Sunday, December 31, 2006

Animation render problem with 3D STudio Max SP3

I experienced something strange like this: if I render an animation with 3D Studio Max 8 SP3, and in the middle of the rendering process I tried to something else, the 3DS8 application will hang up. So whenever I render a 3D animation, I have to leave the computer alone all the way until it finish the rendering. It's great that I have a spare laptop, so here I am, working on my laptop. In fact, I think I may just install 3DSMax on this laptop. That way, I can use this laptop for time consuming render while I have my main computer doing something more useful, like work.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A bug in Painter XI.5

Previously I had problem running Painter XI.5 after upgraded it from XI. Yesterday I finally figured out the reason: I forgot to reset the default setting, as instructed at the web site right next to the download link! (So, yeah, my bad).
So now Painter XI.5 is running smoothly on my machine.

However, I guess I stumbled across a Painter XI.5 bug. Try this:
(1) Create a new document.
(2) Add a layer (Layer 1)
(3) Select the Canvas layer, and then select [Canvas][Canvas Sizes...]. Add 400 pixels to bottom.
(4) Select layer 1
(5) Now try to draw at the bottom of the newly added area.

You will find out that you CANNOT paint in that area. However, try save the document and then reopen again. That bottom area in the layer 1 in now accessible.

Is it a well known bug, of something I discovered and should be reported to Corel?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Painter XI.5 update

I tried Painter XI.5 update, and create an portable app using it. But it seems very unstable and crash everytime I tried to draw something on the Canvas. I wonder what the problem is. But in the meantime Painter XI will be were I stay.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A bad habit to break

There was one tiny issue that sort of bugged me for a long while ever since I brought the Wacom Graphite 4 Tablet: that when I use Photoshop and Painter, I found that very once in a while I saw some dots got left inside the sketch of my drawing. At first I thought it was some setting problem, and it got to a point that I almost thought there's something wrong with the Wacom tablet. But today when I closely monitor how I sketch, I realized that the problem is actually on ME.

See, I have a tendency of slightly slamming the pen on the tablet surface even when I tried to draw a light line. I might intended to draw a smooth thin-then-thick-then-thin line, but my instinct tends to slam on the surface first before pulling all off to very light force. As the result, a spot was created. In fact, the tablet and the pen ACCURATELY and EXACTLY replicate what I did when the pen. It was just that I was in denial.

So I really need to practice sketch by breaking this bad habit. In fact, to think about it, I had the same habit when dancing by using all the force on preparation steps and thus ruin the whole thing. Gotta work on it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Imperfection of the Maya 7 green version

It seems like everytime when I tried to apply material to an object in the green version of Maya 7 I made, the application will crash and burn. Oh well, I knew that hacking stuff is prompt to have problem :-I .

Saturday, August 19, 2006

More more and more color tools

So many color tools that almost sickens me :-D.

Color Scheme resources, online and offline

I was trying to find a way to find a right color scheme in an organized way instead of random testing color. I eventually found this downloadable web based tool called "Color Scheme 2" which pretty much does my job. And the best part is that I can even put it in my Pocket PC! Although I have to say that it's pretty darn slow on my Pocket PC.

Other online color scheme resources:
- EasyRGB
- A bunch of color Tools online
- Pallette Test
- Color Palette Generator : Generate color palette based on a photo
- Color Palette Creator : Inspirated by this create palette article

Suitcase 9.2 truly is portable

Just found out that Suitcase 9.2 true is portable! I create several set of font group on my home machine while the whole Suitcase 9.2 application is on my removable harddisk. I unplugged the harddisk and plugged it to my note, and found that all of my font groups are still there. This is awesome because that means wherever I go I got the same set of font group I organized.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Suitcase for Windows - Using font without comittment

I found it amazing cool that Extensis Suitacse 9.2 is actually portable friendly. Now I can have a font set in my removable harddisk, and access thse fonts wherever I go! Sure, it has problem preview the current system fonts, but all I care is the ease of accessing fonts on my USB HD, and for that it works good.

