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Tools for Artists

Purple Platapus: FDM Materials And Their Uses Seminar

Just finished a seminar over at Purple Platypus called “FDM Material Selection.” The seminar covered all the FDM materials that their Stratasys machines handle. Great information and samples!


(Click on image for link)


Hand-Painted Specular Maps Vs. "Attribute" Generated

In a previous post (5/17/15,) I showed what the specularity of the Lil Fee looked like when generated by an “attribute” - having the specularity’s Color attribute control a “general” amount across the texture…

Here’s a comparison between a custom, hand-painted map and the one generated by an attribute. The first image is the hand-painted Specular Map:


Notice how the specular is more intense on certain areas: the nose, cheeks and chin in comparison to the rest of the head, plus, I can make the freckles dull in specularity and I can avoid any “blooming” as in the top of the head…


And the image above is the one where the specular is generated by the Specular’s Color swatch. This creates a “constant” specular across the head, so when you get a good result, say, for the nose, the specular gets “blown” on the top of the head…


Specular Tests Using RenderMan

Here’s a test I did using the PxrLMSubsurface base material’s Specular Attribute. This was done without a texture-map, to see what the attribute could do in as a default, and I have to say that the out-of-the-box results are AMAZING! Check out the differences I got by just tweaking the Color and the the Refractive Index (image 2,) which I found on the Internet:


Here are the settings I used for the Color and Refractive Index:


Why use the Refraction Index of water? Well, babies are made of 78% water and as we get older we loose that percentage - 60% for a full-grown male!


This has to do with the Specularity of the skin, not the water-content. And because some parts are more “oily” than others, the next step is to create a custom texture map for the specular and input it in the color Attribute.

Hope this helps someone!


Another Round Of RenderMan Testing: PxrDisney Material

More testing using Pixar’s RenderMan’s PxrDisney Material, PxrFlakes and other fun attributes:


And another mask where I experimented with the PxrDisney Material.



More RenderMan's Testing: Car Paint

More testing using Pixar’s RenderMan’s Car Paint and PxrFlakes plugin:


I played with the flake-size and the density to take the car paint to a pleather-level: fake, plastic-leather-like material used in 50s dinner-furniture, wrestling masks and stilettos!


For this one, I reduced all of the attributes of the PxrFlakes to make it different that the previous mask.


Testing Skin Texture With Pixar's RenderMan

Yes, I just jumped on Pixar’s RenderMan’s bandwagon. It is AMAZING! Talk about an Artist’s friendly render-engine!

Here’s a test I did using the PxrLMSubsurface base material. I did the painting in Brush (Polypaint,) and then transferred it as a texture-file and applied it in Maya to a PxrLMDiffuse material. The sclera has a PxrLMGlass material. Check it out:


And here’s some tests using the Car Paint and the Rubber Presets:


I’ll post more tests as I figure-out the fine-tuning!


Tools for Artists: 3DTotal's Master Custom Brushes EBook

Great Ebook from 3DTotal, “Master Custom Brushes For Characters”:


“A great custom brush will speed up workflow and add personality to your art. Our detailed 6 part guide shows you how!

Using custom brushes can add that special texture and help speed up your workflow. You can use a combination of custom brushes to quickly add cracks, dirt and scratches to textures or images, or use them to paint an underlying texture such as skin, cloth, leather and metal to a section of a painting. This expert guide reveals how to create different brushes to texture characters. Written by industry pros, each artist starts with a basic un-textured character and demonstrates how to create brushes that will add that all-important detail...”


New "Investment": Henman Miller Mirra

I’ve been having some problems with the temp chair I was using at my studio. Its hard to spend money on a chair, you would say... as I did - yes, I confess to this thought, but recently, after my forearms started to go numb towards the end of a long day, it came time to “invest” on a good chair...

So my friend Sandro and I decided to look around for a good chair. He brought up the Herman Miller Mirra series that they use at his studio, Sony ImageWorks, but also mentioned their steep prices... Just in case, we decided to look in the Internet and wouldn’t you know! We found a place in Illinois where they were selling them for... ready? HAF PRICE!


I don’t know where they got them and I don’t care... but they are AMAZING CHAIRS!

Invest in yourself. Your career is the engine of your wealth.
Paul Clitheroe


Artists' Tools: SmudgeGuard "Two-Finger Glove"

No, is not a joke or a play on words, but a great tool for those who want to draw on a tablet and run into a very common problem: you are drawing on your tablet with a Stylus, and all of the sudden, you place the pummel on the screen - or another part of the hand,... and the tablet thinks that the hand AND the Stylus are one and it either rotes the image or it moves it!...


(Click on the image!)

Its called SmudGuard: its a simple glove made out of a magical material (87% Nylon and 13% Spandex,) wick prevents hand friction and on tablets, it prevents what’s called “Palm Recognition,” allowing you to rest your hand on the tablet as you draw!... Oh! And its also washable!

They have a single (SG1) and a double-finger glove (SG2)!


Artists' Tools: iPad Mini + Jot Touch 4 + Procreate = FUN!


(Click on the image!)

So I broke down and bought an iPad Mini: why? Because I wanted a device to “showcase” my work to my clients... instead of my usual routine of: “...Wait, let me show you my work... give five minutes to launch my laptop... I’ll show!... almost there... nice weather lately? it feels like summer!... yeah...” My second reason was to be able to sketch ideas on the “go.” It wasn’t until my brother Bob - of PixelToonsInk.com, showed me his Jot Touch 4, a “pressure-sensitive” pen for iPads and other mobile devices...

I also write about this great painting program I used called Procreate (which you can buy through the App Store...)

Check out my review by clicking here or on the image!