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  FTC - 12-06-09

       So I havent done much with this site in... nearly a year, because I am in the process of completely remaking it but I recently came along some new FTC mandates and figured I should clarify accordingly.


"The Federal Trade Commission will require bloggers to clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products.


It is the first time since 1980 that the commission has revised its guidelines on endorsements and testimonials, and the first time the rules have covered bloggers.


But the commission stopped short Monday of specifying how bloggers must disclose any conflicts of interest."


I will begin posting at the bottom of each section if I was paid or received any compensation for conducting any reviews on my site. It would be nice if I did receive some but I doubt I will.

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  Mac - Bootcamp - 1-21-09

       Short post – Another nice piece of software.

      Like many people with Intel based macs, I use bootcamp to switch into Windows. Within windows there is an option to restart into OS X, Mac OS X lacks that option. Here is a little tool to help: 

Boot Champ - Click this because the URL is really long

This allows me to just click "Restart in Windows" so i don't have to sit there and hold the alt key while it boots.


I did not receive any compensation for reviewing/plugging this product.

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Quick Links


Currently Reading:


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  Windows - Folder Sizes - 1-11-09

       Short post – Just a very helpful hint.

      I have way too much crap and moving stuff to backup drives can be tedious on windows XP since there is no option to show the folder sizes like there is in Mac OS X. 

A solution -

Works pretty slick and most importantly it supports 64 bit and it works!
Gotta love open source!


I did not receive any compensation for reviewing/plugging this product.

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  Windows Home Server Praise - 1-10-09

       Happy New Year all! Hope you had an enjoyable transition. Thought I would start of with some rare praise for a microsoft product!




I did not receive any compensation for reviewing/plugging this product.

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  Studio Or Freelance - 12-12-08

       I recently went to see Keith Cormier (A Pixar lighting TD) speak at MCAD in Minneapolis and while I was there I, inevitably, ran into a few former classmates (current students) from AI.  As expected you get the barrage of standard questions: “What are you doing for work? Where are you living? Do you get to do anything cool?” Etc.. and as I was looking forward to Keith’s speech I uncaringly answered.  It wasn’t until afterward that I realized, I really would have appreciated any insight into what I am currently doing, while I was a student.  So here’s a little peek into freelancing in Minnesota.



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  What does Dan do?- 12-11-08

Here is my response to the “what I do,” (in regards to 3D production) question; for all those that understand the lingo.


I graduated college with a heavy modeling, texturing, and rendering focus.  While I still love those three areas, I have branched out and feel it has undoubtedly evolved my work for the better.


The term “scene assembler” has been used more frequently, as of late, and I find myself fitting that mold more and more, most likely due to the demands from freelancing. 

Scene assembler, as I interpret it, usually consists of:


Detailed hard surface modeling (my favorite)
Simple hard surface modeling
Initial scene setup
Lighting – All aspects of lighting
Shaders/Textures – I usually set them up and paint all the custom maps
Background particles and FX – I often do FumeFX setup and sims
Render Prep- I’m usually the only person to setup and prep the final files for
renders.  I test times and quality and ensure to not exceed computer limits
Break renders into the necessary passes
Submit the renders
Composite – Using Shake or Fusion- I assemble and tweak anything and         
everything that needs to be.  Also I usually add any post fx at this stage.


I definitely do more than this, I often animate and and help setup simple rigs and things, this list is just what Ii do most often.

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  Currently Reading - 12-10-08

        I enjoy learning and I do a lot of it every day. People often ask "what are you reading," and since it seems like a common question I figured there are other people out there that may wonder it but don't ever ask, or don't see me reading so don't think to ask.

        Also, I'll review each book as I finish it incase you want to buy it or just want to know if it's good!


C++ From the Ground Up - ISBN-0078824052
       Personal Reading. Scripting helps tremendously in 3D production, I learned some C++ back in high school but need to freshen up my skills.


Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X - ISBN- 9780201726831
       Although I use windows most of the time I own a number of Macs and enjoy the interface and design enough that I would like to know how to code for it.


