5 June

Work work

Recently completed work. We went through a recent upgrade to our weather reporting software, and we are now using prettier background images which are bigger in both resolution and file size for our new and improved weather pieces. My task was to convert 5 city skylines from day to night, and one from night to day, so all 12 could be used as backgrounds depending on the time of day and the city reference. I am most happy with my Charlotte skyline conversion, though Wilmington was a close second, being the biggest pain in the butt to convert because I had to re-make the water line.

Charlotte_Day

Charlotte_Day

Charlotte_NIGHT copy

Charlotte_NIGHT copy

29 May

Because I can’t leave this character alone.

Because I really can't seem to leave this character alone :D

Midna sheds a tear before the mirror shatters

Cosplay photo of myself + Photoshop.

5 May

Twins photoshop

Created by request for my best friend. Her good friend here cosplays as Mr.T. Created in photoshop in about 1.5 hours, from scratch, using a poster image as reference, with separate images for my friend and her friend.

17 April

Chair of Hope – 2012

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Chair of Hope 2012

Chair of Hope – Starry Night

Chair of Hope 2012

Chair of Hope – Starry Night

Yay! I painted something! and updated my blog!

This is the Chair of Hope for 2012.

My workplace participated last year and produced a chair among 6 or so people done to the theme of “Anchorman”. Last year was movies. The chair was pretty good, had some decent construction elements and came together after a few weeks of working on it here and there on weekends. I made red velvet curtains for it.

This year was “Famous works of art”. Not many people at work seemed interested in painting a chair this year, and I nearly blew it off myself. I changed my mind when, after a month of procrastinating and guessing it had been picked already, I emailed the organizer and asked if ‘Starry Night” had been taken. It had not, and he was enthusiastic about me picking it. As yet, no one else was interested in participating, and I was actually kind of excited about doing it myself and not having to split creative differences, especially over an art piece project. My husband had a couple of really good ideas, and drilled the hole in the seat of the chair for me, then cut out the star shape with a jigsaw. He also pretty much did all the wiring for the chair too.

I painted the chair with metallic blue spray paint for a base, then covered some parts with heavy art paper that would still work like a paper lantern. I cut up a printed poster of Starry Night and glued pieces of it to the chair, backing some of them with more art paper. On top of that, there are assorted glow-in-the-dark stars pasted onto various surfaces. In addition, I painted the underside of the seat to look like a swirling galaxy. The organizer mentioned the chairs would be displayed on tables before auction, so I didn’t want to let a surface go to waste. I mixed and poured resin into the star shape in the center of the seat, which took about 3 days to fully cure. The lightbulb mounted under the seat was a high-efficiency low-watt bulb to keep from setting anything on fire. Also mounted under the chair is a light switch with a 3 ft cord.

James Hunt, the organizer, was very happy with my chair and said it looked amazing :) I hope it does well at auction.

The chairs – about 40 in total from various places locally – will be auctioned off at Vandora Springs Elementary school in Garner, NC, on April 19th. I can’t go, but I hope they send someone from work to record it. The money raised at auction goes to The American Cancer Society and to Garner’s Relay for Life. We spent about $35 out of pocket, not counting the full amount for the bucket of resin. I’m really really pleased with my adventures in paint, and want to paint more now :)

2 January
30 October

3D printing

Something I need to look into more, building 3D objects with respect to popular cosplays and seeing if anyone is interested in painted/unpainted versions of certain models. There are a number of very complicated tiny pieces and larger details of good cosplays that are difficult to make, even with sculpey or resin casting.

I haven’t been doing enough 3D. It’s intimidating when there are so many other experienced artists out there, already working in the field, and so few positions available.

30 October

Personal update: Cider

I’m getting away from other aspects of my blog, but I’d like to keep up posting.

Last year, I started 2 gallons of cider, one cherry flavored, which I dosed with brown sugar. It came out as more or less a total failure – it tasted like cherry cough syrup, and wasn’t a whole lot better after allowing it to mature a little longer. The other batch just went bad. I had added honey to it, and it just didn’t ferment correctly and tasted awful.

This year, I have myl 5 gallon glass carboy, which I intend on using to make mead or wine with next. I have 4 gallons of cider in it, plus Wyeast (brand) meant for cider and cider alone, and nothing else in it.

I have half a gallon of peach cider – which is only cider and peach juice, and the same with blueberry cider – nothing else added except for yeast. The carboy and the 2 half gallon jugs are currently parked in the pantry rather than the upstairs guest bathroom. 1) We need a usable guest bathroom, and 2) the pantry door is almost always closed, there’s no over head light, and there’s no reason to move them from the pantry until they’re done (no one is going to shower in the pantry) 3) humidity stability, 4) gives me an extra reason to keep the kitchen clean at all times to ensure no bacteria comes into contact with my brewing jugs. The carboy is currently sitting in the box I brought it home in for an extra layer of light protection when I do open the pantry.

in theory, I can get about 10 12-oz bottles of cider per gallon. Minus a bottle’s worth at the bottom of stuff that’s too close to the dead yeast, and I can probably do six 6-packs of hard cider, and 1 six pack each of the flavored cider, which could work great for six or seven 4-1-1 gift boxes for presents. The rest we’ll keep for ourselves.

20 October

More Costuming!

I’m attempting to get my for pay cosplay business up and running. It’s a side business at most, not meant to do more than bring in some extra money and teach myself techniques I wouldn’t otherwise pick up, since I’m crafting costumes for all sizes of men and women. I’ve done a Riddler jacket for a guy just before DragonCon, and I’m just wrapping up a black Imperial Officers uniform, with the intention that it’ll be 501st ready. After that, I have Classic Ben Kenobi’s Jedi robe -Rebel Legion standards – and the rest of his costume as fabric gets ordered. I’m also working on a Midna bodysuit for another buyer.

