Sunday, December 23, 2007

Painting Exercise

Here is my latest exercise. I painted it from a photograph. You'll have to guess who it is, but the reference photo was only like 2" square and I was working in dim light. The painting is 6"x6". My colors are excruciating to behold, but I am pleasantly surprised when I turned it into black and white after scanning this thing in. I'm still learning how to use oil paints, and I have the feeling that it will take a lot of work if I want to get more proficient. Being deathly afraid of commitment, I'll think about making this into a New Year's Resolution.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Eng Family 2007

Here are the contents of a DVD I made for the grandparents as a Christmas gift. I thought some of you might enjoy it as well. It's split into 3 videos, "Spring", "Summer", and "Fall". Most of the photos were taken by The Wife, but I do claim a few of them! :)


The Oldest City

In case you haven't heard of it, St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest continuously-occupied city in the United States. They even claim to have the oldest school in the USA, and boy does it look it! I graciously declined to pay the $3 entrance fee (grab your ankles) and see for myself if teaching methods had changed in 500 years. The Wife told me there was a cage under the stairs for misbehaving kids. I wonder where my daughter's elementary school has theirs?

I'm not a huge fan of Tourist Attractions and the shameless commercialization of such attractions. However, historic monuments and structures are very interesting to me. The Castillo de San Marcos was very cool. While looking somewhat unimpressive as we approached it, we soon learned about the fort's design and impressive track record. It was sieged at least 15 times, and never taken by force. Military strategy enthusiasts would enjoy the details in its design, such as an intentionally dry moat to protect the base of its outer walls, and the 5.5-ft landscaped hill infantry had to race up, only to be fired upon by defenders on higher ground. The stone looked to be a sedimentary concoction of seashells and sand, and was surprisingly resilient to cannon fire because it didn't shatter like solid rock would.

We walked around a bit, and realized that you could indeed spend a week in St. Augustine before exhausting the beautiful Spanish architecture and intriguing historic locations. It seems that we only travel to these locations when guests are in town, so thank you Anne and John!

Click here to view all the photos I took.

This just in: I'm Old

Birthdays sure are an interesting day. Some people take the day off from work, but not me. I'm just another year older, what's the big deal? I don't expect preferential treatment, massages, or scantily-clad women fanning me with palm fronds. A simple "Happy Birthday" would suffice. Needless to say, The Wife nearly went through the entire day before realizing she hadn't uttered the words my ears were aching to hear.

We had chicken nuggets for dinner. With fresh (from a can) green beans and lemonade (also fresh from a can). I got Hallmark eCards from Siblings Who Care (no, that's not sarcasm). I got a Shark Balloon which has caused a giant rift in previously amorous sibling relationships. Toddlers can be so petty. To those who consider themselves on-scale with Prince or He Who Was Formerly Known as Prince, this might sound like a pretty lame birthday. I, however, was very content to enjoy the day and relax as much as possible without melting into a useless puddle.

My wholehearted dedication to Consumerism and the American Way makes it hard for The Wife to find gifts for me. I could be described as a compulsive consumer, but I'm working on that. Several years ago I bought the Band of Brothers DVD set 2 weeks before my birthday after pouring copious amounts of praise and making known my desire to watch and own it. When I unwrapped the very same set she got me for my birthday, I acted surprised and overjoyed. Why oh why did I immediately tell her I had just bought it? It was even in my desk at work, unopened... I've learned my lesson, at any rate!

This year, she got me a wood chisel and a gift card to The Home Depot (but, we're Renters!) as encouragement for me to start carving the lump of wood Dad-in-Law gave me. He just called to warn me that the other Lump of Wood split into pieces when he left it on the lathe. Sounds like a job for some safety goggles!

The downside of the whole day was that I was entering into a new decade. The giant 3 and 0 taunted me with jeers of "Ha! We got you now, Old Man!" just before they clobbered my right knee with a lead pipe. Even everyone around me joined in. Supposedly 31 is better than 30. Is is true, Audrey?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Yay for Parenthood

I'm proud to be a Dad. I have to repeat this phrase to myself as I wipe dirty butts, puncture the soles of both of my feet on rubber dinosaurs, and fetch water in yet another attempt to quench the Mojave Desert that sprung up in my son's parched throat.

Bedtime seems to bring all sorts of previously unknown necessities to the surface. Seriously, who needs to go potty 3 times in an hour? Besides the flash-flooded Mojave Desert, of course. Thank goodness for diapers! Double-edged sword, that one.

The giggles and laughter wafting down the hallway tells me it may not have been a good idea to bunk the girls together. I just checked in on their passed-out bodies, and they are both sleeping ON THE FLOOR. I'm not surprised, in fact I'm elated if they are ever found in their beds at all.

Budgie Boy was sound asleep and thoroughly enjoying the return of The Blankie after a harrowing separation in the laundry room. That kid!

I find myself telling stories about my kids to people at work, and the ones who are parents knowingly nod and tell their own stories. I must sound like a dork to the heirless, but I don't really care.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Cafe Rio

One of the best places to eat in the Provo area. Brand X Burgers is also on my list, you MUST try their bacon cheeseburger!

