Saturday, April 7, 2007

A Doric Order Column in MoI

Over the past week I have learned a lot about Classical Columns on the MoI forum and have decided to update the column for my Greek Temple project with one inspired by the Doric Order. I would like to thank Frenchy Pilou for the great reference links, especially the companion site for Classical Architecture: a Handbook of the Tradition for Today, which has proven to be invaluable.

This video covers tools like Image for orthographic views, Trim for slicing spheres in half, and Boolean for cutting out detail to create a fluted shaft.

Format: Quicktime at 800x600
Length: 00:10:49
Size: 9.37MB

Friday, April 6, 2007

About the Videos

If you are interested in creating your own screen captures there a few applications out there that allow you to accomplish this for free. Initially I thought I would need some expensive product like Camtasia Studio 4, so I tried the demo out for my first Introduction to MoI project. However, I got some great feedback on free alternatives for screen capture on the MoI forums from Frenchy Pilou and Michael Gibson.

The software I have decided to use is called CamStudio. This is a great little open source app that works as well as any commercial app. My process for this tool is to use a fixed sized window to record from at 800 x 600. This produces very nice .avi files to work with which do not take up much hard drive space at all. I have not dug very deep into this app, but I am really looking forward to exploring the captioning features.

Another application to try is DebugMode's Wink. Wink is design specifically for output into Flash .swf files. It helps you create step-by-step presentations for distribution on the web. I think this would be a great product for me if I planned to present professional quality training materials. But as it is, designing, setting up, and producing complete presentations takes a lot of extra time compared to the quick recordings I am currently doing.

If you want to edit your recordings and are a Windows user, you already have a tool for it, Movie Maker. I ignored this application for a long time because I thought it was some bare-bones gimmick from Microsoft, but I finally tried it out and was very surprised with its functionality. It's ease of use and ample list of features are all I need for producing my video clips.

Then there is the encoding part. This is still up in the air, as Windows Media is a viable alternative, but for now I have decided to go with Quicktime. This involves an extra step and an additional piece of software called, Avid Free DV. This is a free non-linear video editor which outputs to Quicktime, so there is no need to spend money upgrading to Quicktime Pro for encoding. Freevlog has a great little tutorial you can check out on using Movie Maker and Avid Free DV to encode video into Quicktime for streaming.

But what about distribution? Well, I looked at a lot of sites and the best I found is Blip.TV. This site gives you complete control over the presentation, distribution, and licensing of your video. It caters to video bloggers, artists, and up-and-coming directors. Other video sites are all about having their members create content which they compress down into a pixelated mess and attempt to generate profits with from advertisements.

So the next step for me is to get my microphone and Mackie mixer back from a friend and start recording voice-overs for the videos. I have a background in audio recording and music production, so learning the video editors came naturally. It shouldn't be long before I'm editing in, voice, sound effects, and music and the experience brings me one step closer to my ultimate goal of producing an cg animated series for online distribution.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Moment of Inspiration

Over the past few weeks I have been learning hard-surface modeling with NURBS and Solids using a program called Moment of Inspiration, or MoI. This program is currently in beta and was created by a talented guy named Michael Gibson, one of the creators of another popular modeling package called Rhino 3D. As a way of contributing to the community that will inevitably grow around this digital content creation tool, I have decided to record and share some of my learning experiences as I model using these surfaces.

As a side benefit to sharing these videos I hope to receive constructive criticism and tips from more experienced modelers, so feel free to leave a comment.

Posted here is my first video tutorial focused on the creation of a simple column, which is just the first step towards creating a temple in MoI to be exported and rendered within Autodesk's Maya using Mental Ray.

Format: Quicktime at 800x600
Length: 00:08:02
Size: 8.97MB