Shawn Blanch (blanchsb)

215 replies · posted

Backhoe Contribution - Blanchsb - Exterior Loader Arms and Interior Chair

Progress, Questions, and Comments for Loader Arms and Interior Chair on the DOG 434E Backhoe Loader posted here:

  • ppfbourassa. I have submitted the revision on the group sheet. As long as Kent doesn't see any issues. I plan on leaving the connection points where they are. The bottom piece connects to 1 fin and the top to a different fin, just FYI. Reference pics here in this forum from Adrian for more info.

  • My first draft at the hydraulic lines from one assembly to another. I'll work on the piston hydraulics tomorrow hopefully.

    adrian2301  There is a tank near the rear of the loader arms Between the aft pivot points that sits on the chassis and below an overhead support. The tank is vertical and looks similar to a fat radiator without the fins haha. That holds all of the hydraulic oil to my knowledge. Have you seen it along with the other hydraulic connection points for the front?

  • Was able to work some of the finer details today on the upper hydraulic supports and added some jubilee clips to the metal bands. I left the threads on the screws off, but I think it looks passable....... except I made them the wrong direction against the holes. I'll have to correct that tomorrow haha.

    I also added the zerk fittings to the loader arms:

    They should be to scale but man do they look small compared to everything else.

  • I completely redesigned the jubilee clip band using a template bezier circle and two base thin band meshes. One piece represented the band with the tightening cut-out slits and the other represented a solid band.
    I assigned them both to the bezier circle to start with.
    Once I got it all into position around the piston I duplicated a small section of the bezier circle and separated it to a separate piece. Then I cut a small portion of that duplication area out of the original bezier circle just below the tightening screw.
    Then I assigned the base mesh band with slits to the smaller portion of the separated duplicate.
    So two pieces fitting into 1 per-se. I haven't mated them up yet but I thought I would share my thought process. This actually took me all night to think about haha.

    Hopefully that makes sense. Maybe spikeyxxx could recommend a better process but I think I was being clever this time around.
    I'll make the individual jubilee clips a little more unique tomorrow but that is an easy task of just moving the small bezier curve around a little. It would be nice to know if there was a way to join the two pieces together easily. I may just apply the mods once I am happy with it and do a quick merge since it is only one section that needs to be mated from the two band base meshes.

    • Looks great Shawn! Good technique as well.

      I'd do it almost the same, but with only one mesh..

      Make a loop cut on the 'cylinder' and slide it into place. P > Separate by Selection. Take that new piece in Edit Mode and delete one vertex (where overlapping should occur). Convert the Mesh to a Curve and extrude the overlapping end:

      Then you can model the band straight (as one piece and a bit better than I did here):

       and add a Curve Modifier:

    • Oh man, I knew you would have a better way. That is really cool. Yup I am going to have to do that instead. Rev 3 coming up over the weekend.

    • I had loads of jubilee clips for the engine. spent ages thinking about how to do this. I just fudged them temporarily, with the intention of revisiting them, but considering they will probably hardly notice. Now you shared this I may give it go.

    • crew

      Holy fine details, Batman 🤩 Looks delicious blanchsb!

      Also a new term learned: "jubilee clips"

  • blanchsb  I decided not to add more detail to the control valve at the moment as it most likely won't be seen. I only modelled it as a reference point where the lines start.


  • While working on my loader arm hydraulics I cam across this helpful forum posting that was super cool regarding bezier curves. I thought I would share it just for information purposes:

  • Things are coming together. I think I will just make it in time for the live stream. Got a few more pieces to go......

  • Darn you Mandalorian, and Star Wars. Never watch a series while trying to model haha.

    I didn't get as much done as I wanted today but I did finish all of my hyd_piston connections finally. The feed versus return fittings were quite different. One is an actual fitting and the other is welded to the piston. Made for a unique look though.

    you can see them on the bottom lift piston cylinder housing. All of my tubing has connections now. Yay! I just need to model in some supports and then the level sensor on the right upper piston housing. It's a shame that piece ins't more eye appealing. I feel like it will make my assembly look bad but the reference dictates it to be ugly haha. Coming soon.
    I threw a shiny metal shader matcap on just to see how it is looking under different shading.

  • Here comes the "ugly stick" haha.

    Got some more of the hydraulic hose supports completed, which I am quite happy about. Still not done with the ugly stick, gotta work on sensor pieces tomorrow, but I should finish the modeling side this weekend, huzzah! It is finally starting to look a little more A-symmetrical, which helps keep the eyes moving around.

  • I made some zip ties tonight for the electrical connector. Using mainly an array modifier with a Start and End Cap and then attached it to a bezier curve. I actually got the dimensions from a zip ties bundle being sold from amazon. They had a couple of pictures of calipers on them and dimensions called out. Is it sad I am geeking out on zip ties??? Lol.