Without further ado, enjoy this recipe!

Boys are Monsters

I enjoyed relaxing somewhat today. As I was sitting and watching the kids play, I noticed something: Miles sure is an annoying little turd! I have the feeling that he is the epitome of the Little Brother stereotype. He ran around growling and pushing and grabbing his sisters. They still haven't figured out how to defend themselves. Abbie stiffened up and tried to keep her face out of reach. Anna tried to run away. Miles was sent to Time Out many times. We are waiting for him to get beat up by a kid who knows how to stand up to him, because he sure doesn't care what we say!

He sure is lucky he's so darn cute.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Well, I joined Facebook. Mostly, it was because a few of my high school buddies were on it. Then, I discovered some of my relatives and family were also on Facebook. Now, I guess I'm a Facebook junkie. I don't really know what to do on it. Add me if you dare!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fat Turkey!

Leaves change color in the Fall. Who knew? My kids certainly didn't. As we drove northward towards Pennsylvania last week, my daughter exclaimed in wonderment: "I see a Red Tree!!". Anna chimed in, "I see a Yellow Tree!". Then came Miles: "UehAh! Tree!"

As soon as we entered North Carolina, I knew I was going to freeze to death. I mean, I brought a Zipper Hoodie and a fleece jacket for warmth, but I didn't realize that my body had acclimatized to Florida and I now required a fur-lined parka to maintain my expected body temperature. Fortunately, Pennsylvania was warmer part of the time we were there.

The kids love going to Grandma and Grandpa Solter's place. I don't blame them. There are sticks aplenty, a large yard to tromp through, chickens to feed and collect eggs from, dogs to play with and cry when they jump on you, and a cat or two to torment and wonder why they scratch at you. We had a great time.

It has been a long time since I've used power tools. Al (Alissa's dad) helped me make a frame for a 10" x 20" picture. I used pine, since the only frame I made was to be the "experimental prototype", and I had selected a few pieces of maple, black walnut, and oak to make the nicer frames out of once I had the process down. It was a very simple process, but I enjoy precision and so it took me awhile. Al actually helped me do the last of the sanding of the corner support pieces (called "keys"). The thin oak pieces really were stubborn, and I got sick of sanding them by hand and was going to let them just stick out a little bit. I'll post a pic later. Working in Al's shop made me realize how expensive all the woodworking equipment I want will cost...

Also, who would expect to find a nice Japanese restaurant in York, Pennsylvania? If you're ever in the area, visit Mitsuru Japanese Sushi and Grill. They are very reminiscent of a small Japanese place you'd be able to find in Los Angeles. I can't speak for New York, but I imagine it's pretty close. I had the cooked eel sushi with sakura chicken and steamed crab dumplings, with fried calamari and rice. Unfortunately, I couldn't finish all of the delicious meal. Ruth reported today that the leftovers were excellent. Alissa had grilled chicken yaki soba. The best thing about the place was how I felt I was back in Los Angeles with the quality of restaurants....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You Thought You Knew Me

Inspired by Audrey's recent confessions (who knew she was such a horrible driver?), here are some things you may not know about me.

1) The worst car accident I have ever been responsible for (there are only a few incidents, mind you) did not involve another car, but rather a really grouchy parking garage pillar. It turns out that they are rather sturdy, and can sneak up on you when you aren't looking. Make sure you check your blind spots!

2) I have a bifid uvula. It's not as gross as it sounds. In fact, I believe it gives me special powers. Alissa just thinks I'm a freak. I don't think she can talk, because HER uvula looks like a turtle tail.

3) When I was in high school, I played Magic: The Gathering. I still do. You do the math. Believe it or not, there ARE normal people who play the game. At least I don't play WoW... I had better stop there unless I want ugly retorts on my blog comments.

4) I'm a Superstar. Deep inside, I know I could win American Idol or Last Comic Standing. I'm like a diamond in the rough, and Miles can be my Abu. Now I just need to find a coach.

This has taken way too long to write. Also, I didn't want to say too much, for fear of causing too much disgust from my loyal readership. I encourage you to post something most people don't know about you in the comments section!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sketchbook Update and More

I've updated my sketchbook. Since I'm way too lazy to post it all here AND on my thread, you'll have to go there to view it. Plus, I'm not sure how some of you would react to full frontal nudity. I know, try to contain yourselves....

So, this one is just a simple rock shape that I painted for my brush tip shape. See the previous tutorial below for how to save out a new brush shape.

Next, I set my settings as shown below. Sometimes while I'm using the brush, I may want a slightly different effect, like more spacing or scattering. These adjustments are easy to make once you understand what each setting does.

This speed painting I did a little while ago was done it about 20 minutes with my Rock brush and a flat version of the brush shown in my previous tutorial.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Photoshop, oh Photoshop!

I like Photoshop CS2. I don't even want to look at CS3 yet, but I'm sure that will happen someday. At work, I did this sketch yesterday and kinda finished it up and made it more presentable today. She looks kinda green on my monitor at home, but she looked ok at work....Tyra Banks was the reference photo. Everything but the face was kind of an afterthought and done without any reference....and I think it shows. Oh well, it's just a sketch. It is what it is.


