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3D latest August 7, 2007

Posted by whatacharacter in 3D, Art, just my blogs.
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Been trying to keep busy re-educating myself in 3D basics, and stretching what I know to get some portfolio items accomplished. One would think I learned stuff like how to make water or terrain in my Certificate course, but sadly no … so here I’ve tried to “yoke the two oxen” together.

bridge_2.jpgbridge_earlytrans.jpgClick to make bigger.

Also working on a tree, with leaf textures, to create an array, as well as a simply low poly model of Lara Croft. She should be fun to rig, so I can get back into animation. How can I have a portfolio without a buxom babe?


Life update June 2, 2007

Posted by whatacharacter in 3D, Art, just my blogs, useful.
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On the career front, I just finished re-re-doing my web portfolio, so if anyone wants to check it out, let me know what you think about www.hobbitdance.com

Hopefully, I’ve taken it a step up. The pieces are in place now to look for work and not feel to foolish recommending my website to employers. As I continue to get some 3D pieces done, I can easily plug them into the site. I added some of the recent Flash animations I’ve been doing for work.

For this site, since I’ve been blogging less about {art} and more about {heart} I think I’ll try adding a second page, and dedicate it just to the spiritual side of expression.

This mystical path seems unescapable to me – to combine art and spirituality, even if the art is more commercial these days. With a couple of decades of experience behind me I feel I’ve produced a fairly large body of work on “human insight.” My eyes and mind dont miss much, and pretty much my whole life has been about experience and learning and looking deep . . . so we’ll see what happens.

Life sure is complicated, but keeping it simple is important. I’ll share what I can – at least just to get it out there – and hopefully I’ve found a good recipe and haven’t missed any of the ingredients.


Creative wanting November 5, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in 3D, Art, just my blogs, useful.
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lacoonsm21.jpg – my last painting.

“Artistic Lacoon” 2005.

While my dear daughter’s AP Psychology book happened to be left on the table the other day, I availed myself to peruse it’s pages to see what was to be taught of the creative side of life. Some interesting considerations were brought to light, regarding what certain researchers identify as six components of creativity – not just artistic, but encompassing the multiple intelligences of the human potential. (Sternberg 1988, Sternberg & Lubart 1991,2)

1) – Intelligence – For a visual artist, I suppose this also means talent, to a certain degree, but widely applied to mean mental aptitude, critical thinking, and problem solving/solution finding.

2) – Expertise – “a well-developed base of knowledge.” This is primarily what I’ve always considered to be my inner library of experiences and images – something critical for an artist to have. At some point these elements seek life beyond my imagination and through dreams and inspirations allow me to see how they might appear to others.

To be a truly valuable asset for an artist I think this also applies to the skills one acquires, based on the fruitful application of one’s innate “talent.” This value never runs out: it grows over a lifetime, and develops the “voice” one earns to articulate his/her vision.

3) – Imaginative thinking skills – ability to produce fresh insight, and ideas both novel and valuable. Finding a way through the maze of patterns and connections by which one can form new patterns, or integrate to better define/make clearer existing ones.

4) – Venturesome personality – “tolerates ambiguity and risk, perseveres in overcoming obstacles … ” stays focused and resists running with the pack. Sounds like heroic qualities to me.

5) – Intrinsic motivation – The pleasure and challenge of the work itself, not influenced by external pressures.

I call this a healthy “artistic obsession,” and my primary shortfall. At times I wonder how I can consider myself to be an artist when this part doesn’t click and I ignore, deny, and supplant creative enterprises with other stoopid, or mundane time-stealing projects. Consider whether an artist is made from the value of one’s ideas, or the work one accomplishes.

This component matches other recent studies which show monetary or social gain is NOT a motivator in creative pursuits. Money, fame or any external derivative factor, beyond simply seeing one’s own dreams come to life, even thwarts the process – hence the “starving artist” notion, where pursuit of one’s passion sacrifices vital health.

I once thought of myself as free from such trivial affectations, but when trying to build a career of of it, it’s sorta’ inescapable. While I willfully push away such ideas, they’re always in the back of my mind, conflicted by that need for an audience I wrote of in last post. It’s an evaluation of survival, but ironically also thwarts my own artistic progress.

6) – A creative environment “sparks, supports, and refines creative ideas.” Another weak area for me, despite efforts occasionally related on these pages. It makes me wonder why social connections among artists of differing flavors is so hard to come by. Internet connections sometimes seem to help, but it’s a huge investment to seek out colleagues, I’m finding. Still hopeful to take part in the next pre-Raphaelite or Impressionist movement, I’m willing to see what happens tomorrow (part of the venturesome personality!)! Mystical 3D anybody?

Beyond these intrinsic things, an artist also needs the proper tools, space to work, and a decent business-sense, without which one is doomed. Thankfully I’m not yet doomed, just spinning my wheels it seems, looking for the right traction device to shove under my tires.

The Fate of the Artist September 21, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in 3D, Art, just my blogs.


Just picked up some great books from the library, including a fantastic 2006 “graphic novel” from artist/writer Eddie Campbell, called The Fate of the Artist. He generally loathes the term “graphic novel” but uses it for lack of a better one (and to make a buck … see his “manifesto”).

