sky_hye: (003)
2013-06-02 06:34 pm
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Those wily captions

Captions have been the bane of my life. They drove me so crazy, I had to take a break and sew for a while. Perhaps this was helpful, because while I was sewing, I thought of a new way to attack them. After getting a couple garments finished, I started back on them. Before, I was attempting to hand write them into the printed manuscript under the illustrations. No room. I tried typing them into a separate document. For some reason, my brain did not let this work. There is something about reading the manuscript, then looking at pictures, then trying to write something about the pictures that simply didn't sync up.

The solution I found was to create a template in Filemaker Pro that allowed me to identify every illustration (there are hundreds) and dictate the captions with Dragon Dictate. Talking about the illustrations was easy. At first I thought I could hand the dictation off to Max and let him work out how they would be referenced in the manuscript. To make everything easy for Max, I printed the captions to display on pages opposite of the manuscript pages with the illustrations -- In other words, every page of the manuscript. With everything all nicely organized, I sat down and looked at my handy work, and realized that I was the best judge for modifying the manuscript. I found it quite easy, although time consuming, to insert changes and improvements, move a few things around, and polish the caption writing. Page by page, I worked through the manuscript until finishing it a few minutes ago. Well, okay, there are a few more pages in the extras sections, but their illustrations are not settled yet. They should not be too much trouble when I am ready to get to them.

With captions and manuscript more resolved than ever, I can now establish and standardize the presentation of the manual. That is what I will dive into the next time I sit down to work. The change will be welcome.

Orthodontic update:
I am still in braces. It's been over three years. There are an unknown number of months to go, yet. The psychological misery around braces subsided when I totally gave up on attempting to speak or grin for long periods at once. I also figured out that I have a sensitivity to the latex in the elastics that must be used. They caused horrible painful raw welts in my cheeks and inflamed my gums wherever they touched. Once I figured this out, I was switched to plastic elastics, which was a big relief. Right now, I am dealing with a hideous sharp bracket that was placed on the tongue side of a tooth last month. It rips at my tongue as I eat. I can't wrap this story up with a string and a bow yet. I'm sure new horrors await, but I agreed to this project and I accept whatever consequences it brings.

So, in case any of my former students still read this journal, I want to assure you that the dvd project is happening. I am making progress as fast as I can, and I cannot do public things around it for a while. I still hope to see it finished this year, but it is starting to look more like not until next year. I can't stop now. It will be finished.

sky_hye: (004)
2013-03-07 12:18 pm
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Ugh. Captions. This is one of the parts of the manual that I do not enjoy working on.
It all has to do with my first urge... That is, to explain what I see with, "Just look -- It's self evident!"
Nope, it never is. Teaching. It's not soaring. It's not free, joyous, grand, like painting is.

All of this said, I must report that I had a former student drop by this week to show her what I have been up to for so long, and she was blown away. I think it was one of those too much to take in experiences for her. From the characters and parts all customized and made from scratch, to the concepts behind the whole plan, and the manual underway, she was hugely impressed. That's good.

Now to get this sucker done with.


sky_hye: (007)
2012-09-15 05:39 pm
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So much time has passed since I last posted. Perhaps this is because I entered a phase in the project that was equivalent to crossing a vast, featureless landscape. Anything I could report would replicate any previous or subsequent report. I deplore monotony, so I've had no desire to subject my readers to it.

Every day, I get up, get breakfast, feed kitties, then sit before the computer and force myself to do something, anything, on the project. This usually entails finding and fixing weak writing, discovering an animation requiring tweaks, fixing animation, followed by adjusting the writing, sending drafts to Max for review and changes, re-recording and placing new voiceovers to reflect changes, having Max watch and listen for inconsistencies and weaknesses, making corrections, re-reading script to find weak writing, and then it starts all over again. Boring, but required.

Over the last month, I've been developing the manual. I must say, it looks quite good. Everything looks good. When people finally see this, I think they will be very impressed... possibly blown away -- drinking from a fire hose blown away.

This work is so grueling, I am extremely vulverable to distractions, and the easiest distractions are from garment design and sewing. I posted a mohair coat concept some time ago... That coat is still not made. I had to think carefully about additional notions, part details, and such, to make it. I finally found all of the parts, so when I am ready to finalize the design, I will be able to go straight to work on construction.

