Thesis Project: End of Semester Summary

I haven't posted much lately since the semester has ended, mainly because I'm trying to get used to having a third warm body in our home.  However, I wanted to post my semester's progress for my thesis class.  I still have some tweaking to do with Alex's hair, but I need to call him done soon.  For the Robot, I wound up desaturating the colors of the environment so it wasn't so intense.  For all intents and purposes, I am calling that model done.

I am doing a short character sculpt just for fun over the break, but at the beginning of January I will need to start working on the Kobol.  In just a few months, I'll be finished with this and on my way to graduating with my master's degree!

Dear Santa,

Dear Santa,

Once again I'm posting this online because I know you have some pretty good data mining algorithms on your servers up there at the North Pole to help you keep up your naughty and nice lists.  Thus, I figured this would be easier than mailing a physical letter.  Plus, the post office is doomed to closure, so I hear.  I would imagine that with the advent of Facebook and the amount of people who post drunk pictures of themselves (3 out of 4 Britons, for example), those lists get a little more off-balanced each year.

Anyway, how have things been this past year for you?  (Again, I always feel that there should be some sort of pleasantries before I launch into my list of demands yuletide requests.)  Have the polar ice caps melted yet?  Or is that global warming thing just a bunch of hooey?  There are plenty of lobbyists down here to try and convince us one way or another, but for the most part, I don't really listen to much of anyone in the media.  How is Mrs. Claus doing, by the way?  Wikipedia tells me that her name is actually YoYo Frost Claus, but honestly, I don't know how reputable that source actually is.  I don't want to speculate on the subject either, just in case your wife's name really is YoYo...  By the way, I don't know if she is a regular internet surfer, but there are some shocking allegations coming from the offspring of a  number of desperate housewives.   I am certain they aren't true, but you might want to warn her about the smear campaign against your good name.

Anyway, enough of my inane banter.  I actually wanted to let you know that the following is what I am respectfully requesting this Christmas season: nothing.

Yeah, you read that right.  I have no requests, wishes, demands, needs, or desires that require fulfillment this year.  You see, 2011 has been very fortunate to me, bestowing many a blessing upon me throughout it's existence.  I don't know if you've kept track of things, but the following are just a few of the great things I have experienced over the past year:

  • Just two weeks into 2011, I was able to be sealed to my sweet wife Sarah for time and eternity in the Mount Timpanogos temple.  All of our parents and siblings were able to make it, which made it a very special time for us.
  • In our new ward in Provo, we had the chance to serve as ward service missionaries to our brothers and sisters in the state hospital where we gained completely new and intimate insight into how far-reaching the power of the Atonement really is.
  • A few months into our marriage, we discovered that we wouldn't be solitary newlyweds by the end of the year!
  • Sarah finally finished BYU (although the school's bureaucracy has kept her from getting her diploma and officially graduating... maybe you could do something about that).
  • When we moved from our tiny house in Provo, the amount of help that showed up to help us load were more than we could possibly use, and we wound up with a bit of a bottleneck in loading.
  • My parents were kind enough to let us stay at their house for a little while during the summer while we were waiting for an apartment to open up in California.
  • We got to spent a few days with half of Sarah's family up in Oregon.
  • A little while later, we got to spend time with my entire family for a week at a lodge in Bear Lake,
  • I passed my mid-point review for my thesis project, which opened the door to finishing my degree up in May.
  • In August our wonderfully spacious and rent-controlled apartment opened up in Martinez, California.  The move across Nevada went seamlessly without any problems.  When we got to our place, once again, there were so many people that showed up to help us that we were totally unloaded in half an hour.
  • I had the chance to get to work on my thesis with a really great guy who works at Lucasfilm.  He even invited me out to come have lunch with him at Skywalker Ranch, which is a place I've wanted to visit for a long time.
  • We got to go spend general conference weekend with my brother Brian and his family up at a condo in Lake Tahoe.
  • We had the great privilege of having Sarah's parents down to take care of us on Thanksgiving and spend some good time with us.
  • And finally, our little bundle of joy, Leah Lourena Reynolds was born on December 3rd.  The birth went fine and, though our schedule has been wrecked, we're very happy that she is a healthy, content, and energetic baby.

So, as you can tell, life has been pretty good this year.  I mean, those are the big things that have just happened to me directly.  I haven't even scratched the surface about how many of my friends had kids or got married.  Or that Osama Bin Laden finally got his comeuppance.  Really, life has been great this year.  I have a great support network and all of my needs are constantly met.

In short, I don't want to be impolite, but if you want to skip my stocking this year, I'm totally fine with that.  I mean, feel free to still come in and eat the cookies and milk.  Heaven knows I don't need those calories in my system.  In fact, have all our holiday goodies that people bring over.  If you don't eat them, I will.  And, believe me, I don't need them!

I guess what I am saying is that if there is a limited amount of Christmas cheer that you're allowed to hand out, feel free to pass on me.  I've had the equivalent all year long and it's really quite nice.  I know there are those out there with empty bellies, sorrowful hearts, and tired eyes that need blessings more than I do.  Of course, if you've got someone on your mind, maybe I should be the one to go give them some Christmas cheer instead.  They might appreciate it more from a friend than a fat stranger in a red suit.  No offense.

Anyway, it's been quite the year and I've experienced all of the three big M's that are big life-changing events: Marriage, Maternity, and Moving... or are the three big M's "marriage," "maternity," and "mortgage?"  Hang on a second...

Marriage, maternity, moving... mortgage?  Movie monsters?  (Double word score!)

Whatever.  What I'm trying to say is that it's been a big year.  Supposedly next year the Mayan calendar is set to restart and that has a lot of people worrying that the world is ending.  However, I don't think that the word "restart" means the end of the world.  Just look at what Hollywood has been doing for the past ten years and you'll see that the world hasn't ended.  Maybe the world of good entertainment, but not the whole world.  (Besides, the first part of The Hobbit comes out next year!)

Anyway, this has gone on long enough.  I just wanted to wish you, your wife, and unionized elf labor force a Merry Christmas!  Please watch out for the Occupy Protesters.  I hear they might be headed your way to try and blame the housing market bubble burst on you.  If they do come that way, I hope the ice caps melt.

Keep it real, Santa!

-Brad Reynolds

P.S. Okay, maybe a flying, time-traveling DeLorean would be nice to have.
P.P.S. Or maybe my own personal robotic bodyguard.
P.P.P.S. Or maybe a Wampug.


Advanced Texturing and Lighting: Haunted House Finishing Touches

There is very little left to be done with this rendering, thankfully.  Right now I am just adjusting tiny things like the ambient occlusion and certain light levels.  Eventually, you can get "tweak fatigue" and just have to call the whole thing done.


Still the best creation to date...

Leah Lourena Reynolds, born December 3rd, 2011 at 4:59 PM at John Huir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, CA.  7 pounds, 3 ounces.  19 inches long.  Cries whenever cold.  Loves her mommy a lot.  Not quite sure what to think of daddy yet, but thinks he's getting better.

Thesis Project: Robot Shader Progress

This week, due to other activities, I wasn't able to get a whole lot done on this.  However, I did do some adjustments to the shaders and textures, trying to get a better bronze look out of the material.  I also have been playing around a bit with doing some post-processing like depth of field, lens flares, and glow.  More tinkering to come.