Skip to content

2 am

Yeah me again, just took some zquil so hopefully will go down soon… till then might as well share some stuff. We are in the process of upgrading the homestead ( planning stage ) more accurate 😛

Last weekend I roughed out some massing in sketchup, “still faster in that then anything else” hopefully one day I can get good with blender but I digress… basic plan is to build off of the back patio area and make use of some of our giant flat almost devoid of trees, yard. Med size Pool, jacuzzi, barbecue and fire pit for entertainment. Back-house / Art studio and storage shed…

FANNY wants a Lanai to cover it all and now I actually do too. Inside of lanai will be part of FANNY’s Aquaponics laboratory / garden, and a beautiful living wall. Outside of lanai for good sun, and rain will be big vegetable garden in raised planters probably of cinderblock, depends on what I can find on letitgo.com. Even thinking to have a portion of Aquaponics be connected to a nice koi pond inside lanai but we shall see about that…

As a side note, I am playing with a new render plugin from Unreal Engine it’s called Twin Motion. The renders you see here are direct from Sketchup using it with no lights or effects. It has great potential for my work…

You can DL it for free until Nov and I believe keep using the current version after that but any upgrade stuff will be for sale and it ain’t cheap so… maybe check it out now if you’re interested… it’s available for Mac and PC which is also a really nice thing. Seems comparable to Lumion without the $3,000.00 price tag and works on Mac.

Proposed view from back patio – Jackie O figure is for scale…

Aerial view of proposed studio / back house with Lanai ” screened area ” thinking to add solar panels on the roof for power but that’s TBD…

Rear view showing outdoor storage shed and proposed raised garden Aquaponics area, you have to picture the plants for now 😛

Rear view of studio / storage area showing the proposed open air work space...

Rear view showing storage and outdoor workspace, finally have a space for tool usage and large projects

Lanai from above, the idea would be to have the new pool area open to the patio and back doors but still enclosed, would also allow our fur person. To expand his universe a bit since he is now too old for outside…

Looking forward to The koi pond oh yeah…

View of deck / pool area, thinking some nice planters and subtle water feature

I have given the model to what may be our contractor Renato but so far have not heard back. I am hoping he can put some reality to my fantasy, I built the model to an accurate scale of ” Casa de Turnberry ” but I have no idea how you actually design a pool etc…

Oh yeah last fun addition bit is we are planning to add a solar system to the house to help power this new area. Otherwise our electric bill could hit $400 bucks easy. SunRun is the company looking at. The guy says we can do it so… If we decide to actually go forward with solar I will share how it goes…

Wed morn

It’s 1 am and as usual sleep hasn’t arrived yet so I am doodling on the iPad. Sometimes I wonder if this is a normal thing. I draw and design all day and then when I get home I quite often continue working on my own projects, designing the backyard studio / box the moon / poster shop etc. finally I put myself to sleep laying in bed sketching or painting on the tablet…

Doodle fun…

I do these abstract sketches with no preconceived idea have always thought of them as a form of meditation or even therapy…

On one hand I can say I am blessed to actually enjoy what I do for a living, on the other there seems to be no true difference between my work life and life life. I rarely just sit and do normal things like watch tv or read a book. Healthy? I have no idea it just is the way I seem to be wired…

Now I can sleep…

The New Deal…

I started this blog a few years ago while I was living and working in China. I wanted to try and keep track of my experiences living in a fascinating place and chronical the effect that had on my career. It’s kind of fun for me to look back on it now especially knowing I didn’t succeed in capturing 1/100th of it…

Starting in 2008 I began regularly traveling to and living for extended periods in China and Taiwan… This was also when I left Los Angeles and headed south to see what my home state of Louisiana had to offer. Fanny had accepted a job working with her brother in Beijing so it seemed like as good a time as any. While in China FANNY and I lived in Shenzhen “the Beijing job having moved there ” which is a huge super fast growing mega city right next to Hong Kong. we traveled all over Mainland C. , Hong Kong, Macau and of course Taiwan. I worked on commercial set designs, film projects and the occasional illustration. I even got a chance to spend a little over two years working with some incredible folks on what should have been the largest ” 245,000 sq meter ” indoor theme park in the world, “Leo’s Kingdom ” You can find some of my old post about that in the archive… my China adventure ended in 2015 ” at least for now”, when ” Leo’s ” was put on indefinite hold and Fanny’s brother began the process of closing down their offices in Shenzhen.

