Skeleton X-Ray
January 16, 2014

After creating a skeleton model the next natural step has to be X-Ray-like renders. Right? For me that's how I visualize bones.. a glowy form on a black background. Kind of like this:

You can click the images to get larger versions. I found a way to render these in Blender that gives a nice edge glow but is more transparent in smooth areas. It uses material nodes and the Cycles render engine which is a lot different from how I've used Blender in the past. I'd like to do more with nodes but I'm not sure that you can use both methods in the same render. We probably won't see Dr. Strange examining X-Rays anytime soon.

That makes me want to get a couple of these printed as transparencies. They would look great backlit by a light box or something. If I do it, I'll post images here.

I've generated even larger versions, 1080x1620. Here are those links.
Blue: Anterior, Lateral
Red: Anterior, Lateral
Green: Anterior, Lateral
 Rendered Torso
January 2, 2014

After getting a bunch of real-life stuff done, I rewarded myself with some Blender time.

 Translucent Tuesday Punch
December 31, 2013

I've mentioned the Translucent Tuesday Fight Club before and how it's basically translucent Minimates beating each other up. The guy behind it, Geohound, ran his own TTFC contest on the Multiverse. I was getting the animating itch again, so I created this:

You can see all the the entries here.
 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.
 Materials Testing
May 31, 2010

One of the great things about the Blender community is they like to give stuff away. Blender is an Open Source program which means the code and application itself is freely available. This engenders similar acts from Blender users. Many people will make their models, animation rigs, textures, etc. available to anyone. I spent some time looking for a good plastic material and came upon the Blender Open Material Repository. I didn't find a plastic that I liked, but some of the materials made for interesting Minimates.


Hot Metal


Soap Film

Mixed Metals


Red Tinted Glass

You'll notice in some of the transparent images that I didn't model the interior of the torso block. It's on the task list.
 Stop Motion Experiment 1 - Red Lift
February 11, 2010

I like to use the descriptor 'experiment' for a lot of the things I do. It really helps to displace responsibility for my actions. You can get away with a lot of crappy stuff if you call it an 'experiment'. You were just messing around, seeing what you could do. You weren't trying to make anything good. If it's good, cool. If it sucks, it doesn't matter.

The perfect cop-out.

I learned some valuable lessons from this initial stop-motion project:
  • It's very important to lock down your camera's tripod.
  • It's very important to lock down your subject matter.
  • Pet's should be isolated for the duration of the shoot.
  • Crouching is not comfortable for long periods of time.
  • Make sure subject is in focus.
  • Pants are optional.
  • Dancing is forbidden!
I though I had everything fairly secure and there wasn't going to be much jitter. After assembling the frames, I found I was obviously quite wrong. I thought about reshooting or modifiying the frames, but after working with it I realized the subject matter didn't warrant the extra effort. It just wasn't interesting enough to devote more time to. There was no vision.

I intend the next one to be much more interesting.
 Translucent Wall Hangings
October 20, 2009

This is going to be another one of those light-on-text-heavy-on-pics type posts. There's really not too much to say about taking photos of Minimates, having them printed at various sizes, surrounding them with frames and suspending them on a wall.

Which is exactly what I did.
 Pantone Project
October 5, 2009

If it isn't already totally obvious, I like things that glow. From LEDs to bio-luminescent sea-life, if it emits light it is good. I also like things that are transparent. Actually translucent is a better word. If light can pass through it, it is good.

I decided to combine those two fascinations into this Pantone project. There was a set of translucent Kubricks that sold for silly money. I couldn't warrant spending huge funds on a Kubrick item, I decided to spend funds on making a Minimate version. Then I made it glow.