New Languages, New Tutorial Pending

Written July 2nd, 2010
Categories: Blog

I’m working hard on a new tutorial on Sub-Surface Scattering since there aren’t very many good ones out there yet.  During renders, I’m looking for ways of getting new languages added to the site.  Hopefully we’ll have deployments in 20 languages by the end of July!

Here’s a little teaser from the tutorial!

Dragon with SSS

Stanford Dragon with Sub-Surface Scattering Enabled

Faster, Faster, Faster

Written June 18th, 2010
Categories: Blog

These last few sleepy evenings have been spent making some important but invisible changes to the site. I’ve been tightening up the infrastructure to make things faster and taken almost half of the loading time off the site.

I think later this weekend I’m going to get back to what I do best and maybe write out a tutorial. I can’t say I know what I’m going to do just yet, but I think writing something will get me back into the swing of things. Probably something on mental ray rendering.

Adding Offsite Links

Written June 15th, 2010
Categories: Blog

Hey all,

It’s really late, but I’m going to get started on uploading the hundreds of offsite tutorials we gathered for the CGCodex project. I want to augment the site’s offering with them so they’ll be added in a lean and tasteful way.

Don’t fret if you see site glitches or weird interface behavior.

All set: The site has been updated with almost 800 tutorial links from around the web. They’re tagged and categorized by hand- enjoy!

A Few Small Changes

Written June 13th, 2010
Categories: Blog

Hey all,

While I get back into things, I’m making a few minor changes to the site that should speed things up a little. If you notice quirky graphics that should be temporary. If any problems last longer than a few hours, reach out via the contact page.

A Personal Crisis of Sorts

Written June 13th, 2010
Categories: Blog

Hey all,

I just got back from a great bike ride where I had plenty of time to ponder what I’ve been doing these last few weeks. Unfortunately, it seems like the demand for that CGCodex website isn’t going to be high enough for me to continue with it. I think most people are content to either use atrocious free websites or buy DVDs from Gnomon.

First of all, I’m wondering what to do with this library of 3d tutorials I have from that project. There’re about 800 of them and they’re categorized and tagged. Should I post them to a “Offsite” section of the blog and link to them?

Next, I’m wondering what my next move in 3d is going to be. I’ll probably get back to basics and do a few modeling competitions. But after that I’m thinking of making a 3d training course (similar to the Monday Movies but longer, more concentrated, and probably for $10-$25). Think there would be any interest in something like that?

Still here…Just busy

Written May 31st, 2010
Categories: Blog
1 Comment »

Hey all,

I’m still around but I’ve been really busy putting together the new site. I’ve also completed some experiments with VRay and I’d like to get the results to you in the next few days.

In the meantime, here’s a relaxing video I found on YouTube. =)

World-Machine 2.2 Announced

Written May 13th, 2010
Categories: Blog
No Comments »

Hey all,

Looks like Stephen Schmitt released a new version of his incredible World-Machine. For those of you who’ve never used it, it’s a procedural terrain generation program that creates the most realistic effects in the industry. If you’re a reader of my blog, you’ve probably seen my World-Machine tutorials.

Drop by his site and take a look. If you use Terragen or Vue d’Esprit you won’t be disappointed.

Where’d Mr. Bluesummers Go?

Written May 2nd, 2010
Categories: Blog

Hey all,

Right now I’m still working on parts of the new site. Take a look at the mocks below. Chaos Group got back to me with a demo version of the latest VRay, and I’ll be unboxing that tonight and giving it a thorough investigation. I’ll start writing out a final review and posting it here.

Expect some movement this week!

More Tutorials Pending

Written April 23rd, 2010
Categories: Blog
1 Comment »

Hey all,

Wanted to let you know that I’ll have some more tutorials coming down the pipe soon. I’m also working on the 3d Codex project again so I’ll have updates on that later this weekend.

For now, you can check out my posts on and I put up the entire Monday Movie lineup and it looks kind of cool to see all of the preview images in one big column.  Feel free to grab your favorites for your blog as I’ll continue to host those images indefinitely.

Sweet Inspiration from NatGeo

Written April 20th, 2010
Categories: Blog

There’re some great photos of the Iceland volcanic ash cloud being posted over at National Geographic.  Check it out.

Incredible- and great inspiration, too.

OCZ Solid State Drives, RAID-0

Written April 12th, 2010
Categories: Articles, Blog

I’ve installed two OCZ Vertex Turbo 60GB solid state drives and created a RAID-0 array.  I want to share my experience with you.

From the top

This has been quite a weekend.  I’ve lost most/all of my data including my Monday Movie resources, music, movies, software, and other irreplaceable this-and-that.  At the very least, I should write about why this all happened and encourage others to carefully try the same.  It’s really given me a snappy computer setup and, despite the crippling cost, I would probably do it again.  Probably.


Here’s the rundown:

  1. Two OCZ Vertex Turbo SSDs (2.5″): $200 each.
  2. Two Icy Dock 2.5″->3.5″ HDD converters: $20 each.
  3. Backups are critical- take offsite backups, or at least store data in an external drive and disconnect it.
  4. Enable write-back cache to enhance performance.

So let’s take a look at what I did, how I did it, and how you can profit from the process without having to pay the agonizing cost I did.

