Saturday, August 30, 2008

Calling all Geeks!

Ok, so I'm not really going to be writing an Ode here. In fact, I'm so lazy that I'm not even going to Google "Ode", because I really don't know what an Ode exactly is. I am, however, going to describe to you how old my computer is. I have had this machine for over 3 years now, and it was an old workstation from a previous employer that I purchased. At the time, it was pretty spiffy and not a horrible machine. In fact, it's still a pretty decent machine. However, I am trying to work more on hi-resolution digital sculpting, and for that I will need some beefier hardware.

I've created a wishlist on Newegg for my Dream Machine. Q6600 Quad Core processor, 4gb DDR3 RAM to start with, and a nice overclocking motherboard with dual graphics card compatibility. Does this sound greedy? I don't really care. I need power! And I need it to last for awhile, even though Intel is on the cusp of a new age.

To fund my dreams, I am trying to get some freelance gigs. I've done a few logo designs for family and friends, but I'm really looking for more lucrative projects. So, if you know anyone who needs a high-end concept painting or 3d Model/texture, please send them my way! My portfolio (outdated as it may be) is here.

Also, if you have comments on my selection of computer parts, please recommend something to me! Believe me, I wish I could afford a high-end Mac (with dual boot for WinXP of course!) and those lovely screens. I think the Samsungs I have my eye on should be ok... I am so sick of only having one 19" CRT at home. Seriously, how can you live with just one screen? It's so much nicer when you have the real estate for reference photos, multiple applications, and sweet wallpapers.

Here are some links for some of the things on my wishlist:

ASUS Rampage Extreme LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard
XFX MBN790IUL9 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI DDR3 ATX Intel Motherboard

XCLIO Windtunnel Fully Black Finish 1.0 mm SECC Chassis ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Antec P182 Gun Metal Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

POWERCOLOR AX4870 512MD5-H Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
BFG Tech BFGE88512GTOC2E GeForce 8800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

Friday, August 29, 2008

ZBrush 3.1 : The Adventures of Captain ZApplink and PSBoy!

I got to work on my Beast of Burden for the first time in ages. I used the ZAppLink plugin on ZBrush 3.1 and Photoshop CS2 to start painting the texture for this bad boy. ZAppLink allows you to take a projection of a 3D model from ZBrush and paint on it in your program of choice. It then projects what you paint back onto your model, using whatever UVs it has already. Generally a pretty nifty tool, because you don't have to worry about seams along UV edges. And who wants to paint in anything but Photoshop and Painter?

I'm pretty happy with the progress so far. One of the things I wanted to challenge myself with was making this texture fully hand-painted, or in other words, not using photographs to overlay or add detail. To do this, I made a few new Photoshop brushes, which you could download from my website if my FTP server were working... For those few of you interested, email me and I'll send it to you personally. I also used a pretty standard soft and hard circular brush. Shown below are the images I used for my brushes, so if you're adventurous you can play around with the custom brush settings in Photoshop and get something unique. See if you can tell where I used each brush in the texture!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Working in Videogames

I work at a very well-known videogame developer, so I play games all the time. 24-7. I am a master at every videogame we make, because I can exploit every glitch and secret in the games to the fullest possible extent. Plus, I'm Asian. You got Served, Bee-yotch!

I like my job. A lot. Well, a lot more than I did a year ago. Why wouldn't I? I get to draw, paint, and use my creative juices every day! It comes to no surprise to me that people envy my job. I try to play it down, but yeah, it is a great job (when the pay finally catches up to me). I just don't understand one thing. Why is it, when I tell someone where I work, they assume I'm a Programmer?

Not to insult the Programmer race, but they can be a strange lot. They get paid exponentially more than we Artists, and have quite interesting behaviors to study. Take, for instance, the level of caffeination a typical male Programmer achieves each day. After two cups of coffee, a soda with lunch (biggie size it!), several "energy" drinks to sustain the exorably draining chair-sitting posture and furious typing, and it's no surprise to witness a jittery Programmer stammering over his description of matrices utilized to calculate multi-vector automated animation sequences.

At 9pm.

It is also not uncommon to witness an Artist's eyes glaze over when technical jargon crosses their ears. Sometimes all it takes is mentioning the word "pipeline" to make an Artist shudder. On the other hand, websites containing concept art or paintings will attract Artists like Programmers to a coffee machine.

Standing around like onlookers at an accident where no one knows if anyone got hurt or killed or did those EMTs shock-paddle that guy or whose fault was it? That poor girl I bet she doesn't even have insurance! And HE looks like he might have a gun in the car... That guy sure can paint. Bastard. I bet he ripped that off a photo. Those are great shapes! That one looks like your Mom! This guy worked on that film? Is that a Photoshop brush?

