It's Spring! Time to start new things....or at the very least clean out the closet. :)
After the not so steady progress I had with the 3D book tutorials to keep up my modeling skills, I determined that since I wasn't going back to school (again) that a strong video tutorial might be a better idea and a better fit for my wacky non-work creative schedule. While I won't have the direct teacher contact and can't turn to the student(s) sitting next to me to ask about what I missed...I will be able to watch someone build the project, and follow those steps rather than reading about it. Plus I can still post my progress on one of my favorite modeling forums for added feedback. The DVD's that I currently have aren't necessarily project specific, but do give good walk-thru's of the various 3D programs. What I really wanted was a video that took me thru modeling, rigging, texture/UV, and finally basic animation with one project.
I'm gonna build me an elephant in Maya. :)
Check back soon - I'm on a schedule, so I'll be posting my progress regularly. Or at least, more so than I did with the book tutorials, heh.
My first task: research! Always fun. I need to find some good elephant images so I can sketch my poses for the modeling portion. Also, it probably won't hurt to get some good skin references while I'm hunting down elephants for the later texturing part of the project. I've already found some excellent references of elephants in motion from the BBC Motion Gallery for the basic animation portion of the tutorial set. It's my favorite online video library. I also (surprise!) already had a book on African Elephants in my library that I probably got from Half-Price Books at some time. I have a good reference library. ;)
Other Random Projects
One of my co-workers has offered to show me how to design the pattern and sew a plush toy based on one of my critter designs. I'm hoping I'll be able to pull in an hour or two at the office after I've signed out so that I can use some of our sewing room equipment. One of the reasons I want to do this is because I happen to like plush toys. :) I've also always wanted to make a few, for myself, similar to the Steiff type of collectible plush toy made of mohair. There's also a Russian artist who does some hand-made ones as well. They are sooo cute! Maybe one day I'll have my own limited edition line made right here in the U.S.A...not in China or Germany.
I've been learning the flute. To make sure I keep up my practice for that, I'm scheduling some music time during each week for flute as well as some relaxing time at my keyboard. I'm totally a hobbyist with my music and have no intention of being anything more than that. I'm just glad that I took all those piano lessons when I was a tot so that I can enjoy playing as an adult.
Sculpting a Maquette. I'm doing a couple of sculpts based on the line of Halloween dolls that I designed at my job. While I'm sure the final samples that the factory produces will be quite interesting (I hope) and will be a fun mix of vinyl/PVC and plush...and even include animation (the robotic, motion-sensor kind) and sound; I like the designs well enough that I'd like to create maquettes of a couple of them. One of my co-workers has also promised to show me how to make a cast of my final sculpts.
Oil painting. I've got the canvas and the paints just waiting for me to find some time. This year seems a good year for that. The painting I've been planning for awhile is based on a photo that I took at the Ft. Worth Zoo some years ago in the bird exhibit. My thought is to try and recreate some of the style that I have with watercolour but in oils. It will be a fun project. :)
Me Day. Today was my birthday so I celebrated by having a "Me Day". It was nice and relaxing. Yes, I did actually start cleaning out my closet. I think it's going to take all week. Doh! My co-workers knew I was taking the day off today, so last Friday they took me out for a lovely lunch at Cozymel's (tableside guacamole, YUM!) and we all shared a birthday cake later that afternoon. Although I was out, some of my friends (you know who you are) sent me a lovely flower bouquet that made me smile all afternoon. Work is just a few miles away, so after "Night Watch" was finished (I treated myself to a matinee), I swung by the office and brought the flowers home to enjoy for the rest of the week.