BTW, it's always a good idea to restart an application before using it after a set of font was activated, otherwise the font on the app will act strange.

As I expected, Suitcase has problem dealing with Chinese fonts, particularly:

- It does not work with Chinese .TTC (Font Collection).
- It cannot recognize Chinese font name, and display a blank name instead. And it even has problem loading more than one Chinese font since it sees all these attempteed to be added fonts with the same name, BLANK. There are some fonts that work though. Strange.

So I guess I need to find some way to rename a font and heck to make it work. Once a chinese font is being activiated, it works pretty well, though.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

3D Studio Max 8 hanging problem seemed to be resolved.

Today I seemed to have 3D Studio Max 8 hanging problem resolved by turning OFF the Autobackup by the following checking off the following checkbox:

[Cutomize]->[Preferences ...] ->tab "File"->Auto Backup. [ ] Enable

I also set the viewpoint Display drivers to OpenGL instead of DirectX. I doubt about this is a related factor, though.

Now that I have the desktop one working OK, I am trying out the VMWare version and see how goes.

Cure 3D studio Max 8 crashing

I was a bit fustrated by the constant crashing of 3D STudio Max 8 on both my work machine and the VMWare. Maybe this article can help fixing some of the mess.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Installing 3D Studio Max 8 on VMWare

In order to faciliate my "3D modeling everywhere" dream, I have 3D Studio Max 8 installed on a VMWare system on my removable harddisk. It works pretty OK. The only catch it take I have to set the 3D engine to Software instead of DirectX or OpenGL. Other than that it seems fine.

I also have Service Pak 3 install. No problem encountered so far.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Strange thing about Painter IX with myGraphite 4 on my desktop PC

Last night I experienced something a little bit strange: the 2B Pencil tool in Painter IX doesn't look right on my desktop. I know this has nothing to do with Graphite 4, and probably has more to do with my display and the nVidia graphic card. The symptoms is this: it seems like the anti-alising was not done too well with the 2B Pencil. A lot of rough edges was formed on the screen, makes the result looked very odd.

I twisted left and right, and finally found that adjusting the min size and size step seems to help a little bit. But at the end, I blame the stupid LCD screen. :-m

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Now I remembered why using Poser is such a fustrating experience

One thing that makes using Poser such a fustrating experience is that there's no simply way to lock a part while you trying to modify the other part of the body or props. So a lot of times I accidentally moved the parts I didn't want to move simply because the program didn't pick up the mouse click I had on the screen properly. Maybe there are ways to correct such a problem. Maybe there are ways to lock things properly. Obviously, I am still searching for it.

Dozens of artisitc animation shorts

You may have watched a lot animation shorts from I found most of those clips entertaining more in the sense of teenager taste (lots of smashing, frating and such).

Recently I came across a site which host a dozen of more artistic animation shorts. They are candidates of a animation shorts competition, and I think they deserve you viewing time and vote. So take a lot at and enjoy some nicely done animation short by today's young people.

Endorphin version 2.5.2 Retail version?

Found NATURALMOTION ENDORPHIN VERSION 2.5.2's retail version at this web site. And it was like: is this for real. Fortunately it doesn't catch up to the retail version 2.6. But still, scary.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

endorphin 2.6 - More links to fun download

Here's more link to downloads stuff related to Endorphin. I definitely will spend sometime to try it out:

- Community Forum for posting question and sharing information about Endorphin
- Download tons of tutorial video to learn Endorphin.
- Download the LE version

OH, and I found out that I can turn Endorphin 2.6 LE as a portable application. Sweet. Now I can learn it wherever I have access to a PC.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Trying out my my Graphire 4

I brought my Graphire 4 to work so that I could spent some time to really try it out (sort of trying to optimize my lunch time) and had the following tidbit finding:

- I need to explictly trun on the tablet proption setting . By default it fully utilize the tablet area, but may not proptionally match the screen . This may create some ill effect when I sketch, so I definitely need to turn this feature on when I get back home.

