Johnny’s Workshop

September 26, 2007


Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve devoured a number of tutorials on High Dynamic Range lighting and reflections. Most of them were shit. However, their deficiencies were eventually addressed thanks to the sheer volume of information they yielded as a whole.

All the same, I think someone should carefully organise all the information available online. I’m tired of going through this ordeal every time I want to learn something cool.

Thanks to all the recent studying, my quest to composite photorealistic CG elements into real-world environments has been progressing well. The real test will come when I post UFO hoaxes on YouTube and fierce debate erupts between close-minded skeptics and close-minded believers. In the meantime, here’s another rendering:

Oh, yeah, the title of this post. Whenever I render a ‘glossy’ version of the Strider, I find myself thinking of a line from the ‘Method to Madness’ episode of Family Guy: “Now you’re being born … ready? And BURST through the placenta!”



  1. I’d like to own a Strider that tall.

    Comment by Blobs — September 26, 2007 @ 4:05 pm | Reply

  2. Steve and Crommo have talked about making one. If they ever do, they’ll probably aim for something that size. Ask nicely and they might even let you play with the finished product.

    Hey, I wonder why Valve never released any Half-Life merchandise. You’d think there would be a market for Half-Life action figures. Hell, you can get Jesus action figures and no self-respecting kid would want that crap.

    Actually, this ad is pretty cool.

    Comment by april15th — September 26, 2007 @ 4:25 pm | Reply

  3. Did you blur the background in Photoshop to make it look like the camera was focused on the Strider?

    Comment by Blobs — September 26, 2007 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  4. Nah, too much hassle. I did the blur within 3ds Max.

    Comment by april15th — September 26, 2007 @ 8:08 pm | Reply

  5. Hey JP, I jumped on your computer while you were out of your room, saw this post, and decided to comment that I do INDEED enjoy this picture. Also, I like the blurry background. I’ll talk to you about it when you come upstairs. That is all. Also, there is no bump map on this one? PS- its crommo.

    Comment by april15th — September 26, 2007 @ 9:09 pm | Reply

  6. Use your own damn account. A minor increase in visitor numbers is the only thing that gets me through the day. Visitor numbers and a bottle of smooth Kentucky bourbon.

    Comment by april15th — September 26, 2007 @ 9:22 pm | Reply

  7. There, I’m using my own account.

    Comment by crommo — September 27, 2007 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

  8. As it should be, Crommo. As it should be …

    You’ll be pleased to know that I’m now trying to get my head around 3ds Max animation. For now, I just want to combine the animation data in the .smd files that exist for the Strider. Shouldn’t be too difficult. Once I’ve worked it out, I’ll create another video (only with HDR lighting and reflections so that it looks super cool). Even just having a small version of the Strider walking across the kitchen bench would be wicked awesome.

    Comment by april15th — September 27, 2007 @ 1:49 pm | Reply

  9. You know, this Strider is badass. If I saw that thing coming towards me, I’d freak right the hell out. It kinda reminds me of that spider that bit me…..stupid prick. I hate him SO much…

    Comment by Sheri — September 30, 2007 @ 11:29 am | Reply

  10. I hate that spider, too. I’m adding it to my always-expanding List of Non-Sentient Living Things To Kill. Remember to write a blog entry about the whole experience. I’m certain it would make for a compelling read!

    Comment by april15th — September 30, 2007 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

  11. “The movie Barzolff is working on for the big screen is about two guys who create a UFO hoax so realistic that it spirals out of their control.”

    Thought it may interest or anger you.

    Comment by Blobs — October 1, 2007 @ 3:34 am | Reply

  12. Very cool, Woboin! I’ve decided this Barzolff fellow is my new idol.

    I can’t believe I never bothered to visit to read the story behind the Haitian UFOs. Usually, that’s my first port of call for reading up on hoaxes, conspiracy theories, urban legends, etc.

    By the way, whilst chatting with Crommo earlier this evening, I told him of my plan to walk out onto the balcony, video camera in hand, and to then pan to the left to reveal a full-size Strider idling on the front lawn. I’m hoping to have it completed by the end of the week (the sooner the better, of course), so be sure to visit again soon.

