Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Painting: Misty Mountain


The inspiration for this piece came from the lighting I saw driving into work one morning. The sky was dark with rainclouds, but the sun was pouring through the clouds behind this one hill near the Berkeley / Oakland border. Rather than doing a normal study, I decided to use the ambiance for a more imaginative piece. All painted in Photoshop.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

NeilBlevins.com Is Updated Dec 2nd 2009

Added two new interviews, Camminando Scalzi…Walking Barefoot Neil Blevins Interview and CgAdvertising.com Neil Blevins Interview.

Added a bunch of new artwork, many of which made their debut on this blog: 3 Sketches called "Finbot", "Flat City" and "Nautillusbot", some rough environment paintings called "Alien Forest", "Deadlands", "Twin Peaks III" and "Mountainside Base", a rough scene painting "The Gathering III", and two studies called "Marin Sunset" and "Marin Sunset II". I have some other new more finished pieces ready for release, I just need to get final permissions from the clients, they'll probably get added early next year.

Visit http://www.neilblevins.com to see the new work.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

SoulburnScripts Updated Dec 2nd 2009

Max script update:

Created one new script:

uVAreaDisplayer: Prints the area of the currently selected UV faces.

Updated one older script:

uVFlattener: Cleaned up some code. Fixed an issue that would happen when trying to flatten a uvwunwrap that spans multiple objects. Thanks to Titov Mykhaylo for the code.

http://www.neilblevins.com/soulburnscripts/soulburnscripts.htm

Thanks to everyone for your support.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated Nov 20th 2009

The Soulburn CG Education Page has been updated:

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/cg_education.htm


* Added a new tutorial called Fractal Noise.

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Study: Marin Sunset II

Based on a sunset I saw coming home the other day...

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Speed Painting: Twin Peaks 3 Color Sketch



A quick color sketch based on a sunset I saw driving home from work.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated Oct 18th 2009

The Soulburn CG Education Page has been updated:

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/cg_education.htm


* Added a new lesson, Glows That Look Really Hot.
* Added mentalray examples to my Chrome Material Tutorial.

Monday, October 12, 2009

SoulburnScripts Updated Oct 12th 2009

Max script update:

Created one new script:

uVTransfer: Transfers uvs from one object to the next. Useful if you have two identical meshes, but their vertex order is messed up (like perhaps in the situation where you exported the object to a seperate application for uving and that application messed up the vertex order.) This script can transfer the uvs from the new object to your original object in max, even if the order is different. This script may still be a little rough, so make sure to save your scene before you use it, and if you find any models it doesn't work on, let me know so I can try and fix it.

Updated several older scripts, here's the major updates:

imagePlaneMaker: Fixed a bug that shows up if you have max set to use Real World Scale by default.
mirrorObjectAlongAxis: There is a maxscript bug where using the maxOps.CloneNodes function (which this script does) causes not only the objects to be instanced, but their transform controller as well, but only if you're cloning a hierarchy. So if you have say a sphere linked to a dummy, and run the script, then move your sphere, the second sphere will move as well. Hopefully autodesk will fix this bug in a new release, but until then, I added the "Uninstance Transform Controllers?" checkbox. This will uninstance the transform controllers. However, this workaround has the side effect that if you actually meant to have the controllers instanced, it will uninstance them, since the script can't tell whether you meant to have them instanced, or whether they were just instanced due to the maxscript bug.

http://www.neilblevins.com/soulburnscripts/soulburnscripts.htm

Thanks to everyone for your support.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

SoulburnScripts Updated Oct 3rd 2009

Max script update:

Updated several older scripts, here's the major updates:

nameManager: Added ability to rename bitmaps themselves inside bitmap maps.
getMatFromSelectedObject: Added error handling for if you don't have any object selected.
materialMover: Fixed a bug found by a user that stopped the script from using the mentalray preset.

http://www.neilblevins.com/soulburnscripts/soulburnscripts.htm

Thanks to everyone for your support.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated Sept 21st 2009

The Soulburn CG Education Page has been updated:

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/cg_education.htm


* Added a new version of my Mudbox to Max tutorial called Converting A Mudbox 2010 Model To 3DSMax. I'll keep the 2009 one around as well for people who haven't upgraded. Also note, this tutorial still uses obj as the primary way to move the model back and forth. At some point in the near future, I'll modify the tutorial to use fbx, which will let you skip 2 or 3 minor steps. But in the meantime, this newer tutorial should give you results that look great and it covers a few changes that have occurred in Mudbox 2010.