A lots changed since then and so I am going to pick this blog up again to better reflect my current life back in America and working full Time as member of Universal’s Creative Core.

Fanny and I have made a life here in Orlando with a nice house, one grumpy old cat and ” for now at least ” too many cars…

I am in a good position with the studio, working on exciting future attractions for the parks. My commercial set design work has fallen by the side over the last few years as I usually don’t have the time anymore and frankly with the ever increasing expectations and shrinking budgets of commercial productions I enjoy the security that comes with being a member of a team on incredibly talented artist…I will still do side gigs, but now I have the option of turning down work, something I could never afford to do in the past…

In a very real sense I have come full circle. My career began in the themed entertainment world some 22 years ago when I was hired right out of school to work on Blue Planet Bremerhaven for BRC Imagination Arts. My other opportunity was with Universal Creative back before they moved to Florida. I used to kick myself for having turned that job down ” it didn’t pay as much as BRC was offering and I was an idiot kid back then 😛 “. But maybe in the end it’s more about the journey then the destination… the really funny part is I am right now working alongside some of the very same people as I was back in 1997, including Mathew Martin my second ever art director 🙂

A lot has changed within the industry over time but the fundamentals are still to create great art and design reflecting the best attractions possible for people to enjoy.

Universal is currently working on some really amazing things ” obviously super top secret hush hush ” let’s just say the next few years are gonna be intense.

I recently showed some work at Universals artist showcase, mine were digital prints but there was a wide range of work on display, traditional painting, virtual reality, physical models and even some musical performance.

This first piece is actually a digital reworking of an acrylic painting I did years ago possibly started at Art Center. The original was given to an old friend of my dads that has since passed away, I don’t know where or if it still exist so I worked on a scan I found of it…

WARRIOR

SHRUNKEN HEADS 1

This started life as a series of sketches done on a trip to Louisiana in the early 2000’s. It’s all digital and is one of a series of three I called ” Shrunken Heads ”

BOUNDARY LAYER

this lil guy was actually started on my iPad Pro while sitting through a meeting. I doodle during meetings it actually helps me focus on what’s being discussed. My favorite comment of the evening was from my friend Mick who said while looking at this that ” I don’t know what it is but I know we’ve been there ” 😛

Well that’s it for now, if anyone sees this I hope you found it interesting, there will be more activity coming up soon as lots is happening at the old homestead…

Talk soon

D

 

Just a quick dip

I haven’t been back here in forever. A lot has changed since my return to the US. I am not approaching my 2 year anniversary working in house for Universal Creative I am a Senior Attraction Designer working on the concept team with Universals Core. I have worked with Universal on and off over the years but never as an employee. Its been fun and I am excited to be working on some of the best Themed Entertainment projects in the world but I would be lying if I said I don’t sometimes miss my freedom :p

the nice part is I get to work with some really amazing people on stuff like this… Obviously I cant take credit for anything but this painting and even that was based on a 3D massing model but pretty exciting regardless, and people are gonna love this land which will eventually make it to Hollywood and Orlando…

done for US Japan’s Super  Nintendo World…

Someday soon I will come back and finish some of my previous China post and maybe talk a bit about what I am doing now and future plans…

Thanks for lookin
D

Life in O Lando

How many times must I say it ” its been a long time ” not even sure how long what i do know is a lot has changed. Since returning to USA in May of 2015 I have
* Taken a full time position at universal Creative ” Just had my year anniversary in March ”
* Sold the house in Louisiana ” made a slight profit and probably avoided a bullet ‘
* Moved to Orlando Florida and purchased a great house
* And last but certainly not least, convinced my wife to live with me on the same continent 🙂

UniPano2

Some cute chick I picked up at City Walk 🙂

P1230662

Gators love O Lando…

B3

Lookin good in Blue Fuzzy

ME4

Oh Yeah!

I am going to try and get back to recording events here again, maybe even finish up some of those entries from the China life… Currently trying to organize my photo library which suffered a  meltdown thanks to Apples completely inadequate ” Photos ” APP and a dead Hard Drive

When I started ecstatic Pixel 7 years ago the idea was to document my life and experiences while in China. I wanted to share with my family and friends a look into a world most Americans know nothing about. In that regards I feel it has been successful, in fact many of the events recorded here would have been lost to my memory without it.

Life inevitably moves on and now I am focusing on my career here in the states and with the shut down of Meag U ” Fanny’s work since 2008 ” we ” once again back for the foreseeable future.

Over the next few months I will be addressing what the future holds…

Another Bump In The Road

On a slightly different tack then my last few posts which have mostly been about that Themepark project in China I decided to document what I am currently doing this week. Right now I am not on a job. I recently returned to USA from China after our project there died and have since then been trying to re-aclimate myself to eating American food ” feel like I have gained 10 pounds in spite of going back to the gym ” hopefully thats not really true..Working with the Imagine Now group from the China project on RFP ” request for proposal ” for gigs here in the states Linq Hotel casino in Vegas and Hasbro ( cross fingers ), and preparing presentation materials, documenting my work to try and prime the pump for new jobs. I will share more of those later.

But to this latest project o mine…

Last Fri I had 2 teeth extracted which will eventually have implants in them, but in the meantime it has been very  very painful and I have not been up to even going outside until just this weekend. Once I was functional enough to get out of bed though I decided very quickly that I was bored. I don’t have a gig so what to do?

I could do a painting or finish some other project. Fanny is back in China ” hopefully for the last time alone ” which means, I pretty much have nothing to do but my art, since there isn’t really anything else I am interested in doing here in Baton Rouge… And since I am on  serious pain meds right now probably not the best idea I go tooling around the countryside…

I decided to give learning MODO; my long since purchased, but barely ever used, except for rendering software. I don’t have to learn it for my work I can still do what I need thats 3D using Sketchup Pro and its way faster for me ” maybe cause I know how to use it ” But I am fascinated by 3D modeling, I just never learned when I should have in school. I thought I was pretty cool doing it the Old School way, by hand,” what some might call real 3D” which I am glad I learned but at this time I kind of wish I had at least gone to my Allias classes instead of sneaking off to the shop…

Anyway what sparked this was MODO now owned by the Foundry has just released their newest version 901. the one I original bought was 301 so you can appreciate just how long I have been procrastinating :).

Like always they claim it is the be-all and end-all of everything!!! Greatest thing since sliced pepsi cola pudding pops, yaddah yaddah yaddah! But it did look pretty cool so I broke down and downloaded the trial version.

Modo901

Modo901

This is one of the main new functions I want to learn in Modo, (Mesh Fusion) is a more developed version of Groboto which was a really cool little program I played with a few years ago. Modo has now fully integrated it within the program as a tool set… It will be awhile before I am ready to play with this…

MeshFusion

MeshFusion

I also went and reactivated my membership to Digital Tutors, this time I did a full year  I figure its worth it, they definitely have a lot of tutorials for lots of software. The tutorials are done very well and mostly interesting enough to keep me awake while I try and watch em…

digitaltutors

digitaltutors

I have also purchased from 3D garage their intensive training course specifically for 901. I have found that Modo is one of those softwares that the developers love to change ” I mean improve ,wink wink nudge nudge say no more… ” which means that when trying to learn it you have to deal with the fact that the training you are looking, at whether professional produced or just some guy on youtube may not make any sense if the version they are using is not your version.

