Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Still delighted with the new WWI flying game: "Over Flanders Fields"; good white-knuckle flying over the Western Front. The one frustrating aspect of the games is that, on top of the basic difficulty of bringing your guns to bear on a tiny, distant airplane, the AI engine allowed you to pump bullets endlessly [or so it seemed] into a plane...and it just wouldn't go down. Smoke? Yes...and lose bits and pieces. But last night I downloaded 'the patch'. Mainly it seems to affect the look of things, but it also adjusted the effectiveness of your guns. Now my .30 cal. Maxims and Spandaus shred wings like Browning .50's. Now it's a whole new game in the skies above Ypres.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Monday, March 09, 2009
The duel between Hawker and von Richtofen is one of the classic encounters of WWI. The squadron of which Hawker was a member had attacked two German recon planes. Seeing more Germans above, the Leader elected to break off, but Hawker had spotted several more Germans below and dived to the attack. He ended up one-on-one with Manfred von Richtofen. They duked it out for for a very long time. One source said 35 minutes, which I find hard to believe; ten minutes being an eternity in dogfights. In any event, the two were well matched and neither could get the upper hand until Hawker, realizing that he was nearly out of fuel, made a break for his own lines. He was only 50 yards short when von Richtofen got the angle on him and killed him with two rounds, one striking him in the head. Ironically, only seconds later, von Richtofen's guns jammed.
Friday, March 06, 2009
A long-standing desire to model some WWI airplanes bubbled to the surface and this [an Albatros DV.]is the first half of a digital diorama. The second half will be Maj. Lanoe Hawker's DH-2. Some liberties will be taken, no doubt, starting with von Richtofen flew a D III, not a DV. [for the gimlet-eyed among us.]
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Friday, January 09, 2009
A few refinements: first, a better slouch in the saddle. Makes it look like he really could sleep on duty. Which he does. Second, a 'chin light' under the X-Machine. It will usually be off, but occasionally it will click on and scoot ahead scouting the best path through the jumbled landscape of Kibble XXI.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Part of the castle & town design involved buildings and things in it. Which led to the Farm Cart. It was the mono-wheeled cart that later became the mono-wheeled locomotive [below]...and 'Beast', from "The Sentinel" [a smaller cousin, actually.] got drafted to pull it.
This sequence is part of some exploratory design done for an animated children's film. Step#1: The Castle. I wanted to avoid the round towers/pointed roof style of Disney. I started square-edged and sorta' Romanesque and then it started growing until I had a medieval hill-town. I added a rolling-hill landscape and where it intersected with the default ground plane, I suddenly had water and a shoreline. That begged for ships and off-shore rocks...and a harbor for the town.
The tale was written, and takes place in the 1880's...the heyday of fanciful heavier-than-air flying machine design. But proto-dirigibles were getting off the ground, and hot-air balloons had been around for some time. I urged the inclusion of flying machines as a everyday, normal-as-birds-in-the-sky event, and, where it would not contradict the storyline, used to ferry the characters on their travels.
This post is two seperate renders, edited together. Thus, in the second half, with Bill's multi-colored balloon, the ground is much darker.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
An age ago, or so, my most favorite of the underground cartoonists, Vaughn Bode', did a one page, four panel strip with two mice; one large, one small. The big one explains that his buddy has been part of a medical experiment to combat aging. The little guy nods agreeably, and in the lasr panel says, "Hey, I just might live forever!" Then the cat gets him.
In '94, as I was getting computer literate, I was sitting in a 3D class, and thought that strip might work with an exotic fish ticking off his fine points and concluding the same, until he gets inhaled by a bigger one that emerges out of the gloomy depths. 'Seemed doable. Remember, in 1994, 3D programs didn't have 'bones' and unlike machine things, organic creatures were nigh impossible to articulate. But I figured I could build a fish and get him to drift and hover in front of the viewer while he monologed.
As time went on, and I worked with different programs, I kept coming back to this simple, short piece. Now, with Animation:Master, it's near completion. It lacks only the lip-sync dialog...which draws closer every day.
