Category Archives: Random Failures

Stuggles with Unity

Whoa it’s been like 3 months since my last entry! My bad. To be fair, I did have some gungey nose surgery that I was told would heal in a few days…and actually took close to a month for me to be normal. I mean, everything that was sweet suddenly smelt like rotting flesh, and everything stinky smelt like rotten flesh. I guess I had no nose sensors for a bit. I couldn’t even work out for a month…which was fun. I didn’t feel bad about it, sort of saw it as a vacation.

Anyways, I’ve been taking courses on Unity again in between dealing with my wife being on mat leave and spending all the money on nesting. More about that on our podcast if you’re interested.

I was having weird issues with Unity. Because I have a pro license for the old 3.5.7 version most of the fancy tutorials I find are for the new version so help is a little bit harder to come by. Seeing as the new version is free though, I may as well upgrade.

I was making a test level where I just generated a terrain map with some trees, and threw in some free T-posed minions .obj’s that I found and shot them. They lit on fire then flew to the sky. I couldn’t get the Android SDK working quite right so no apk for posting. Only this picture

minion

I Suck at Nurturing Hardrives / My Review of BackBlaze

I haven’t posted in a bit…that means I got a job right!?

Well, I did get some freelance work with a Toronto studio but now that’s wrapped up.

Actually what happened was my hard drive went and died, and I had to do a massive restore. Luckily I am smart and keep both a local backup and an offsite backup using the service BackBlaze. It’s a good idea to have both, not just one. I know plenty of people who say it’s just fine and dandy to back up using external drives and they need not to waste time on nothing more. Well, you’re wrong, and probably homeless. What if someone breaks in and steals your machine as well as your backup drive? What if there’s a fire? What if there’s a flood? What if some rats get into your ceiling and bump some pipes and the bathtub upstairs drains right into your office? What if your stanky neighbor decides to drain his pool to your side of the property and all the water leaks into your window and everything gets ruined?

Plenty of scenarios. The same way, using an offside automated service like BackBlaze has it’s drawbacks as well. The biggest drawback being the amount of time it takes to restore your data. You see, I had about 1.5tb’s worth of stuff kept offsite with BackBlaze. I would keep my current projects from the last year and my photography stash backed up locally, but the rest of my old work was sitting over there wherever BackBlaze’s servers were a sitting. They’re across this country, across another country, in some building, behind whatever speed caps along the way. Simply doing an online restore of 1.5tb’s would have taken a LONG time since the downloads were going around 950kbs/s. I didn’t have time for that. Nor do I have the home internet option to support 1.5tb’s of downloading.

Luckily, BackBlaze has options for restoring specific files and folders, as well as other options for restoring to a thumb drive or up to a 3tb hard drive and having it shipped to you. The latter is what I choose. They say they will restore up to 3tb to a hard drive and send it, but they wont send everyone a 3tv hard drive. It’s relative to your amount of data. So if you have 850gb of data, they’ll ship you a 1tb drive. Since I had like 1.47tb they managed to fit everything on a 1.5tb drive. I wish I have 400mb’s more data, because then I would’ve been shipped the 2tb hard drive! No matter the size of your hard drive the cost ends up being the same. $180 USD shipping (not import fees) included.

I began the restore as soon as my hard drive went kaput on Monday, and it took around 7 days for the hard drive I ordered to be shipped. Unfortunately they use FedEx, who typically are horrible to deal with. They tried coming 3 times to my home, at different times during the day, despite me requesting (and them confirming) delivery after 1pm. In the end, I had to drive 45 minutes to go to one of their stations to pick it up. They wouldn’t send the package to the holding center that’s 5km away, I had to drive 45 minutes…and then pay them $38 in duties. So, why did I pay for shipping again? Regardless I finally got the hard drive on the following Thursday. That was 10 days after I requested from BackBlaze. That’s not a bad turnaround at all. Like I said, I keep local backups of all my current work so this was really just a bunch of old finished renders, portfolio pieces, demo reel stuff, and 20 years of digitized family videos.

Anyways, the package was put together nicely and the hard drive was well protected. Though I do wish there were some extra padding in the box so it wasn’t sliding around.2014_02_21_BackBlaze_Package (2) Opening it up…2014_02_21_BackBlaze_Package (4)And voila! Cute little sticker. I’m glad it was a 2.5 inch hard drive as well, I needed one of these for after.2014_02_21_BackBlaze_Package (5)It came with one of these fancy powered USB 3.0 cables. Nice!2014_02_21_BackBlaze_Package (11)You can actually use a standard micro USB cable for the hard drive if you’d like, but then it’d only be USB 2.02014_02_21_BackBlaze_Package (12)If you’re using a standard micro usb cable it would just go into the port on the left there2014_02_21_BackBlaze_Package (9)Here’s some extra details on the hard drive. Its a Toshiba Canvio HDTC615XK3B1. It retails for about $89 on sale. There were some scratches on the enclosure, which made me feel like this drive wasn’t new like they promised…2014_02_21_BackBlaze_Package (6)

So I plugged it in, everything was there and worked great. I’ve heard some people report that they had issues with various versions of files but for me, I can confirm there was no issue. Their support said automatically the latest version of every file is sent unless otherwise requested.

