Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Render Test Results

Monster Mansion Final Render
After 11 hours, I got this image. It is a Kerkythea render of a Google Sketchup model. I think it came out a bit like a painting. I'm pretty pleased.

THIS is a previous render where I didn't get the colors and levels of the 31 lighting fixtures quite right and THIS is the original Sketchup model from THIS project.

I learned quite a bit from this round. Next lesson will be network rendering and making sure all of the components make the transfer (look closely - the window frames are missing - oops).

My new hobby is certainly not about instant gratification but it is fun for me. Next up is a daytime rendering. Should be interesting.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Design for Fun #9 - TRON: Adventures Thru Digital Space

TRON: Adventure Thru Digital Space TRON - S1: ENCOM (Ride Load) TRON - S3: Tron City TRON - S4: Deadly Discs TRON - S5: Tank Encounter TRON - S6: End of Line Club TRON - S8: Lightcycle Arena TRON - S9: Bridge TRON - S10: I/O Tower

Here is my latest attraction design for my own amusement. And this one, more than any previous, is all about the "for fun" part. I've wanted to do a TRON ride since I was 12 and at 38, I finally got around to it.

This is an imaginary dark ride based on a mixture of the old and new TRON movies. It's an omnimover ride modeled in the style of the early 80's mega-dark rides featured in EPCOT Center's Future World. I also built it as though it were a replacement for Adventure Thru Inner Space (which was replaced by Disneyland's Star Tours in reality). In accordance with tradition, the ride has references to its predecessor. The title is obvious but I also reused the microscopic crystals for the background in the tank scene.

To make this ride, I downloaded an existing Sketchup model of Inner Space and excavated it. I then squeezed my ride into the existing room and track layout. That was kind of fun. I also made use of other existing Sketchup models from the 3D warehouse, especially for the various vehicles. I modified many of them though.

Like most omnimover rides, there is dialog that triggers at different points along the track. I've included that dialog in the picture descriptions on Flickr. There are 25 pictures in that set, with some of them linked by thumbnail at the top of this post. I'm still planning to continue trying to render scenes from this ride and my others in a higher quality. I've been experimenting with that already.

If you are a stranger wandering on to this from the web, this has no affiliation with the Disney company at all and will never be built. I did this just to amuse my inner child. I hope it amuses yours too.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tron Ride: First Render Test

Render Test
This is my first render test for a Tron-themed ride project I just started (just for fun and practice). I used Indigo Renderer on a Google Sketchup scene. Click HERE to see the original.

Unfortunately, this is an incomplete render. Getting this far took 36 hours and the next step would be another 36. Obviously I have issues to resolve and I'm looking into other render options now (like Blender). There are goofs in here on my part like the blue on the omnimovers, missing glow on the lightcycle, and a big ugly reflection of an unfinished room in the background. This is challenging but I'm having fun. I have decided that I'm going to continue pursuing this. Glitches aside, this did render almost exactly as I imagined it. I think that's a good sign.

The ride is about halfway finished from a Sketchup perspective (see HERE). I'll post the ride-through video and regular Sketchup graphic shots when they're done and then get back to playing with the rendering. I may try to create some interactive walk-throughs of this and past rides with Unity (already downloaded). I saw it work nicely HERE.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Design for Fun: Starting a TRON Ride

My inner 12 year old is very happy today. I've decided what my next design-for-fun project is going to be. Since I was a kid, I've always wanted to do a few things:

- Design a new ride for an existing space. I just think that's a fun challenge.
- Design a ride for Disney.
- Design an attraction based on the TRON universe.

I started with the idea of doing a new ride in an existing space and I wanted to stick with a traditional and gimmick-free dark ride (no shooting galleries or motion bases). In the Sketchup 3D Warehouse, I found a nice full model of Disneyland's Adventure Thru Inner Space. I decided to pretend that it didn't already turn into Star Tours and began cleaning out the model (virtual demolition, essentially). Only the major walls and track remain as you can see in the photo. I am further along than that now though.

I'm creating a ride that technically would belong at Disneyland and in Tomorrowland. After rejecting some other futuristic ideas, I decided to do the TRON thing. It was only a matter of time. I figure WDI is probably working on something now so I should get my play project done before their real attraction influences me. My ride will be an open house by ENCOM to take you on a tour of the future as Flynn saw it. Guests board vehicles that are transfered to the grid for a tour of the digital city including stops at the Game Grid and End of Line Club (newly refurbished). The Mighty Microscope is now the laser. My working title for the ride right now is TRON: Excursion.

This project will be a little bit different (and time-consuming) for another reason. I recently got a copy of Indigo Renderer for Sketchup. It will allow me to realistically render my scenes including the use of lighting and reflections. I think a Tron dark ride is the perfect environment to test this out. Here is an example of someone else's work with this program that I think gives you an idea of what I'm thinking. I'll post render tests as I finish them.

Now back to work on the future that never was and most likely can't be...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Operation: "Portfolio Fix" is Done (probably)

I've felt a change in the air lately.  I don't know if it's going to play out exactly like I expect (it rarely does).  It doesn't matter.  What matters is that when I feel like this, I always get this overwhelming urge to tie things up and update the outdated.  And I generally can't stop until I get it done.  This particular impending change has inspired me to fix job-related stuff: resume, portfolios, etc.  I've started and stopped this effort many times in the past two years without much to show for it.  This time, I started about a week ago and finally "finished" tonight.

My main goal was to get all of my recent work (professional and personal) in the resume and portfolio (online and PDF versions).  Most of the 2000's were not represented but I fixed that a few days ago.  Tonight, I centralized all of my online portfolio stuff.  All of the missing links are in and most of the external links are gone.  It's all one website now.  I also felt the need to clean up the visual clutter and the junk in the code too.  Microsoft worked against me there.  There's still one weird bug with the "back buttons" on two pages that I can't quite kill.  Maybe I'll find them later.

Anyway, if you're curious about the kind of stuff I've done for work or to keep myself amused (and you aren't already sick of seeing it in various forms on this blog), head on over HERE.  Some pages may require refreshes if you've been there recently.  I'm also open to feedback, especially if something is wrong or bad.  I'm a little obsessed with getting it all fixed up right now.

For now, I think I'm done.  Next week, I'll have a new obsession.