    Comment by april15th — October 1, 2007 @ 4:18 am | Reply

  13. I checked just now in the hope of some juicy strider action.

    Comment by crommo — October 1, 2007 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  14. …that is the best fake I’ve seen… right up there with that scifi channel ad one.

    Comment by crommo — October 1, 2007 @ 4:44 pm | Reply

  15. …I cant stop watching them… they are making me excited about the strider project

    Comment by crommo — October 1, 2007 @ 4:46 pm | Reply

  16. I agree with the Crommster. This Strider thing is pretty awesome. I’m already looking forward to the next post!

    PS: You’re cool.

    Comment by Sheri — October 1, 2007 @ 7:50 pm | Reply

  17. Well, you’ll both be pleased to know that I captured the necessary video footage this afternoon, and began development of a new light probe (as in, took all the necessary photographs).

    I learnt a valuable lesson, too: don’t try to create a light probe of an overcast day when the sky is filled with Cumulus clouds. After taking the first set of exposures, I had to stand out on the front lawn for about 45 minutes waiting for the sun to be blocked long enough and by dark enough clouds to ensure the second set of exposures had the same lighting as the first set.

    Felt like the sky was just toying with me the whole time. “Here. Here’s a big cloud … but it’s only going to obscure half the sun.” “Here’s some more, but they’re not going to be big enough or dark enough to match the clouds you had earlier.” “Here’s a cloud that’ll completely blot out the sun but only for eight seconds. Good luck taking all your exposures in that timeframe.” Damn, it was annoying.

    In future, I’m just going to wait for a day with suitable cloud cover. I was going to do that for this experiment but I found myself too impatient. (I also thought I’d have plenty of time to take all the photographs before the sun emerged from the first set of clouds.)

    Comment by april15th — October 1, 2007 @ 7:55 pm | Reply

  18. … I don’t know. You’ve seen how fussy those lightprobes are… think it’ll work if it’s not exactly the same light source? The sun will’ve moved in 45 minutes. So you’ll get a blurry sort of thing… maybe. Even under clouds? Time will tell. I’m just discussing with my own brain.

    Comment by crommo — October 2, 2007 @ 8:13 am | Reply

  19. I still haven’t assembled the HDRI from those photographs but it should be fine. The moving clouds will lead to some inconsistency between exposures but it won’t really make a difference because of how the .hdr is to be used. Remember, the purpose of its creation is not to end up with a pristine photograph like that HDR church image I showed you; it’s only being used to light the 3D model and to ensure the model reflects the environment in a realistic way.

    I might actually write up a post on the subject of creating a light probe so that everyone (including me) has a better idea as to what it entails. The development of a decent light probe is a project in and of itself, I’ve come to realise.

    Comment by april15th — October 4, 2007 @ 3:42 pm | Reply

  20. Hey Johnny?? Will you please post another entry soon? I’m curious to know what you’ve done with Strider and I want to be a part of the evolutionary process!

    Comment by Sheri — October 9, 2007 @ 6:30 pm | Reply

  21. I’ll post another update very soon! Right now, I just need to do a bit more research / experimentation into the art of matching rendered CG animation with digital video footage. Specifically, the DV footage my video camcorder yields.

    Comment by april15th — October 10, 2007 @ 2:21 am | Reply

  22. Don’t worry about it, JP. I’m secretly leaking all your progress and files to Sheri anyway, but I’m taking the credit for it. HA HA!

    Comment by crommo — October 10, 2007 @ 9:16 am | Reply

  23. And I’m secretly leaking all Crommo’s files to those people who sell the Jesus action figures! Wouldn’t you love to see Jesus creating a Strider out of five loaves of bread and two fish? That’s got big money written all over it!

    Comment by Sheri — October 11, 2007 @ 1:40 pm | Reply

  24. To be honest, Sheri, I’m not so sure that is one of those ‘big money’ ideas. In fact, I’m starting to question whether or not you’re cut out to be an Executive Producer …

    Comment by april15th — October 12, 2007 @ 2:41 am | Reply

  25. I thought that since you made a comment on my blog you may have updated your own. I was wrong.

    Comment by crommo — October 12, 2007 @ 8:17 am | Reply

  26. I’m close, though, rest assured. This morning I captured all of yesterday’s video footage to my computer, along with the balcony footage needed for the ‘Strider on the front lawn’ experiment. Hell, I might even post a new entry before the end of today.

