Tuesday, March 13, 2012

That alley thing is almost done!

Here are some finished renders of the boxes and pallets... I'm going to render out the whole thing later today, but that will take my computer a few hours. Updates to come later!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Work in Progress...

Here is a preview render of my alley. I really like the boxes and the pallets. The dumpster is still a work in progress, I only started on it today...

Luckily I have the day off tomorrow, so I can finish the dumpster and fix the concrete flooring. I was being lazy and used the same texture from the street. Now its too stretched out for close ups like this... But for now I think I'll fix the lighting before the scene gets too heavy. *sigh* I hate lighting...

Here it is after a little lighting work:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A New Direction

After talking with some industry contacts of mine, i've decided to seriously cut back some of the material in my portfolio. I'm going to put up a new piece that is definitely my strength, but uses all the new skills that I have learned from all of these tutorials. And then create a turn-around reel with break-downs of the textures on all of my best pieces. Here is a link to my portfolio as it stands  now: http://slewis21.daportfolio.com/ .

Originally I was going to make my new piece a walk through of a city street. As I was modeling it, it became way too big. I was already cutting corners int he interest of getting it done, rather than taking my time on each piece. So I changed it to just a dark alley with a few pieces that I can really focus on. So far all i've worked on are the boxes. Here are a few screen shots:

I still plan to take these guys into mudbox and create a normal map of fold and wrinkles in them. I'm excited about this project and I hope it comes out as great as I am imagining!

In the mean time, the job search continues. Something is gonna happen eventually, and i'm not going to stop until it does!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Still Life - still no job

So after that last tutorial, I decided to try and replicate it for myself. This is what I came up with. I still wanna re-render it in layers and work some compositing magic before I put it up in my portfolio. But I'm pretty happy with the way it came out. I really need to work on my rendering and mental ray settings in general. That's something that I am still pretty weak with...

On the job search front... whole lot of nothing. But I will continue to look while I continue to develop my skills and eventually something has gotta stick, right?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Gettin back to Maya

So I had been doing a lot of photoshop tutorials trying to buff up my skills there, but now I need to get back to using Maya (and mudbox with this one). So I went to digital tutors and pulled up a still life texturing tutorial. Unlike all the tutorials I did before where I actually created everything from scratch, I used a lot of the pre-made project files to do this project. The bread, lemon, and flowers were all done by me though!

Despite not making a lot of the texture maps myself, I learned A LOT from this tutorial and it took me three days (and an entire night of rendering) to finish. Firstly, I have always used mudbox for sculpting and exporting normal or displacement maps. But for the bread and flower I used mudbox for painting. This really opened my eyes to a whole new (and easier) way of making texture maps. 

I also now know how to properly apply a normal or displacement map in maya's hypershade (I've been doing it wrong this whole time). On top of that almost all of these textures are placed on mental ray shaders, which I have always been hesitant to play around with. I've really learned the different setting and presets and how they can really help me take my hand made textures to the next level. Along with learning how to apply those maps, I have also learned how to layer several bump maps onto one object. That was something I didn't even know you could do (though I am not surprised you can). 

Doing this tutorial has shown me that I still have a lot to learn about the profession and the specialty that I have chosen, but it also proves that I greatly enjoy it and love learning and applying new things! I think my next project will be modeling my own still life and putting it together much like this one. That way I will have something to add to my reel that will be unlike anything else in there. I have quite a few days off of work this week, so hopefully I'll be updating soon! 

Friday, December 23, 2011


Here is another tutorial I did on my day off yesterday (finished today). I learned the merits of a clipping mask on this one, otherwise its nothing I really couldn't have done on my own. I think that means its time to move on to different/harder projects.

Well until the new year!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Doin' Thangs

To keep up my skills and force myself to not be lazy, I've decided that on every day off from work, i'm going to pick a tutorial and follow it in its entirety. The last three that I did were all photoshop, and came out with some really cool results. I'm also learning some nice tricks that will def come in handy for my texturing work. Yay!

With this project I learned about making custom brushes, and got a clear grasp on how to work with masks. I dont know why, but they've always confused me before. I also learned how to make special selections like shadows and mid-tones. All in all it was fun, and now i have a really cool facebook profile picture!

I made this one with the intention of having it the header for this very blog (which also got a much needed makeover). I got some cool spray paint custom brushes from the project. Honestly, I didn't really learn much from this one. It was fun though.

This bad boy actually took me two days to finish. It was so long and complicated! I learned about creating your own alphas int he channels box and then loading them into selections to make masks and adjustment layers. Soooo many adjustment layers (which I had never used before)! I really like the adjustment layer, now that I know what it is and how to use it. I also made curve adjustments a lot, where I used to fall upon the levels slider, so thats something new and useful. This is one that I know I wont be able to recreate without looking at the tutorial again. But I like the final product and I can see how it can be useful in the future. I can also easily replace the coke logo for something else and just slap it into a project whenever I need to!

We'll see what I come up with next time... I wanna do some maya and mudbox/zbrush tutorials as well. I need to get better at using mudbox/zbrush in general and in maya I want to get better at basic lighting. Its a skill that can really help me in my work, but that I am seriously lacking knowledge in. That and procedural texturing... but that scares me.