Saturday, December 31, 2005

Political Cartoons

Two Hundred Fifteenth Post: Political Cartoons

I am a fan of political cartoons. I once saw one of President Clinton getting into Air Force One and it had the “Playboy” rabbit symbol on it. LOL I think I still have it. If I do I’ll scan it in. I read the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and they have a good cartoonist: Rob Rogers.

The reason behind the comics is that I am starting a graphic challenge on Constructor’s Corner. So far I only have one idea. It is to have the reader draw a political cartoon. This one’s caption reads: “I told you I didn’t take her money... It was the one armed bandit”. This is a reference to the movie “The Fugitive.”

The thing here is that it is a little hard to portray in a single cartoon frame. Also I have tried to make a drawing and it is difficult. The point of trying to draw new ideas, get feedback, and have fun still exist.

So far I am still designing the graphics so it will start just a basic web page with plain text. I also have a picture I want to share of Turbo Cad 3D. This program is 11 years old and it shows how 3D got started. This was a really great program and advanced for its time. It was affordable too. Unfortunately IMSI (the company behind Turbo Cad) hasn’t made another app that is comparable to this one.

The New Year also marks the end of the MakeShift 04 challenge. I will be posting my solution to the problem in the following weeks. But in the meantime Have a Happy New Year! ..... and May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Friday, December 30, 2005


Two Hundred Fourteenth Post: Resolutions

So it is the end of the Year. Now people are making resolutions for next year. If you kept a journal of any kind technical, art, or daily log, it is a good time to review what happened throughout the year.

Reviewing these things you may notice that even though you did many things and did activities such as drawing or art, it is really hard to show all the work and experience that was gained. This is where the website or portfolio comes in. You may have done many things in your field of interest but without organization and documentation the works are lost. It is hard work building a portfolio to show your talents. Often it doesn’t seem like the portfolio shows all your efforts. The only way to build a portfolio is working over time, because you can’t create works overnight.

The portfolio ties in to Constructor’s Corner and how it will grow in the New Year. I intend to build a portfolio this Year. I also have some other resolutions for the sites ( and ) : *Redesign Calculated Curves; *Build complete Unreal Mod; *More Art : Portfolio; *Hold design and drawing challenges; *Improve message board; *Create original 3D character; *Have comics

I’m sure your have some resolutions of your own. As always feel free to post on the message board. But for one final day... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Doodle

Two Hundred Thirteenth Post: The Doodle

My favorite drawing next to a fast sketch is the doodle. Sometimes those doodles turn into sketches. When the drawer gets board or needs some ideas they turn to the doodle. It has been said that a doodle is the subconscious expressing itself. Things that can’t be comprehended are expressed.

Once my art teacher covered the tables with brown paper. We came into the room not knowing what today’s project would be. He instructed us not to write on the tables (even though there were drawing instruments on the table). He waited to everyone was in the room and said to begin drawing on the tables. It was sort of like graffiti and some doodling. The point was to create art spontaneously without realizing it. In other words to just be in the “creative zone.”

I usually don’t discuss politics and other related things. There is usually enough of such things on radio and news. However sometimes it is fun and if you like to debate it is good as long as you don’t take it too seriously.

I keep reading in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette of how all these business owner want to built casinos. I really don’t take interest in slots and gambling, but there is a huge amount of people who would like to see a place to gamble. Also it may bring a lot of people to the city. However why is it that when there is news about creating money it is not traditional business where people could be employed, it is one large money making scheme that benefits the owners of the casino.

I am not opposed to stadiums. My question is why casinos? And if we must have them why are they the priority?

May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Two Hundred Twelfth Post: Quick BASIC

I am really impressed with the artist of the daily comic strips in the newspaper and the political cartoons also. I have trouble thinking of a theme and joke for one comic let alone to have a series of them every day of the week. I know with current events and the Internet there are always new ideas, but I don’t think it would be any easier to create a good joke.

Myself, I am trying to create an almanac of ideas here on my Blog. I am a little over half way through as of this 212th post. It is often a challenge to blog about new ideas and make sure you haven’t repeated any blogs. Currently I now have 118 pages of posts.

Ok. I looked up “Quick BASIC” up on the net. It is packaged on the Windows 95 disk. To find it browse the disk and look for “OTHER\OLDMSDOS.” It still runs in Windows XP although I don’t know why. Once it is found, search the net for games. I found the gorilla game on . It is simple compared to today’s games but fun no less. The “Gorilla” game is basic physics where gorillas throw bananas at each other.

