IN 3D!

Today's topic is software. Don't attempt to change the channel. You have no choice in this matter. Just sit back and take yer medicine, damn it.

Can I tell you something personal? It's sort of embarrassing. The thing is, I have an obsession; one which isn't entirely healthy. You see, I'm obsessed with computer generated 3D graphics. I have been for the entirety of my short, strange life, and I don't expect it to end anytime soon.

If I had to guess, I'd say it probably started the first time I saw Tron, and then got progressively worse with release of The Last Starfighter and the many thousands of CG laden blockbusters that followed in their wake.

This obsession of mine grew and mutated with time, eventually driving me to a video gaming addiction - the refined heroin to 3d animation's crude opium. I gaped in wonder at the rendering that gave those games life, and I ruthlessly shot those renderings to pieces with all sorts of digital weaponry. More than anything, I longed to be part of that process... Not just a consumer or virtual destroyer, but an actual creator.

So I tried. Year after tedious year, I'd dig into this or that graphics program, but it somehow never stuck. I couldn't produce anything that satisfied my urge, and the frustration routinely sent me off into month-long video game benders. I shudder to think what terrible things might've happened if there weren't countless legions of hapless gamers to slaughter online. I absolutely shudder.

These (mostly) weren't half-hearted efforts, either. I *ahem* acquired a number of different 3D apps by one method or another and gave them each a fair shake, but for some reason, not a one of them clicked. My first experiments were in Caligari Truespace, but I can't say I took that very seriously - and I'm not alone in that. Later, I bashed my head against Kinetix/Discreet/Autodesk's 3D Studio Max, all the while spending hundreds of smackaroos on very well regarded textbooks. That was all for naught - I never constructed anything more complex than a pair of dice.

I seem to recall looking at the Maya interface once. I have vague recollections of what it looked like in the brief moment between loading the app and when I clicked the X in the corner. Good times...

Which brings us up to the present. This past week, I dove head-first into Blender - The 3D Program everyone loves to hate. I kid you not. I've never run across a user interface that inspires the kind of animosity that Blender's does. Artists who are well acquainted with better known packages such as Max and Maya tend to view Blender's interface as a personal insult... It's as if Blender looks them dead in the eyes, curls its lip and calls their mothers whores.

I find it more than a little hilarious.

Considering my life long devotions to swimming upstream and laughing in the faces of nay-sayers, it was only a matter of time until I started working in Blender. Oh yeah. It's also free. As in speech and beer. Perfect for someone like me, who's both in love with open source software and flat broke.

I messed around with it a couple months back, but not enough to get a real handle on it. This time's been different. I got myself hip deep in articles, tutorials, videos, and forums. This time it clicked. I'm really getting the hang of it. All it took was the single most maddening interface in computer graphics and my own bull-headed obstinance.

So, on to the candy. Anyone who knows me at all knows what a giant Nintendo fanboy I am...... *cough cough* Sooooooo.... It's only natural that I'd have a keen interest in the Revolu^H^H^H^H, errr, Wii. As part of a project I'm working, I produced this:
I still like the name Power Wand better...

It's rough, but considering my utter inability to produce anything in 3D before, I think it's really something. Remaining tasks include adding the battery-cover on the bottom, texturing the top, and making some of them buttons transparent. That'll have to wait until I get some more coffee in me.

That's all for this update. Next installment, I'll be talking about some wicked graphic sites I've found in the past couple weeks. Until then, see you, space cowboys...