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Mindless Pursuits



Changing My Approach to Recording & Editing Tutorials – Let the Weekly Blogging Commence! 1

Posted on March 09, 2016 by Keith

Common Concepts - Beginning AI In Unreal Engine 4

The first of the ‘Common Concepts’ tutorials was posted yesterday, and it has already received 175 views as I sit down to write this, the first in my promised shift to weekly blog posts rather than semi-annual! In the new tutorial, Basic A.I. in Unreal Engine 4.10 Using Blueprints, I decided to begin taking a new approach to recording and editing. In prior tutorials, I would sit down and start recording as I worked through the topic on the fly. Then, after finishing, I would go back and edit the tutorial down to a ‘more streamlined’ format to eliminate a lot of the pauses and missteps. Unfortunately, a byproduct of that approach is that occasionally, a little too much would get cut, and occasionally caused confusion for viewers. An example of this might be me exploring one way of doing things, then deciding to go a different way and cutting the first way out but forgetting that a variable I created in that first way gets used in the second way but now it has no explanation – it just appears. That’s definitely not viewer-friendly!

The new approach works differently. I make an outline of topics I plan to cover, then make the slides, and then film in short segments focused on each section of the outline. I back up the tutorial after I complete each section. If in filming a section, I decide I don’t like it, or I feel I’m being unclear, or I jumble words, then I revert back to the backup and start again. By doing so, I ensure that any re-records have to cover everything, and nothing gets cut that will leave the viewer confused. It also makes it a bit easier for me to record, because I don’t have to plan for a multi-hour recording and editing session. As I record and am happy with each section, I add it to the video editing project in Premiere Pro, and that way the video is built over time without needing a marathon recording or editing session, which means I’ll be able to record more frequently!

The final change for the video is that I decided not to do any microphone post-processing other than a very minor de-noise filter. While I actually prefer my voice with the vocal enhancer on, I think it was making my voice a little more muffled. I also did my playback with my PC set at 60% volume, so that I could determine the level for my voice. If I could hear it clearly at 60% volume, then hopefully that means everyone else watching at full volume won’t have issues hearing me! Still, I want to make a mic test video soon to post, and have viewers offer feedback on what mic and settings work best.

That’s it for this first weekly post. I have no idea what I’ll post about next week, but I’ll try to make it good! What would you like to see discussed?

An additional delay on the Q&A Video – It will be posted tomorrow 0

Posted on September 04, 2015 by Keith

Screenshot 2015-09-04 19.42.22

After two hours of recording today, as I was recording the outro to the tutorial, my PC crashed. Recovery of the files didn’t work. Rather, the audio was recoverable in Adobe Audition, but the video was corrupt and can’t be recovered. So I need to re-record from the beginning. I apologize for the additional delay.

I’ve Been Declared ‘Cancer Free’ Again… Now What? 2

Posted on May 10, 2013 by Keith
This picture has nothing to do with this post, other than I'm as determined to succeed as she was to hit the ball (and she did)!

This picture has nothing to do with this post, other than I’m as determined to succeed as she was to hit the ball (and she did)!

Wednesday I receive my most recent PET scan results, which resulted in my being declared ‘Cancer Free’ (provisionally speaking, but we won’t get into that). As you can guess, there was, and still is, a flood of emotions that swelled up around the news. This post isn’t to discuss that. Instead, beating the big ‘C’ a second time beggars other questions. First and foremost among them: what comes next?

Well, first and foremost, I devote all of my daytime attention to my ‘Grand Endeavor.’ It’s not something I’m talking about in specifics right now as I need to keep it under wraps to avoid competitive scrutiny, and because I don’t want to create any preconceived notions about it. The final rounds of chemo and radiation really disrupted my work though, and starting Monday, I plan to devote a solid 8-10 hours a day to it and get it back on track. I also plan to spend time each evening and weekend on my art. My drawing skills have been developing nicely, my desire to paint with traditional mediums is back, and I’m quite enjoying my digital space and science fiction art projects. Maintaining a healthy balance between the Grand Endeavor, my art, and my time with my daughters is very important to me.

Additionally, I plan on furthering my exercise schedule. I have brought my 12-speed mountain bike back from storage, and have already ridden around town twice. I’m going to slowly introduce some weights into my daily routine. Of course, I’ve already started working on eating healthier, though I’m not going to follow any specific weight loss plan. I’ve even done well in ensuring I am not sitting still all day, despite being at the PC. Every half an hour I ensure I get up and walk around and enjoy a moment on the balcony.

Finally, I have a project that will be very much a sideline project for a while, but will be another step forward in my dreams of enabling creative souls to gain exposure and show their craft. In this case, it’s a project named ‘We All Dream,’ and the earliest incarnation will be a hub for webcomics creators, online graphic novelists, musicians and writers to share their works. Eventually I plan to expand it to be much, MUCH more, but every dream needs a starting point! I’ll provide more information on it here as I develop it further.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Battle of the Giants – A Work In Progress 0

Posted on May 02, 2013 by Keith

I started a new drawing at the beginning of last week called ‘Battle of the Giants.’ It’s the largest drawing I’ve started to date, and it’s mostly a learning exercise in perspective. I spent about three hours drawing the linework for the framework of the street and city. After that, I wasn’t entirely certain what I wanted, other than for a giant robot to be fighting some sort of ‘monster.’ I eventually decided that the ‘monster’ would be a dragon, as my daughter and I are also learning to draw those at the moment. It was then that I needed to take the next step, and start trying to draw the figures, but first I needed to determine a pose….

Battle of the Giants - Using Tracing Paper to Work on Pose

Using tracing paper to work on pose structure
(I apologize for how dark this is, but it’s the only way I could get the lines to show as they are so light)

Because I knew it would take me multiple tries to get the basic structure of the pose correct and interesting to me, and I didn’t want to draw and erase numerous times on my nice perspective framework. I don’t know how other artists handle this, but in my case, I opted to work on my forms by putting a piece of drawing paper over the perspective drawing so I could see the lines underneath, then sketched out various forms. By using the tracing paper, I didn’t have to touch my line drawing until I was satisfied. Surprisingly, the tracing paper held up better than I expected to constant erasing, so I only needed to use one sheet.

Battle of the Giants in Progress - Adding Figure Roughs

Adding Figure Roughs

Once I had the structure of a pose that I liked, I then started putting it into the actual drawing. My feeling right now is that I should have done the figure roughs on the tracing paper as well, then used my lightbox to transfer the roughs to the main drawing once they were more developed. I didn’t, but as this is a learning experience, I’m not sweating it. What I found once I started doing more work on the figures was that I was having problems visualizing how the legs would work in the pose. I could look in a mirror and use my cheap wooden pose mannequin to figure out the torso and arms, but that wasn’t working for the lower half of the robot. What I’ve decided to do is to set up some pillows against a wall to be the dragon’s lower half, and then have one of my daughters recreate the pose for me so that I can see how the legs and lower body would work.

I’m hoping to have this done next week. So far I’m happy with the progress, even with the flaws I need to work on, but it’s a long way from finished. I’m thinking after I get the figures done, I’ll actually scan it all into the PC and try to do the inking and coloring digitally. I’ll also try to do it using traditional media, just to improve my knowledge in both areas. I’ll do additional posts as things progress. Learning is fun!



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