It's been a while since you've had an update from me. I could complain about being too busy. But instead I'd rather tell you about what creative activities I've been doing. Most, hopefully all of these projects will be coming your way at some point. So let's have a look.
[Break Out] (Formerly "Boxed")
Opening cut: youtu.be/71rgDLNNVkI
Vexorum frees Andre from a cage inside a castle. What could possibly go wrong?
The animating is finished. The render is done for about 40%. But my render system is idle! I've commissioned a professional artist to create the scene destruction effects for the later parts of the animation. I'm waiting for those to be implemented. Then the render can continue. After the rendering is finished, I'll have to obtain some sounds. It seems I'll have to do this work myself. I'll attempt to do a better job than I did on my previous videos. I think the project will be released in two parts. They'll be released to Patreon supporters first, as usual. (I will let everyone know as soon as they go up!) Additionally, I'm thinking about cooking up a Patreon-only bonus. During animating, it often happens that I think a segment of animation looks very nice from a certain angle. But then I can't fit that angle into the final video. I'm thinking I'll collect all those alternative-angle segments and compile them into a bonus video.
[Patreon Thank-You Videos]
Preview image: vexorum.deviantart.com/art/I-m…
Patreon gives you the option of displaying a thank-you video whenever support is pledged. I'm working on short thank-you videos for each of my 4 levels of support. I'm trying to make the video look like gameplay footage. The player (in first person) walks up to a dragon NPC (yours truly) and opens a dialog window. Depending on the level of support, a different dialog plays, and a different closing animation results. I like this idea... I really hope it'll come out as neatly as it appears in my imagination, lol.
Preview image: vexorum.deviantart.com/art/Wor…
Live environment: vexorum.com/WorldDefense/index… (Not actually playable. Just runs down a simple scenario.)
I've been building a game. The idea for this one is an only-running online multiplayer game where you build and protect your settlement, discover and interact with other players, and encounter unusual creatures with unusual abilities. I know it doesn't look like much. (And the live environment is several releases behind on the current codebase.) But the engine and infrastructure are shaping up quite nicely. Once the game engine is coded out, it should just be a matter of putting in the gameplay, and swapping in some nice models and storylines. Needless to say this is not a project I plan to finish in 2018.
Preview image: (Nude warning) vexorum.deviantart.com/art/Ech…
I've been getting this model rigged and ready for animation. Once again I have called for help. Sure I could do it all by myself in a month or two. But I've heard there are tools and skilled people who can rig humans much faster. So why not save the time? I've got a few ideas for future animations with this lady. She and Vex are old friends. She's a recurring character in the stories. Exactly what I'd start on first, I'm unsure.
I also have a somewhat unformed story project on the backlog. I've got much of it down. Some events need to be scheduled properly and some reasons/motivations need to be better presented. I'm not spoiling much though!
Writing this all down, it makes me feel both terribly excited and slightly overwhelmed. I want to do it all!! There just aren't enough hours in the day. Nor enough days in a weekend, lol. A very heart-felt thank-you to my supporters! You enable me to call in pro help for environments, effects, rigging, tooling, whatever I need. It allows me to focus on where I think I can shape and develop my projects most effectively.
If you've made it this far, thank you for reading. And if you would, let me know which project you're most interested in!
Take care of yourself.
On Saturday the second of June 2018 I'll be attending the "Heroes & Villains" convention in Dortmund, Germany. If you'll also be there and would like to meet up for a drink and a chat, do let me know!
2017 is drawing to a close. I hope you are enjoying some rest and relaxation with loved ones. I certainly am. It's great and has been much needed. Before the year rolls over and we start another orbit, I'd like to take a moment to review the last 12 months both personally and non-professionally. Clearly at lot has happened. And it might help to just take a moment and reflect.
In late [December 2016]: Walking, Glowing, and Growing Test Animations.
I'd been learning about rigs and slowly putting mine together for months. At this point, for the first time, the whole thing started working well enough to be able to create these tests. It would reveal many a problem with my setup. And so, many more weeks would go into trying to understand what's wrong and fixing it. Looking back, I can say that I find rigging actually quite fun. I just really do not like painting skin weights. If there's anything I've learned here, it's what good animation geometry looks like and why.
[January] Flight Test Animation #1
My wings are part dynamic simulation, part regular joint rig. The only reason I was able to do this at all is thanks to a good tutorial video that showed me exactly what I wanted to know. What I've learned here is how to run the simulation engines AND, most importantly, how NOT to run the simulation engines. These are giants of computational intensity that are best left asleep unless absolutely necessary. In a sense, I regret going with dynamics for my wing rig. It makes the whole thing much more complicated and I'm not convinced the result is worth it. On the other hand, I learned a lot and I love the topic of phy-sim-tech.
Due to my situation at the beginning of the year, I have had the opportunity to spend nearly full time every day for several weeks on animating Awaken. In the end it, this project totalled 13 different scene files, and over 9000 frames. The intent of this project was originally just to test the rig's custom built grow controls. But because this is a theme I enjoy and I had already had the back story in my mind for months, it turned into my longest animation to date. Over a dozen updates to the rig resulted from this project. I've learned a lot about how to edit together audio. It was a fun challenge to get all the timing right and to design the ending sequence change-over to match the music change-over. I learned that I love this! And I absolutely want to do more story-driven animations in the future. Believe me, I have stories I want to tell.
[June] Run!, Flight Test Animation #2
I found that walking and running, while the cornerstone of character animations... are actually very difficult. I suppose I think Run! is my best animation to date. The quality of the movements just seems better to me. I can't say it's great... but, small steps. I learned I love using things like camera-shake and background objects to indicate motion and weight. I also learned I don't like road cones.
Though my patreon account had been set up for a while, it wasn't until this point where I promoted it more publicly. I wrote some text explaining how I'd use it, and I thought it'd be nice to read it out loud and animate some "lip-sync".... Can't really lip-sync without lips. But it was fun to do and informative anyway. I learned for example, that it takes A LONG TIME to sync even a sentence or two. This is why I crapped out after the first part of the text and only animates the ending bit. You may call me lazy. In my defence, I learned what I wanted to, and I spent that time doing something else.
[September] Anomalous Stellar Matter
I love space! I love planets and stars and everything! I'd been tinkering with a planet model I made. I set up a series of noise generators to drive the colors and textures of the planet dynamically. Once I realized I could animate this over time, the plan for this animation was hatched literally over night. And once I had the idea, I just had to make it. In this particular project I learned that transparency is a lot more difficult than you'd expect. I just thought it'd be a slider somewhere between 0% and 100% and that's that! But no, apparently, it takes post-processing. So the last half second of this animation took some special attention.
Currently I'm working on Boxed, the animation with Acheroth's Andre. Animating two dragons takes a lot longer than one. Especially animating one with an unfamiliar rig. It's going quite well though. I've got the first 500 frames close to ready. If you're a patreon supporter of mine, expect a low-quality preview of the opening sequence, and perhaps a render or two. Soon!
For me, 2017 has been an unusually painful year. Sure, it started off with a surgery that I probably will never fully recover from. (Don't worry, I'm not in pain or in danger or anything like that!) But in general this year seemed to have more injury and suffering than I recall for other years. Still it's been an overwhelmingly positive year! My finances are OK. My home situation has improved significantly. I've met many wonderful people on the net. And despite being often short on time, I must say, I've got a lot done. And that makes me happy.
If you're supporting me on patreon or via another means, a very heart-felt thank you from me to you.
Everyone else only gets a regular thank you! Haha!
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the eve and the fireworks.
I suppose I have received enough inquiries regarding commissions and requests to outline my stance on these matters.
For those loath to read this wall of text, I shall provide the same information in video form:
I cannot in good conscience accept your commissions. This is because I believe that my skill and available time to work on animations is not sufficient for me to be able to guarantee that I will deliver a respectable result. Additionally, there is the matter of motivation. I have learned that I must avoid feeling 'obligated to work' on something I consider a hobby. This has significantly drained my enthusiasm for projects in the past. And so, I think it wouldn't be fair of me to sell you a commission. Should these factors change in the future, then so will my stance on commissions.
If you have a suggestion for me, and I like your suggestion, then I will try to work your ideas into my animations. It's always nice to hear what kind of animation you enjoy. However, I can't promise I will deliver.
I want to make more and better animations. However, good assets and good lessons cost money. I do and will continue to spend my own money on these projects. But I am not wealthy and sometimes I don't have any change to spare. So please support me through Patreon or with a one-time donation via Paypal. I won't spend the support on my personal cost of living. My job will cover that. Any amount pledged will unlock my patreon-only content. Which includes previews, single-images, and discontinued works. If you have any suggestions for other patreon rewards, please let me know!
In any case,
I want to thank everyone for the overwhelmingly positive responses and friendly messages I have received. Thank you. You're awesome. And take care!
>>> www.vexorum.com/support.html <<<
I've had surgery on my shoulder on the 18th. There's been plenty of pain and nausea. The recovery is expected to take 6 weeks. I do not like anti-biotics because they have messed up my digestion. I have some good painkillers. Operating a computer with one hand is not fun. I do not expect to be very productive for another week at least. And that sucks because I wanne make things!
Thanks for reading,
About my shoulder:
I'm going in for surgery mid-January. After that I will not be allowed to move my left arm at all, for 6 weeks. After that, I'll need half a year of physical therapy. I do not look forward to this at all. But I have little choice. Worst will be up to half a year of no sports! I don't want to loose what little physical strength and fitness I have!
About 3D animations:
It's going awesomely! I'm having much fun even though plenty of frustrations are involved. It's just so incredibly satisfying, running into difficult and confusing problems and then not giving up until they're solved. I love it. I have actually produced some very simple test animations already. But I haven't dared post any yet. I did however... post some related questions and did a voice-reveal on my youtube channel. If you care enough to find the channel by guessing the name, then you can hear my voice! (How hard can it be?!)
I have no idea what holiday gifts I'd like to receive. It has frustrated local friends/family because they don't know what to get, while I know what to get them. I have been unable to correct this imbalance. So I thought I'd ask you! What should be a good gift for this Vex? Keep it cheap!
I am well. I hope you are too. Thank you for reading. You're awesome.
Worlds and Cities
Remember this: vexorum.deviantart.com/journal… ?
Well, that happened again yesterday evening. I'm back in the sling. I'm back on the couch. I'm back in pain, and functioning at less than half capacity.
This is the fourth time I have dislocated my left shoulder. Because of this, my shoulder has almost certainly weakened to the point where it can no longer keep my arm in place properly, even after all the more immediate trauma has healed. Side-note: This isn't muscular weakness I'm talking about. It's weakness of the ligaments of the shoulder joint. This means that I'm very likely to dislocate it again.
Oh no! My mortal weakness is revealed!
Now there is a chance that I am eligible for surgery. I don't have any of the details yet but for what I could make out, it sounds very similar to an ankle or knee re-enforcement procedure. If I can do the surgery, I think I will because I plan to be using my left arm for several more years to come.
In other news!
I've been tinkering away at the task of rigging my 3D model. This is the process of setting up joints and controls to enable the model to be animated. It's a lot of fun and a lot of hard work and more often than not fairly confusing. It's going to take quite a whole longer before I have got some rig-test animations to show you. But I promise you, they will appear! So stay tuned!
I hope you're well. Thanks for reading, and take care!
Worlds and Cities
I've been keeping myself rather busy. This is by choice, partly. There are so many things I want to do in addition to all the things I have to do. I'd definitely say the latter have been overshadowing the former in the past few weeks. But that balance should soon change... I hope.
Anyway, I thought I'd do something community-y. I hardly ever do these, but I've poked this particular meme twice already. Once from AWitchByAnyOtherName and once from CamaroLp. So I thought it's only fair I spread it. The idea is: If you post a comment to this journal I shall perform the operations listed below.
1- Tell you something I learned about you by looking at your page for 10 seconds.
2- Tell you a color you remind me of.
3- Tell you what element I believe you belong to (water, fire, air, etc.).
4- Tell you what OC(s) of yours is/are my favorite(s).
5- Ask you a question, and you must answer.
6- Tell you something I like about you.
7- Give you a nickname.
8- Tell you what am I doing right now.
9- Tell you what food/flavor/smell you remind me of.
10- Dare you to do one of these in your journal too, if you haven't already.
I hope you are well. Thank you for reading.
Worlds and Cities
I'm doing OK. I hope you are well. I haven't posted much art recently. Although I have some stuff in the works, it seems there won't be many new uploads from me any time soon. I've been channelling many of my creative juices into a project that I haven't shared with most of you... until now. I started it in late December 2015.
Yeah... you see... it still needs a name. It's called DoStuff simply because I was tired of not doing stuff. I'm open to suggestions! The game is a kind of spacetravel-sim with unrealistic physics. v0.6 has:
- Build your own craft using several different kinds of parts with various functions.
- Explore a for now rather featureless solar system which contains 4 planets and 1 star. (Stay away from the white one... and the star, of course.)
Things I plan to make:
- Dynamic planets with interesting terrain, perhaps some mysterious structures with stories to tell? some alien flora and fauna, anyone?
- Many more ship parts and decorative components.
- Weapon systems and enemies to blow up.
- Hyperdrives, so you can discover and explore many systems.
- Online multiplayer! Run into other players. See what they have built. Cooperate... or, not.
- Maybe... just maybe, everyone's favorite space dragon will show up?
This is one hell of a backlog. I'm building this thing all by myself, so definitely don't hold your breath. Perhaps once the whole project is more mature and less likely to be abandoned, I could invite others to help. Ultimately, I'd like to approach fellow world-builders and ask how they would like it if their world made a cameo appearance in this game! A world with characters, structures and a story line or two would make for some amazing content and this game would be a neat platform to display your world... I'd think. Anyway, I'm vulnerable to the trap of imagining infinite possibilities and losing sight of the steps right in front of me. So for now, I must focus on one feature at a time. I'm still ironing out the very basics. But so far, this project is going much, much better than all of my previous game-building attempts.
How would you like some screenshots?!
You can't have space without planets!
It's very far away, but you could get there...
Items. Every game needs items.
How would you like to try v0.6 yourself?!
You can download it from my (old and ugly and in need of a redesign) site: vexorum.com
I'd love to hear your comments on this project.
Thank you for reading.
Worlds and Cities
Although my animations are colorless and kind of sketchy-looking, I really enjoy making them. (Despite the fact that I consistently draw Vex too fat and with the wrong kind of feet...) I'd like to do more of them. I've got some in the works but feel I'm low on fresh ideas. Also I'd like to draw different characters and change things up a little. So I thought why not ask for ideas from you in the form of art requests.
What I enjoy animating:
- Characters interacting. (short story, dialog, comic, etc.)
- Characters demonstrating their special skills/abilities. (Bonus points for transformation/shapeshifting.)
What you should know:
- I'm not guaranteeing anything.
- If I take your request I'll make your character(s) look as good as I can, but I might have to skip some details for time-consumption's sake.
- If you're requesting an animation from me, you may include one of my characters Vexorum or Teneo in your plot if you'd like.
Skull and Chicken
Thank you for reading.
Worlds and Cities
Vexorum & Teneo:
Vexorum & Echo:
It's time for a general update. I'm well. My left arm (for those who read my previous journal) is still attached. This is a positive factor of significant impact. Physical therapy and daily exercises are responsible for this. Both my learning the martial arts Hanmudo and general workouts are going well. I enjoy them and I feel much healthier than I used to. At work I've recently learned that it's very likely that I'm not being considered for the more advanced tasks/assignments, not for any reason related to me or my skills, but rather for political reasons. My battle plan is as follows: Finish up the assignments I've committed to. And then if I am denied for the opportunities I seek, I'll leave.
I wish there was a way to remove DA users from the 'Watching You' list. I've got a whole bunch of watchers according to DA. But I know there are only, pretty much... 4 people alive in there. (Hi guys! You're the best!) I wish I could trim down the list to be more representative of reality. That is all.
I've been uploading one or two sketches every weekend since January. I hope you've enjoyed them and I hope they didn't feel too spam-y to your inboxes. When I started posting regularly, I had a pile of sketches in the upload queue. Today, that pile ran out. (Sort of.) I'll be making more sketches and posting them, of course. But I'm aching to do a full-color image. I want to enlist your help.
Please choose from my Sketches folder (here: vexorum.deviantart.com/gallery… ) which work you'd like to receive color. You may choose a few, if you must. Post a link or the title in a comment on this journal, please.
Please consider: I find concepts more important than sketches. If you really like the idea or concept behind a sketch but the sketch itself isn't good, Please Say So. I can always redo it for a full-color image.
You may wonder why I am asking you to help me choose which works to color. I'm asking because my time is limited and in the past I have spent much effort working on full-color images which perhaps didn't really deserve the time when they were sketches. My weeks-sometimes-months-worth of work would enjoy 40 views total and 0 responses of any kind. Clearly they weren't very good then, and that's fine. But it would be nice to know that beforehand. This is why I want your input.
Thank you for reading. And thank you for staying tuned.
As a result of my injury, I have been forced to give up my side of the two-player bed in favor of the couch in the living room. This is because uncontrolled movements during sleep can be very damaging and my side is on the side of the bed where I would sleep on my left shoulder. I'm wearing a sling 24/7 and combined with the tininess of the couch, it restricts my nighttime movements nicely.
The living room is on the south side of my tiny condo. There are blinds on the windows, but they usually remain open. We're on the top floor. As a result of these circumstances, for the past few nights I've been sleeping under a blanket basked in moonlight as the skies have been clear and the moon close to full. I would have been able to say that nothing about these circumstances is nice... (I don't like sleeping on the couch, I don't like having 1 operational arm, I don't like the pain nor the painkillers, and oh am I tired of the sling) but that is nice.
Many if not most of my sketches I don't want to post online or aren't eligible for public display. Sometimes, I will remove parts of a sketch so that it meets DA's requirements. I'll try to do this in a non-intrusive way.
I don't have a scanner. I'm using a photo camera to take images, then I'm using software to attempt to correct the lighting. It's impossible to get the images evenly lit. My main concern is to preserve the line-art as clearly as possible, not to create an accurate digital representation of the physical image.
I welcome any constructive criticism. The aim is always to improve. If you think a particular sketch (or part of a sketch) deserves to be turned into a full-color image, please let me know.
Cities and Worlds
Something for a worldbuilder's soul. Have a look: vexorum.deviantart.com/journal… I wouldn't mind expanding this list. But oh, which places to add?
Look! aedensolus.deviantart.com/jour… Someone's giving away cheap commissions. I'd purchase one, though this month I'm all out of cash. Murphy strikes again.
I've updated the site. Music downloads and Tools are back online as well as a few other things. Have a look! vexorum.com
For a long time, I had a little webserver of my own. I used it mostly for data storage and some code/web-development experimentation. It ran a very simple web page where I posted updates about my projects and published the quality MP3s of my musical creations. This site used to be available at vexorum.com. It used to be, because the old laptop I was using to run the server has been retired with honors after many years of faithful service.
Now that I don't have a place to experiment any more, I have to rewire vexorum.com to Somewhere, so I decided to direct it here.
I'm stupid. DNS servers don't take links, they take IP addresses. So, I cannot redirect vexorum.com to here. Hmm... what do? I'll figure something out!
MP3 downloads of my music is currently not available. If you are looking to download, please let me know via a comment, note or e-mail and I will find a way to get the data to you. My creations can be listened to on youtube.
Time for a more general update. I'm doing well. I have several drawings in the works but I'm afraid none of them will be uploadable material. I have two songs in progress that could be finished soon and that I will definitely announce. Work is hard, living is expensive, days are short and spare time is scarce. Business as usual.
Is there a way to disable these Llama badges?
Update Update Update
Vexorum.com is back online, except... I'm still building it. So for now, it just directs you here. Not awesome, I know. But it's better than a 404.
Update Update Update Update
I regret Nothing!! Anyway, Vexorum.com is back up. There's still plenty that needs to be made. Like, actually allowing music downloads. But have a look, it's shiny.
If you are not in the mood for a complain-style journal, quit reading now. Or skip to the end of the Complain tag.
I see you're still there. OK then, stuff is breaking. Things break once in a while. But this week it's been pretty horrible. First and foremost, Lord fell ill. Much pain was and is involved. I've done what I could to help. Today we saw a doctor and we were referred to a hospital pretty much immediately. I obtained an appointment, hence I'm sure we've not seen the end of this misfortune. I shan't go into the details of us not having a particularly good insurance. But the choice between crippling agony and being broke isn't really a choice, now is it?
I use an external hard drive for most of our data. It can be accessed over the network and is thereby conveniently available from every machine that could be connected to our home network. (I know you can buy these machines. But I built one myself. (Because I think those premade ones are Way overpriced and I'm an engineer. Deal.)) The disc containing all our precious data (a little under 2 Terabytes of it) broke. Out of the blue, no warning, suddenly it just refused to engage. Dismayed, we were. You might ask yourselves, 'well if you're such a nerd, why didn't you have a backup?!'. Well, I did have a backup. It was a copy approximately a month old. Combined with what was saved on the working systems, not much was actually lost. I spent my weekend trying to find out why the disc broke. I was convinced that the drive itself was fine, and threw out the controller electronics in order to hook it up to my system directly. And what do you know? It worked just fine. So, a new disc controller had to be obtained in order to fix the home network data infrastructure. OK, no more nerdiness.
The building I live in has an underground parking garage. I've got my own little spottie, pretty nice. But the air and fire-alert systems are rather screwy. I've just spent about 2 hours listening to the fire alarm. It better not go off during the night! (again)
With lord somewhat incapacitated due to pain and lack of sleep due to pain, much of the around-the-house work falls to me. I've got to say, it in addition to my regular work is tiring. Respect to those out there who have no choice and no aid. (Thought I suppose a 2-player house is always going to be a bit more upkeep than a single player one.) I've got to keep on top of things and find some money somewhere for maintenance and repair. I just sincerely hope nothing else breaks. If something else breaks, please let it be something cheap/we didn't need/is still under warranty.
Brat's been getting commissioned and delivering his works in a timely fashion. I approve of this. So go look: AedenSolus. It's got me wondering if maybe there's something I could do to obtain some credits in exchange for creativity. Given my skill set, it seemed unlikely yet I'd be happy to be proven wrong. I thought of something else!
I've been working on a game called Project Far. It's a space-based tycoon-style game in which players must organize and expand their fleet to gain resources, achieve specific goals and complete missions. It's been under development for well over a year now and it's still looking pretty promising. I intend to publish it for free in a kind of as-is open-source package. But not until it's good and damn ready.
The game will need a lot of content; names of ships, classes of ships, stars, planets, but also graphics; 3D models of the aforementioned. How about, in a kickstarter-style fashion, I sell naming rights? Or the guarantee that when the game is released, it'll have your home-made 3D model in it? Hmm, just let me know if anyone has any interest in that. I shan't be writing a page of details if no one cares.
I need a holiday. Just one more month and I'll get some time off. Hang in there, me. I can do it!