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Do you have any past hobbies you really don't do anymore?

I've had hobbies that I was really into in the past that I no longer do. The main reason is due to how things have changed over the years in terms of technology and outsourcing.

I used to do astrophotography for several years. I developed my own film from hours-long exposures in some cases. I had a really old camera that I had mounted to and looking through my telescope with the aperture wide open the whole time. I still love looking through my telescope, though I haven't done that lately. But astrophotography is something I won't be doing again because I don't have a dark room and camera film is going the way of the dodo bird.

I also was very into 3D modelling and animation. I went to an animation school for over a year to learn all aspects of it. Then I went to a place called Foundation Imaging to work as an apprentice for one month. This was all at the urging of smileycreek who backed me in doing all of this because she knew how much I was intrigued by it and really wanted me to give it a go. She is the most supportive and wonderful person you'll ever meet!

It turned out I was actually very good. I was especially good at lighting and animation. I worked on a 100% in-house creation of a 3D cartoon called Max Steele. I also did special effects for Star Trek the Next Generation. I'll tell you something...most special effects really aren't hard to do at all. I had a blast while working at Foundation Imaging. The place was awesome. The people I worked with were awesome. Imagine a bunch of nerds that are super 3D modelers and animators all having fun doing it all. We'd work crazy long hours, but it was really fun and not like slaving away at something you don't like doing.

I also really paid attention to what was happening in that industry at that time, which was the summer of 2001...pre-911. It was obvious to me that 3D modelling and animation was going to become just another industry outsourced overseas. For this reason I declined to work at Foundation Imaging. I was very flattered as they twice tried to get me to work for them because they wanted my skills.

I would have worked on a per project basis, which was where that industry was at that time...having just recently changed from an industry where you could get a full-time job. The writing was already on the wall. Foundation Imaging was one of the largest "houses" (as animation places are called) in the industry. Now, they no longer exist. Unless you have a job at Pixar, created by Steve Jobs and later sold to Disney, or a place like George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic, which was also later sold to Disney, you really can't find stable work in 3D modeling and animation. And Disney has since outsourced the bulk of what those two companies used to do.

I'm going to put up a few of my own animations. These are just little ones I did to practice various 3D modelling and animation techniques. As simple as these look, they are really quite complicated to make and animate properly. All these are low-polygon 3D models I made. The point was to experiment with different techniques of animation mostly. Enjoy.


This first animation I did to experiment with modeling an aquarium fish with a surface that I took from a picture of a real fish. I built this fish from scratch then made it swim to the camera through murky water and away again. The fins and tail movement look darn good as does the swimming motion.

This next one is a simple animation I made of letters rotating around. The surface is reflective and reflecting several light sources (the light sources as well as everything are created by me). Then a little splash of special effects with a lens flare. Simple, but it served my purpose of practicing the most basic stuff in motion, lighting and special effects. It's the very first thing I did to tell the truth.

This next animation is a fly and bottle. I created this to experiment with making a cartoon bottle that moves around as it follows the fly buzzing around. The bottle gets pissed off at the fly buzzing it and starts to chase it. Too bad for the bottle that the fly tricks it into falling off the table. This is very cartoon-like in the way the bottle moves around and especially when it falls off the table. The top of the bottle stays in the air for a while before zooming down to catch up to the rest of the fallen bottle. It's kinda like when the coyote would fall off a cliff and his head would stay in the camera shot for a while before snapping down to the rest of his body that had already fallen.

This next animation was to experiment with "volumetrics." In this case I was creating the steam before the missile launches AND the smoke and fire as it lifts off. You'll see I also made it shake from the force as it starts to launch. I did a great job on this one to tell the truth. Though very low resolution, I'm sure you'll agree the steam, smoke and fire all look realistic. As with all these practice animations I'm showing you, everything was created by me. The 3D modeling was not the main point...fooling around with various techniques was.

The last animation is a four-fingered hand that is anticipating a baseball coming it's way. It catches the ball and then throws it. I did this animation to experiment with "bones," which are invisible but inside the fingers. By animating each "bone" individually, I was able to get a pretty decent looking finger tapping in anticipation...catching motion...and throwing motion.

So, how about you? Do you have any old hobbies you don't do anymore?

Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of the evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, and interesting videos, as well as links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate.

Finally, readers may notice that most who post diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but newcomers should not feel excluded. We welcome guests at our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.

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