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Image: Marin Sunset + Other Speed Paintings


This started off as a speed painting, ended up finishing it off to be more of a matte painting (total of 4 hours of painting over a few days).

A few words on the technique. This is based on a photograph my wife took, I decided to paint this all by hand rather than doing some sort of photomanip (it's good practice), using the photo simply as reference. The only photo used in the actual painting are the two photoshop tree brushes, which I created by taking real photos of 2 trees against the sky, making them greyscale, and then contrasting the heck out of them. 99% of the image is the three brushes below.


May I say that painting clouds is both fun and incredibly frustrating. But I'm happy to get the practice in.

And here's some other recent speed paintings...



Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated Sept 8th 2009

The Soulburn CG Education Page has been updated:

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/cg_education.htm


* Added a new lesson called Procedural Noise.
* Someone has been kind enough to figure out a way to replicate the Blended Box Map technique inside maya (using mentalray). Go here for the youtube video, and click on "More Info" to get a script that creates the shader network for you.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

SoulburnScripts Updated Sept 6th 2009

Max script update:

Updated several older scripts, here's the major updates:

modifierUtilities: Added Select with Mod by Name Mode.
makeObjectsUnique: Fixed an issue that caused objects that are instanced with modifiers to not be made unique. Unfortunately the fix only works for max 2008 and above.
surfaceSnapper: Bug Fix: If your object is scaled, it now keeps the proper scale.
attachSelectedObjects: Now uses a divide and conquer algorithm to attach objects that my friend Zeboxx suggested which can cause the script to attach lots of objects much quicker.

http://www.neilblevins.com/soulburnscripts/soulburnscripts.htm

Thanks to everyone for your support.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

NeilBlevins.com Is Updated Sept 5th 2009

Added a whole ton of new artwork. Visit http://www.neilblevins.com to see the new work, or just scroll down below. Most are rough images, many of them have early sketches and some color sketches too. So if you think you see the same thumbnail twice, click to see the full image and you'll get a chance to see some of the images as they developed from sketch to color sketch to final rough painting.























Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Some new artwork

This image started out as a simple sphere in the mist. As I continued to work on it, my results kept deviating from my original idea. Finally, I let go of my original idea and finished the piece the way it needed to be finished.



But I still dug the original vision, so I went back to square one and finished this quick speed painting, which captures what I wanted originally.

Monday, July 6, 2009

NeilBlevins.com Is Updated July 3rd 2009

Added a bunch of new artwork to the art gallery. Added the "Mortuary Robot" model, which is the robot I created for my newly released Gnomon DVD. Added a new speed painting called "Golem". Added 4 Silhouette sketches called "Octobot 2 Silhouette", "Watcher Silhouette", "Hangman Silhouette", and "Alchemy Test A Silhouette". Added 5 Color Abstract tests. Added a shader test called "Alien Craters". Finally added two new robot sketches, "Mortuary Robot Sketch" and "Old Angel Robot Sketch".

Visit http://www.neilblevins.com to see the new work.

Thanks to everyone for your support!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated July 3rd 2009

My Gnomon DVD "Hard Surface Shading And Texturing" is now out.