Quick Photoshop Custom Brush Tutorial

Ok, so you should know that most of the default brushes in Photoshop aren't that great. However, the angled squarish chalk ones are pretty decent.

To make a new brush, you'll first want to start with a new document. I usually just make a 256x256 @ 72 or 150 pixels per inch. Make the background white, and whatever is darker than white will become your brush shape. This is the brush shape I like to use for general painting:

Once you have your brush shape the way you want it, go to Edit > Define Brush Preset. This will make your current document into a brush. Name it whatever you want, and then click "OK".

Select the Brush tool and you will see that you now have your new brush shape. However, the default settings aren't normally what you want on your brush. Open the Brush window under Window > Brushes (F5).

Under Brush Tip Shape, I normally set the spacing setting to 1% unless I'm going for a repeated pattern look. I'll go over one of those brushes some other time. You can play around with the roundness or angle if your initial brush shape isn't looking exactly how you wanted.

Next, I make sure Smoothing is checked at the bottom, and then go into Shape Dynamics. For these features to work effectively, you should have a pressure-sensitive drawing tablet like this. They can be pricey, but are very essential if you plan on being serious about digital artwork. My Wacom Intuos Series 1 has been very reliable, and I have rarely heard of anyone's tablet breaking from wear and tear.

Sorry about that are my settings for this brush.

Hope this helped. As you can see, creating a custom brush is pretty simple. There are many options and features you can use in each brush, but often you only need a few of them. The trick is just understanding each feature and using the ones you need for the look you want. Simple experimentation of the settings will go a long way.

Up next, more custom brushes with "texture"! I hope this was helpful. As a tease, here are some other brush shapes in my brush palette.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Happy Belated Halloween!

I've been busy. With work, mostly. I did get quite a bit of overtime, so my paycheck this week will be fairly fat! I had to work late on Halloween. At least the kids got to Trick-or-Treat around the office, which they love to do. Miles won the kids costume contest ($12 from Target), but it was slightly embarrassing because the announcer thought he was a girl chicken(?). His $25 Best Buy gift card got Alissa some new headphones. Too bad Alissa has mutant ears and the headphones won't even stay in (earbuds). Seriously, her ear holes are strange. I can't believe I hadn't noticed it before! She should blog about them.

I spent many hours the Sunday before Halloween fabricating Abbie's legendary Turtle Shell out of cardboard and foam paper. I probably got too into it, because I spent all my energy making the shell and then dumped the project on Alissa to finish the rest of the costume. We ended up hot-gluing the chest part directly onto Abbie's green sweatshirt, and looping ribbon around the top of the shell to hold it to Abbie's shoulders. It worked out ok, I think.

Anna's costume was the easiest. Ballerina? Go check the dress-up box. Done! Sadly, Anna's feet were too wide and blocky to fit into the ballerina slippers Alissa found, so she picked up some shoes elsewhere. I was sort of looking forward to what would become of Anna's previously mentioned "Karate Princess" idea for Halloween, but the ballerina outfit was really cute. Even more memorable was the image of Anna the ballerina chowing down caramel apples and food beneath a light at the Halloween party at work. Her skintight leotard showed off a nicely swollen belly, but she was as cute as ever.

Alissa went through the kids candy and pulled out everything she liked. I think that is a little much, as I would rather just keep it all in the same bag and pull out whatever I felt like eating at any given time. I really have to cut back on the chocolate....

On a different note, I will be joining the Concept Art group in a week or so. I am excited to be able to focus on art. The guys on the team are amazing artists, and I will be learning a lot from them. I found a few artists on the Daily Painting Group that really inspired me. I was really blown away by Karin Jurik's work. The Jack-O-Lantern is hers. I must paint! I really wish I had a studio...

I promise to put up some Photoshop tutorials soon. I was going to do it tonight, but I felt like I needed to update my loyal readers on some recent events.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Matte Painting

No, it's not cheating. It's a technique used to create a more realistic image, using a photograph as reference for the natural lightning and mood for the piece. It's commonly known that in an FX shot, it will only be as good as the matte painter assigned to it. Not that I have any experience in it, but that's what my friends in "the Biz" tell me. Anyhow, this was done in Photoshop CS2 in about 2.5 hrs.

Here is my first attempt. Thanks to Ben Cammarano for all the tips! Wish me luck...

2nd image is original plate. 1st image is after I'm all done. Click to view at full size!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I've been watching season one of 30 Rock using my Netflix "Watch it Now" privileges. It's been fantastic! Granted, they don't have a very wide selection of content, but there are some hidden gems. I highly recommend an indie film called "One Last Thing". The movie description doesn't do the film justice, but read through some of the member reviews. It was a very good film, and not at all what you'd expect from the movie description. It is thoughtful, engaging, and an emotional ride.

Also on the movie front, I took the entire family to see Ratatouille at the dollar theater yesterday. We actually took up an entire row! The movie is fantastic, and delivered a wonderful story and great animation. Abbie commented that the rats in the movie could cook, but the rats in our kitchen couldn't.


