Re-structuring and Re-organizing

January 11, 2011

Hi Everyone,

A New Year and a New Outlook will bring all of this together. Let me explain: this blog is on Technology, and what I’m working on will bring together this blog and Facebook into the classroom as far as learning tools go.

On the list of re-vamps is my Faculty website at SUNY Plattsburgh, which is under a major overhaul. I’m working on bring in some new coding methods to the design and development of the site. Dubbed, “Project-9”, this version of the site is the stepping stone for next version of the site which will include such technologies as HTML5 and CSS3 to name a few. Project-9 does have some CSS3 components as well as heavily coded CSS2 to allow for transparent backgrounds, built-in Google Calendar, JavaScript (for dimming the lights), and more. The site is also connected to social media.

Coupled with a Facebook site set to “officially” launch for the Spring 2011. We’ve already tested the site during the Fall 2011 semester with our first “Digital Media Workshop Series” for our Anime Club members and “Digital Media Design” for our Teacher Education students in both the Graduate and Undergraduate programs. The site seems to be gaining momentum. I have brought in SlideShare.net, slide-show presentations to the FB site along Animoto video capabilities. This is turn allows our students to create, design and share their work among their peers as well as keeping everything mobile. I would like to bring in Prezi and Scribd to FB.

To continue with the whole mobile movement, I’m currently experimenting with Twitter and LinkedIn. The purpose is to keep the active learners engaged an connected as well as expanding on the aspects of networking via social media.

The Facebook sites focus is also on Technology and Digital Media. It lists resources from the Open Source Communities as well as provides information and tutorials from a variety of other websites.

Another project I’m currently involved with is to design our very own “interactive whiteboard”. Details to this will come soon, since the project is to be showcased just prior to January 21, 2011. No pressure.

So, these are some of the reasons why I’ve been away from this for too long. Now, I don’t have any excuses – I’m working on a way to tie Blogger, WordPress and the FB site together.

That’s it in a nutshell.

Til Next Time…

-VegaDMS

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Some more FREE goodies…

April 12, 2010
Hi Everyone,
It’s been a while since my last posting.
Below are some goodies I hope you’ll enjoy!
First up, BZoo, http://www.bzooworld.org/ a game engine suite for Blender and another free game development tool – Unity 3D.
Plus, if you want to learn to use Unity 3D, here’s the link: http://unity3d.com/
Next up, more tools for Blender.
If you’re using Blender 2.5 and would like to have the python scripts for creating lens flares, go to the BlenderTime site: http://www.blendertime.com/tag/lens-flares-library/

If you want to create a 3D graphic in Blender and want greater flexibility in painting and manipulating your work in Photoshop, check out this YouTube video – WARNING: It’s in German and you’ll need Photoshop CS3 Extended to do your work in – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxCLx1ljKgo

Need some inspiration, host your Blender videos or get some additional training, then take a look at Blender Videos: http://www.blendervideos.com/
If you’re looking for more textures and freebies, here are some site to help you to build your library of resources:
3D Total’s Free Textures – http://freetextures.3dtotal.com/
Media Militia – http://www.blendervideos.com/
WireCase – http://www.wirecase.com/Gallery-Free-3D-Models_s-2_v-20-1_f-fc-0-321_f-fpx-_f-fpn-_f-oid-.html
Need to build up your sound effects library? Try FlashKithttp://www.flashkit.com/
Yo will have the options to a) try the effect before you begin the download; b) decide on whether to download a WAV or MP3.

Some notes on FlashKit:
Don’t let the name and nature of the site fool you. Once you download these files, you can use them over and over again in a multitude of media. Also, although MP3’s are faster to download, these files are heavily compressed. Best practice in multimedia design is to use a WAV file, since it is full of harmonics and range (and it can be in stereo), then re-compress it when you render out your projects.

If you are interested in creating your own city, then this free downloadable script is for you.
The Suicidator City Generator is available from this site:
http://arnaud.ile.nc/sce/

Here is what your city could look like:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HROU3gLcgfg&feature=PlayList&p=81E6BA0B1F7E4710&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=35
This is how-to install the script and run it in Blender:
Video instructions on how-to work with the script – Note: NO AUDIO – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzRWpkTR8gU&feature=channel
Well that’s all I got for this round!
Til next time.
-VegaDMS

Online Texture CD for Blender

April 12, 2010

Here are some Textures, Plug-Ins and more:

The Blender Texture Disc

Enjoy!

