29 June

Marker review!

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Lastpotbrewed202

 

Trying out a new set of markers by “Chalk This Way” – the standard set of 10 markers with a mix of neon and regular colors: http://www.amazon.com/Premium-LIQUID-CHALK-Markers-Book/dp/B00CD33ML6/ref=pd_bxgy_ac_img_y

Pros: My favorite thing about these is that they can cover fully if you take your time with them.  Expos, crayolas and every other dry-erase marker that I’ve tried leaves streaks when trying to fill in any solid.  The saturation level  is great – the colors are super bright and solid and don’t fade like Crayola’s are very notorious for. The lack of streaks put these at the top of my favorite marker of all time list.  We’ll see how many uses I get out of them. They’re pricey, but they currently seem to be worth it, so for now I’m not putting price down as a ‘con’.

Cons: My least favorite thing is that once they dry, you are more or less stuck with the color. I was going to go back over the curly vines with black, but once the liquid chalk dried, it was like dragging a pencil eraser over the surface.  Since that is a sensation I very much dislike, I stopped here.  Next time I’ll have to do one item and outline at a time and just get it done before it dries.  There is a reasonable about of time between drawing and drying, so I should be alright next time.  It’ll be harder to do backgrounds and use the same markers for a foreground object, however.  It takes about 2 minutes of shaking/tapping per pen to get them started the first time, but at least that lets me know that the pens were never used previously, even for testing.

Next test will involve more of a combination of expo’s and these new markers. I used some green expo here just because I wanted variation in color and a comparison.

‘Chalk This Way’ markers seem to do slightly better if put down horizontally rather than vertically.  You have to tap the tip of the pen every so often to keep the ink flowing if using on a wall mounted surface.  On the bright side, while marketed as chalkboard markers, they work great for white boards, which is why I didn’t know they actually existed until a few weeks ago.

I’ll be trying out mixing the white and black markers (while wet) to see if I can get any kind of consistent grey as well.

As much as I like having a GIANT WHITE BOARD to work on, I may have to suck it up and get another of my own.  It just has too much previous writing on it, and it shows through.

12 June

Freaky

Today is my last day in the Raleigh Newsroom. One of my coworkers celebrated 12 years with News 14/Time Warner Cable News today.  My 10 year work anniversary happens in August.  I’ve been here to see the station change names, go from 4:3 and giant backup tapes to 16:9 and digital HD.  When I started, we made our traffic maps ‘by hand’ in Illustrator and Photoshop using templates that we modified.  Not too long after I started, we switched to Curious Maps (thank the gods).  When I started we only had the one building, and now we’re in Charlotte, Greensboro and Wilmington.  I don’t even remember what software we had before we moved from VizRt to Chyron, but it was a pain in the butt.  Sometimes the only surface indication that something has gone wrong was the sight of a news director dashing past the cubes, but even that hasn’t happened in years.  We went from burnt coffee pots to a k-cup machine and I kept going with my “Last Pot Brewed” dry erase comics, which people liked more than I first realized.  On top of that, no one I’ve talked to here even feels like they could ‘take over’, which equally surprises me.   I’m sort of happy to be with the same company for 10 years, but I’m looking forward to the next adventure.

I applied for a contract job that needs 3D models pumped out.  They want Maya and Max, but I’m hoping Lightwave could work for them too.  (crosses fingers)

My boss had my regular workstation/computer moved to Charlotte and it’s going to be all ready for me when I come into work Sunday at the Charlotte Newsroom.  My office decorations are all packed up and ready to go with me out the door today.  I have a box of duplicate markers that I’m leaving here just in case someone wants to draw on the board too.

It’s pretty awesome that my bosses were not only willing to do this for me, but they moved it along pretty fast.   The new drive won’t be much longer than the old drive to work, and I can still miss the rush hour because of my crazy schedule not changing.

We move the cats this weekend too.  This will be interesting.  I hope life continues to be interesting.

 

3 June

More friend requests for ‘shopping

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Danielle on fire

For whatever reason ‘fire’ keeping getting requested.

I threw this together for my friend Danielle in about 30 minutes. I think she’ll be pleased. Still, I wish I could get people to give me original files instead of just the facebook upload photos.  The bottom-most layer isn’t really good enough for facial details, but I think it works overall.  I ended up just leaving the bushes behind her green just to leave a counter-color opposite all the reds.

Once again, going for kind of a ‘book cover’ sort of feel.

Danielle is Sorsha here, from Willow.

 

27 May

Godzilla and Friends

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Godzilla_and_Friends

My best friend has been bugging me to make her a ‘badass’ photoshop ever since she saw the Jedi confronting the Balrog. So I spent five minutes on this and posted it to her facebook wall.

I’ll make her something nicer soon, but she and her husband (right) will get a kick out of it anyway.

 

26 May

More fun with Lightsabers

Mara_Book

 

My second take on this ‘stalking pose’ from the Star Wars informal photoshoot day on May 17th. I had played with it once, tweaked it, and then ultimately slapped myself on a free existing downloadable background.

I jacked up the lightsaber glow effects, fixed a few lighting issues and probably added an extra filter or two. Overall, I’m happy with it. I really wish the original photo hadn’t come out blurry, but I think it works alright for the ‘book cover’ type effect that I’m going for here.

I love wearing my Mara.

Original photo by Brandon Hurley

 

 

23 May

Meteor Shower web banner

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Had fun making this today on request for the TWCNews website.  A few different layers of images from ThinkStockPhotos.