It happens with every pregnancy. Mind you, I'm not the one puking, although it can be contagious. More amusing is the attitude of our kids when Alissa is puking her guts out in the morning.

Abbie: "Is mom throwing up?". Goes and checks. "Yup, she is throwing up! Is it green? Mine was green when I was sick and threw up."

Anna: "I wanna watch!"

Miles: "gah! hya ma gupp ada!"

Worse than the throwing up is the complaining. Yes, I know you don't feel well. I don't really need to be reminded 10 times a day. I ask what I can do to help, she says "nothing". Really, I just want to stop hearing about it... Maybe I should just get her a Tshirt that says "I am Pregnant and Sick and feel awful" so she wouldn't feel like she has to remind me.

I guess I'm complaining too. I have sympathy, but really we both knew what happens during pregnancy. No, I'm not a cruel husband. I just want my wife barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen, is that so much to ask?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Busy Bee

Work's gotten busier, but I've still been trying to find time at home to work on personal projects. Here is the latest update. I'm UV'ing the game res model, but that's boring so here's the hi-res sculpt. I've gotta figure out how to make some clean normal maps from this (so far generating really ugly ones from Maya) so I can start texturing this guy....

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Beast of Burden

I've been remodeling this character, I lost the original model. I need to figure out how to create better normal maps, since Maya seems to be acting weird and Zbrush3 doesn't export normal maps. Then I need to paint textures for it, which is the important part. I'm wondering if this hi-rez sculpt makes the character too "busy", as the original was much simpler... I will be making the saddle and stuff too....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Me and Bad Movies

Sure, I could have gone to see Shoot Em' Up. Instead, I saw the third cinematic masterpiece based on a videogame. Resident Evil, while ultimately void of anything worthwhile, has never ceased to entertain me. I am still ashamed to say that I have paid full price to see the first and third installment. Honestly, it could be blamed on Milla. Deep in my heart of hearts, I know the movie's gonna suck. Having a good-looking lead character definitely sells tickets.

Actually, the worst part of the whole experience is the fact that a nice young family was there enjoying the movie with us. Dad, Mom, little 4-yr old Mary and still-fresh-from-the-womb Billy. What better way to spend your 9:45pm - 11:30pm than watch infected flesh-craving zombies get their heads cut off by young sweet-looking Milla?

PS. Ali Larter was also in the flick...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Last week, I went to Austin for the Austin Game Developers Conference. With my $50 pass, I didn't attend any of the panels or classes, instead I walked the Expo floor looking for game studios that were hiring. Unfortunately, the underwhelming presence of Austin-based game companies led to quick boredom. Since I was there with a few friends, it was all good. I did make some good contacts and get a better feel for the area.

Austin isn't what you'd think Texas would be like. One co-worker remarked to me, "the only problem with Austin is that it's surrounded by Texas" - no offense intended for you Texans. Texas doesn't bother me one bit. Austin felt like a breath of fresh air after living in soulless Orlando. The tourism industry is like a vampire here, leeching creativity and good times. Austin is heavy on the arts and outdoors, both of which I enjoy. The Colorado River runs through it, as well as slowing down to form a few nice lakes, all of which is surrounded by some really cool parks. The restaurant quality was approximately 2,000% better than anything I've had in Orlando. Austin's hippie content was roughly 40% of California's, too. There are eco-friendly cleaners, vegan tea shops and vintage clothing thrift stores. Lots of bike shops, too. I hear Lance Armstrong is from Austin.

Highlights of the trip:

- every restaurant we went to was fantastic! Mongolian BBQ right by the convention center, Kerby Lane's, Amy's Ice Cream (Cold Stone was put out of business in Austin by the original Amy's Ice Cream, where they reportedly ripped off their whole gimmick. Any town that can stick it to Cold Stone has my favor!) You might be able to tell that I'm anti-franchise when it comes to restaurants. I can't help it that most franchises serve nasty reheated food. Yes, even your beloved TGI Friday's and Chili's (I'm looking at YOU, Greg).

- Alamo Drafthouse. Not quite a bar or a restaurant, but both in front of a Theater Screen! We saw "The Ten", which I enjoyed for its incredibly well-written albeit crass satirical humor. That place was awesome, tho. Best Cheeseburger I've had in awhile, too.

- Slow motion automobile accident, between a tour bus and some poor guy's Mazda sports car. I guess bus drivers don't always check their mirrors when taking a slow, wide right turn on a wide street.

- Guy at an outdoors gear store (North Face) describing his elation and security when wearing climbing shoes with 5.10 Stealth rubber. "I was like 30ft up, and like all scared and stuff, then I looked down [at my shoes] and was, like,'s all good!"

- College kids (University of Texas is downtown Austin) look like high-school kids. What's up with that? Am I really that old?

- I'm listening to Cas Haley right now. I watched America's Got Talent off and on, and was really disappointed that he didn't win it all. Who loses to a ventriloquist?? Cas is a fantastic musician, and I really dig his style. I'm just listening thru his website, but I really gotta get his albums. Look up Woodbelly, his band. The other members are very good as well. I'm sure his career is just getting started.