So until you become an expert in retro game programming.... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Clean Up

Two Hundred Eleventh Post: Clean Up

Well Christmas has come and went. Now it is time to clean up the mess such as the out side lights, Christmas tree, and make room for all the new gifts. Who would have thought the holidays and time off were so much work? We would once we start cleaning every thing. But think about it you have to buy presents and wrap them, send cards, put up decorations, and then do the reverse: get presents and unwrap them, get cards, and take down the decorations and clean up. So it is a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

I haven’t been doing much lately except reading and watching 3dbuzz VTM. I must say that these VTMs are a great concept. You can even make you own on your computer, because the software to record movies from the PC is free. (Just check It is similar to taking an online class when you have the message board for feedback and questions.

These VTMs just don’t stop at the basics however. This is good. How many times in elementary or high school did you want the teacher to add supplementary problems or cover special topics. You were often left with questions and didn’t fulfill your interests. When you get to college this changes. There is so much material to cover in a short time. It kind of makes you wish it was like high school when the material was introduced slowly.

The material covers the basics, but doesn’t stop there. More advanced material is added with each module. So far everything has been easy to follow except 37 minutes into "classes" VTM when there was addition material. I found it a little confusing, but it is good to get a peak at new material even though you are a beginning programmer.

One thing that I am looking for is a Q-BASIC or BASIC program for Windows XP. I have Dark Basic which is supposed to program games, but I have found it better to just take the time and learn C++. So if anyone knows a traditional BASIC that works for XP email me at . The last time Q-BASIC was in Windows was Windows 95. But even though we are cleaning up preparing for the new year there is still some holiday magic left. So in the meantime... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Monday, December 26, 2005

Computer Recovery

Two Hundred Tenth Posts: Computer Recovery

It is the end of year and is a good time to restore the computer back to the original configuration. Start by backing up and organizing all your files. That should be done anyway. After time even with maintenance the computer tends to be cluttered or just slows down. A recovery fixes all that. The downside though is that although the computer wasn’t running at peak performance it may have been configured just the way you like. Also, it takes weeks or even months to put all the software and settings back on. That is why you should take a drive image of the computer after it is running its best and is fully configured.

I am working with a VEX robot kit. It is a robot design and building kit from RadioShack. It is divided into simple modules. I am on the first: “structure.” Building the “square bot” frame was pretty basic, but I took my time. I find it useful when building something to always ask yourself questions about the design or instructions. Ask things you would ask an instructor or teacher. The only thing is that you aren’t just given the answer. This forces you to make your own theories and work through the challenge. This is a great way to develop design skills and the makers of the VEX robot system know this. They have even included questions and theory to explore further, so the builder isn’t just building a “model” of a robot, they are using design skills.

I’ll update the Blog as building progresses. But until the world is controlled by the robots the people with VEX robot kits built... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Sunday, December 25, 2005

After Christmas

Two Hundred Ninth Post: After Christmas

Well Christmas is come and gone, but I bet you ate well, got some gifts, and had a good time. Now it is time to read instructions, put together toys, put away the left over food, and relax and reflect on the year.

But just how much assembly of toys and reading instructions on gadgets is going to happen? It is back to shopping tomorrow and calling the tech support lines. Everyone is going to be buying and returning things. But somewhere amongst all the chores and long lines, there is still a holiday feeling. Hey this stuff might actually be kind of fun. Not the tech support and long lines, but this is the time of year we have all waited for. So let’s celebrate the season while it is still here.

In non-holiday news, is offering a contest for writers to write a story. Think you have a good ideas, you might have one, but the format requires only talking and 3500 words. It is just writing with no other aspects of game design being considered. Add to that you have to have a little knowledge of the module making software of the Neverwinter Nights game. I have a good idea for a story, but have to see how difficult it is to format it.

But until you go shopping the day after Christmas... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Shipping Packages

Two Hundred Eighth Post: Shipping Packages

We all know that tonight on Christmas Eve that Santa Claus delivers his presents across the world. But while it is nice to get gifts from Santa it is also nice to send gifts among family and friends. Sometimes those family or friends are separated by States or even Countries. So to deliver those gifts and not travel is hard. Santa was much to busy to deliver these gifts. After all, he had his own duties to complete.

What was the solution? Years ago Santa set up “UPS.” You know the guys in the brown trucks. Santa designed the delivery system based on his own Christmas model. He even designated “Santa Helpers” to help. This delivery systems contained some of the very methods Santa uses some top secret and others that are just common sense.

Some problems in the system occur that have to be handled. Santa takes advantage of time changing as he travels east across the world. UPS is working against time zones some times. But it all equals out with a little help from Santa’s magic and UPS having more packages to deliver but over a longer period of time.

