I’m Josh, one of new crew members for tube.Â I travelled over to the US from England last week, and I’m here until mid September undertaking cultural studies, and working on the models for the film.Â While I attempt to mediate transatlantic differences (such as introducing the rest of the team to Branston Pickle and Marmite, explaining the etymology of ‘bangers and mash’, and justifying why I need a knitted cosy for my teapot), my hosts are offering an American exchange programme complete with drive-in movies, fried dough, Independence Day Celebrations and Root Beer.Â In my time away from the screen I’ve been out enjoying the fresh air, beautiful countryside and very un-British weather.Â I’ve been running to and from work each day (8 Â½ miles each way), and when I had a few hours to spare last weekend I biked up to the Sugarloaf Mountain.
Fresh out of finishing a long and traumatic Architecture degree at Cambridge University, I vowed never to work in the industry again.Â My first task in the studio, however, was to design the station roof and columns, and to provide general advice to the rest of the team on all things architectural!Â Being British, and naturally strongly resistant to change, I was slightly thrown when I realised the team was working with up to the minute svn builds of Blender.Â Back home in my own work I’d been hanging on to the 2.49 vintage with its historical interface not unlike the quirky 400 year old tumbledown cottage I lived in at uni.Â 2.5 comes with its own breed of glossy newness, an impersonal homogeneity with other 3D apps akin to the monotony of the skyscrapers in downtown LA and a feature set which sprawls on and on like the city-edge of Phoenix, Arizona.
Bewildered at first, I was tempted away from the path of the righteous by the glowing red devil’s tail of Maya on one side and the swirling captivating vortex of 3DS on the other, but eventually I found my way through the valley of darkness.Â I still miss many of the 2.49 features which haven’t yet been ported – skinning loops and multi-knife-cuts to name a few, and in my first few days I’ve spent a considerable amount of time filing bug reports, hopefully for the greater good.
There are still some very simple features I wish had been integrated into the new release.Â As what Pirsig might call a â€˜mechanic of the photographic mind schoolâ€™, all of my previous organisation and labelling systems have been tainted with a certain amount ofâ€¦ dyslexic logic.Â To make life easier for everyone else on the project I have to name every object, bone, group and file according to a strictly prescribed style, not least so our python automation knows whatâ€™s going on!Â While I donâ€™t mind accumulating road miles on my way to and from Amherst every day, I hate the unnecessary mouse miles blenderâ€™s UI demands.Â Iâ€™ve illustrated one of the key issues (which could be solved by a simple hotkey and under-mouse-dialog) using an analogy that will be familiar even to non-blender users.
After breaking free from summers spent as a CAD-monkey in local architecture firms, I now find myself pining for the logical and consistent snapping and tracking systems I was so familiar with from hours spent in front of Rhino, Vectorworks, AutoCAD and the like.Â At least the resulting â€˜errorsâ€™ present in my incapable use of Blenderâ€™s snaps often results in a more derelict and aged look!Â Hereâ€™s a work-in-progress snapshot of the interior of the train which Iâ€™ve been working on today, by virtually bashing it up:
Thatâ€™s all for now,