Paint Daubs FTW!!

There are two breeds of Artists, and they tend to butt heads. There are Fine Artists, and Illustrators. Don't let the names confuse you, though. Fine Artists aren't necessarily "more" artistic than Illustrators (though that's not what they'll tell you!). I've heard of actual fights breaking out between the two. Now THAT I'd like to see!

Focusing on art is what I love. I can accept the technical prowess required of digital artists these days, but drawing and painting and sculpting is where it's at. I decided long ago that I didn't want to feel trapped by my occupation. I wanted to do something that I would look forward to, and not dread going into work. Artwork has now become my life long passion and quest. It is the creation of images and ideas that is so rewarding.

So go out and do something you love!

PS. If you are a Programmer and disagree with my field notes, please feel free to leave a comment!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I have a confession. The new love of my life is not the mother of my children. It is ruined in the summer sun, yet a virtual drop of ecstasy on my quivering tongue! Oh! Spumoni!

A few months ago, when the MIL (Mother in-law) was visiting, I bought some ice cream. The grocery store had a 2-for-1 dealio going on, and my adventurous spirit kicked in. My eye lit upon a colorful carton with an intriguing name - Spumoni! I had never before heard of such a thing, but when I saw it had a layer of Pistachio ice cream, I was sold. And boy, was I!

A quick Google search and I have learned a few interesting things about Spumoni. Traditional Spumoni, or Spumone, originated in Italy but is rarely seen there now. Instead, it seems to have followed Italian immigrants to Argentina and the USA. It is a dessert typically made with 3 layers of ice cream - chocolate, cherry, and pistachio, separated by whipped cream, nuts (often hazelnut), and candied fruit. These can also be mixed into the ice creams.

What's not to love? I suppose the Haters out there will point out that Pistachio ice cream sounds gross. Too bad. More for me! According to, Neopolitan ice cream evolved from Spumoni for all the Haters. Also, the Banana Split may have even come from the dessert. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if all modern cuisine has evolved from the creation of Spumoni!

I was sad to discover that I had just missed National Spumoni Day, August 21st in the USA. Canada's National Spumoni Day is November 13th, though! Good luck prying my fat, sticky fingers from my Spumoni-loaded spoon on that day!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Those Damn Chinese

I am proud to be an ABC (American-Born Chinese). I am proud of my pure Chinese blood and American citizenship. I haven't been too proud of the Chinese government, though. Actually, who except perhaps a Chinese citizen would say they ARE? I have a special place in my heart for the People's Republic of Taiwan, and I'm glad China let them cross the Strait unarmed to compete in the Olympics. Is it just me, or does it seem like the Olympics are becoming more and more about Politics?

China seems to have gone on a mission to use the Summer Olympics to show the world how awesome they are. So intent, in fact, they even used special effects in the televised opening ceremony. The controversy surrounding the ages of their gymnasts also raises eyebrows. I suppose it is kind of nice to have the bad sentiment angled away from the USA, but we still get our share.

On gymnastics .... why did they have to complicate the scoring? How about we just do audience decibel level. The level of cheering at the end of each gymnast's routine. Maybe even a few cheerleaders holding huge plastic cones to their ears. Since the scoring was obviously biased and inconsistent, at least this way it would be more fun.

I also would like to see a few new sports added to the Olympics:

1. Ninja Warrior! These guys are amazing!
2. Mixed Martial Arts
3. Competitive Eating (Japan wins?)
4. More Women's Beach Volleyball

PS. If you are offended by this post, please leave a comment and I will read it and ignore it. Or maybe even respond!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Creative Juices

This is where I got my Creative Juices.

Also, I need to draw. I'm thinking 18 x 24...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Another Dream

This blog post will probably nearly be as incoherent as my jumbled dreams.

The other night I dreamed about a few of my friends and I trying to smuggle a sought-after child out of a city/concentration camp. There were human-like captors containing people in buildings that seemed like giant schools. People still scurried about in the streets, but they were being patrolled and the Captors were looking for this child. It was a little girl, someone I didn't even know, and my friends and I knew we couldn't give her up. Only one of my friends I can remember, it was a classmate from animation school. He had a unshaved jaw yet smelled of aftershave, and wore a brown wool jacket (WWII?). We resolved to ride motorcycles out, but I was nervous because it was wet and snowy and I had never ridden a motorcycle before. The motorcycles were older bikes, like WWII...

Fade to black. And, "Daddy, can we have breakfast now?". Also, "Anna is eating cookies!".

On an unrelated note, I am proud to have sold some stuff on Ebay today. I'm trying to scrape together some cash to build a new computer... Gotta love Capitalism!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Art is Easy

This is very similar to what goes on in my work life. Enjoy! - Watch more free videos