Manuals, Tutorials & Software… Oh my!

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Its been a busy week, month and year so far!  But that’s a good thing and I’m actually enjoying myself.  So in this post I’m going to talk about what I’ve been up to, what’s coming and a few new site changes.

RPG Maker

I’ve finished the basic tutorials and created a somewhat playable demo game.  Its nothing spectacular but it did include all the basic elements of an adventure RPG.  I haven’t attempted anything with the RGSS scripting language yet, but I have been playing around with various event scripts.   Event scripts control much of what happens in the games you create and with some practice you can do some pretty cool things with them.  As I start coming up with some interesting event concepts I’ll share some of them with instructions on how they can be used in others games.

I’m also looking at some tutorials on creating tilesets and sprites and will give that a try soon.  The default tileset in the game are done at 32×32 pixels which isn’t very large and create graphics that are pretty simplistic.  Below is a screen shot from the demo game I’ve been making as part of the practice tutorial.

demogame1Pretty basic stuff.  The above was done with low resolution graphics, which will also be the first type of tilesets and sprites I’ll learn to create.  However, the game engine can use much higher resolution graphics as seen in the screen shot below from a game created by Pioneer Valley Games using the same game engine.

1391579135Much nicer looking isn’t it.  Eventually, this is the style tilesets and sprites I want to focus on making for RPG Maker.  But like everything else it takes time to learn.  As I progress I’ll share tips and tutorials along the way.

So, with all that in mind I’m adding some new blog categories for RPG Maker.  In the future as I come up with ideas for scripting various events, create tilesets, sprites and graphics or other related news it will be easier to find for those interested.  I’m also hoping to have the full version by the end of this month if finances allow.

3D Models

This week I’ve also been back in Blender working on some 3d model projects.  For the last few months I had taken a break from 3d modeling out of frustration.  Having started several large projects that never got finished, including the garden project, I realized I needed to step back from it.  This time I’m approaching things differently.  I’m using concept drawings to work out all the details of a project in advance.  This solves two of the problems that were keeping me from finishing some of my projects.  First, it allows me to figure out all the construction details before I create the first vertex.  I know where I need to begin, and have a clear idea how to build the model before I actually start.  That lets me be more organized and more efficient in my workflow.  Second, it helps me stay focused.  One of the other ways previous complex projects were going wrong (and part of why they weren’t getting finished) was the constant “hey, what if I add this,” or “wouldn’t it be cool if I change this…” and the project would drift off in new directions with constant changes and revisions and it just never got finished.  Concept art eliminates that by getting all those cool ideas worked out before I start modeling the project, so that once I being work I’m more focused start to finish; and I actually get things finished more quickly.

Currently, I’m working on some small projects.  Below is a sample of part of a table and chair set I’m finishing up and will be releasing for sale at YURdigital.  I’ll be making a post about that when its released.

Cafeteria table set 02

I still have a lot to learn about Blender, I’ve used the sculpting tools very little and not done any retopo work yet.  Those are skills I need to master for the future.  I have done some basic figure rigging and weight mapping but still need a lot of practice with that.  Both will be important since what I really want to do is character and creature creation.  I’ve loved coming up with all kinds of monsters, aliens and creatures since I was a kid and being able to create them in 3D for us in games or video would so much fun for me.

Speaking of games, there’s also the built in 3D game engine in Blender that I still need to learn about, and later on the Unity engine.  But that’s still a long term goal and not in the immediate future.

Poser

I currently have Poser 9 and plan to upgrade to the current version of Poser Pro as soon as funds allow.  A lot the models I’m planning to make in the near future will be mainly for users of the Poser software and for sale through various vendors and (hopefully) a yet to be built store here.  Poser is fun software to play with but a lot has changed and I still have some catching up to do.  Right now I’m focusing on learning more about setting up materials and MAT files (poses), but also lighting and rendering options.  Later I intend to learn more about the dynamic cloth room, hair and setting up custom figures in Poser.  It all just takes time to learn.

Manga Studio

I also have Manga Studio 4 EX, which has been sitting on my HD mostly ignored.  With my recent interest in learning comic styles of illustration I’ve been making a little time to start learning more about using the Manga Studio software, but its not a big priority for me right now.  Not sure what I’ll do with it, perhaps comic style illustrations for games.  Doubt I have time to do a comic of graphic novel right now, but its an idea for the future.

Tutorial Videos

I watch a lot of tutorial videos, probably in excess of 20+ hrs a week (on the other hand I don’t watch much TV these days, lil bit of news, Face Off and Castle and that’s really about it).  Below is a list of artists who have tutorial videos on Youtube, links to their videos and also to their web sites.  I’ve found them useful as I continue to develop my 2D art skills and thought I’d share.

Josiah Brooks (Draw with Jazza) whom I’ve frequently referenced.

Proko (Stan Prokopenko) who like Jazza is just fun to watch as well as educational.

Fine Art Tips

Mark Crilley

All of these artist provide free tutorial videos I’ve found very helpful, so show them all some support and check them out.

That’s All

That’s it for this week.  I’ve got some more 2D practice sheets coming up as well as the projects mentioned above.  Lot of new things happening in the near future.  Keeps me busy and mostly out of trouble!  In the meantime, find something you love to do and be creative!

Natural abilities are like natural plants, they need pruning by study. — Francis Bacon

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