Progress Part 2

As you know, I have been working on a project for my mom’s friend. Since the last update, I have made a lot of progress and I thought it was about time to update my last blog. So like last time, I’ll be talking about what progress I’ve made, changes to my plans, and my current plans moving forward. 

So since my last update, I talked how about I was using HTML to create my pages. However to speed things up, I ditched this method of creating pages and moved to photoshop. Since the switch, progress has increased immensely. Starting from scratch, I was able to recover the progress I made with HTML in around one and a half day. Instead of switching between code and viewing my page, everything is now drag and drop. That means instead of typing in the exact position of a photo, I just move it into position. I found this much more intuitive, and easier to manipulate the photos how I wanted to. It also helped in retaining the original dimensions of the photos. Since every photo was different, that meant they all had different sizes . Using HTML I had to figure out the exact pixel measure for every photo which was time consuming. Now, all the photo’s appear as how I took them. 

Besides talking about the change in format, I also want to talk about my new plans. Prior to the switch, I would have just created all the pages, convert them to PDF, and string them together. However, now there are fewer steps. I’m now using photoshop now, so naturally I’ve got to deal with the resolution and image sizes when the photos come out to print. Thanks to the links mommy gave me, I can probably do this fairly easily. But prior to this I need, to send some samples to the client. Although, I have been dragging my feet, I still want the client to at least feel good about the end product. If the client then asks for any changes, I’ll make them. Wether it be changing the photo position, or retaking photos I’ll try to make the customer satisfied. 

Overall, progress has been going quite well and there isn’t much more to it. This blog has been fairly short, but only because there hasn’t been as many hiccups as I was expecting, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, this also means there isn’t a lot to talk about. Perhaps in my next blog, there will be more to talk about?

Summer Progress

Alright, I’m halfway through my summer break and I thought it would be a good time to recap all the events that have happened so far. From what I have done, to what I still need to do, and what else I want to do. 

First, what have I done so far? To be honest, I haven’t completed anything I would call a goal. However, I have made I like to call milestones in areas of interest. For example, there is my Blender progress. I’m still working on my scene of mine. You know, the donut, mug, and vase. I still have to add in particles and other small things, but through the experience, I have learned a lot of things. I’ll admit I have been moving really slowly over the past week with Blender progress. However, that’s because I want to hone my extruding skills in particular. Right now I’m not so much focused on the final goal, but rather the journey that will teach me how to apply the skill I’ve learned. Anyone who can follow the tutorial will make a donut, but it’s the skills that really matter because those will allow you to create what you really want. That’s what I have realized over the course of my time with the program, this especially holds true for my final goal. When I started learning about this program, I stetted out with the final goal of creating an anime-styled 3d animation. When I look on youtube I can find tutorials, but I want to create something I can call my own. To do that, I need to know the basics first. Especially extruding, like I said before, which is a skill I will likely use a lot. 

Besides blender, I have also been working on my math skills. Ever since the last week of grade 10, I have had a math tutor in the hopes of raising my math skills. So far, I’ve honed what I’ve learned in grade 10, and am now working on grade 11 concepts. Right now I’m working on something called domain and range, which is like all the X and Y points in a given function. So far, I have been able to understand the concepts fairly well. However, from what I’ve heard the first three chapters in the textbook are fairly easy and every just gets harder after that. Still, I’m happy I have improved even if it’s just slightly. Just like Blender, I have started to ask my tutor more questions so I have a solid understanding. I did do this a bit during the final two units of math and I did do better, but too little too late. 

Finally, the last project I have made considerable progress on is the photography one. I’ve finished taking all the photos and I’m putting them into the pages. During the first week of the project, I did encounter a few problems. For example how long it will take to faithfully recreate all the position of the photos. Besides being very time consuming, the photo’s would be way too small. An example of this is the first page. Like the original I had been given, I put in five photos onto the one page. After I did this you could barely see the four corner pictures with zooming in. Now, I’ve just opted for putting one to three photos per page, all in order of course. This will hopefully make it easier to see the pictures and keep the photos on the same page in the originals relatively together. Since then, I have made a lot of progress. Granted things are still moving slowly but they are moving. 

Overall, since the start of the summer, a lot of things have happened. I still haven’t reached the goals I’ve set out to complete, but with each milestone, I feel like I’m getting closer. Every now and again I feel like I never will reach my goal, but during times like these, I like to remind myself of what I have completed so far. Maybe the next time I write a blog like this I may have made more progress, only time will tell. 


A few weeks ago, I talked how about I wanted to try using Blender during my summer. Now, several weeks into my summer, I now feel confident showing what I have accomplished and my thoughts on the program. 

