Been quite a while since I updated the blog. Here’s what I’ve been up to:
The summer started off with a gig doing graphics for the current Brad Paisley tour. I created a few 3D models for the other artists to work with at MooTV and created an animation of a space shuttle taking off. The space shuttle animation opened the show. This gig got the summer started right by funding the 3D printer and my home office remodel. I also helped design the stage for this concert. Here’s a pic of the stage with an image of a shuttle on the screens (not my shuttle, but you get the idea)
Before getting the remodel going I really needed to cleanup my garage/workshop, fix some work surfaces, and do something about my aging air compressor and air-line setup. I replaced the 14-year old compressor and re-worked the air distribution. The 3D printer came in handy here. My first custom printed model was a bracket to mount a pneumatic junction on my ceiling. I also replaced a cheesy work table with one that will be more useful for projects.
Remodeling the home office needed to happen. Last summer we remodeled most of the downstairs except for the office. I had done some work previously to a wall (exterior and interior) that was damaged by water and time, but the rest of the office looked like it did after we moved in 10 years ago. I took my time because I could and stretched out re-texturing the ceilings, painting, trimming, carpeting, and decorating over three weeks (about a week or so worth of actual work). The Brad Paisley gig paid for the materials and some furniture, but I also built some of my own furniture.
3D Printer Table
Five years ago I built a simple table/stand for my Linux rendering computers (cheap custom PCs). I decided that this table should be used for the 3D printer so I built a new top for it. I had some shelves I built many years ago out of 1×12 that I decided not to use again so I cut the wood into strips and made a table top.
I’ve been carrying around an old drafting/drawing table for about 20 years without actually using it. My father got it about 40 years ago from the Arkansas Tech ROTC building that had partially burned (you can see some smoke staining in one of the pictures). I loved the table, but didn’t have room for it’s size and I wanted to finish it somehow before I put it back into service. My father used it with another drafting surface on top of it to protect it, but I wanted to do something a little different.
I cut it down to a more manageable size and built a new base for it. I had the old saw-horse style base, but decided not to re-finish the old base. Once the top was cut down, I sanded and sealed it. Then, I attached it to a new base and put a self-healing cutting mat on it to protect it. The base is kinda lame so I am thinking I’ll build a base that is more inspired next summer. I’m so happy to finally be using the table top. My father died quite unexpectedly 20 years ago (in February) and this table top is one of the few things I have of his that I knew he truly enjoyed having. It’s great to put it back in service.
I’ve been doing some drawing over the last year. I posted about how iPad drawing wasn’t doing for me so I’ve been doing as much traditional drawing as I can (as I feel like it too…). Also, as part of my office remodeling project, I photographed all of my artwork. I expect to post my artwork soon now that I have it photographed. I just need to do some color correction on the photos. Here are some recent drawings I’ve done in my sketchbook (just a tease – there are lots more).
During the semesters I don’t brew very much compared to the summer break. This summer I brewed a lot. I was able to try out some different recipes and refine my all-grain process a little more. I also added a crazy-cheap chest freezer to handle my need for consistent fermentation temperatures. In the fall, winter, and spring, I can keep the fermentation temperature pretty close to optimal in my house, but during the summer my temps go up since my house is somewhat old and cannot maintain the right temp for brewing . The deep freeze takes care of the problem nicely and I can tell that my summer brews are much better. I just set the temp I want on the controller and it tells the freezer when to turn on and off to maintain that temp.
Towards the end of summer/beginning of the semester I got another gig. This time I needed to create a virtual 3D version of a sculpture of Joe Weider, the first Mr. Olympia, for the 50th Mr. Olympia competition. It was supposed to be just a weekend job, but it took an extra few days of iterations on the likeness until the client was happy. This gig will support a computer upgrade at some point (my computers are 5 years old). Apple just announced the latest iMac, which is cool, but it features AMD graphics hardware, which is bad news for the software I use most. Now I’m trying to decide what I’m going to do (previous iMac that’s Nvidia-based, hackintosh, thunderbolt pcie box, etc…).
The end of the summer for me was ArtsFest on October 3rd. I created some animations that I projected onto a building in the downtown Conway area. It ended up pretty much sucking compared to the work I did for ArtsFest last year. Last year I did a projection mapping project that drew a nice crowd, but this time the projection was literally over everyone’s head. Most of the audience there did not even know if was happening and the crowd was much smaller than it was last year. Also, a street light washed out half of the projection. The organizers had not seen that particular light on ever, but on 10/03 it came on… I think the thing that really sucked was that I essentially phoned the project in. I had plenty of time to make it really cool, but I did not put in the time or effort. I probably only had 30 hours (maybe) in the whole project so I created things that were easy and uninspired. Next year I plan to do something interactive rather than rendered footage. Interactivity is inherently more interesting at an event like ArtsFest and it is something that I have not done in many years so I think the challenge will kick me into gear to make something cool.
This fall semester started out as one of the busiest of my teaching career. Between a new class, a server meltdown, and having a major impact on the careers of four of my colleagues (via the Tenure and Promotion committee), it has been tough to get anything interesting done. It’s fall break now and I’m feeling a bit of relief.
I’ve been working on a few other things that I have not mentioned in this post (both professional and personal projects). As those projects mature I’ll post about them. They include brewing projects, 3D printing, artwork, and film work.