Sunday, April 13, 2014

Star Lion

John Marine | 6:28 PM | | Be the first to comment!
One of my mascot choices for my blogs was a lion. As you may have read from my "Spirit" blog post, the lion never materialized. In fact, I never even drawn a concept of this lion. So what I will be doing here is basically describe my lion. That is the basis of this blog post. I hope you get to enjoy this deal here.


BEFORE I BEGIN...

Times have been slow for this blog, primarily because I have been thinking of what kind(s) of creative material of mine to showcase in posts. Remember I want to showcase art and music and such.





--- Star Lion ---

One conceptual mascot I had in mind for my blogging work is a lion I call "Star Lion." There is no real story or any real inspiration behind creating this lion. But really, it is mostly just an empowering and polarizing figure to represent my online work.


Describing the Star Lion.

The Star Lion I had conceptualized has an color-shifting body which sparkles and shines like a galaxy. Think of this lion as a living galaxy. It is a lion that still roars loudly and proudly as any lion.

The premise of this lion is to represent a number of key points:

• I love cats, and a lion is a cat.

• I love stars, space, and nighttime.

• Having a lion with a theme of stars and space means something to represent empowerment and encouragement for my blogging work.

What the Star Lion represents is a love of stars as well as regality. A lion represents fierceness and commands the respect of others. Anyone familiar with Singapore may be familiar with the Merlions that have been the mascot of Singapore. The way I thought of having my material represented was with something like the Star Lion.

As I had mentioned previously, I never came up with any single concept or prototype for the Star Lion. So it basically was a concept I failed to introduce in some capacity. Maybe in the future I'll create something close to what I had initially envisioned for my Star Lion concept mascot.





Times are slow for "John's Creative Space" because I am still thinking of what I actually want to feature in my blog. And on top of that, actually coming up with the material I hope to showcase is also what is holding me up from really sharing my material with you all. A lot of it is highlighted on material I've created, but I also want to discuss other elements of creative works others produce. I also want to perhaps inspire people whom visit and find something fun here. So bear with me here as I keep coming up with material I hope my readers/visitors will enjoy. Thank you for reading!

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Qubicle Constructor

John Marine | 9:58 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
Qubicle Constructor is a 3D modeler allowing for the creation of voxel models. People have used this program for modding certain popular voxel-based games like Minecraft and Stonehearth among others. Some others make 3D pixel art with Qubicle. This blog post is a discussion about Qubicle Constructor. I want to introduce this program to all of my readers/visitors of "John's Creative Space."

Qubicle pertains to a whole suite of programs meant for 3D voxel making, but I am focusing only on Qubicle Constructor for this post.


About the Label: "Reviews"

As important as it is to introduce my readers to creative work I make, I feel it is equally important to offer resources to others as well as review those resources. So any "Reviews" labeled posts relate to reviews of certain tools and services creative types may use or may be interested in.


Recommended Reading

While I will be discussing Qubicle Constructor in this post on "John's Creative Space," I once did a complete review and overview of Qubicle Constructor. I still want you to read my post here on JCS, but give yourself an overview of Qubicle Constructor and voxels by reading these two posts in my main blog:

"Qubicle Constructor" (John's Blog Space)
^ my review of Qubicle Constructor.

"Voxels" (John's Blog Space)
^ my overview regarding voxels.


Otherwise, read on!





--- Qubicle Constructor ---

I am not sure when I first learned of Qubicle Constructor. When I did eventually come across this program, I began to imagine the possibility of making 3D models with it. The program takes on an interface as simple as Microsoft Paint. You edit slices of models for intricate detail. While you may lack the usage of polygons and textures with something like Qubicle Constructor, you do get to make any number of models by simply going pixel-by-pixel.

The suite of Qubicle was created by a German developer named Minddesk and a fellow named Tim Wesoly. The effort to try to create such a 3D modeling program was to try to offer users the ability to create quality 3D models through a simple Paint-style interface. Models created can be modified extensively to create all sorts of effects. Created models can be either imported or exported to a number of different formats.

There are not very many quality programs of its kind for free. Most people usually equate to the likes of SLAB6 and SLABSPI as far as free voxel-editing programs are concerned. Those programs only are made for VOXLAP games such as Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior. Some even look to Sproxel or Cube Kingdom for voxel editing. Those two programs even have their own formats and not much in the way of exporting to more useful formats. So really, Qubicle Constructor is the best-possible program if you want to make voxel models and export them to useful formats. To be honest, if you really want to utilize Qubicle Constructor, you'll need to purchase paid versions of it. Buying at least the Home version grants you the ability to export to OBJ format, which can then be imported in a number of programs such as Blender and Maya among others. As an imported model, it could be used to be rendered or even be given life by rigging the model. The highest package for Qubicle Constructor is the Master version. The Master version features all of the perks of the Home version, but offers you the ability to use your creations commercially.

I currently have the Home version of Qubicle Constructor 1 as I type up this blog post on this program.