Here's the description from the website: "In this DVD, Neil introduces his pipeline for shading and texturing hard surface models. The pipeline can be used for any highres models, such as models for photoreal fx work, animated feature films, ride films or videogame cinematics. In Part 1, he discusses reference gathering, how to make a visual details list, and common shaders. Then he outlines all of the major methods for placing patterns on your surface, their advantages and disadvantages, and ways of creating patterns, including procedurals, photo manipulation, and hand painting. He breaks up the lecture with practical demonstrations in Adobe photoshop and 3dstudio max using the Scanline, Brazil and mentalray renderers, and stresses how the theory can be applicable to your 3d application and renderer of choice. In Part 2, he uses the theory and pipeline from Part 1 to shade and texture a 2000+ object robot character and simple environment using 3ds Max, Photoshop and Brazil. With a focus on texturing thousands of objects fast and efficiently and theory that is useful in any 3d app or renderer, this intermediate level course is sure to add many new tricks to your personal arsenal."

To order, or for more information, go here.

The Soulburn CG Education Page has been updated:

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/cg_education.htm


* Added a few new details to Piles Of Rubble
* Added a few new details to Replacing Scatter With PFlow.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

SoulburnScripts Updated July 2nd 2009

Max script update:

Updated several older scripts, here's the major updates:

bitmapCollector: Rewrote part of the script to get around a max bug introduced into max 2010.
edgeDivider: Now works on multiple edges.
objectDetacher: Added a count-up in the prompt area so you see how many objects the script has detached at a given point. Cleaned up the code a bunch, and fixed a bug which caused the script to sometimes not select the correct detached objects.
soulburnScriptsLister: Rewrote part of the script to get around a max bug introduced into max 2010.

http://www.neilblevins.com/soulburnscripts/soulburnscripts.htm

Thanks to everyone for your support.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Golem Rough

The name Golem (not to be confused with the character Gollum from Lord Of The Rings) refers to an animate creature in Jewish Folklore created entirely from inanimate matter. These creatures would be created to do the bidding of their masters, large, bulky, and powerful, usually they were mindless, took orders literally, and didn't speak. This started off as a quick speed painting, ended up being a little more finished than I'd originally intended, but I dug the composition and felt it deserved a little more polish.

4 Quick Silhouettes

Been doing some quick silhouette sketches recently, here's a few examples...





Also I've been playing with an experimental sketch program called Alchemy. Very cool app for getting those happy accidents.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Some New Abstract Paintings

Been playing around with some more abstract type speed painting, they're basically just exercises in color and form. Here's some examples, I have to say they're really relaxing to make, you just turn off that literal part of the brain and deal with pure composition.




Friday, June 12, 2009

SoulburnScripts Updated June 12th 2009

Max script update:

Created one new script:

bitmapPagerManager: The Bitmap Pager controls have been removed from the preferences of Max2010. This script gives you some of that control back, especially the ability to turn it off, which may speed up renders on 64bit OS's that have lots of RAM.

A bug fix to an old script:

modifierUtilities: Fixed a bug I introduced with the last update, now favorites should be working again.

http://www.neilblevins.com/soulburnscripts/soulburnscripts.htm

Thanks to everyone for your support.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Gnomon DVD "Hard Surface Shading And Texturing" will be out July 1st 2009.

I have just completed an instructional DVD for The Gnomon Workshop called "Hard Surface Shading And Texturing". It contains over 5.5 hours of content. Here's the description from the website:

"In this 2 DVD set, Neil introduces his pipeline for shading and texturing hard surface models. The pipeline can be used for any highres models, such as models for photoreal fx work, animated feature films, ride films or videogame cinematics. In Part 1, he discusses reference gathering, how to make a visual details list, and common shaders. Then he outlines all of the major methods for placing patterns on your surface, their advantages and disadvantages, and ways of creating patterns, including procedurals, photo manipulation, and hand painting. He breaks up the lecture with practical demonstrations in Adobe photoshop and 3dstudio max using the Scanline, Brazil and mentalray renderers, and stresses how the theory can be applicable to your 3d application and renderer of choice. In Part 2, he uses the theory and pipeline from Part 1 to shade and texture a 2000+ object robot character and simple environment using 3ds Max, Photoshop and Brazil. With a focus on texturing thousands of objects fast and efficiently and theory that is useful in any 3d app or renderer, this intermediate level course is sure to add many new tricks to your personal arsenal."

The DVD should be out July 1st 2009, go here for more info, including a sneak peak at the final robot (more images to follow when the DVD is released).