Kim’s Notes on the Imperial Uniform Jacket.

For the Imperial Uniform, there are a number of tutorials and sets of instructions that I muddled through, but there are at least a few really important things to note:

While working off the Simplicity pattern for the Civil War Unform, use only view A. Or whichever view it is that has the short coat and fastens in the middle. Use the pattern piece from the fancier coat for the front panel, and use the back of the fancy coat to get in the princess seaming which is required for 501st.

The front panel should be very very close in size to the bottom of the back panel where it meets the waist, inside the princess seams.

Remove the seam from the middle back panel

Attach the front flap/panel just below the collar edge, so the collar doesn’t get in the way of the edge of the panel at the neck, and vice versa.

Ignore the skirt part of the pattern, except for the general curve of the pieces and the length of the pattern pieces. Cut the skirt pieces so that four seams line up with the front panel/flap and the back panel edge seams where it meets the princess seams. 2 panels will be on either side from the other edge of the princess seam to the front panel edge. One skirt piece will be longer and be the front/flap skirt piece that overlaps the left side skirt. Cut matching lining pieces.

The pattern calls for pleats. Do not pleat anything.

Generally, you will need to add a small modesty panel at the neck where the collar edges meet, to completely cover the neck. This can be a simple rectangle, stitched to the inside side of the collar before attaching to the jacket.

If adding pockets, which are required for 501st standard, cut the pattern piece of the fancy coat across at the armpit, and add enough space between the top and bottom to make a pocket that goes all the way across the front, for the side under the folding panel/flap. the side with the panel flap has a separate piece that is stitched to a lengthened (pocked added) short front side piece that only goes from the armpit to edge of the panel.

So it goes – front flap/panel, pieced to side with length for pocket. Under that is a full front that meets in the middle like a normal jacket, the flap/panel is attached to the same seam the hidden front is – at the inside side seam. I’m installing a zipper in this ‘normal’ front. My front normal pieces are lined with the same fabric rather than my lining fabric. The flap/panel is also fully lined with the gaberdine.

I hope this makes some sense.

1 July

Zoinks and away!

Oddly enough, I haven’t been updating because my spam filter works and I haven’t been reminded to go trash about 30 spam comments or so a week, and thus have been neglecting my website.

Anyway.

Small update, but it’s 3D work, dammit.
crappy shuttle

We really wanted to go down to Florida to view the final shuttle launch, but I guess this will do for now.

Work is creating an animated open for our coverage of the final launch. I talked my boss into letting me make him a shuttle for it. The detail isn’t all that great, but most of the render is just of the rear view anyway, so the front of the model is .. not pretty, but won’t be seen. The render is 60 frames long, and will have effects added over it in addition to a camera shake. Only the orbiter was needed, since this is supposed to depict the final stage before entering orbit.

I downloaded the object from the NASA 3D resource library. I looked at a couple free ones on Turbosquid before it occurred to me to just check the source, and sure enough, NASA has a decent selection of satellites, rockets and shuttles. I tried the one labeled ‘hi-res’ first, but it was a nightmare of poorly put together tris. Tabbing revealed a huge number of unconnected polygons.

I then downloaded the most recently added shuttle model. It was a few years old, but still not bad, but not meant for any close ups. I fixed the floating seams and converted most of the tris to quads and cleaned up the overall lines of the thing. I deleted the engines and made new ones as well as the base under the engine rather than break my brain joining tris into quads. The black details are named surfaces while the bottom and back are plane projected textures from NASA’s website.

I deleted all unncessary polys, including everything in the bay, and deleted the folded out doors and replaced them with new polys that were connected to the body of the shuttle. I added decals on the wings for Atlantis and NASA. One thing that surprised me was that the back of the shuttle really is completely flat. I’m not sure why this is, but it was one of those ‘huh. It really is just one flat piece with engines attached. The shuttle is huge, so I’m probably losing some details.

Overall, I’m pleased with what I put together in a short timespan, but I always wish I had more time to work on things.

1 June

yay, update!

Football model

3D football

I actually finished this a few weeks ago, but I thought I’d post it so I can have an update.

We already had one, but it was difficult to texture, and was not sectioned.

I created this one by quartering a sphere, then halving, and then building up the edges from there, mirroring in all 3 axis. The Football was then quartered again into separate layers, and the stitching added in a 5th layer. I copied and pasted all 4 quarters into a 6th layer, merged the points and made a smooth solid object that will prevent anyone from peering through the ends or narrow cracks.

Untextured, I imported all 6 layers in to VIZrt, and assembled them into one single group with 6 layers, each layer one object aligned together to become one football. The model’s layers can be textured with with different images – one of VIZ’s greatest weaknesses is the fact that you can only have one image on a single object, and the only way around it is to cut up objects into layers. This becomes particularly painful when importing objects, since they don’t import relative to one another, nor scaled. They always import centered and sized badly. The object has to be painstakingly aligned after importing. I made a version of the football with holes for the stitches, but it did not import correctly.

Quartered, the football can have a different skin on each quarter. I made a base football skin layer that can have images layered on top of it in Photoshop, then imported into VIZ and dropped onto the previous image. Each image must match the previous one – the top right quarter image can only be replaced with the same corresponding image. Logo must be added to “Top Right” skin and saved, for example. The bottom quarters do not have white stripes, the top quarters do. Splitting the football into quarters also solved the single plane stretching issue. VIZ only applies textures along one axis, which is very problematic for rounded objects, as I discovered with my football helmet.

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