    They don't do a whole heck of a lot and they need a few holding edges but the proof of concept is there. Makes it super easy to tighten them too which is a nice touch. They actually act kinda like zip ties!

  • Weekend work completed.

    Now granted the zip ties don't really appear completely in the references but I am not overly comfortable doing cloth style wire covers yet, and that is zip tied to the hydraulic hoses. So I am zip-tying the wire to the hose for now and taking my artistic liberty to do so. I cleaned up the topology on the zip tie and made it so that the head and tail for the array modifier all mesh together well and take a sub-d modifier like a champ. I have more edge loops than I wanted but I got enough done to get it looking good because of all of the teeth and clip detail.

    Then I plastered them all over the wire. I had a couple of interesting issues with the curve modifier. I could not get the zip tie to immediately follow the curve like it should have on the Z axis until I rotated the zip tie in object mode by -180 on the Y and Z axis. The it followed the curve exactly how I envisioned it? I guess I want to know what I am doing wrong for next time. It works but the transform must that that way for the zip tie mesh in order for it to follow.

    Another thing. As long as I move the curve and mesh together while in object mode I don't have to worry about it coming unglued from the curve. Is this the way I should be doing it?

    Final picture of zip tie work: Each one is following a unique curve.

    • Hi Shawn, about the Curve Modifier, which can indeed give unexpected results:

      To set this up correctly, you should make sure that the object's Origin is at the Center of it's Geometry and that it is at the same position as the Curve's Origin. Let's start with no rotations for both Object and Curve.

      Now with a Curve Modifier, the Object should be at the start of the Curve and when you move the Object in the direction of the Deform Axis, then it follows the Curve like a train following the train tracks. That's easy enough, right?

      But the Deform Axis also positions the Object so, that the Objects (Local) Axis that is the same as the Deform Axis points in the direction of the Curve's (Local) X-axis. As an example, when the Deform Axis is set to -Z, then when moving the Object in (Global) -Z direction, it will follow the Curve and the Object's (Local) -Z-axis is pointing in the direction of the Curve's (Local) X-axis...

      A bit confusing, but still sort of understandable I hope.

      Now, when you start rotating the Curve (in Object Mode) around it's X-axis, then the Object also rotates along it's (the Object's!)  own (Local) X-axis. Similarly for the other axes...

      Because the Curve was probably already rotated, the behavior would have been a complete mystery, especially if you are not aware of the above 'rules';)

      I hope this is clear, as this is a pictureless explanation, which I am not used to do, but I couldn't think of any pictures that would make this any clearer...

    • crew

      So clever to use the curve modifier with unique end caps. If you uh...recorded a short video overview of it...I wouldn't hate that 😁

    •  I can definitely do that theluthier! I just need to re-read spikeyxxx explanation above another 10 times so I can wrap my head around it before I pass on my bad habits using the curve modifier lol. Once I get it set up properly then I can do a nice little recording. I probably won't re-make the entire zip tie but I can go over using the 3 pieces to get a decent looking final result that moves and behaves quite nicely.

      I'll make that my project for this week.

      On a sadder note: my initial rigging has fallen behind from all of my additional modeling changes. It served it's purpose but I am really itching to re-rig everything proper once the model is complete. And this time using bones would be in order. I don't want to do that until you say everything is complete on our modeling side with our assemblies though. My only hang-up is the hydraulic hoses will need to dynamically bend when the assembly. Is there a good resource for me to go learn where I can figure this part out?

    • I will test out your explanation on simple elements first spikeyxxx and play around with just an object and it's curve modifier until I can wrap my head around it better. I think I am understanding a little more of your explanation but I am feeling like I need to read a little, then do what you say to see the result, then rinse and repeat.

      To add to the complexity I will add the array after I understand this better.

      Isn't it funny how you can make something that looks decent and acts fairly decent without really understanding how it works on an intimate level and just pushing buttons until it looks how you imagined it should?!? haha, yup that is the blender story of my life. It's time for me to demistify the curve mod once and for all. It's time to read the manual too. I'll post back with my findings. And maybe even a nice video again!

    • My only hang-up is the hydraulic hoses will need to dynamically bend

      That is something I tried to do with this project: and I couldn't do it. It is possible to hook the ends of the hoses (being Curves) to Empties for instance, but then there wouldn't be any interpolation between the ends...

      I guess this is a case for waylow  'rigging curves'    ...

      I do remember seeing an old CGCookie tutorial on rigging a telephone cord:

      maybe that technique can be used here?  I'll have to re-watch that...

    • I'll try to watch that after my zip tie project is complete. Thanks for all of the resources spikeyxxx 

    • crew

      You don't need empties anymore, you can rig a curve with bones.