The total cost after import fees and currency conversion came to $253 Canadian dollars. Quite a bit more than the $180, but at least I get to keep the 1.5tb hard drive they sent (it actually does fit into the Playstation 4 out of the enclosure). Here’s a video I did showing how to take apart the hard drive enclosure, since there’s no screws.

So in the end would I recommend BackBlaze? Yes! I have tried Carbonite and Mozy and compared to the others I prefer BackBlaze’s lack of restriction on upload caps. I have a nice steady 10mb/s upload and for the most part I get close to that. I’m still using it to back up my machine again, and wouldn’t hesitate (even with the price) if my drive failed again.

I Suck at Oceans

It’s been a while since I posted an utter horrible attempt at a piece of work. I’d like to say because I’m awesome and don’t make junk. Yes…lets go with that one…and ignore all the potential clients and studios who gander upon here from time to time.

I tried to make a water simulation in Maya. It failed. I remember when I was back in college using Softimage, I always really wanted to make fancy water. I was determined that if I could generate convincing water I’d get a job. Ah to be 18 and niave.

Alas, here is my first attempt in 4 years…all of 60 minutes of effort.

 

New Resume

I updated my resume to make it look more fancy…and also add the last 2 years of work. It’s funny, my old resume was filled with fluff to make me sound good, but now, it’s scaled back and all facts and I come off looking even better. Hoorah

It can be found by clicking HERE

We had 45 minutes free during Easter

So while we were waiting for food to be finalized we had a few minutes to play around with my camera. My niece and sister wanted to star in a video, and my wife found a random creepy costume.

I really need to invest in a steady-cam, because the rolling shutter on my Nikon D3100 is absolutely horrible. Especially when I’m shivering.

Alas, this is pretty good seeing how we made it up on the spot, used a built in mic, and had to worry about the sun setting and being eaten by coyotes and wild turkeys. It reminds me of the videos I used to do in college. My style is still the same, and in 45 minutes I managed to shoot a better video then I did in an entire semester during college.


 

This Internet Spying Bill

It’s kind of insulting to be a Canadian sometimes. The media gets up in arms about simple location tracking on cell phones and then goes around and doesn’t care about all of our internet usage being watched. I for one don’t care if you know where I am. I can pickup a phonebook and find out where you live, it’s really easy. But for everything I do to be recorded? That’s not acceptable. I don’t want all this data about me being collected and sold for marketing purposes or whatever. That’s the main reason I’m not on Facebook. Anyways, there’s a petition below to oppose the bill.

If you’re interested, sign the petition. For more info visit OpenMedia.ca

Aliens deserve backhands…or how not to pistolwhip a hobo alien with a gattling gun…part 1

Good morning! Or whatever time it is…

ENOUGH WITH THE SIDETRACKING

Today, i spent a good hour, maybe more, attempting to animate using a packaged XSI rig/character. Horrible idea. Very horrible. Besides the fact that I’m still learning this whole animation thing and have lots of work left to do…these rigs just suck. They implode, explode, dance from side to side when not needed, and most importantly they don’t work. Here is a result, deemed a success from the lens of whoever it was that said ‘when you fail you just found another way to not do what you were trying to do’. Hmm, I think it was Edison, and I’m pretty sure he said it smoother then that. NONETHELESS, here is how NOT to do a pistolwhip a hobo alien with a gattling gun, part 1

Did you notice I even made the screen flash green for a few frames during the point of contact? Sexy

The process of a walk cycle

Walk cycles are hard, I was determined to do one everyday to be a better animator. I think that lasted 3 days.

Heres my progress with quick hand drawn lameholes in Flash

Attempt 1: This dude is way to happy while having a bumski like that

Attempt 2: My attempt at a rockstar stickman

Attempt 3: That sheep done getting his swagger on!

Attempt 4: This one worked…although strolling when the earth on fire might not be so wise

Why do I suck at animation?

Here’s my story. I’m a recent grad with a diploma in Computer Animation. I wanted to do modeling and lighting/rendering. Now I want to do character animation. Its a strange choice, but my brain doesn’t work how most other brains work, so it only makes sense for me to animate what I see in my head.

The problem is, we were never taught much character animation in my 3 years of schooling. I learned Softimage XSI and everything to do with modeling/rendering etc, but characters? I kind of just phased those out.

So this blog is an ongoing progression of my development in character animation…and the many failures that come along with that. I guess it also makes sense to post my latest demo reel…which is probably 8 months old and has nothing new I’ve done on it…