Perhaps you have seen UPS work with Santa or maybe you didn’t even realize it. But until you go to sleep tonight... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Robot Takeover

Two Hundred Seventh Post: Robot Takeover

Today we exchanged gifts with my sister and her family. They got me a VEX robot kit. The thing is no simple gadget. It is intended for teens and adults. But as my sister gave it to me she said that I would be thinking of ways to take over the world with my robots.

I think if we want to create a robot like Data on STNG we are going to have to build something that we don’t understand how it works. That something is the subconscious. Think of a computer program it can organize, compare, and calculate data only based on a given set of instructions. To think it would need a way to organize all the data that it once processed and use that to form instructions of its own. This is no simple task and is why robotics is a young science.

In the book the “Cyberiad” (which is where I get the name of my site) Trurl and Klapaucius create a demon of the second. This demon creates new ideas and gives knowledge about things in the universe. That does not mean, however, that the ideas and knowledge are useful. So what does this prove. It proves that you need not only to create ideas and knowledge you have to organize them and see which ones “fit” together. So maybe when a person is intelligent or witty they just have an interesting way of organizing there ideas, dreams, and the things they learn.

But there is more to us than that. Many ideas such as Christmas have so many meaning and mean different things to different people. It is a concept that is difficult to describe and yet carries so much meaning. But don’t think about it too hard. It is time to have some fun. So wishing you the best holiday.... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Thursday, December 22, 2005

My Grab Bag

Two Hundred Sixth Post: My Grab Bag

This is the time when school is out for vacation and at some schools which still have it there is a gift exchange. This is a fun thing, but sometimes with kids things don’t always go as planned. When I was in first grade we had gift exchange. Of course you know the kids are going to pick the biggest, most nicely wrapped box. The teacher told us many times to read the label before unwrapping it. Of course I didn’t notice I was one of the first to choose between gifts. And I had a good find of the nicest wrapped present there was. So I went back to my seat and opened it. I don’t know if it was the expression on my face or my pause to lift it out of the box, because the teacher was now yelling at me. She said, “I told you to read the label and you didn’t listen! You just opened your own gift didn’t you!” To make the story short she exchanged the gift with another student and I ended up getting a cool Ewok action figure. But as I learned always read the name tag.

I have been using my C++ cds from . So far I reviewed what I knew. It is easy to forget if you haven’t programmed in a while, but it comes back fast. The thing about these learning videos is that it teaches game programming. That is hard to find in books let alone video.

Just a short post, but until you unwrap someone’s present accidently because you didn’t read the tag... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Two Hundred Fifth Post: 286

In case you are not familiar with the 286, it is the predecessor to the 586 or pentium. Back when I was learning BASIC programming in high school the pentium was just released. We didn’t have the fast computers just the 286's. But of course a fast system is nothing without software and that is where the school was lucky that they had invested in some decent software.

The 286's were enough to run Basic and Pascal, but there was only 2 pentiums for the students learning C++. One of the students was trying to hack the schools network and found out how to access the network without logging in. Another student commented on this and said he was trying to pirate the computer technology and sell it to the Germans. Hilarious! Although the teacher didn’t improve of any types of hacking.

One program that I remember from the 286 is IBM CAD. This was an easy to learn CAD. We use it for drafting. If it wasn’t for faster computers and multitasking combined with different file formats, this CAD software would still be very useful.

Besides lacking the fastest computers, I’ll admit that we did use some new technologies such as a webcam and an HTML editor briefly. I learned a lot about BASIC and still have a copy of Tandy Basic somewhere. Now, I am trying to become proficient in C++ and this is much easier with improved technology. I’m using the 3dbuzz set of VTMs which is basically a lecture that plays on the computer. And during the lecture you get to see what is happening on the instructors computer. I’ll Blog on how it turns out. I have worked with C++ in the past writing simple programs, but it is such a vast language.

Isn’t it funny the same subjects you learn in high school are boring, but latter you pay for your schooling and are motivated to learn it on your own. You start to miss the boring exercises in the text book. So until you sleep through you next class.... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Site Ideas

Two Hundred Fourth Post: Site Ideas

I’m reading about website design and how to make pages smaller and have all the elements of easy navigation and easy updating. My site “Constructor’s Corner” is a simple design, but unfortunately is hard to update, because I made a graphic for the menu. That wasn’t the brightest idea in terms of making upgrades. However, I don’t have any plans on changing the entire site. I may update the homepage, but my new design will be on my other site “Calculated Curves” which I haven’t done much with.

The thing about Constructors Corner is that the title leads you to believe that it is about construction. Most people aren’t familiar with Stanislaw Lem’s “The Cyberiad.” But the appearance of the site doesn’t give the feeling of a professional site. What I mean is that the site does contain some interesting ideas, but simplifies it so everyone can understand. So if the design of the site works there is no need to fix it especially when there is Calculated Curves to test designs.