Hopefully this longer blog makes up for the lack of blogging I've been (not) doing. I've been busy with getting my portfolio ready for the conference, and this job search thing takes a lot of effort. Hopefully we will be reaping the fruits of my labors soon....

Thanks for reading! Cross your fingers for me, I really want to relocate to Austin!

Friday, August 31, 2007

More Painting - Digital

Ok, so I didn't really like that last image either. This is the FINAL one (I promise) after some consulting with a co-worker about the piece.

Also, same co-worker (Robert) introduced me to Phil Hale's work. Jaw dropping stuff! Inspired, I did a study of one of his pieces. Not hard to tell which one's mine, is it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Just had to fix those legs, I didn't like the anatomy. Click HERE to see a uber-high resolution image in all its glorious detail!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I am a self-proclaimed Photoshop master. Actually, I can definitely say that I do NOT know everything about Photoshop, but I HAVE taught Alissa most of what she knows. However, she has also taught me some things about photo editing and processing. I am going to try to do more painting and sketching in color, which means Photoshop for now. Here is one I finally finished, it's been sitting around for at least a few years! I am finally feeling more comfortable painting in Photoshop, and have been going nuts making my own brushes! It's actually pretty easy....

Friday, August 17, 2007


Some of you may know that I like shoes. In fact, at one point I had more shoes than my wife. I haven't counted lately, but that could still be true. Recently, a friend of mine got some new shoes that I'd like to try out because they're just that cool-looking. You be the judge! Check out the website.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I'm Not Spiderman

Don't let this spider bite you. You will NOT inherit incredible strength NOR will you be able to shoot sticky webbing out of your wrists. I hear these things jump, too!

The Brown Recluse is dangerous. I have just learned that Florida has 3 species of this spider. I'm now scared to death.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Digital Sculpting

I'm trying to finish a hand study for the EA Art show featuring digital sculpting - the deadline is next Friday. At this point it's just in a relaxed pose, and I'm really just studying surface anatomy and skin texturing. I'm kinda worried that people will think the hand looks funny, but I'm using my own hand for reference and my hands look different from most people's! Anyhow, I thought I'd share what I'm working on right now.

The EA Art Gallery is a cool program we have at work, and I hope to show some of my figure drawing there in the future.

I'm also trying to get my stuff together for the Austin Game Developers Conference. I'm going to fly out to look for work in Austin, where we hope all our dreams will come true. Actually, I already have a lead at a larger studio out there, but I'm going anyway to make sure all my bases are covered. So, if you have things to say about Austin, I'm all ears!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Azn Invasion

I love Asian food. This love might have something to do with my being Chinese, but even so, you've gotta admit that Asian food is tasty. I like everything spanning from Vietnamese and Thai to Filipino and Japanese. Chinese food is pretty good, too, but the American-Chinese food that is all too prevalent here in the USA can really turn my stomach sometimes. However, I can usually come to terms with it. My dad took my brother and I to a great Chinese buffet in Calgary last summer. It sounds trashy, and it is in the mall, but WOW was it good. It was by far the best authentic Chinese buffet I've ever been to in North America.

The way you can tell an Asian restaurant is good is by looking at the clientele. Most people know this, but some snobs are very picky about restaurant cleanliness. Now, I'm all for not getting Ebola or Salmonella, but I don't care if the floors are crusted over if the food is good. A little stomach ache later is a personal sacrifice that sometimes must be taken. Fast food does it to me all the time, and those places are always cleaner than the average Chinese take-out joint!

We went to an Asian Supermarket today, after discovering the Farmer's Market we drove 30 min to didn't actually exist, contrary to what the worldwide web said (lies!). Usually when we go to the Asian supermarket, we're not buying bread and meat and vegetables. We get treats, little things, some sauces, frozen dumplings, etc. So we got some Bulgogi marinade to try out. For those of you who haven't ever had Korean food, you have got to try Beef Bulgogi. Grill it at your table yourself (Korean BBQ) or have the restaurant serve you theirs. Abbie remarked after her first bite: "mm mm, tastes like CANDY!". I guess the marinade is usually made with Asian pear puree, and it is deliciously sweet.

/end commercial

FYI, some of my favorite dishes are (in no particular order):

pho (Vietnamese noodle soup)
Korean barbecue
Vietnamese pork chops
mussaman curry
stinky tofu (actual name)
ginger beef
roasted goat meat

Also, Florida is pretty scarce when it comes to Asian food, but I have managed to find a few decent places for Vietnamese, Korean and Thai. Los Angeles had so many restaurants....

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Eng Family

I haven't gotten to go see the movie yet, but I love the Simpsons. These took way too long to make... but I think it was worth it!

Still Life

Since I don't blog as much as my loyal fans would like, here's a still life I did recently. Thanks to Mark for the painting tips! I need some new brushes, if anyone has any recommendations on a good flat brush I'm all ears. I'm sick of buying brushes that lose bristles quickly...

