So Long 2017!

Well, the world survived the first year of President Orange Dumbfuck. For the sake of my American friends and the rest of the world, I certainly hope that early 2018 sees special counsel Robert Mueller file charges of treason. Cheeto Hitler has done incalculable damage to the United States; it will be interesting to see if their system of checks and balances can self-correct.

The only good thing to come from this presidency is the exposure of the hypocrisy of evangelical Christianity. Much (but not all) of this crowd supports the Painted Shit-Stain in the White House. The USA is moving on culturally and leaving these fossils behind though. I am hoping that this is their death throes.

imageI’ll aim to spend today building my last – for now – Lego Architecture model. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. For the time being, I have all of the Architecture sets.

Intriguingly, I snipped this image from the Lego website navigation menu. This shows a skyline set – Shanghai I think – that is not available. This might be coming soon.

I will keep my eyes peeled for that.

I did acquire the Lego Creator set for Big Ben to compliment the Architecture set. This a huge set and I think it will make for a wonderful juxtaposition.

In just a few hours time, LightWave 2018 will be available! I cannot wait to start playing with it and learning the new physically-based rendering system. I’m really hoping that it makes for a seamless transition between Allegorithmic Substance and LightWave.

I had a new boss start during 2017 and I enjoy working with her. Hopefully 2018 sees some solid improvements with my employment. The DBA team works well together and Elena is a champion manager.

Lastly, Photoshop World 2018 is coming along with the 41st FFRF National Convention in San Francisco. There is much to look forward to.

Bell Tower Progress

Over the holiday weekend I have pushed forward with the bell tower work in spite of the issues with the size of the rooms. I found some really bad geometry in the rooms and on the main staircase. It was caused by some really sloppy modeling on my part; but it should be fixed now.

tower_bellYes! I am finally modeling some spiral stairs going up through the center of the rooms. There is another spiral stair case from the top room up to the belfry. I envision the main stairs to be stone and the other to be metal.

Each time that there is progress on this model, I think of other ways to work it or add to it. But I feel like I must keep going on this and see it through to completion. This is definitely the most work that I have ever put into one of my creations – most die aborning.

After a long procrastination, I have also begun modeling additional support structures for the bells and belfry. Other than a dearth of decent photo references, I cannot quite say why I have avoided this part of the work for so long.

I received some good feedback and encouragement from other LightWavers in the Facebook forums as well as my close friends.

The picture shows the current state of the bells. One thing that bugged me – other LightWavers saw it too – is that the bell should be firmly attached to the swing arm. Right now, I have created straps and that would make it difficult to get the bell ringing.

So that is something to work on fixing today. One day, I hope to have a model worthy of showing off or perhaps even selling online.

Lego Architecture: Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe Lego modelI finally built this model yesterday after much procrastination.

As usual, I used the 50mm prime lens to get a shallow depth of field. The fake sunset light was done by turning off the overhead ceiling light and using the LED floor lamp. I also included a diffused Lume Cube.

Apologies for the bottle of Southern Comfort in the background, but I am running out of suitable display space for these models.

Arc de Triomphe Lego modelThank-goodness for the tripod! I had to fully extend the legs to get this angle.

There was much that I did not know about the Arc de Triomphe. This is another aspect of the Lego Architecture that I really enjoy – the instruction booklets are filled with interesting facts about the history and construction of each real-world building.

The re-designed Solomon Guggenheim Museum is still in its box. But I’ll try to begin that build this week.

I have a really big Lego model on the way. More on that later…

3D News

I kept quiet last week after the news about Narelle. I wanted to be in Australia for the family. So I chose silence and spent time with my own thoughts.

Even though I still don’t feel like writing about good news yet; I can’t really delay posting this much longer.

NewTek is finally set to release LightWave 2018 on January 1st. After nearly two years of complete silence – it is official at last. I’ll certainly make the upgrade but I am in the camp of the deeply frustrated users who are angry with NewTek’s silence and lack of updates. Many modelers have moved on to other applications.

I won’t rule out jumping ship myself one day. But for now, I’m still a LightWaver.

The new physically-based rendering should be exciting. I hope it makes using Substance Painter outputs completely painless. As has long been the case, Modeler is only getting minimal love and attention. However; the Lattice deformer and interactive Array and Toroid tools are welcome.

LWCAD 5.5 was released a couple of weeks ago. I have not yet upgraded, but I will soon. LWCAD really breathes new life into LightWave Modeler.

Tomorrow, Smith-Micro is releasing Poser 11.1. Not much to say here – but it is good to know that they are continuing to work on their flagship product.

Other 3D things are afoot. I’ll write about those as they arrive.

R.I.P. Narelle

This day has been on the horizon for some time.

I received news from my dad this morning. My sister-in-law Narelle Helsemans is at peace after a long and brave struggle against cancer.

My thoughts are with her husband Mark and their children Allie and Paige. I wish I could be there for them instead of being half-a-world away.

The Women Of NASA Lego Set

Women Of NASAI got way ahead of myself this time. Although this set suffered a shipping delay, once it arrived here two days ago, I built it right away. I have yet to build the new Guggenheim Museum or the Arc de Triomphe model!

But I could hardly help myself. I’m a space geek as well as a Lego geek. The idea of this set is a really wonderful one too.

I am sincerely hoping that Lego produces more commemorative sets like this. I love the idea of honouring pioneers in various fields or the unsung heroes that few people know about.

December 3, 2017 Photowalk

On Sunday – through a thick fog and low, grey clouds – I made my way to Toronto’s Casa Loma district. This is at the intersection of Spadina Road and Davenport Road. There is small bluff here that marked the shores of the ancient Lake Iroquois. Yep, most of what became the city of Toronto was underwater after the last ice age.

Casa Loma 01The district is named for the castle of the same name. Casa Loma was built in 1914 by the financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt. It is an impressive structure, to be sure, but it had to live up to the man himself.

Unfortunately, the overcast sky really took the wind from my sails. I also found the property to be very constrictive; roads and other houses close by made it a challenge to get decent photos.

I had to use my kit lens at 18-25mm and it was difficult finding good angles. Oddly, my first photo here is probably the one that turned out best. Most of the others will likely serve as reference material for 3D models.

Jean Sibelius ParkOn my way back home, I found Jean Sibelius Park.

It is a tiny park. There are a few climbing contraptions and swings for neighbourhood kids and some picnic tables scattered around the trees.

Of course, the monument to the composer demanded a picture!

Currently, I only have one other photograph from Sunday. Scroll to the bottom of my Toronto Flickr album for one of my first attempts at street photography. The subjects were pre-occupied and did not notice my quick snap of them enjoying the park and each other!

Hopefully my creative mojo is returning.