If you remember, I have blogged about He-Man before. There is a lot of info on him on Wikipedia. But as I see there is interest in him again. There is a DVD with the first series. On a message board (Kubert’s) I saw one member drawing him. There is one character that presents a drawing challenge. And that is the bad guy “Modulok.” His action figure came in locking parts that could be connected to build different “forms.” Quite an interesting character. Drawing him in his many forms would be interesting. But until you have any suggestions for Constructors’ Corner... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Oh and if you want to see Modulok:

Monday, December 19, 2005

Finding Contests

Two Hundred Third Post: Finding Contests

I have mentioned finding contests in my previous blogging, but it is not so easy as it might seem. Just by reading magazines, buying products, and surfing the web you will come across many contest. But it is getting the right contest at the right time. Sometimes entering a contest will have you use skills or find new ideas that would otherwise go unnoticed.

So how do you find these contests? You could type it in a search engine, but you would come up with millions of rip off sweepstakes. You never find out who ever wins that million dollars or new car anyway. I am talking about a contest were you make something. I’m not talking about typing numbers of a bottle cap into an online form. Why do they do that anyway. What ever happened when you won a free soda or got the message “not a winner, try again?” I saw a skit on the Conan O’brien show where they took $200 and bought candy and entered the codes in over the Internet. Whatever was won would be given to the audience. It was supposed to be Late Night’s way of thanking the audience, similar to when Oprah gave the entire audience cars. This stuff is hilarious.

But if you want to find actual contest you might have to spend around $20 or so and subscribe to a contest newsletter. A modest price for what you get. I am thinking of trying: . I will post an update if I get it and it is any good. But until you enter your work and win the top prize.... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas is Here

Two Hundred Second Post: Christmas is Here

Today is one week until Christmas 2005. But my family exchanged gifts today. I got a karaoke machine, iBook ipod speakers, an art set, some clothes, and some other little things. I also gave some good presents. I finally gave my dad the scroll saw I had bought 4 months ago. Now we can work on some wood projects. I got some boots for my mom. They are the right size length wise, but are impossible to get your feet in. I’ll have to return those with the ipod speakers that I gave both my parents. It turned out they bought something similar and easier to use.

Christmas isn’t just about the presents. It is about people getting together to celebrate. There isn’t many times each year we get together or send a card other than Christmas. Still getting and giving gifts is fun. And when you see someone using and enjoying a gift that is when you know how much your gift meant. It shows it was intended just for that person. Although there can be mistakes and things that need return. But then it is “the thought that counts.” And that holds true.

One cool thing I got is “Garth Brooks: The Limited Series,” because you can’t get those tracks on the web. I also got Macgyver seasons 3 and 4. So lots of stuff to play with and little projects to create. Heck, I might even sell the cd I make with karaoke. Or maybe not.

Story time: Once in grade school a got a “U” in music. It is the lowest grade meaning “unsatisfactory.” The teacher said it was because I never would sing. My friend joked with me that I would be a singer at a concert and the music would play and my lips would move, but there would be no vocals. No singing, it would just be me lip singing. Of course, this is common today there are a lot of lip singers, but they use recorded vocal. I would use nothing, it would be me not singing the live version. So it is ironic I like karaoke.

Well I hope you have a great holiday. And remember you can always share your stories on the message board. But until you wait in line returning gifts... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Two Hundred First Post: “Kong”

I haven’t seen the movie “King Kong 2005” but have seen the clips on tv. It looks awesome. I heard on tv that it took 12 hours to render 1 second. I don’t know what kind of software they used, but I would like to find out.

I have seen and read things before on how movies used to be painted around the camera. And motion was done by stop motion, recording every movement frame by frame. These have been replaced by computer film production. About the funniest joke I have seen was the comic “Foxtrot” where the young, geeky, boy is filming his own Kong movie. He figured out that it would be easier for his brother who is dressed like Donkey Kong climb the Empire State Building. He figured the airfare was cheaper than the computer effects.

The thing that is confusing is that a lot of critics say Kong has a love story hidden withing its action full scenes. I guess you have to have seen the movie.

I have submitted my MakeShift 04 solution to the early this morning. I will explain my idea after the contest is over or at least until the submission deadline is over. I will tell this: this is were the issue of a back and forth motion came from. It is not easy to produce and more difficult to improvise. Like I said in previous bloggings, contests are excellent ways to build a portfolio and have your work seen.

But until Kong sets records at the box office... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Friday, December 16, 2005

Collections Stored Away

Two Hundredth Post: Collections Stored Away

It is close to Christmas and along with the regular gifts I intend to go through the little toys and baseball cards that I have collected over the years. Some of the stuff is a collectable, but not worth a lot of money. I don’t know the value of most of the toys and cards. That isn’t the point. You can no longer buy toys like those. It is just something to interest the one who gets the present.