While a pseudo-fictitious autobiography, it also explores quite handily the frustrations of creative-types to find purpose and inspiration. Campbell illustrates this using a host of different visual mediums, including photos, sketches, old school cartoon strips (all his creation), and historical vignettes. He balances edgy insights with quaint, to create a wonderful non-linear, right-brain collage of thoughts and images.


My favorite, most relatable bit, begins with the struggles of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who writes in 1804 (possibly from his Dejection: An Ode) :

“So completely has a whole year passed with scarcely the fruits of a month.

Oh sorrow and shame! I have done nothing.

I am filled with and indescribable terror.”

Yet his luxurious self-obessession could not compete with earlier writers, who faced torture and execution for expressing their views freely. This is illustrated by a short graphical discourse on how Shakespeare, who rarely ruffled any feathers, ended up at the top of the heap, while other controversial writers of his time today suffer in obscurity; many of their works burned.

Finally, the author uncovers the secret to life, but I won’t give away the ending …
A nice reflection of this is the recent 9/17 Sunday “Opus” strip, by Berkeley Breathed:

“Ah, finding lifes’ ‘meaning.’ Maybe it’s not so much ‘found’ as its is ‘made.’ “

As for me … while looking at getting a super-spiffy Acer tablet laptop for 3D couch production, I’m getting back in shape, exercising, and trying to find focus …

Model, map, animate … apply directly to forehead.

Model, map, animate … apply directly to forehead.

Model, map, animate … apply directly to forehead.

Model, map, animate … apply directly to forehead.

Creative Channeling August 24, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in 3D, Art, humor, just my blogs.

While kicking around the mean streets inside my head, searching for the liberty and reason for being an artist, I long ago discovered a missing ingredient vital to the artistic purpose: collegial community. With family and a household to run I’m a bit bound by a suburban existence, but nevertheless have searched out for some artistic cultural comrades to cross-pollinate, and I’ve had to take some strange paths to ultimately find … very little.

Out of necessity I’ve been forced to search elsewhere for the muse, but until flesh and blood colleagues appear to urge me on to greater heights, I’ve settled on hanging with my new homies, below ….



Meet Seddeler, Kardovsky, and Kandinsky.

Unlike my spirit guides and ancestral guardians who are on sabbatical, or holding out for more pay, this trio of turn-of-the-(last) century cheery chaps appear to be the sort of long-haired bohemian hipsters I could relate to. If Paul McCartney can channel an imaginary painting mentor named “Guido” to chat with while working, I figured I can too!

Communing spiritually, intuitively, and inspirationally with these ascended artist masters offers a range of creative impulses. Kandinsky, on right, gives a good work ethic and creative insight on geometric abstraction, but the Middle guy, while a fine draftsman, seems to go on and on about “Absinthe,” and damsels – advice I can only resist and rationalize these were yesteryear’s rock stars. The left guy doesn’t say much but seems a nice sort whom I can bum imaginary cigs from, and consult me on the best uses for a sport jacket. He can’t sick around because he’s being reborn as Robert Plant’s grandchild.

Being dead, they aren’t wrapped up in money, and can only chuckle that Hitler considered them obscene. I learn that art lives on, and never treat Joan Miro to drinks.

Next: Pre-Raphaelites are being reincarnated as Post-Warholian video game artists!!




Cantonese Duck Roasting August 15, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in 3D, humor, just my blogs.
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It may be an alternative career, as I hear a good duck roaster is a very important job in China. Plus it’s a huge market over there. Imagine.

Here I am caught realizing my current postion – learning Flash on-the-job, creating quick (and painful) educational animations – is precisely the “other” certificate program I rejected in favor of the 3D course I chose. Such is life …

I really haven’t touched the 3D since “graduating”, and figure I must cut my hours back at work, in order to rev up 3D Studio Max and get going again. Still, work is good, and it’s definitley a plus learning from such great team of 2D artists, who put up with my noviceness.

Working in the International District is a wonderful assault on the senses, smelling all the good food smells while walking to work. It hits you instantly. I’m sure roast duck must be among them.

Okay what next? June 17, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in 3D, Art, just my blogs, life, other Blogs I like.

Now that I’ve completed my 4th stint of secondary higher education, I realize my shingles keep getting smaller each time ( BA/AA/Certificate …should’ve just gone for a doctorate after High School). I expect if I ever go back again it will be just to get a teacher’s note, with a stamped smiley face, suitable for framing.

I’ve basically shunned the computer for anything non-work related, since finishing up the 3D final project. Blame that on my 17 hour marathon in front of 3DStudio Max, the day before the last class.

Been busy completing the required household tasks that haven’t been touched for awhile, and won’t get done otherwise. The year-long bathroom repair/remodel/headache is finally wrapped up, summer trip plans are made, and all the business of managing the family rental cottage on Cape Cod is near finished!

Soon to rework my website and hone the 3D skills for future hopeful work.

So this blog won’t be completely devoid of artistic merit, below are a couple of screenshots from my animated video, and a cool work related Flash scene that was very enjoyable to create.


