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February 28th 2008
New upgrade for the hummingbird. This is work in progress.

February 8th 2008

After months of having my head buried in animation gigs, I’m back at working on LOR.
Because of the long periods of contract work that consume my schedule, I’ve decided to work on still images for the next LOR release. This way I can get something complete and feel good about my little world.

Here is the first image.

A new frog critter.

This is a stereo image. In order to experience the effect, you’ll need to cross your eyes till a third center image converges in the middle. Focus on the nostril hole as the center point.

September 2007

I have never been so busy. Over the past year I landed several National Geographic animation jobs that are now in production. This is something I have always wanted to work on. Each of these documentaries brings a challenging collection of different effects shots. Each shot is unique and very interesting to solve and render.

I am still working on LOR, but with my limit time I have decided to work on this next project in the form of a book. I have started on a series of images that I assume will make a 26 page large format children’s book. The best thing is, all the assets that I am creating can go directly back into animating the movie. This book will help me layout new characters and story elements that exist in the LOR world.

June 21 2007
Crater Exit sequence now has a new shot.

The insides are beginning to take shape. This thing is also animation ready, it walks and turns and hugs the ground.

June 13 2007

OK, it’s not a 'star ship' as in 'space ship', yet a colossal roving robot that takes the form of a starfish. This is where LOR lives and does his creating. Much of the story will take place here.

June 1 2007

I have decided to spend a bit of time learning ZBrush3. I bought Zbrush way back when it first came out, but really hated it. But now with all the tutorials and wiki, it’s much easier to learn and enjoy. I’m still slogging through it, not doing much in the way of real work, but just trying to press every button to see what it does. It’s rare to find an application that really catches my attention so much that I have to stop everything and learn how to use it, but this is going to change the way I model, and the way LOR looks.
I’ll post some experiments in a few days.

May 27 2007
The first two shots are edited together. I finally feel like I'm making headway on this new LOR sequence. Ideas are flowing.

May 25 2007 9:30am

Last night right before I faded out, I stumbled across this new look for the Creater Exit Shot.

May 25 2007
New movie of the Creater Exit shot with mental ray.

May 24 2007

I have been nominated for the Autodesk Masters program. I think inductees get a jacket, a hat and a jetpack. I feel honored to have my name mixed in with all those other awesome animators and 3d wizards.
Also, I’ll be teaching a class at this summer’s San Diego Siggraph. This year it won’t be such a technical snoozefest, but more focused on how to make a 3d animated short. Creative and technical challenges will be discussed. Details to follow...

Spent the past week working on a few animation jobs that popped up. I love those quick little gigs that pay for my new computer.
I was having some trouble with fRender, a few crashes during rendering. The guys at Cebas are looking into the problem. So, until I get a fix for that, I’m back on mental ray. Some new renders will be up very soon with this new mental ray version of one of the shots, and my thoughts on the these two rendering tools. I think I will not work exclusively in one renderer, why should I have to, no reason for it.

May 11 2007

I’ve decided to use final Render for the next release of LOR. I had been working with mental ray for the several months as I was waiting for the 3dsmax9 version of fR to come out, and was pretty happy with the results. But, most of my LOR models already had final Render materials from the last release of LOR Volume Two. So when the Max9 version finally came out I had to try it out. This the final Render Stage 1 R2 release had many advantages over mental ray.

1. The final shaders are easy to work with and there are more workable shaders to choose from then I get with mental ray. Some of the mental ray shaders that come with 3dsmax, well, I always feel like I’m rummaging around a big box of new and old gizmos, some work well and some need batteries.
2. fRender has duplicated the arch/design material interface from mental ray which makes the switch easy.
3. I think it looks better.
4. The fRender physical sky has far more control then Mental Ray, although there is no gizmo to see in the viewport to see where the sun is.
5. The fRender physical sky has a far more rich look to objects shaded under it’s sky. Mental Ray made everything look washed out, plus you had to use that blasted environment exposure setting for exterior daylight.
6. The fRender Advanced shader is pretty rich with controls and lets you go beyond the normal parameter limits of the mR acrh/design.
7. The fRender Advanced shader has a very nice reflection blur that is super fast with low artifacts.
8. MTD now works well with GI, which blows my mind.
9. It has a help file. Mental ray needs a help file instead of the sloppy text doc that pretends to be.
10. All my LOR scene files where fRender, so I couldn’t even open the damn things without the new max9 version.

