Mar 7 2007, 09:17 AM
Not making any promises. I may get very busy in the next few months and have to drop this project from my schedule. I initially scribbled this piece of junk on a sheet of notebook paper and scanned it in for fiddling around. Early days.
The clue is in the topic title. If you are familiar with my image contests over the years the subject of this project may become clear. I will confess it is going to be very ambitious and will probably kill me... but at least I have most of the modeling already done (hint hint)Click to view attachment
p.s. This has NOTHING to do with my early... failed... participation in the TWO project.
Mar 7 2007, 12:00 PM
Well since I know you're good at the mechanical -- especailly the little bits -- this should turn out great.
Mar 7 2007, 12:32 PM
Well, looking at your past work, I can see where this might be heading - and it's going to be fantastic! Wow - you are really amazing at technical modeling/texturing/rendering - absolutely stunning!
I hope that you have the time to complete this!
Mar 7 2007, 01:32 PM
QUOTE(heyvern @ Mar 7 2007, 11:17 AM)
p.s. This has NOTHING to do with my early... failed... participation in the TWO project.
Not failed! Your work is getting used!
Mar 7 2007, 04:46 PM
I've been thinking about doing this exact project for a long time. This seems like a good opportunity to try it. My only concern is that all of those other projects were HUGE just by themselves. Putting them all in one scene may prove to be the end of me.
There was no way I could have done this type of thing in a month for the AM mechanical contest.
I may have to render separate chunks and use AM composite... or I may simplify each model. I can easily reduce all the image maps by a huge amount since none will be seen so close. That should help a lot in memory mangagement.
I will definitely reduce splinage on some of the smaller items. You don't need so many patches on a tiny bolt the size of a grain of sand in the final image. I can remove highly detailed hinges that aren't visible either.
I plan to go with a nonspecific era. Is it the future? An alternate past? A mixture of old tech and new tech. I love that kind of thing.
It will probably be more in line with my steam powered computer image. Lots of rich warm inlaid wood, like a library. Old fashioned hanging ceiling lights mixed with harsh modern fluorescents. And "luxo" type lamps on tables.
I hope to include many little references to all of my past projects... lots of predone models... WooHoo! The actual setting will be the most new work.
I will be starting this with my current computer setup and AM v13, but most likely will be finishing it on a new machine with v14... depends on when my financial situation improves. I almost had enough to buy a new computer... but all those bills! Got to keep the water and phone on... or I will dehydrate and can't go online and post here right?
I plan to work SLOW. Just when I feel like it for short periods, so I don't burn out and lose my mojo. I often jump in like a demon and fry my brain. That works for a short deadline.
I have been... avoiding looking at that section of TWO. I am still a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to continue participating and I still feel a little sad about it.
I've decided that the only balls dropped on projects like this from now on will be my own.
... uh... ick. That sounds weird but you get the idea.
I have problems with these long extended deadlines, I lose my juice. I do great with short, kill me now, deadlines.
Mar 7 2007, 07:15 PM
I may have to render separate chunks and use AM composite
Thats cool, but also notice that nowhere in the rules does it say that you can't use some other package as well. You have to use AM but you can show the world how well it plays with others to ;-)
Oh, and outfreakingtastic! I was hoping you'd jump into the ring. Now its on Texas Death match style! See my post in the initial thread for a little trash talking ;-)
Can't wait to see where this goes. You're sketch initially made me think of the lab from Edward Scissorhands.
Can't wait to see the progress.
Mar 7 2007, 08:42 PM
I plan to "cheat" and use lots of decals.
My father collects books. Lots of old books. I plan to take photos for use as texture maps for the book shelves. He has lots of old junk in the basement that I can use for textures and resource to cut down on the modeling time.
Growing up, my parents basement was my mad laboratory of research and... uh... destruction. I use to make my own toys and gadgets. They bought me toys, but that was never good enough. I once built a primitive electronic car racing game using a loop of paper with cars drawn on it winding around a spool using an old tape cassette player motor and casing. A stationary car on the end could be turned to avoid the other cars as they rolled past.
Using a broken GIJoe as a template I constructed a posable arm and torso using shaped wooden dowels, metal rods and springs. I never did finish the whole thing. I stole the springs and rods from a "broken" typewriter (it became "broken" when I needed the parts).
Going back even further, I constructed space ships from those old MacDonald's Styrofoam big mac containers and some masking tape. I was able to cut windows and functional doors and landing gear from several of those combining them together to create mulitple sections and external vehicles. Each Sunday after going to church (I was a child and forced to attend cabalistic religious ceremonies on the last day of each week) the family stopped at MacDonald's. I always saved the containers.