- So far the best to sketch on the tablet is using Painter IX, and I haven't even start using any brush other than 2B Pencil :> . It feels very nature, and I really realized that what hidders me from making good sketch is just my drawing skill. Practice. Practice.

Natural Motion's Endoprhine LE 2.6 - Great toy

You can think of the Natural Motion's Endophrine LE 2.6 as a great 3D toy for you to see what happen if you push someone from the edge of a hill. Sadist, but hell, so is Poser >.:-} .

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Wacom Tablet pen not interchangable

I tested out 3 different Wacom tablet (ArtZ, Graphite 4 and FT-0405-U02 which actually is a Chinese writing recognition pad but using Wacom tablet), and found that each of them has special wireless pen and they are not interchangable.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

My first day of using Graphire 4 6x8 inch Tablet

Here I am testing the Wacom Graphire 4 6x8 inch Tablet on my home workstation (regular Pentium 4 2.8GHz with 1Gb of memory) and my notebook computer (Compaq Presario with P3 1GHz with 512M of RAM). Here's some of the finding I had so far:

- So far I love the new Wacom. Using the 6 x 8 is really a much better sketching experience comparing with my old 5 x 4 pad.

- I was a bit upset that the old pen that comes with old ArtZ tablet does not work with Graphire 4. But then I was EVEN MORE UPSET when I found out that the few test stroke I made on the Graphire 4 tablet using the old ArtZ pen left a few NON-DESTRUCTIVE but visible mark on the tablet. Again, it's non-destructive and it didn't really scratch the surface. It just left some visible mark. But then, AHHHHhhhh my supposed to be perfect tablet now has a few scare by it's grandma model !! The new pen is of course perfect fit for the new tablet and left no scar on the surface no matter how hard I sketch.

- I got the Pearl white model. Now this little baby will look totally match with the MacMini Intel version that I most probably will get in the future. Sweet :->

- The price I paid seems very reasonable: HK$1199 - Hk$150 Wacom ArtZ tablet trade in --> So I paid HK$1049 for the tablet as the result. Very nice price consider that is selling it at $172.98 . With sales tax, it will cost HK$1463. And can someone tell me why the pearl white model is the most expansive one among all models. Is it simply because it matches the MacMini better?

- My old Artz was made in Japan. This new pad is made in China. Nothing. Just a note.

- Now I have completely no excuse of the tablet making me draw badly. If the sketch looks badly, it's because me myself.

- I experience some minor glitch which I don't think it's the problem of the tablet, but rather the way Painter IX interpret some pen stroke. I sometime got a tiny dot when I use pen/pencil to shade an area. Guess I need to experiment more to find a work around to the problem.

- I also experience something interesting: on both the desktop PC and the laptop, the Photoshop CS and Painter IX has no problem keeping up with my sketching on it (I use pencil tool) no matter how fast I draw, but openCanvas 3.03 and 4.03 has problem, and created some angled lines if I draw too fast. Interesting enough, the problem was not as obvious on the laptop as on the desktop, which is strange consider that my laptop has less CPU power. But then the screen on my desktop is much bigger (1280x1024 on desktop, while 1024 x 768 on laptop).

- I really need to keep the tablet away from my 4 year old nephew. Within the last 5 hours he had multiple attempts to use things other than the tablet pen to draw on the Graphire 4. Obviously he thought my tablet can tolerant that same kind of abuse he imposed on his Doddle Doddle pad. The destruction power of children is simply unbelievable. Time to execute the South Park plan: kick the baby.

- Without installing the driver, the tablet will work as a generic tablet but only utilize 3/5 of the tablet space. After installing the driver it optimized the tablet surface utilization to the max.