-VegaDMS

Blender Resources, part 2 (advanced)

April 12, 2010
Here are some resources where you can find additional tutorials, plug-ins and python scripts.
When you come across a python script, its file extension will look like this: .py

Copy this file and paste it in the SCRIPTS folder located under: .blender
Look for this:
C:\Program Files\Blender\.blender\scripts
LuxRender
http://www.luxrender.net/
LuxRender is a physically based and unbiased rendering engine. Based on state of the art algorithms, LuxRender simulates the flow of light according to physical equations, thus producing realistic images of photographic quality.
BlenderNation (Tutorials for various versions of Blender)
http://www.blendernation.com/links/browse/tutorials-type/
Alien HelpDesk (Scripts for 2.4x & 2.5x)
http://www.alienhelpdesk.com/index.php?id=16
SWiK (More Scripts)
http://swik.net/blender+scripts
FYI: Scripts include an exporter to After Effects. (Looking forward to working with this one.)
Pret-A-3D (Tutorials)
http://preta3d.com/
GTA Garage (GTA Mod Database for Models)
http://www.gtagarage.com/mods/index.php
FYI: GTA = Grand Theft Auto
Rozengain’s Blog (Anyone designing games in Flash?)
http://www.rozengain.com/blog/2008/01/02/export-your-blender-objects-straight-to-away3d-papervision3d-and-sandy/
FYI: This script allows you to export to ActionScript 3.0 from Blender!!!
Note: Papervision3D integrates into Flash to allow the creation of 3D.
Link: http://www.papervision3d.org/
Til next time…

-VegaDMS


The Downloads, part 1

April 8, 2010

Hello and Welcome!
If you’ve read my earlier posts and wondered where to get Blender, here you go:Blender:
http://www.blender.org/
Also, if you are into Character Design, then you may want to look into DAZ Studio:DAZ Studio: http://www.daz3d.com/

FREE Models to work with: http://www.daz3d.com/i/3d-models/free-3d-models?cat=382&_m=d

Plug-Ins and other additional features for Blender can be found in my previous entry, “Blender Resources”.
Gotta run…

-VegaDMS

Media Player with Built-In Feeds

February 23, 2010

Hello,

As you know, I’m working with 3D software. I’ve used Maya, 3DS Max, Poser, Blender and Bryce – all in very small capacities for animation. Currently, I’m working with DAZ and Blender for Character Design and Game Design.

The Internet is a great source of inspiration and instruction. I’ve come across a very interesting and very useful tool in the form of an open source media player.

Miro – is the name of the player and it is available on PC, Mac and Linux. I know, like the world needs another media player. I love my VideoLan VLC player. The difference is that Miro has a built-in library of video feeds called “channels”. These channels cover a pantheon of subjects. Whether you’re looking for some new forms of entertainment of looking for a library of instructional videos on Blender, GIMP, Photoshop, Linux or anything else, this player has what you’re looking for.

Check it out and let me know what you think of Mirohttp://www.getmiro.com/

Til next time…you’ve been Teknolized!

-VegaDMS

Blender Resources

February 23, 2010
Hi there,
Some Blender resources to share with everyone.
Blender Guru (Tutorials)
Blender Art (Downloadable e-Magazine)
Blender Artist’s
Blender Newbies
Blender Online Manual
Blender Model Repository
Blender for Architects
51 Blender Tutorials
555 Blender Tutorials
Create an animated 3D text with Blender
Introduction to Smoke Simulation

 


 

Blender Forums

CG Society
Tutorialized: Blender 3D

 


 

Need to find FREE 3D Models to use in your production?

Click here to find a list of “60 Excellent Free 3D Model Websites

FYI: 3D Models may be created for other 3D programs, but may still work with Blender.

Link.

 


Need some add-ons for Blender? Try these on:
http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=85722
http://brendonmurphy1.googlepages.com/materiallibrary’s
http://www.swineworld.org/blender/gears/
http://www.harkyman.com/bp.html
http://www.blinken.com/blender-plugins.php
http://www.luxrender.net/
http://www.yafaray.org/
According to one of the sites…
Adding Libraries to Blender:
– Adding the Presets.
– Download & extract the blend file to a safe place -.blender/materials works for me.
– Open Blender (not the material preset file yet) go: File/Append & browse to the materials preset file.
– Select Scene “Materials” (the only scene) you will now have a new scene called “Materials”
go back to your default/normal start up scene.
– Press ctrl/u (windows) to save user defaults.

– Now each time you open Blender you have instant access.

