Using Blender for Cover Design

One of the fun parts of writing Juggling JSON with jq, is that I can experiment with various things. From the technical writing side, working with Sphinx has forced me to learn the ins-and-outs of that technology. Also very likely I will need to get into working with LaTeX for more of the advanced PDF parts.

The book cover provided me with an excuse to work on my graphic design skills. I decided that I wanted to do something more than just use a stock photo or old-timey engraving (a.k.a. O’Reilly’s book covers). Instead I decided to use Blender to create a compelling cover image. Yes, it may sound like overkill, however using Blender harkens to past times. Before I settled on studying computer science at the University of Toronto, and working as a programmer, I considered becoming a 3D graphics artist. I played with 3D Studio Max in high school, and learned about drafting and animation. When faced with the reality of being proficient but not amazing at drawing, and the very real possibility of competing with many more talented and experienced artists in the market I decided against that career path. However this decision did not dissuade me from taking drawing in university or enthusiastically learning Maya to make an animation for a visual computing course.

So I took the excellent Youtube video tutorial by Blender Guru. After a few hours of watching the tutorial I came up with a final image like so:

Blender Doughnut scene

] Doughnut and cup scene created in Blender. Created on August 14, 2017

And boy did I learn a lot from the tutorial: navigating Blender’s confusing UI, modeling, texturing, lighting and rendering a final image.

As for the book cover I am working on a cell-shaded, low-poly scene involving penguins and juggling. The process has been pretty fun so far, even though quite time consuming. However I have finished my low-poly model of a penguin, and added rigging (internal skeleton with joints for movement):

Low-poly model of a penguin

] Low-poly model of a penguin for the Juggling JSON with jq book. Created on August 23, 2017

Rendered pose of a juggling penguin

] Rendered pose of the juggling penguin for the Juggling JSON with jq book. Created on August 23, 2017.

Mayan Nightmares and Lazy Dreams

Yesterday was both a rather eventful and uneventful day simultaneously. I did not get much done, but instead I had a pleasant chat with Mike. The usual science fiction, writing, and social issues chat, which I enjoyed greatly. I think I might have come off as conservative, hardhead… and there is nothing wrong with that. We discussed everything from the state of fiction, the state of states, and just other random stuff. Anyhow, this chat was a welcome change in mood for me. Earlier that day I tried to catch the attention of Katarina, and while for a moment I thought I had gained some ground. Then it died off again… oh well. Rudy told me to let her go, but she is only person I can actually practise on. No I am not the person to just go up, and serendipitously ask ladies out. Anyways, talking with Mike cleared my head of those thoughts. I actually want to go off and write a novel now too. (Alas time where are you?)

From the university scene, the requirements engineering assignment is due this Friday. No I have not really worked at it, and I am not motivated to do extremely well on it. I will probably end up staying up tonight to do it. Databases nothing exciting happened. We finally got our assignment for visual computing. One of the parts we have to do a 30 min. short animation in Maya. Not too impressed since I have to use the Personal Learning Edition to do this. I am familiar with Blender, and would rather use it. I stayed up yesterday figuring out a way to use Blender and final work in Maya. Alas, the PE version does not have a 3DS plugin, and Blender does not yet support Alias’ FBX format. A real shame. The only positive light to all of this was, the fact that I can still make my models in Wings3D. That is good… unfortunately I still have to learn how to use Maya PLE. I have not decided upon an animation as of yet either.

Finally I actually did some Datasphere yesterday. Not a gigantic amount, but still it is progress. I will do the bulk of my task today. The rest of the time I will delegate to the 340 requirements report. I will have to continue reorganization first, before I get serious with any other work. In the gaming universe, I killed my first Yeti yesterday in Kingdom of Loathing. Then I noticed the Bounty for Yeti and Penguin fur… and I went nuts. I am proud of being able to level up, and to increase my meat amount by 100% in one day. 😉 Now I will probably continue with one quest, and level up so that Yeti hunting is a single strike issue. After that I am planning to open up a store, and upgrade the clan with the gained meat.

Other all I am feeling in good spirits, but extraordinarly tired. I assume that my writing shows this. Anyways, I have to run off to do some chores, and work on all this stuff.