I was also forced many times to add additional features to electronic toys I received as gifts. This almost always involved adding some sort of volume control or head phone attachment that the original designers neglected to include.
My father was a school teacher and principal when I was young. They often threw out broken equipment, overhead projectors, slide projectors, cassette players etc. The had boxes of this stuff that was just thrown in a dumpster when often all it needed was a new switch or wiring. I had lots of old gizmos to scavenge parts. I was able to build an overhead projector from 3 or 4 broken ones that I used for nearly 10 years. It was great in art school for projecting sketches on to canvas. I had several of those cool Fresnel lenses from old overhead projectors.
My father scavenged an old spot light that was headed to the dump. This thing was HUGE and POWERFUL, and pretty old. We replaced the plug, bought a new bulb, fixed the colored jells (cellophane discs inside that changed the color of the light). He still has it. We used it nearly 15 years ago now, for a play my father wrote about one of our ancestors. It was produced for one production at a family reunion.
I think this illustration will be a sort of tribute to those memories. I think all of my illustrations like this stem from those childhood memories of tinkering in the basement.
My father has tried for years to clean up that basement. It is a losing battle.
Mar 8 2007, 12:04 PM
I did a very quick "blueprint" of the R & D building.
It is very very tall with many floors (not shown of course). At the top will be a huge skylight. The light will be greatly reduced by the time it hits the bottom floor where the main lab is located. This room will have light from the floor above but the area in the front (to the camera) will be dark and mostly lit from area lights.
Each floor above the bottom floor will have an open center portion with a railing (I love railings now).
I am going to use an alternating tread stair so they don't take as much room. I never heard of these types of stairs before. Very interesting and take half the space because the rise can be much steeper. Most building code place these types of stairs in the ladder category but I am taking liberties. Automated Mechanics is a secretive company and doesn't always follow the rules.Click to view attachment
That's it for now. I have to go make some spam... dagnabbit. I make spam now. At least it's opt in.
Mar 8 2007, 06:35 PM
Great story Vern, It gave me many images or lost toy civilizations and cardboard tube columns along ancient Apian ways constructed of felt and wookblock bricks.
Mar 10 2007, 12:39 AM
As it turns out Automated Mechanics has been under investigation by the government for illegal purchase and sale of restricted technologies. As a result they recently implemented stricter restrictions for access to the R & D lab. Still trying to get better source material. You'd think since I "made the whole thing up" they'd let me in to look around.Click to view attachment
p.s. Due to system and time limitations an image of a fully assembled Android Cavebear will most likely not be feasible. I'll keep trying though. I think they are working on the iCavebear product line... just speculation at this point... apparently someone else owns the trademark.
Mar 14 2007, 10:55 AM
You have a mental imagination Vern,Can't wait to see more of this.
Mar 14 2007, 02:02 PM
Wow, I am really liking your enviroment so far.
Mar 14 2007, 02:54 PM
I did a routine system update the other day (OS X 10.3.9) and installed the latest version of QT. I had been using QT 6.x.
Suddenly now I can't do a final render in AM v13 (the last version that ran on a NON TIGER system).
Is QT the reason? Should I try and reinstall the old QT?
Mar 14 2007, 03:03 PM
Yup... it's QT.
Does anyone know how to revert back?
Dagnabbit. I've been avoiding upgrading QT and I forgot to uncheck it this time. Dangit!
Mar 14 2007, 03:33 PM
QUOTE(heyvern @ Mar 14 2007, 06:03 PM)
Yup... it's QT.
Does anyone know how to revert back?
Dagnabbit. I've been avoiding upgrading QT and I forgot to uncheck it this time. Dangit!
Never tried it myself, but there's this:http://mac.softpedia.com/get/Video/QuickTi...installer.shtml
Mar 14 2007, 04:29 PM
nice work so far, whats the lighting gonna be like?
Mar 14 2007, 06:39 PM
I'm watching and reading with great interest, Vern. How's it feel to be back in the saddle again?
Mar 14 2007, 07:44 PM
It is fun working on this project. I always loved doing stills with AM. I can put in tons of minute over the top detail... almost like a... non moving animated image. I have a feeling I will probably have to do some sort of walk through of this one though.
I will try to post a new render as soon as I can get QT working again. Funny, according to some links I found, there may be a problem with the LATEST GREATEST version of QT... the one they just did to fix some security holes. Some people are having trouble. If I can't get it working I may have to upgrade to Tiger. It's still sitting in a box under my desk.
