Thursday, December 18, 2008

One place where brand identity could be better

On most things, I think being a little too tight about brand identity is silly. But I have found one place where it's lax to the point of annoyance. That is, it's too easy for the consumer to be mislead about what they're getting. And what product is that? Pencils, of all things. Yeah, you'd think that there wouldn't be that big a deal with some of the cheapest writing instruments around, but if you're a person who draws a lot (like myself) it's noticable. The thing I notice is that an Eberhard Faber Ebony pencil is a lot better than a Sanford Ebony pencil. But Sanford does make a nice Mirado pencil, however when going back for more Mirados, there's yet another company making pencils by that name. So as a consumer I'm being left uncertain or even mislead about what quality I'm getting. So yeah, it's really annoying.

Also on another tangent, what happened to Bic pens. I can't find 'em at the store. I thought they were a pretty established brand and a staple item in the writing instrument aisle. Sure, sometimes their quality varied, but they were consistent more than not for the cheap price. Now they're not there... I guess if I miss a cheap pen, what would it be like if certain auto companies would disappear if I wanted to see what product they had. (But I wouldn't be in the market for a car, until the stupid economy straightens out so I could get paid "real" money to work instead of the namby-pamby stingy bullshit paying jobs out there right now.)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Line-up of the interactive drawing programs.

Ok. I ended up finding yet another interactive drawing program. So now I'll write about it but all while doing a comparison to the other ones I know.

The "new" contender I found is, which is a flash based web app. It's neat because not only does it allow you to share the drawing space at the same time, but it puts a username by each cursor so you can see who is drawing what. And it also features a chat window, so you can communicate quickly and without using up the drawing space. The downside is that it's a little restrictive. Even though they request that users are over 16, you're still not allowed to do much of anything considered risque under their site rules. Also new users have to go through a probation type period where the toolset and site features are reduced. So if you're fresh, you more or less have to wait for somebody who has been around longer to save your work or submit it to the gallery.

The next one I'll go over is Flashitool. It's a neat web-based Joomla extension type app. And it allows drawing in a manner similar to, but without some of the additional features. In some ways it's pluses can be seen as iscribbles minuses, or perhaps the other way around. But one thing that I do like is that what tools it does have aren't restricted to a subset of users. And it's probably the most open and anonymous of all the interactive drawing apps.

After that, there's Drawball. It has a really limited toolset, and it's big attraction was anonymous access to one large common drawing space. It's a big grafitti space and used to have some pretty wild and crazy stuff. And it attracted a lot of 4chan people, so it had some freaky rule 34 wtf? kind of stuff amongst the art and grafitti. But now in the process of cleaning it up, a lot of the insanity has been erased and it's more restrictive. So although it may be safer, it's also not quite as fun as it once was.

Then last but not least is probably THE classic interactive collaborative drawing program. Unlike the others, openCanvas 1.1 is a standalone drawing application that runs under Windows OS. Since it's a dedicated art program rather than a script under a web interface, it has the best toolset and responsiveness. And it's a great app for drawing even outside of the network interface. However, it requires some techical aspects to networking if you have to get past a router. (Ports and such must be unblocked.) Also, by being a standalone app, it's restriction to Windows might put off frieds who use Mac OS or Linux.

So here's the quick overview:

  • web based
  • nice interface
  • good toolset
  • big audience
  • reduced anonymity
  • gallery feature
  • interactive portion of design is best so far
  • web based (sometimes it hiccups, or server goes down)
  • toolset is limited for new users
  • gallery feature is limited for new users
  • drawing subjects are limited to PG-13
  • anonymous (draw whatever the hell you want)
  • everything goes into the gallery (if you remember the link, you can share it)
  • no restrictions on newbs
  • web based
  • unrestricted
  • Part of FOSS web content system
  • Available at more than one website (in fact you can have it on YOUR website - for FREE!)
  • anonymous (no official way to claim participation in a drawing)
  • can be slow or buggy sometimes, not every feature works properly
  • everything goes into the gallery (think backlog w/ poor search features)
  • no rules or restrictions (people can mess up your art)
  • One big drawing space for everything (it's like a gallery in a big map or something)
  • anonymity
  • cool art
  • interesting interface design
  • very limited toolset
  • some stuff was too wierd (but it's mostly gone now)
  • forced restriction of "ink" resource
  • One bid drawing space for everything (to do new stuff, old stuff has to be drawn over)
openCanvas (specifically openCanvas version 1.1 b 72)
  • Standalone application (more responsive than anything on web-based Flash or Java apps)
  • Best toolset (Does really neat things with color blending and is pressure sensitive)
  • Good program for drawing even when not using network feature
  • Records the drawing process, and saved files can be replayed
  • Windows OS only
  • Networking program may require some knowledge of computer networking
  • Networked mode only allows four users maximum
  • Program was early "beta" poorly translated from Japanese (Some dialogs produce gibberish)
  • Cache in networked mode prone to glitching on sessions over an hour (remote user input fails to render correctly after that time)
  • Audience for networked drawing is limited (finding other people willing to draw with you isn't as easy as it should be)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fun with lightbox

Basically I made a kludge of a device for diffuse lighting on close-up shots of small items. Nothing too fancy. But I know there's junk that can be sold on eBay or whatever. But it's artistic in the sense that I can use it for photos of things I'm making too. Or random stuff. It'll be handy.

Addenum: Looking how others implemented this with studio flashes, I just came up with a great idea for "ghetto" strobes for additional lighting on the cheap. Basically it involves the the blinker type bulb for the small holiday "twinkle" lights, a 9v battery (or two), and some aluminum foil for a reflector. Being that it's the season, the blinker bulbs should be available in stores now. Just gotta go hunting. And yes, the strobe can get very hot and is bright enough to burn your retina if you look at it. (I made one before as a kid so I learned some things, but had no real good use for it. Now I know of a reasonable implementation and the memory came back to me. *grin*) But it'll be handy if you set it up properly for taking photos. Just don't stare at the thing and handle it properly.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Job Hunting Sucks

Job Hunting Sucks... so I made a short funny animation about it. But what the hey. I guess I consider the worst offenders those who post as "entry level position" but require 5 years experience. Guess what? If the job actually requires 5 years experience, you're lying about it being "entry level"! And what I find amusing is that the HR ass-clowns (pardon my terminology, but their behavior obviously put them in the category) don't understand why they're not getting qualified people. Do they understand what entry level means? Entry level means: amateur, beginner, and absolute noob. Now I doubt you'll find people smurfing (as in gaming) in the creative industry just to get their jollies at lower pay. If you want the experience, say so up front and expect to pay for it! Otherwise, give people who need to get into an industry an honest shot at trying. And if newbies on the job aren't up to snuff, fine, get someone else three months later. But don't post nonsense on job listings and not expect to get nonsense applications in return. It doesn't work that way.

Oh yeah, my rant video... (Or at least what I made in under a day, or five hours even.)

Actually I could do better quality, but there are still other things I'd do with my time besides perfecting a rant video. (I just needed to get some stuff out of my head.) Now if someone wanted to spend money so I'd take a week or so making and polishing an animation for them, I'm all for it. Would around $20/hr be out of line?

I hate to rant on my art blog, but sometimes I have to share such things with a bigger audience than my normal "rant" blog gets. But next post will definitely be art related randomness again.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Square Smoothed Holes in Wings 3D

Two demos I made showing how to make square holes stay square when smoothing them in Wings 3D. Enjoy.

And method number 2.

Oh, and not to forget an equally good third method. (Thanks to Fonte Boa!)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another Shuttle Vid

This one is less advert and just a plain ol' flyby. Perhaps someone out there will appreciate my 3D modeling. Sometimes I wish I could do something more showy in the vid, but when it takes about 2 hours of computer time to render... I just don't quite feel all that productive doing that. If only I knew someone with a Carrara based render farm that didn't mind being generous about giving away some machine time.

Friday, October 03, 2008


Spotted this hilarious vid posted in the IRC group #rendergods. I'm not sure what the hell the dude is saying, but the animation is nicely done and funny and the music is pretty cool. If anyone cares to translate what little dialog there is, feel free to post in the comments or on the video itself.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Quick Shuttle Preview

Just watch the vid, it's pretty short and still gives a nice look.

Oh yeah, you might want to download it...
Here's the link:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yes, this place is random.