Other good stuff happening: Holly has some fantastic photos from France as she completes her Romanesque church tour for her Art History dissertation.

Local artist celeb Jackie has finished her wonderful Mask show, now on display at a Montana gallery.

Elise Tomlinson always has the goods on display!

Me? We’ll see ….

The business end April 19, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in 3D, Art, humor, just my blogs, life.
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I’m all for counting my blessings, following my dreams, and developing hidden talents, but it’s always good to to be reminded of the flip-side of the coin. It may be that we all have a curse – the proverbial “thorn in the flesh” that keeps the struggle alive.

Remember, there is no good story without a good conflict. It’s the Ying-Yang that always keeps the times “interesting” for thinking folks. Deal with it.

Work floored me yesterday. Once I opened Flash 8 for the first time, I was dumbfounded at the complexity of it compared to ver. 4 & 5, including the templates used for the company’s educational slide-shows. It got me feeling dismayed and excited at the same time. I thought I could learn this but it might take more time than I have. Did they hire me for my artistic talent only, figuring I was smart enough to pick up Flash quickly? What the HELL were they thinking? It has some awesome potential, but it will take away time from learning 3D Studio Max and finishing up my program, plus developing my own creative projects.

So we’ll see how things go. I may quit, but would rather stick it out as long as I can, and see what I can learn, who I can meet, and pay the bills at the same time.

My curse is too many conflicting interests that vie for my time, and “TIME” is a big factor and a word probably overused in this post. I wish I had more of it, or could buy some back. This blog’s main theme is my “artistic stuggle” with time in contention. Sure it’s a fucking cliche, but it’s *my* blog, and is what I’m dealing with.

At least it’s also possible to see the Tao through the conflict. I realize there’s value in our existence, and all this other crap is just “a fart in a hurricane.” This will always be change and we’re always learning.

Anyone who can say they have “no regrets” in life, either is incredibly lucky, or lived a very sheltered life, and never stuck their neck out. Calculated risk is necessary, and I guess fear will always a partner in that.

I guess I’ll just keep sticking my neck out and see what happens.

Calling Dr. Seuss! Stat!! April 17, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in 3D, Art, humor, life.
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I ran across this great story of Theodor Geisel aka Dr. Seuss, who when interviewed and asked “what message do you have for the world?” supposedly took 2 weeks of pondering to come up with an answer. He called the writer back and offered this “We can do better.”

Yeh, so true. I know I could. I’m faced with an incredible challenge ahead, focusing on a new career, a new job, dusting off old skills and trying to develop my talent, but sidetracking is so easy. Career development suffers from poor/interupted time management, while dealing with a stressed and harried family life. Running a household with 2 teenagers, and managing a rental property a few thousand miles away, comes first. I even manage to subsitute actually working at the computer, for the daily distractions of New York Times crosswords (Mon-Thurs pro!), and blog/forums reading. “Just an hour in the morning” … turns into a day.

yeah, yeah … I know, I know … but I had to get these thoughts down here and now. I promised not to let the slackness get to me. I’m still keeping pretty busy tho’! The day’s not over yet … just half over (or is it still half empty, and does that make me a pessimist?)


That inner “mister hitler” usurping my Sudetenland of quality work time, better watch out!

I think I need to set aside afternoon/evening time blocks to draw, model and write. I just need to figure out which days and what times are right for a general organization pattern, while keeping on track with everything else. Eliminating the need to sleep would be nice …

Stardate: employment update April 15, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in 3D, Art, humor, just my blogs, life.
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Life is weird. Last week I began working for an online educational company, creating 2D graphics and animations using Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Flash. I might have been alarmed that they would hire someone of my limited experience, as these programs, while of keen interest to me, are still like 3rd and 4th tiers on my levels of CG expertise … but such is life for a creative genius as myself *snarf* … at least they recognized my “potential.” 😉

As the fates would dictate, this work has become a strange trans-dimensional experience, and I’ll need to pry myself through the goo. Similar to the casual fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach now apparent in my 3D program at the UW (If my instructor reads this, you’re still awesome(!), but be aware that teaching 7 different classes might cause those organizational skills to suffer!), it took 2 days to actually get my contract, and work station set up. I still don’t have access to the database I need. Also, there required some adjustment in my thinking to come to terms with the “new” arrangement (contracted temp vs. temp employee) that has me bringing home a couple of dollars less per hour than what I was expecting!

Still, I can’t complain. I have a great p/t job while finishing up classes.

But still, here’s what’s really weird: like my last similar position in a very similar company, this place is on a similar 6th floor of a half empty office space, plus … my old boss was actually hired the day after me to be a curriculum designer!!! heh … only this time he gets the cubicle and I have an office with the nice view and natural light!

I won’t go into my feelings about all the slackness around me, because at least it’s all productive slackness. Perhaps it’s good and will stop me wallowing in my own slackness and get organized like I always say I will. I have been provided opportunities, now I need to engage the inbred qualities of my ancestral puritan work-ethic and make something from it. If I get slack, I make slack-ade!

“One person’s complete and utter lack of focus is another’s vibrant eclecticism.”
~ Jeremy Hedley