it will be available soon...
Unfortunately the CD will not contain my latest work. "Early Frost" is up in the Day Scenery gallery and the WIP. It's my first image created using Animatek's World Builder 2.2, so it's a little rough around the edges, I apologize. I gotta level with you now: I don't think you'll be seeing much Bryce or even Vue d'Esprit for quite a while. I am completely hooked on World Builder.
Why? First and foremost, it's multi-threaded (Bryce isn't) so it uses my dual-processor workstation to its fullest potential. "Early Frost", for example, rendered in just under 30 minutes at 1600 x 1200 (compared to 24 hours for "The Turning"). What else? Its vegetation model is a lot more realistic (not to mention more efficient). More? Its landscape system allows for winding roads, rippling rivers (complete with whitewater), lapping waves, waterfalls, and footprints. Oh yeah, it also exports entire scenes into Lightwave, which opens up a whole new set of possibilities.
Anyway, I'll stop frothing now. I hope you like the new image, but just remember that it's only a first attempt. Your comments and feedback are doubly appreciated.
- Added "Aftermath" to the Planetscapes gallery and the WIP. Flat out, you can't do this with Bryce. I've tried.
I guess maybe with some "trick photography" you could do a still image like it in Bryce. But I don't think you could animate it like this though. (1.8 MB zipped AVI)... The animation is a 2 seconds long and it depicts the entire "explosion", debris and all. The animation, of course, is made up of some 60 individual frames and about 40 of them would have made cool still shots. In case you're wondering, the wallpaper is frame 33. Hope you like them both. Comments appreciated.
- Added "Zard" to the Posers gallery and the WIP. This is my first "real" project done using Lightwave. To be honest, I've spent too many hours re-rendering different views of this one (using different settings) and I think it's time to move on. Someday I'LL be good enough to model my own person using Lightwave, but for now I just wanted to learn some lightning techniques and special effects. I hope you like it even though it's only a "training" piece.
I've rounded out my software toolkit by purchasing a few more Lightwave plugins. Here's the scoop on what I have so far and what I will be getting in the next few days (the first link you click will open a new window and each of the others will load in the same window if you leave it open):
I may also purchase plugin called "Digital Nature Tools", but I want to see if World Builder has the features I want before I spent another $700. I just wanted you to know where your membership fees are going :)
- For all the images I've posted over the past couple of weeks, you would think that I have been spending my days at the beach, or on the couch watching the Discovery Channel. Actually I've done quite a lot of rendering but everything has been little bits and pieces, trying out new effects and techniques, etc. I feel kind of like a wizard with a new spellbook.
Anyway. I really liked Fluorescence and I know a lot of you did too. None of my renders over the past few days have given me the "wow" factor I got from the blue shrooms, until now.
In my last update I posted the original version of Gotham, resurrected from "BR3 heaven" by the latest version of Bryce. My brain cells started percolating while I was looking at that image, and I came to the conclusion that old Gotham needed a little "urban renewal". Gotham 1999 is new today in the Night Scenery Gallery and the WIP. I hope you like what I've done, you may see more of this...hope you like.
- I've gotten a lot of mail lately from members asking how to renew their memberships. The answer is: you don't need to let your memberships ever expire. You can add time to your existing membership at a discounted rate ($20 for another year and $10 for another month, max 2 years). The "extender" link is located on the "When Will My Account Expire Page", or you can go directly to my secure server and place your order. Thanks!
- Last week went by way too fast. I finally assembled all the right parts for my new workstation and the last few days have been spent migrating my old setup to the new machine. In case you missed it, the system is a Dell Precision 410 with Dual Pentium III 600 processors, 1 GB of RAM and a Diamond Fire GL1 graphics card. Fast? You betcha!
My "art time" recently has been spent working with the Lightwave renderer. I haven't done anything yet that I feel especially proud of, or you would have seen it. I will continue, however, to prod it's mysteries. I did break down last night and I started a Bryce only image which is still rendering as I write this. It should be done sometime later today and will be up soon thereafter.