So...bear in mind as you watch, that he's explaining how he's got it all figured out, that he is the absolute pinnacle of creation, and...'Hey! He might just live forever."
A tester piece which is about eight years old. The landmark here [for me, anyways] was making tank treads move. Each tread had 30 plates. Each plate had to be moved to a new position 30 times to go around once. A total of 900 seperate operations. Happily, once the tread was done, it could be copied and duplicated.
This is 'The Sentinel's' neighborhood: so far out on the rim of everything that there is scarcely a star in the sky. Look back over your shoulder, and there's only blackness. This was done as an opening 'establishing' shot, as we arrive on Kibble XXI, as the credits scroll.
Another look. In this case, a fly-around of Beast with his saddle and equipment. There is a home base [insignificant as it is] for sleep and shelter, but most of our hero's days are spent in the saddle checking various monitoring devices. Making the rounds is mandatory and there are autonomic devices that make life unplesant if he fails to clock in at any station.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
The chase, depicted here, crystallized out of pieces [ the Single-Wheeled Engine, my desire to build a jungle, even 'EL Cucaracha' himself...] each of which had its own genesis in thready, wooley daydreams. Just who "EL Cucaracha is, or what he's up to, is far from clear. Similar with the folks chasing him, tho' I suspect their reasons are good ones. I have no idea of the eventual end, but the trip is a fun one. I expect that we'll see a role for the Santos-Dumont 14-bis [see below] and, mayhap, the Caproni CA.60.
All the clips that comprise this 60 sec. [approx.] are in a state of flux. Smoke and steam have to be added to the engine in all frames. There will be an Engineer and Fireman. 'Bugg' needs to be smoothly animated. Trees and jungle will be moved around. This rough-cut is something of an animated story-board. A series of shots, each done for its own sake, arranged to see if I have the beginnings of a visual chase narrative.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The Santos-Dumont 14-bis [14th attempt, 2nd variant] 'flew' in September 1906...a flight of 23 feet; dismissed as a 'powered hop'. However; it still poses a tenuous claim to 'first'. Technically, the title of 'first heavier-than-air powered flight requires the aircraft to take-off from the ground without assistance, and the Wrights were using a drop-weight to drive a small trolley that the Flyer rested on. [ by the same reasoning, Langley's catapult attempt from a houseboat wouldn't have counted either, though his claim would be greatly strengthened if the 'aerodrome' had flown instead of taking a header into the Potomac River.]
It's hard to say if the Wrights dogged resistance to wheels lasted past September 1906 since they were doing little or no flying at the time. They were keeping everything under wraps until they locked up their patents. [also, they were pestered by a very curious, though disbelieving, press.] The Wright Brothers consistently come across as businessmen, first and foremost. In contrast to Europe, they show little sense of the joy-of-flying.
In any event, 23 ft. is a slender reed to support such a large 'First'. The early pioneers were drunk with the notion of flying, at least in Europe, and by 'flying', they did not mean 23 ft. They meant to soar like eagles. [ In fairness to Santos-Dumont, he did considerably longer flights in the suceeding months.] One historian posed a reasonable benchmark for 'first': namely, that the airplane should lift off under its own power, fly a quarter mile, do a controlled turn, fly back, turn again and land, i.e., fly a closed loop under control. So the Wrights claim is probably safe for a while yet.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
This little pastiche of the Santos-Dumont's No.6 Airship in action was modeled and rendered in Animation Master v.15 and edited together in Sony's 'Vegas Movie Studio'. Blogspot balked at the file size, so I reduced Color Depth from 'millions' to 256. This gave the unlooked-for, but not wholly unpleasing, posterized/comic book look.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The Caproni CA.60: a nine-winged, eight-engined behemoth designed to shuttle 100 passengers between Italy and America. Built, flown once, and crashed in 1921. Reportedly, it got about 60 ft. off the water, then pitched nose down and crashed. A shift of internal ballast is suspected. A mysterious fire detroyed the wreck before restoration could start.