Learning ActionScript 3.0 - ISBN-9780596527877
       Picked this up to use as a reference for a project, It's a well written book and I am enjoying it so I keep reading it!


I did not receive any compensation for reviewing/plugging these products.

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  Pesky Max - 12-04-2008

        I feel I have to make this public knowledge. I spent the better part of 2 hours trying to figure out why, anytime I was in Editable Poly mode and I hit the alt key it would execute the traditional windows alt function and not the max defined alt function. Maybe it's clearer to say, when I hit alt+r while in editable poly mode, I would get the render dialogue box instead of selecting an edge ring. As you may or may not understand, selecting edge rings is pivotal to modeling.

        The solution: You have to delete the 3ds max user profile so max will create a new one. In order to get to this file you have to turn on the "show hidden files and folders" in windows. This file is stored in "C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Application Data\Autodesk\3dsmax\9 - 64bit\enu" fun, no?! Go ahead and add the extension ".bak" onto the 3dsmax.ini and restart max, when max opens it will automatically create a new one and now you can reapply all your UI settings! (Adding the .bak just allows you to revert back to the old .ini should it not fix your problem for whatever reason by just deleting the newly created .ini and then removing ".bak" from the original)

TADA. Everything should be fixed, though, the entire UI is reset, a small price to pay to get work done.

It looks like if you're running Max 2009 the 3dsmax.ini is stored in the root directory. AKA - "C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2009"

Hope this saves someone a few hours of searching for a resolution to a problem that doesn't have an obvious solution at first glance.

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Finding References - 12-02-2008

        I thought I would start off my thoughts page with proof that it’s not a blog, at least in my mind.  I’ve got a little tip/helper that I consider to be too small to be a full tutorial but is still rich with experience and help. 


        We (3D people) often need reference images for whatever the reason is, and for many of us, our first instinct is to go to google images and search.  While this can, and often does, turn up decent results, they usually aren’t as elaborate as we had hoped for. Alas, a solution.

Use popular, community embraced, photo sharing web sites.  Google doesn’t search flickr when you type in “Office Building,” it just searches web sites and image names.  So if someone puts an image up on their site and doesn’t name it with a description of what the image is (who would do that? Cough cough… shifty eyes) google will not return with that image.  Tags, which are what flickr and many other popular photosharing sites use, are human entered keywords that are used to return results when you use the search function.

The consumer cameras are now at a point where they shoot 10, 12, 14 mega pixel images which is usually plenty for personal reference. The community doesn't worry about how many images of something are already online, they will take a photo anyway. This awesome attribute of humans allows us to pick and choose from the best photos. Light too washed out on that one? Not enough detail on that one? No worries, click the next page and 10 more versions of that photo will show up!

        Now here’s the real tip- and I am not condoning illegal use of these community posted images, but many of the images on said photosharing sites are blocked by the dreaded spaceball.gif.  Within firefox there are ways around this, yes there are programs and other tools out there that will download a “hidden” image but I find this to be simple and quick and you can do it on a computer that you don't have authorized access to install software. Go to Tools>Page Info and then click the “Media” tab and then highlight an image name in the list and just scroll through the list while watching the preview window.  Once you get to the image you want just click “Save as” in the corner and you’re home free.

I suggest doing this, not as a way to break any copyright rules or anything, but more of a way to free up bandwidth and save on many resources.  Not having to be on the internet all the time saves a lot of wasted energy on the use of servers and switching hubs and all that jazz.  Also, you may work without an internet connection on so viewing those images would be impossible while offline.  Again, these are for personal use, produce your own stuff to sell if that’s what you’re after.

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Thoughts on thoughts:

I didn't want to call this a blog, when I think blog I think lame diary. My plan is to use this page for all sorts of miscellaneous posting. Everything from reviews of new software, to cool coding techniques I have recently discovered. I'll also publicly reply to emails in this section, should I feel that the knowledge contained in the reply is valid, and worth everyone's time to read, I wont post the original email, just a summary of the question/s.

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