Tales from the isolation


Ohhh, yeah that’s good advice @metaside. All the 2nd layer particle building tile sets are generated and can easily be changed geometrically. I went for a little bit of a strange “metal canopy” kind of look.

I’m still working out the node based shader placement of the lights, its kind of tricky to get them in certain places, Might need more tweaks. Definitely isn’t the strong suit of the scene at the moment. I might increase the luminous randomization and then the weather/lighting should correct a lot of it. MAYBE. new territory for me.

Thanks though man!


I’ve seen people use particle systems for terrain gen, looks like a pretty workable idea. I’ve been out of modeling long enough that it wasn’t really a thing back then.

Compositionally, I think you’ve suffering from “too much stuff” syndrome. I get the city sci-fi feel - we’ve all seen Bladerunner/Fifth Element/et al, but I think this is a bit cluttered and repeating (but still very cool). It helps to have a couple of big set pieces to build around. Throw a mecha-canyon thing, or a big Tesla Coil-style torus thingamajigger, or some hand designed corporate arcology pyramids or something to dominate the scene, if only in the background, then build around it.

I assume the buildings themselves are individual models that are being throw around as particles, but I’d round off some of the details (even at the expense of a few polys) and maybe add in some overhangs and rails or something. It’ll really help sell it when you get some volume lighting in so everything doesn’t look so boxy. There’s some clever ways to do low poly chamfers that would be worth looking into (I have no idea how Blender does chamfers these days) and use face weighted normals.

If you really want to sell it, high poly your assets and bake normal maps for render. Little details like pipes and windows and whatnot. It doesn’t look like you have a crazy amount of individual assets, so it probably wouldn’t take that long and you could probably get away with a 1024 normal map.

I think it’ll really take off when you get the lightning in. I’m not sure everyone in the joint would be using a red light at home, but it looks pretty cool during the fly through. If you go self-illuminating on the textures it’ll really pop. Maybe add some variety in here and there, or find a way to randomize the texture.


Wow that’s amazing advice @Artificer - I appreciate it a lot. I’m totally new to blender, but I have used a good bit of zBrush and Lightwave historically, this is my first “big” scene or diving into particles at all.

I went a bit overboard on my previous building particles, I made sure to bevel every edge, and did a lot more polish - but that shit bogged down the system.

I like your recommendation of adding some building set pieces. I’ll definitely whip up some towers that have different texture meshes and more dynamic, might also help build a “vanishing point” in the scene, where the traffic goes in and out.

Ideally in the end, I’ll have a giant flying car going to a landing pad, hence the camera view. But I like your idea of adding higher poly stuff and fine tweaking some objects in there.

I’m tempted to download some free mocap of a stripper or something, and go for the digital hologram type neon dancer somewhere in there - with the classic cyberpunk company logos and animations. That’s all of course, out of my skills right now but I’m getting there.

Adding this feedback to my notes and I’ll continue experimenting further :slight_smile:

I didn’t know you had a 3D background @Artificer! that’s rad. Any renders you have kickin’ it around? Also I’ve heard the word Chamfer before but I’m not at a point of understanding yet. I’ll look into that study :wink:


‘Background’ probably isn’t the right word lol. If it’s dumb and nerdy, I’ve likely tried it once or twice. I’ve dabbled in modelling (almost all hard surface/environment) since the 90s (second hand copy of 3d Studio 4, back when NURBS were the hotness). I spent a lot of time bashing around in Max and Maya in the 00s, mostly for my own enjoyment. I have a folder of renders somewhere, I’ll have to dig around. These days, I use an old ass copy of Max like Sketchup on steroids for woodworking projects, just because I’m familiar with it.

