This is my new University.

This is my new University.

Drake’s Philosophy of Health | a Wellness Assignment

What is my Philosophy of Health?

I have such strong opinions about health because I have been injured many times and seem to catch everything coming around. My basic definition of a philosopher is someone who failed and had to stop and figure it out for himself. I have tried so many regimens of diet and exercise, only to be disappointed by most popular health and fitness magazines and fad diet books. How many people would agree that a glass of juice everyday is good for the immune system? It doesn’t work for me. As a matter of fact I have observed the opposite in my life. Vitamins are supposed to keep you from getting sick. They don’t do that for me either. I take vitamins, but for other reasons than to raise my everyday immune system or make me feel good.
People love to make general statements that sound good at first but don’t really stand up to scrutiny. If it rhymes or has some nice alliteration and is written in black and white, some people think it must be a true statement. People think that if it was stated by a doctor then it must have some basis in reality. Unfortunately, doctors are guilty of making these same “common sense” analyses with no reasonable documentation to back up their assertions. Once it has been stated by a few leading professionals, it is very hard to refute even the most nonsensical assumptions. In the end, much research has to be wasted to disprove something that was utterly un-provable in the first place. Doctors are not fallible and speak almost as much nonsense as the rest of us. They just happen to throw some nice truths in with it. Take it with a grain of salt. Avoid doctors like the plague because they are surrounded by too many idiots who actually do the dirty work and pass along too much infection and nonsense in the meantime.
Do I think all doctors are idiots? Noooooo. Most are surprisingly intelligent and well-read. Some are even gifted healers. As well, many healthcare workers are extremely gifted and caring individuals. Unfortunately every time I visit the hospital or doctors office I find myself surrounded by unhealthy people, depressing people and overwhelmingly scary predicaments that tend to be catchy. I have to endure people who love to brag about the severity of their medications and conditions. These are not states of mind or states of being that I want to surround myself by.
I do my best not to live under the influence of drugs. I am amazed at how many people half my age are depending on these drugs to keep them healthy. I remember being appalled at how many pills my grandmother took everyday to “stay alive”. I am even more aghast at the number of young adults and children who are now doing the same. I think no one ever told them that a manager will do their best to hire people who do not do drugs. Whether an employee is on prescription drugs or illicit drugs is absolutely unimportant. The fact is, anyone on any kind of daily drug regimen can be unpredictable, dangerous and generally a liability.
Pain is a necessary part of life. Pain sucks. Embrace the suck and drive on. If it hurts and can contribute to a more fulfilling life, continue to do it moderately until you get used to it. All exercise is painful unless you are used to it. All exercise is bad for you; that’s why your body overcompensates by making you stronger. When you have built up enough strength and toughness to endure that particular exercise with minimal discomfort, continue to maintain that strength while you hurt yourself in some other beneficial way. Be strong.
What doesn’t kill you does not necessarily make you stronger. The songs and mantras are fun, but I know too many people who have been injured for life and will never be the physical or spiritual demi-gods they previously were. There are near death experiences that one never really bounces back from, so be careful with this one life we have to live on this wonderful Earth that God created for us. We only get to enjoy pain here in this life so don’t overdo the pleasure. The meaning of life is pain that is utilized to create something beautiful. That is the wonder of Jesus.
