Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Scholar's Mortarboard

Scholar's Mortarboard

This is the last of the big batch I made ready for building a while back (ignoring the Dark Knight helm, which I'm saving for the big Cecil release). Getting to the point where I can count the remaining AF hats on one hand. Of course, I left the most tedious for last, so we'll see how long it takes to get them all done.

Anyway, this is likely the last release for the next two weeks or so. It's crunch time for the first round of exams this semester, so I need to worry about the usual two pages of written material a week, plus a whole stack of "journal entries" for 19th Century philo, and a chapter test in Japanese. Next week I'll get the prompts for my first paper in Ancient. Did this whole build while listening to Thus Spoke Zarathustra on audiobook so I could multitask and prepare for those journal entries I should've been doing for the last month.

I've also been thinking I need to adopt a more regular schedule, so I can afford myself time and discipline to get in shape and maintain other interests. Thinking about aiming for one release a week. That seems like a lot for most people, but I like to sprinkle miniature gimmick release in with my big stuff, so it's not too bad. This also allows me to work on the big stuff in a more focused manner.

I'll let you know what I settle on. If I can find some time to build (potentially listening to another audiobook in preparation for another paper), Fargo will be the next release. Then I can finally get down to work on Cecil.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kingdom Hearts Moogle

Kingdom Hearts Moogle

So, this is my first adventure into Kingdom Hearts territory (not that I chose something iconic from that particular series), and I don't think I'm very fond of these models. They're needlessly high in the polycount, and as we all know, I'm completely useless when it comes to fixing up models in that respect.

All the same, the build went faster than I expected, mainly because I utilized the "stacked rings" method for the small parts in the limbs. The original model was built a lot like the old FFVII models in that it was composed of floating parts only held together by an invisible skeleton. Rather than forcibly attach the arms and legs, locking him into a single pose, I thought I'd play it lazy and leave them loose. This way you can punch holes yourself and pose him however you like.

Anyway, I've got some vague plans for what to do with Kingdom Hearts in the future, but I assure you, they won't be what the public wants most out of those games.

Work continues on...lots of things. Scholar's Mortarboard or Fargo up next, not entirely sure yet. I've got the Dark Knight version of Cecil printed, but my printer ran dry again during the Paladin print. I'm distressingly destitute at the moment, so it'll be a bit before I can get more ink.

My brithday's coming up, you could always donate to speed up the process~

Expect another release some time this week...maybe.

Oh right, almost forgot to mention. Apparently this is my 101st post. That seems like...iuno, something? Important? Worth noting, kind of.
Whatever, I'll get back to work.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Puppetry Taj

Puppetry Taj

Got this knocked out early so I can actually worry about my school work tomorrow. Just whittling away at the full list of AF helms. I've got two more printed and ready, hopefully get them built soon.

In other news: I had a look through the Chrono Cross stuff again after making the Lynx post. I think after Fargo, I'll get to work on Serge. I think I'm going to try to make it a double release and package the Lynx-possessed Dark Serge alongside. Beyond that, I'm not really sure what I want to do. I've got a few of my own favorite characters (actually the list of my favorites is about half the recruitable characters), but I'm open to suggestion. Eventually I'd like to do them all (Pip is gonna be a big ol' release...)

Anyway, I've got some homework to do. Enjoy your hat.



First of the next two Chrono Cross models, the second (possibly later this afternoon) being Fargo. Did the entire build on Usteam. Apologies though, as I only realized after finishing everything that my Line In has been muted for the last several days, which means all the music and audio for the last several videos (Lynx build, Shinra Copter build, and Cecil layout) have all been silent. I was under the impression you were hearing all kinds of stuff. Oh well~

As a result, if you go back and watch the Lynx build, it may be important to note that I was watching standup comedy for almost the entire thing. Just thought I'd let you know what the inexplicable, hysterical laughter was about. I thought I was sharing Louis CK's hilariously dark humor with you, but apparently not. I'll make sure that's fixed for any future videos. And yes, I was eating orange juice concentrate. I do that...

Anyway, it occurred to me while building this, that I think the Chrono Cross models are my favorites. The meshes are low poly enough to keep the part count low, but high enough to be able to build them without folding; the textures are gorgeous; and the models are detailed enough that I get plenty of chances to play with fun little innovations. I'll try to keep more of them on my project list at a time.

