Thursday, January 31, 2013

Proposed Atlantis TLX Layout

I'm fiddling around in the TLX planner, trying to decide on what I might want as a layout for promo pics to show off an Atlantis build. Here's one idea:

I don't have the beach textures in the planner yet, so I'm using my shoreline kitbash... Where are those stairs going, you might ask? Why, to the second level of the build:

So, this will have one large building on the first floor that makes use of the roof system pretty effectively, then I'll have catwalks put together to show off the railings. Five smaller buildings will hopefully let me show off some shots on platforms, over water.

Once I make the tile set for Atlantis, I'll play more. I just want to get the ball rolling, as I'm staring to progress with catwalks and railings, and I don't want to make a whole lot of stuff I won't actually be using...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Increasing productivity by... decreasing productivity?

In the past, I've been burdened with too much stuff printed out and not enough stuff assembled. I've really gotta stop that. It feels like it's being super-productive to be able to say "hah! I've got 100 pages printed out and ready to go! progress!" but really, it's more like "oy. I've got 100 pages to cut up and edge now? I wonder what is on TV tonight..." One thing that happens is I end up with like 20 pages of walls, and after cutting and edging 20 pages of walls, I can't actually build anything, and I'm exhausted from all the work.

So, here's the new plan. I'm going to try to build one or two pieces at a time. I'll print out one or two pages, cut and edge them, make the foamcore bases if necessary, then assemble. Moreover, I've got a vague idea of what I want to build. For Atlantis, I'm going to make a simple catwalk system that connects two or four small (hallway-tile sized) buildings with a single larger temple building. They'll all be raised up off the tiles. I haven't planned out the tiles yet, but I'll use the TLX planner for that.

So, right now I'm working through making the walkways. I need four 6" L-shaped pieces, four 6" straight pieces and two 3" straight pieces. That'll let me try out making the walkways double-wide. After that, I'll make one of the smaller buildings, complete with roof. Then I'll make the 2-way posts and column to raise that up along with some of the walkways. Then, repeat for next building...

I haven't decided whether I want to make tiles for this, or just speedmount them. Speedmounting might end up looking better in the photos... Not sure...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What does progress look like?

I told someone at work that to me, "progress" feels more like "a long series of demoralizing setbacks." I guess that's true with my day job, but with papercraft, there usually aren't any setbacks. There are doldrums, however...

So, I've got a number of papercraft projects on my plate. Here's what's been going on:

1) A SwiftScenics Thoumont's conversion.  This has been "done" for months now, but I have so far failed three times to produce adequate photos for promo pics.  There are a bunch of things that make my pictures suck:
  • Bad printouts. I print on cheap cardstock, and I have to lighten the printouts considerably. This reduces contrast quite a bit, and makes the printouts look pretty blah. I've recently picked up about 1000 sheets of matte photo paper, so that will be my medium of choice going forward. Photo quality prints all the way.
  • Bad edging. I edged most of the stuff in the pictures in black, and that just isn't good enough for promo pics. I need to either try different grays, or I need to invest in more suitable colors. The edging really sticks out and ruins the shots.
  • Bad photography. Either the lighting is too cool, too warm, overexposed... I have extra lighting now so when I try to snap shots next, I'm going to hope I've got enough ambient light. Also, I'll play around with setting the white balance for the photos. It's a good learning experience, but it's work I'm not very good at right now.
  • Bad composition. I don't own any miniatures, and I'm not sure it'd be OK to use paper standees from other people's works. I've purchased the WWG Himmelveil standees, and will make them when I'm ready to snap photos.

2) The Atlantis TLX conversion. This texture work is "done" I think. I might have a couple pieces left to do, and maybe I'll make a couple new things for props. I did get to experiment with making my own textures for some new doors, and that was a lot of fun. But, now I'm at the build-and-photo phase. I'm edging all the marble textures with gray. As I build, I'm trying to make all of the cutfiles for the set - there's a bunch of custom stuff I need to make. And lastly, I'll need to cobble together set-specific instructions! Oy. Not sure how well that will go.

3) Kitbashes. A while back, I submitted yet more kitbashes. There were issues with most of the things I submitted, so I need to dust them off and fix them. Some are little details, like the promo pic I made for a simple Roll Arena kitbash had a modification that I didn't actually provide in the packaging. I need to actually make that piece, or redo the promo pic. Some are big details, like I need to redo the destroyed wall pieces. At least now I own sets that have real templates I can use.

What happens is, I end up with lots and LOTS of kinda finished pieces all over my workspace, but I never really get to cross things off the TODO list. As things drag on, it's hard to keep motivation high. I really hope someday others will get to enjoy some of this stuff. I enjoy the texture work, but that's not really shareable until I complete the absolutely not fun stuff too.

So, yeah. There are doldrums, but I will try to remain optimistic and catch whatever breeze will keep the boat moving, however slowly.