      It's the same technique but 'hook' them to a control bone instead of an empty.  That way they part of the same armature object and easily animated (rather than being seperate objects with non zero rest positions)

      I did a really quick demo if this in the second Rigging stream earlier this year.
      I can't remember the time stamp but here's the link

      (NOTE: I haven't read the whole thread but some of the images are looking flipping fantastic.  I'm just mentioning this in case I'm way off base with my answer)

    • crew

      As the details pile on, how are you feeling about rigging this monster waylow?

    • I can work with waylow  on the loader arm assembly if that helps. I actually want to learn this part of the workflow. He and spikeyxxx are already guiding the path. I doubt I’ll have it rigged by the next live stream but perhaps that can be my next assignment theluthier ?

    • Hey Shawn, as waylow said this could be done with bones, I remembered that we have Bendy Bones in Blender now, so that might be a way to rig the hoses...

      There are many tutorials about how to use Bendy Bones... here's one by Jayanam: 

      It's made with 2.78 but it still works.

    • crew

      I did think it was going to be a simple rig, but it looks super complicated now haha.

      Bendy bones don't play nicely with curve objects (only real geo).  But you want to keep those cable as curve objects.  It's going to make things easier in the long run.  Hooks and curves are the way to go for these types of cables.

      It might be possible to have the Hook bones stick to a bendy bone with an armature constraint - I haven't rigged anything that way before but I think it would work nicely.  (for the cable sections that are between the arm segments and need to bend).

      But that also might be overkill.  

      I'm happy for Shawn to rig it and I can help if he gets stuck.

  • Thanks waylow yes I think I am going to want to keep the bezier curves active in my opinion while I rig these lines (some of them have protective springs around them that are also using a curve modifier. Kent is running the show so I suppose it is up to theluthier if he is okay leaving modifiers on to provide support for rigging (I think this is the right thought process?).

    On a completely separate and very fun note:
    I finally made my "how I dunnit" video that Kent requested for making my zip ties. I also covered the unique solution for my hose protective springs. I will post this to our main channel for the whole team to enjoy as well.

    Y'all get to listen to the soothing sultry sounds of my voice yet again........back by popular demand!

    • Thanks a lot, blanchsb, for this great tutorial 👍! Very clear and instructive.

    • crew

      blanchsb're a pro! Supreme explanation + demonstration. 60 fps with a face cam AND your audio sounds better than my "fancy" podcaster mic.

      Y'all get to listen to the soothing sultry sounds of my voice yet again

      Not an exaggeration.

      Should [something so small] have that many faces?

      It depends on the situation! If we were building this only to be seen in full view (not up close) then no, such a small part wouldn't need this many faces / this much attention. But since we can make whatever camera angles we want for the showcase reel, it's A-ok! Most importantly you said it yourself: "I learned a lot doing this exercise."  The learning is unquestionably worth it.

      Thanks a ton for sharing, Shawn! Very impressive work 👏

      PS: I cannot believe the lengthening of the array curve produces that "teeth clicking" effect! How cool!

    • 60 fps with a face cam AND your audio sounds better than my "fancy" podcaster mic.

      theluthier Thank you for the overly kind words Kent!

      Here's the reality behind the "magic" haha.
      I do not have a professional recording studio by any means. I am in a big open room in our family/dinning area. No sound pads. But here is what I do have if anyone is interested: prices are in American dinero. I have acquired this stuff over a period of years but much of it has come in the last 12 months.
      Monitor: Samsung U32R59x curved monitor from Costco (I saved up for it and bought it during the Covid required work from home mandate). ~$350 if I remember

      PC: Lenovo Legion Y545 Gaming Laptop with NVIDIA GTX graphics card from Costco (I saved up for this last year $1400)
      Face Camera: Xbox One Kinect Sensor with windows power and A/V adapter kit from ebay on top of a cheap Amazon tripod. $120 for Kinect Bundle and $15 for tripod. I actually want to post how I got this set up because it is a complete motion capture studio where I can use it to capture my body and rig it to a live armature. There were many hiccups setting this up but it was totally worth it. I'll perhaps do a video on this. Credit to Remington Creative for teaching me 90% of the setup. The other 10% took a while to figure out though.
      Microphone: Xbox One Turtle Beach Wireless Stealth 420X+ Gaming Headset (bought it used and had to refurbish the earmuffs, I also added and extra pop-pad onto the mix so it technically has 2 of them. Total price ~$60-$100 including new ear pads from Wicked Cushions

      Modeling Software: Blender: Given (free)
      Screen Capture and Studio Recording Software: OBS Studio (free)

      Settings on OBS: I made a few different scenes but my custom Kinect Scene is growing to be my favorite.

      Mic: Turtle Beach and I have some OBS audio filters added. I watched best practices for audio filters and how you need to tune yours to your own studio setup and not copy anyone else but rather understanding some important reasons for them.