For those who don’t know, Blender is a 3D modeling program. Since I don’t have any other experience with another program, I can’t exactly take about differences. However, I will say as someone who has never touched a 3D modeling program, the number of shortcuts is mind-blowing. Even after practicing on Blender for almost every day, I still forget what some of the shortcuts do, and I don’t even know all of them yet. For example, the Z key does so many things… Like activate wireframe mode, lock an object on the Z-axis, undo, and a bunch of other things I’m probably forgetting right now. I realize when I finally remember what all of the shortcuts do, I’ll be more productive, but it’s still a slow process learning all the shortcuts. 

Besides the shortcuts, I find actually creating 3d objects quite fun. Usually, I try creating different kinds of household objects on my free time. For example, I’ve created a plate, mug, and vase so far. Making symmetrical roundish objects are the easiest while making things like the mug is a bit harder. A big part of this is me still getting the hang on extruding. I have to extrude, then rotate, and then sometimes even scale. I haven’t tried creating anything organic and I probably won’t in a while. Still, I find it quite fun making the objects. My proudest creation is probably the plate since it’s the first object I created all by myself. No tutorials, no guides, just me and what I’ve learned. I guess that was the first step in actually putting the program to use. 

However, the easiest feature to understand so far was likely the node system, at least so far. Basically, it’s just connect the dots with different materials. Although, the tutorial guy didn’t go into much detail and he made it sound quite complicated… Still, I found it quite fun messing around with the different shaders, especially the glass one. There are also textures, though I haven’t learned it yet. But supposedly the next tutorial is on textures, so I guess that will be quite interesting. Unfortunately, this basic understanding of the side system only applies to my laptop. For some reason, the PC has a completely different node system. All the shaders are different and if you don’t plan on using diffuses, life gets really hard. Instead of preset options, you need to manually type in every setting. Gloss, transparency, noise, all of it… I guess that the primary reason I prefer using my laptop over the PC when modeling. Still, maybe I’ve just been looking in the wrong place and the shaders are somewhere else. Either way, it just goes to show I still have a lot to learn. 

Overall, I’m having a lot of fun with Blender. Like I’ve said before, I’ve already made a plate, vase, mug, and doughnut. I originally started Blender with the intentions of creating full-blown animations. Unfortunately, that seems that’s not going to happen for a long time. Still, it’s really fun and I can’t wait to learn more about the program. 

What is a build in gaming

Recently, I started playing a new game of Skyrim. Unlike my previous games, I decided to create a pure mage build. So far I’ve played the game as a warrior, thief, and spell-blade. However, right now you may be wondering what exactly is a build. That is the question I will be answering today in this blog. 

To start off, what is a build? Personally, I define it as how you distribute stat points. The reason for this is because most builds are defined by what skills you invest in. For example, if you’re building a mage in any RPG, you would invest more of your levels into magic. Because of its very broad definition, it’s a term you will see throw around on any RPG forum. It doesn’t matter if the game is single player or multiplayer, if there are stat points of some kind, you can likely create a build. 

However, builds can also be very limiting, especially for games like Skyrim. In MMORPGs, this normally isn’t a problem because of how the skills are chosen. In games like WOW, after you pick a class, there is a skill tree. Basically, this means, you start off with a small selection skills and as you progress through the game more skills related to that base skill gets unlocked. For example, let’s say you have a skill called fireball, a basic AOE spell. After you level up, you have two options with how you would like to advance this skill. First, you could have the fireball do more damage. The second option is to increase the AOE of the spell. You can only choose one, so it kind of makes strategic building a requirement for games like these. MMORPGs with systems like a skill tree blocks players from accessing every skill available in the game, pushing the incentive to gather a large group of players with different classes and builds. I would also like to point out there is a difference between classes and builds. An example of this would be WOWs mage class. Normally when you think of a mage, you think of casting spells. However, WOW takes it one step further, where you either build an Arcane, Fire, or Frost mage. So when you fight a boss with a fire resistance, you would bring a bunch of Frost or Arcane mages. 

On the other hand, there are games like Skyrim. Given enough time, a player could unlock every skill in the game. There are still skill trees but none of them limit you. Instead, the newer skills just require the previous one as a prerequisite. An example of this is every first skill of each one of Skyrim’s skill trees. Most of these skills have very basic effects like increase damage, but they lead to all the better abilities later on. Unfortunately, with these kinds of games, there is eventually a point where you have everything, making a build kind of pointless. The silver lining to this is that people usually complete the story before reaching 100% completion. However, builds can also be used for roleplaying. What is roleplaying? The player chooses a build creates a backstory supporting their build and plays only skills that would make sense for whatever build they came up with. For the extra hardcore roleplayers though, they will carefully select their race, name, skills, and faction they join. 

In the end, builds can be seen as a way to limit how powerful a player becomes. In MMOs, this forces players to work together and in single player, they can be used as a nice way to roleplay. Personally, I like to try out different builds. Sadly, I’ve never reached 100% completion but maybe I will with my newest play through.