by Zach Harvest
Apologies for the following rant. If you want more content and less bitching, please proceed to the CONTENT part of the writeup :P
So I was going to take a break from Everyweeks for a few weeks but Jake would have NONE of that lol. So I guess I’ll keep on truckin through these. Excuses fill the reason list for why I wanted to take a break. Biggest one is the mood they put me in usually. Lets spend 2 hours writing up a big fatty article that gets me all pissed off from all hiccups I encountered through the week. Its SO hard to focus on the good when there is so little of it. Also I really struggle to make my writeups less repetitive because I do virtually the same thing every week. I bitch about how blender sucks and how hard it is. I make promises that I don’t follow up on and that might not make anyone else mad, but it makes me mad. I have a vision but rarely does Blender let me follow through. I could follow up on these things but with having a project to complete everyweek makes this tricky. ESPECIALLY tricky when you have render times to deal with and only so much compute power. Not to mention how quickly I can eat through my complement of artsy fartsy for the day.
Render times have been hampered due to the issues I’ve been having with the new computer. Getting renders off has been nothing but a total bitch and a lot of my time was going into fixing the new RenderStation™/ actually using my main computer. I’ll go into more detail on that later as I feel like it’s a valid part of this everyweeks.
This week I tried to cheat my way out of texturing. I would like to say I tried many methods to get around this but I found myself just using mesh generators to try and eek detail out of something. I use a few plugins that make this a bit easier than doing it all with displacement maps. As I look at these renders from instagram, vimeo, doesntfuckingmatterwhere, I see all of this small detail in the ground and surround and I really want this in my scene. I know it’s not all modeled by hand so the problem is that much of this is in the texturing process. I really REALLY hate texturing in Blender. It’s probably the most irritating thing you can do in the fucking program. I’ve already bitched enough about this particular problem so I’ll spare you the reading time.
Again, my frustration with render debacles has stunted my ability to render out test scenes for any length of time, however, I did work hard on various meshes and basic materials for a full week. I made a few cool images but overall I really didn’t get the effect I was going for. The lighting was tricky and I would love to use HDRI on this shit but good HDRI are expensive and jack up the render time significantly. Blender Guru makes some killer plugins that fix this but they all run at a price that, at this point, I’m not willing to pay. In addition, the scene needs to be textured to not look out of place...so fuck.
Mesh generation is a fun way to get nice ground meshes and object surface displacement but it’s hell to actually deal with. Big meshes can lock up even the most manly men of computers in a heartbeat. If you want high enough resolution for a close up, you’re looking at up to 3 min of waiting JUST to generate the mesh. Blender does a terrible job of providing progress bars or any fucking notification that it’s even doing anything! Sometimes you don’t know if it’s crashed or just doing something. So when making changes to the mesh or generating a new one, you’re left high a dry, hopping the fucking program doesn’t crash because you clicked something while Windows thinks “The program is not responding”...
Enough with Blender, onto RenderStation™. Problems. SO many problems. So I think I’ve complained about stability issues on RenderStation in past Everyweeks but the basics are this. Ever since building the thing and installing Windows, I’ve pretty much had constant problems. After the first few hours of running, it hard hanged. Like, locked up mouse, locked up everything. You had to hard reset to get it back up and running. So I tried the basic shit, mostly software changes but got no where. I didn’t even have a bluescreen to help with an error message. The logs just say “The system has shut down unexpectedly” fuck. I bet it’s hardware. So I started looking into memory problems, video card problems and all of the hardware shit. First I moved some addin cards around, no dice. Took out all the ram and put it back in different slots and it started yelling at me that there was no ram...odd. These tested fine in other slots. None of this was checking out. I reseated the CPUs because the memory controller was moved to the CPU in Sandy Bridge or something. NOTHING. STILL CRASHING. FUCK. It’s probably the motherboard. Thats no good because the ebay seller fucked me over and said the 30 day return period starts when you purchase it, not when it shows up. This is particularly bullshit because he was super late on sending it and it was a holiday weekend so it took over a week to show up. I have fucking 16 slots of ram to test and 2x CPU sockets to mess with making the total amount of ram slots to troubleshoot 32!! With inconsistent crashes, this testing process can take a lot of time. So I have to hit up ASRock Rack and see if I can RMA. I’m done with this shit. So done.
This week I learned that you can’t just cheat detail with a mesh. You probably have to texture it, and it’s probably going to suck.
This weeks media