I know, some of you see my link associated with 3D stuff (which I do enjoy making) and expect to find more info on it here. But then you see my other random artwork. Yes, I am an artist in general. So that means not everything will consist of 3D polygonal meshes. Sometimes I do get bored of 3D, so I do other things to stretch my legs in regards to other artistic aspects so I don't get too rusty. But in the end, I do come back to doing 3D. Perhaps it's more tame than other things I enjoy making, so it probably is a suprise when you come here and see ridiculous cartoons and drawings. Hopefully it entertains more than offends, even if it seems less sensible sometimes. :)

But for the update in this post, I've uploaded a pretty neat model of the NASA Space Shuttle orbiter with UV maps, and plan on making a bare-bones version of my OH-6A model available soon. Thanks for dropping by, and if you do - comment. I've yet to see any on this blog. It would be nice to know if there are actual visitors, because then I just might be inspired to make more interesting content.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Photoshop Poop Pt. 2.

Just having some fun with the ol' hamster pic and some other funny pic I snagged off the net. Nothing too major, but maybe lol-worthy.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Moar PhotoShop Poo

More PhotoShop poo, because who ever bothers to look at this blog anyways?
This time its some cutie pootie random anime inspired thing. Why? I don't know.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

PhotoShop Experiment gone wrong

Just playing around with some different stuff because I got bored a bit. Trying out various brushes and things to see if there's any interesting results. Didn't find too much of importance, but the practice couldn't hurt anything.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Faster faster faster!

Too bad cheering on a render can't make it go any faster. But that's the way it goes sometimes. Almost makes me wish I had at least two decent computers instead of one. So that way one could render and the other could be used for other productive stuff. (Not sure if web browsing or chat could be considered that productive, but at least I can do those two and leave 99% of the other cycles free for Carrara to render on.)

I think I'll have a really spiffy airplane pic once it's all done though. Hopefully the volumetric clouds assigned to a particle emitter in order to produce a believable smoke trail are worth the wait.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The better "Ebony" pencil is...

If you like to draw the ol' fashioned way on occasion, sometimes you go to the art store and buy pencils and such...

Anyhow I went and got some extra "Ebony" pencils, because they draw nice and dark and fairly smoothly without a lot of pressure. So when doing quick random sketches, they're hard to beat.

You would think they're all the same, but there happens to be more than one brand with that label or designation. I found in my own testing that the Eberhard Faber ones draw just a bit darker and smoother than the Sanford ones.

So take note if you see both brands available at an art store, the Eberhard Faber ones are better. (At least for the "Ebony" type pencils. Your results and consistency may vary for other types.)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thinking of some page design stuff...

I'm wondering about something now in regards to web page design. It seems like the trend is that monitors will be getting higher and higher resolution in the future. It is such now that XGA size is the most common (which is good, since I like it. It's sharp enough, yet refreshes plenty fast). But in the future even that will be towards the SVGA and VGA side of display resolutions. Also the market for widescreen aspect monitors is going up, so even that has to be thrown in the mix in addition to the 4:3 ratio screens.

Why is this a problem? It will make things more difficult to design properly by the pixel. What looks good on one screen will look itty-bitty on a high-res display, and will bleed off the viewed page in a horrible manner on a lower-res display. What can be done about this?

But I've noticed one thing that's really cool in the latest and greatest (as of this blog post) Firefox 3. When you use the page zoom feature, it properly scales the images in addition to the text. And the browser rendering seems to be able to do so in a smoother manner than forced sizing of the past. (Doesn't tend to get too blocky scaling up, nor aliased/oversharp looking scaling down.) What does this mean? Well, I'm thinking that HTML/CSS should (if not already does) support declaring image sizes by pts, inches, mm, or other sizes independent of actual pixel resolution. So you can have a 1"x1.5" pic on a page regardless of screen resolution. Throw in font size set by pts instead of px, and the layout stuff becomes a lot more consistent. Almost like print.

Now there is one downside I could think of too this, but it falls upon either the stupidity/ignorance of the OS or even the computer user. And that is an improperly set display dot pitch ratio. If it's wrong, the images on their screen will not scale properly to the physical space on the screen. Currently a lot systems assume 72dpi for screen display, but this is obviously wrong. A lot of newer stuff is more like 96 or 120dpi, and can even go higher for those occasional crazy-big monitors. But then again, I think some newer setups have more plug n' play built to correct this... So designing a page to dimensions rather than pixels may be the sensible way to go.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Flashitool raid! (Part II or whatever)

Some more fun with Flashitool. Maybe they won't find out it was meeeee. *Grin* Oh wait, this gets indexed on google pretty quickly, doesn't it? Oh well. Anyhow, if it was your site I raided - I hope you don't mind too much.