QUOTE(largento @ Mar 14 2007, 06:33 PM)
Tried it. Only works with QT 7.01. I am extremely PISSED OFF now. I can't believe it. there is no way to easily remove the latest version of QT 7. No way to go back. I guess I can try to remove it by hand or use the terminal... I read somewhere that removing QT using the terminal could prevent your machine from booting. This STINKS!
Mar 14 2007, 08:06 PM
I have to reinstall the entire system FROM THE ORIGINAL INSTALLATION DISKS just to remove QT 7.1.5....
I am lying on the floor in a fetal position weeping silently. I hate Apple now. I really do. They should provide some way to uninstall BAD UPDATES!
Mar 14 2007, 10:13 PM
Well, I found out how to revert back to QT 6.5.2 from 7.1.5.... it was not fun but it didn't require reinstalling the system.
If anyone wants to know how just follow these instructions:http://fox-gieg.com/tutorials/2005/undo-quicktime-7/
Basically go back to 7.0.2 then back to 7.0.1 then back to 6.5.2. I suppose this would work for any version before 7.1.5 if you saved the installers. The last "reinstaller" from apple seems to be 7.0.2 to 7.0.1. I predict there will be one for 7.1.5 any day now. It apparently has MANY issues.
Here is the latest render. Added the library ladder (temporary for now. Need to modify it to fit over the desks/counters).
I put in bones for the books on the shelf. I can put in a bunch of copies of the same group of books model and move the individual books around using the bones to make them look different. File was getting hard to work with putting multiple copies of all those books in one model.Click to view attachment
Mar 15 2007, 04:47 AM
WOW, Vern! This is looking phenomenal. I hate to say it, but you definitely put your foot in your mouth by even mentioning the possibility of a tutorial for this. I already want one
. Your modeling is so precise. So definitely have complete control of A:M. A:M is still controlling me when I want to model something. Bloody splines! I try to make them like this "+" but sometimes they come out like this "S". gggrrrrrrrr.....
Beautiful work. I can't wait to see further progress.
Mar 15 2007, 05:19 AM
QUOTE(heyvern @ Mar 14 2007, 10:44 PM)
If I can't get it working I may have to upgrade to Tiger. It's still sitting in a box under my desk.
Why not run Tiger, Vern? Especially if you've already paid for it.
I'm on an Intel Mac now, but I ran Tiger on my G4 iMac and it ran very well. Lot of neat things with it (dashboard, smart folders, etc.), too.
Mar 15 2007, 07:48 AM
This is going to be interesting... I just hope I can keep my enthusiasm. I will have to take a break from this for a short while to do some other things but I look forward to seeing the whole process documented... I've never really done that before.
I would switch to Tiger but I'm not sure how well my Mac will handle it (it's old). I will have to go through that whole... transition as well, plus I still have a few apps that run classic and I'm not sure they would work with Tiger. Took me ages to switch to OSX. The switch to Tiger is going to cost me some money. I will have to upgrade several applications. Everything works fine with my current system. I need to wait until I have absolutely no choice.
I hate change.
Mar 16 2007, 01:42 PM
Heyvern- I'm just seeing this thread for the first time and I'm sorry you had the probs with QT. There is (or used to be) a way to revert that I believe was buried somewhere on the Apple site. They don't make it easy but it's doable.
The environment is looking great and I enjoyed the stories of your many "science experiments" and adventures in the basement. Sounds a lot like basements I spent time in as a kid.
I'm looking forward to this developing.
Mar 16 2007, 02:14 PM
and my question on the lighting remains unanswered....
Mar 16 2007, 04:42 PM
I haven't completely settled on the lighting. As I said in one of my earlier posts, it is a tall building with a large skylight at the top. Each floor is open down the center so some light gets to the basement floor shown in the image.
I plan to have some light reach this room but most of the lighting will be area lights. It depends on if I decide to present this during work hours or if the building is empty, like a weekend afternoon with some late sunlight streaming through. I would like to have streaming light (what's that called darnit!) but it depends on the render times and how it effects the image quality. I might do that part as a composite... not even vaguely close to lighting yet anyway... anything could happen.
I've decided to go with a HUGE old, wood paneled library type atmosphere with tons of books on shelves everywhere. I have a pretty good technique for doing really cool looking books with out having tons of geometry. Just very detailed image decals on simple box geometry. Probably use some displacement and bump. I will create a series of tiling book decals for different styles, old, new, periodicals, manuals, binders, software boxes etc. Then just slap them on different models and pop them on the shelves in the chor.
Book shelves closer to the camera will use a more detailed "books" model. It will have individual books that can be moved/arranged as I like using bones.
High tech stuff like computers and "strange" devices will be mixed with the old style for some interesting contrast.
