Friday, July 15, 2011


This post was actually started two days ago so while it seems like I am preparing you, dear reader, for my upcoming set, you've probably already downloaded it or at least wanted to find out 'what was he thinking' . . . here goes:
Sometimes you think you have a set that will just keep going on . . . that is sort of how I felt with the mirror set (can be seen here and here) that I was pulling together. The first three were organic and I loved working on them - then I challenged myself with the Venetian Mirror. Sometimes a challenge is rewarding and everything you do makes you just want to create more and more. Then there is the other kind of challenge. You lose patience, you stamp your feet, you sulk and cry . . . the latter would be the Venetian Mirror. I don't know if I started it on a day that the moon was full or if Laika peed in my coffee or what . . . that mirror tore my soul up and ultimately ruined my enthusiasm for creating more mirrors for the time being. The other day I thought I would pick back up where I left off and I found myself going "I'm done. I'm DONE already." Ghaahhhd.

Luckily enough, Heidi had inspired me with a 'new' set that she has been working on, or really - reworking - she had struggled with her set too back in March (see - great minds DO think alike . . . even when it's not good). While I have this little bit of extra time on my hands, I, when not scouring the job sites for work, have been meshing to keep myself a little sane. Just a little mind you. I find myself talking to the dog a lot and expecting an answer these days.

There have been a few items that I have wanted to make and Heidi's set blended modern and classical together seamlessly that it got me thinking about those mixtures of old and new, smooth and textured, rough and refined that we both love so much. She had crafted this stunning backless sofa/bench that I had thought at some point I wanted to try to mesh something like that after seeing something in a picture with a gorgeous oversized painting . . . her version put my imaginary one to shame and will probably be in every single screen shot I ever do - but it triggered my memory of a table I had wanted to mesh. "C" tables, as they are called for their letter C shape, are a relatively new piece of furniture that have cropped up in the past few years. While they are an attractive side table, the idea is that they can slide up to your sofa and act almost like a TV tray (yup, I am showing my age there). Significantly cooler than the aluminum and plastic nightmares of yore, the "C" table has been crafted in any number of materials including exotic woods or stone atop a metal base as well as cool materials like heavy duty plastic and acrylic. Either they are on little gliders or wheels and pretty much any trendy/modern shop should have one. I saw a picture of one recently in all clear acrylic and having researched casters for chairs and tables a while back, I pulled one together from memory. After sending it along to Heidi to see what she thought, I found the picture of what I was trying to recreate and I was surprised to see that even they used a clear acrylic caster - kudos me, my Alzheimer's is not kicking in as soon as I projected. (I joke, but I am seriously preparing myself)

I have a serious lack of odd surfaces in my game. By odd, I mean - things not defined as side table, coffee table, dining table. When I make a surface (like the flour cabinet) it fills a void that I have in my own game. That said, I created an acrylic console table. You know - the tables you see in your entry way or behind the sofa? Why are there not more of these in game? They are soooo handy!

When Heidi showed me her very cool coffee table - it triggered a memory of a set of tables that I attempted to buy back in 2007 - well - one table of a 'set' of three types of tables all carved from Mango wood. For whatever reason, this table was back ordered for like six months and then they stopped carrying it. In researching it, I find that they ended up getting them back and putting them into their outlet store. FUCKERS! ( Yes, I went there). This trio of tables I wanted to make into chairs/stools. While I love the idea of them as a table, they felt more interesting as a functioning dining chair - sort of like a Chinese garden stool and I felt it was a nice compliment to Heidi's table. Her patience with me is truly a gift as I was not entirely sure how to texture something like this and she graciously walked me through the process.
The real tables - for the record, it was the one on the left I wanted.
In the middle of this set, I decided I was not done with torturing myself with items like the Venetian mirror . . . I got in my head to create a piece of quartz. No. Don't even bother to ask my goes on in the cavernous thing I call a head.

Finally, it seems no set is complete without something I own. In this case - two items. I have this bowl from Denmark that I have just adored. I purchased it in Cambridge, Massachusetts at one of the shops there that I used to haunt. The real one at some point someone put a plant in it and the soil left mineral marks that simply will not come off the surface - I think there has been a chemical change to the glaze as it almost appears to be 'baked' in. Then there is a lamp that I have threatened to mesh for a while now - it almost made it into the Mementoes set. It was a light that reminded me of a lamp I already owned in color . . . when I got it home, they were indeed alike - they were made by the same company and had the same base. This line of 'lamps' were actually sold as a medical device with a strange screw in 'bulb' that looked like a piece of pumice. The one I already had I purchased in Arizona and the dealer seriously hid when I screwed in a bulb to see if I could get it to work as a lamp. It worked just fine - so I was confident when I bought this one. I will say I struggle with this light as not every bulb works in it, but I love it and it's unusual. Changes were necessary to keep the poly count reasonable - mostly in the base which is an applied texture and in the clamping mechanism. While I probably could have lost 110 polys by going back in and futzing around, I decided to keep it at the 1310 poly count. Yup - lazy bones. I really would have loved to add the chord as that is one of the things that I find so interesting about this lamp, but that would have pushed the limits to a crazy number I would not have been comfortable with.
The real lamp
The real bowl
With all of the reflective surfaces between this set and Heidi's . . . it seemed okay to apply the four mirrors to this set. You wondered where I was going with all of this. Weren't you.

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