      Video: Kinect with some video cropping to focus on that handsome bald head of mine! That Kinect camera has a pretty wide view angle and can get a good portion of my room so using it as a face came was actually just a delightful bonus!
      Display Capture: Desktop (Upper 1/3 of the desktop only) I have to scale blender down actually and I turn up the display to 1.5 so words are easier to read for the recording. I also use the Shortcut VUr add-on to capture my keys and mouse (Screencast Keys add-on stopped working for some weird reason). My screen resolution is awesome but it comes up really crappy if I try to capture the 32" screen and post it to youtube. So I found that using only a portion of it and zooming the display in blender made things easier for someone to read. I use my laptop screen to judge whether the size was correct for a standard viewer.

      Extra Stuff that I love having around while I work: Every professional studio should come equipped with these!
      Wife and kids: obviously! but I record when kids are in bed because no amount of audio filter keeps these little Blanch's from being heard, and my wife likes watching me geek out on my passion project when they are in bed.
      Tablet: iPad Pro 12.7" (I got this after working horrific schedule at work and made a lot in overtime back in 2017). I use EasyCanvas as the tablet program but am anxiously waiting for AstroPad and Luna to come to Windows. This works quite well for texture painting and sculpting lessons. $1300
      Keyboard: Logitech MX Keys Wireless multi-device bluetooth and unifying receiver keyboard $100 (got it as my main Christmas gift). This keyboard let me turn off the Caps Lock!!!!!! I hit that darn button all the time when I mean to hit shift during modeling.
      Mouse: Logitech M720 multi-device bluetooth and unifying receiver mouse. The multi-device feature works nicely because I can use my iPad with both mouse and keyboard with the click of 1 button on them. $40 at Costco
      Custom picture mouse pad (don't remember the price)
      Orange Tiger Striped Tabby American Short Hair Cat - He was a rescue. His name is Timmy. (He made an appearance in the video)
      Black Newfoundland-Poodle Mix: She was a breeder's. Her name is Lottie. She cools off on our tile most days.

    • crew

      I would confidently bet that your setup is loads better than most YT tutors. Thanks for sharing the details of your hardware + software. I use OBS very similarly but I get mixed results with noise gate, usually leaving it off. You've inspired me to test it again.

      I love that you included your animals!

  • I came across my submission #1 today while I was plowing through adding some of the final pieces to my ugly stick. Man I have come a long way with this project!

    Block-Out Submission #1: 13k Faces

    Current Progress: Preparing for Submission #5: 2.8 Million Faces with Sub-D; 1.8 Million without........and climbing.

    I can definitely say that I have learned a lot during this live stream journey. This is probably the most instructive project I have done and a great introductory into hard surface modeling. Thanks theluthier for guiding us along.

    • Now, I want to see this in action: brooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom 😁

    • crew

      Somehow just now seeing this. Forum flow is wacky lol

      I appreciate that you bring up the looking back at how far you've come through the project. Truly a MAJOR LEAP from the blockout to the final. It's so satisfying to do so, especially with long projects like this one.

      I hope everyone takes a few minutes to look back too!

       I can definitely say that I have learned a lot during this live stream journey. This is probably the most instructive project I have done and a great introductory into hard surface modeling. Thanks theluthier for guiding us along.

      The pleasure has been mine! Just wait till the showreel gets finished. We'll all be walking down the hall of the internet like this:


    • As long as I get to wear the red hat and gold chain. You can have the fox coat!

    • I am soooo sad about the forum changes as of late. It has become hard to find my way again. Especially navigating to posts on my phone. I made a complete separate forum topic about this hoping more people can chime in.....

  • Getting down to the last pieces now.

    I re-modeled the end caps for the hydraulics. I think this is the 4th time re-working them. I decided that they were screw caps and went with it. Creating the housing with the male threads was not terribly hard. But the housing with female threads was more work than I thought. because the piece needed the same threads and covered the entire inner diameter.

    I left a few topology pieces with some triangles on the inside diameter. I decided it wasn't worth the trouble after spending a few hours on this. They won't be seen and the effort required didn't feel like value added haha. I think it looks good overall.

    I also finalized all of the Jubilee clips and they are no longer tied to their bez curves.

    All I have left is the position the sensor hardware and protective plate and I am calling it complete for the stream.

    • I have to admit. Turning on the other assemblies gets me excited for the live stream every time. 

      I am working on a collaboration file so some of the assemblies are missing but still.......

      It's cool to turn that stuff on to check how things look in the big picture. I'm pumped to see everyone's progress come together.

    • Classic case of 'Right man for the job' scenario. For such a complex part of the Dog, you nailed it.

    • I would say each of our parts is very complex.