If you read through the instructions on release all the way to the end, you'll know that I always try to have some plot-related joke at the end, along with a finished photo to end the guide. I was pretty amused with what I came up with for Lynx's last page, thought I'd post it here, in case you usually glance over.

That's all for now. I'll probably get started on something a bit easier after I clean up the apartment. Expect something released tomorrow.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shinra Helictoper

Shinra Helicopter

Another Crisis Core mini-release, akin to Genesis' Sword. If you've checked the project list recently, you'll know that this is only the first part of a larger plan to build a more detailed version of the same chopper. This is just one that someone with only a few hours to kill would want to build, not a full blown weekend project like the more detailed iteration will be.

Also posted this in the MediaFire folder and on DeviantArt a little while back. I mentioned the link in the shoutbox, but in case you missed it:

Anyway, I've been getting plenty of layouts ready for build over the last few days (it's all been Ustream'd, so you can go back and skim through it if you like, or watch me as it happens next time), and this is the first of the stack to get tackled. I've also got the Kingdom Hearts Moogle in there, as well as Fargo and Lynx from Chrono Cross, and three more FFXI artifact helmets (Puppet Master, Scholar, and Dark Knight). I also finished the layout for Cecil's Dark Knight incarnation this morning (actually yesterday morning/early afternoon, as it's now about twoish in the "am"). I plan to build the stack over the next week, but even if I get them all done, I'm going to save the Dark Knight helmet for when I finish both Cecils and package them as one big release.

So in the meantime, stay tuned. It looks to be a good week of releases.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Video 9: Tips and Tricks

This one's just a delivery on a few requests for demonstrations of some basic design stuff. I expected it to be fairly quick, but the video ended up being about an hour and a half. It covers scratch posing without bones, posing with bones, "cutting" material out in the digital portion so you don't have to while building, and finally some basic ideas when texture editing.

Started recording the video, got through all the posing stuff, but then everything started to freeze up after about 45 minutes. Decided to keep what I had and start with a second recording, which worked pretty nicely, as closing Audacity and Camtasia flushed out the memory and whatnot. Then I finished up the video, started watching it in Movie Maker to do the basic editing, and realized that I forgot about tex editing. So I just tacked on a third portion as well. It's really a poor execution, but it does the job.

A bit of warning: for the second portion, Audacity froze up right before I could save the project or export an MP3, so I had to make due with the temporary files it didn't have time to delete. Mainly there are just some volume issues. It doesn't get in the way of understanding what's going on, it just might be a bit annoying if you've got your stereo/headphones turned up when the volume starts to go wonky.

I've been wanting to do one final video, but it might be a bit before I can organize my thoughts enough to make a video and post. If I get around to it, it'll be a big post that serves as an "introduction to papercraft." We'll see.

I'd also like to get back to broadcasting my work time on There might be all of two people who actually watch it, but whatever. It's remarkable how little memory/processing power/bandwidth the whole affair consumes, so I figure why not.

Finally, in semi-related news, I've changed the layout again. I've been wanting to get it into a 3-column configuration, but it took a while to find a tutorial that actually covered all the necessary template modifications to pull it off correctly. I like it. I'll probably keep making little adjustments until it's just right.

In the mean time, all the usual platitudes, etc..

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Convention Report: Anime Fest

So, as mentioned early this morning, I attended Anime Fest today. My first adventure into this whole "convention" hullabaloo, and I must say, it was a unique experience. I have to admit, I spent the first hour or so in complete shellshock, attempting to rationalize the utterly inane things around me. Honestly? It was a lot like being tossed into ice-water and trying to swim to the bright shores of sanity. It takes some time to acclimatize.

Anyhow, once I stopped screaming every time a man in a full body, anthropomorphized fox suit and samurai outfit passed by, it wasn't an entirely unpleasant experience. We didn't do much beyond meander through the vendor's booths and explore the basic layout of the place, but we ran into a few colorful characters. I was carrying a handful of business cards in case anyone seemed interested in the few models we were toting around, and lucky for me, I caught a few eyes. The first person to exclaim "Moogle!" actually offered to set me up with a booth at the Arkansas Anime Festival in November. I'm hoping to get all the details worked out soon. If it goes according to plan, I'll be doing some kind of generic introduction to papercraft, and probably sell layouts with some of my more popular models on display (mind you, with a big ol' sign which reads: if you have a printer and an internet connection, you can get these for free, I'm just selling paper and ink. Don't want to get my ass sued).

We also met some lovely ladies in distressing disguises (intentionally scary, unlike some; fangs and fake scars and cosmetic contacts), who seemed to be fellow veteran FFXI addicts. I must say, when confronted with prosthetic teeth of that sort, and told simply "I want that hat," I was just a bit nervous. Ian later commented that, in my shoes, he would've removed the hat from his head, and immediately given it as an attempt to curry favor. The thought really didn't enter my mind at the time...

Furthermore, upon arrival, I think someone might've recognized me and given me a poke as per some long-forgotten instructions. I was terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought at the time, so if you're reading this, attractive mystery girl, my sincerest apologies for seeming completely oblivious. Managed to pick up some Dissidia Friend Cards whilst wandering as well. I can't say any of them were challenging, but if you got mine, found this site, and want a rematch, you should look into the PS3's adhoc Party.

The following is a compilation of videos taken with my cell phone, detailing some interesting events.

Me: Okay, so, Ian has opted to find the cheapest vodka he can find, unchilled, at the bar, and he's going to add, um, a Health Potion, to that, and just do a shot. And, the results should be hilarious, and interesting, especially because he's the one driving us home.
Ian: (moronic laughter)
Me: Good?
Ian: Not bad. Cheers.
Me: Salud
Ian: ...that's weird.
Me: Give it a minute, as it travels down to his stomach, and...there we go. (Laughter)
Ian: Oh God...
Me: You gonna die?
Ian: No, no, I got this. It's good.
Me: This time he's decided, uh, this about two minutes after he just downed his, uh, his Health Potion and vodka. Uhm, and he's decided he's gonna go for the Mana Potion now, with nothin' else in it, straight up, down it. He's having a hard time at the moment.
Ian: (struggling to open the bottle)
Me: I think you're already drunk.
Ian: I'm not drunk.
Me: You can't even get a little bottle open, you're drunk. You're drunk. You're gonna die.
Ian: Cheers.
Me: Oh God...
Ian: It doesn't taste bad...but it doesn't feel good.
Me: (laughter)
Ian: Eugh...I'll get back to you on that.
Me: So, now we're about uhm, two minutes after that, and Ian's startin' to feel the effects now. Yisu's fairly certain he's going to end up in jail or the hospital. I'm not really sure. All I know is uh, he's going over the ingredients list uh, with kind of, fevered interest.
Ian: I just don't know if the...
Me: He's gonne die.
Me: Uhm, I just downed Ian's freaky menthol gum, and uh, there's just sort of a generic unpleasantness in my mouth. And uhm, I'd like him to repeat something he just said to me.
Ian: My heart hurts...and my kidneys.
Me: He can actually feel his kidneys.
Ian: Yeah...
Me: It's not a good sign, so, get back to you on that...
Me: So, the menthol's, uh, kickin' in for me, and I'm finding it amazing that I can actually breathe. Uhm, meanwhile, once again I'd like Ian to repeat something he just said.
Ian: Do you want someone killed? I could...I could take someone out right now.
Me: He's ready to murder someone.
Ian: (moronic laughter)
Me: Uhm, so, you know the, the lesson learned from this is, never mix a Health Potion, a Mana Potion, and cheap vodka.
Ian: That was expensive vodka. That was eight dollars.
Me: That was expensive because we are in a hotel. My Dr. Pepper cost $3.25. That was cheap vodka. The guy at the bar, said "this is the cheapest we got, and we ain't gonna chill it." So uh, you know, murder, (cut off) it ain't good.

What you didn't see were some conversations before we got to the bar, and in between shots, about how the website for Mana Potions advises, one: you should dilute your potion in something like tea, and two: that you should not consume more than one per 24-hour period (much less two in under five minutes, with alcohol). These are the reasons he chose to make the mistakes he did. The entire drive home he made comments about how eventually I would look over to find him completely rigid, staring straight forward, foaming at the mouth. Once we got home, I think he chugged about a liter of water.

Notice the interesting warning, "Use caffeine responsbily," and the incredible percentages of your daily requirement of vitamins you're consuming. Good times with strange liquids. Also, the "menthol gum," I mention is a Japanese chewing gum called "Black Black," (pictured at the top). It's rather minty, and opens up your sinuses in incredible new ways, making all the air you breathe feel disturbingly chilled. I have to admit, the first time it was unpleasant, then I started to crave it. I'm just glad there isn't nicotine in there as well...

EDIT: I've just been informed that Black Black is also caffeinated, which explains a few why I really want to order a whole case of the stuff. o_O

Anyhow, I'll let you know how that stuff with the convention in November works out. In the meantime, I'd still like to do another video to deliver on some requests for generic tips and tricks in design work, and one last one for a while, as part of a larger post on an "introduction to papercrafting." Might be useful if I'm to host some lesson at a convention.

...typing up that transcript felt like transcribing an episode of Cops...


Oh right! Almost forgot: some time ago I promised a video of myself and some friends making fools of ourselves in public, whilst attempting to speak a language we hardly understand. Due to computer issues plaguing our brilliant director (Mr. Yellow) all summer, the video wasn't posted until just recently. Given that you've already seen one video of my foolishness today, and it happened at an anime convention, I don't think I can really make myself look any more weeaboo, so here it is:

And yes, our character names were chosen to be intentionally, hilariously racist.
(It was funnier if you were there)

Crisis Core Moogle

Crisis Core Moogle

It was brought to my attention while I was finishing the build (you may notice in the instructions that I change cutting mats a few photos from the end; I finished this at a friend's place) that I actually started the layout for this before classes ended last spring. It's been sitting around mostly done for over three months, so it was about time it got finalized. Went a lot smaller with the scale than I normally would for the following purpose:

Tomorrow (actually later today, in about...9 hours) I'll be attending Anime Fest with a few friends. The madman pictured below suggested I make something small enough to pin to my fedora so I can shamelessly advertise my wares whilst we muck about the convention. It's my first time witnessing a "con," so the experience should be interesting. If you're going (and happen to read this post between now and...9 hours from now...), you'll be able to spot me by the moogle on my hat. I'll probably be flanked by the crazy fellow, Ian, who has opted to sport my Warlock's Chapeau, and Yisu who may or may not decide to sacrifice her dignity by wearing a hat made out of paper.

Anyway, I need to get what sleep I can before I need to be up and wandering about Dallas.

...the eyes are what scare me the most...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Video 8: Dissidia Process

So, people have been clamoring for this one since before the American release of Dissidia. Here it is. Stop bothering me about it. The process is more or less identical to the Crisis Core process, the only difference being that you swap the Crisis Core model extractor for the Dissidia one. There are also some interesting details regarding files that contain multiple models (EX Mode and whatnot), as well as some guidelines on how to handle different character incarnations. I ask that if you plan to make Dissidia models, use the prescribed scales.

Anyway, here are the links promised in the video:

USB SSS 1.00

UMDGen 4.0


Mesh2RDM 1.81

The sample .BAT's line of code

mesh2rdm FILE.smd -texpre FILE - dissskip 0 -rotate -90 0 0 -scale 1.0 -smdout -flipuv

(remember that FILE should be replaced with the name of the file in particular, and that you can swap the .SMD suffix with .OBJ, but remember to also change the "-smdout" function to "-objout")

Dissidia model list

Remember, when unfolding:

If you're going to go with one of the "pre-posed" statues, don't alter the scale at any time (like in 3DS or Sketchup) and unfold in Pepakura at a scale of 1.50.

If you're using one of the unposed models and plan to pose it yourself, again, refrain from altering the scale at any time in the conversion/pose, and unfold at a scale of 0.90.

A cross-designer complete Dissidia set at the same scale would be the epitome of least in terms of Final Fantasy papercraft.

. . .

That may be one of the nerdiest things I've ever said...

Crap, I forgot, I already uploaded the Kefka fight a while back to show some people. Forgot to post it here.