Sculptris and then a review of a texture pack that authors can use as a resource

Hi all, This post starts off with a chat about an application called Sculptris and then talks about a texture pack that I highly recommend for anyone looking at creating affordable, high quality book art. Sculptris I had originally intended to write a little piece about a free 3D sculpting program called Sculptris. It is free and can be downloaded from here. Some months I created the following image of mushrooms

To map or not to map - Part 3

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Mapping Shade

I now have a “photo” map of what Shade looks like. The combination of Bryce and Photoshop was great. I also spent a lot of time referencing Google Maps to get a sense of colours and geography. Notice that since my previous pictures of the map I have flipped it to its true east-west direction. I also decided to crop off any bits of geography not used in the story,

To map or not to map - Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Mapping Shade

So the last time you looked my map looked like this: But I was unhappy with the progress. I felt that the mountains were not as impressive as I wanted them – and also looked  a bit too CGI if you know what I mean. So I went back into Bryce and discovered my first error: I had not saved a camera view. This is the view which you put in

Writing a novel as a quality based venture

Today I am writing a bit of theory on quality in writing. Just my opinion mixed with some theory picked up over the years. Writing a novel can be viewed from a number of perspectives, but I like to believe that quality is intrinsic to the entire process. Whether writing for your own pleasure or writing for the pleasure of others, an author wants to achieve something that meets their goals.

Profiling my villain and showing you how the map is progressing

I am still working on my map and will show the progress so far at the end of this post. But I also continue to write the novel and research ideas relating to it. Indeed, in respect to Tempting in Shade I have reached 411 pages and can perceive that it is likely to end up almost double that. Will my mid-2015 deadline fall? I would not be surprised if

To map or not to map - Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Mapping Shade

As a child in the 1970s I used to take great joy in the maps of books that I loved. I remember patiently tracing the Narnian maps, then transferring them to drawing paper and carefully colouring them in. I went on to do this with maps of Middle-earth and Earthsea and then started creating maps for any book I really loved that was without a map. Now that my upcoming

Facial Expressions in DAZ Studio 4.7 and a thankyou

I’ll start with the thankyou. The person that I wish to thank is my sister-in-law Kylie Ison. Kylie has a blog called “Body Transformations: Never Give Up on Yourself”. It was Kylie’s personal journey into blogging that encouraged me to follow. It is Kylie’s motto (never give up on yourself) which is an inspiration to me and to those around her. Yes, I blog about writing my novel and playing

A second test of my window from 123D Catch in DAZ Studio

I’ve composed a second image in DAZ Studio using the church window I scanned as a 3D object using Autodesk 123D as per previous posts. I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. I’ve only got one fairly diffuse spotlight shining on the scene and that is a light blue light to give a slightly creepy mood. I looked at some reference material of faces that were surprised and shocked and parted the

Posing a figure in DAZ Studio

This is the sequel to the post about using Autodesk’s 123D Catch to make an environment for a DAZ Studio image. Again I have a video of me talking as I fiddle away with DAZ Studio. What you are going to see in this video is me adding a standard figure to the scene (it comes with the free Genesis Essentials Pack). I will then drag a pose onto it

Using 123D Catch to make an environment for DAZ Studio

I love to create, but I am also fairly limited in respects to money. Hence I put a lot of effort into finding free computer graphic tools and seeing what I can do with them. I’ve mentioned DAZ Studio before. Now to look at 123D Catch, a wonderful product from Autodesk. Basically 123D Catch lets you take several photos of something and then turn these into a 3D object for use in 3D

A documentary that influenced my fantasy writing - Slumming it

‘Slumming It’ is a documentary by Kevin McCloud whereby McCloud visits the slum of Dharavi in Mumbai, India. Here he finds a world that is so different to that which Westerners (like myself) experience. The children play among filth near toxic drains, Pollution is everywhere. Poverty is everywhere. Surely this must be soul crushing for the inhabitants. And yet there is a richness of spirit that is fascinating to watch.

Creating the cover of my novel – Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Making my own book cover

Back on to the creation of the cover. As I said in my previous post, my designer Paul Deuis of Jethryk ( guided me superbly in what I needed to give him. In this post I’ve included excerpts from his emails so that you can see what to expect from a good designer. So first he gave me an idea of the specifications and why. “I’ve made the artboard 155mm x

DAZ Studio - an author's tool when you want to create art

I am placing this post between parts one and two of “Creating the cover of my novel.” This is because I want to demonstrate how easy the creation of a simple image can be with a tool like DAZ Studio. (I feel like a magician revealing tricks of the trade) DAZ Studio is a free (yes, free!) piece of software that permits the user to arrange and pose 3D models.

Creating the cover of my novel - Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Making my own book cover

Whoever said that you should not judge a book by its cover was obviously swimming against the tide. Judging a book by its cover is precisely what most people do. You only need to stand in a book shop (you remember book shops don’t you?) and watch people browse. The books with the great covers are constantly being examined. Anyway, I wanted a great cover. And I wanted it as

What I want in a Villain & The Curse of the Bad Chapter

  This is two blog posts for the price of one as I have been dwelling on both of these things. The first is finding the villain that I find perfect for the novel. Yes sure, I’ve already named and described him in the first draft. But I really need to tease him out more. So I have been watching films and documentaries of actors who are known for characterisations

Writing my own gestalt-sentient beings

In the mid-1990s I read a book with an idea that captured my imagination. In Verner Vinge’s “A Fire Upon the Deep” I read of a canine gestalt-sentient species called the Tine. A gestalt-sentient species, as portrayed in that novel, was one that had a sort of group mind or group consciousness. So an “individual” might be made up of five or six beings who shared a consciousness. What really

Quantum entanglement & Sympathetic magic

Well, as any of my dear friends out there know, I am trying to create a world in which magic is merely science that is forgotten. I know, not a new idea. But I am trying to express it in a way that is true to most reader’s expectations of fantasy while providing a rationale that satisfies my own need for logic and consistency. Anyway, I’ll write more about that

First step in seeing people

I love the way that some authors can catch the essence of a person in a few sentences.  But how can I do that as a writer? I set myself the task of really trying to observe the people around me. By that I mean not just seeing what I expect to see, but really deconstructing their behaviour into a suite of movements and expressions and so on. But this

Two's company. Three is more interesting.

The other day I found myself wondering why a certain scene of mine was so dull. It had conflict. It had heightened emotions. Yet it was still dull. Essentially the scene was an argument between two characters regarding a course of action. The principal risks were to do nothing and definitely kill 300 people or do something and let an unknown (possibly extremely dangerous) entity loose upon their world. Both

Swearing, obscenities and so on in my fantasy and science fiction

Is it just me, or does everyone think that the use of the word ‘frak’ in science fiction and fantasy is just plain lame? I know that it annoyed the crap out of me in Battlestar Galactica. I figure that if you mean ‘fuck’ then just say it. Having said that, why use it at all? To be honest, I rarely use the so-called F-word in real life. My swearing vocabulary consists of ‘bloody’