Speaking of old toys there is a trend of restoring and customizing them. You see this in “Wizard Magazine” and on some web sites. Personally I would not customize my action figures. I like them in their original form, but it still sounds interesting.

When you give away some old baseball cards or comics you are starting a new hobby with the person you gave it to. I have 15 year old baseball cards that aren’t worth much. That was the collecting trend of the time. Now card shops are sparse. I should have collected comics. Not just for the value they have but for the good stories. Of course when collecting comics was big, the makers made the reader buy 4 books a month just to get the entire story. I don’t know what kids collect today. It is probably something Pokemon.

But until you spend hundreds of dollars on collectables that don’t hold there value... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Meaning of Comic Stories

One Hundred Ninety Ninth Post: Meaning of Comic Stories

Two sites I was surfing today:
and . At both I was looking for insight into comics. Both are interesting. Who would thing that so much of life and symbolism are in a comic? A comic book reader would. There are great stories, but often it is more than just art and stories. There is a deeper meaning.

John F. Kennedy competed in a race to space. He also called for the United States’ schools to improve in math and science. That would be hard if there wasn’t something that sparked an interest in these things. Comic books are probably the most influential source in science fiction. Today we have tons of sci-fi television series and movies, but comic books have told stories that could only be told through art and in the comic book form.

And there is little time left to order online. I have to say UPS delivered my package in 3 days. I have been waiting for Fed Ex 8 days. It said on the tracking information it is delivered last Saturday, but still hasn’t arrived. I hope that it comes tomorrow. So it’s UPS vs. Fed Ex.

But until all your packages arrive late after the holidays... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Design Needed

One Hundred Ninety Eighth Post: Design Needed

I haven’t updated Constructor’s Corner much because I have been working on a project. Well the design of the little project is almost complete. There is just one little problem. The motion I need for the machine to work is hard to create and hard to improvise.

What is that motion. It is an back and forth motion. Image an electric motor that can easily reverse directions in order to move an object one direction and than move it the other way back to the original position. This is not so easy with a combustion motor. That would require some kind of transmission similar to the ones in cars.

There are a couple of that I can think of to do this. All of which are really going out of the way to improvise. But I will do a write up in the next couple of weeks and you can share how you would solve it.

But with only 10 days until Christmas... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

What to Model

One Hundred Ninety Seventh Post: What to Model

A common question us inexperienced models who are just learning a 3D modeling program have is what to model. We gone through tutorials and learned the interface, but the problem is more one of art. It used to be people would ask what to draw or what to paint. But those fields are filled with everything from figure drawing, fashion design, architecture, technical drawings, to comics. Sure we know what we want to model in Max. We want that 3D character. However, it may just be to difficult to tackle without some instruction.

So, what do we model? The best thing is to pick something that interests you and something you want to design. Often if there is a contest or design problem you can model to fit the need. That is why you keep the reference books of all the features. It is quite hard to draw when always referring to a book, but there are message boards such as go for answers. You will find you will learn more with a more challenging model than just modifying the tutorials.

That is what I did on my Max model. It is a simple one, but one I designed to fit the need of a design problem. Asking what to model is similar to asking what to draw. I read a post on 3dbuzz about someone asking what to model. If you know the tools just model something. It is the job of the artist to come up with new ideas. Don’t forget there is still art involved in computer modeling.

But until you decide what to model... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Monday, December 12, 2005

Finding the Perfect Model

One Hundred Ninety Sixth Post: Finding the Perfect Model

Often it is better to draw from life and to have a model to base the artwork on. In my basic drawing course we would bring a student to the front so that we could make little sketches of them. It was all for fun and I really learned a lot. But there is still a fact that if you are modeling someone in a 3D program (which I am trying to learn), the most convenient method is to use magazines and photographs. But those are 2D. If the price is affordable it would be nice to hire a model. Of course, that would take a lot of work and preparation. Plus you would have to be proficient in 3D modeling because your charged by the hour. Don’t forget there are also legal issues such as how the photos or model will be used, how payment will be made, and who owns the rights to the work.

It would probably be easier to find models around the city. It may appear it would be simple to find a model, but it is actually a challenge especially when artists and designers never used a live model before. This reminds me of a news story I read that an adult “gentile men’s club” were zoned out of town by new zoning laws because they were a strip club. Their answer was to become a modeling place and they gave each visitor pencil and paper to draw their models. This is breaking the rules with an idea that could be used legitimately. I mean if art was the focus of the viewers intentions all of the dancers would have a legitimate modeling job. I know it doesn’t sound realistic, but the fact is that artists, directors, and marketing groups all need models. The perfect model is just too hard to find.