I managed to find a few "long lost" Bryce files yesterday. The first is "Red Sky at Night", and I promptly rendered a 1600 x 1200 version for those of you with large monitors.
The second file is truly "back from the dead". You see, the image you know as "Gotham" is a "forced" second draft. The original was quite different but the file was "eaten" by Bryce (meaning it wouldn't open for me) and I had to abandon it. I have to be honest with you here, I spent a lot less time on the second version of Gotham than the original, but I was definitely pleased with the results as I know a lot of people were.
Still, the original look has it's merits and I was thrilled to discover that Bryce 4.1 could "resurrect" it! So here it is, remember that it was designed over a year ago :)
Lastly, I've posted my "alternate version" of Fluorescence. I had originally designed two different color schemes for the mushrooms, it was my girlfriend Jessie who chose the one you saw last week (though we were in complete agreement as to which one was superior). The alternate is now available because I think it looks cool, and it's doing no one any good hiding out on my hard drive.
More to come...
- Sorry I've been sort of incommunicado the past few days. My copy of Lightwave 3D arrives last Friday and, like any good monk, I've been cloistered away attempting to unlock it's powers. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Lightwave, here's the deal:
Lightwave is really two programs, a layout/render engine and a modeler, that work together. You've already seen some of my dabblings with the modeler ("Rogue Element" and "Fluorescence"). Now I am working to master the Layout portion of the program. It is far more complex a creature than the modeler, but the results can be truly stunning (you've all seen Lightwave generated graphics on TV and in the movies). Trust me on this: You are going to be seeing some cool stuff in the weeks to come (though it won't be that long before I have some new images for you to download). Once again, I ask your patience while I learn the ropes. It will be worth it.
- Thanks to all of you who wrote me with your thoughts on "Fluorescence" (see below). As promised, I've collected some of my favorites for your review, along with my own personal comments on the image. You'll also find my first animation done using the Lightwave renderer. Hope you like it, I think it's a decent first effort.
- Fluorescence is new today in the Abstracts gallery and the WIP, another image from my exploration of the Inspire modeler. You may look at this one and think "what the **** is that?". I sat looking at it for about an hour wondering the same thing and I have my own ideas. I just thought it looked nice on my desktop so I posted it for you. You are free to interpret it any way you like. In fact, feel free to send me your ideas and I'll put together a list of the best ones for your review.
- Here's a another little movie showing off a few robot poses and his new retractable claws (zipped AVI, [an error occurred while processing this directive]).
- Some people might try to learn new 3D software by modeling something simple, like an apple or a bar of soap. I chose something a little more ambitious for my first Inspire 3D project. The result, "Rogue Element", is now available for your review in the Posers gallery and the WIP.
The battlebot in R.E. was modeled entirely "by hand" in Inspire 3D, using no prefab parts. My first attempt (thumbnail/hi-res) was completed Saturday, but it couldn't be saved in Inspire due to my ignorance of "point econmics" (i.e., the mesh was too complex). I managed to export that first robot as a OBJ file but he was still too complex for Bryce to handle. Luckily for me, Vue d'Esprit handles hi-res meshes with great applomb so I was able to at least render him once to show you.
My second attempt involved my old standby, Metacreations Poser 4. Basically, I opened up the default skeleton (as you've seen before in "Don't Look into the Light"), and then replaced all of his bones with the robot parts I had designed in Inspire. This took quite a few hours to get right, but eventually I had my own custom robot which could take advantage of all of Poser's cool features. You can check out, for example, this animation of the robot running (zipped AVI, [an error occurred while processing this directive]) or this "character sketch" showing a few different poses.
He's not perfect, but I think he's a good first effort. You'll note that he is a far cry from my very first robot attempt (using Amorphium and Bryce). Hope you like "Rogue Element", and don't be surprised if you see him again in another wallpaper somewhere down the road. Comments definitely welcome.