I am trying to go for a really "old" lived in kind of feel. Like this place has been around for ages and just adapts to the changes around it. Like turning an old hotel into office space, or an old bank that was turned into a restaurant (real place. You can eat dinner in the vault. They left in the huge metal door. If you can't pay the bill I guess they just lock you in there).
I imagine Automated Mechanics probably started out making tin toys or manual typewriters or hand cranked washing machines.
Apple's only recommendation to remove a bad QT update is to reinstall the system. They did create 2 previous QT "reinstallers" but that's it and they only work for those EXACT versions of QT (stupid).
I found another site that links to a program called "Pacifist" which can extract individual components from inside .pkg files. Without that option my only choice would have been to start from scratch installing the system and reinstalling all of the updates... would have taken hours and hours.
Pacifist is pretty cool. You can actually open the system installers and "extract" individual programs like QT or the Dock or whatever. I am NOT very tech savvy despite appearances. It worked perfectly just following the instructions. When I "reinstalled" QT using Pacifist it overwrites the previous files in all the right places. Apples installers won't do that. Once again... that's just stupid.
Mar 19 2007, 12:03 PM
Just experimenting with some textures.
The wood looks pretty good. The books are temporary. I have not photographed the final images yet. These are just some low rest images I found on the web for testing purposes.
I built this shelving unit like the "real thing"... planks and boards assembled together. For decaling I created a pose and moved and rotated all the boards into position... like when you spray paint stuff before assembly. I was able to stamp almost all the surfaces at one time from each view... for larger areas (like all the shelves) I had to stamp twice.
When I was done... uh... oops... I had done all my editing IN THE MODEL WINDOW instead of the pose window. I closed what I thought was the pose window only to see the untouched pose window staring back at me. <sigh>
I debated starting again and redecaling... but then I just reassembled it. Decaling those long thin bevels is difficult for me. I have to zoom in on them and make sure they get stamped... takes more time than just putting the shelving unit back together again.
It was very much like assembling Ikea furniture. At one point I couldn't tell if one of the planks went at the top or bottom.Click to view attachment
Mar 19 2007, 08:16 PM
nice textures... this is turning out great
Mar 20 2007, 01:35 AM
Looking good Vern,
I hear your pain on the Decaling side of thing's.Being a total noob on this part of the subject it's taking me forever to do,and i don't want to even go into the amount of mistakes I'm making.
Keep up the good work.
Mar 20 2007, 05:53 PM
Stop intimidating me.. I'm supposed to be doing that
This is looking Awesome! I'm cursing the work gods right now for making me so busy. I feel like the proverbial race horse stuck in the gate while you guys are finishing your second lap.
Don't lose your enthusiasm Vern. It'll all be worth it in the end. And its looking great.
Keep it up.
Mar 20 2007, 07:21 PM
I'm busy too! Imagine if I was working on this full time!
When I did some of those image contests in the past I would work feverishly without stopping for like a week or two straight... get into a real frenzy. It's nice to take a few days off and let my brain percolate while I work on other things.
Dangit all though. Have to go back to Ikea and pick up some more library units. I decided to have the library shelves go the full length of the bottom floor... all the way around. That image in my last post will be floor to ceiling with the crown molding all of the way around. I have to be careful with my wood textures so I don't get a repeating pattern. Currently I have one image that I used to decal almost the whole unit without repeating. I just slide it around on each stamp. There will probably be sections with out book shelves that are just wood paneling.
The desk units will be similar to old paneled libraries that are built into the shelves. Plus I will incorporate modern tables into the mix.
I plan to have an oriental rug over the hard wood floor. I wonder how much that will cost. Maybe I can get one cheap on ebay.
Definitely going to be some anachronistic mixture of styles... old leather bound books next to plasma displays... abacus and slide rules next to computers.
I've decided the area pictured will be a general "public" work area. A lot of the messier experimental work areas will be in other unseen rooms that are accessed from this main room. there will be those "old fashioned" door plaques that stick out to indicate each rooms purpose; Genetics, Robotics, Quantum Physics, Polychorons & Dimensional Analogy... etc (That last one got them into a bit of trouble. Automated Mechanics is under investigation by the government for possible misuse of 4th dimensional studies when they released their Holographic 4-Dimensional Slice Viewer® product line. Apparently with some modifications you could potentially view all sides of a 3 dimensional object including the inside, simultaneously using the included 4 dimensional viewing device... similar to those night vision camcorders some years ago that could see through clothing when used during the day time. Jokes around the lab often involve the concept of AM executives watching you from the inside out.)
Mar 21 2007, 05:06 PM
Here's a book sample:Click to view attachment
Very low patch count... less that 200? There's only 250 or so CPs so it must be low. The inside pages section for instance is only 6 patches.