Here's the latest works that I did which I thought were halfway decent.

Some chicky with who know's what lurking behind...
At a site about random stuff.

Then an ol' fart with a machine that's too complicated for him.
I believe this is on a Tasmanian site about horses. (Of all things.)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Randomness video

I'm having fun trying to make some Flash video to some random thing I found on It's going to be pretty funny when it's finished. Here's a little exerpt of it showing the current progress.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sphereical UV mapping in Wings3D

UV mapping is quite a powerful, if not well understood aspect of Wings3D. Someone asks, "How is spherical mapping done?" So here's a quick overview of the process.

First start with an object that terminates with a pole on each end. Yeah, it's called "spherical" mapping, but it should work with anything that has poles on the ends. (But a sphere is typically the most obvious thing that terminates in poles on both ends when it comes to polygonal 3D modeling.)

Select the sphere in object mode, then click UV Mapping. You should get a segmenting mode window. For spherical mapping to work, just select a single line of edges that terminates at both poles. Mark these edges for cut in the segmenting window.

Right click, and pick continue. For mapping, pick spherical. You should get something like this. If you don't mind extreme pinching at the poles in the your map, you could finish it like this. I'll show you how to relax the pinching by a bit. (Although not perfect, it's better than none.)

Select the pole vertices in the chart like so.

Then switch to edge mode. It will automatically select the edges that are connected to the vertices you had selected in the previous step. Hit alt-L to extend the edge selection by one segment for all selected edges.

Then right click and pick cut. You should notice some slight spacing between the edges you had selected.
Select the whole chart in object mode, move to center, and scale to 90%. This will give a little room to work with around the map.

Select all the vertices as seen in the pic. Notice how the verices that are along the edges that were cut apart earlier are not selected.

Now without deselecting those vertices, chose unfold from the right-click menu. If you did it right, you should have something like the above pic. It's actually not too different from Mercator (I believe that's the method) mapping of a globe. By no means perfect, but it relaxes some of the distortion going to the poles.

When done creating the texture, you should have something like the above pic. Now that wasn't too hard, was it? Easy peasy really.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I wonder if I'll get through...

Yet again I'm trying to break through that experience wall and get a job doing this stuff. No go yet (I followed up on a job lead, but still didn't meet that one arbitrary requirement), but that doesn't stop me from trying. Maybe no "entry" jobs (the existance of which seems to be the cruel joke of the industry), but perhaps plying for a paid internship or settling for freelance scraps that I just might be able to grab.

Also I've got a great little biplane model up on ShareCG. Developing it into a complete (as with UV's and being preconfigured for at least one program) been an ongoing recent project of mine. Only thing slowing stuff down with its development is that the "select similar" command in Wings3D has gotten very balky in one of the more recent releases. After hitting select similar, you can go for a hike, read a book, take a bath, eat dinner, go to bed, wake up the next day, eat breakfast, and it's still not done. It's slower than some renders I've done. Dunno what got broken there, but that command used to work pretty quick in older versions. (Like in under 2 minutes quick on stuff with high polys.) It's really stumping my workflow on my project, otherwise I might be onto making some different texture sets instead of just waiting to get the UV mapping done.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I think I saw one of my models in a TV ad

There's no definitive way to prove it, but I suspect my $6.25 shopping cart ("PJS Shopping Cart" in the Renderosity Marketplace) is in a TV spot for Kia. That'd be funny. At least somebody got a good deal out of using it for a job ($6.25 for an item in a production spot that probably went for $1000s... If only I could pull that off... *shrug* It's cool even if they did use it though, as commercial use is allowed under the sale licence.) Now I'm tempted to do a parody render of that particular spot, dunno if they'd ever notice since I typically fly under the radar. (Unfortunately I'm under the radar on work prospects too, but that doesn't stop me completely. At least until the savings runs out.)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Googling "Flashitool" is fun.