Meanwhile, I have been sewing many of my new designs. I made a vest, three shirts, knit tops, pants, some scarves. Everything fits just right. I'm also working on the "lecture jacket" design. Soon, I'll make a 1/4 scale model of it, so I can examine its overall proportions. Once everything is right, I'll make a muslin mockup in full scale to see what details need to be adjusted. Then I'll make the jacket.

Finally, I have decided to stop resisting the urge to embroider. I have never embroidered, but it seems so closely related to drawing and painting, I expect it to be an easy hobby to take up. I love how embroidery transforms garments into something covet-worthy. I want to design my own image icons, but I suspect I will incorporate some traditional imagery with it. I don't know anything about embroidery yet, but two books are on the way as I write -- after a little study, I'll be able to verbalize this better.
sky_hye: (008)
2011-12-15 04:59 pm
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On the way

Those three nasty paragraphs and the other parts of the closing section are roughly in place, but require greater finesse. It's time for fresh eyes, so I am passing the job to Max.

Man! I can't believe it... there is very little left to deal with. Any new animation I might need, if any, will be trivial. It seems like I could run out of stuff to do, unless I start final voice over. I think I'll go ahead and start VO next week, braces notwithstanding. The most fun part of the project will be synchronizing all of the sound to the animations and VO. I played with that early on, just to see if the concept was coming together. It was thrilling to see how music and sound effects could exponentially enhance interest with a dry topic. In fact, I found that music and sound effects could mask weak writing and graphics. I did not want fluffy content, so I removed music and sound effects while I worked, so I could develop the VO and animation without deluding myself. In fact, I strived to make the script understandable without any graphical support at all. Naturally, the subject is about making pictures, so to fully understand the content, graphics are required. And on the flip side, I made the animations so clear, no words are needed.

On the garment design front, I'm tweaking my personal sloper with test muslins to get the best possible fit. For whatever reason, just inserting my measurements does not provide a perfect result. The sloper is almost done, so I can proceed with real projects soon. I have settled on the design for my "authority jacket" in the video footage. It is sort of a cross between an executive chef jacket and 18th-19th century men's frock coat in dark blue. Hopefully, it'll give a smooth and flattering look to keep eyes on my face. I might also make a nice smock-like blouse to wear without the jacket. Something simple and artistic, again, non-distracting. Not sure about the pants, yet.

This clip is from a segment in my dvd about line quality on the external contours. Line quality is controlled in part by the slope at volume edges.

sky_hye: (009)
2011-12-08 11:52 pm
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How could such a simple thing be so difficult?

I wish I could report great progress since my last post, but for some reason, three stupid paragraphs have me completely stymied. They transition into the encore section of the dvd. They highlight a new topic/step that follows measuring. They explain how this topic is distinct from measuring. They tease that measuring is a mere tidbit in a full course of study. One of these days I will finalize this [under 2 minute] speech. What a relief that will be. Meanwhile, I breezed through several entirely new and illuminating animations that support the encore section. It is an important ending. It must be right. I only wish I could be a better writer.

It does seem like I am on the home stretch with my braces. My bite is getting closer and closer. Perhaps I will be done in a month.
sky_hye: (012)
2011-06-27 02:57 pm
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Whoa! A big chunk is done!

I am crushed under the weight of this mega-project, but progress is being made.
The major work is over! I finished the primary graphics with animations over the weekend. Yes, there will be modifications, but only in minor places.

The script is all but final. I am scouring through it now, matching the flow to the newly placed graphics, which look great, by the way. When that gets all neatened up, I will make the final voice-over. That could start in the next few days. My script/voiceover calculator tells me that there are just under two hours of voice over to record. Additional graphics and sound will stretch the dvd out to a little more than 2 hours. Recording the voice over may take a few days.

With final voice over, I will synchronize all of the sound to the graphics and animations. I imagine that will take a few weeks, perhaps a month. Once that's done, I can develop footage for the talking head scenes. I'll probably be out of braces by then. Also, I think I will sew my own outfit for the talking head scenes. That way, I can look snazzy for a low price.

