Sunday, August 25, 2013

A brand-new tutorial series is in pre-production!

Hi all!

So finally a blog update from me - seems I just can't break this pattern of posting in spurts and then disappearing off the face of the Earth, can I?

So this is really just a quick update to let you know that:

A. I'm still alive (cue GLaDOS)
B. I've started pre-production on my first-ever proper tutorial series.

     I'm going to be bringing an old tutorial request from 2 years ago back into the spotlight and making it as professional and well-built as I can. It's going to push my presentation, editing, and general recording skills to their current limit, but hopefully this can get my tutorial-creator juices flowing again.

     So I've actually spent the last 2 years not recording anything really worthwhile due to some personal issues I was having and am still dealing with (in short, a lot of self-criticism), but I've decided it's time to simply plunge and figure it out as I go. Learn to accept my shortcomings and work on improving them.
     I've been practising with Minecraft and I'm also simultaneously working on a new Let's Play series and channel - I've always wanted to get into Let's Plays ever since I started watching Chuggaaconroy's The Legend of Zelda - The Wind Waker and Paper Mario and the Thousand-Year Door series. I've gotten more and more interested in LPs as I've started to follow people such as Etho's Lab and GuudeBoulderfist and others of the MindCrack group, so I've finally decided to dive in and start my own.

     I've been putting a lot of thought into both my tutorials and the LPs, and I've started working on setting up my channels for both. The LP-specific channel hasn't been created yet; I'm still figuring out a banner and whatnot, as well as creating a backlog of episodes that I can then upload on a regular basis. I'll be doing the same for this tutorial series, so there may be a couple of weeks of work ahead of me still.

     If you're curious to know more about the series as it develops, check my Twitter and/or Google+ and I should post some updates on a semi-regular basis. I also tweet/share other things like Linux news, artwork, anime songs, gaming news and a few other things ;)
   For anyone wondering about my Facebook profile, I really only keep it just in case I might need it, but I never use it. I just don't particularly like the system - Twitter's the one to check if you want to follow me.

That's it from me for now. Keep an eye out for those production updates!

Philippe M., signing out.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hatsune Miku Portrait - A Timelapse

Seems I completely forgot to post the timelapse video here on my blog.  I've been rather quiet here lately, I know - no inspiration at the moment, though I have been picking at a new, relatively serious post concerning motivation and self-criticism.  I'm hoping I can bring up its quality a notch or two before I post it, however, so that might still be a bit far off.

Anyway, before I babble on for too long about blogpost Drafts (I currently have two), I'll cut to the chase.  These two videos are the progress timelapses for my first-ever fan-art. I posted about this image back in May, after I first completed it, and subsequently forgot to update my blog.  Cue the facepalm.

Hatsune Miku Portrait - Progress Timelapse (Part 1)

Hatsune Miku Portrait - Progress Timelapse (Part 2)

Both videos can be watched in 1080p HD on YouTube!

The music tracks used in the videos are all licensed under Creative Commons with Attribution.  I listed the songs and their respective remixers/composers in the video descriptions. All the songs are from - I'll definitely be browsing through there again, they have some really cool tunes that I think would work well in both timelapses and maybe a possible Minecraft Let's Play series I've been working on.

I also have another fan-art in the pipeline - I've been calling it Miku 2.0. This time I'm going for a "full shot" instead of just a bust/portrait, and I plan on using Krita for the final lineart and colours. I've been working on finalizing the sketch in MyPaint, and I think I've made some good progress so far.  I haven't recorded any footage of the process yet, but I plan on screencasting the final process in Krita. Not sure how it'll turn out yet, but I'm optimistic.

As a quick note to any fellow Vocaloid fans and PlayStation 3 users, SEGA has released a Demo version of the latest Vocaloid rhythm game, Project Diva F, on the PlayStation Network.  As far as I know it's slated for release some time around the end of summer, so until then the Demo will have to do ;)

That's it from me for now - thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Check that off the To Try list!

So while I was working on the Fantasy Axe model I posted about a couple of days ago, I also had a smaller side-project/experiment going and I can officially say that it's completed!

This is my first-ever fan-art.  I rarely draw, by hand or otherwise, but I've had ideas for various fan-illustrations for several years and now that I have a Wacom graphics tablet (a Bamboo Capture, for those of you wondering - works absolutely great, I love it) I thought I'd try my hand at drawing something other than single-pen-stroke Triforces or Sonic the Hedgehog's face always at the same angle.  So I went with Vocaloid virtual-singer Hatsune Miku, since I'm quite familiar with her design and variations of it.  I guess you could say I'm a fan ;)

So, this is my first-ever successful attempt at fan-art of any kind, and I don't want to sound brag-y or excessively proud or anything, but I'm really, really pleased with the result!

I seriously never draw.  I had left that up to my younger brothers while I concentrated on the awesomeness of vertex and polygon manipulation (aka 3D modelling). But I saw my Wacom tablet as a way into that kind of artwork, so the Bamboo Stylus combined with a healthy portion of MyPaint and Linux Mint led to this coming out of my brain and onto the pixel-ey canvas.
This was also an experiment to try and get to know the MyPaint application.  I really love it so far, and I'm also looking into Krita, another open-source digital painting application.  Only problem with Krita so far is that there seems to be a memory leak somewhere and it fills up 4GB of RAM relatively quickly, but its brushes are really interesting.  I'll figure something out eventually.

Anyway, the piece is far from perfect; her proportions are a little off, the perspective is slightly off, my lines aren't the cleanest, the shading is still a little rough, a few too many hair strands in her twin ponytails, the collar and edges of her outfit don't have the usual zig-zag border, and a bunch of other things I could list.  But, all that being said, I'm still very happy with the result :)

I'll also be putting together a time-lapse of the drawing process.  I have roughly 8.5 hours of footage to cut together at high-speed, but it should be up relatively soon.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A new model completed!

So this is a small project I've been working on for about a month.  I had decided to look through ConceptCookie's list of free downloads and I saw the modelling sheets/references for a fantasy axe, and it piqued my interest.  So I gave it a shot, and I had a LOT of fun modelling it.  I posted regular updates on my DeviantART gallery, so for anyone curious, please check it out :)

Without further ado, the renders:

Final poly-count in the viewport, with both the Mirror and Subsurf Modifiers enabled, is 236 856 faces. Actual model poly-count (since I only modelled one half) would be of 7403 faces. All hand-placed - and also not a triangle in sight, it's all quads!

That's it from me for now. I'm off to finish another mini-project, and then who knows? Might actually finish my Audi A5 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A note to my fellow film geeks

I usually don't do posts like this, but as a 3D and Visual Effects geek I thought this was an important issue.

Today is the Oscars, and of course there are lots of films being nominated, one of which is Life of Pi.  Now, all I know about this film is that it's an adaptation of the book by the same name, which I've never read.  The point is that Pi sold over $500million in tickets worldwide.  The studio behind the apparently amazing visual effects is Rythm & Hues - it's one of the big, well known studios in California.

If you take a look at their Wikipedia page (link) under Filmography, they've worked on a lot of big films - many of which I've seen and like: the X-Men films (except for Origins: Wolverine, thankfully - haha), Lord of the Rings, Night at the Museum, The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and many others.
However, they've had to declare bankruptcy and around (maybe over) 200 visual effects artists lost their jobs.  This is after a Oscar-nominated film - for which they created the VFX - has made over 500million bucks in ticket sales worldwide.  And according to my reading, more and more studios are having financial trouble even after their films make tonnes of $$, and the studios and artists involved aren't getting paid as well as they should.

So my point is, today I found out about a protest being held by VFX pros and artists, and after reading up on it I thought I should share the news with my fellow geeks.  I grew up watching VFX-laden films like Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or animated marvels like Toy Story, Shrek, or The Incredibles, and I've spent hours watching bonuses and behind-the-scenes footage on how they make a 2-tonne mecha smash through a digital wall, or how they created the amazing character that is Gollum.
So, if you're on Twitter (the hashtag is #vfxprotest) and care about VFX and its future, let those artists down in L.A., Vancouver, and other cities know that we're behind them as well :)

Well, that's all I have to say for now.  Thanks for reading!