Gearing Up

Learn From My Mistakes- Take Backups

I backed up my data on another hard drive that is attached to my computer.  However, I didn’t unplug it and the RAID system I created might have mucked with the boot sector.  Successive attempts to repair the problem made things worse.  Long story short, just buy a passport.  At $150 for a terabyte of data, you’ll never run out and it’s a great place to put data while you’re working on your rig.  I have a smaller one that wasn’t suitable for some of the stuff I needed to back up so at least I have some of my documents.

The OCZ Solid State Drives- Purchase and Unboxing

For starters, I bought the drives from Newegg.  Again, these were the 60GB Vertex Turbo 2.5″ units you can find here.

Unopened OCZ 60GB Solid State Drive Front

Unopened OCZ 60GB Solid State Drive Front

Unopened OCZ 60GB Solid State Drive Back

Unopened OCZ 60GB Solid State Drive Back

Alright.  We’re ready with the drives.  Let’s open them up and take a look!

Alright.  We’re ready with the drives.  Let’s open them up and take a look!

OCZ 60GB Vertex Turbo Instruction Manual

OCZ 60GB vertex turbo carefully placed on top of the drive.

The OCZ Vertex Turbo 60GB Size Comparison

The OCZ Vertex Turbo as compared to an ordinary pen.

Now initially I had bought mounting brackets- probably like you’re planning on doing because they’re cheaper.  Do not do this. The brackets do not increase the length of the drives, which is what really matters in some cases (like mine).  Take a look at the following images.

OCZ Vertex Turbo SSDs and Mounting Brackets

The SSDs and mounting brackets in their packaging.

Mounting Brackets on OCZ Vertex Turbo Solid State Drives

Mounting brackets attached…properly?

OCZ SSD with wrong mounting brackets

This…isn't going to work, is it? Nope- the adapted drives are wide enough,but not long enough.

Tape-mounted solid state drives

Drive mounted with tape. I know, but I'm not going to Frys again.

Now I didn’t leave them tape mounted.  Once I confirmed that the drives were working, I went out and bought the two Icy Docks to hold the drives.  They convert the size to a full 3.5″ hard drive specification which is what my case is expecting.

Once the hard part was over, it was time for some benchmarking.  Note that I am not tech savvy compared to some other people out there so if I can do it, you can do it.  Here’s some performance metrics for the two OCZ Vertex Turbo drives in Raid-0.  I know they’re not comprehensive- you can find more details elsewhere.  I just want to give you an idea of what an ordinary human can do.

Solid State RAID0 Reading Performance

File reading performance graph for solid state RAID-0 array.

Hard Disk Drives in RAID0

These are two Seagate HDDs and their RAID-0 Read Performance

The two Seagate drives are Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS 320GB.  Take a look at some random access stats:

HDD Random Access Performance in RAID-0

HDD Random Access Performance in RAID-0

OCZ Vertex Turbo Solid State Drives and Random Access

OCZ Vertex Turbo solid state drives and random access- a match made in heaven!

You can see that the solid state drives provide a lot in the way of random access.  Overall they’re faster, but they really shine in accessing and moving small files.  The kind you’ll use in rendering scenes that need to page textures and assets.  The kind you’ll use in running games that need to reach out to map files and textures often during level changes.

And that’s the overview.  This was a pretty easy operation, everything considered.  I’m looking forward to really pushing the limits of this system with some gaming/rendering!

Damage Assessment

Written April 11th, 2010
Categories: Blog
1 Comment »

Alright guys,

The damage is looking pretty bad. I’ve lost all of my original footage to the Monday Movies, the bumper resources (intro, outro), and original scenes. This is in addition to personal stuff like documents, music, videos, etc. I’m in the process of a last ditch effort to un-RAID one of my original drives and try to recover the partition but my magic 8 ball says the outlook isn’t good.

Once I’m done grieving, I’ll try to push out some written tutorials for you while I clear the rubble and rebuild.  Just please, remember, rule #1 of any serious project is to keep offsite backups.  At $50/year/200Gb with Google Docs storage there’s no reason not to.

Looking Good

Written March 30th, 2010
Categories: Blog

The site is starting to look more like what I want.  The next steps are going to be getting back on track with the Monday Movies and re-tagging the posts so that their easier to find.  Please feel free to use the feedback box I included in the side bar- it really helps me aggregate what everyone’s looking for.

So far I’ve only gotten about 4 respondents and they said they want more Modeling and VRay tutorials so I guess that’s what I’ll do.  Tonight I’ll wrap up the latest episode and see if I can get to work on another one.  I’ve got some good stuff lined up for you so stay tuned!

Wroking on it!

Written March 29th, 2010
Categories: Blog

I know, there’s a lot that’s borked right now. I’m taking care of it now. :)

EDIT: Repaired pagination and the missing tutorials issue.
EDIT: Stripped “Related Posts” from tutorials until I can figure out how to scale that stuff.
EDIT: Repaired missing images from some tutorials.
EDIT: I’m probably going to remove the pre-roll static ad and the overlays from the videos. I thought they’d be…more tasteful than that.
EDIT: Stripped away those ads. Contacting LTV tomorrow to find out what’s wrong.

New Chrome Ad (Mac)

Written February 11th, 2010
Categories: Blog

Found one today.  ^_^

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