Elly Williams' Weblog

Caught Between Industries

Pretty Pictures

Couple of sites I found while looking for something entirely different:-

Mike’s Little Webpage has some very pretty bits of ray tracing on. Look at this example of shadows. The hairline is pretty impressive too…. a little to impressive…..

Fractalus.com Lots of fractal art and fractal landscapes and stuff…. Not sure what’s going on in the top left corner of the homepage tho……

Thank You For Making a Simple Litter Bin Very Happy

They’re making talking bins to help combat the litter problem in Berlin.

“We want to encourage people in a nice, funny way to throw their trash in the baskets and not on the street”

As The Register nicely points out, the chances of this working in England are quite slim due to gangs of marauding school children – but if it works in Germany, that’s fantastic…..if a little like something out of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Star Trek and Swimming Pools

Figured I should blog this before I lose it:-

Wolf Pack Loads of 3D studio stills and meshes from Star Trek, Star Wars and B5….wow!!

I’m planning on setting up a gallery/portfolio for my 3D studio stuff – but until I do here’s a few of the things I’ve been working on recently. We’re meant to be designing a swimming pool.

Useless Tutorials

I was looking for 3D studio tutorials yesterday and was quite amazed at how useless this one is.

This tutorial
from Computer Arts Magazine claims to teach transferable skills for material editing….

Unfortunately it follows the annoyingly common step-by-step approach which carefully guides the tutee through each individual step without telling them why they are doing what they are doing. This means that unless you already know what “Set[ing] the Specular Level, Glossiness and Anisotropy to 40, 55 and 0” does to your material… you aren’t going to learn – at least not from this tutorial.

Now, I know this tutorial (and the whole site it’s on) are old and un-updated that doesn’t change my point – a tutorial that doesn’t teach you anything really isn’t much use – especially for something like material editing where you could just download the materials anyway from somewhere like this.

This is something a lot of coding and scripting tutorials seem to have gotten around, like these Javascript Tutorials,which tell you what each part of the code you’ve just written does, but there appear to be very few good modelling tutorials out there… fine if you just want to play… less so if you want to do something very specific

Just to prove I’m not dead

Am currently in deadline hell – hence lack of posting… anyway, these are a couple of sites I’m having to visit quite a lot at the moment coz I’m doing lots of 3D modelling.

3D Cafe. Useful for bits of 3D models – I’m using it for plants and trees at the moment coz I don’t have time to make them myself. They’ve also got a load of tutorials for pretty much everything…

Texture Library. They have pretty much any texture you want… great for image mapping and stuff.

Right – back to the grindstone….

And from the Other Side

It appears that while the makers of computer games are opting for a more “hand drawn” aesthetic, Disney, the pioneers of the full length feature cartoon are opting for computer generated characters (Link from Boing Boing)

It’s hardly suprising that computer generated characters are going to be far more commonplace (especially now there are Oscar and MTV award categories for them) but that doesn’t mean hand drawn doesn’t have a place in the industry and it would be a pity to see them go.

Incidentally here is Gollum’s MTV Award Acceptance Speech(Quicktime). It’s highly amusing. Apparently there’s a Yoda one out there somewhere too but I haven’t seen it and can’t seem to find it.

Continuing on the theme of computer graphics, here’s a link Shevek sent me. The Internet RayTracing Competition. Shiny….. I need enough time to do this sort of thing……

Games Makeover

Daniel Etherington has written this article on the BBC site about video games trying to find a “new look”

I was particularly interested this game. XIII (Note: this isn’t the official site, but the content is pretty much the same – and the site is still by the game developers – the interface is just slightly better(read:less annoying))

The plot looks fairly familiar (unknown man wakes up in unknown place with amnesia, mysterious clues and people trying to kill him) – but the style appears rather different.

It’s not a totally new style for a game. GTA III & Friends (for example) had something similar for most of the stills, but I can’t think of a game that has used the graphic novel style quite so exclusively – certainly not recently.

Classical Beauty.

While looking throught The Register today I found this rather worrying article.

Miss Digital World…. a beauty pagent for “computer-generated e-Babes”. Needless to say, I wasn’t quite sure if this was a wind up or not, so tried to find out more information.

Not to much avail. The official site isn’t working yet.

There’s a bit of a discussion on Slashdot and some bits and pieces on MSNBC and yahoo but they appear to be straight-from-press-release.

I’m not quite sure what I think of this.

On the one hand – as someone who wishes they had the time/ energy/ full-version-of-relevant-software-package&suitable-machine-to-run-it-on to create a computer model in that much detail I’ll be genuinely interested to see what comes out of the competition.

On the other hand – it might all be a bit sick and degrading really. There’s already too much pressure from Hollywood/Beauty Magazines (if you need proof have a look at the sort of things they can do with Photoshop – thanks to Simon for the link) etc for girls to tall and thin with the right sized bits in the right places – and “perfect” girls who don’t have to eat/sleep/reapply their makeup in the morning possibly aren’t going to help the matter much.

Like RSI, but not….

“Fantastic” article from the BBC this morning on the perils of playing too many console games. This kinda follows on from the various RSI pieces going round last week (courtesy of Meri, Simon and others.)

It’s not really suprising that spending hours playing console games is going to give you similar effects to staring at a screen clicking a mouse all day or using your mobile phone too much.

So how long is it before console games come with “How to sit properly while playing” instuctions – as well as “take a break now” warnings just as you got to the really good part? Don’t see it happening somehow….

Designed By Committee

This week’s OK/Cancel has a fantastic illustration of the cause of that well known phenomenon – designed by committee.

Having sat on far too many committees and group design teams recently I’ve seen scenarios like this pop up time and time again. In trying to get something that people will agree on it often gets to the point where ANYTHING that doesn’t cause a row is a “good idea”

Well, active debate and the bouncing about of ideas is what design evolution is all about – and “it’ll do” options are rarely an adequate solution.

And then, in trying to form a weak concept into a strong final product so much “added extra” has to be included that you end up with some kind of mediocre hybrid monstrosity.

I read something along these lines about trying to fit carrots and brocoli into sponge cake somewhere…. I can’t seem to find it again tho….

is an Architecture Student and Web Designer based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, (UK)