Pale Blue Dot.

I stumbled upon a thread on reddit where someone quoted a famous speech by Carl Sagan, referring to a famous photo of the Earth taken by the Voyager 1 space probe from 6 billion kilometers away – the most distant creation of humanity. It wasn’t the first time I’d read it or even seen the photo, but it still inspired me to find the original photo to use as my wallpaper.

Yet the original is pretty low resolution (the probe was launched in 1977),so I decided to recreate the photo in Blender in order to render it with as many pixels as I like :)

Downloads:

Blend file: http://gregzaal.com/files/pale_blue_dot.blend

Continue Reading…

Beretta M9 (wip1)

Currently, I’m on a pretty terrible streak of not finishing any personal projects, but hopefully I’ll actually end up finishing this one. Maybe.

So far I’m mostly happy with the modeling, although there are a few finishing touches still to add (like the logo in the center of the grip, and a couple bolts and rivets).

Here’s a rather large wireframe render (click for 3360 x 2160 version):

And just for kicks, the pointiness:

I’ll admit, the modeling was pretty hard on this one. For every new bit I started, I thought to myself, “This has to be the hardest part”… until I started the next bit and realized how horribly wrong I was.

Once I’ve shaded and textured it, would anyone be interested in a thorough making-of?

And Then There Was Cake (WIP)

conciliate_02_HR

 

conciliate_02_screenshot

Last weekend’s challenge on BA was themed Conciliate – which is basically the root word for reconcile – and means to stop someone being angry, or make them a friend.

I had something a bit more ambitious in mind, but I worked all day Saturday and Sunday and could only get this far. So, I’ll continue this later when I have some more time!

This is actually the second time I’ve modeled a Companion Cube… no idea what happened to the other one, but it probably had crap topology anyway :P I’ll upload this one (and the cake) to blendswap sometime soon.

Shroom

shroom_03

Entered last weekends challenge on BA – ’twas quite fun!
The theme was Fantasy Creatures, and it was quite well-attended :) Go and vote for your favourite artwork!

If you’re never done it, I highly recommend participating in these challenges. You’ll see most folk are very much beginners, and participate purely for the purpose of improving themselves (alliteration much?). Winners get to choose the topic for the next week, and the rules are very loose (you can even use other peoples models to an extent)

A new challenge is posted early every Friday, and finishes late the next Monday (in fact it’s Tuesday in my timezone) – so time is limited, but it’s a really great opportunity to teach yourself how to create great art on a short deadline, or to improve a portion of your skills. After the challenge is closed, voting opens and the community decides who wins!

 

Saturdoodle: Tower (2)

medieval_tower_05

There’s an uncanny resemblance to my last Saturdoodle here… I seem to have a weakness for lonely medieval structures.

I found a random image on Saturday morning, which seems to be a 3d model for sale, and decided it could be fun to recreate. After a couple hours of modeling, the fun slowly wore off and once again I felt like I was actually working. I was however looking forward to texturing it, so I pushed on and eventually (after UV unwrapping it about 4 times) enjoyed the last part of the modeling and then stretched those old Cycles muscles I felt like I haven’t used for so long.

medieval_tower_gl

As you can see, the bricks are not modeled in, but in fact a displacement. Modeling them by hand would be painful, but it nearly came to that.

Instead, I created the displacement map by “modeling” each brick in 2D, tracing over a CGTextures image, and giving them a random value. A little tweaking to make sure it’s tileable, render that, blur it a bit, and you have yourself a displacement map for randomly jutting-out bricks.

BrickOldRounded0236_1_L_disp

Take this texture as CC-0 :) use it as you please – it goes with BrickOldRounded_0236 from CGTextures. After all, the tiny statue in the center of the front wall was sculpted by Ben Simonds and released as CC-0.

Crits and comments are welcome as always.

Hope you all had a nice relaxing weekend :)

 

ISS Renders and A Review/Rant of 2013

iss02

iss01

Chris Kuhn and I have collaborated before, he’s an epic modeler and I have an itch to shade and render things. Both of our previous collaborations are among the top 30 most liked blends on Blendswap, and both are ships of sorts: a Hyperspace Shuttle and a Victorian pirate ship.

This time, I had absolutely no hand in creating anything. Chris modeled, textured and shaded this epicly detailed accurate model of the International Space Station, and the full mesh can be downloaded for free. He is selling the textured version on TurboSquid for $99 – which is 10x cheaper than some other ISS models that are only a portion of the full thing. If you’re one of those FOSS freaks that would shout about how expensive that is, it’s not even worth trying to explain to you why it isn’t.

Chris sent me the full shaded thing just so I could make some renders of it, but I struggled a bit with the lack of any other elements in the scene to play with composition. In the end I gave him the two above images, though I don’t particularly like either of them.

Which brings me to my next point:

frame_s_0001

Victorian Pirate Ship – “Suzanne’s Revenge”

The last Blender project I worked on at home for the fun of it and actually finished was the Victorian pirate ship I worked on with Chris.

Which was last year February.

Of course I did some small things, like that 10mm SMG I uploaded the other day, but like the SMG, most of the stuff was either unfinished or a piece of a bigger (unfinished) project. The only thing that I finished since then was a weekend challenge on BA.org, which hardly counts.

I know I’m not the only one to have dozens of unfinished projects on their HDD, but I’ve only been blending for about 5 or 6 years, and this last year I seem to have made almost no progress in terms of shading/texturing skills. In fact I’m quite sure I’ve even regressed a bit. Maybe I know a little more theory, but working full time shading and lighting simple stylized scenes at BugBox seems to have made me both lazy and see anything CG-related as boring work.

low-light

“Low Light” weekend challenge

Still, working at BugBox for the last two years has taught me a lot. Even though my shading skills are taking a hit due to lack of exercise, I’ve learnt a lot about the more important side of CG: what makes things appealing, colour theory in practice, the difficulties and responsibilities of being the last guy in the pipeline, the time and skill that goes into good character animation, and the madness that is the political warfare of clients, agencies, competing studios and low budgets.

Sure, you could easily tell me I have plenty of time on the weekend to work on keeping my shading skills in check, but the biggest problem is my waning motivation. Coming home after 40 hours of CG, the last thing I want to do is push myself to do more CG.

Well I won’t bore you with any more depressing ranting, (actually I’ve just run out of energy to think), so here’s a picture of my cat:

IMG_0316_small