I can't stand how long this is taking, but if I keep going, I'll finish!

sky_hye: (013)
2011-02-22 03:54 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

This is to illustrate how one might imagine the nose as transparent like glass,
so the location of the eye corner can be estimated.

The portrait section continues to be very painful to work on. Very nit-picky! Sometimes all I can do to sit in front of it and wait for inspiration to strike. I do something every day, even if it is just plain bland. Eventually I will be past this. All downhill from there. No doubt about that!

sky_hye: (014)
2011-01-16 04:36 pm
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Agonizing segment in dvd

I've reached the most difficult part of the dvd. I didn't know it would be difficult until I started it. It's the section about capturing and marking the features of the face. Getting this right is likely key to its salability. This section is full of animations that jump between the model and drawing. In action, it takes seconds to set up the face, but it's taking weeks to piece together for this dvd. I'm suffering excruciating resistance to it. Earlier this week, I found a distraction to obsess about – a sewing project. The last thing I need is to sit at a sewing machine, but I found some extremely cool designer coating that I had to have, so I ordered it. Now I'm designing the coat. I promised myself it will sew up quickly, and besides, I deserve a little recreation. Nevertheless, this dvd needs to finish, so I can get my life back.

My teeth finally mesh enough to chew more foods. I still can't manage thin stuff like lettuce, but I can process most foods at a normal speed. No more 1 1/2 hour dinner ordeals. I was able to visit with Max's relatives without fear of having a meltdown over inedible foods this Christmas, so that's progress. I haven't been doing anything social for over a year. Even at this point, social contact remains less than ideal, as I don't like complaining about the hideous contraptions in my mouth. I don't mind being seen with braces, but the pain and the several infections they caused so far end up as subject matter when I'm explaining why I haven't been around. People are wondering if I don't like them, because I've been avoiding them. So uncomfortable.

I wonder what life will be like when this dvd is done and my braces are off? It's hard to imagine.

sky_hye: (001)
2010-12-08 11:46 pm

A sample from the current timeline

I'm working hard over here. This is a tidbit from this week's timeline:

As with previous tidbits, this is all rough placed and subject to lots of revision. The voiceover is placeholder quality, only.

sky_hye: (002)
2010-11-23 12:54 pm

Animating is like being in jail

I've been adjusting to my new computer with new software, finding various bugs and issues. Although a slow process, I find rendering is fast, so once everything is ironed out, things will move along smoothly and quickly. However, I can see my finish date has moved out to at least summer 2011.

I created an animation of 1000 frames which turns around a close-up of my artist model. The model is made of a head from one character atop the body of another. An unavoidable seam forms between the two. I'm currently in the process of blurring the seams in all 1000 frames, which is tedious. On top of that, the result is not attractive. Since each seam must be blurred individually by hand, small differences are detectable across frames, making the animation jumpy around the neck. Yesterday, thinking the seam was caused by a surface orientation difference, I made a smoothing bridge between the head and the neck. First, I built the bridge in Silo, then I textured it with Photoshop's 3-D texturing module. It looked great attached to the neck in the Poser 8 scene, but when I rendered it, there was a clear abrupt seam on both edges. It would double the work to repair, so I lost an entire day of work in the name of saving time.

Here's a picture of the seam and repair on my digital model's neck.

sky_hye: (003)
2010-10-25 04:44 pm

Slow going for some time to come

I'm very slowly examining my newly installed software. The first thing I see is that several of my final cut files are incompatible with the new version, so it appears I must rebuild certain things from scratch. Perhaps that was going to happen anyway, as I am now in a position to replace much of the rough placed material with final quality stuff.

I mentioned how excited I was that Second Life is about to introduce mesh import. Unfortunately, however, I won't be able to play with any of that for the time being -- the beta viewer for mesh crashes every time I start it up.

sky_hye: (005)
2010-10-17 02:52 pm

Dizzying array of new things to use

As I wait to work again, I've been previewing an incredible list of new capabilities my next machine will allow. I'll finally have an up-to-date Adobe Creative Suite, and the latest Final Cut Studio. My current Photoshop is pre-3D texturing capable. I'll be able to import obj files, then paint, apply image textures or bake-on lighting right in Photoshop. This will save all kinds of time. There is also an insane new command in Photoshop that can read surrounding image content, make astute calculations, then fill a selection with data to make seamless repairs. Illustrator's new drawing tools are very slick. And InDesign now includes mind blowing built-in animation and interactive features that scream to be played with. Final Cut Studio will finally have certain basic features I needed since starting my project, and I'm sure other features I haven't thought of will find their way into my animations, too.