- My new workstation arrives tomorrow. Actually it arrived today but since I stayed up all night working on the battlebot, I was asleep when the delivery guy came knocking. Grrr...
- E-on software released a new verison (3) of Vue d'Esprit today. It looked like a good upgrade to me so I ordered it. It should ship from France in a couple of weeks or so, then maybe I'll take you on a fly-through of "Equatorial" or a boatride around the Tropic of Capricorn". I can't wait!
- Last night I attended a fascinating lecture given by Doug Chiang, the Design Director for ILM and one of the main brains behind Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It was a real eye-opener in terms of how much I have yet to learn in this field. The lecture consisted mainly of Doug showing slides and commenting on the different designs he created for Episode I. There was also a lengthy Q&A afterwards, but I really couldn't think of anything intelligent to ask (though that didn't stop others).
Most of the lecture was very inspiring, especially the parts about how different animals influenced the design of certain vehicles in the movie (for example the Federation battle-tanks were designed to look like pouncing lions and the troop transports to look like charging elephants). It was really kind of scary to hear him talk about the creative meetings with "George" where sometimes only 10% of the designs presented were actually approved. I don't know how long I would last under that kind of attrition (understandably, it was Doug's love of Star Wars which saw him through).
One of Doug's comments stuck a dagger into my heart though. He said that people today rely too heavily on computer aided design, and are sorely lacking in the artistic "fundamentals" of free-hand drawing. Of course he was describing me perfectly; I can barely write my own name so people can read it. I won't let that keep me from trying to improve though :)
Doug was pretty careful not to let out too much about Episode II or III. He did say, tantalizingly, that the designs would become more "familiar" as the story progressed. My heart, as you can imagine, started beating the "Imperial March" at the thought of massive computer-animated fleets of Star Destroyers hunting down the Jedi. I can't wait.
All in all it was a wonderful evening. I know all this is kind of "off-topic", but I thought some of you might be interested.
- I got my copy of Inspire yesterday and I've been having a lot of fun learning how to use it. I'll definitely be upgrading to Lightwave 6 when it comes out. You'll be seeing some interesting stuff in the months to come.
- I'm going to start saving these updates so you can go back and browse through them. The link, for now, is at the bottom of the page.
- "Modern Prometheus", sort of a Halloween pic I guess, is new today in the Posers gallery and the WIP. For those of you who use Poser 4, the "Monster" is a Poser figure deformed by the Magnet tool.
Almost ashamed to tell you all this, but I bought myself a new computer yesterday. My original plan was to pick up a decent sub $1000 box to help me render the print versions of my images (these are taking a week or more on my P333). Lately, however, Windows 98 has been acting up on me (more than usual) to the point where I've been losing files and the hours of work that went into them. Win98 simply can't go where I want to go today.
So instead of buying some cheapo Celeron to act as my renderbox, I've decided to demote my current machine to that position. Taking it's place will be a Dell Precision 410 workstation with dual PIII 600 processors, 1 GB ECC SDRAM, and a 36 GB SCSI disk. The machine will be running Windows NT, which I've heard is a great deal more stable and powerful than 98. I didn't feel like messing with Athlon processors right now, even though they're supposedly much faster than the Intel chips. Xeon processors were a little pricey for my blood, and I'm not sure what benefit they provide for the extra money.
I've purchased a copy of Inspire 3D, the "Learning Edition" of Lightwave 3D. Inspire, so I've read, has about 80% of Lightwave's features for only 25% the price. I plan on using Inspire to cut my teeth on the Lightwave interface before I get the full edition.
Why'd I chose Lightwave? Probably because 3DS MAX doesn't have a $400 "Light" edition and I don't want to be overwhelmed by features when I'm trying to learn. I've seen some really cool work done with Lightwave (ever seen "Titanic" or "Babylon 5"?). It's also what my idol, the Digital Knight, uses :)
Why do I need all this horsepower? The simplistic answer is that the more CPU you have, the closer you get to that mythical "instant feedback" which all 3D designers (myself included) crave. The more memory you have, the more detailed your world can be. The two are inversely proportional, so more of one means less of the other. Somewhere in the middle is 3D nirvana, and that's where I want to go today.