Drugs are good. God created every leaf on every tree for our benefit. Use it to your benefit not your downfall. If you are irresponsible with your drugs then I will embarrass you in front of the world. I will tease you, ridicule you and call you bad names. Why? I will try everything I can to correct your bad behavior because the US government makes the healthy people pay the price of the unhealthy people’s healthcare. Otherwise I don’t judge you. I don’t think you are evil for having different priorities than me. I just want you to feel terrible for making me pay so much for your healthcare costs.
Likewise, fat people beware. I have taught my children to point and laugh at you. Obesity is the number one health problem in the United States and is fixable. Every fat person should be ashamed of extorting money from every thin, fit, healthy person. As long as I am a thin, fit, healthy person who is forced to pay too much for healthcare that I will most likely not need for 50, 60, 70 years, I have a right and responsibility to correct the irresponsible fat peoples’ lifestyles in this United States. If you want me to shut up then cancel Obama Care, Medicare and Medicaid. I generally don’t like to say anything that is not nice, but this injustice has been forced upon me. Fat people should have the right to live unmolested. They do not have that luxury in this United States as long as they are killing our healthcare system and extorting money from the healthy.
Otherwise, try not to be mean, judgmental or aggressive toward others. It’s not good for the soul or your basic health. I don’t agree with being tranquil unless this is your basic predisposition. I am naturally a hyper-tense guy. So are Chihuahuas. I’m not going to give a Chihuahua medication to calm him down and I’m not going to take medication to alter my basic state of mind either. I don’t believe it is necessarily bad for me to be a little uptight. I like the way I am. Calm people are either entertained or annoyed by my temperament. Don’t judge. Pretend I’m a Jack Russell Terrier who just wants to play a little too much.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor. Eat drink and be merry. Don’t drink skim milk; it’s not natural. Eat the whole egg not just the egg whites because God didn’t mess up when he made that nicely packaged food. Eat a little butter on your bread. It probably has more nutrition than your bread. Eat real cheese instead of cheese product. We are not the only animal that drinks the milk of another animal. Go to a barn and hang out under some cows. See where your food comes from. Eat meat. It’s the circle of life. God made you an omnivore not a herbivore. You can keep a tiger alive on a vegan diet with supplements, but he’ll never be the creature he was meant to be.
Supplements are just that… supplements. They are for filling in the nutritional holes left by not-so-nutritious foods. Eat nutritious foods. Take vitamins that are created from food sources so you don’t have to eat as much. If it turns your urine bright yellow then it’s not from food sources. Drink a lot of water but don’t overdo it. Eat your veggies! Enjoy your food. Enjoy your health while you have it. It will eventually fade. Run while you still can. Jump as far and as long as you can. Dance. Sing. Laugh. Love. Fail. Lift until you fail. Failure is the goal. If you don’t go until you fail then your body and mind doesn’t know that it needs to overcompensate. Pain and failure are the benchmarks of life.
I grew up with pain. It wasn’t severe pain, but I never ran without some amount of pain. Therefore I never played without pain. I associated all play and pleasure with pain. I’m lucky. I have seen athletes and warriors experience pain for the first time in their life. They sometimes let it completely overcome them and debilitate them for the rest of their life. That is so sad. I have seen them go to doctors for pain, take medication for that pain which leads to other complications and more medication. I have seen amazing warriors succumb to over-zealous doctors and die from complications of medications and unnecessary surgeries. Don’t accept the pain; love it. Embrace it as the proverbial thorn in your side that will make you a better person. When the pain subsides you’ll be on the other side.

