Watercolor Spidey
September 18, 2014

I find that whenever I try something new, I use the iconic Wave 2 Spider-Man as a basis. First 3D model, 3D animation, t-shirts. I had actually planned the stained glass to feature Spider-Man as well but I didn't know if it would look good enough to win that contest.
Here's his venture into watercolor. I considered adding webbing, but I was afraid of over-detailing. I feel the limited black works just right. I really love how this came out. I'm looking for a local shop to get some prints made, but I have no idea what I'm doing in that arena. Click the image for a larger version or here for the 1920x1080 version.
 LabTable: Hall of Armor
December 26, 2013

I'm really impressed with the Sideshow Hall of Armor modules for their sixth-scale Iron Man figures. The big stuff really isn't my thing (apart from big Minimates I guess), but I would like to have a Minimate scale versions for the recently released Hall of Armor 10-pack. Time to break out Blender.

Here are the first renders. I still need to work on making it modular and how to best light it. Oh yes, there will be LEDs.

Updates to come.
 Stained Glass Phoenix
December 24, 2013

I've wanted to try my hand at creating stained glass pieces for years. The color, the light refraction, everything about it just seems to hit all the right buttons. When the Minimate Multiverse put together the Marvel Minimates 10th Anniversary Masterpiece Contest (with prizes from DST), it seemed the perfect opportunity to jump in.

When starting something new, my first reaction is to go slow, experiment and learn how to do it right. I quickly realized that wouldn't win me any contests, so I went full bore with a roughly 14" by 14" Phoenix image with over 100 pieces of glass. Here's the result.
This is actually a scaled-back version. My original template had a much larger fiery Phoenix Force in the background. I do plan on finishing the full version in the upcoming months. Keep checking back.

Back lit on a bright, sunny day. Here you can really see the texture of the glass. I wish I hadn't used such small pieces for the sash. They really caused a lot of difficulties and detract from the overall look. Oh well, lesson learned.

Against the work room window. In these photos you can't really see the solder lines. That's the part that I'm least satisfied with. They are uneven and a bit lumpy.

Here's a big reason why I love stained glass. Refraction. It's so cool way the light bounces and flows as you move the piece. The way the different types of glass bend the light.

You can see all the anniversary contest entries here.
 10th Anniversary Contest
November 28, 2013

Here's a contest entry that wasn't a contest entry. With the 10th Anniversary of Minimates, the Minimate Multiverse ran a contest that featured a lot of San Diego Comic Con promo material. I had a great idea for an entry but I didn't need any of the prizes for my collection. So I made the entry anyway and just excluded myself from the voting.
Everything apart from the cake and the candles were in my model library. So other than the difficult frosting this was really quick to put together.
 Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Contest
November 19, 2013

I know I've commented here about how contests are a good way to motivate me to create something. Here's another example. Diamond Select created a photo contest to promote the new line of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Minimates. They allowed software manipulation to create energy effects, so it was a nice opportunity to learn how to use my new Cintiq tablet.
I've been out of the video game world since the Game Cube replaced the SuperNES. So it was nice that this game features features a lot of the old Capcom characters I knew. Based on screenshots, I tried to replicate the Phoenix and Iron Man effects. The background was some Mega Bloks sets that were handy.

I was never really satisfied with the output, but there was less than two weeks to the deadline. More time probably wouldn't have helped, but I might have tried something more ambitious. Unfortunately the post with all the entries on the Art Asylum web site has been lost to the aether.
 Dr. Strange Turnaround
March 13, 2012

Here's a quick turnaround of the Dr. Strange Minimate I created for the World War Hulk cover recreation contest.

The cape had to be remodeled because the flowing cape from the cover didn't match the official Minimate. I think that's actually version four of that cape. It took a couple attempts to get the folds to look right.
 Minimates After Dark
January 11, 2012

Time for another Minimate video. Like all the others, when the idea for this popped into my head I figured it wouldn't take too long. And like all the others, I was wrong.

When I started it was an excerise in deforming a model with shape keys. I just wanted to see what it could do. How it got from "Can I hinge the torso?" to the final video, I'll never know.

I had to recreate all the Spider-Man image maps because they didn't have a high enough resolution for the closeups. Now they're all up to 4096x4096. The table texture took some work as well. It's the most realistic wood texture I've made.

I love that keyboard and surprisingly it wasn't difficult to model. Once you create one key the rest are either simple duplicates or duplicates with a bit of stretching. The front row did need some rework, but it was quick. Look for this model to reappear in later projects.

The pen is what ate up most of the time. The modeling was simple, but the rendering and material tweaking just about broke me. I had a problem where I couldn't get the transparency clear enough, yet still visible. After a long back-and-forth series of tweaking and test rendering I discovered the problem wasn't the transparency but the reflections. I gave it a slight mirror finish to catch reflections of the desk and Minimate. Foolishly, I also applied it to the interior surface of the tube. All of the inner-reflections clouded the tube and caused much frustration. It also added to large render times.

Please don't go cutting open your Minimates looking for the eyeballs. I still hear the screams.

 Arcade Gamer Doom
January 7, 2012

Posted this on Twitter a while ago and recently realized it never made it here.
Doom seems to be a Donkey Kong kind of guy. Although I'd imagine his personal arcade would have a few more machines.