I must say… I really love the Blender community. I only recently started to use Blender, but the abundance of information, tutorials, forum help that is provided is a true inspiration. It seems that those that love Blender as their 3D graphics program of choice are pouring out their knowledge to inspire new users and make them love Blender too. Well, I am slowly becoming a true disciple too.
As I wrote last week I am looking into cloths modeling with Blender. Creating a mesh needs some careful planning upfront, but once a concept is available it is not so hard. But fitting a piece of clothing snugly around a model is a bit of work. Especially if you do not want to start with a duplicate of the original body, as one may run into troubles with copyright and ownership when meshes are made available to others. Creating tight fitted meshes from scratch is rather time consuming tho.
I read about cloths modeling for Poser a while back, and some of the more talented scripters have created tools to use in that program. Philc demonstrates in one of his tutorials how to shrinkwrap a cylinder around a poser model and uses that as a starting point for a dress. I figured something like that surely should be available in Blender too. And again I was not disappointed. And to wrap it up nicely, as a matter of speech, I found a great video tutorial demonstrating this feature by Jonathan Williamson of MontageStudio too. Check it out here!
Today is one of those days that I want to work on all things at the same time. Impossible of course, so I have to pick something.
The work on the WordPress theme is progressing nicely. I was thinking to create an ’empty framework’, every template must adhere to basic rules and any theme has a pre-defined minimum set of files. So basically I am rethinking my workflow for creating templates. And as a developer I of course figured that someone else probably did this work already. There are many frameworks for WordPress readily available (just do a search in Google), but most of them are more than empty and not so lightweight anymore. I stumbled upon the WordPress Starter Theme project and have decided to give that a go.
I did install the new version of Blender and everything I did before is still working 🙂 now to experiment with the new stuff. Today I will experiment a little bit with conforming clothing for Poser. I start modeling the clothing in Blender, and I have a design for a 50’s dress planned to ease into it. I have done similar work before, but not with Blender nor with a version of Poser that allows dynamic clothing. So hopefully it won’t take too much time to make something decent. I eventually hope to be able to create complex models that would fit in a steampunk environment. I love the victorian style in combination with extravagant designs of common things. Also the typical materials that are used in these designs – woods, brass, leather, lace – appeals to me. Just planning ahead, but I already have an idea for a bustle dress.
About 2 weeks ago version 2.49 of Blender was released. And practice makes perfect, as there were some imperfections in the release, an update was promised in 1-2 weeks. I have been checking Blender.org daily, but so far no update in sight. Now I am sorta stuck in a dilemma… as everything really itches to do some further 3D work… so do I continue in 2.48 or will I update to 2.49 and do the same thing again probably tomorrow… *sigh*…
Same goes for WordPress… I update normally within a week of a new release, first I wait to see if there are emergency reports of people finding their site no longer works and there is obviously something wrong with the release. If that does not happen, I make a copy of the site, install the new version and check if I see quirks on my setup. And then I install the real thing. That normally works out fine, but I am still waiting for that one day that I just cannot make things work again.
That is why I do not like updates. My site runs fine. I don’t use much fancy features, not sure if I need them. I do not seem to miss them now. Why would I want them? Mmhm.. maybe I am onto something there…
Of course I am acting a bit silly. As a developer I am fully aware of software features that were originally planned but did not make a freeze date for a release, and security related items need to be fixed as soon as identified. And I love to have new shiny features for free. But what about software that is not available for free? Or updates that are not offered for free? What motives are there to update or upgrade?
I am still a happy user of older versions of software, I do not run Vista (and as a matter of fact, I guess I will skip that OS totally), one of my PC’s was assembled in 2001 and I only increased storage space on it. How much more features can you add to a wordprocessing application that the average user will not ever need? And why would one change the locations of all menus so no currently experienced user feels comfortable with it? Somehow I feel I have to keep up with all the changes as I make a living as ‘ICT professional’, and somewhere in the back of my mind is an image of the ‘IT dinosaur’ at a former company, professional in the time when computers took up a ballroom, and you had to send your ‘input’ through a ‘terminal’ to a ‘calculation centre’ overseas. That expert became obsolete when the PC reached the desktop. I feel I have to keep up as it would be horrible to be obsolete so soon.
It seems that changing software / hardware / personal electronics as often as you change underwear has become fashionable. And maybe that is just it. We live in a consumer age. We are pushed to buy and consume and keep our economy going. I decided long time ago that I do not understand ‘fashion’ (but hey.. I am a geek.. a girl geek.. but still a geek). So I wear last years colors, and those of the year before that, and before that.. and gosh.. 10 years back even. I do not care if it is ‘hip’, ‘trendy’ or whatever fashionable word is used nowadays. I am not a consumer, I do not spend heaps of money on trendy things. When I finally got a mobile phone (my boss said I needed one) it was already 2001. It did exactly what I expected it to do, I could receive and make calls, had voicemail and texting. It died on me about 8 months ago. It was replaced by a handed down phone which belonged to my brother earlier. It still does all the things I require from a phone and has an mp3 player and 2 megapixels camera as added bonus. I have no idea why my brother replaced it, it seems to be working fine and I bet it will last me a few years.
I must say I really do not understand where we are heading to. We buy and replace stuff faster than ever. We throw out perfectly good stuff, and pour hard earned money into shiny gadgets, sometimes only because the gadget the neighbour has is shinier than ours. I hate spending time and money on buying stuff I do not really need. Just as much as I hate wasting time on installing stuff I do not really need. But how to determine what is needed and what if I miss out on something really neat? Bleh.. reading release notes I guess… Oh and have a look at storyofstuff.com
Today I have given Real Draw Pro a testdrive, and it is a program with a lot of good and unique things. Unfortunately, there are some things that irritate me utterly in this program too.
What I like:
Creating 3D-like elements with ease.
Built-in library with styles, click and apply
Boolean operators to make complex shapes from primitives
Natural Paint styles (NPR).. applying illustration styles with ease.
Push-back option: easy weave one object through another, such as a paperclip over a piece of paper.
What I hate:
No align and distribute option. Aligning objects is possible but quirky. Group 2 objects and try to align that group with another object… oops.. objects in group got treated as ungrouped items. Equal distribution of objects, for example equal spaces between 3 objects: not possible. The grid brings some relieve but this is a major missing item in my book.
No snapping to objects. Very hard to make objects the same size, or stretch to a specific edge of another object. Exact dimensions can be inputted in a dimension box, but that is slow. Only way to work around it is to make use of grid or guidlines, but I find that method quite restricting.
Follow path. Great function, allows objects and text to follow path. I do not like the deformation of the orginal object to ‘fit the path’. It would be way better to have a setting that either allows or disallows it. Example: a sphere to follow a square to get a nice pearly edging. What happened: in the corners the sphere became oval or deformed.
Gradients: I have thus far been unsuccessful in applying a gradient area vertically. Horizontally is done with ease, but applying such fill rotated 90 deg seems to be impossible. I use heaps of gradients in my vectors, and having the option to apply direction is a dire miss.
The creators of Real Draw Pro are very well aware of the limitations of the product, and in their FAQ they clearly write that Real Draw Pro is not aimed to be a replacement of any other vector or bitmap editor program out there, but that it complements such programs very well. Real Draw Pro offers some unique solutions and approaches to creating graphics intended mainly for the web. And this is exactly what I believe it should be, an addition to my toolbox. Real Draw Pro is VERY cheap, and a trial version is available for a test drive.