This was done with oil paints on a 6"x 6" masonite board in really bad lighting conditions. Can you even tell what they are?


So, at work we get to take some fun classes at "EA University". We are starting a speedpainting group that wants to meet on a regular basis. The only down side is that speed painting is done on computers, and our training lab has a miserable 20 machines or so. The classes fill up fast. Like, if you went to the bathroom and the email was sent out telling people about the class, it will probably be full by the time you return to your desk.

Anyhow, inspired by what I have learned (not much, BTW), here are a few quick ones I hammered out last weekend. These were done in Photoshop CS2 with no more than an hour on each, usually quite a bit less.

I used a reference image of Lucy Liu and was generally displeased with the results. I really need to figure out how to blend skintones better in Photoshop, or just buckle down and use Painter.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Million-Dollar Boy

Today, Miles had some plastic tubes surgically implanted in his ears. Next, we plan on enhancing his eyes like Vin Diesel. We hope he will be overcome with gratitude in his later years and use his upgrades to help finance our retirement.

Seriously, though. I would love to have biomechanically enhanced eyeballs. What could be more useful than infrared vision or shooting lasers from your eye sockets? Unfortunately, we are told that the tubes will fall out themselves within a year or so. There goes that plan...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My Soul for an iPhone

A friend at work just got one. I continually tech-lust after it. I think it's definitely worth the money, but somehow I think that money could be better spent elsewhere. The biggest feature for me is actually the built-in GoogleMaps...

For example, last night. Kids ate mac and cheese, but i'm not really attracted to reheated Kraft. I know there's a Thai place around the corner, but I don't have their phone number sitting around. I had to go to my computer, Google Thai Longwood, then grab my phone and type in the number. I felt so low-tech after realizing that it would have taken about 2 seconds with an iPhone.

Vacation report: Pennsylvania was relaxing. I especially liked letting the kids just run around in the yard. They had a tire swing to fight over, dogs to set free, and chickens to feed. Miles also had plenty of sticks to pick up and swing at the nearest breathing thing. For some pix, check out Alissa's blog.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Birthplace of America

Yes, that would be Pennsylvania for all of you educated folk. Although, I suppose you could also say the UK is.....

Anyways, it's time for another glorious vacation. My Loyal Readers will remember that my last adventures included Sarasota and Iowa. This time, we will be braving the 4th of July (hooray America!) traffic as we burn valuable petroleum rolling 2 worn rubber tires and 2 new rubber tires up the East coast to the relaxing hills of the Pennsylvania countryside. And I DO mean countryside. It takes 20 minutes to get anywhere. Those aren't highway miles, either. Luckily, the miracle of Scotch Tape combined with Alissa's MacGuyver-like skillz have saved our souls. It is through these fortunate series of events that we will be able to play mundane images and auditory pollution over a portable DVD player that has seen better years. How else can you take a road trip with 3 children 5yrs and under? I mean, besides drugging them. THAT's an idea!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Red or Blue? How about Green?

Ok, I admit it, I am politically retarded. I don't follow politics much, and don't know a lot of information I should know to make educated decisions about where I stand on certain issues. This is one of the many areas of my life where I fall short of maximizing my potential. However, Stu's blog piqued (yes, that's the correct spelling) my curiousity and I took the test. Without further ado, here are the results!

Your Political Profile:

Overall: 55% Conservative, 45% Liberal

Social Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
How Liberal Or Conservative Are You?

I guess it's accurate. I don't think the test was very comprehensive, though.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

YouTube pwnz!

So, this kid is pretty nerdy. Not like I was, I was never as nerdy as this kid. I can see a difficult life ahead of him...

I have nothing against home-schooling, but seriously this kid needs to work on social and conversation skills.

So, it's great he can spell and stuff. He obviously understands latin-based word construction. And I'm curious why he sees graphs and math in every day objects. Obsess much? I'm actually fairly certain he has an adoring mother as well. The world needs more of those, too. I wonder what his dad is like.

Aside: This clip will make you ashamed to be an American. It will also make you wonder, "Do I know the answer to that question?". I sure hope you can at least answer 80% of them!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Hot Vacation Spots

Sarasota, Florida. Coralville, Iowa. What do these two locations have in common? Tomorrow at 10:15am, they will have both been host to my Paid Time Off. Traces of my sunburned DNA will be found at both locations. Yes, I'm going on vacation to Coralville! Congrats on graduating Dental School, "little" brother! I'm calling this my vacation, but really it's a quick 2.5-day trip that will most likely leave me exhausted come Sunday.

Wish me luck! Oh, and remind me to post the portrait I finally finished in my oil painting class!

On second thought, wish Alissa luck with the kids.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

I'd like a spare tire to go, please.

I like Arby's. It may be a strange loyalty thing, because my first real job was at Arby's. I liked it because it never really got as busy as McDonald's, which I later worked at and quit after a few weeks because there were always too many customers. Perhaps it is the succulent aroma of thin-sliced "roast beef", or the tangy original sauce. I really like the Horseradish sauce, too. I like it on all meat sandwiches now. Abbie started crying when she tasted it, and Anna wrinkled her nose. "It's spicy!"