Anyway, this book will be used for books closer to the camera out on display so to speak. I need to create several more variations of the textures.
Mar 21 2007, 05:12 PM
very luvly beautiful books
Mar 21 2007, 06:12 PM
Mar 21 2007, 06:41 PM
This is looking amazing, Vern!
Mar 22 2007, 05:20 PM
I'm already so glad I started all this. Just for that book let alone all the other amazing stuff going on. The final output for this whole contest is going to be worthy of a lost world Museum!!! ...
Mar 23 2007, 12:18 AM
It would appear there are some very obscure and out of print books in the library at Automated Mechanics.Click to view attachment
Mar 23 2007, 05:01 PM
Another closer view... it will never be this big in the final but I like the look. Need to desaturate the pages a bit... a little to "colorful"Click to view attachment
Mar 23 2007, 07:10 PM
Wow Vern! Those books are image-contest winners on their own! You've done some great work so far.... So you've been hinting at this thing like people should know what it is. Would a Hasher of such a tender age as myself know?
Mar 23 2007, 07:46 PM
You would need to check my image contest entries from the last few years on hash.com. Specifically the mechanical image contest theme. There is also an entry from the '03 (?) stereo image theme that fits into this "universe" that has developed. I created a fictional company called Automated Mechanics (my tribute to A:M) that manufactures all sorts of... wierd stuff. There are about 3 images in total I think.
The images show what happens after the FedEx box has arrived at a customers home... I had always though about the inner workings of this "mysterious" company and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to pursue it.
... it all started with the "Android Cave Bear"
many years ago...
(ActivoMoto Toys is a fully own subsidiary of Automated Mechanics. Hard to read in the fine print of the Dandy DNA Wonder Womb image)
Mar 25 2007, 09:38 PM
I'm having some issues with lighting.
Should I use bulb lights? Spot lights? One of the problems I have is getting details in the bump areas. I used a lighting set up that has been good for other projects in the past but this space is so much larger, and with all the walls and objects I am washing out a lot of my nice bump maps and having trouble getting a nice overall subtle fill lighting.
Does anyone with more experience in architectural AM modeling have any suggestions for lighting large spaces like this?
I will get there eventually... I keep poking at it till it works.
Mar 26 2007, 10:51 AM
Those books are excellent, I'd like a nice wallpaper just with those books
As for your lights... I would personally use spot lights and give them some volumetric muggyness
I'd place a few just to fake the light bounces and different tents of shadows
Mar 27 2007, 02:18 AM
Thanks for the lighting tip. It's working well.
These are just some tests with the new rug. Need to boost the resolution for the rug. I also plan to retexture the book shelves. My parents have an antique walnut pump organ. I am going to photograph the wood texture for the wood work in the main room area.
That organ has some really nice wood...
uh... that sounds really dirty... now that I think about it. Click to view attachmentClick to view attachment
Mar 27 2007, 04:19 AM
It's all looking great, Vern, but the woodgrain, on the shelves, appears to be running the wrong way at the moment
Mar 27 2007, 08:44 AM
In some places... yes... the woodgrain is wrong.... will fix.
Apr 27 2007, 04:01 AM
I've decided to make the room bigger. Probably add some tables. Still waiting on the contractors to finish putting up the rest of the shelves. Have to take up the rug to put a few coats of finish on the wood floors.Click to view attachment
Apr 27 2007, 05:42 AM
Honestly, liked the claustrophobic feel of the narrower room. However, the wider space has more room for interesting junk. Hmmm…
The carpet is a nice addition.
Apr 27 2007, 05:44 AM
It looks very cool. The texture work is amazing.
I'll make a few pointers that I think could spruce it up. Take them or leave them.
1. The ceiling seems to low. I might double the height of the current bookshelves and put a more vaulted ceiling in.
2. Its very closed off from the outside world, which may be what you are going for. A chamber far underground perhaps? I'd still figure out some way to have some sort of exterior lighting come in.. maybe a sky light above? Or alternatively add some plants in there.. perhaps giant Venus fly traps or something?
3. A hint at some vast other rooms might be cool to. Like some huge chamber in the background or something.
Thats all I have. Looking awesome Mr. Ashcroft ;-)
Apr 27 2007, 06:48 AM
It looks amazing, Vern!
Obviously I don't know what you have in mind for your composition but I am wondering how this warm, sumptuous environment fits in with the industrial title of your image.
Apr 27 2007, 07:33 AM
QUOTE(Paul Forwood @ Apr 27 2007, 10:48 AM)
... but I am wondering how this warm, sumptuous environment fits in with the industrial title of your image.
Now you're getting it!
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