The cost was cheaper as it is on pre order…

3D garage Course

3D garage Course

I will be learning basic modeling. The course is project based which makes sense to me and at the end of it your supposed to have created a cool little dune buggy remote control car thingie. I know myself and I know I won’t end up doing exactly whats in the project files or even finish it necessarily. My goal is to learn the tools so I can do my own work.

MODO-DigitalTutors-Tutorial

MODO-DigitalTutors-Tutorial

The tutorial starts off much like the one I did last time using Cinema 4D with basic polygonal modeling.

Cinema4D

Cinema4D

This one was pretty fun as well and I am pretty sure the experience has helped me with my understanding of how 3D works, but in the end the price of Cinema 4D is simply to high to justify at this time. I think a current full seat on Cinema goes for nearly $6,000 versus the $400 bucks for an upgrade to 901.

I was able to do some fun stuff with it though…

Flying Craft

Flying Craft

The tutorial starts off with basic polygon modeling to make the basic shape of the body. Its kind of fun to see how; depending on where you put the control points,  it affects the shape during subdivision.

body4

body4

The basic body shape still in hard angles with no subdivision. The Subdivision function  is what gives it the blocky form its curve but the curves are all dictated by the position of the hard angled shape its made from…  Its confusing and seems like black magic but this is the main function I wish to learn and add to my tools. Skecthup has though certain plugins like Artisan the ability to do sub division modeling but its controls are very primitive compared to the more advanced 3D programs like Modo

here is an example of the subdivision thang in Modo… Starting with a basic rectangle shape.

Cube

Cube

Rectangle  smoothed, Modo has the ability to jump back and forth between the polygonal modeling mode and the Sub Divided mode

Rounded Cube

Rounded Cube

By adding an edge loop one of Modo’s many tools you get this basically the same shape but with a series of slices through the shape…

Cube with control points

Cube with control points

Just hit tab and it gives you this.

shape that is created

shape that is created

I know anybody who does 3D modeling will be pretty bored at this point but I am just trying to explain this in a way that will make sense to somebody like who knows very little… Like myself 🙂

Building the basic body shapes

body1

body1

body2

body2

body3

body3

These are screen grabs from the tutorial as I didn’t decide to document my progress till later on.

The body when sub divided.

Body5

Body5

Fast forward to when I decided to make a post out of this. At this point the body shape is basically done and I now am working on the wheels…

wheel unsub

wheel un-sub

Here you can see the wheel created from a basic primitive cylinder shape without any sub division magic.

Same shape with Sub Division. Since there are no controlling points or cuts in form yet the shape is very soft and amorphous. This could be good for some things but probably not for a machined piece like a wheel.

Wheel Sub2

Wheel Sub2

With some more control points ” really not sure what is the correct term for this ” depending on where you place the lines and how much force they have applied the shape will alter when sub-divided.

wheel sub1

wheel sub1

The more developed wheel, at this stage I have increased the number of divisions which allows for greater detail.

wheel3

wheel3

Each tutorial last for about 10 to 15 minutes and they take you through the use of various tools to achieve different modeling goals. Here I am building up pieces of the frame and suspension. I am roughly following along with the tutorial. I did not do as they suggested and import the orthographic views of the dune buggy to use while modeling. I figure this way I can make my own exploration which will be more relevant for my use of the tool in work. No one will be handing me views to work from since thats pretty much my job…

early frame view

early frame view

Actually beginning to enjoy Modo, I wonder if its because they have improved the program or if somehow I am just ready to understand it now…

frameview1

frame view1

Some views of the buggy from inside the rendering window. 901  has made a lot of changes to its interface since 601

901Renderwindow7

901Render window7

901RenderView4

901Render View4

901 Renders in real time which I think will be really fun once I get a handle on it. You can see below the wireframe view, pretty complicated even this early on.