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Theatre Ghost | Game Level in Unity

Theatre Ghost: (click here to play the game.)

This is my first game level. I created it in Maya and compiled it in Unity, a game engine. Use your arrows or “W,A,S,D” to play. Jump with the space bar. Have fun. Of course there is no objective to the game yet; this is simply the basic set design.

You are the Theatre Ghost! Be careful; everyone is out to get you. There are Screaming Diva Bitches and Wardrobe Witches, Flaming Mo’s and Insensitive Tro’s, Brutal Balerinas and Stealthy Tech Ninjas. You have to get them before they get you.

My set is some sweet, low-poly goodness that downloads quickly. I have used many tricks to give the illusion of a higher-resolution room, from my use of alpha channels to deep normals.

Enjoy your run-around. Get a different perspective by leaping on top of the furniture. Try to get to the center of the Catwalk without falling back down to the stage. Lose your head while trying to figure out the turntable in the basement. So many ways to die in this theatre. But you’re a ghost! You’ll regenerate until the Priest exorcises you from the premises, or the Wardrobe Witches lock you up for all eternity.

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Stencils | Mudbox

This was another fun project done in Mudbox. I was given a model to texture with the criteria of at least 24 logos on his suit. We had to use real-life references for the facial texture. I decided he needed to be mammalian-ish. He’s sort of cute, isn’t he? I must confess that I really love painting in 3D in Mudbox. It’s fun. Look at him. Of course he’s not real, but how much does his texture “pop”? Wow, fun.

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Normals On Steroids | Mudbox

Model by Adam Watkins. Texture and Normals by Drake DeLucca. This is some sweet low-poly goodness that I’ve painted in an Autodesk App, Mudbox.

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Sculpture | Subtractive

 

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In my Sculpture I class I have completed a subtractive piece. “Subtractive” means that material is taken away to reveal the sculpture within. I think I spent more time on this one piece than I have on anything else in my entire life. The initial carving was in floral foam which was tedious but fun. The latter phases were much more difficult and pain-staking. We brushed on Behr paint. Then we covered it with joint compound and sanded. Then I sprayed about 100 coats of Krylon Acrylic on it. Below is the final product.
02 03 04 05

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Architectural Rendering | Maya | V-ray

In Set/ Level Design class we had to model and light a room in Maya with V-ray. It had to be accurate according to our research of an actual room. I chose a nail salon in Austin, TX that had some nice ambience. I had never been to a nail salon so I had to do some further research to be accurate. Unfortunately, one of the critics from an architectural firm, grew up helping manage his family nail salon. I couldn’t get anything over on that guy. It had to be exact. It’s been fun. I like the way it came out.

Entrance Far Corner Sitting Down Nail Polish

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Normals | Maya | Crazy Bump

This was a fun week in my Intro to Animation and Game Design class. We learned a little about Normals and an application called Crazy Bump. Normals are an extended version of Bump Mapping. They allow the bump to respond to the lighting in your scene. That means, instead of simulating the bump of the texture, the lights highlight and give shadow to the bump. As the lights move across the object, the shadows and highlights also shift with the bump texture that has been applied. If you are clever you can really change the feel of your character in a dramatic way. Below I’ve embedded my character with the previous texture and a comparison with normals. I was so proud of my texture job. To see it next to the one with normals makes the earlier version look like a real pretty-boy who would never be seen on a battle field. My new hardened and scarred Soldier is ready for war!!!

Aegis Chung with Normals

His face is pitted and scarred like a guy who’s been a few rounds against the enemy and lived to never tell the atrocities he’s dealt.

Aegis Chung with Normals

Notice the wrinkles in his clothing and the depth of his chain mail on his shoulders.

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Character Texturing | Maya


I had the opportunity to texture my first character this weekend for my Intro to Animation class. For my first time, I think I did an awesome job. We’ll see how everyone else did. This guy is very low-poly, yet I gave him some real depth. We were given a model that was already UV Mapped. I did remap his head, but the rest of him I kept as he was given to me. I seem to have a little bit of a difference of opinion against the usual head unwrap. I think I’ve found a much simpler solution that makes the face line up so much nicer.

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Quick Animated Banners in Photoshop

In Alicea’s Intro to Animation class, we had a fun task of creating an announcement banner for the head of the Department, Watkins. Adobe Photoshop has a timeline now. You can create animated GIFs that are very internet-and-device-friendly. This is especially useful since so many devices do not support Flash content.

Hang With Us Banner

Create a quick animated banner in Photoshop.

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Liquify Tool | Photoshop

Thandie Cyrus

Mission, if you choose to accept it: Take a beautiful star and make them look like someone else, using the Liquify Tool only, in Photoshop.