So I'm in the car, driving to a friend's apartment to help them load up a moving truck. It's 12:45pm, and I haven't had any lunch, so I stop at the Arby's near my apartment and pick up a large curly fry and soda to tide me over. $3.83. Yeah, I'll have to use my card. No, I don't ever carry cash anymore. That's SO last century. Then on my way home after the move, I decide that a Jamocha shake sounds delicious. The same guy takes my order at the drive thru window, and I again pay for my $2 shake with a debit card. I drive sheepishly away, wondering if the girl who I could see working the register saw me. She was usually the drive-thru cashierperson....

Friday, May 18, 2007

This is the Industry

Here are a few videos that I found hilarious. They deal with aspects of my trade that may only be funny for people who know something about it.

Nevertheless, enjoy! I just had to share these.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Starving Artist?

As some of you may know, from time to time I try to do some artwork. I have an aspiration to be like Justin, but I have a lot to learn about oil painting. Last Saturday, the kids and I painted a special painting for Mother's Day. Then, I worked on an apple. Abbie and Anna immensely enjoyed painting with toxic chemicals. Miles immensely enjoyed poking the canvas with a brush. Here are the fruits of our labors (pun intended):

Monday, May 14, 2007

Weird Al

So apparently my last post made people feel funny inside. No, not "fuzzy" - FUNNY. I have too many inside jokes, and it really is sad that I am the only one in on the joke. Well, sometimes my wife will roll her eyes and mutter "oh brother". Weird Al Yankovic has a "newer" album called "Straight Outta Lynnwood" and it has some great work on it. Apparently there is a video for the one I referenced recently, and here it is in all its glory.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Lizard Stomping Day

I didn't want to believe it. My shaking hand nearly dropped the phone. Could it be true? Was my little boy a bonafide stone-cold killer??! No, my wife explained. He was just stomping his feet as he shrieked at the poor little reptile. The boy's supersonic vocal chords must have pierced the lizard's fragile eardrums, driving it to scamper unwittingly underneath the Shoes of Death. It was an accident. After all, does a 1.5 yr-old even have the fine motor skills to commit such a horrid act?

The darkness subsides, the monster sleeps. The night mourns in silence.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Shameless Plug

So, I finished updating my website today. Check it out and let me know what you think! Yes, it's a template. I may someday actually create my own site, as I would like a better Gallery where you can view larger images. But really, who has the time to make all that stuff? Plus, I'm lazy.

Thanks, Lissa!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

What Means "Template"?

I need a new template for my blog. It's so ... boring. I know very little about HTML and tried to update my template with one I found on another blog for templates...but it kept giving me an error. This makes me feel quite unintelligent. Eventually I'll find a tutorial or something, and maybe try to make my own.

Today is the anniversary of my wedding. We celebrated it all day yesterday at Universal Islands of Adventure, while the kids were being watched by our friends. It was pretty hot, and after one look at the line for the Hulk ride I promptly bought 2 Express passes. "Express Pass" is another word for nobility. I had basically upgraded our social status for a mere $20/person. We marched up to the Express Pass lane and bypassed a multitude of sad-faced commoners on our way to heart-racing excitement. After all, our time was too valuable to be stuck in a line like lemmings.

We actually (fleetingly) missed our kids while at Universal. We saw other families with kids in tow, and remarked how difficult that looked. 7 years sounds like a while, but it has passed by so fast! I had Alissa pluck a few white hairs off my head yesterday. I feel old... but I can say that I'm looking forward to the future. My wife and I have been through a lot, grown closer, and still love each other. What more can you ask for?

Just a new computer, I guess. And maybe some Pear Jelly Bellies?

Friday, May 4, 2007

I'm sorry

I'm sorry. I truly am. I did not previously comprehend the extent of my rambling powers, but I am now confident that I have joined the illustrious ranks of Sylar, Hiro, and the Petrelli brothers. Humanity is changing.

Also, Spiderman 3 sucks. It's worth seeing, I suppose, but seriously - it was bad. I've already described it to my wife as "like Pirates of the Caribbean 2 - but it has an ending". There are some nice parts, but as a whole I give it one thumb in a stinky pile of poo.

Tonight, I will not display my awesome Rambling Powers. Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Wow! What a Ramblin'

I don't blog very much, I guess. Maybe it's cuz I don't have much to say? Hey, I'm new at this! It's time for The Office, I'll be back to finish this masterpiece later..


I don't watch that much TV. I usually just watch Lost, Smallville, The Office, and Heroes. We don't have cable and haven't missed it enough to get it yet, though that may change.

Some more films I've seen lately for the first time:

Lady in the Water. I'm not really an M. Night Shyamalan (I had to IMDB that spelling) fan, but I enjoy his plot twists. It will be interesting to see what he does with Avatar, since I am a big fan of the show.

Little Miss Sunshine. Fantastic acting by the entire cast! Also a nice role change for Steve Carell. Double thumbs up.

Snakes on a Plane. What a fun movie! Ridiculous and exactly what you expect from the title. What more can you ask for?

