Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I hit the Renderosity Top 20 this week!

I received a really big honor this week. I was selected as one of the Top 20 Favorite Artists of the Week by If your not active in the digital art world, here's a little info about them (taken from their website) to bring you up to speed.

The Renderosity community is made up of members who have a passion for helping others learn, share and grow in digital art... The Renderosity membership is a very interactive community with forums, chats, free content and a marketplace for digital products and 3D models. Membership is always FREE.

What they don't say is that Renderosity is one of the largest online 3D art communities online. Right now there are almost 78,000 members (as of 9/25/2013, the day I wrote this, there were exactly 77,956 members). I'm not sure exactly how many images are uploaded each week (back in a 2005 press release they mentioned that they passed the one million images mark and had more than 1,000 images uploaded each week), but I recall reading in the forums that an administrator said they get about 3,500 uploads in an average week. And based on the image ID tags, it looks like we're about to hit 2.5 million images.

I've been a member of this online community since 2001, and during that time I've posted about 125 images. My work ranges from material I've created to promote my game, Gutshot, to work I've created for clients (like book cover designs and sci-fi illustrations) to some fabric snapshots I took in a store one afternoon while shopping with my wife. I like to have a mix of my professional work and things I see around me that I think are visually interesting. I'm not overly prolific, but I follow some great young artists and help others by commenting on their work and making suggestions on ways to improve composition and layout.

This past week I posted two new images to my gallery, and apparently the Renderosity site ran some behind-the-scenes voodoo calculations and selected me as their #16 Favorite Artist of the Week! Considering the sheer volume of people I was selected from, this is a really big honor.

Here's what the site says about their selection process:

Renderosity's Favorite Artists are displayed here after careful calculation of the statistics artists have accumulated in the last week. The base statistic being the number of members who have added a particular artist to their favorites in the last week, also taken into account are the number of images each artist has uploaded in the last week and the number of comments that have been posted on those images, to distinguish the more visited of two artists with the same number of favorites. 
The Artwork Itself
So, with that being said, here are the two images I uploaded this past week (by the way, I suggest clicking on both of them so you can see a larger version that will reveal a lot of detail):

Deadwood - Cowboy Mike

This first image is a simple character study for my upcoming game, Gutshot: Night of the Living Deadwood. It's just a cowboy sitting that I set up in Daz Studio 4.6. I was mainly testing how quickly my digital inking techniques could transform a simple 3D image into acceptable line art, and add a suitable background. (If you're interested in more details about the 3D models and software I used, you can check out the image at the Renderosity website. For this image, I'm using a combination of techniques to get an old-fashioned wood block look. I plan to use this method to create a few dozen images for the game book.

Like the above image, this next one is in black & white. Even though I do work in color, I focus on b&w because this is professional work for print in game books that are printed in b&w.

Galaxy Prime - The Loser Goes 'Boom'
This second image is for the game Galaxy Prime, published by my friend James Shade at Epic Age Media. This was rendered in Strata 3D CX7 and, again, I used a variety of techniques to convert it into b&w line art. I was really going for a retro look with this piece. This image may be used in a future Galaxy Prime product.

If you'd like to take a look at the rest of my gallery, you can mosey on over to the Renderosity Website. However, I don't think you'll be able to view all of my images unless you register for a free account: 

Closing Thoughts
There was no 'prize' attached to this, but it is a very cool honor to be recognized as doing work worth following. Especially from such a large group of talented people.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Need help finding some hardware

I think I love shelves. Yeah, I know that's weird, but I love the way they help organize stuff. And I've got a lot of stuff. I've got books, office supplies, hobby supplies, kitchenware, and so much more. I like my stuff, but it's hard to find what you want -- or need -- when it's all lumped together in a drawer or cupboard.

I think what I like best is the way shelves maximize the use of vertical space. By putting things in neat rows, one atop the other, I can see everything at once and get it when I want it.

These handy undershelf baskets add some
much-needed storage options to any closet.
That's why I love the Container Store's annual Shelving Sale. All their shelves are 25% off. This includes some great space savers, like Undershelf Baskets, which let me add more functionality by dividing an existing shelf into smaller spaces. Like here, where I can mount the basket under a shelf in my office closet to hold paper, labels and other office supplies.

They come in a variety of sizes -- I'm fond of the 20-inch because it will hold two reams of paper, side-by-side. Unfortunately, about an inch of paper sticks out over the edge, but in the case of the cardstock in this photo, it doesn't matter because it's thick enough not to curl.

This small plastic "Camel Clip" attaches beneath
the shelf to provide the basket with
extra stability and support.
There is a problem with these baskets, though -- they are held in place only by the metal arms that slide over the top of a standard half-inch shelf. Although the baskets are metal, the fact that they are supported only in the front limits the amount of weight they can hold. To get around this, I screwed a small clip to the back railing to provide additional support and stability. The shelves don't come with the clip, but when I bought my first baskets two years ago, The Container Store had the necessary clip (the sales lady called it a Camel Clip).

Unfortunately, when I went to this year's sale, I was told by two puzzled associates that they don't carry this any more. Furthermore, they had no idea what it was. Thinking that this would not be overly difficult to find, I headed over to Home Depot and discovered that the head of the Fasteners section had no idea what I was talking about (he asked if it was like a miniature conduit clamp). He sent me over to electronics to see if any of the coaxial or ethernet clips might work for me.

To be honest, I found two that might work, but they are not exactly what I'm looking for. So I cam home and hit the Internet, but that's where I ran into a problem. I'm not sure exactly what this is called. That definitely hampered my search. And describing it doesn't make matters any easier. A 2-screw clamp? Mini conduit slip? Wire support? Is it a fastener or some other type of hardware?

After an hour online, I gave up and just drew the following diagram and decided to post it here in the hopes that someone can help me find them, either in metal or plastic. I'm not picky.

Side-view of the fastener I'm looking for.

And before someone suggests this -- yes, I know I could fabricate my own with a simple strip of metal and drilling some holes in it with my Dremel. And that may be just what I'll have to do in the end. But first, I thought I'd post it here and see if anyone has an idea of what it is and where I can get some.

Thanks in advance for your help.

---------- UPDATE from later that evening ------------

A friend over at the miniatures page suggested I go back to Lowe's or Home Depot and look carefully in their shelving sections to see if I could find the part I was looking for. And, Lowe and behold, I found it at Lowe's. They call it a "C" Clamp, and I bought a bag of 20 for about $8, You can see it here:

It's just a little bigger than I was looking for (it's a 1/2 inch tall, rather than 3/8 inches), but I think it will work out fine for what I need.