On top of that, Second Life has finally developed a way to import mesh objects, including the ability to replace our avatar meshes. This is incredibly exciting. Mesh import is still in Beta, but my friend Transparent and I have been checking everything out, and it looks good. I can't experience it for myself yet, as my poor bumbling computer lacks the right architecture. Some day soon (I hope) I will be able to test mesh import. As yet, there is no information about how to replace one's avatar that I can find, although it may be in the forum -- another thing I am blocked from using. With any luck, I'll get to celebrate Halloween in Second Life -- but if I miss that deadline, it doesn't matter, because every day is Halloween in Second Life! :D

Update: I found something about rigging a mesh

Meanwhile, on the orthodontic front, my teeth continue to drift into place. Although I still can't chew, it's getting close. One of these days...

sky_hye: (008)
2010-09-14 12:41 am
Entry tags:

Low point

I just wrote a nice long post and then clicked a link from the editing page, came back, and my post was gone. <poof>
Too much work to write it again.
It was more of the same from the last post.
I may do some home remodeling for a week or two. Not sure.
Finishing the dvd by late spring 2011 is beginning to look iffy.

sky_hye: (009)
2010-09-04 05:30 pm
Entry tags:

Nuttn' much

I was making big strides forward for a few months, but it's been a rather frustrating time since my last post -- best described as a two-steps-backward sort of time.

Mainly, it's two things.

I'm still unable to order that new computer. There is no news on the extra features, yet to come out, even though one of these is promised for September. Hello! It's September now!

The other thing is, my bite has been getting progressively worse for the last two months. Things drifted after my teeth meshed for the first time in years. The mesh lasted only about a week. I explained this to my orthodontist during my last adjustment, but whatever he did, it did not reverse this maddening drift. Chewing is just not possible. I am so sick of this.

On the bright side, as long as nothing else goes wrong, my bite will eventually improve and the new computer will someday arrive. Meanwhile, I am rewriting the script, and then rewriting that. It's not busy work. It had to be done no matter what, so I may as well do it now, while I wait for the new computer.

sky_hye: (010)
2010-08-22 03:44 pm

This and that

Things are settled down again, since Max's return. One of his sailing friends wrote up an interview, found here.

I've been working, of course. That's as it should be. Getting the new computer is delayed until some accessories for it come out next month. I also need to know more about the new version of final cut pro, coming out soon, before I can determine how much computing power I can actually use. No need to buy the most expensive machine, if the software can't use the power.

I've been rewriting the script in the head and portrait segment of the dvd. To better compose the wording, I created the visuals for it over the past week. I'm liking the results. Here are a few images from the process...

I can't seem to embed images from flickr at this time, so I am using links for now:
It was fun building this simple wrap with elastic top and draping it to the model. The wrap was built in Silo and the draping was achieved in Poser 7's Cloth Room.

I built construction line models in Silo and placed them in Poser, attaching them to the model. Shown here is the external contour center line of the face. The model is a morph I created in Silo from the Poser character, Sydney.

In this image: Using the Sketch render feature in Poser 7, I attempted to give an egg volume any amount of transparency to reveal the center line inside, but doing so created a bizarre artifact within -- that imagery inside the egg on the right is the figures and objects in the scene whose visibilities were turned off! Their orientation did not reflect their positions in the scene, either. No tinkering resolved the bug, but the resulting renders were fascinating! The left egg has 0% transparency.

sky_hye: (012)
2010-07-27 11:10 pm
Entry tags:

dvd progress

Things are chugging along over here. I'm about a day away from completing a major portion of my how to measure the posing model segment. Once finished with that, I will start on the how to add a head section: with the face so complex and head so symmetrical, special treatments need mentioning there. That will lead to a further bump up in detail -- how to measure for portraiture. One last part will suggest approaches to final contour. The last topic will cover learning to measure without any device. It seems like things are still on schedule.

