I’ve got a cold, but felt okay enough today to come into the office for a couple of hours.
I’ve been playing around with Scribus (an open source DTP/layout program) a little bit over the past few days. It had a problem that forced all PDF layers to print regardless of whether or not they were visible, so you couldn’t use it to create the kind of neat layered PDFs that Fat Dragon, Dave Graffam, and some other companies were doing for their paper models, so it never really entered my workflow.
I was doing a routine Google search on the subject of layered PDFs when I came across a Scribus bug report filed by one of the Cardboard Warriors forum regulars, and the Scribus devs were sort of dismissive and blew it off for a few years. One of the comments in that bug report got my attention, so I put together a quick test PDF and opened it up in Notepad++.
Sure enough, simply deleting the optional /Usage instruction lines fixes the problem and makes layered PDFs work correctly. So, if you want to do layered paper models in Scribus, just do this:
- Create your layered PDF in Scribus as you normally would.
- Export as PDF. Make sure you choose PDF 1.5 or higher, and tick the box for keeping layers.
- Open your newly generated PDF file in Notepad++ or another similar text editor that can handle large documents.
- CTRL-F, find all occurrences of “/Usage” (without quotes).
- Delete all of these lines.
- Save the PDF. Done!
Scribus has another pretty neat feature: you can extend it with scripts written in the Python programming language. I’ve whipped up some quickie helper scripts that speed things up by automating as much of the boring parts of building a layered PDF as possible. I’ll be testing those a little bit tonight.
I started using a new 3D modeler named Silo for the videogame 3D modeling contract I mentioned a while back, and in order to familiarize myself with its tools, I worked through them one at a time, almost literally with the mouse in one hand and a copy of “3D Modeling in Silo” by Antony Ward in the other. I thought old-school Ebbles Miniatures fans might get a chuckle out of the subject I chose for my in-progress scratchpad build: the torso of a re-imagined Murphy.
(Click to see full size version.)
It’s an unfinished work in progress. I started out scaling, extruding, and beveling a box into the body’s base shape, and from there, I figured out how to use the rest of Silo’s tools to greeble the body with raised panels, insets, bolts, grills, vents, and flush panels. You know, the usual stuff I texture into my paper models, except in actual 3D.
I’ve just about got my head around Silo’s toolset now. When the video game modeling contract’s over, I’d like to revisit and finish the Murphy so it can be 3D printed.
I just added a dozen new reference books to my bookshelf, all in the name of self-improvement and continuing education. They should arrive sometime next week.
For character modeling, I got a bunch of books covering human anatomy, and some books on figure/portrait drawing for good measure. Sure, I could use online reference sites, but I don’t really feel like explaining why there are random photos of naked people on my display every time somebody walks into my office. 😆
I also loaded up on books about animation, both 2D and 3D. I have a bit of rust to shake off there, so it’ll be nice to get a refresher for the basics.
“Don’t reinvent the wheel.”
“If it’s been coded already, don’t code it yourself.”
Sounds nice in theory. In practice, you end up in situations like spending $600 of your own time to fix problems with a $20 plugin that you bought to save time.
As a public service announcement, I’m posting every horrific mistake I make in the kitchen so that others may be spared.
Do not ever mix a whole packet of Parmesan cheese from Pizza Hut into a bowl of grits and cheese, because a little of that stuff goes a really long way.
I think it’ll be at least a week before the aftertaste of dirty feet and locker room odor goes away.
Also, happy New Year, everyone!