Wednesday, December 15, 2010

End of my 12th term

Well, my 12th of 15 terms has ended. I will be graduating at the end of July of 2011 as long as nothing unforseen happens. This term I had classes in Earth Science, Creative Writing, and Level/Environment Design. I got B's in the first two classes, and I am still waiting for my grade back on my core class. The professor was absent most of the class. I am still missing grades from a few weeks ago.

This term was interesting for a few different reasons. First off, I think I enjoyed my Creative Writing class more than my core class. I came up with some pretty good stories and poems that I surprised myself. I have a few more ideas that I might jot down, so who knows what I might do with that. My core class was ... different. The professor, as I said, was absent most of the term. We went weeks without seeing him at the beginning of class, and he wrote us all an email apologizing saying that his personal life was having issues. He was back in class up until Thanksgiving, and then we've seen to have lost him again. Then, there was one week where I had issues exporting/importing my work from 3dsMax into the Unreal Development Kit. I followed the instructions given to me to the letter, and it just was not working. Even Meredith (who had never used either program before) sat down and tried the step-by-step instructions had the same issue. I wrote my professor as this was the first time in 2 1/2 years that I was actually going to be late turing in my homework, and I kept working on it. It was Wednesday, 3 days later, that I tried the exact same thing that I had been trying, and it decided to work. I HATE THAT! I have no clue what was wrong and how to fix it should it ever happen again! ARRRGGGHHH!!!! You can see screenshots of what I did at in the new Unreal Development Kit section I put up. The interior scene with the crane was all done by me, the modeling and textures and everything. The exterior, the models were provided to me by the tool itself, and I just laid everything out.

So, anyway ...

My next term I have Political Science (more like World Government), Career Management, and Special Effects for Games (WOOHOO!!!!!!!). I have already completed the first exercise in my core class book: creating a flaming ball o' fire. It is the first time that I have ever created a partical system, which is a major part of 3dsMax. Think of trying to animate a snow storm. The hard way would be to model and animate each snow flake. 3dsMax has tools inside of it that take care of it for you. I used a partical system to be the flames of the fire and the wind blowing the particals around.

Anyhoo ...

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year ... and a special shout out to my niece who will be having her birthday tomorrow!

Happy Birthday Sarah! Uncle David loves you!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

11th Hour Changes

I got some critiques before I submitted my homework, so I made some subtle changes. I added some blinks to General Lee's character when he mentions that he doesn't have his glasses, adding more character to him, as well as making him tap the map as to where he thinks a good place for the forces to be. I made General Longstreet flex his hand behind his back just to animate him more. And when Longstreet says the name of the town, "Gettysburg", I tried to make him look non-challant about it as at this point in history it is just another town.

Anyway, I got a 94.6 on the project which gave me an 89.5 for the class, so I am very happy. Here is what the professor ahd to say about it:

Great job David! A very entertaining scene, and your final pass gets two thumbs up from me :-) The incremental changes you made to the overall scene add to the quality of the movie (it's usually the subtle details which will really make a difference in the end). The lip-synching has improved, and even though it could still be more accurate (with the phonemes) it does a good job of conveying what the characters are saying. Expressions are quite solid as well. Adding eyebrows and eyelids to General Longstreet definitely solidified his contribution to the conversation. Before he was more of a distraction due to his expression. The characters do seem a tad stiff with their body motions, but that can probably be attributed to the current scene. I think the scene is quite strong!


You can see the FINAL final here:

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Final Project: Term 11

So here it is. I am turning this in for my final project this term. I do not have to turn it in for a few more days (Sunday), so give me your thoughts and opinions on it, things like lip synching and facial expressions and such. Be HONEST! (I am having problems uploading video, so I am trying to use YOUTUBE)

Monday, September 20, 2010


It has been two and a half months since I last posted! Yikes! Well, a ot has been going on since then, so let me clue you in.

So, term 10 ended with me getting 2 As and 1 B (the B being in my core class, Texture Mapping for Games). I have learned quite a bit about game engines, and they are really REALLY cool. The first thing I learned is how the engine can be used for things other than games, such as a virtual walk-through for a house. It made me think of an idea of modeling a house before and after a fire as a training tool for insurance agents. Well, guess what? They are currently working on that at State Farm. I spent an afternoon with the project leader of this program. She is anot a modeller, but everything passes through her. The modelling itself is done through an external company in Dublin called CANDO. Well, there are still other jobs in the Creative Services Department that look interesting, so I will wait and see what pops up. I could be a shoo-in for one particular job if I could teach myself a programing language called ActionScript2, which is an older version of the software that is currently available. The problem is that this doesn't hold my interest like modeling books do. I tend to be able to read only 2-3 pages on the ActionScript book and fall asleep ... LITERALLY! Modeling books I can read until I am ready to fall asleep and have to make myself stay awake.

So anyway ...