I just got news that the computer I was waiting for will be available to ship in August, which is better than September. After I get the new system together, I will finally be able to make this project behave. It is possible that my first rough placement of the timeline will be complete just before the new system arrives. That'll be so cool. All difficult decisions will have been tackled, leaving my mind clear to clean up and finish the project.

sky_hye: (001)
2010-07-13 08:54 pm

Max and me

Um, it's a little disconcerting, regarding Max. A few days ago, he told me he cut his foot on something and was concerned about keeping it dry during the sail home. He'll be sailing back singlehanded, just like the race. Then two days ago, he called again to say the cut became infected. He saw the doctor and received antibiotics. Now he's hoping everything is under control for the trip home, starting tomorrow, even though it's not actually all better yet. A group will depart tomorrow (Wednesday) and they will track their progress in the forum. When I expressed concern about his infected foot on the phone today, he scoffed at me. Then he admitted it was worth concern. He sounded strange. I can't figure out why he seems so remote. He wasn't remote at all before.

Meanwhile, my project progresses. My pal, Thohi is contributing a musical composition for the opening section, and oh boy, it's sounding great!

And one other nice piece of news... My dear kitty, Aaron, was not well for the longest time after we brought him home as a 7 month old kitten. I'm not sure what made him most unwell -- having feline Corona virus, Giardia, or later, a tapeworm, but he simply wasn't able to handle food well. He was plagued with diarrhea over the last year. Very little food sat well with him. Slowly, one at a time, we took care of each issue. Wonderful Aaron is finally well. He is sooooo happy! It makes _me_ happy to see him relaxed and happy and eating a variety of foods without problems.

sky_hye: (005)
2010-07-04 01:24 pm


Max's race must be grueling. Judging from the position report today, he has another day, maybe two, before reaching Kauai. Any stories he might have, if any, haven't been conveyed to the Status Reports, but from what the other guys submitted so far, it's been a bear of a crossing. Max isn't much for words. I may never get a full report of his adventure. I wish the guys would provide streaming video during the first meet-up under the tree on the beach. What stories there will be!

I've been in a race of my own. Yah, it's the dvd project -- what else would it be? Ever since I developed a sense of how long it would take to finish, I've been straining to stay on schedule. Waiting-for-the-next-computer dogs me as I hustle to complete the first rough placement of the timeline. I just finished a major sequence, which was a huge relief, so hoping for good news, I checked how much more there would be...

Ugh. If I am to believe my calculation, I am only two thirds of the way through! I thought it would be much better news. I don't want to believe it. Things have moved forward at a fast clip over the last couple months, so perhaps the final stretch will not be time consuming. In fairness to myself, when I give this a hard look, I gave myself tons of padding for the final pass. I guess I am still on schedule. I just wish it was over. Maybe I'll have a huge lobster dinner when I finish, just like those lucky Transpac sailors!

sky_hye: (007)
2010-06-13 05:24 pm
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Dang the heat

We're having our first heat wave of the year. I have air conditioning for my computer room, but I detest the sound of its fan. When the room is warm like today, the computer gets hot within only a couple of minutes when I work in Motion. I may decide to work on remodeling jobs around the house during these heat waves. I hate the delay, but I hate the sound of my air conditioner even more.
sky_hye: (008)
2010-06-08 11:58 pm
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Good progress

I've been obsessively working on the video. I can't focus on anything else. The part I've been working on revolves around my special technique for accurate measuring. Tonight, I finished rough placing the fourth out of seven total sequences in this section. Looking back, the worst is over. Oh, sure, there will be little sticking points coming up, but most of the work is done. After I finish rough placing all seven sequences, I will move on to portrait measuring, which has special issues. After that, comes a section about accuracy without measuring devices. Saying what's coming suddenly sounds daunting, but it's easy to reassure myself, now that so much is developed. Based on the current pace, I may have all sequences rough placed in late July or early August.

I've been fantasizing about life after this godforsaken project is done! I see light at the end of the tunnel!