640x320_Meteor_shower

20 May

Fun with glow

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Chris_shallnotpass

I readily admit this turned out better than I expected.  Chris Burnside is one of our resident “Generic Jedi” at our Blue Ridge Base with Rebel Legion.  We had an informal/non-event photoshoot a couple days ago to get some character shots, and he half-jokingly posed for this “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” shot.  Half an hour ago, I asked him if he could think of any particular shots he wanted glammed up.  He said no, so I took it as a personal challenge.

 

19 May

New Mara Jade photos

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Mara_BWWe had an informal Star Wars photoshoot this weekend with members of our local Rebel Legion group and one of the Carolina Garrison.  Technically, I was in my Garrison version of Mara, since I have the purple lightsaber here that I picked up from SaberForge last year, as a gift from my husband for an anniversary present.  This is the second lightsaber I’ve gotten as a present, and I got him one last year too for the Corran Horn Jedi Robes I’m making him. Eventually, I’ll make him a CorSec flight suit/uniform as well.

I made my original Mara cat/jump suit based off Twi’lek Pam’s information and instructions here: Mara Jade suit

I’m wearing a brand new suit made of 4-way stretch material.  I broke down and bought the good quality vinyl/spandex for from Spandex World, after ordering some samples.  I ordered from the ‘fake leather’ line, which is a 4-way stretch fabric that sewed surprisingly well.  The suit is also extremely comfortable – I fully expected to sweat it in, but I didn’t. I’m not saying it’s breathable, but I could wear this thing all day with no problems.  I haven’t added the piping yet – my serger worked fine on the fabric, but the regular machine that I was borrowing did not. I had finished up some details before crashing at her house before the shoot, and was unable to add the front or back piping using her machine.   My first suit was a lighter, ‘dancer’ type material, and looked good in photos, but it did not hold up.  The original material was so stretchy that I kept getting various lines of bunching when I stitched it together.  This new fabric is much hardier and easier to sew.

We collected out at the Fayetteville Botanical Gardens and had permission to take photos an hour before the regular crowds started showing up.  I got a few photos that I was more or less happy with, and so did everyone else, so I’m calling the event was a success.

I’ll be adding Mara Jumpsuits to my list of things I’ll do on commission, now that I’ve done a few and have figured out the little tricks to it.

 

15 May

New Etsy Item!

True Form Midna sewing instructions, patterns and printable guides.

The PDF has complete instructions for making the cloak.  Later versions will include the skirt and other items.  Midna is my first true costume love, and I still haven’t really retired her, even if I haven’t worn her in over a year.

Back_Pattern inversePurchasing the file also gets you the above pattern that can be printed out full size for someone who is between 5’5″ and 5’8″.  Any more or less, and I’ll do an adjustment and save out a new file, otherwise it can be difficult to position and keep in proportion.

 

15 May

3D Printing an R2

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R2-projector

It probably would have been easier to just remake this damn thing. And I still might end up doing that.

I downloaded a free 3D print R2  and imported it into Lightwave. It was pretty good to begin with, but it was not 3D printer ready. I cut off one of the projector knob things and it had some free edges inside of it, which would not have printed.  And I’m not talking about the part I cut off either.  I filled into some spots, then realized the entire (now) pink area of polys were also free floating with no thickness, so I had to use the Thicken tool on it. Except it didn’t quite work because of all the funky triangles. It also had a free floating cylinder inside that didn’t intersect with anything for no apparent reason.

A couple of months ago, my husband got the bug to build his own R2 unit, specifically, Whistler, who is Corran Horn’s droid in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Whistler is green and grey but otherwise is built the same as Artoo, Luke’s famous companion with a bright shiny silver dome and catapults and whatnot.  The biggest difficulty so far has been obtaining a proper dome – as an R2 dome isn’t quite a half sphere, but is slightly extended, almost egg-shaped.  My hubby has managed to collect motors, wheels and has even programmed the R2 brain in a Raspberry pi.  Whistler has a projector, sheets of styrene set aside for body and feel paneling and even piles of MDF that will be CNC cut out for the legs. The dome has been nearly impossible to find or have made – it is 300 mm high and 465 mm across, but 45 cm is acceptable, as are true half-spheres for the purpose of the approval of the many droid building communities – many of which share around free information and are happy to discuss building methods, parts and their own solutions to the myriad problems of  re-inventing the sci-fi astromech that is so universally well loved.

Since we’re going to the trouble to build and modify 3D printable parts ourselves, I’m making it to those oblong proportions. The free model that I found has a true half-sphere dome and I can’t quite use it.  So the plan is that I’m going to cut off or duplicate all the pieces on the dome, then stretch the dome, cut out the new panels and doors, then cut the dome up into printable pieces. That’s going to be a lot of chopping.

The 3D printer we’ll be using can only handle a 9 inch wide by 13 inch tall area, so the dome must be broken up into at least 8 pieces.

My biggest gripe with the free model (besides sizing) is that it isn’t smooth. If someone printed it as is, it would require a lot of smoothing, which would remove some of the outer shape, which might make pieces too small.  But they couldn’t print it, because it has random floating cylinders in it.  Gr.

3D printing requires some smoothing process as it is, so that’s not a huge issue. but the dome is very complicated, and having to remove too much could have serious consequences for the fitting back together stages.

 

 

 

 

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