I’m sure I’ll be using mental ray for some things as well as the scanline when the time comes up.

May 9 2007

Monday brought my new computer, a 64bit dual quad core Boxx8300. So, I spent the last two days testing and installing. This thing will render a scene faster then all the 8 machines of my render farm put together. Anyway, just showing off. I started re-rendering the crater shot with some new and improved settings. It will be up in a few days.

May 3 2007
New render of the LPOD Crater Exit shot.

May 1 2007

I spent the weekend working on the crater environment and putting together the first sequence called Crater Exit.
Also, I finally bought my new 3d machine. A BOXX 8300 dual quad arrives on the 5th of May. I have spent two years on the current 3.2GHz P4, so this should be a real kick in the pants.

Glue ~
check out this animation series from the glory days of Wild Brain. This is both sessons edited together. My good friend b.Mossman did the music. He also did the RocketPants theme and Gone Bad theme songs. b.Mossman is the master of animation theme songs and is now creating music for the NickJr. show Wow Wow Wobbzy.

April 27 2007

LPod now has some more detail on the rear.

April 25 2007

More work is done on the LPod. Details added to the feet and legs. See the LPod page.

April 23 2007
The Lpod is the ship we see and enter at the end of the last sequence. I am now working it up for more scenes. Added details, adjusted materials and rigging enhancements will have me busy for the next two days.

April 21 2007
Weekends are for kids. Today I bought the Happy Feet DVD because my daughter kept pointing at the poster and saying “DA!!!”.
She says that no matter what she points at, but anyway. Happy Feet was a beautiful movie, except for the music. They sure spent a dollar and cent on the rendering an whatnot. But why not go the extra mile and have some talented song writer make some new tunes for the movie. For instance, the Backyardigans, I watch lots of children's TV these days, great great great songs and good to so-so animation done on the cheap. Although, the rendering is just above video game quality circa 2003, I would have rather spent my 108 minutes watching a Backyardigans movie just for the music. Happy Feet’s use of rap, and R&B tunes just didn’t seam to gel with me, if fact I cringed when the singing started. I would have rather had those penguins singing original penguin songs that were about penguin issues and penguin love. Would have been funny and it would have been fun to watch. Oh well!!!

Every time I sit down to watch a 100 million dollar movie with a crew of hundreds just working on the lighting and shaders, you might think that I would get discouraged. And, I do, for a few minutes, then I get back to working on my little movie which I am making all by myself.

April 20 2007

I spent the last day working on JugJug. This character will now have an expanded roll in the movie.

April 18 2007

New Clock Renders
I managed to get this LORbLOG site up and online. Still lots of empty pages, but those spaces are content not yet made.

April 17 2007
I have continued my work on Clock. Yesterday I finished Clock’s Automatron retrofit, the hard part was hunting down a single object from the old rig that would crash Max on reset, fixed. Now Clock will be ready to quickly merge into any scene with a couple of clicks. Nice!

Today I continue to work Clock’s super face. When the main hood opens up, a face is revealed underneath, and that face once again opens up to reveal the inside workings of his head. This is where the best ideas for the story come from. I start working on a character, adding some feature, and then start wondering why the character would have such an attribute. In order to have something like this make sense, I have to work it into the story and the story grows.

April 16 2007
A new beginning for an old friend.

Here it is, the very first entry in the LORbLOG. I have been meaning to get this started for years. But always had trouble finding the time. This blog will serve as a chronicle of the creative and technical challenges that I will face in creating my solo feature film project ‘LOR’

LOR is back on the menu. The last I really worked the project was, well I can’t remember. It took a year to make Automatron which I released Nov 2006, and that wasn’t a fulltime endeavor, there were animation jobs and oh yeah, my daughter was born somewhere in there too, a very busy time.

It feels really good to get back into production on LOR. It’s been two years since the last release. I have done a bit of work to it, but nothing to brag about. The main reason to create Automatron was to make this and other character animation projects come about better, faster and with fewer headaches. Also the sales mean I get to spend more time working on LOR and less time with animation contracts.