The Soulburn CG Education Page has been updated:

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/cg_education.htm


* Added a new pic in my Enhancing Bumps Through Rake Lighting lesson.
* Added more pics to my Flat Metallic Surfaces lesson.

And lastly, a big thanks to everyone who came to my talks in Utrecht last week, we had a fantastic time.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

SoulburnScripts Updated June 3rd 2009

Max script update:

Created one new script:

uVFlattener: Lets you flatten a selection of UVs, or in other words aligns all selected UVs horizontally or vertically. The advantage of using this tool over the one provided in the Unwrap UVW editor is you can choose to align the UVs to the average, the min or the max.

Updated several older scripts, here's the major updates:

uVPlacer: Removed the average button, and replaced the functionality with a new script called uVFlattener.
parameterManager: Fixed a crash bug that would crash then script when trying to autodetect a list of maps. Now has a mode to modify the coordinates of maps. Redid the interface somewhat.
blendedBoxMapMaker: Removed the align option and turned it on permanently, as there's no reason not to have this on.
objectReplacer: Now the script won't crash if you are using max 2010's containers.

http://www.neilblevins.com/soulburnscripts/soulburnscripts.htm

Thanks to everyone for your support.

Monday, May 18, 2009

SoulburnScripts Updated May 18th 2009

Max script update:

I have now tested my scripts in Max2010, and everything seems compatible. So if you run into anything let me know.

Added better compatibility with Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Updated several older scripts, here's the major updates:

nameManager: Fixed a mistake in the pad value.
wireBundler: Fixed a bug where hitting the "Add Sel To Deform List" button repeatedly would keep adding the same objects. Fixed a bug where duplicate named nodes would cause the script to crash.

http://www.neilblevins.com/soulburnscripts/soulburnscripts.htm

Thanks to everyone for your support.

NeilBlevins.com Is Updated May 18th 2009

Added a bunch of new artwork to the art gallery. Added a new scene called "Hive Mind I". Added a new environment matte painting called "Twin Peaks II". Five creature, robot and environment sketches called "Crabbot Sketch", "Floater II Sketch", "Hard Back Whale Sketch", "Fat Beast Sketch" and "Rock Towers Sketch". Added a few new speed paintings called "Upstate Sunset", "Flying Wing" and "Cacodaemon". And finally a new hard surface model called "Multilegbot". Expect an update with some new robot models that I should have permission to show soon.

Visit http://www.neilblevins.com to see the new work.

Thanks to everyone for your support!

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated May 18th 2009

The Soulburn CG Education Page has been updated:

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/cg_education.htm


* First off, I updated my Chrome Material lesson with some extra info on the difference between polished, blurred and glossy reflections.
* Alexander Yergashov again has translated a number of my lessons into Russian, here's the list: A White Plane That Fades Into A White Background, Spun Pattern, Dust Material, Replacing Scatter With PFlow, Towels, Carpet Or Grass Material Using Displacement, and Offset Filter To Make Tileable Textures.
* And one last reminder that I will be in Utrecht next week giving 2 presentations for the "End User Event 2009". Can't wait to see everyone there!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated Apr 7th 2009

The Soulburn CG Education Page has been updated:

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/cg_education.htm


* I will be giving 2 presentations at this year's "End User Event 2009" May 28th-29th in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The first will be the Pixar related talk "The Sets Of Wall-E: Trash Planet" where I will discuss some of the challenges the Pixar sets team encountered making a giant world of trash. The second talk will be called "Shading And Texturing Hard Surface Models", which will be a non-Pixar talk where I show a number of techniques I use in my personal work when shading and texturing hard surface models. While 3dsmax will be my primary example platform, theory from this talk can be applied to the 3d app and renderer or your choice. For more info, please visit here.
* Also added 2 new simple Photoshop tips, Converting A Grayscale Image To Black On Transparent.
* Added Changing A Photoshop Layer's Color To A Different Color While Keeping Transparency.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated Mar 19th 2009

The Soulburn CG Education Page has been updated:

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/cg_education.htm


* Added a new lesson, Multiple UV Tiles.
* Added more info to my Pelt Mapping lesson about evening out uvs across the entire surface.
* Added a whole ton of new info to my Converting A Mudbox 2.0 Model To 3DSMax lesson, which outlines a far superior export technique.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thanks For Wondercon 2009 and Art Show

Thanks to everyone who came out and supported me at Wondercon 2009, the convention was a lot of fun (although I got a nasty throat bug while I was there that's kicking my butt right now). The posters really sold well at the show, and I got a chance to meet some awesome people, including a few artists that I grew up admiring who I caught walking the show floor.

