Archive for August, 2010

Zbrush Head # 3

Posted in 3D, Design, Pictures, scifi on August 27, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

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Park Run – Platt Fields Park

Posted in Fitness, running on August 23, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

Following a fantastic, welcoming comment this morning from Tim about the weekly 5km Park Run at Platt Fields Park, here’s a link to the Park Run website.

It looks like a great event, with people of all ages and abilities attending, and I’ll definately be joining in… though I might do another week or two of Pod Runner training before I attend, then I can try and fit it in as part of my regular workout schedule and I’ll definately be able to complete the whole course!

Podrunner Week 6 – Escape from the Planet of the Cankles!

Posted in Fitness, running on August 22, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

Week six of Podrunner was another push, but as always one that was achievable – and thankfully one that didn’t leave me that sore!

There were three workouts this week, dropping back to three running intervals at the start, then building back up to two and ending in a twenty five minute run that was padded by some welcome warm up and cool down walking.

I laughed when i heard the introduction to the third workout… I knew that I could do a full twenty five minutes, but I also knew that it was going to be tough. It surprised me. It wasn’t nearly as tough as I thought.

Once I started running it was actually pretty easy just to keep on moving. I kept a steady, jogging pace and just kept going on my usual route round Platt Fields Park. At one point, though, my concentration slipped and my body just slowed to a walking pace.

I felt pretty bad for doing that as I really felt that I could do the whole run. So, with due concern, I checked the Podrunner track time and I only had two minutes left to do until my cool down. Two minutes more isn’t so bad, and not too long, so I picked up the pace and completed the run. I only lost about 15 seconds to that drop in pace, so I’m really happy with myself for completing the workout.

Something I noticed though…

Last summer my feet and ankles got really swollen in the heat. Mega-swollen. Like, I can’t wear any of my shoes swollen. They were really sore and, having spent two months getting my feet chaffed in flip-flops, I’ve been very aware of my ankles ever since, always watching for those ankle bones disappearing behind a veil of swollen tissue or body fat.

When I got home from the last Podrunner run of week six, I had a flash of anxiety. Those ankles bones had almost vanished and I started to get worried that the heat-cankles had returned… but not so.

Over the past month or so I’ve been flexing my feet more, both outside of my workouts and in stretches. I’ve also started doing calf raises as part of my weights routine. The end result, aside from noticable less painful and longlasting shin splints, is that I’ve grown more supporting muscle around my ankles… and seemingly in the last three weeks.

So, dear reader, I escaped the Planet of the Cankles this year.

The tight because I’m over-weight t-shirt I bought a few months ago is now baggy too. My body fat percentage is still too high, but it’s nice to see some results for all the effort I’ve been putting in to getting fit and losing fat.

As this fitness drive was meant to be a long-term thing now that I’m approaching 35, this feels good. Now that I can see and feel some results, it’s easier to keep going and work towards the mental image of how I’ll look and feel once I reach my goals.

Good Morning Agent Daisy

Posted in Design, Funny, General, Pictures, scifi on August 19, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

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Second Head… and Spotlight Texturing

Posted in 3D, Design, Pictures, scifi on August 18, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

So, today I got to grips with using Zbrush 4’s new Spotlight toolset for texturing and detailing models. Basically, you can import an image texture from your hard drive or from the web and use it to either paint colour and/or geometry detail onto any model that you’ve got in Zbrush… and I was so impressed. I actually started using it by accident and, ocne I started using it, got confused about the hot keys to make the Spotlight Widget appear. I’ve had a long day, though, so it might just be me – certainly now that I’ve used it for an hour or so, there are no problems and I’m almost in love with it.

Texturing and detailing just got a whole lot easier – and flexible too.

This guy is the grumpiest shop keeper in the galaxy…

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First Zbrush 4 Head Sculpt – And a Quick ‘How To’

Posted in 3D, Design, Pictures, scifi, Tutorials on August 14, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

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I wanted to share my first Zbrush 4 head sculpt, created using Shadow Box. I’ve included some images below, designed to give a general view to the process for those of you not familiar with Zbrush, rather than as a tutorial. What impressed me most about Shadow Box was the speed at which you can create a general form that you can use as a base object to sculpt on – and not just heads or figures, but hard body objects like cars, weapons, armor – you get the idea.

I also used the new Clay Buildup brush to add increasing levels of detail on the basic form. It’s so easy to use and, as you subdivide the jaggedy appearance of what you’ve sculpted is smoothed out, but not the overall shapes.

The above image was rendered using Zbrushes new Best Preview Render, with shadows and ambient occlusion added. With a whole laod more options, tools and brushes, I can see that Zbrush is going to keep me busy for some time.

The How To Guides:

(click on each image to open in a new window or tab)


Sports Tracker – new app and website launched

Posted in Fitness, running on August 12, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

Sports Tracker was one of the first apps that I downloaded for my Nokia 5800 smartphone. It initially launched with an ok web site to track walking, running, cycling routines, using the phone’s GPS. A new version of the app appeared last month, with a shiny new interface and some nice new functionality, but now the website has relaunched and a new version of the app has been released with it.

THe main highlights for me are:

  • GPS tracking of your workouts, showing your routes on maps in realtime
  • Get a step count and rough calorie count for each workout

You can, of course, upload this to the website and (if you don’t chose to keep your workouts private) can share them with others and even have your workouts posted on your Facebook wall. There are graphs showing how your speed has varied over time and altitude and you can track your heart rate the same ways with an added Bluetooth enabled Polar heart rate monitor (for around £70!).

At this point in developing my routine, I only really use the maps, step counter and calorie counter to check my progress at the end of each session. I upload my workouts (but mainly just because I like to see them in a nice web interface) but I record everything in a spreadsheet at home. My workouts vary between running, weights and rowing, so I’ve got more data that I want to record that Sports Tracker can take, but it’s a valuable addition to my routines and an excellent motivator.

And, best of all, it’s free for Nokia GPS enabled phones