- For some strange reason, I found using my laptop with my Graphire 4 a slightly better sketching experience than using the desktop. This is probably due to the cleaner environment (much less crappy installed on my laptop). This is a great founding. It proves that even though my laptop is about 5 years old, it's still very capable as a mobile creative station. I have no problem using it with my M-Audio Firewire Solo, and now with my Graphire 4. Nice.

- I found myself enjoying the wheel and the two button on the tablet very much. I mapped the left button to space so that I can use it to zoom in. And then I mapped the right button to Control. The scroll becomes zoom on Painter. Very very handy.

- I may even start to permenatly hook the tablet to the laptop so that I can sketch whenever I feel like knowing that my laptop is on all the time.

- I am NOT going to install any software that comes with the tablet. They are all cheesy version of software that I already have. Maybe I'll use those software for future upgrade, though.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Say goodbye to my 10 years old Wacom ArtZ Pad

I am going to say goodbye to my 10 years old serial port ArtZ Pad. Here's all the photos that I took before I send it to the shop and use it as a HK$150 trade-in rebate.

Goodbye. ArtZ. I will miss you.

And HELLO my new 6x8 Graphire 4 :-D .

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I just found out that Manga Studio 3 Debut cannot be installed on Windows Server 2003 since the installation program will abort in the middle of the installation process. However, Windows XP runs smoothly. In fact, I can make a portable version of it and put it in my removable harddisk. Totally sweet :> .

By the way, I found this trial version from a mainland China site.

Poser 6 tutorial, and more

I like it when graphic tool companies spent time and effort to put up nice tutorial so that user can optimize the usage of the tool. eFrontier knows that well, so they put up some good introduction tutorial for me to learn their apps:

- Posing 101- Getting Started
- Getting Started with Manga Studio
- More about Posing in Poser
- More Manga Studio tutorial

Monday, May 22, 2006

Cool stuffs from eFrontier

Seems like this company - eFroniter - does some very intersting stuff.

For one, they have two very nice Poser models: Terai Yuki 2 for Poser 6 and Miki CE for Poser 6.

And then they have a Manga tool called manga Studio.

Monday, May 15, 2006

To buy Intuos3 or not

I was not thinking of getting the Intuos3 until I saw the ad about trading in an old wacom tablet to get a new Graphire4 or a new Intuos3 table. And later I figured out the difference between the two new Graphire 4 (US Price) and Intuos3 (with Tilt feature and such).

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Using Photoshop to prepare transparency for Lightwave

I found this article a useful reference about creating alpha channel for preparing transparency for Lightwave texture mapping.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

LW 8.5 - Animate against a video background

Here's the simple way to animate against a video (I tried a VCD MPEG video) in Lightwave 3D:
  1. Press {F6},
  2. Select your footage,
  3. Press {Ctrl+F7},
  4. Set your footage as a BG Image,
  5. Press {d},
  6. Set "Camera View BG" to "BG Image",
  7. Animate your logo,
  8. Setup the [RenderOption -> Output Files] tab,
  9. Press {F10}.
Tiny tutorial from this forum.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Struggling with Lightwave texture mapping and alpha channel

I am struggling to make transparent texture mapping working with Lightwave 3D 8. Here's two articles that I think maybe helpful to me:

- How to i get my Alpha channel to work in Lightwave?
- Texturing & Modeling in L[6]

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Finally, the way to make my Lightwave green version complete

I am studying texture mapping these days, and found that Lightwave 8 comes with great Texture Mapping capability without using other UV Mapping specific application. However along the way I was a bit confused about the role of bump map, so I read a bit from this article to get some general idea.

I also enjoy the fact that the tutorial help file that comes with Lightwave 8 is also available online so that I can access it everywhere I go.

My biggest discovery today, though, is that there's a way to load all the plug-in when I use the portable (green) version of Lightwave 8. That way I can import EPSF files, use JPEG image during texture mapping, render a scene and export it to JPEG and so on.

To import all plug-in with a Lightwave 8 portable version:
Under [Utilities] tab, click Edit Plugins (or Alt F11), Click [Scsn Directory] button on the Edit Plug-in window. In "Browser for Folder", select the whole "Lightwave [8]" folder. When done scanning, click [OK}, and click [Done]. Now when you go to [File][Import], you will find options that you never had before.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Problem loading JPEG image map and EPS file

I have problem loading JPEG image and EPS file with the green version I made. Installing the versions in APPS_051115 didn't have neither. And it seems like there does not exist Lightwave 8 demo.

Guess I need to try the 8.0 in APPs_040528 .

Download UV Mapping Lesson files

Here's where you can download the UV Mapping Lesson files.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Finally found a way to move Pivot point on Lightwave Modeler 8.5

Damn it. Most of the tutorials on the web are catered to the pre-LW 8.5 era. But on Lightwave Modeler 8.5, to move the Pivot point of an object:

Select [View], click on the Pivot button under "Layers"

That's it.

Ebook for dowload but ,....

Here's a site called The Last Fantasy -to download eBook and Magazines, but I really don't know for sure how it works ....

Friday, March 24, 2006

Lightwave 8 and Mask

I created a green version of Lightwave 7 and 8 on my removable hard disk and it worked pretty OK so far. However last night I was working on rendering a shot in the office, I notice that the File save option only provides me 4 options like .tga and a few proprietary file format. However, when I open the same green version of Lightwave 8 from my removable hard disk at home, I saw the full list with all the .JPG and Photoshop file formats in it (several dozens of them). I remembered that I previously installed and then uninstalled Lightwave 8 from my home machine. So I think my green version is not really completed, as some of the setting and some of the files may had been installed at the system level.

However, this doesn't make my portable version of Lightwave 8 particularly not useful. In fact, I found that the Targa format (.tga) contains the masking alpha channel, while the .psd version DOES NOT. What a shock.

To create a masked image after rendered and saved as .tga from Lightwave, I did the following:

- Open the .tga file in Photoshop.
- Click on Channel's tab on layer window, you will see a "Alpha 1" channel.
- Drag and Drop the alpha channel to the "Load Channel as selection icon" (at the bottom of the layer window).
- Click layer tab to switch back to regular layer view.
- If the layer name is in italic, double click on it to turn it into a regular layer.
- Click on add layer mask button at the bottom of layer screen.
- Done. Now the objects are masked.

However, I find that somehow the masked objects has a border which doesn't look too good. So usually before the "Click add layer mask button" step (which the selection is still on), I select Photoshop manual [Select]->[Modify...]->[Contract...] I usually choose 2 pixel to shrink.

Also, you can take advantage of the "History tab" and undo your error in case you need to.

Monday, March 20, 2006

OpenOffice better than Adobe Acrobat on converting Powerpoint to PDF

I found out yesterday that the online conversion (I used the free trial for the paid service) provided by Adobe web site to convert a PowerPoint to PDF is inferior comparing with the feature provide by the free office suite OpenOffice. The one created by OpenOffice was much smaller in file size, provides more options on customization. And the best part is that it's free.

No more Adobe online PDF conversion for me ever.

Not impressed by SteayMove plug-in

I installed SteadyMove plugin for Adobe Premiere 2.0 and I was not impressed. It doesn't really seem to be doing much correction. Then again, maybe it's because it's not the Pro version. In fact, I cannot even find the NON-PRO version of SteadyMove mentioning in web site.

Another reason could be that the video source I provided was pretty crappy. I was taking some video with my Nikon 3200 digital camera, which only yields 15 fps. The lack of frame rate could contribute a lot to the lack of material to make the perfect calculation.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Lightwave 8.5 and Y'z shadow

Y'z shadow (part of FlyakiteOSX, a set of app to make your Windows XP machine looks like a MacOSX box) can cause the window rendering on Lightwave 8.5 mess up. So make sure you turn Y'z shadow off before you run Lightwave.

No green version for Adobe Premiere 6.5

I was trying to make Adobe Premiere 6.5 a green version (removable harddisk friendly) and it failed. :-<