It is a new term that is almost over, and I currently have 2 As and a B again. And once again I have a B in my core class, Animation for Games. I had a massive meltdown in week 5, when my first project was due. It was 5 animations that I had to do over the course of 5 weeks, then export them from one program and then import them into another. With the project due on Sunday at Midnight, I got up early Saturday morning to do the final steps, exporting and importing. Well, my animations would not export. All 5 of them had the same model, and it was the model itself that was giving me issues, so it wasn't that the files were corrupt or anything so I could go back to previous saves. I was in panic mode when I went to work at 1:30. Fortunately it was the holiday weekend, and we were dead at work, and I got to leave 5 hours early. I spent most of the night trying to save what I could, and came up with nothing. I got up early the next day and cranked out 5 animations using a different model that I had tested and knew would export properly. By 6:00 in the evening, I had them all done, exported and imported, and I had verified that I had all of the correct files and file types all associated with animations all nicely compressed and uploaded to my professor. I even had a note explaining to him what had happened. I had checked at least 4 times for what I needed, so imagine my surprise when I saw my grade listed for the first project was an "F". It turns out that I had totally missed that there was a written portion to go along the animations, and I hadn't done it. With this "F" the best that I could get in the class would be a "C" and that was harsh for me to take. Meredith suggested that I go ahead and do the written portion anyway and submit it just so that I didn't leave anything incomplete and to show the professor that at least I could do it ... so I did. Well, the professor appreciated the effort and said that he wasn't here to fail me and understood the pressure of what happened, so he gave me full credit for it, and I ended up with a "B" for the project. YAY!!!

The current project that I am working on is animating a clip from the movie "Gettysburg", which happens to be one of my all time favorites. I am currently at what is called the "First Pass" stage where I have the basic movents and camera shots all set up, and then I will get to the lip synching this week. Hope you all like it!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Well this is cool ...

I just discovered a link on one of my pages for school that shows my past grades. I know that I have listed them all as I got them, but there is just something that feels good about seeing them all in one place. So far I have 21 As and 4 Bs. How cool is that?

Anyway, that class I am taking this term are going well. Meredith is helping me through my Humanities class as I think I would have had a hard time reading Persuasion by myself. It seems way too much like my Art History class (with maybe a twist of lemon), though, which really bums me out. My Intro to Psych is going really well also and got to interview my sister-in-law who is also an INtro to Psych professor, and ended up getting a 100% on that paper, which happens to be one of the two biggest point scoring pieces in the class! Thank you Suzanne! My Texture Mapping for Games is still at an A right now, but I have don't my character yet. Just like in modeling, I am very comfortable with objects, be it modeling or texturing. Now I hit a character, I feel nervous. So ... I will keep you all informed on that.

Well ... Meredith and I did something huge theother day and we went out and bought our first car together. Her 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer was getting on her nerves, and she was tired of driving a stick, so ... we headed out at noon and got home at 8:30 with a 2010 Hyundai Tuscon. The color is called Iris, and it changes colors in the light. Really wierd. It does not have cruise control, which is ok, or a sun roof, which is something Mere really wanted, but is ok with, but it does come with satelite radio which is something she really really loves. She keeps telling me that it will be OUR car, and I roll my eyes at her and say "Ok, Babe ... you get up and go to work before me. Which car are you gonan take? The new one our my Taurus?" She responds with an "Ok, but you will drive it sometimes right?" Yeah, sure thing, Babe. I wonder if I even get to select one of the presets on the XM Radio? :-P

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mind Boggling

So, I am finishing up week 2 of classes this term, and once again I am really enjoying my core class, but the other two are just mind boggling for me. My into to Psych feels like it is over my head (no pun intended), and for humanities, I am being forced to read "Persuasion" by Jane Austin. I cannot believe that people used to talk the way they did in this book. And the way that people behaved back then! ARRRGGGHHHHHH! I will also ahve to watcha movie called "Much Ado About Nothing," but thankfully Meredith loves this movie and said she will watch it with me. She is also reading "Persuasion" with me so that she can help me out. Aint she awesome?

For my core class, 3D Textures for games, I am being really challanged, and this is AWESOME! For my first week I had to take 2 pictures and recreate them using layers. The first layer would be the basic shape of the item, then shadows and highlighted areas, then color, then texture. I did ok on the firest picture, which was to be something weathered and beaten up, but did really well on something with a reflective surface. I feel that I did a really good job on that, and the professor even complimented me on taking on a tougher subject then most people chose. This week we had to take the picture supplied and replicate it to the best of our ability, mimicing the texture and the lighting/shadows. This was really tough. As I didn't have any Styrofoam to take a picture of and found nothing good on the web to use as a picture, I had to mimic it in Photoshop. I am anxious to see what kind of grade I get on that.

Anyway ...

Hope to see my brother and his family here in the next few weeks. Take care everyone!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I know, I know , I know ...

It's been a while. My last post was ... well ...a long time ago. Right before this last term started, I believe. Truth to tell, it was a really boring term. Although I had a core class called Game Design Process, I really wanted something with modeling. Hence I started teh gothic cathedral project, but that fell through. The project had been translated, and some of the instructions were unclear. It as a cut and dry process of "Do A, then B, then C" with no explainations of why to do it, and when the translations came through, certain things were lsot, and I had to figure out what exactly they meant. Sometimes that meant giong a day or two and getting to a point that something I had done day back was wrong and starting over at certain points (thankfully I had multiple backups). I finally just gave up because of frustration when I found out that I am getting a new modeling class this term. But more on that later.

This last term I had three classes, and these were my final grades:

Ethical and Critical Thinking: 930/930 (100%)
Game Design Process: 1994/2300 (86.7%)
Communication Skills: 1256/1360 (92.35%)

Not too shabby, I think. That B in Game Deisgn bothers me a little, but I can get over it, I think. My next term has classes in Humanities, Intro to Psych, and Texture Mapping for Games. I am very excited about that last one as I will be using the Unreal Engine, which is the first game engine I will get to use. Very excited indeed.

Anyway .... will post more later.

Love you all!