But until you start you 3D character... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Another Design Problem

One Hundred Ninety Fifth Post: Another Design Problem

I have another design problem that I will try to post by the end of December (2005). It came about due to a project I was working on. One book that I would like to see be made is a collection of design problems. Admittedly, I own some books that offer some projects, but most of the work is put on the designer. I would like to see a book that showed how to draw engineering drawings from an artistic point of view. On one of the courses in design was supposed to be about gadgets and cars. I haven’t read about when, if it is available, but it would be interesting to see the technical things from an artistic point of view.

One thing that interests me is inking comics. I see a lot of politic cartoons use cross hatching for their tones. Old cartoons in magazines also use cross hatching. But as it says in “How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way,” most of the work should be done with a brush. I have read some tips the only thing that I have to do now is practice. Hopefully it turns out better than my Bob Ross painting video. I found I could paint the most beautiful mountains, however, I wasn’t brave enough to add a happy tree. I tried to mix paint on the canvas and painted over my mountains. I haven’t painted since.

To create a painting it takes a little time but you will be surprised at the result. When I took my graphics training in the Army, we used little drawing tricks. Tricks that aren’t used so much anymore since computers, but if you need to make traditional art they are invaluable. You take a drawing from a magazine or reference picture and trace or draw it freehand. Once you have the drawing you use the projector and copy the image on to the board or canvas. Then you paint over your drawing. It is something different then always using a computer to combine images.

And there are dozens of little drawing tricks. There is the block method where you draw only what is in each grid. So traditional art skills and learning drawings are still necessary. The Art Institute and other schools are proof of that. A class is based on what is taught in basic art skills. I still have the painting I did in my basic graphics course in the Army. I should post it. It looks like impressionism. One of the instructors told me that if it were that time period I would have been a master. We were painting for realism though.

But until you research drawing tricks... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Brain Farts

One Hundred Ninety Fourth Post: Brain Farts

I was drawing in Max yesterday. I was working with a simple measurements which were 10th of an inch and 50th of an inch. It was late and I tried to do it in my head, but it just wouldn’t work. I was getting mad at the program. But that is when I decided to just give up and come back to it latter. The next day, I drew the piece in 2 minutes. So it pays to walk away when you have a “brain fart.” You are going to experience “brain farts” sometimes when designing. You will find that no matter what you do, it just isn’t working. That is when it best to take a break.

But there is often a more challenging time to face “brain farts.” You have probably taken a timed test when you realize it is only the first question and you have no plan on how to approach the problem. Now not only can’t you take a break, you have to solve the problem. This is where the “brain fart” turns into a big stinker or you work through and solve the problem. The best thing to do is not to do work in your head. Write everything down no matter how simple it is. And just maybe, you will be successful in spite of starting out with a brain fart.

But don’t let a little fart let you forget there are only 14 days until Christmas... but in the meantime... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Friday, December 09, 2005

Max Problem Solved

One Hundred Ninety Third Post: Max Problem Solved

I got an answer on 3dbuzz message board which is always the place to go for 3D modeling. I tried “slicing” the object, but after that “mesh select” is used to separate the pieces. I am almost done with a project that I have been working on for quite some time. I will update the site with it at the end of the month.

There is a type of web design I am reading about now called mortised. Basically as the book describes it is about making sites graphical, but still retain the small file size. I am only on chapter 4, but it appears to address most things about current web design. I’ll discuss it more in another post, but in the next few months I plan to put something on .

Well around the holidays we start eating more. There are cookies, turkey, and candy. I, myself, am watching what I eat because I am trying to lose weight. The thing that put those pounds on me was drinking 4 to 5 cans of Coke a day. That is an extra 600 calories.! That is enough to eat an extra meal! So try to cut those calories where you can.

As I hit the treadmill... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Idea Holder

One Hundred Ninety Second Post: Idea Holder

Today our idea holders are electronic. We all have computers and all new consumer technology somehow relates to computers. That fact that the computer holds, stores, and shares our ideas is what makes it appealing to many people. Before the computer the closest thing that stored ideas was some sort of journal. It is still important in its own right at storing ideas and organizing information, but the computer offers something that the journal couldn’t unless it was put into print. The computer not only organizes, helps create, and stores ideas, it can communicate them.

That said, it would still be interesting to find an old journal in an attic and open it up to see what ideas it had. Maybe it has old drawings, pictures of events, or just a log of someone’s past. The fact that it wasn’t stored electronically would add to its value. The reader might find something that is new. They may even find something that isn’t stored on the “idea machines” of the present time.

