Tag Archives: digital

How to build an alien

There’s been a lot going on in my life the last few weeks so I needed a creative outlet that I could pick up and put down as needed. For me, the natural fit was to work on the iVokh using Corel Draw 8. In this post, I’ll do a quick reveal of how I built an iVokh hand.

First I had to find some reference pictures. I was lucky enough to find a nice one showing the skeletal structure of a raptor ‘hand’ as compared to a human hand:

https://www.pinterest.com.au/remiwashere/animal-anatomy-forms/

Next, I vectored each bone of each finger…and tried to get the lighting more or less right using Corel’s gradient colour function:

The hand’s not perfect, but it is in a pose closer to what I wanted, plus the finished bones do give me a second layer of references. More importantly, each bone gives me an outline that can be used like a cookie cutter [the gradient fill is inside the outline]:

Now, I can use the vector outline to cut out textures for the ‘skin’. The following images are a kind of timeline of the process of skinning the bones:

Working from left to right we have:

  1. the vectored finger,
  2. the outline of each individual bone,
  3. the bones broken apart,
  4. the outline of the bones,
  5. the texture cut out by each outline,
  6. the finished finger

The finished ‘finger’ on the far right shows a simplistic view of the skin ‘tunnel’ in which the claws hide until they are protracted – i.e. pushed out. I took the reference from a picture I found showing a close-up of the skin around a cat’s claws.

https://www.softpaws.com/fascinating-facts-about-cat-claws/

Now, I suppose some of you are wondering why I didn’t just draw a whole finger, or better yet, a whole hand?

The reason is that I’m not that good at freehand drawing. I’m more draftsperson than artist. So while I might be able to fudge a hand once, I would not be able to redraw that hand in different poses. By creating the basic building blocks of the hand, however, I can use Corel to create different poses using more or less the same building blocks. [To get the perspective right, I’ll have to adjust the nodes on at least some of the ‘bones’, but that’s the easy part].

Is this the best way to build an alien?

Sadly, the answer is no. The vectoring isn’t that hard but finding the correct snippet of texture with just the right colour and light effect is very hard.

The best way to build an alien from scratch would be to create a 3D model using a super dooper graphics package like Maya. Unfortunately, Maya is also super dooper expensive and takes about 2 years of study to learn properly. So I’m making do with what I have, and what I know. I think I’ve done pretty well so far, for an amateur. πŸ˜‰

Okay, no comments again, but as always, my thanks to all of you for being my sounding board[s].

-hugs-

Meeks


Unfinished…

I’ve been obsessing over this image for days now. Still a way to go, but for the first time this evening, it feels as if it’s finally coming together. πŸ™‚

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Meeks


-blush- ‘teledildonics’…

You should consider this a tech post with an R rating. You’ve been warned.

haptic-glove-2

http://fab.cba.mit.edu/classes/863.11/people/daniel.rosenberg/pf.html

Right. This really is a case of sci-fi made obsolete by reality. The image you’re looking at shows a pair of ‘haptic’ gloves at work. They allow the wearer to manipulate elements of a digital environment directly – i.e. no need for a mouse or keyboard or game controller. Essentially, sensors in the glove translate real world movement and pressure into digital movement and pressure.

I knew about these haptic gloves because I’m a gamer, and I like to think about new technologies that make gaming more fun. Not surprisingly then, my sci-fi story, Innerscape, contains many existing technologies, extrapolated into their possible future equivalents. One example is the evolution of the haptic glove into the full body gaming suit. But even modern day technology can be used in all sorts of ways. Most people see web cams and Skype as a useful tool for teleconferencing, or to allow friends to see each other and talk in real time. To the porn industry, however, the same technology is a great way to deliver a lucrative product.

Online porn is not something I know a great deal about, but it’s not something I can ignore, either. I do a lot of research online, and anything of a sexual nature can be bring up unexpected results – e.g., when I researched hermaphrodites for Vokhtah. I quickly learned to phrase my queries with great care, and that awareness informed my prediction that the porn industry would spear-head the development of immersive reality in Innerscape. Yes, I know, pun intended…

Despite this rather pragmatic view of the world, however, I had no idea that a real world company was already selling a primitive version of the immersive porn of my imagined future. What’s even worse, I had no idea that this real world company bears the same name [more or less] as a company I dreamed up for Innerscape.

[SPOILER: Leon lets the Woman in Red into his apartment when he sees that she’s delivering his brand new, top of the range, Real Touch gaming suit.]

The real world company already making haptic devices for the porn industry is called Realtouch Interactive.

I swear I am not making this up. I didn’t know about Realtouch Interactive until just now when I read about the latest developments in ‘haptic gloves’ on New Atlas. Imagine my surprise when the same article included a link to…’teledildonics’.

The link to that article is here:

http://newatlas.com/flex-n-feel-glove-long-distance-relationships/47900/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=f1f477b260-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-f1f477b260-92416841

You can find the link to ‘teledildonics’ yourselves. If you so wish. -cough-

Be warned though, in the article, a male writer test drives the ‘device’, and although the descriptions are not super graphic, they don’t leave too much to the imagination. Included in the article is information about how the company created its own tech in order to sync sight, sound and data. Just as I predicted!