      However let me be the first to say that I chose the Loader Arms because they “looked” more simple and closer to my skill level, ha! Yeah that was a rabbit hole down to underland lol. Way more complex but oh sooooo rewarding for experience.

    • I think you may have under estimated your skill level.

      Hit it out the park.

      Sorry no baseball in the UK

  • Soooooo close to completion it's driving me nuts! I gotta call it a night though. I need to rest for the big win tomorrow.

    I made the magnet and sensor assembly. Nothing terribly complex but I took a break earlier to help someone on the forum make a complex tumbler cup. I wanted to exercise my modeling skills on something outside the workflow just a little to keepmy modeling muscles exercised.
    Here's the progress for today though.

  • Does it ever feel like you keep finding things to work on???

    I realized my jubilee metal bands were a little too thick and so I spend some time doing cleanup on ALL OF THEM.....ugh. I still had my Solidify mod active so it wasn't terrible......thank heavens for modifiers! Whew!

    Then I was really bugged by a line clamp that I decided to not model, so I tackled it as well.

    Then I found a step plate that I had seen before but forgotten about. It is in quite a few of the reference images but I believe it is only on the driver's side. Not a big deal to mirror it across if needed but I am enjoying this A-symmetrical look now so I'm going to leave it as is.

    I think I am mostly finished with the modeling side so I will call it for today. I need to go through all of my collections and doublecheck all of my parts. I plan to tackle this by turning them all off then turning 1 on and check each part's name. Then rinse and repeat. It should be ready for submission tonight.

    • crew

      With something as complex as our DOG, I think there will always be something we missed if we look hard enough. I'm more the type to get it to the believable mark, short of 100% accuracy. You've certainly accomplished that for you loader arms.

  • I think it is done, as long as my collaboration partners agree. Looking forward to the Live Stream!

    • crew

      Incredible job, Shawn. The details are simply delectable.

    • Thanks theluthier  As I look back on the model after a good night's sleep, I am really impressed with how it looks overall. 

      Granted, there are mistakes here and there as you really look closely. 

      Some lessons I am learning from my mistakes.

      1. Issues with Array and Curve Modifiers after having used them and applied them and seeing quads that I didn't want duplicated at the Array line of duplication, hard to explain but easy to see after applying the array haha.

      2. Curve Modifier is way more powerful than I originally thought about. Like assigning an An Object's array length to a duplicated small-section of a long curve and then assigning the object to deform along the longer curve to the curve modifier . This makes combining 2 different objects  on a long curve really simple and gives a very similar behavior as start and end caps, except it follows the curve and is non destructive ! I think I want to write down all of the cool things and maybe make a couple of tutorials regarding the cool workflows and lessons learned in more complex ways.

       3. And getting local coordinates messed up on a few parts and troubles correcting them. Making a plane and getting the local rotation correct on that and then joining the messed up object to that plane and then deleting the plane. Fixes the local coordinates issue. You have to reapply mods to the object after that but knowing in advance makes that not very painful or you can copy mods to the plane before joining. I almost want to do a video on this too.

      4. Deciding when Subsurf, Bevel, and/or Topology Flow to my advantage OR when they should happen around geometry corners or complex details. I can't say I am close to being a pro at this. I'm still learning when to do one versus the other.

    • crew

      maybe make a couple of tutorials regarding the cool workflows and lessons learned in more complex ways.

      That would be simply magical. Especially unearthing the depths of the curve modifier's potential! I know I haven't tapped into it fully myself.

      Looking through your list I noted to go over your #3 point in the stream next week: Fixing messed up local coordinates. Are you OK with me doing that?

    • Yeah that would be great theluthier 

    • Okay here is video #1. It is just an overview video but covers studies that I want to go more in depth on.

    • Cool idea Shawn! Nice presentation too. (I wish I was less nervous when recording,,probably just a matter of practice, like just about everything else...) Looking forward to seeing this.

      In case you haven't seen it yet, I think you should definitely watch.

      He shows a unique trick to avoid deformation along a curve.

    • That is also awesome. I will check that out. Does it involve instancing from a parented object?

    • Can't remember exactly, but he somehow uses Vertex Parenting, which I didn't even know was a thing uptill then..

    • That is crazy. I didn't even know that you could parent a vertex. Just goes to show how Dangerously POWERFUL this Blender is. What a cool way. I have some more ideas regarding this and using arrays but I want to play a little more. This is definitely going into my video study/training though. Thanks spikeyxxx you really are the Fort Knox for Blender Gold Nuggets.

  • Here's my video #2 Introduction to curves. I am actually learning a lot by teaching these topics.

    If you want to learn a topic. Try to teach it on Youtube.

    • crew

      Moar Shawn vids! Soooo cool that you're making these. I'll let you in on a secret: The CGC crew always keeps an eye out for members that develop notable teaching skills with potential to teach officially for CGC. An in-depth curves course would be an excellent addition to the library...By chance does this interest you?