Hopefully all this will mean cooler graphics for you in Y2K. After all, you paid for the machine with your membership fee. All I ask from you is a little patience while I climb the learning curve.
- I've been working on a little search engine for the member's gallery, so you can easily find the image you want without wading through all the gallery pages. It's in beta mode now (I spent yesterday afternoon working on it), which means it's ready for you to test out. It doesn't do keyword searches (yet) so you'll still have to know at least part of the image title (i.e. "Afterglow", "Overlook 1999", etc) in order to find anything. All the seasonal images are now included with the main member's gallery and you can use the search engine to list them out by holiday (type "halloween", for example, to get at all my halloween pics).
Speaking of Halloween, I have done two additional halloween renders but I'm not quite ready to post them. They'll probably be ready by tomorrow morning when I open my free halloween gallery to the public. Of course, I'll preview them here first.
- I've added a directory of PNG versions of my 1600 x 1200 renders, for those who can't stand even a little bit of JPG compression. Warning, these files are LARGE. The directory index can be found here. The files are large, but they're way smaller than BMP versions. You may, however, need special software to view the images if your browser doesn't support the PNG format. Netscape users will have to download the ZIP versions of the files.
- It's 3:00 am and I'm sitting here working on a new picture when all of a sudden everything starts moving around. My first Earthquake; pretty freaky for this son of an Illinois corn farmer.
- I sat down last night (this morning actually) to make another Halloween wallpaper, but what I came up with has nothing at all to do with Halloween. Sorry. It's still kind of scary though (to me anyway). The image is called "F=MA" (as in Newton's Law of Force) and you can check it out in the Planetscapes gallery and the WIP.
- I hope everyone is getting into the Halloween Spirit. I'm planning on posting a few Halloween pics in my free gallery probably next week. I did this last year and I'd like to continue to tradition. The gallery will stay up until Nov 1st and will contain all (or most) of the images from last year's gallery, plus a few new ones (depending on how many I decide to make).
Last week I asked if you had any suggestions for what kinds of Halloween pics you would like to see. The emails came flying in with all kinds of creepy ideas, but the one sounded particularly appealing to me. That image, my rendition of a certain decapitated equestrian, is now available in my Posers Gallery and the WIP. It's called "Midnight Trooper" (from a line in the original story). Hope you like it! More to come.
- I've added 1600 x 1200 versions of "El Dios del Fuego" (much requested), "Huntress", and "Valley of the Sun".
- Added the latest member's additions (everything from after "Catch of the Day" to "Midnight Trooper") to the DB1999 screen saver. and all the zipfiles are now up to date with the latest imagery.
- As I mentioned yesterday, you now have the option to extend your membership for one year or one month. Your expiration date will be extended from the original time you were set to expire, not from today's date, so you still get all the time you originally paid for. The maximum subscription length is capped at 2 years, so if you were extend your membership to 2 years today, you wouldn't be able to extend it further until one year had passed.
The cost to extend your membership for one year is $20, %20 off the non-member rate. If you're on a budget or you have an extremely hazardous job you can can extend your membership by just one month (31 days) for only $10 ($2, or 16%, off the non-member rate).
Click here to access the order form. It will show you how much time you have left currently and how much you would have if you applied an extension. You will need to renter your username and password to access the form.
- Now I think I'm going to work on some halloween pics. Do you guys have any requests?
- If you've visited my free site, you'll no doubt notice that I'm redirecting traffic to this server instead of the copy of the member's gallery at http://www.digitalblasphemy.com/members/. All new accounts are now created on this machine first, and the changes are instantly mirrored on the other server (which you may still browse for the time being). All credit card transactions will now be handled on my new secure server, and will no longer go through Ibill. Besides the fact that I can now make the signup process appear more seamless with the rest of my site (and hopefully more user friendly), this arrangement also means I will make an extra $3 on every new membership (from a processing fee that used to go to Ibill).