We were given a silly but fun task in my Intro to Animation class this week. We are discussing Adobe Photoshop. It is a necessity in the business to know lots about Photoshop. Everyone uses it. Yes. Everyone. The task was to take a photo from online of a beautiful star and make them look like someone else, using only the Liquify Tool. It seemed like Mission Impossible, so the first person who came to mind was Thandie Newton. (My wife and I had recently pulled out an old MI DVD and watched it.)

I could have chosen anyone to make her into. I thought of several others who were similar in skin tone and thought it would’t be quite as fun. So I chose to remake her into the über white Miley Cyrus. Wow. Freaky.

See (below) what I did to Beyonce by quickly conjoining her features with Mel Gibson. Awesome. I mean… awesomely ugly!!! Fun.

Melonce

Beyonce with Mel Gibson’s mouth. Worse than the bride of Frankenstein

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Green Foam | Borders

Green Foam

An Abstract in Green Floral Foam

In my sculpture class, Prof. Borders basically told us to let the Foam block speak to us. Don’t dictate to the foam, let it tell us what it wants to be. So I started listening to the green foam. This is what it is so far. Wow. I’m really digging this class. While we’re sculpting the foam with our fingers (subtractive), Prof. Borders gives guidance constantly. Most of the guidance is philosophical and motivational with occasional direct input. Whatever the case… it works. Good stuff.

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Barcelona Chair | Lucio

Barcelona Chair

Barcelona Chair – 1920s

 

This is my first piece of furniture created via Maya. Fun. It’s a Barcelona chair, circa. 1920. They tend to to be more expensive so you see them in banks, doctors’ and lawyers’ offices. This was a “quick cheat” to give a nice impression, not a perfect build. It’s a great way to fill a virtual room when you don’t need tremendous closeup detail.

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Quick Sketches on Squiggles | Toms

photo 1photo 2photo 3

It’s all about the flow of the line. Draw a curved line on the page. Set your shoulder and hip. Indicate a ribcage and head. Flesh it out.  This is the beginning of finding expression of movement. All these images were all done from my imagination, but the next class will be sketches of live models. I have some understanding of the human body, but I expect to see things I’ve never seen before when looking at a model. I hope to be more aware.

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Basic Anatomy of a Freak | Toms

Back Leg

The back leg always has the same parts.

In my drawing class tonight, Toms talked about basic anatomy. You cannot cheat on this. It doesn’t matter what kind of freak you are creating, the same basic principles are always at work. Although a giraffe has a stupendously long neck, it still has the same number of vertebrae in its neck as we do. It looks like a horses knee is bent backward to an amateur, but we all know that it has exactly the same parts as we do. The only difference is in which bones are elongated and bear the weight.

We also did our first flow studies. We drew some basic squiggles on a page, located the shoulders & hips, then sketched a figure in action. I always find this stimulating. You can play around with different body-types and extreme actions to make some really useable stuff. It reminds me of my favorite drawing book, How to Draw the Marvel Comic Way. I think that’s the name of it. It’s a basic drawing book by Stan Lee the Master of Marvel Comics, creator of everything from Hulk to Spiderman  to X-Men. You’ve seen him cameo in all the latest superhero movies. He’s da Man!!! And Graham Toms is right up there with him. Look at what he does as easily as you and I speak. Left hand or right, if there’s something to make a mark with, it’s sketching.

Toms @ the Board

Toms sketches incessantly. He did 4 of these during class like it was nothing.

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Gilberto Alicea | Intro to Animation & Game Design

Gil Alicea

Gil Alicea

Professor Alicea is a fun guy who really knows how to break things down Barney style while maintaining attention.