Chamfer’s actually a woodworking term - it basically means to take an edge off at 45deg, sort of like a bevel, but not rounded. When you do it in 3D modeling, it means to split an edge in two, so instead of one hard edge on a box, you have a very thin face at 45deg connecting the two adjoining faces. If you chamfer a couple of times, you end up with a bevel. Check this informative video, yo

Chamfering’s important because in the real world, nothing is perfectly sharp or perfectly square, so the brain immediately thinks things look fake when there’s a super hard edge (which is reinforced by lighting). So you throw in a very thin chamfer and all of a sudden that edge looks like it’s supposed to.Think of it as a poor man’s bevel. Of course, it costs polys, but on a basic shape it’s not the end of the world. The only thing that gets bad is the corners, because it splits the vertices in interesting ways depending on how the chamfer is coded to work, so sometimes you have to go in and rebuild the corners to save polys.

Chamfering in addition to normal maps can damn near make an 8-sided cylinder look round, especially at a distance. It’s more time consuming, but it’s little stuff like that that’ll really make it look pro.


Ah, ok! So a different mode of bevel, basically. I was familiar with the practice of never leaving a hard edge to achieve better photorealism, but that’s a new term. Nice!

Sounds like you would probably really dig on Blender 2.8 :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

*I’m still amazed this program is free. And on steam!


Here we go…

Also, I made good with my latest ex. Now is not the time to let petty shit get in the way of things. I mean, I will have to see these people again…eventually…


Laptop screen from Ebay. 60 bucks. :stuck_out_tongue:


Oh my god, the first steps have begun:

Had a nice mother’s day, too! Also ran into my latest ex’s current(?) boyfriend. His hair’s getting a bit long. I told him it looked good. He’s also losing a bit of weight, which is understandable.

Waiting for some cords before any more music stuff (gotta transfer files from a hard drive).


I have been buying way too many guitar pedals. On the bright side I’ve gotten some pretty good guitar tones. I bought a house with a really nice basement so will be moving out of the apartment at the end of this month. I’m gonna DIY a studio and performing room in the basement so I can finally crank the amp past 10% master volume without someone calling in a noise complaint. I’m trying to get away from synths completely and use manipulations of my guitars as source of sound and frankly with the otherworldly sounds I’m getting out of the pedals now I think it’s feasible.

Gear list (so far):
-Gibson SG custom loaded with James Hetfield EMGs and a Bigsby (I actually bought this off an auction of items being sold by the band converge, so it’s a pretty sweet guitar as Kurt Ballou did all the wiring)
-Ibanez 9 string loaded with a lace deathbar and x-bar pickups (sounds sick af)
-My trusty old telecaster kept completely standard twangy issue

-Life pedal. (this is the custom distortion/octave/boost pedal made by the band Sunn O))). It crushes and makes incredibly sludgy thick evil guitar tones.
-EVH 5150 pedal (I bought this before the life pedal and it was a decent distortion, but I’ll probably sell this soon as I just haven’t used it at all since I got the life pedal.
-Ibanez tube screamer. (mainly use this overdrive in front of the life pedal whenever I use the 9 string to tighten it)
-Vox Big Ben Overdrive (Use this in front the life pedal whenever I use the Gibson SG or tele)
-Pitch Fork Polyphonic pitch shift. (I have 2 of these. One is used to add an octave up and a suboctave to thicken guitar sound and add clarity as well. The second one is used for pitch effects or if I want to change the tuning of my guitar for a specific song).
-Rever pedal. (Reverb delay pedal with reverse reverb capabilities)
-Meris Enzo (Insane synth pedal with filters and ring mod and all kinds of incredible synth capabilities. A real work horse pedal that turn’s my guitar into a synth)
-Cry baby wah. (it’s a wah)
-Decimator 2 noise reducer. (takes all of the hum/noise out of my rig).
-Expression pedal with a 3 way splitter so I can mess with different pedals.

-Fender Rumble 40 bass amp. (This amp is wicked and takes pedal input beautifully).
-Orange Crush 35RT (I’m getting rid of this at some point, because it just sounds bad, it’s too digital, starts clipping if the input is too hot and has an obvious highpass filter built into it which makes it useless for the 9 string or if I put a suboctave on my 6 strings).

