Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It will probably be a while before I release it simply because I am not happy with a few aspects of it - including the UV mapping. What the primary function of the UV mapper is that you export your 3d model to it, then it takes each shape and makes all sides flat and viewable. Simple enough - with this information you can program the direction of a pattern, et cetera. The problem I am having is that you need to export to a specific size - a size the program apparently cannot display to you. You can reshape the window to be an approximate size, but really, I can find no documentation that says you can tell the window to be a specific shape. That's kind of hard when you are exporting to a very specific size and trying to place items into that specifically shaped window.

So when I look at this, I see the blur that could be rectified if I had some sort of idea of what the size of the shape the image sits on needs to be. Of course, looking at a few previous entries, I feel like this is celebrating my stoopid moments - for instance, the black on the chart that should have been patterns? The alpha channel - it occurred to me in the shower . . . I am waiting for the moment when all the data forms the complete thought, but something about these programs (I blame Z [depth]) leaves me scratching my head. Another fine for instance would be the mantle painting and scaling - laughable.

So, in looking at my inspiration piece, I am happy with the appearance, but it is lacking two more things - a hanging mechanism which - let's face it, it's for a game - I don't think that people are thinking about that sort of thing but it feels incomplete to me. The other missing element would be the caps on the top roller bar. I think I know a way to do it but I need to play with it for a while longer.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Never under-estimate the power of the triple dog dare:

Although brief, I wanted to update that although it is no where near as nice as ATS3's wall chart, I have created a mesh that looks like a wall chart - now I just need to figure out why it's not working so well with the patterns.

See all those black areas? That's supposed to be three different patterns - the handle, the weighted base of the map and the roller at the top/back of map. I could just make them patterns in the overlay I suppose, but the fun is that you can change them. Well, fun in a relative way - not the wow-o-wow kind of way. That would just be stupid.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

a Eureka moment

I am starting to understand how to alter meshes a little bit more - a very good thing. I have finally created my first mesh and this is laughable because all it is, is a rug.
A four sided plane on which an overlay sits. I know - mildly pathetic that I should be so happy, but it is a huge step for me - I am starting to understand (we're talking half a baby step) just a little bit more about how milkshape works. I have been able to alter existing meshes (paintings) for more what I need them to do - I still need to understand the UV mapper as one simply cannot adjust the shapes in UV mapper and have it work well on the mesh - that's a whole different issue and the reason there is not series 4 for the Paint By Numbers series.

While this is a big step forward, it still is many miles before I can create something from scratch that is a dynamic shape. I had found on Around the Sims 3 a beautiful school map - one of those pull down charts that you may remember from Elementary school or University if you went to an older one . . . anyway - I was very excited that I would be able to alter the mesh and hopefully get permission to release the file (with big credits of course) but tonight (after emailing last night) I noticed in very tiny letters by the copyright that she asks that people do not alter or use her meshes. Well crap. Doubt she'll write me back given the question was answered albeit in small letters. Now I am left to either learn to mesh for a future project OR find a sim2 mesh that I can translate to sim3 which I am sure is no easy task either. What I am hoping to do is something like what is pictured right.

So if you happen to know of such a mesh, please, take pity on me and let me know : )

Step forward, step backwards. Cha cha cha.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I am getting motion sickness with the steps backwards and forwards.

Still struggling away with Milkshape - in trying to pull together a new set, I attempted to reshape an existing EA frame to be narrow but tall. What I ended up with were two wide sticks at the top and bottom and two narrow sticks at the side (stick in framers lingo would be the frame sides, but you knew that). Not my expected results and I am forced to pass on one portion of the set for the moment as I don't like the alternative frame that would actually work for size but not for look (the Noir frame) but I am too stupid currently to figure out a solution.

I did however make a huge step forward. One of the things that I do not like about 'canvas' meshes is that you cannot apply many styles to them. By design, most people make them unchangeable which does make sense on the one hand - you wouldn't want to pattern the edges and back necessarily. I approached it like one of the rugs - it doesn't need a pattern but it could use multiple overlays. WARNING: tech speak - I cloned the Mission painting but applied a Simpossible canvas mesh and inserted new multiplier, mask, and specular layers which allows it to be altered in TSW to have multiple overlays. Hu-fucking-zzah. I am tired of having umpteen different canvas meshes because I like the shape but could not merge them - now I know how to work around that and insert the missing portions to allow multiple images. This also allows me to release everything in both formats once I get everything converted. Not that I am a fan of the sim3pack, but there are those who simply will not download something because they don't like package files. This smacks of the age old argument: toilet tissue over or under which clearly half of you are wrong about.

Given this huge step forward (for me) I have pulled together yet another esoteric set of images that in my head are quite lovely and connected, but the download numbers will soon tell just how popular they are. That Korean Instructional 'DDT' image is simply misunderstood - no one wants to download it. Perhaps I am too liberal in my ideas of what art actually is. I will say that when I am holding a glitter encrusted chicken bone at work and I am shrieking 'Is this ART?' some may get the idea that I am actually rigid on this subject. Bah. I would like to thank R.Mutt for expanding my horizons.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Itty bitty step forward

I decided that if I could not create a rug in Milkshape, as my first project, then perhaps I could alter a picture. Take something existing and make it larger. I was happy to see that everything I was doing was working - of course, I was only eye-balling it as I still cannot tell how to take a measurement or to resize in scale. I imported back into TSW and everything worked. Altered the different attributes to the new corrected size and presto:
I neglected to notice the grid on the 'wall' in the program. Three blocks is a wall in Sim-topia. This was grossly over-sized and it was larger than the mantle. Still - it worked - this was a larger version of the 'lips' painting.