I'm sure you've heard me mention Flashitool at least one time before. (People do read this blog, right?) But googling it is pretty fun, since you can find all sorts of places for anonymous public exhibition left wide open. Sure you've got your typical 12 year old who thinks pee-pee and poo-poo and various scat and pron is funny when hitting those sites. Bah! That takes no effort nor skill. (At least in all the crude examples I've ever seen.) As for myself, I just like leaving art droppings at various sites. This is where you push flashitool to the limit and bother to do shading and color transitions and maybe even work in fine detail. Such "works" are fun, because it's a marked contrast to the typical vandalism that hits bulletin boards with the flashitool feature. I find more hilarity in making an old smiley crudely drawn with a mouse transition into a Mona Lisa portrait than phallic doodles. But that's just me.

Only catch is to do art droppings you've got to be pretty good with the Wacom. Sure you could mouse it, but then you have to be crazy-like. I'm suprised the Chinese haven't hit those things, because some of them are pretty impressive at what they've done on Drawball. And that has more limitations than Flashitool. It really isn't about the tools when it comes to drawing programs, but rather in how they're used.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My useless degree. Or is it?

I found I actually had my transcript stashed away afterall. And I had a GPA that was slightly higher than I thought it was. Still there are some extra (but required) courses on the thing that I sucked at anyways. But for the most part, not too bad. I did a lot better in the first two years though. (Had honors for my Associates.) I guess I started to wear down later on. Might be interesting to share...

Now if only I can get a job related to it. Been practically two years since graduating now. Still no bites, I suppose I'll update the resume and use my transcript as part of it. 'Tis a lot better than what I could remember and had written. (Yeah, my memory isn't so great at some things. It's crazy, I know.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Going to try selling some stuff soon...

Got the DAZ3D thing signed up for, going to try my hand at selling a few models. As much as I like making freebie stuff, I'd also like to recoup a bit by having pay-for models. So look for my shopping cart model to show up soon, since that one's going to be my first try at this. Don't worry about the price, it shouldn't be much more expensive than a fast-food meal provided I have any say.

Friday, February 08, 2008

New vid up...

A spoof on the ol' game known as Gyruss, but also a bit self-promotional of Barbequed Pixels. There might be the odd chance that it could get somebody to look at this crazy blog. Dunno what that's worth though, but hey - why not?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Flashitool vs Flash-gear...

Was going to kill some time goofing off at drawball, but had this weird trippy video instead of the typical ball insanity. But then noticed a tiny little message in the status bar. Something about Has a neat drawing thingy, but I'm not sure how it compares to Flashitool. Flashitool has more features, but this flash-gear site has linking and appears that you don't have to run your own website or server to manage the thing... Hmmm...

Here's my flash-gear thing as it is now...

provided by

Friday, January 11, 2008

Drawball fun - Be careful what you ask for!

As usual on drawball, be careful what you ask for. You might actually get it. Whoever did the my little pony asked to rebuild, but they never said *how* to rebuild it. Damn skippy I'm going to get my LOLz in there while I can! So there you go!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Cthulu Trys out for Talent Show.

Seems I managed to acquire this rare footage where Cthulu makes an entry for a vocal talent contest. It's so bad that it's funny!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Warpaint Comic

A little something involving the Warpaint Project...

Anyone interested?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New model recently...

Not sure how many people would be interested, but at the end of last month I released a 3D freebie based on what few drawings and pics of the Bede BD-5J that I could find with some degree of detail. You might remember the plane from James Bond Octopussy or even something more obscure such as Microprose's AcroJet game/sim for the C-64 or Atari computers. Not sure which memory was more inspiring, but that's besides the point. The point is that I made a fairly decent (if not entirely accurate - too much variation or low res between pics) model that you can download for free. Not only that, but it can be used for pretty much anything because it's released under GPL v2. So feel free to throw it in your sim, game, image or whatever. Just don't forget the rules/terms of the GPL release concerning files & documentation.Feel free to download this neat freebie from it's page at ShareCG.

And on another note, I'm trying to figure out how to revive Project Warpaint. I've been having the lousiest luck at doing so in my last couple of attempts, so I need someone with some better online charisma to get the ball rolling. It's a great little project too, I always thought being able to draw with a few other people in real time through the internet was a cool idea. Unfortunately the few fans it did have have jumped ship or completely lost interest in it. Also finding newbs to pick up the slack has not happened just yet.