I received an offer for 30 days free for Lynda.com. If you have not heard of it this site is filled with informational videos, tutorials etc. on a very large number of topics. I elected to try it out and added training videos for Unity3D, Adobe After Effects, Blender, Visual Studio and C# programming along with others I can’t think of right now. The thirty days has come and gone and I’ll tell you, the quality of the tutorials and exercise files is quite good and I signed up for a monthly membership. I want to at least get through the play lists I have set up and then make up my mind on how much longer I will continue the monthly membership. I have quite a few to go but I have completed the following all of which were very good.
Up and Running with C#
C# Essential Training
Foundation of Programming Fundamentals
Visual Studio 2012 Essential Training
Visual Studio 2013 for Windows Store Developers
Windows 10 New Features
Rigging a Human Character in Blender
I also signed up for Udemy.com which is much the same as Lynda.com. The membership to this site is free and you pay for the content you want as you go and have unlimited access to the material. Now the content on their website is quite expensive with most of the ones I am interested in running around 99.00 USD each. I have seen them as low as 29.00USD and has high as 199.00USD but what attracted me to the site was a statement I read that said most of the courses are less expensive if you purchase them through the app rather than the website. This I found was exactly correct as the courses I wanted ran about 99.00USD and the app had them for sale for 9.99USD so I signed up.
Another site I frequent is CGCookie.com. This site has monthly, quarterly and annual membership plans for their content as well as a free membership allowing access to many free learning opportunities released throughout the year. I have been a paying member for the last few years and even though the rates go up once in a while the price is well worth the content, both video and course file downloads.
I highly recommend all of these quality learning sites.
I never regret signing up and paying for any opportunity to learn something new or expand on any knowledge I currently have.
I had very little time to play with the new tools I learned watching the new course offered at CGCookie. I had to watch closely to see how he was adjusting the strength and radius of the tool and finally figured that one out plus the other tools he was using. Inflate/Deflate rather than clay strips and smooth, Inflate and smooth does a really nice job of smoothing the mesh. Time and practice is what this is going to take as you can see in this new photo. I now have a little old man pilot 🙂 I’ll take care of the mouth when I get home.
I started watching the Character Modeling Tutorial for CGCookie.com Citizen members this morning and so far have been suitably impressed. If you are a Citizen take the time to watch this video course (to use the new term instituted by CGCookie.com 4.0) by Johnathan Williamson.
Watching this video I was paying particular attention to the work flow and saw that what I have been attempting to do was close to on target although I did forget to work on the sweater, I completely forgot about that detail. The other two were the use of the skin modifier which I have seen in action but have never put to use and as a result was not a tool I thought about and second, sculpting, this is a tool I am very uncomfortable with and that being said, I did not consider this at all. I believe I will incorporate both of these to some extent with the character I am working on. I don’t know how but I shall try.
Another thing have been doing lately is when CGCookie.com presents a new course I will download all the videos, fire up Camtasia Studio 8.0 and add all the videos to a project. I then publish this project including markers for a table of contents and presto I have a directory of files I can easily transfer to my 64gig thumb drive and take with me anywhere. Try it out, it works great.
I thought the hand presented some challenges for me and now it is on to the face. I purchased ‘Character Creation’ Volume 1 from CGMasters.net and in doing so as well as watching the first part I have decided to do the head/face using mesh modeling rather than box modeling. At this point, as I said before, this is my first try at a character an now, at the same time a first with mesh modeling. Let the fun begin! 🙂
This evening I think I will take some time and watch Part 2 of the ‘Creating an Uber Shader’ series from CGCookie by Matthew Heimlich
Started the hard surface modeling project on CGCookie. Here is a first shot, hoping to finish the model up tomorrow. After this I may give the pilot character exercise a go and see what I can come up with
It is the day after Christmas and I was not happy with the results last night. It was late and I wanted to get to bed. I did a little camera rotations and came up with a result I like and here it is.
Spent the last week trying to figure out what was wrong with my computer and there was nothing wrong now that I updated my video driver. I just had to sit back, relax and figure out what could possibly be different from one release to the next of Blender and I am talking about their daily releases not just the official releases.
Now some new pictures testing the fix. This was pretty quick and fun.
Final Render (Do not like, ghosts are not aligned correctly)
Final Render with node tree.
As you can see I used node groups to define certain sections of the render. Makes it easy to tweak only the areas you are testing knowing you will not affect any other area. I am going to re-watch a CGcookie tutorial using the compositor which I think will allow streamlining of the inputs of the different node groupd.
I did not do much last night except for creating the blocks for the next control panels (top and bottom) and tried a little with the knife cut (bmesh) this morning. It did not work like I was hoping because I was using it wrong and not looking at the status line which would have helped a lot. When I arrived at work this morning I watched a brief tutorial by Johnathan Williamson on the knife tool and found my mistakes. I will be back at it when I get home with my new found information.
I started and completed a tutorial for some Presents on Saturday. The completed project render is below
Here is my final render along with the node setup. As I stated earlier I will try some of Andrew’s techniques as well.
Final Node Setup