    Comment by april15th — October 12, 2007 @ 1:56 pm | Reply

  27. Once again…. all lies…

    Comment by canadiansheri — October 13, 2007 @ 10:55 am | Reply

  28. I said that I might post a new entry! I did actually create some new renders last night but they weren’t really worthy of a new post, so I refrained from writing one.

    Speaking of lies, does this quote ring any bells? “I hear you loud and clear! I’m on it!”

    Comment by april15th — October 13, 2007 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

  29. nope. should it?

    Comment by crommo — October 14, 2007 @ 10:50 pm | Reply

  30. Well, I DID hear you loud and clear! And I AM on it!

    Comment by Sheri — October 15, 2007 @ 3:30 pm | Reply

  31. Crommo, that cold knife to the heart was intended for me, so don’t you worry your pretty little head about it.

    Comment by Sheri — October 15, 2007 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

  32. Boorrring.

    Comment by Blobs — October 23, 2007 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  33. Roboin, your latest comment interrupted my composition of the next post for this ol’ blog o’ mine.

    I’ll warn you in advance, though, tonight’s post is not going to be anything jaw-dropping; just a tutorial. Cool stuff will follow shortly thereafter.

    Do kids still say ‘cool’ these days?

    Comment by april15th — October 23, 2007 @ 6:54 pm | Reply

  34. Striders…is that what they’re called? I stepped on wunna’ the bastards this morning. I thought this blog entry was a tad light on comments.

    Comment by Matt — October 23, 2007 @ 8:33 pm | Reply

  35. Matthew, yours was the second comment in a row with noteworthy timing. Suzy, Crommo and I just walked down to Safeway and back. On the way there, Crommo spoke of his wish for you to occasionally comment on our blogs … Isn’t that interesting?

    Comment by april15th — October 23, 2007 @ 8:41 pm | Reply

  36. Finally… cold, hard evidence that there is indeed a higher power. Sounds to me like ‘someone’ owes God an apology… hmm?

    Comment by Sheri — October 24, 2007 @ 2:16 am | Reply

  37. Who? Richard Dawkins?

    Comment by april15th — October 24, 2007 @ 2:36 am | Reply

  38. John John John. Your “I hear you loud and clear! I’m on it!” comment made me think of command and conquer, but you’re not rad enough to have played that game. And incase you hadn’t noticed, kids DON’T say cool these, they say Rad! i miss the good old days of RADiCOOL. Anyway, what was i here for…. Oh yeah, because you’re almost as good at delaying as the makers of Duke Nukem Forever! So get your act together or your blog posts will too become nothing more than a cheap joke amongst gamers!

    Love Gi47 P0w3R

    Comment by Gi47 P0w3R — October 25, 2007 @ 12:31 am | Reply

  39. You’re confused, Gi47 P0w3R, for I was not the one who said, “I hear you loud and clear! I’m on it!” The culprit in that instance was Sheri.

    At the beginning of the month, Sheri and I agreed to send one another a list of goals we wanted to achieve before the end of the year. I sent my list and, ever since, I’ve been imploring Sheri to send her list. Twenty-three days have since elapsed and still nothing …

    Also, I have played “Command and Conquer” … at your house … with you! Well, “Command and Conquer: Generals.” So, it would seem I am radicool, after all.

    As for the next post … I worked on it for five-and-a-half hours yesterday, so it’s very near to completion. I’m trying to make it as pretty and lucid as possible, which is why it’s taking forever. Once it’s complete, I’ll be devoting most of my time to creating rad pictures and videos to jazz up this oft-neglected blog.

    Comment by april15th — October 25, 2007 @ 12:53 am | Reply

  40. I’m not THAT confused! In this blog entry YOU were the first person to say it. That is all

    Comment by Gi47 P0w3R — October 28, 2007 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

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