 

Til next time…
-VegaDMS

Online review of “how-to” videos for Blender

February 23, 2010
Hi Everyone,

I’m just starting to get into 3D Animation. Although I love animation and anime, I had never really wanted to get involved with this medium. (I much rather get into designing and developing comic books.) But, recently, clients have been requesting some degree of animation. Now, I have experience and background (20+ years) in multimedia, so I’ve had my hands full for a while. So, now I’ve begun my newest adventure in 3D Animation and Video Game Design – I’m actually looking forward to this!

I know I’m supposed to review 2 online “how-to” video tutorials and post, but I’ve been working on creating text that turns into liquid in Blender and in order to pull this effect off, I had 4 tutorials to help me create the effect.
The Tuts are:

[A]

YouTube – how-to create liquid in blender
Liquid Simulation Blender Tutorial” (Blender v:2.44)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srGx2nkEkFA
This is the video that started it all with my approach to having text turn into liquid. Although highly informative, the audio quality is not the greatest but still clear enough to understand the instructions. Video quality is average-to-low. Meaning, that while you can see what he is doing on the [small] screen, the screen becomes somewhat blurred when you switch to full screen mode. Also, note that he is using version 2.44 and that there will be a button or two that will lead you somewhere else in version 2.49b.
My issue with this video is that it is longer than it needs to be. Simply put, he could have edited out some errors that we the viewers have to painfully sit through and therefore attract more viewers. Please see Tutorials C & D as they are EXTREMELY much shorter (and faster) at getting to the point.
I must say, though, this video is a great starting point for creating objects that turn into liquid. Mastering this technique first will help to go to the next level.

 

Running Time: 14:06

 


 

[B]

YouTube – how-to create text in blender 2.49b
Ira Krakow’s Text Objects Blender 2.49b Tutorial
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFgHt2mcLK8
Ira has a clear professional approach to instruction. The quality of the audio is crisp and clear at all times. Video quality is also high, which works great when you go to a full screen.
If you want to learn how-to work with text, then this video will demonstrate many aspects of working with text. Some of the items covered include: Adding Text; Extruding & Beveling; Text follows Path; Selecting a different Font; Adding Color to Text; Adding Color to different parts of Text; and more.
I strongly suggest subscribing to the “Ira Krakow” channel as he is one of the first to post tutorials for the newest version of Blender 2.5.

Running Time: 10:00

 


 

[C]

YouTube – how-to make text into a mesh in blender
Blender 2.48 – Convert text to fluid simulation” (Blender v:2.48)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDIHzZ2z_aE
Sharp video quality allows you to go full screen, however, there is no audio. This video is not for the faint of heart since it flies through the procedures that will eventually allow you turn text into liquid.
It’s a good idea to just watch the video several times prior to attempting to create this simulation.
Careful attention should be paid to this since the instructor is using an older version of Blender – version 2.48.

Running Time: 1:27

 


 

[D]

YouTube – how to create liquid in blender
Blender Tutorials (General) – Fluid Animation basics
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOZN9GYdW6w
Here is another video that is not for the faint of heart. With a running time of only 2-minutes and 28-seconds, this video takes you through the paces of creating and object and assigning it as a “fluid” item within an enclosure that is designated as the “domain” in which the action will take place.
I recommend viewing this several times before attempting to re-create since there is absolutely no audio to lead you along. The video quality is very good and switch to HD sharpens the picture that much more. For a more detailed approach as well as a slower pace, please see Tutorial A above.

 

Running Time: 2:28

 


 

As you can see, I had to figure out where to mash-up the videos in order to get the end results. My workflow began with establishing the “domain” or container for the liquid, then inserting an object. In my case the object was “text”. The trick here was to convert the “text” into a “mesh” so I can then assign it as a “fluid” item otherwise, it could not be assigned. The rest of the procedure is explained in the videos above.

Well folks, I hope this entry helps.

Til next time…you’ve been Teknolized!

-VegaDMS

Game Design – part 1

February 22, 2010

The Journey Begins!

If you’re wondering why I’ve started a blog, well, there are several reasons:
1) To keep myself in check as to what the procedure is for developing a video game from concept to actually playing the game.
2) Devise a “textbook” (or a “cookbook”) for myself in the event I may have to do this again.  Plus, if any of this is helpful to anyone out there interested in Game Design.
3) Writing is a discipline.  I hope to continue to hone my skills.
4) To get other contributors who have either been through the paces, are going through them, or are contemplating the journey ahead to join in and offer their knowledge to the rest of us.
5) To post information on other areas of the Digital TechScape.  My background is in Mass Communication, Digital Media, Graphic Design and Information Technology.