But until you create something on the “idea machines”.... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Games for Christmas

One Hundred Ninety First Post: Games for Christmas

A lot of kids want the video games this Christmas. But before you buy them something expensive that they will play only once, you should consider what type of game they want and which ones they will actually like. If you are buying for the PC you are in luck, because games that have been out for a few months only cost around $10 to $30. There are a lot of great first person shooters such as Unreal 2004 and Far Cry below $20 at Amazon.

If you are buying for the consoles such as X box or Playstation there are still bargains, but it will be more of a search for a good game than the PC. I don’t like buying video games unless I know what the person I’m buying it for likes. Even then, the game still might not be fun and it cost $50.

Speaking of games, around my house we are playing “The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.” It is a fun game, but you can’t compare it to “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.” Ocarina was better because you could play it without a guide. The were clues to where you were going and what you needed to find. Wind Waker requires a guide because the clues aren’t there. It has good puzzles, but is more of a scavenger hunt. In the next Zelda which isn’t yet released, Link, the main hero, turns into a wolf in some zones. I don’t know why. We’ll have to see how well it is designed.

But if you are going to get someone a game get them one they can spend some time one and have fun. If it is for the PC consider getting them some software instead of an old fashion action game. Get them software to edit their pictures, manage email, or just about anything imaginable.

Today a lot of games such as “Unreal” come with level design software. As I have blogged before PC games have more depth to them than the console ones. Some are the same, but there is more to a PC game. I mean more in a way that is involvement in a game. It is more than the side scroller fighters that I played as a child. Those games can be fun, but wouldn’t you rather the kids build there own roller coaster or solve puzzles or even design levels? The kids need to realize that a new system doesn’t mean better games and better gamming experience. And that is something they will learn 20 years from now when they have to spend a fortune to buy the latest game system for their kids.

Until you spend a $1000 on a X box 360 on Ebay.... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Problem in Max Drawing

One Hundred Ninetieth Post: Problem in Max Drawing

Ran into a little problem in Max today. I can’t get the “slice modifier” to work. It keeps leaving holes in the object. This is a common problem when you cut using the “apply to faces,” but I did it how the book said and it didn’t work. It is probably a little setting I don’t know of. But I hate when you can’t draw the drawing correctly. Although little problems are to be expected especially when you are learning new software, I am going to turn to the message boards for help.

A few posts ago I talked about “He-Man and The Maters of the Universe.” In one episode He-Man loses the sword that changes him between Prince Adam and He-Man. So, it makes him worry if he’ll ever be able to turn back into Prince Adam. The funny thing he is that if you have seen the cartoon before you know that the only difference between Prince Adam and He-Man is the super strength. But the dilemma of never changing back is still noted even if they are the same man.

That said, “Maters of the Universe” was an awesome show. It had a more developed and thought out plot than most of today’s anime cartoons. The thing that made He-Man so interesting was the well designed characters. From Man-at-Arms to the Snake Men there were hundreds of interesting and well drawn characters.

When I was a kid I always wanted the newest action figure. My dad said he and my mom would spend $5 on a figure and I got home and opened it up and throw the figure on the floor and read the tiny comic book that came with it.

But until the child you buy a gift for plays with the box or comic book instead of the toy.... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Monday, December 05, 2005

Inventions Before the Printing Press

One Hundred Eighty Ninth Post: Inventions Before the Printing Press

We all were watches. Some of them are digital but a lot are still mechanical. If you were to take your watch apart the chances are that you couldn’t fix it. It is a small mechanical marvel. Just as impressive as the combustion engine was to the 1900's. The question that needs to be ask is how this thing was invented relatively long ago.

First the gears that run the two hands need to be precise and they are so small. Add that to a power supply that is a wound spring. How did they even have the tools to make and assemble the machine? Well it is a fact that I don’t understand. Lesser inventions have come after the watch. One wound think that with such elaborate design other things would improve at the same rate, such as the industrial revolution occurring earlier.

It is definitely something to research. One thing that makes the invention so impressive is that we are better educated today. With our communications like the press, television, and Internet, we learn things that people in past centuries didn’t have the privilege to know. To invent a watch would take an educated or extremely gifted person.

In WWII when parachute drops were new, the American chute release to release the chute once the soldier landed didn’t work properly. Often the soldier would get drug by the chute. Meantime the German chute’s release worked fine. A German chute was captured, but the problem wasn’t solved until about 2 years later. At which time the war was over.

This leads to a question how can a fine machine like the watch be hundreds of years old and a simple release can’t be copied when a working part is available to be reversed engineered? I don’t understand. I have seen pictures of a machine shop from the 30's when I toured a machine shop. They were advanced for their time. It is just weird how inventions come about. And equally puzzling is the time at which they occur.

