CompTIA Server+ and Low Poly People…

So, I missed a few posts over the past week or so. Actually, I’ve been really busy, but for a good cause. I’ve been fortunate enough to be selected by CompTIA to beta test the new Server+ exam. The busy part is all of the studying I am doing to try to pass the exam. I have a very short window of time in which to take the exam as well. Servers are not a new thing for me, but I have my doubts about passing the test, so I’m trying really, really hard to study up for it.

At work we use a few servers. From file hosts to PXE boot servers, but we don’t use them the way most of the IT world does. Here at work, our servers are offline and not connected to the internet at all. We manage and maintain nodes, as well as re-image them “remotely”, but by remotely, I mean that we do it in the same room from the servers to the machines. We don’t do patch management or updates, either. Some of our servers are running the same way they started out five years ago, because they are closed loop systems. Often component fail, but we don’t upgrade them, we repair them with pre-stocked and approved replacements of the exact same parts, even if those parts are no longer manufactured. Some of the motherboards and graphics cards we use have been out of production before we installed the servers. It’s just not exactly the way servers are typically used, especially in the scope of this exam.

Of course my server at home is a web, FTP, photo, and Jabber server, but I’m not sure that it’s being implemented the way a typical IT setup would be. It is only accessed by myself and my wife, and it is tied specifically to our cell phones with dynamic IP addresses. I manage users on a one on one basis, because there are only 2 users. Not your typical use case, for sure.

So, I’m doing a lot of studying. Fortunately for me, my company provides a video series specific to the Server+ exam, albeit the previous version of the test (of course, the one I’m taking is a beta, after all), which is free for me to peruse. I also picked up a Sybex Server+ book, which I’m reading through as well. Kindle readers can be really handy! If I had to order the book, I would lose a week of study time waiting for it to arrive in Alaska!

All of that to say I’ve been busy.

In the interim, however, I’ve been playing around with the Low Poly course lessons some more, and been trying to make some low poly people. There are several styles of low poly people, so I’m trying out a few of them. If you can see this posts pictures in your viewer, then hopefully you can see the little police man that I made. Well, I guess at the moment, he’s just a man in a blue shirt, but I was going to put a badge and tie on him later.

Linux – keep it simple.

Low Poly Course: A whole new world….

The title might suggest something about a princess, a monkey, a thief, and a Disney movie, but it’s not so glamorous. It’s just a low poly world I created for my low poly class. I had some fun with lighting, and it is amazing what changing the background lighting color can do to your planet.

SpaceWorld

Above is a generic lighting fading from white to black. Kind of gives it a nice “space” look. But, it seems a bit moody, so I tried some sunrise, daylight, and sunset looks:

I’m no expert, but it’s a pretty fun way to change the mood and look of the model, without changing anything else. I’m really enjoying the class so far, but I’m not far from the end of it now. I think next up is a low poly character that moves, so I’m really looking forward to that!

Linux – keep it simple.

Low Poly Course: T-Rex times four!

Hopefully above, you can see my latest creation, a low poly T-rex! I’m still taking the low poly course, and really enjoying it. Perhaps because it is low poly, it makes it a little easier to have good results, even for beginner’s like me. Above is my “square method” low poly T-rex. Here is my decimated “triangle style” T-rex:

Not too much difference, although the triangle style does have more menacing looking teeth. For fun, I then made this “high poly” version by subdividing the square version:

And then I decimated the high poly model, as per the instructor’s suggestion in the course. It made for an interesting low poly/high poly mix:

In all four versions, I used the same colors, the same lighting, and as close to the same position/camera angle as I could. One interesting note about the decimated high poly model – it was really difficult to color it. When I would go into edit mode to select surfaces to color, it would look “high poly” again, but when I would select vertices, and went back to paint it, it was “low poly” again. So, I realized I forgot to apply my decimation. So it was showing the decimation, but it was not applied to the model. So, apply, apply, apply. That’s my lesson learned for the day!

Linux – keep it simple.

Low Poly Course: 2 different ways to model a dog…

Boxer_2

Okay, so the next part of the course is creating some low poly animals. I made these two dogs using two different methods. The square-er looking one was modeled using blocks and shapes and transforming them. The less square looking one was made with the sculpting tool, cutting or adding to the base shape.

Boxer_1

The instructor’s dogs came out much better looking, to be sure! I also branched out a bit and did a different dog than the pattern he used in the course, because I wanted to try something else. Overall, I like the squarer looking one, kind of has a “cute” look to it and it reminds me of several cartoon dogs. The sculpted one, however, leaves a lot to be desired.

Just so you know, I don’t think it’s the instructors fault my sculpted dog came out looking funny, I think you can just tell that he has a lot more finesse and experience with sculpting. It is definitely an art form that requires practice. Lots and lots more practice….

Linux – keep it simple.

Low Poly Course: Floating Island

image

image

Today I’ve been working on my low-poly course again. This time the task was a floating island with a waterfall. I know I’m not the best artist, but I actually really like this one. I feel it has that calm, cartoon look that makes low-poly seem fun.

I think one of the biggest parts of making low-poly work is the attention to detail. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert and I have a lot to learn, but when working with so few polygons, you need little details to stand out and make the image pop.

In this case, I think its the mountain color. Several of my fellow course takers did a great job, and did many thing about their island better than I did, but one thing I noticed was that all of them had the same color for the mountains as the ground. So, a simple swath of cartoony paint seems to really bring the model to life. Or at least, that’s my hope.