      If you want to learn a topic. Try to teach it on Youtube.

      Truer words rarely spoken!

    • Thanks blanchsb for taking the time to share your learning process and knowledge. I've watched many tutorials that use curves, but not seen an in-depth course on curves, I've already learned how much more can be done with curves than the basics and that's just from the intro. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the series here on CGCookie. 

    • adrian2301 thanks man. I have really enjoyed this topic and knew there is a gap in content on certain aspects where gold nuggets are out there for the finding but not as a series really. I felt it was a worthy topic that deserved some screen time. Just look at our DOG and you can appreciate what these things can do!


      The CGC crew always keeps an eye out for members that develop notable teaching skills with potential to teach officially for CGC. An in-depth curves course would be an excellent addition to the library...By chance does this interest you? 

      First off: Wow, never considered that this was even and option! and Second: Yes this is a huge interest for me to give back to the community where I have learned soooo much. I wouldn't say I am "Instructor" quality when it comes to teaching lol but if y'all see something in me and this goes down that road then GREAT! If not it's not going to change my attitude about wanting to make these videos. I really do love to teach. I do it at my work and feel comfortable doing so, but I rarely have recorded myself so I am sure I have a lot to learn. I have experience making videos and recordings since I was a kid (using camera, and recording programs from Stop Motion Studio,Microsoft Teams Training Videos at work, Snag-It, iMovie). I have been known to teach concepts incorrectly but thankfully spikeyxxx and others still maintains their interest and points me back in the right direction when I make mistakes giving advice here and there. I don't mind being corrected. Sometimes I don't know I'm wrong.

      I only began using OBS studio after you pointed me to it), so it looks like you started this fire. 

      Thanks for all of the guidance up to this point, (you and the Pound and the whole CGCookie team). It has been such a fun journey I wanted to share what I had learned because I remember feeling just soooo new and uncoordinated with Blender and completely overwhelmed looking at that default cube and everyone's work and I didn't even know how to make anything. I can relate to any new person to this program. The add menu "curves" section was one of those sections I often avoided because it was Alien to me and I didn't understand it well. Turns out it is a great tool. There are just soooo many in Blender it can feel overwhelming at times looking at them all and not knowing any of them haha.

      Long story short: That would be awesome! But I won't be offended either way. As they say in GREASE "Tell me more, tell me more!"

  • crew

    Hey blanchsb - Just wanted to follow up on the proposition of you being "Master of Loose Ends" and rigging the DOG.

    Master of Loose Ends

    In an ideal world, all contributors could tie their own lose ends and there wouldn't be a need for this role. But as some contributors may have other important things requiring their commitment, I'm anticipating the need for a single person to ensure:

    • All collisions are resolved
    • All hydraulic lines fit together and are consistent-ish
    • All parts are carried through to completion even if the original contributor can't be the one to complete it

    I honestly don't know exactly how involved this role will be. I'm pretty sure it won't be a simple, straight-forward role at least, and could potentially be too much for one person to handle. Especially that last bullet about finishing all unfinished parts.

    I think you're the man for the job. IF you're willing, you can ease into the role and get a feel for the work load. Initially we need to communicate with contributors that have gone quiet to see if they plan to finish their parts. 

    If you start to feel this role is too big for one person then let me know and we'll reassess the approach. Please be honest! Do not over-commit your time. I know it's easy to do that with passion projects like this.

    Rigging the DOG

    You're a bigger man than me for wanting to take on this rigging challenge! And I applaud your resolve.

    My first choice would be for waylow to rig the DOG across a multi-part stream series as I've done with the modeling. This would be a fascinating education that a lot of people could learn from. And it means that you could still rig it as you want, even if you choose different methods from Wayne.

    If Wayne is unable to fit such a series into his schedule, then I'm interested in discussing what it could look like for you to be the primary rigging force behind the DOG! Rigging in general is one of the most technical things in computer graphics, even more so for something of this scale. I've rigged a dozen or so character in my time and I don't have the stones to take on this monster. So please don't be put off by me asking but I want to make sure you know what you want to get into 😅

    Do you have experience rigging or did you intend for the DOG to be your first challenge?

    • theluthier

      MASTER OF LOOSE ENDS: Response
      This one is a little wordy so good luck reading my yammering :)

      I'm definitely interested BUT.........I want to cover a couple of my bases before committing if that is okay. There are two main obstacles that aren't deal breakers but I want to be up front about.

      The ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM Obstacle: August 7 -18 I will be on vacation with limited access to do basically anything on my computer. I'll be taking it with me because I consider blender a vacation all by itself but we will be busy doing other things most days. I didn't want to commit to any 'major' modeling during this point for good reason because I won't be around towards the end of the final week before the next live stream. I will need maybe a partner who I can hand this off to for when I leave. Someone just to check in on everyone during the last final sprint before the next live stream.