Alicea's Work

Alicea’s Work

The other day we sat around and took a computer apart, and talked about what does what. Then we had a contest to see who could build the cheapest and most expensive computers online. In the graphics field Mac computers tend to be king, but in 3D animation PCs dominate. It became evident as we built the richest computer with great specs, why gamers and builders choose PCs. The team that was building on newegg.com built an amazing computer for around $1700. A computer from newegg.com with the minimum specs was only $1100. A comparable Mac was much more. I have done this in the past and still came up with a cheaper Mac with the right innards, but you really have to buy it right to justify it. My current Macbook Pro with a 2 GHz  Quad core i7 processor was only $800. Nice! Otherwise the minimum specs for a decent 3D animator’s build would be:

  • CPU: i7 Quad Core 2+GHz
  • Ram: 12Gb
  • GPU: 2Gb
  • Monitor: 24″ 1920 x 1080p

Let’s face it, professionalism isn’t always getting it done in the prettiest fashion. It’s all about getting it done fast, efficiently & right, while maintaining the bottom line.

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Carlos Lucio| Set/ Level Design/ Modeling

Carlos Lucio

Carlos Lucio

Carlos Lucio is my set design and modeling professor. He’s a local architect and interior designer with exceptional rendering skills. He’s currently working on his Masters of American History. Smart guy. He’s very low key and patient.

Our first project is modeling a room that we’ve chosen. I picked a relatively easy room with views of all walls and a basic floor plan.  I plan to stay up and finish all the basics tonight. I have the walls and ceilings done and on layers. I need to name the polygons. He likes names & layers. He hates having to work on someone else’s project, but having to clean it up before starting. I need to learn this process. It makes perfect sense. I want to work on projects that are bigger than just myself. Therefore I’ll be considerate and keep it clean and organized.

 

Lucio's Work

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James Borders | Sculpture 1

James Borders

James Borders

Professor Borders is my Sculpture 1 professor  at UIW. He’s from Louisiana, loves good food and has an epic beard. I was impressed with how clean and orderly the studio was when I first walked in. This guy’s attention to detail is renowned.

Things he said:

  • Attend all classes – don’t be late.
  • We are searching for a truth.
  • Erase all visual static.
  • Excuses are for weak individuals.
  • If you work in shit you create shit.

He likes quotes. We are expected to have a meaningful quote at every class. We’ll do 2 projects in his class – a foam one and a wood one. The foam will be subtractive. The wood will additive. We’ll provide the materials and a box to keep and transport it in.

Hans Arp

Hans Arp

The works will be based upon or similar to the work of Henry Moore and Hans Arp.

Henry Moore

Henry Moore

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Graham Toms

Graham Toms

Graham Toms

Graham Toms is my Drawing-for-Animators teacher. He’s from Ireland and just started a batch of new beer before class. It sounded like a good IPA. I’ll hit him up for a sample in a couple weeks. He’s been around in the industry for quite some time, previously at Disney.

Some of the things we discussed in class:

  • Narrative is always important as an underlying element. Paint pretty and have a story.
  • If the poly flow is beautiful then the model will work.
  • HDRI – look it up.

grahamtoms.wordpress.com, also on youtube.

Next class have an 18 x 24 sketchbook, 2 types of charcoal (willow & compressed), opt. pastels and a razor.

This guy sketches incessantly and paints about 70 works every year. He sells most. He said to never throw your sketches away; they come in handy. He has an interesting approach of sculpting a scene in 3D then painting it. Nice results.

Toms Banner

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This Is Where I Begin Again

This is my new University.

This is my new University.

This is my new college, the University of the Incarnate Word. I went on terminal leave from the Army this week and now am a full-time student in the 3D Animation and Game Design course. It is a 4 year course & a big leap for me. I already have over 130 credit hours at other institutions with no degree to show for it. This is going to be a bit of a challenge, providing for my family while I get my BFA. It is the most time-intensive degree at the University. More than half the 3D ANGD students change their major after the first semester. Only 1 out of 10 are expected to receive their degree. It’s gonna be tough. I’m gonna be incredible. My measly little demo reel should be exploding by leaps and bounds when I have time to edit it.

 

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Demo Reel

When in the midst of a career, one is required to demonstrate his abilities, a demo reel is a obligatory. I shall periodically update this reel to demonstrate my growth.

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