I know - you are thinking: I wanted that picture to be larger too, but you changed it to be some stupid deer picture. I can only offer that one should only have so much joy in the game. Such stellar art should be kept in small doses.

I exited my staging room and went back to task. No taller than the three boxes in the grid but somewhere above the bottom box . . . it's not like there is some sort of cheat that tells you exactly how tall things are in the game.
It actually worked. Of course, this would look completely stupid without the mantle beneath it, but it worked. I had set up a room with every fireplace and this really only would work above a few of them . . . the one above is the perfect height for it. The following two are okay - would need something on the mantle like plants or clocks or perhaps an urn with ashes engraved "Fifi, I knew you well."

Moving on . . . in my further attempts at altering existing multipliers to make frames look more diverse, I applied a leaf pattern to the frame, colored the frame with the chrome pattern and exported to the game. When I viewed it in game however, I couldn't even see the image - the sheen was so bad it almost looked like a white square. I tore apart the file and found what I thought was the problem - re-exported and same problem. To make a boring story shorter, the way a picture file is composed, the pattern is covering the entire shape and the overlay just sits atop it . . . still affected by it to a degree:
Simply changing the frame to plastic allowed the image to be seen again. Now, you're probably thinking - well DUH, but I am thinking - why can't the frame just change - there has to be a way to do that . . . so, perhaps today while I wait for the dryer repair man (a self imposed furlough day if he doesn't get here early enough damn it) I will see if I can tinker with the mask file and remove the pattern from the front and back planes. It's not that I need the frame to be chrome - I don't want there to be a sheen should someone who downloads a file choose chrome as their pattern and then hate me cos the file is 'bad' . . . .

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A new found respect:

Milkshape isn't shaping up to be something that I entirely understand . . . what's that expression - Rome wasn't built in a day? Well thank god they didn't have Milkshape to create it - it's mind boggling. In fairness, the program is very straight forward - the flaw lies within me - I simply do not understand this sort of program . . . but it has only been a day - well a day and a half . . . and $35. Pffft.

What do you think I am attempting to create? A rug. Should be simple but it is not. I get the whole process of moving the mesh into the program. I am starting to understand the points and all - but I am lost at how to ditch one line and connect the points to create a new line. I need crayons I think . . .

This reminds me a bit of Illustrator . . . the program that I hate most in this world. Why? B├ęzier curves. It's like connect the dots on psychotropics.

I'll continue to dabble with it . . . until then - I will be posting more rugs/paintings until I can figure this out. You'll be the first to know.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Creation . . . celebration?

It should be mentioned that I am a self confessed heat wimp. Come winter, I will remind you that I am a cold wimp, too. Should I ever be graced with hair again, it will be long curly gold tresses with ribbons and I will have an insatiable appetite for porridge. It's true. I am fickle when it comes to temperature. I am wearing shorts to work (when it's not another blessed furlough day [ahem, today {hello! Mortgage!}]) and a hoodie because I get overheated with jeans, but cold because of a tee shirt. You feel sorry for me, I know - so sad. I mention any of this because I was reminded that I have yet to update on my garden. In fact, I will be tending this very garden myself all next week . . . alone . . . in the heat of Atlanta . . . shoot me now.

The garden project was one that I had wanted to start for a long time. Upon completing stage one as I like to call it (Chris disagrees on the number of stages and if there are stages at all), I was contented. Carefully watering so as not to over water and to help the new plants adjust to their new home. Everything was filling out just fine but - what is this? I didn't plant that. (you should be hearing the music from Psycho - the shower scene - about now)

The weed. By definition, it's a plant you do not want. That could be a prized rose bush for some or a thorny mess to others. These however appear to be everyone's bane. Crab grass? pfff. thh. tss. khu. chu. Hate it. Worse, the weeds seem to be growing faster than the plants.

But - that makes it sound like this project was a failure. In fact - we're elated. I can blow torch the damned weeds . . . but here are just a couple of photos to show you the progress of our work. A true album will be culled together - hopefully post weeds:
Yarrow and Euphorbia
Coneflower and Thai Basil
Gaura and Lime Basil
Coreopsis and Boris Avens
Mortgage Lifter Tomato
Stars and Moon Watermelon
Raised beds - Peas, Tomatos; Squash in ground pots
Rue and Mexican Heather in foreground
Chris opening a pea pod
I am holding the peas (look at me go)

Sadly we've had a couple of snafus. The spinach was growing nicely but started looking strange. It grew tall? Who knew spinach did that? It was nice as baby spinach, but bitter as hell as an adult. My god, I have something in common with the spinach plant . . .  I too am tall.

The carrots were eaten by some unseen beastie. The peas, through sweet and delicious, never grew to their stated 48" height. Maybe 18" at best? And now they are all dying as fast as we can pick the peas. I had thought (there I go thinking again) that we might see a second harvest. 

Currently we're debating whether or not to grow more things or let those raised beds go for the rest of the season. I personally am voting for planting. Chris is on the fence. This could be in part to one little factoid: I have this thing against heat (see above) and he would need to tend to this matter solo . . .

On a different note, I might be sewing this week. I might be working on more Sim 3 stuff. I did take some dandy photos of fish prints at work. I love them, and they are selling, and they are irreplaceable - I can't have them but perhaps my sims can. I want to work on more rugs but honestly - this is the week I attempt to teach myself Milkshape. Not Milkshake as I had thought - I don't know if that would be attractive anyway.