I suppose this is the point at which I should explain why data has to be synced along with sight and sound. The haptic ‘device’ is hooked up to the computer via USB at the user’s end. At the ‘cam girl’ end, a slightly different device allows the professional lady to control the sensations sent to the user’s device. Thus, audio, video and the transfer of this haptic data has to occur at the same time or the effect is ruined.

Long term, however, this very same technology will drive something else I wrote about in Innerscape – teleoperations. This is where the surgeon and the patient are separated by long distances, but the surgeon can still operate via a robotic surgical tool.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling kind of shell-shocked. None of this technology was meant to happen for decades, yet here it is in 2017. Clearly, the tech will be enhanced and improved enormously in the coming years, but I still feel rather ambivalent about the whole thing. Yes, it’s nice to predict the tech of the future, but it’s not so nice to get the timing so very wrong. Oh well…back to work.

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 


Innerscape – Music competition for Episode 1 begins!

reworked-cover-final-1Good evening, good afternoon and good morning. πŸ™‚

Innerscape Episode 1 is live on Amazon, and from November 14, 2016 to November 18, 2016, you will be able to download Episode 1 for free, and enter the Music Competition to win free music.

The Music Competition, which runs in lockstep with the free downloads, will give two lucky winners one of the following digital albums:

  • Elysium, by Jo Blankenburg, and
  • Vendetta, also by Jo Blankenburg.

This is a video clip of one of my favourite tracks from Elysium.

And this one is a making-of type video clip that features snippets from Vendetta.

If you don’t like these albums, or miss out for some reason, don’t worry – there will be two new albums up for grabs with Episode 2.

To enter the Music Competition, all you have to do is answer a simple question based on the excerpt from Innerscape, found in the Amazon ‘Look Inside’ for Episode 1.

You can find the excerpt here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3ZBKAK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1478992768&sr=8-2&keywords=kindle+Innerscape

Hint: if you read as far as the chapter entitled ‘Takh Ahn’, you’ve gone too far. But don’t let me stop you from reading further. πŸ˜‰

And now for the all-important, multiple choice question:

Who is the Head of Patient Care at Innerscape?

  1. Kenneth Wu?
  2. Charles McGragh?
  3. Emily Watson?

Once you know the answer, type the correct name, or simply 1, 2 or 3, in the comments section at the end of this post, and that’s it.

[Sorry, only 1 entry per person]

Both the Music Competition and the free download days for Episode 1 will end on November 18, 2016. Yes, I know I’ve said that before but I don’t want anyone to get the dates wrong and end up disappointed.

On November 19, 2016, I will pick two correct answers, at random, from a big mixing bowl, and the names of the winners will be announced in a post on this blog. The winners will also be announced via Twitter so please check back to see if you’ve won.

To find out how you can claim your free digital music album, please read the Innerscape FAQ here:

http://wp.me/p25AFu-2sA

Thank you for joining me today, and may the Party begin!
cheers
Meeks


Jacquie Lawson’s Edwardian Advent Calendar – 11/10

advent calendar siamese

When I was a kid, you could buy Advent Calendars that counted down each day of December until you reached Christmas. The delightful part, however, was that behind each ‘day’ on the calendar was a small chocolate. I can’t remember the taste of the chocolate, but I can remember the sense of anticipation that went with each one.

Can you still buy those Advent Calendars? No idea, but this year I have another reason to look forward to Christmas, and it’s far kinder to my waistline! A dear friend gave me a digital Advent Calendar, and I literally start each day looking to see what new delight will be revealed.

As I received the Edwardian Advent Calendar at the end of November, I was only allowed to visit the Pavillion, a cosy room that looks like this :

advent calendar pavillion

The two dogs, and the two small kittens on the chaise, are animated. Each time you do something in the Pavillion they run through a series of very cute little routines. So far I’ve only seen one routine repeated!

But the Pavillion provides more than just a seemingly never-ending series of animations. All the jigsaw and box puzzles can be played, as can this game :

advent calendar 5

And then, finally, December 1 arrives and you get to explore the Edwardian part of the calendar. For those unfamiliar with the Edwardian period in England, it was a time of gracious living [for the well-to-do] in beautiful mansions with a small army of servants to cook, clean and generally make life easy.

Each day, the Advent Calendar provides a sneak peak into this period via simple but very effective animations. Sometimes this sneak peak is interactive. For example, on Day 3 you get to do flower arranging. You are provided with six different ‘vases’ and masses of period flowers and greenery to arrange as you will.

advent calendar 3

advent calendarAll the controls are simple point and click affairs, very easy to do, yet the programming behind them is powerful. Every flower can be resized, flipped and rotated, allowing you to create some very unique ‘arrangements’.

Once you’re done you’re prompted to select the room of the mansion in which to display your creations.

The flower arrangement on the left is the first one I created, and as you can see, it is destined for the ‘hall’.

To my huge surprise, my creation actually became a part of the ‘scene’ :

advent calendar the Hall

Can you see it?

I can’t remember the last time I’ve had so much fun. Not only is the concept brilliant, the execution is superb. Everything from the animations to the interactive games and music are just perfect.

I know I’m sounding like an info-mercial but … if you want to send someone a digital gift for Christmas, this just has to be it!

cheers

Meeks


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