Flushed Away. Nice animation, but I found myself liking the support characters more than the main ones....I love the slugs and frogs!

Thanks for the plug, Stu! I'll do my best to post more interesting material than these silly TV and film reviews.

I should mention that I watch most of these movies while working. Understandably, I am not fully concentrating on them and sometimes miss little things. Oh, speaking of work, check this article out! It may illuminate a bit more of the Game Industry than you previously knew... The only thing I'd add to what the article says is that these work conditions are not the same at every company. The article mentions this, but it's a big part of where you work.

I don't really want to vent about work here, isn't that what the water cooler is for? =) I'm actually becoming more and more involved with "extracurricular" activities at work now. My wife is somewhat confused and isn't quite sure if I actually DO any work while I'm at the office anymore. I'm a member of the Artist Gallery Committee, Sculpting Club, Character Club, and participate in as many Figure Drawing and other art classes we offer at work. I figure, mise well take advantage of the big budget whilst I can, eh? I'm excited to break in my new easel and practice mixing paints, because my color mixing is akin to a blind man's ability right now. Is it bad that I've only ever painted "on the computer"? The demise of the modern artist...

Speaking of which, my wife is an awesome photographer and is working on a computer from the Mesozoic Era. The fan begrudgingly squeaks and shudders at startup, while her volumous 512mb of RAM propels Adobe Photoshop at elephantine paces. I'm going to go ahead and make up words here. Maybe someday I'll be regarded as the Bill Shakespeare of the Digital Era. Anyhow, my wife's photography business has generated a good amount of income. Soon she will have enough to buy another computer with an estimated lifespan of 2 years!

Does anyone play Counterstrike: Condition Zero? Yeah, I know this isn't 2004 anymore, but I still love that game. Eventually I may continue on to another version, but for now I'm still on CZ. I think it may have something to do with my lack of funds to toss into a silicon card with wirey thingys and a GPU on it. I'm in a Counterstrike clan that plays for fun only. Our server is G-rated and for ppl who just want to have fun and not be hassled or have to listen to immature or annoying chatter that can happen on other servers.

PS. Remember that I'm a total geek? Sometimes I wish I were a smart kinda geek, but really I'm just geeky. I don't know THAT much about computers, programming, or Lord of the Rings. However, I am totally excited for Spiderman 3 tomorrow! EA bought tickets for employees, guests were $8. Alissa really didn't want to find a babysitter because we are going on a Top Secret anniversary outing all Saturday and leaving the kids with some friends for the day...thanks, Melinda and Jacob!

This is really long. I don't know if people really read this much. If you are still reading, please stop. Go to the bathroom or something. Seriously. I'm going to get a drink and blow my nose, not necessarily in that order.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bad Taste

I went and saw Ghost Rider at the local dollar theater the other night. There were 2 other guys in the theater when I got there. What a crowd! I actually didn't expect anyone else in there, but I guess these other schmoes were like me and had the bright idea of catching a movie at 10:00pm on a dark and stormy Thursday night.

I didn't have high expectations of the film, and my wife will tell you that I watch all manner of incredibly bad movies and TV shows. At least, I did when we had cable. You know all those horrible movies they replay on TV? I'd watch them all. Unless, of course, they were chick flix. Anyhow, when Nick Cage's head started melting and then turned into a flaming skull, I nearly laughed. I mean, it took like 10 minutes for this sequence to end! Not to mention that the cinematography and editing style was laughable. The film oozes with cheese.

Yet, I still enjoyed it.

I like going to the theater, even if it's the dollar theater. One of my favorite activities while on vacation is hitting up the theaters for whatever looks interesting. This annoys my wife to no end, who can't understand why I want to visit the theater when we're in Pennsylvania at the in-laws.

Some notably bad films I enjoyed and would even watch multiple times:

Escape from NY
Resident Evil 1 & 2
TMNT 1, 2, & 3 (I haven't seen the new one yet, but I hear it's good)
Galaxyquest (arguably NOT a bad movie)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Is this thing on?

It's official.

I'm a Blogger. One more title to add to my geekdom. I revel in my geekiness. After all, I'm asian. Is that stereotypical? I'm hardly the stereotypical AZN BOI, although I suppose my skipping 4th grade is a hefty shift in the one direction. Does anyone really learn anything in the 4th grade, anyway? Having no point to this post other than to make marks on a freshly made page of my life, I will ramble. I'm a rambler. I come with minimal preparation and just rolll with it. Yes, I know there are three (3) "L"s in that rolll. It was for emphasis.

Writing is a great outlet. I miss it, but I don't miss writing for school. I always felt like I was just writing what the teacher wanted to hear, except for in my Creative Writing class in high school (shout out to WVHS), where I actually enjoyed putting thoughts into words.

I'm not going to introduce myself. If you know me already, consider yourself incredibly Blessed Among Men. If you don't, this is a Teaser to lure you into visiting this blog in the future.

Oh, and Justin! You're the Man. I mean it.

Stay tuned for more ramblings...same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel. Actually, prolly a diff Bat-Time...