      The SELF-INFLICTED Training Videos and Recording Obstacle: I really want to at least get a first draft recording of the things I have learned with Arrays and curves and their many practical uses and workflow choices (when to rely on deformation versus when you won't want it, etc.) and I was planning on taking some dedicated time to tie up my own loose ends and gaps of understanding on curves and most of their many properties, tools, and options. And how using them with arrays and empties and much much more can help a blender workflow a ton. I currently have tried to narrow scope down in my introductory video but I feel like it can grow to more things which may make for a great course series, but I want to talk about that on your other post earlier a little more. I would love to give back to the community where I have gained so much. This does not have a time limit but it does have a experience/memory limit a little since my memory is really fresh on this stuff right now I fear putting it on hold may cause me to forget some hard earned lessons. I would definitely be willing to "cut a deal" though to get some "teaching/training and how to make my tutorial videos a little better" guidance in return for taking on the Master of Loose Ends Role haha. I could use some tips on good intro practices before the video starts and how to lay out what I want to train. I could cash in on this at a later date but I could definitely use some help in this area. Maybe just a half hour every now and then giving me critique on my videos and how to make them better (not looking for much really but I'll take what I can get). Currently I just sit down and write a couple lines of what I want to cover and then hit record and hope it goes okay lol. That is neither professional or well planned, but I'm new to this and figured I will learn as I do more of them. I don't mind re-recording topics later so that the content lines up more or issues get fixed. I'll talk more about this recording/tuts business in your other response.

      I can do support on the Master of Loose Ends from like a project manager standpoint. I don't think I will commit to modeling any major loose ends (there can always be exceptions) due to my vacation but rather check to see who can do what to pick up any slack if we have some (which we probably have some folks who have moved on, which is perfectly fine). I'm hoping adrian2301 could be a good person to help with some of the loose ends since that dude is on fire modeling all the extra parts already but I would want to weigh in on him and everyone else too. We still want this to be a fun experience and don't want anyone overloaded since this is a community project. I know there are some members who have interest in joining our crew and this may be the perfect time to make some assignments. I could use some guidance to know which parts need additional effort (i.e. swing frame or others).

      I don't mind sending messages to member's profiles and seeing where people are at with their own life/interest levels and looking over the model for collisions and other loose ends. That's not a glorious job but I agree someone's gotta do it and out DOG is worth it.

      RIGGING THE DOG: Response. This can happen on the following month and maybe that would be for the best, but I wanted to comment here.

      I feel like the rigging will be something that I would love to do, but it doesn't necessarily have to happen during this next month/section. Maybe the following month would be better timed for rigging??? Also, I will not be heartbroken if Wayne takes this on, on his own. It's an area I am interested int but not heart-set for. I just want more experience on this topic and felt I enjoyed figuring out the rigging process earlier during the block-out phase.

      My current experience with rigging hard surface models is only what you have seen this far. I have some animation experience but it has been a while because my modeling needed a desperate level-up.

      I learned a lot regarding animation and rigs when I first started my blender journey about 4 years ago and made some stickers on iOS iMessage. They were called Smashables and I made a teaser youtube video regarding their animations. It can be found here:

      The rigging does not seem terribly complex on some of the bigger parts, but I could use some guiding commentary regarding if small parts should just be parented. The main hard part is going to be how the hydraulics dynamically slide and move around while also being constrained at certain sections where they have fasteners or clamps, etc.

      I understand it may be something bigger than I realize. So I wouldn't want to commit to rigging and Master of Loose Ends this month based on all of my other commentary. I'd rather handle the Loose Ends first.

      Hopefully my comments make sense. And let me know. I am still very dedicated to this project.

    • I would be honoured to be a pupil to the Master of Loose Ends.

      Because of COVID, I'm actually in a position where I'm able to take time off work until December, so I'm free until then.

      I consider myself lucky, but I always try and have a thought for those who are not so lucky, especially under current circumstances. My wife knows, knew, two people who have died form this virus, and it was her suggestion for me to take some time off. I should mention she is working from home now so I'm doing most of the chores around the house so I suppose I'm not that free, but still lucky. 

      Like you blanchsb I'm committed to this project and will help out as much as I can, there is a lot of talent in the pound, but like theluthier mentioned, real life is the priority for all, for most of us hobbies come second.

    • crew

      I'm glad we're on the same page: adrian2301 was next on my list for this role! I just didn't want to overload you since you're already doing more parts than anyone. Sorry to hear about the losses of the people your wife knew. Sounds like taking time off was a wise choice. If you have the bandwidth to be Master of Lose Ends, I'm all for it!