Also thanks to everyone who came to the opening of the Periscope Cellars Science Fiction show, the event had a lot of variety with respect to the artists, and it was cool seeing some of my work on the wall for a change, instead of on the computer screen. Rumor has it this event might become a yearly thing, we'll see how it goes.

Sorry there hasn't been any new artwork lately, I've been hard at work on an instructional DVD that will hopefully be released this summer, as well as other non-art related projects, but I hope to have some time to dedicate to making new art once I'm done. Take care!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

SoulburnScripts Updated Mar 7th 2009

Max script update:

Added a new script:

thinFaceSelector: Find and selects faces that are really tall and thin. Good for finding thin faces in a complex mesh, faces that may be best to subdivide to make all your faces more square.

A bunch of bug fixes:

soulburnScriptsLister: Fixed a bug that would cause the script to crash if you hadn't selected a script for soulburnScriptsLister to run.
vertexAndEdgeConnector: Now lets you override the Pinch and Slide values as well.
blendedBoxMapMaker: Some UI wasn't turning on and off properly, now it does.
cornerEdgeToVertexMap: Fixed a bug that would cause the script to crash when working on non Editable Poly objects.
modifierUtilities: Added a new mode, "Select Objects with Material Modifier By ID"
texmapPreview: Added a way to always render the locked viewport in Max 2009.
objectDropper: You can now use multiple ground objects. Completely redid the UI.

http://www.neilblevins.com/soulburnscripts/soulburnscripts.htm

Thanks to everyone for your support.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

SoulburnScripts Updated Feb 8th 2009

Max script update:

Added a new script:

edgeDivider: Splits an Edge you select in an Editable Poly into equal parts.

A bunch of bug fixes:

soulburnScriptsLister: Fixed a bug that would cause the script to crash if you hadn't selected a script for soulburnScriptsLister to run.
alignViewportToFace: Fixed a bug that would cause a crash when the selected object had modifiers.
circleArrayMaker: Now the new objects are placed on the same layer as the original object.
blendedBoxMapMaker: Fixed a bug that would crash the script when given a blank map name.
bitmapCollector: Fixed a bug that would cause the script to crash if you choose an improper directory.
imagePlaneMaker: Fixed a bug that would crash the script when given a blank map name.

Added the following scripts to SoulburnScriptsExtras:

Turbosmooth, Shell, PolySelect, EditPoly, SimCloth, SplineMesher, ScatterUtility, Grass-o-matic, Druid

Now all of the plugins above can be run by an icon in a toolbar.

http://www.neilblevins.com/soulburnscripts/soulburnscripts.htm

Thanks to everyone for your support.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated Jan 31st 2009

The Soulburn CG Education Page has been updated:

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/cg_education.htm


* Added a bunch of new info to my Anisotropic Highlights lesson, including a better max Standard example, info on mentalray, and a warning about smoothing groups.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Art Show and Wondercon in February

I will be displaying some of my artwork at the "Science Fiction & Fantasy Art Show At Periscope Cellars" at 1410 62nd Street Suite B (@ Hollis) Emeryville, CA 94608 from Feb 2nd till Feb 27th. I will also attend the reception on Feb 6th from 6pm till 9pm if you want to drop by to say hi. A number of other artists will also have work in the show, including Brenoch Adams, Robert Hunt, J.B. Lowe, Deth P Sun and more. Go here for more information.

I will also be selling my prints and posters again at this year's Wondercon in San Francisco from February 27th till March 1st. Go here for more info.