The Return of the Austrian Empire …

… well, not really, but at least one of its icons may start to get more widely used.

My model of the Austrian Imperial Crown was used in showcasing a new line of research on realtime raytracing at the Advanced Graphics Labs at Intel.

As it turns out, the model seems quite good for testing these type of algorithms, and the model along with the source code will be available under an open license directly from intel.

Well, what can I say. There is nothing like seeing your model all over the place and intel using it as demonstration for their new technology.

Miracles sometimes happen …

… even to me 🙂

I mentioned in one of my last posts that sometime ago I was contacted by Jack Greasley, Mari product manager, who offered me the possibility to use Mari for Ara’s Tale. It seemed then that somehow this didn’t work out, and I called it then a dream, but admittedly a nice dream.

Now either I am still dreaming, or miracles do happen. I got contacted today by The Foundry and received an extended trial license, with enough time to use it seriously in Ara’s Tale. The license expires at the end of 2011, which should give me plenty of time, and an additional incentive to actually finish the project 🙂

What I promised to do, and what I definitely will do, is to document my workflow in using blender with Mari in this project.

I plan to revisit the texturing of Ara (which has some smaller issues which I plan to solve with Mari)  and the main set, which already was partly done with a normal trial license.

An extensive series should be the texturing of the dragon, which I plan to document in some detail here.

So these are very exciting times, I am looking forward to deeply dig into Mari and see what I can do with it.

With this goes a big Thank You to Jack Greasley and The Foundry !


Summer is ending …

… and so is the ( not entirely voluntary ) break in the development of Ara’s Tale.

Real life demands left only small amounts of time for my short, which I invested into finishing the texturing for the entry set and experiments on texturing Ara’s dress.

After returning from a 2 week vacation in croatia, I had the opportunity to spend the last weekend high up in the mountains and used the gorgeous weather to use my DSLR not only for shooting texture references but also to do some real photographing again.

I thought I’d share some of my shots here on this blog as well.

Had to give Mari a try

I coudn’t resist and downloaded the 15 days trial version of Mari from The Foundry.

I did this the day it came out on July 16th and immediately ran into a glitch with their online shop, which their support with some help from me was able to resolve and I finally got my 15 day license.

Well at least now I know what the Mari logo stands for:

This is my computer being crushed by the resource demands of Mari 🙂

It seems, my graphic card is just too old/limited to handle the workload Mari is giving to it. It runs, but quite slowly. I have a Geforce 8500GT based card with 512MB.

I meet all the Mari system recommendations expect with the graphics card, where they recommend at least 1GB of RAM and Quadro FX cards.

Well, at least I could try out a lot of aspects of Mari and see how immensely useful this tool could be. With some considerations on workflow it is quite usable in a pipeline with blender.

The price tag of 846 EUR (including tax in the EU) , although low in comparison to Photoshop, is still too high for me, especially considering the accompanying mandatory update of my graphics hardware.

After all it was (and for 6 days still is) a great experience and leaves me with one important insight:

I will have to invest in a graphics card update.

Until now I considered my 8500GT adequate to run my applications and (old) games. With the advent of all the GPU accelerated software I think this evaluation is no longer valid.