      To be clear, the last thing I want to see you put significant hours into this. If the sum total of the role is taking more than an hour on top of the usual time you put into the project, let me know and we'll spread out the tasks.

    • crew

      Not to worry at all blanchsb, I appreciate the candid honesty! Everything is entirely understandable. Please please unplug and enjoy your vacation as you should. I did that earlier in the summer and it was great; necessary.

      I really want to at least get a first draft recording of the things I have learned with Arrays and curves...

      I fully support you prioritizing this. If this is something you want to get done sooner than later, I say go for it. If you wanted to discuss doing it officially for CGC, the gig would be paid but definitely slower (brainstorming/outlining, test recordings, feedback, possible re-recordings so on). No hard feelings at all if you're not into that and prefer to do it your way now while it's fresh!

      Maybe the following month would be better timed for rigging???

      I'd suggest hold off on rigging until the whole Backhoe is finished. There's way too much potential for things to change and messup your rig if you started now. At least that's what I would say if this was a professional job...

      I also don't want to tell you what to do. If you're energized for of the rigging challenge then I won't steer otherwise. Give it a go! Pursing the specific things that get us excited is a huge positive for learning. I know you have what it takes to be successful with it. Clearly you've shown your potential with the loader arm test rig and that cool sticker pack!

    •  If you wanted to discuss doing it officially for CGC

      Just tell me how to sign up for this theluthier because I would be honored to contribute officially for da Cookie. Tell me where to go from here!

      In regards to rigging: I agree. Let’s hold off til the end and perhaps we can revisit the topic, possibly as a team, who knows?I’m still super interested though.

      In regards to Master of Loose Ends: don’t get me wrong, I can help now after having discussed the rest but I want to expect that I won’t be around much the last week. adrian2301 and theluthier how would you feel about Adrian and I

      1. tag teaming this?


      2.if you adrian2301 want to take over and I can give you assistance where I am able.

      My opinion (can easily be changed though) Adrian is already working a ton of parts so it makes a little sense for me to take lead on figuring out loose ends and then tag teaming what needs finishing since my current assembly is winding down. If I start the recording project I can juggle those two things consistently I think. If I find I am having more time I will pitch in some modeling but I don’t want to over commit on that if that is cool until I test the waters.

      Adrian and I have some experience collaborating together a lot already so I feel we could be a good match either way.

    • I'm with you blanchsb , we have been collaborating a lot, and it's been a great motivation for me.

      My parts are 99.9% complete, I would be happy for you to lead on figuring out loose ends and pass over to me. I'm trying not to spend to much time online while my wife is working, using the internet, but blendering is OK.

      I was planning to complete my parts 100% in the next few days, in the mean time if you have the time to figure out loose ends, who needs support, who's still in the pound, etc. etc. and from there I can certainly finish of some other parts, most are in the last stages anyway.

      jjakeblended swing frame is probably where I would start as it's another part that brings several pieces together. I hope he wants to continue with the dog, but no submission this month and the issues he mentioned last month, he may well need some support.

      I also have some other CG projects I wanted to work on during my 6 months of free time, don't worry I'm not going to teach curves, making tutorials is not me, but you should definitely pursue this.

      I hope to turn a hobby into a small second income, and build it from there. I have some ideas I wanted to get onto Blender Market and beyond, but it's still in the early stage, and I have some time, once the exterior of the dog is complete I can focus more on this.

      I need to develop my Python skills a bit more before I hit one idea, but I'm already working on that. This project will be a long term commitment so I can put that on hold for a couple of months.

      I think we have all been enriched from this collaboration project, Thank you again theluthier , it's given me the confidence in my own ability to take a step into then CG wilderness.

    • It’s a deal!

      Should I wait for your official post Kent or do you want me to start finding out who, among the pound already, has ability to proceed?

      I know we have some newcomers but I forget all the names. I can start gathering all of that up at lunch today.

    • crew

      blanchsb adrian2301 You both have already been working together so well, tag teaming the loose ends is perfect!

      Should I wait for your official post Kent or do you want me to start finding out who, among the pound already, has ability to proceed?

      Wait for my post today. I'm going to gather and ask the stragglers for an update on their parts / resolve to finish 👌

      Thinking of you spending your lunch break doing this kind of thing makes me cringe lol

    • Yeah they call it a break for a reason, but everything is relative to who you are and what you experience daily. This is way more fun than "actual work" so I consider it a good break. Maybe for others it would be different.

      Just spent 12+ hours working and 5+ of that was a problem that didn't get fixed in a hot testing room where our turbines get tested. I ended up programming around the problem temporarily so I could leave for the day haha. I get to go back and figure another issue this morning.

      Yeah this is definitely a break in comparison.

  • crew

    Oh and did you have a link to the photos / video of the backhoe you found in person? Or am I making it up that this even happened? 🤔