Wednesday, May 28, 2008

So.... I made a video.

Scary huh! Almost forgot how. ;)

I recommend watching the high res version, obviously. To see that you'll have to click on the actual movie and watch it directly on Youtube. I don't know how to embed that version. Anyway, there should be a 'watch in high quality' link when you get there.

Hope you like it!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Night and Day...

It's kind of amazing what a virtual sledgehammer can do for the realism of an aircraft. ;)

Second paint is now done, a Czech Air Force low vis scheme, and when I said it would be weathered and well used looking I wasn't kidding hehe. Unfortunately screenshots don't really do this one justice. When you roll or pitch the plane you can actually see the irregular shading on the individual rises and valleys between the fuselage ribs and wing spars, skin wrinkling as well. :)


Thursday, May 22, 2008

One point frickin oh baby!

Woot. The first pass on the external model of the L-39 is now complete. Everything is textured, everything is animated, everything works. Sweeeeeet.

There are many little tweaks yet to do, and I'll be revisiting several textures and improving them over time, but most of that will come after I tackle the VC. I have a couple weeks before I'm off to Iceland though, so I'll probably do up another paint, something perfectly opposite and complementary to the immaculate C-GOZA. The real plane I replicated with this paint scheme is so clean you could cook your burgers in the tailpipe and use the ailerons for plates. Next up will likely be a low vis (and heavily weathered) Czech air force camo scheme.

Anyway, it's Stella time! Here are some pics of her finished v1.0 form. :) Man do I need a good night's sleep!

Friday, May 16, 2008

A day *completely* off the hook...

Ok, I haven't had too many days in my life as interesting and amazing as today has been so I feel compelled to write about it and hopefully not bore you. So I'm up all last night working on the L-39's fuselage, placing rivets, and lemme tell you there are a LOT of them haha. So I wrap that up sometime in the wee hours and figure, well, I'm up, I may as well stay up and watch the dawn, as has been my pattern lately.

I start checking my various emails and I have one from a fan in Sweden who says that I'm in a magazine... umm... what? Turns out PC Gamer Magazine UK/Europe had an article this month on flight simulation and my films and I got a specific mention in it, how cool is that?! Unfortunately it's damned near impossible to find the UK edition here in Canada, we only get the American one, so if anyone has access to a copy please let me know, I'd like to buy one from you. :)

So that's how the day started... and then it got really neat. I left a comment on a youtube L-39 vid several weeks ago when I was first looking for good reference on the plane. It was a video of a guy and his wife flying an L-39 in formation with another, set to a great soundtrack by one of my favourite artists. I don't leave comments on vids very often, but I felt compelled to for some reason and basically said that life didn't get much better than flying an L-39, with a pretty lady in the back seat, and wicked tunes on the sound system.

Three weeks later, today, he emails me out of the blue saying that he'd been feeling a little bit flat lately, and my comment made him realize he had a lot of great stuff going on in his life, and thanked me for it. I messaged him back saying that the reason I'd watched it in the first place was that I was making an L-39 for FSX and was having a rough time finding a real life example to photograph for cockpit reference, and sent him some shots of the plane's progress to date.

So, it turns out he's an FSX fan as well, and he replied that I'd be more than welcome to photograph his plane, but that I couldn't possibly make a realistic handling L-39 without firsthand experience flying one, and so I should visit him and take a ride with him in it.

Ummm.... lemme think about that for a s... OK!

So thanks to this amazingly generous and cool guy I will be heading to California in July, right after I get back from Iceland, for what will likely be the most utterly fantastic single aviation moment of my life. He's also arranging for me to get cockpit photos of two other Albatroses owned by some friends of his, in order to get a really good cross section of the various cockpits these planes have. Man, I can't wait!

And just to top that off I had my second lucid dream ever this afternoon whilst napping. The last one I had was five years ago, on my first of ten nights spent in Israel. Quite fitting really considering the spiritual power of the place. Anyway, if you've never had one, they're the kind of dream where you actually realize you're dreaming. You essentially wake up still in the dreamworld, and can control your environment. Very very trippy, and very very cool. :)

So thanks Karma, for one truly interesting and wonderful day!

As an addendum my computer is being a sulky twit and may have blown two ram sticks, again... and you know what? I couldn't possibly care less. :)

-lotus out.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The fun begins...

A *week* of solid twelve hour days spent UV mapping and I'm surprised my mind is still intact. Man that was annoying, but neccessary.

And now that work starts to pay off. Bloody hours to properly map the nose, and this is the result after just 20 minutes of texture painting. :)


Not Memorex:

-lotus out

Monday, May 5, 2008

First, pants.... then shoes.

Sorry for the title, it's late, couldn't think of anything better.

So I'm now on to the part that just about every 3D artist hates with a passion: the texture mapping. Not the textures themselves, they're fun to paint, but actually generating the first version of them and mapping them onto the model... shoot me now.

If you've never done this before then here's an idea of what it's like. Imagine you emptied a bowl of sugar onto a piece of paper and had to line up all of the individual grains into perfect rows on an outline of a picture... one at a time... with tweezers.

It's kinda like that. In my case there are 12454 grains to place, ugh. It's mind numbing beyond belief haha.

On the plus side I'm thinking of future repainters from the get go. All of the textures I'll include in the paint kit for the plane will be clearly marked and laid out, and will include guides for where objects overlap or are recessed inside each other, right down to the vertex. Lining up a custom camouflage scheme on this, should someone be so inclined, will be cake.

And finally, last night I got the front seat pilot converted into a skinned mesh with a bone structure and now have him animated doing all the usual things, moving the stick, throttle, rudder pedals, and a couple other fun things. :) When I get them both animated I'll toss up a little movie of 'Ace & Gary' as I've taken to calling them, hehe. This is a breakpoint in the model though. Up until the skinned mesh pilot the L-39 *could* have been made into an FS9 plane as well as an FSX one. No longer. FS9 can't handle that. Good riddance flat earth sim!

-lotus out.