The coolness doesn't stop there. My secure server will have a password protected directory just for DB Members and there you will find a form which will allow you to add a year to your membership (but only if you already have less than a year remaining). This "extra year" will be at a discounted rate, because I want to pass on my savings to you. What kind of discount would you like to see? Drop me a line and share your thoughts.
- The comments on the new dedicated server login page have been rather positve, so I guess it stays. I've rendered a desktop sized version which you can use if you are so inclined. It's called (appropriately, I guess) "Login" and it's available in the Interiors gallery and the WIP. Is your login not working on the dedicated machine? Click here.
- If you're interested, here is the new login page I'm working on for the dedicated server. It's a lot of graphics, I know, and it'll probably choke your modem. It's also probably too big to fit on your monitor. That's ok.
Fortunately, you're already a member and you can still skip directly into the members gallery by bookmarking this page.
Your comments are definitely appreciated though.
- What am I working on this week and the next?
In addition to those, I was considering (as a more long term goal) adding a discussion board. I don't want to re-invent the wheel on this one, so I'm evaluating one or two "off-the-shelf" scripts and I'm leaning towards "The Ultimate Bulliten Board". Quite a few people have written me about this and I think it sounds interesting, though I'll admit to being a little uneasy about hosting an open discussion on the merits of my artwork. Would you invite people into your house just so they could criticize you?
- Some new halloween art for an upcoming free seasonal gallery (you'll see them first).
- Setting up my own secure server for processing memberships.
- Setting up a way for you to change your password and/or retrieve your password automatically if you lose it (many issues involved here).
- RENDERING prints. I have "Solitude" rendering in large format right now, "Sanctuary 1999" is next, then "The Turning".
On the flip-side of that coin, I wouldn't want to host a "mutual-admiration society" either. Check out my guestbook if you want to see what I'm talking about. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the guestbook and the tons of email I get everyday from people who enjoy my work. I'd just rather keep those lines of communication in their proper place.
So I'm putting the question to you: if I hosted a discussion board, would you use it? What kinds of things would you like to talk about? Should I have seperate boards for the member's gallery and the public gallery, or should everyone be able to talk (I'm leaning towards the latter, don't worry though you won't have to look at any banner ads). Please drop me a line with your thoughts!
- One last thing for now. From the feedback you've given me about the relative speeds of shared server and this one, I've decided that I will be shifting more of the content over here. Pretty soon, the whole member's gallery will be on the this machine.
- "Cradle" is new today in the "Planetscapes" gallery and the WIP. You'll have a hard time spotting the planets in this one though, because there are none. If you're creative, however, you can imagine that there are planets around each of the stars. They're just too small to see :) This image, uses the same volumetric rendering techniques I was exploring in "Cumulus". Only 3 spheres this time though. The big stars were added using a little $25 shareware program I bought just for the occasion. It's called Universe and it's free to try.
- I'll admit it. I'm a closet software geek and I get a little bit giddy every time Metacreations decides to release a "Point 1" patch for Bryce. I have no idea what bugs this one fixes (or adds) but I do know that it comes with this cool new "volumetric rendering" mode. An object, like a sphere, is "volumetric" if the texture assigned to it goes all the way through in 3D instead of just being mapped to the exterior. It's a great effect but it takes forever to render.
Luckily I have a pretty fast computer. "Cumulus" is new today in the Night Scenery Gallery and the WIP. I put this one together just to test out the Bryce patch, but I thought it looked kind of interesting in the end. I could see adding a dragon or two, maybe some lightning...
In grand Brycean tradition, the image is composed entirely of spheres (10 of them).
Quick tip if you're want to try it at home: whenever possible, try not to place any one volumetric object in front of the another. Overlapping them in front of the camera has an exponential effect on render time.