Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

This Shit is HARD

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

So, last week was the first of Mock School! It went… well, it sputtered really. I sat down at the PC on Tuesday last week, made it through the first half of a three hour tutorial on Adobe Illustrator provided by the company I worked for. Now, I appreciate access to tutorials but the audio quality and pacing were really poor. I don’t need to spend 15 minutes going through how to save a file… sheesh. I then turned to actually using Illustrator and did a few doodles. I puttered out before the 3 hour mark and didn’t return to stuff at all last week.

Nope, not a great start.

So tonight, after struggling to wake up from a nap, I sat down with both Illustrator and Photoshop. I decided to forgo the tutorials for now since they seem to be a complete mental drain for me. I learned more tonight from trying out different things and reading a bit this afternoon on how to setup pressure sensitivity in the programs to take advantage of the Wacom’s abilities.  I completed one project, which resulted in a shitty segmented illustration of a flower. In each box I used a different brush type. It’s a technique I remembered using in a high school art class… It’s the process that’s important, not the final result… Well, that’s what I’m telling myself anyhow.

Regardless, the number one thing I learned is that creating something in Photoshop is going to be very different Illustrator. Obvious? Probably, but a good lessen to learn at the start… I’ve never actually had access to illustrator before this month 🙂

I’m also learning quite a bit about my own style of learning. Basically, I need something to work on, a problem that needs to be solved. Simply repeating steps in a process to do something, while useful to some, doesn’t seem to hold my attention much…

Aside from that I also find that I might need to get a bit more sleep…


Bumpity Road

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

The Wifey pointed out to me that Monday is the 12th of September. As such, it’ll be the start of my ‘My Mock Return to School” or MMRS… 😛

Progress so far? Well, the computer is mostly up and running. Still having some issues with weird humming and the occasional squeal. Troubleshooting is ongoing… New replacement parts put us over budget a tad but I’m hoping we’re building a machine that will last a good chunk of time…

Regardless of the hardware issues, I’m moving ahead and getting the software and work space ready. So far Windows 7 is a LOT more user friendly than Vista and I’m glad I made the switch. I’ve also found that there is a need for dual monitor desktop backgrounds. I’m seriously thinking about making it a project 🙂

I’ve also obtained new glasses.  The new prescription and type of lenses, high index, is going to take a bit of time to get used to. The clarity is nice and I like the look of the frames. However, everything has a bit more curve to it than I’m used to and objects actually appear smaller than they once were. I’ve read around and it appears this is a normal transition, I just hope my brain adapts quickly to the new pair… I’m not sure I could draw a straight line at the moment.

Other than that, I’ve spent a lot of time cleaning and organizing various portions of the apartment. I’d like to think that this is just me getting ready for MMRS. However, if I’m completely honest, I’m feeling the changing of seasons this year more than I ever have in the past. The rapid approach of Fall and the immense thereafter of Winter has gotten me into a ‘nesting’ mood. I haven’t felt this way since living in Fargo. Weird, perhaps my body is saying the this winter may actually be one of deep snow and cold temps… I guess we’ll see

Foxy – Sketchy Sketchy

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

I’m messing around with Windows 7 and seeing if I’m gonna have any problems with some of the programs I plan on using for art and whatnot. Here is a little ditty I did with the Wacom tablet and GIMP…

New PC Guts

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Late last week the replacement guts for my desktop machine arrived and I began, with the help of a friend, to assemble it. The install went rather smoothly though there were a few hiccups here and there. But, that’s to be expected on any build.

The specs are as follows:

CPU: Intel i5 2500 – It’s a quad core running at stock settings, 3.3 Ghz (3.7 Ghz turbo boost)
Memory: 16 GB of G.SKILL Ripjaws Series DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) memory
Motherboard: MSI P67S-C43 (B3)
Videocard: EVGA Geforce GTX 260 (Core 216) with 896 MB memory
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-Bit)

I was amazed at how quickly Windows 7 installed on this machine and it chews through everything that I’ve thrown at it. It’s a good feeling

Still there are two issues that will need to be remedied going forward.

First, the system seems to run a little hot. I was hitting a CPU temp of 80C in Prime95 at full load. I stopped the tests when I hit that. Intel recommends an operating temp of no more than TCase temp of 72.6C. While I am aware there is a lot of debate/confusion regarding exactly what the TCase temp refers to, I’d rather not ever see those temps under normal operations. I’ve got about 2 weeks until the thermal grease finally settles in and that should lower the overall operating speed. I don’t plan to over clock the system so I was hoping the stock fan would be good enough. If not, I’ll save up my pennies to by an aftermarket cooler.

Secondly, since the fan on the old CPU was going it put off a lot of noise it masked the fact that my hard drive is making some rather disturbing squealing noises. Not clicking, squealing… ugh. So, I’m planning to order a replacement this weekend. I’ve found a good deal on a Western Digital Caviar Black 500 Gbps hard. Once this arrive I’ll reinstall the OS and really get the machine up and running with all my programs. I can’t wait!

I have done some testing on videogames and I’ve been really impressed with the performance. I’m getting around 75 fps in both Dragon Age: Origins and the new Deus Ex game with Vsync enabled at a resolution of 1028 x 1024. The temps during these games have never gone about 65C which I’ve been relieved to see.

Well, that’s enough ‘bragging’ on the computer for this fine Sunday morning… The Wifey is still sleeping so I actually can’t play on the PC yet. Hmmm… maybe I can convince her to move the bed to the living room so this won’t be an issue again…

Happy As A Pig In Mud!

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

It’s been awhile since I’ve had such a positive few days. I hope that giving voice to it won’t cause me to jinx it. However, I’ve done plenty of bitching so I think it’s probably time to share some good things.

As I’ve mentioned before, I found a degree program that would provide a good path for where I’d like to take my career. While I can’t financially enroll in the program yet, I plan on using its curriculum as a road map to help focus my creative endeavors. The Wifey seems to be 100% behind this and that helps a great deal.

Once I decided that this is the way I wanted to go things started to sorta take on a life of their own.

First, I came into possession of a lot of used computer hardware. Thanks again to all those that have donated to the cause!

The Wifey brought home two old Dell computers which I gutted and recombined. As a result we now have PC that will be used as a networked media share. Also, since it’ll be hooked up to our HD TV, we’ll also be able to watch internet based movies and shows on it.

A friend of mine, who was rather appalled at our outdated systems, offered an old PC he had sitting in a closet. All he needed was a case. So, I gutted the Wifey’s desktop (NO MERCY!). The Wifey now has a desktop that won’t choke on her beloved Civilization 4.

Secondly, we had something of a financial windfall this weekend. I won’t go into much detail, the Wifey hates when I talk about our finances publically, but if we plan and budget wisely it should help us along for the next few months. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Third, since we can now afford to, I’ve ordered parts to replace my ailing motherboard. I’m getting an Intel i5 2500 quad core processor, 16 gigs of memory, a new MSI motherboard and Windows 7 Home. These items, coupled with a used EVGA Nvidia GTX 260 (Core 216) video card I got from a friend, should result in a pretty good system to start along my new ‘dream career path’. The parts should arrive later this week.

On top of all this goodness, I’ve been gifted a copy of Adobe Creative Suite 3 Premium. While it’s a bit dated, it should give me plenty of ability to explore the programs within it, such as Adobe Flash and Photoshop.

I am as happy as a pig in mud.

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