The Buggy is starting to come together now, I have decided that my dune bug will not be a toy but a full size 2 person vehicle. Just can’t really get into making a toy…

ModelView4

ModelView4

Here is some funny, Trying to build a set of shock absorbers for this beast and its just not working. the main body of the shock is fine but the spring is not working out…

shock

shock

What the hell is that? Hopefully it will make more sense later… Believe it or not this function is supposed to be quite simple, I am really not sure what that squiggly line is but I suppose it makes sense to the logic that drives this program.

Radial Sweep

Radial Sweep

Later on I have made more progress working on the suspension parts I went ahead and made my own super special sci fi shocks that utilize the patented Un-Obtainium™ Technology

ModelView3

ModelView3

and more now we have a wing which is somehow able to stay up there with no actual support structure.

model View2

model View2

Rear view of the wing, Going to need to develop some more structure and possibly some kind of tech pieces I can pretend would be power source for this thing. I am actually thinking its a solar powered vehicle possibly with the aero wings doubling as energy collection. Each wheel could have an electric motor in the hub…

Wing Model View

Wing Model View

Switching from the modeling view to the render view I can immediately see they have changed quite a bit since 601. Main thing is I now have a real time preview of the render which right now shows really nothing since there are no materials assigned yet. Speaking of which they also seem to have hidden the materials pallet. Going to take some getting used to, but I am sure it will be worth it. Modo has a very strong Rendering capability which I am not showing here 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 9.48.04 PM

Renderwindow4

Render window4

Complete with Wings2

Complete with Wings2

Complete with Wings

Complete with Wings

Just for fun I decided to take the model into my older version of Modo. Aside from the dire warning that there may be and I quote ” weird behavior ” since the model was built in a newer version it seems to be fine.

901Rendering1

901Rendering1

Using my preset materials in 601 I am quickly able to add some materials to the model…

901Rendering2

901Rendering2

The funny little random square render thing that happens in 601, I wonder if it still does this in the new one.

601Rendering

601Rendering

601 No Materials

601 No Materials

Materials are fun

601 Render2

601 Render2

eventually when its finished I will do a full render but thats for later…

601 render

601 render

Here is where I am leaving the buggy for now. I figure I could continue on using the tools I already have learned but I am thinking a better plan is to start my training course which arrived last night instead. That way I will have more knowledge to use in completing the project.

Dune Buggy

Dune Buggy

I hope you enjoyed this, more later…

 

 

Design Of Park One…” The week After “

Our first presentation a great success we head into the  third week in good spirits, ready to refine the design and make whatever changes are needed to satisfy our client. At this point its obvious that means satisfying Chairman li, as his opinion is the only one that counts. Having spent more time with him now, we realize that while Charles is a nice guy but has no real authority. This is a real top down organization, the chairman ruling his people like a king or dare I say emperor.

OK just kidding…

EmperorLi

Jake seems happy which means the koreans are somewhat happy, honestly they are a tough bunch to read…I have never worked with Koreans before outside of classmates and its an interesting scenario. Dr park is pretty funny, having more english then originally apparent, he likes to crack jokes and tease the Americans, especially Doug. His favorite words seem to be “big problem” said with a stern tone…The younger koreans are extremely deferential to him, I am told by Chris this is very typical in Korean society where males are dominant and age is respected…

Every day at lunch time the korean team all grab their lunch kits and head for the cafeteria for the Lian Bang meal.

I know I had a much better picture of these things somewhere, they were actually very cool and we all had one given to us,of course the Americans promptly forgot which ones were which and eventually we just stopped using them anyway…

Lunchpail

We started calling Lunch break, Salt Time as the food was extremely seasoned no low sodium here! The whole company would sit in a communal break room and eat from the kitchen…After eating  lunch, Dr park just gets up and leaves his dishes and utensils to be gathered and cleaned by Kathreen, the only girl, I guess women’s lib didn’t make it to korea yet…

Just Kidding :P

Just Kidding

Ok just Kidding and those gals are Japanese anyway 😛

The very real danger at lunch time was the possibility of running into the chairman who will insist on drinking Baijui with his American team… after the second incident I began to skip lunch. After the meal Lian Bang and the Korean team  all shut down and nap for about an hour Dr Park snoozing from his giant lazy boy chair at the rear of the room.

I didn’t take this pic but its too perfect not to share…

NapTime

Brian is a good sport although its apparent to me he is miss-placed in his role as project manager, the guy is a good designer and comes up with great solutions for design problems, but for some reason Jake insist he try to manage the project. His English is much better then any of the other DPI team so his contribution is extremely important. Chris continues to be helpful but its also apparent he has no real authority within the DPI organization. All decisions end up going to Jake which causes some stress as he is rarely there, and not really aware of the realities we are facing…

Thankfully Doug seems to relish the increased scope of his role and pretty much has assumed the overall leadership. I guess thats kind of his ” Thang ”

Doug in Charge

Doug in Charge

Oh Yeah!

Very Exciting...

Very Exciting…

Purty!

Mini MOOSE

Mini MOOSE

More and more I am being brought in to help him as a pseudo art director as well as guy doing the art… over the period of this project I will learn more about contracts and the managerial side of the business then ever before… Working on projects in Asia is a real lesson in cultural differences for a westerner, not only do you have to solve the issues of the project but you are constantly checking to ensure that what you are saying is actually what is being heard. It gets even deeper when you consider that even with perfect translation there are certain base understandings of reality that differ between English and Chinese. I assume this goes for all languages groups. Its becoming very obvious that we will need a dedicated translator for the project to move forward. The koreans are really not up to it, and the best we have ‘Sarah” works directly for our client…This difficulty is felt by everyone on the team and our particular scenario is 3 pronged, Chinese Korean and American, fun for all…

Chairman Li holding court…

Kinginhiscastle

hand waving and big gestures gallore…

MeetingOFtheMinds
James (Eskelletons man™) seems to be causing more issues; but as he has no english skills, its not really affecting us directly. The koreans are not so lucky. It turns out there is a lot of animosity between  Jake and James, James having somehow edged his way into this position right after Jake fired him. In fact the two of them had been working to land this project for DPI, but Jake felt James was miss-representing what DPI could do and being dishonest. To make it even better, we find out much later that James actually wrote a great deal of the contract, which at this point we still have not seen…

This guy was funny, in a not so funny way…

Lookin at You Buddy

Lookin at You Buddy

According to Sarah who works directly for him he is aggressive and bad tempered much like what Brian told us from the beginning. Apparently he is trying to make up for a complete lack of experience with bravado and bullying tactics… Thankfully for me, I get to focus more on the artwork then the project politics, only running in to it now and then or when pulled into a strategy meet with Chris and Doug.

Due to the workload we have agreed on a complex strategy to get the large amount of design artwork produced in time for our final client review in late Aug, only 1  month away. We are bringing in another designer Paitoon Ratanasirintrawoot, an ex Disney animator who was recommended by one of Dougs many contacts, he will work with us in country for the month. At the same time Cindy White and Rhonda Counts two other ex Disneyphiles will assist from the USA. Also to round out the effort is Ronnie Rodriguez  ;whose company does live show production and designs costumes for Disney, will be providing us with some designs for the parade characters… My lovely wife who by nature of her education and life in the USA is well suited to come and assist with Doug as our dedicated translator.

Fanny in the Garden

Fanny in the Garden

Over There see?

Over There see?

Fanny has already been here to visit me and meet the team but as an added bonus it turns out a substantial chunk of her dad’s family is actually living in Shijiazhuang. Her Aunt actually lives just a few blocks from the work site…She hasn’t met them but I know we will. You couldn’t make that up if you tried…

Me and Leo Gann Fanny’s Cousin…

Me & GunnGunn

Me & GunnGunn

Next up the real work begins…

 

%d bloggers like this: