I am honored to be included as an exhibitor at this year's Lightbox Expo in Pasadena California. I'll be selling copies of "The Story Of Inc" as well as fine art prints. Come by and say hi this September! Tickets go on sale today, check them out! https://lightboxexpo.com
Monday, March 9, 2020
Saturday, March 7, 2020
Here's a video tutorial discussing a technique I use to paint moss on distant buildings in photoshop. This is a fast way to make a building look abandoned and overgrown (like in your post-apocalyptic futurescape) without having to manually place a ton of photographs. Great for concept art and matte paintings for film and videogames. So check it out!
Friday, March 6, 2020
Due to the coronavirus situation in Washington, Emerald City Comicon has been postponed...
While I’m sad it's been postponed, considering the current situation, it’s the right thing to do. I’ll have a table at the ECCC event this summer when they secure a new date for the show, so will post again once we have new dates. The show will go on, just a little bit later than expected!
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
So as of now we're still a go! Visit me at the Emerald City Comicon next week where I'll be signing copies of "The Story Of Inc" and selling fine art prints! Artist Alley Table T-2 with Blur alumni Chuck Wojtkiewicz!
Saturday, February 29, 2020
The Soulburnscripts is a suite of tools for 3dsmax that I initially wrote back in 2002. A little background, I worked from 1999 - 2002 at Blur Studio in Venice California, where I helped write the Blurscripts. Once I left for Pixar in 2002, I could no longer maintain the Blurscripts for obvious legal reasons, so I wrote a whole new set of tools from scratch, and released them publicly that year, dubbed the "Soulburnscripts". I have supported and added to these free tools over the last 18 years, and I am honored that they have been used at a bunch of vfx houses, videogame companies, and by dozens of freelancers on projects too numerous to name.
Well, all good things sadly must come to an end. As many of you have read, Autodesk is going 100% rental only in May 2021, and this means that the Soulburnscripts will be discontinued at that time.
I am 100% against Rental Only software, if you want to read about my reasons, I've made a separate post here: http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/rental_only_software/rental_only_software.htm that explains in detail all the reasons rental Only software is bad, and why I will not purchase such software.
So since max 2022, which will likely be released Apr 2021, will be the last version of the software I can buy with my maintenance plan, I can no longer continue to develop or maintain the scripts after that time.
So what does that mean for you, the user of the scripts? In April 2021, I will release one last update to the scripts, compatible with 3dsmax 2022. No further update will be released. I will keep the scripts in that form on my website in perpetuity, frozen in time. The good news, scripts don't need to be recompiled, so they should work in future versions of 3dsmax. At least for awhile. It is likely that 3dsmax will eventually change the location of where the scripts need to go. Or change some maxscript calls that will cause the scripts to no longer function. If that's the case, then they are truly dead. If someone who has bought the rental only version of 3dsmax wants to modify the script pack to be compatible with later versions, and wants to distribute it for FREE on their website, be my guest. But my involvement will end April 2021.
Some people have asked why I don't just get myself on the 3dsmax beta so I can continue to get the software for free without having to get the rental only copy. That to me is not what this is about. I am taking a moral stance here. I do not want to participate in a rental only system. Just because I might be able to avoid it doesn't make it ok that other people cannot, I do not want special treatment, I want all customers to be treated fairly.
A number of people have also asked would I consider moving to new software like Blender. If I was still a kid in college, the answer would be yes. But I have a family and full time job, and as such, do not have the spare time to both learn a brand new 3d package to the same level I know 3dsmax, and no time to port over all of that code. This is a fact Autodesk is actually counting on. They know it's tough to relearn everything, and so they use that to persuade you to take the easy route and just buy in to their rental only scheme.
My plan is to use 3dsmax 2022 until I retire 20 years from now. :) Yes, it's possible that 10 years in the future my computer will give out and I will no longer be able to use my copy of max. If that's the case, then yes, I may move over to new software, since I will have no other choice. But that's a big if, and its very far away. I will say that my last copy of Photoshop was CS6, since they also moved over to rental only, and here I am 8 years later still using CS6, the latest version of the software has almost no features I would need to do my artwork. So I am hoping to have a similar experience with 3dsmax.
In closing, I would like to thank each and every one of you who has used this software, sent me bug reports, asked for new features, given me a donation, or just been a part of the 3dsmax community. I started with 3dstudio DOS and joined the community on Compuserve back in 1994-95, and have been a proud member of the 3dstudio community ever since. I have had a chance to work with or meet so many amazing people thanks to this community, from the original people who made the software, to the super users, to the next generation of 3dsmax developers and designers who picked up the mantle. A huge part of who I am today is because of our strong community, and I have been very sad these past few years watching it slowly die off. But change is inevitable, and not all change is good.
I will continue to post artwork and cg educational material (mostly 2d stuff now) for the rest of my days, so I hope you continue to follow along. Below are my various social media contacts. Let's raise a glass to the 3dsmax that we all knew and love! It's been quite a run.
Monday, February 17, 2020
Welcome to the second official Megastructure Book Project Update! For those new to the project, Megastructures will be a visual encyclopedia of scifi megastructures, everything from orbiting space habitats to solar system spanning stellar engineering projects. Each structure will include a scientific explanation, followed by paintings and diagrams that bring the concept to life.
The project is going well, with a lot of progress since we last spoke. The goal is to have all the artwork done by the end of 2020, and focusing on publishing it the following year.
In November, 43% of the artwork was completed. 3 months later, we are now at 62% done! In those 3 months, we now have finished art for the Polyhadral Habitat, the Orbital Ring, the Discworld, the Topopolis, the Space Farm and the Hoopworld. 18 structures to go!
We've also added 6 guest artists to the list, who will contribute 10 structures. Will give you a list of these artists in the coming months.
No art sneak peak this month, want to hold back the art until we get closer to the end of the project. But I'm excited to show some new work, as well as the awesome work of the guest artist contributors. Thanks for following along, we're really excited about getting this book complete!
Saturday, December 28, 2019
Just a quick note on the closing of 2019. It's been a busy year for me for sure, here's a few highlights: We moved to Seattle. I did my first full year on a new video game project at Monolith Productions (can't wait to show you some of the work, but it's gonna be awhile). I restarted the Megastructures book project and did about 20 pieces of new art. My third inktober. I sold copies of Inc the book at 2 comicons. And with the new house, I finally had enough room to buy a flat file for all of my larger pieces of artwork (I know this may sound minor, but to me, I've wanted a real flat file for the last 20 years #ArtistGoals).
Next year should actually be a little more chill, it'll be busy, but with the move over, I can focus more on the art without as much chaos going on around me. It'll be year 2 at Monolith. I am on track (with some help from friends) to complete all the artwork for the Megastructures book. My friends at V1 Interactive will ship their game "Disintegration" and I'll post some of my concept art work for the project I did in 2018. And I have at least 1 more comicon I'll be exhibiting at (hopefully 2).
A huge thank you to all the people who've been following my work, whether you've been around for the last 20 years, or just joined in. I hope you had an excellent 2019, and an even better 2020 in life and artistic endeavors. Will post a full Megastrucrtures update early next year to talk about our progress!
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
The project started back in 2015 with my first illustration based on Larry Niven's Ringworld. But I was busy finishing my first book, "The Story Of Inc", and so "Megastructures" got put on the backburner for awhile. After Inc was released in 2018, I returned to the megastructures project. 2019 was supposed to be a big year of work on the book, but life got in the way. I got a brand new full time job as a concept artist at the videogame company Monolith in Seattle, I moved to Seattle from San Francisco, we sold out old house, bought a new one, got our kid into school, etc. Picking up your life and transporting it 800 miles north is a draining experience. But I am happy to say my life and schedule has started normalizing again, so it's time to get back to the book.
The book currently contains 42 megastructures, the complete list is below...
Alderson Disk, Arcology, Artificial Sun, Bernal Sphere, Birch Planet, Bishop Ring, Ceiling City, Cloud City, Discworld, Dyson Sphere, Ecumenopolis, Floating City, Fusion Candle, Gas Giant Refinery, Geofront, Hoopworld, Interstellar Highway, Krasnikov Tube, Launch Loop, Matrioshka Brain, Megatall Skyscraper, Movable City, Nicoll-Dyson Laser, O'Neill Cylinder, Orbital Ring, Orbital Shipyard, Planetshine Reflector, Polyhedral Habitat, Ringworld, Rungworld, Shell World, Shkadov Thruster, Skyhook, Space Elevator, Space Farm, Stanford Torus, Star Lifter, Star Tram, Topopolis, Undersea Habitat, Warp Gate, Worldhouse Roof
A structure or two may be added or removed before the end, although I'm gonna try and keep it at 42 since it's the meaning of life.
On the progress front, a first draft of all of the book's text has been completed. Art wise, 43% of the artwork has been completed. That may not seem like a lot, but the art is always slower at the beginning, now that we have 3d assets and a pipeline worked out, the remaining art pieces can be completed in far less time than the initial paintings.
In total, 14 structures are completely done, 13 are in progress, and the remaining 15 will be done by friends from the film and videogame industry. Expect the same realistic style from the guest artists, in fact, I'm sure much of their artwork will kick the butt of the 27 structures I am contributing.
The plan is to have all the artwork done by Dec 2020. Then comes book layout, publishing and shipping.
As far as publishing goes, "The Story Of Inc" was self published with a kickstarter helping to pay to print 1000 copies, and we're not afraid to do the same thing with "Megastructures". However, using a publisher does have some advantages, the main one is they can potentially get the book seen by an audience that we would not be able to reach with a purely online campaign. We have a number of publishers in mind, we'll present the project, and see if going the publisher route is the right thing to do. Otherwise, we'll do crowdfunding to print copies of the book just like last time.
So that's the big story for now. I'll try and post an update every few months, give an updated % completed, show a few teasers, and eventually talk about the people who will be helping out with the book. Thanks for following along, we're really excited about getting this book done and into your waiting hands!
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Next week I'll be posting a full update on the Megastructures book project. It's not done yet, but a lot of progress has been made, so I'll be talking details on the format of the book, how much is done, and the plan for getting the rest completed in the coming year. In the meantime, enjoy this Megastructures poster, and if you want a print copy of it, they're available for purchase here:
Thanks for watching, and see you next week!