In this class we actually sculpted the shapes instead of extruding or transforming a regular shape, so that was pretty neat to learn. We also used the pair tools as opposed to our normal materials color methods. I’m really learning a lot with this course, which is really great!

Linux – keep it simple.

Low Poly Course: Ice Landscape

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As you can see, I’m still taking the low-poly course on Udemy. Today’s lesson was all about sharp angles. To be honest, I’m not really sure if my ice landscape looks more like Antarctica or some form of moon scene.

Either way I’ve been having quite a bit of fun with it. The previous lesson was more of a lesson in cubes, and everything had a square low-poly look to it. Here we have more of a sharp edge and the lighting is adjusted to try and show it off. So it is interesting to see the many different styles of low-poly art.

Hopefully you are enjoying it too!

Linux – keep it simple.

Low Poly Course: Living Room Scene Completed!

livingRoomScene2

I finished my low poly living room! Well, it’s not like my living room, but it is my imaginary living room! Here’s a rendered image from it:

renderedLivingRoom

Now, in the course, the instructor actually had a modern living space, with a modern television as well. But during the video, he misspoke and said “VHS player” instead of DVD player. So, I couldn’t help myself, and I changed out the modern TV for an old school one! I even put a little VHS tape on the shelf underneath it.

True to the style, I did everything with cubes, even the “domed” TV screen. I really like the cartoon style look to low-poly 3D art, which is why I had to include the “rabbit ears” on top of the TV. It is, of course, period accurate, but more importantly, it emphasizes the comical appearance of it, at least, that’s what I was hoping for.

For the color scheme in the room, I actually went online and looked up “living room color schemes” and settled one that I based this look off of, so if it seems fairly pleasing to the eye, I can’t take all the credit for the color choices.

Anyways, I’m having a blast with this new course, and I hope you enjoy the low-poly models!

Linux – keep it simple.

Low Poly Course: Living Room Scene, getting started

livingRoomScene1

Well, I decided to take another course on Udemy.  I wanted to branch out a little bit from my usual routine and learn something that I’m not really familiar with. So, I decided to take a course on 3D modeling. There are a lot of options out there, but I decided to settle on this one: https://www.udemy.com/course/blenderlowpoly/,  The Ultimate Blender Low Poly Guide by Alex Cordebard, and I have to say, I’m loving it!

First, why I decided to take the course:

  • I was hoping it would help me model things for my 3D printer
  • I am also looking forward to some small 3D game design, but need models to do that.
  • I like the simpler, cartoon-ish style that has been a staple of “low-poly” 3D art.

Second, why I’m enjoying this course:

  • The instructor is so enthusiastic, it’s contagious!
  • Alex does a great job of explaining things in a way that is easy for a non-3D/non-artist to understand.
  • Everything is made from simple shapes.

The first “chapter” was about how to use Blender, which really helped me out. Now I’m on the second chapter, made up of several lessons, which show us how to make a low-poly living room scene. So far, so good! I can’t wait to see what this looks like when we’re done!

Linux – keep it simple.

Blender 2.8 and 2.81 turns everything white when I select an object.

Tl;dr – I didn’t figure out what was wrong with Blender 2.8 and 2.81 on Ubuntu. So I upgraded to the 2.82 alpha version, which works great. You can also go back to the 2.79 version, which also works great.

281vs279white

So, I’ve enrolled in a great course on Udemy, it is a low poly 3D modeling course, using Blender. It’s an awesome course so far! Alex, the instructor is really great at explaining everything to guys like me, who have absolutely no experience with this whatsoever. Another thing I really like is how excited he is about the material, and his enthusiasm is contagious! You can find the course here if you are interested: https://www.udemy.com/course/blenderlowpoly/

In the course, the instructor is using Blender 2.8, but the 18.04 repositories for Ubuntu only have version 2.79 available. Well, that would be fine, but the layout of the interface is actually different between the two, and I wanted to be able to follow the instructions verbatim while learning the ropes. So, I headed to the Blender website and downloaded the release version of 2.8. Unfortunately, it didn’t work right.

As you can see in the picture above, when I click on an object, the entire “view port” turns white. Then, when you move the object, you actually can’t see what you are doing anymore, as the object “disappears”. Thinking that was no good, I jumped online and found others had this specific problem also. Unfortunately, they just re-installed Blender, and that fixed it. But that fix didn’t work for me.

So, I tried out Blender 2.81a, which you can also download from their website, and it had the same issue for me. I tried running it in a terminal window so I could watch the output and try to troubleshoot, but it didn’t give any output for me to work with. I had no way of troubleshooting the issue.

Of course, 2.79 still worked great on my machine, but since the interface was different from the instructors, it made following the videos a bit difficult. So, I tried one last ditch effort, and went with the latest blender version: 2.82 alpha. I was a little concerned that there would be other issues, but everything worked and has been rock solid since I installed it.

282works

So, now I get the new interface, and I can easily follow along in the course! Sounds like a win to me!

Linux – keep it simple.

Inkplate 6, A “versatile, easy-to-use, Wi-Fi-enabled e-paper display”

eink

So, my good friend, the Libre Hacker, sent me a link to a new e-paper display that is pretty cool and completely open source! It is the new Inkplate 6. It’s build on the ESP32, which means you can use the Arduino suite to program it, which is really convenient.

It’s pretty nifty, displaying at around 250 ms screen refresh rate and comes in an 800×600 resolution for grey-scale and black and white. Now I’m just waiting for someone to build the newest, open source e-reader with it….

Linux – keep it simple.