Game Design from the point of view of illustrating concepts and designs is not new to me. However, from the point of view of actually building the game is where I am completely out of my element. I enjoy playing games when I get the opportunity, but to create a game never crossed my radar – until recently.

I’ve been exploring and testing the power house software known as Blender.  For those of you who may not know, Blender is an open source software – in other ways, FREE to download.  It is cross-platform compatible, meaning, you can download it to a PC, Mac and Linux computer.  Blender is both a 3D animation program and a 3D game engine for designing, creating, testing and publishing video games.
The programming language behind Blender is Python.  Programmers have written libraries of python scripts for you to download and use.  These scripts allow you do a variety of tasks and expand the features and functionalities of Blender.  Do you need to know python?  It certainly won’t hurt, but Blender is designed to function well with or without you having a programming background.
In my quest to explore the realm of game design, I’ve come across an important aspect that cannot be overlooked – the Game Design Documents.  It’s clear that if the game designers/developers do not have the information needed to create the game documented, then components to the game (some of which may be vital) may be left out.
Over the course of the next few months, I am going to post Blender Resources covering Tutorials, Plug-Ins, Python Scripts, Game Design Documentation and much more for both Blender 2.49b and Blender 2.5 – as well as an update on how my progress is going on my own project(s).

In the event, you’re thinking about getting involved in game design, here are some tools to help you get started.  The list below is by no means a complete list, just a good “jump-on” point to get a general overview of the software and its capabilities.
Download Blender:
Blender 2.5 (Alpha 1*)

*Although 2.5 is the newest version, it is still in Alpha mode.  This means that there are some bugs in the system and there maybe certain features that may appear on the screen but have not yet been fully developed or tested.  Bottom line is that for many, Blender 2.5 may not be ready for prime time.
I will be working with Blender 2.49b, but I will be experimenting and orientating myself to Blender 2.5.
Python (For those who want to learn to program):
-PyCon (Python Convention) just took place in Atlanta, Georgia
Details on the PyCon site

Free Python Scripts for Blender:
Alien HelpDesk (Scripts for 2.4x & 2.5x)
SWiK (More Scripts)

Game Design Documentation:

I hope this gives you a taste of what to expect from this blog.  Yes, there will be other entries involving other technology just to break things up a bit.  But Blender will be a part of me for the next few months.

Keep your eyes open (or subscribe) to get the latest on my journey into 3D!


Til next time…you’ve been Teknolized!
-VegaDMS

Hello world!

February 11, 2010

Hello and Welcome!

This blog, as you can tell from the title, revolves around technology.  Now there are many great technology blogs out there, who have been at this for much longer than I have.  I do tip my hat to those of you who I read up on.  What is the difference between those blogs and mine is that I will be loading this page with tons of useful resources for the multisphere of venues that exist in multimedia, a.k.a. digital media.  Also, whenever possible, I will post “how-to” videos on topics such as Web Design, Graphic Design, Video Editing Audio Recording & Mixing, Game Design and much more.

“Yes”, this is an ambitious and aggressive project, but as a Digital Media Specialist, I get contracts that require me to work in any number of aspects of the digital realm.  Some aspects, such as 3D Animation, are foreign to me.  I love animation/anime, but, I never thought about actually creating my own, let alone, create material for someone else.  Yet, I’ve had to produce a couple of short pieces of 3D animation – of which, I can only demonstrate one of them.  Many of my contracts are under a non-disclosure cause and therefore I cannot showcase those assignments.  However, when I come across a technique or some software that perhaps someone out there may benefit from, I will give a review on that software and/or produce a tutorial for that software.

Currently, I’m involved with the updating of one client website; the maintenance of another site, which is about to go through a massive re-design; the design of not one but two digital portfolio; and about three other sites – for which, I don’t collect a cent for these last three.  I’m also involved with the promotion of “the client” website ranging from SEO to the Social Networking scene to getting the work my client does onto e-book websites, such as Scribd; as well as utilizing media server such as YouTube; and much more.

Over time, I will post information about my journey’s through the world of design, development, production and distribution. Hopefully, this will shed some light on what we do here at VISIONES – the Spanish word for “visions”.  I hope you can come along and help to spread the “concept” of creating a technology-savvy community.

Again, “Welcome” and “Thanks”!!!

-VegaDMS