Anime verdict - Steins;Gate

Let me start off by pointing out that this particular anime isn't for younger audiences - it's definitely a more serious story, and there's some language, questionable jokes (mostly Daru's fault) and a bit of fan-service mixed in.
Also, please be warned that although I did my very best, some spoilers have slipped in just the same.

...and I also might talk your ears off.  This is a looong post, guys.

Steins;Gate was dubbed by Funimation in two parts last year, and I started watching it soon after the first twelve episodes were dubbed and released.  This series dives into a popular sci-fi subject - time-travel - by a rather interesting method.  Rather than physically travelling through time like a 900-year-old Time Lord in a blue phone box (which the show makes references to a few times), they change events already passed and alter their future by sending text messages back in time using a cell-phone.  This also involves one of the strangest time-machine discoveries I've seen yet - microwaved bananas, which turn fluorescent-green and their molecular structure pretty much breaks down.  They eventually stop nuking bananas to send their text messages since it was both getting expensive and they didn't actually need the bananas as a catalyst or fuel source.

In a nutshell, if you take a look at my currently non-existent list of anime favourites, you would see that the top spots are now occupied by three different series, all of which are on an equal footing.  These three would be the The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya series - which only recently joined the top ranks as I've sort-of rediscovered the series* recently, if that makes any sense; the short, 13-episode Angel Beats!, which I've talked about before; and now Steins;Gate.

Thanks to Funimation for uploading the trailer

The story is quite mind-bending and lengthy as well, spanning a full 25 episodes and going through two major, interconnected arcs - which Funimation conveniently released in two parts, giving us the big unexpected cliff-hanger at the end of episode 12, which in my opinion is also one of the funniest episodes of the whole series.  It's rather ironic too, considering said cliff-hanger, but I can't say anything more about that cliff-hanger without risking giving away its cliff-hanger-ness.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New Audi A5 update

I've already fallen behind with my blog posts - I originally had planned to do a post every ten days or so, since I wanted to have double the number of posts in 2013 as I did in 2012.  However, I've been quite busy and haven't had much time to think about new posts or subjects.
However, I do already have one subject to post about, I just have to get around to it.  Last week I (finally) finished watching sci-fi anime series Steins;Gate, so I'll definitely be doing a post about that.  In the mean time, I'm happy to say it has happy ending - I had my doubts during the last few episodes.

For today, I'll be posting all the new updates on the Audi A5 project.  I've mostly been posting about it on, so the last image I posted here was of the new bumper panel.  I've made quite a few changes to it since then.
These images start from August 21st last year up to present day - on a side note the HTML has messed up and not all the images are 100% centred, but I can't figure out how to fix it :|

A new bumper and front wing.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Software Spotlight - Audacity

And we're back with the second entry in my planned series, the Software Spotlight!  Today I'll be talking more-or-less briefly about a program I've used a lot - open-source audio editor Audacity!  And it works on all three major operating systems (Windows, MacOS and Linux) so that's a plus.

Image courtesy of

I'll start off by saying I am far from being an expert on sound engineering and editing.  As always, I'm just trying things out and figuring it out as I go - I've been doing this for years with various software, even back when the most complex image and sound manipulation programs I used were Microsoft Paint and Sound Recorder (hey, I had to start somewhere)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Anime verdict - Fractale

I had originally written a small Journal post on this series on DeviantART, roughly half an hour after finishing the thirteenth episode, but there was something about the post and my wording that I didn't like and couldn't manage to fix, so I tossed it into the digital trash bin.  Here I am, giving it another shot, but this has also given me time to think back on the series and have a more objective viewpoint.  I tend to be in "fanboy" mode when I finish any series, and the whole "OMG that was awesome" factor tends to show a lot ;)

Ultimately, I am disappointed by Fractale.  It was a series I was very much looking forward to watching, after seeing the English trailer for it on the Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike DVD (which, while I'm on the subject, I quite like).

Basically, I find the trailer better than the series.  This is actually the first anime I've watched that hasn't made it onto the Re-watch list.  Every other series has been a favourite, from Haruhi to Shana to Steins;Gate and back.

The trailer made me think the series was a combination of elements from one of Isaac Asimov's visions