Wait... What is a "Voxel?"

So I've been throwing around voxel a lot so far. Basically, a voxel is a three-dimensional pixel. Think "volumetric pixel" in regards to pixels. Much like an atom is the smallest and simplest unit of an element, a pixel is the smallest and simplest unit of any computer-generated image. A simple pixel offers length and height. A voxel offers length, width, and height. Voxel models appear as a heap of cubes brought together to make one model. Depending upon your level of creativity, you can take full advantage of making amazing models by making exceptional pixel art.

Voxels lack the ability to be modified right away with various lighting effects and such. However, voxels can have these abilities added to them when rendered in a proper rendering program. The simplicity in creating voxels make them sort of a last resort for 3D modelers who lack the skills to make proper polygon models (like myself). One of the negatives of voxels is that they can be very CPU intensive to try to generate and use. But again- they are very simplistic and easy to use in making 3D creations.


Qubicle Constructor Sample.

Here are some sample models I have created using Qubicle Constructor. Please refer to the callout numbers to know what it is I am discussing:

Qubicle Constructor sample models
^ from: (my public Picasa album) - Four models I have created from scratch using Qubicle Constructor.

1.) I constructed this basketball goal and added noise to it. The noise gives the basketball goal a little bit of realism and detail. I didn't add a net to the basketball hoop since I'm not that good at making one.

2.) This is actually a much smaller model than the scale of this model indicates. It is a wooden sword inspired by the very first "The Legend of Zelda" game.

3.) A bus stop shelter was what I created here. I had to actually re-edit it a number of times until I came up with something I was proud of.

4.) Based on a model I re-created from another model, I designed this basketball player.


When it comes to making models with Qubicle Constructor, one of the most important things stressed is to keep your matrices small. Making larger models will mean you will have to combine smaller matrices to build up a general large scale model. So don't look to Qubicle for making massive models.


Who Uses Qubicle Constructor?

A lot of developers both small and large use Qubicle Constructor to create voxel models. Let me provide some examples:

Minecraft - Some people who play Minecraft use Qubicle Constructor to create schematics for Minecraft. Schematics are essentially piece-by-piece models which can be brought into any Minecraft world. Some of the most extravagant models in Minecraft worlds are usually constructed from Schematics. Or at least, some of the more detailed models.

Stonehearth - Stonehearth is a game where you build Medieval-type cities while also making sure to keep citizens protected. There is a version of Qubicle Constructor that you can purchase to begin modding for Stonehearth.

Build and Shoot (formerly "Ace of Spades") - The very popular strategy first-person shooter Build and Shoot is used with Qubicle Constructor in the creation of maps and guns. Map sizes can be about as large as 512 length, 256 height, and 512 depth.

Cube World - Similar to Minecraft, Cube World is a colorful action RPG. Models created with Qubicle include characters, weapons, and more.


So as you can tell, there are a number of different uses for making models with Qubicle Constructor.



--- Qubicle Constructor: Final Thoughts ---

Here are some final thoughts in regards to Qubicle Constructor:


Qubicle Constructor is really the most powerful and most simple-to-use voxel model software online today. To really utilize it in various projects, you need to purchase Qubicle Constructor. You will otherwise just have your Qubicle creations just sit in its native QMO format. The ease of use with Qubicle Constructor will allow for any number of models and creations to be made for those with this program. The flaws with QC are few- including the fact it can be buggy and sometimes confusing to navigate. Not having a proper palette of 256 colors means some of the creations probably won't be as detailed or as interesting as you would like. If you want to make models that can then be rigged in other programs, you are unable to make voxel models that you can later rig them for animation (within the program, at least). Other than that, there aren't too many faults to this program. Oh... this program is ONLY available for Windows. There are no versions I know of for Mac, Linux, or any other operating systems.

As of the date of this initial blog post, I am being told that an alpha for the new Qubicle Constructor 2 will be released on or around April 6, 2014. Those who purchased a license for QC1 will be able to try out these in-progress versions of QC2. I will be interested to see what becomes of QC2. You can go to Minddesk's home page and go to its forum to suggest changes and ask questions about Qubicle Constructor.


Do I Have Any Special Plans With Qubicle?

For some of my creative art with Qubicle, I hope to be able to use Qubicle to create 3D art and perhaps even attempt to make videos showcasing my creations. That's what I hope to do for you all in my attempts to share my creative work with you all.


For More Information...

To learn more about Qubicle Constructor, here are some resources for you:

Minddesk Home Page
Qubicle Constructor on Facebook
Follow Qubicle Constructor on Twitter!

"Qubicle Constructor" (John's Blog Space) « my original blog post on Qubicle Constructor.


That concludes this post for the most part.



--- Special Request! ---

I hope I can do more reviews of various resources for creative work. If there are any programs or anything you want me to take a look at, please contact me online. I may try to do blog posts on other programs and resources if I am able to make a quality-enough post on certain resources.





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