May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Childhood Toys for Christmas

One Hundred Eighty Eighth Post: Childhood Toys for Christmas

Well it is the time for buying and wrapping gifts, putting up the tree and decorations, and preparing all the holiday things. But gifts don’t have to cost money to be valuable as we all know. Little things like baking cookies and sending a card capture the true spirit of the holidays.

But where do you turn if you need small gifts for some children? You turn to the attic or shed. A stash of a few generations old toys might be what you need to do the trick. That is if you kept your old toys. I know that a lot of kids want the newest toys and the electronics, but sometimes good all fashion toys will strike interest and gives you a chance to share some of your childhood memories.

At one time I had over 30 “Masters of the Universe” figures. If I had them today they would be worth a fortune. However I did keep some, but not many, of my old toys. No “Masters of the Universe” were saved though.

But speaking of Masters of the Universe, they have a new DVD set coming out and a Christmas special. It is good to see interest in the older, American cartoons. Often the plot is better than today’s anime cartoons.

I have also seen artist take new interest on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. On, MAXX, one of the forum members, has been drawing He-Man. His site (which I don’t think has He-Man, but is an interesting attempt to start a fan comic) is

In upcoming post I will share some memories of the He-Man shows. But until then... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Entering Contests

One Hundred Eighty Seventh Post: Entering Contests

It is fun to enter contests. Not the ones were you just give your name and address, instead the ones were you have to write or draw something are the most fun. Usually I entered some not really expecting to win, but it still turns out to be a worthwhile experience. You entered, tried you best, and now you have a piece of work to be proud of. It is something you might not have attempted have not there been a contest.

Now is the hard part of finding the contest. Since the web and magazines word of a contest spreads easily, but there is the task of finding and choosing a contest amongst the ones that aren’t valid.

As I have said in recent post, that I would like to have a contest to bring traffic to my site and try something new. However, if I didn’t have enough entries it wouldn’t be as successful. So if you have any information on contests or advice on how to conduct one. Email me at

I finally put up some Christmas pics of our tree. I think it made a simple but nice animation. Let me know what you think. I know I need more updates on the site, and they are on the way within the next 2 months. But until I blog again.... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Friday, December 02, 2005

Getting Ready for Christmas on the Net

One Hundred Eighty Sixth Post: Getting Ready for Christmas on the Net

It is getting close to Christmas with not many shopping days left for purchasing online due to shipping and handling. The closer to Christmas it gets the less items to chose from due to the shipping and handling. Online shopping is one aspect of Christmas on the Net. How many sites are adding Holiday Wishes to there site? I haven’t really seen much from the sites I visit that weren’t online stores. On my own site I haven’t gotten any thing for the holidays yet, but I plan to add some soon.

The fact remains that it is tricky to add content. It takes a little work, but the challenge lies in incorporating the holiday message into the website’s design. Of course, the web designer could go the easy route and just add some pictures or graphics. Just add something simple that creates a Christmas feeling.

I want to add something to my site for the holidays. But I have to decide what that is soon. I also would like to have a contest on my site. However, that would prove challenging. I would have to figure out how many people who visit my site would participate and decide how fair it would be if I didn’t have age categories. Then the hard part comes. I would have to figure who would be the judge and who would receive content with my slow connection. I like contest especially those that deal with design, science, math, or art. The only problem is that contest are a lot of work.

But until I put holiday decorations on my website... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Software Piracy

One Hundred Eighty Fifth Post: Software Piracy

I own quite a bit of computer software. Having a computer for years now the software has piled up. My recent purchased were an investment in the graphics I make. I haven’t done anything professional yet, but I continue to build “little projects.” Software is expensive, and I have found to save money I don’t upgrade the version until it has new features that I feel are worth the upgrade.

This is were the money issue comes in. There is a question the software user must ask should I pay for this software or should I download a pirated version. With the pirated version comes the latest version and it is free. But this is were the decision is made. Admittedly, it does seem nice to experiment with the software, upgrade it, and pay nothing. But that is exactly the wrong attitude. Today on the net there are hundred of thousands of free programs that are legal. It is called open source software or free software. If a person doesn’t want to spend the money for a program they should consider this first. Also some schools sell software to students at discount prices. Should we not support these options before using pirated software?

And if that alone isn’t enough to deter piracy, (Which it is not.) think of all the programs you use and how they were cracked by a cracker. As you may now from warez sites, this person could have filled the software with trojans and viruses. Why would they give software away to a person who just download for free who is not a fellow hacker. And even if you have some knowledge of downloading these programs, you know they can be unstable and crash the computer. Do you want the work and programs that you save to be unstable? It is definitely a good argument against piracy.

Put until you search for open source software... May the Creative Force and Holiday Spirit be with You