Other stuff:
-Microphones, need to buy a field recorder as I hate using stock drums and would rather make my own from scratch sounds.
-Native instruments maschine. (Learning this thing). Mainly interested in using this as a live tool.
-Laptop with legally bought (lmao) ableton, Reason (honestly just used this to make modular synths as ableton’s stock synths just never sound good to me no matter what I do) and my secret weapon Izotope Trash 2.

Been practicing guitar stuff on my off days. Tom Morello has a great masterclass on creativity/guitar stuff. I want to learn this rig inside out a bit. I’ve been wanting to mix Doom/Drone metal and Minimal Industrial and Dub techno for a while. I figure I use the guitar and rig to craft all the tonal, sustained elements and field recorder to make all the transient percussive elements.


#coronacut Finally couldn’t take it and took my beard scissors to my head…my better half will help me clean up the back.


It’s crazy to think that it’s already been almost two months of this (at least for me). I WILL say this, despite not really doing anything exciting, the time is going fast.


I’ve spent the past few days raking my fucking brain in blender making a video experiment with one of ms’s tunes.

I think I’m in the final stages of composition now but holy FUCK the levels of particle animation madness and camera work in this thing was agonizing.

After many many hours of tweaks and tests, I think the scene is finally pullin’ together! Less resource intensive than I thought, just under 3 minutes of video should be about a 7hr render. Nice.

Makes for some pretty nice screenshots too.


Yea, we started isolating after the Univ of Akron closed campus on like March 13th?


That’s the date shit started going down around here. Probably earlier for some.

I’m working on a NSFW collage called “Snuggle.” I quite like it. Bed time. Gotta go to work in a few hours…


Got out for the first time since ease of lockdown yesterday to meetup and play some music. I hate to spoil it for you, but nothing’s changed, the world is still the same, people are still getting fucked up and yelling in the streets at 4 in the afternoon, still looking at their phones while walking on the bike lane, everything just stayed the same ! it’s no new world, don’t believe what you read on the anticapitalist dot com


My screen has been shipped. FUCK YES.

Now I just need the cords to plug into my harddrive and transfer music stuff.

My interface doesn’t work with Windows ten, but that thing was a finicky piece of shit anyway.

Tonight’s plan: Play a hell of a lot of Gravity Rush 2


Apparently, they’ve extended the Los Angeles lockdown to the end of July. I’m mostly bummed because that means I don’t get to do 4th of July, which is my summer holiday. It’s kinda like summer christmas, but with the smell of gunpowder.



man, you ever lived out in suburban but rural adjacent MAGA land? as soon as it gets warm and the fireworks stores are allowed to be open it’ll 4th of July every weekend here until September…I don’t know how these poor ass hill rods afford it but its like fireworks and booze every damn weekend


Yeah, I’ve been out of state for fireworks a few times, long ago. TBH they’re pretty cheap out of state from what I remember. They’re more expensive here because we don’t have stores set up. Instead, a bunch of charities and youth groups and stuff rent these flat-pack stores that come on a truck and set them up in parking lots. Then you go and buy the safe and sane california legal stuff from them at a markup, but you get to support local organizations and it is a tax write-off as a charitable contribution. We go to the same Downey Youth Little League booth every year and we by ourselves are like half their sales. So they hook us up, usually take off sales tax and a decent discount off the top. Like, we buy our safe’n’sane Fire Crackle (which is like a super toned down string of fire crackers) by the 30-box brick. We have to make sure other people can still buy stuff when we’re done.

Anyways, out of state you just walk into the TNT or Black Cat or whatever, which I assume is owned by the manufacturers or subsidized by them, so you basically get factory direct pricing, relatively speaking. From what I remember, stuff is like 1/2 to 1/3 cost for roughly equivalent stuff, usually bigger and better than the California stuff.


Japan has amazing fireworks.

Ah well, everything here is cancelled for a while now, too. Better get used to it. :stuck_out_tongue: