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PietFrancke
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late life crisis

Post by PietFrancke » Sat Apr 27, 2019 2:52 am

I am lost and bewildered. I upgraded and switched PCs and have been installing software and making things work and watching Udemy classes and feel like I have forgotten everything! I have lost all confidence in my artistic abilities and skills and find myself not wanting to post anything and I seem to have backed away from that part of my life. (my wife found a Virginia photo contest that she is urging me to put some submissions into, we will see...)

Getting older and soul searching I find myself depressed and useless and somewhat guilty for not making the kill to some projects that have been left unattended too long. One fairly easy task (in the big scheme of things) is to move my CNC machine and get it up and running. I will talk to my most helpful son tomorrow and perhaps we can come up with a plan of attack. But a larger unattended project is now getting my attention.

Udemy has been like a God Send to me. I explored many art/drawing classes to attempt to understand how things work and to gain some skills. And then I realized that they also had programming classes available (that are excellent by-they-way). I am a programmer by profession so it is not nearly as scary as Art is to me. And the free programming tools that are available today and breathtaking and much, much more powerful than they were 15 years ago. So I am resurrecting an old project that I started and let fade away a couple of decades ago.

I am attempting to build a Battle of Gettysburg Game. I have been learning the Unreal Engine and have been refreshing my C++ skills.

I downloaded terrain height information (image 1) around the Gettysburg area. I converted that data to a color scheme where red is high and dark green is low (matching a color scheme used by a Gettysburg Board game from the 70s. And then using old maps I drew in roads and trees and streams and applied a hex structure (image 2). The third image is a crop showing you the level of detail so far.

I have a lot of work to go (map drawing), but the programming is much easier now days (thanks to Udemy classes and the Unreal Engine). If I can learn this, I will have the hexes be in three dimensions on the computer screen rather than a flat board. I will use the artwork I have so far as a texture that will be applied to the three dimensional hex grid. (I don't think I am explaining myself very well - but when I get to that point, a picture will be worth a thousand words)

The map so far has an interesting feel to it (color scheme), but I am a little worried that it is too gaudy. I plan to sharpen it and do other photoshop things to it, but will leave it alone for the time being - other than attempt to add additional roads and such to the southern area that I haven't gotten to yet.

Anyway, been busy with things and wanted to share that with my friends..
gb0.jpg
elevation map
GB1.jpg
low res full map
gb2.jpg
detail crop

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Post by davechinn » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:00 am

Piet, I understand your dilemma. I too, have been battling the:
"Getting older and soul searching, I find myself depressed and useless and somewhat guilty for not making the kill to some projects that have been left unattended too long".

I appreciate that you're willing to express the issue with a plan to move forward. I and others will be waiting and watching for your accomplishments. Your flickr page, loaded with the art of a master is an example of what may be expected. I love your art work with envy and hope that I may find the way to maybe come close to what you have accomplished. 8): :win:
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Post by Psjunkie » Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:36 pm

When I find myself up, down, or all-around I realize that I was allowed to wake today and do at least one thing productive (no matter how trivial it may be) and one thing helpful as a thanks for another day…just reading what all you’ve done has worn me out, I’ll have to muster some energy or call it a day…I am envious of your abilities and will be looking for another post…..

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Post by minniev » Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:40 pm

PietFrancke wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 2:52 am
I am lost and bewildered. ...
As someone who is always lost and bewildered and often uninspired, torn between projects, desiring to learn more than my mind and the ticking clock will allow, I feel your pain.

But you must not walk away from your art in your frustration- second to our loved ones, it is the only thing worth having. Think about it. What does anyone leave behind, that is valued by those left? It is the things they created. For most of us here and other similar places, it is recording the beauty, comedy, and intrigue of the world and its inhabitants, whether by photography, traditional art, writing, or some related enterprise.

The closing line from our friend Matt Quinn's eulogy made a profound impression on me, in spite of the creative desert I am yet in. "Photographers are God's record keepers". That is a real serious responsibility.

Programming is an art form too, especially in the way you are using it. My grandson would like to please come and live with you and sit at your knee. He is 9, and has various ideas for video games, some that he's been developing since he was 4, but lacks a teacher.

My advice: pursue the interesting Gettysburg project, postpone projects that don't matter anyway (or can easily be hired out), but also force yourself to walk your beautiful surrounds and make images that will eventually bloom for you as art. Your spirit needs that, and it will help you with the other project. And share with us your journey(s)..
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Post by Duck » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:47 pm

Ho Boy! Do I know how you feel... I have a few back burner projects I should be doing but... well, you know.

As for your terrain map... that's entering my realm of graphic design. The first thing I would say is don't use your current color scheme to delineate height. It does not read as height. Color variances in cartography has to do with terrain variances in composition, not height. Use shading to create your height map but color to identify terrain type. Definitely stick to established conventions (dark brown for rocky terrain, light tan for sandy terrain, blue for water, etc.) The other major point of consideration is contrast of topographical elements (roads, waterways, buildings) and game assets (troops, equipment, information elements, etc.) If they blend in too much with a very busy background you'll loose your audience.

This is an interesting project. Can't wait to see what you do with it. :D
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PietFrancke
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Post by PietFrancke » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:19 pm

davechinn wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:00 am
Piet, I understand your dilemma. I too, have been battling the:
"Getting older and soul searching, I find myself depressed and useless and somewhat guilty for not making the kill to some projects that have been left unattended too long".

I appreciate that you're willing to express the issue with a plan to move forward. I and others will be waiting and watching for your accomplishments. Your flickr page, loaded with the art of a master is an example of what may be expected. I love your art work with envy and hope that I may find the way to maybe come close to what you have accomplished. 8): :win:
Dave
Thanks Dave, being stalled perhaps is my worst fear and regret. I will keep beating up on it by trying to break overly difficult tasks down to smaller pieces and will keep chipping away a things. Yesterday I mowed and my lawnmower ran out of gas and I put bad gas into it and then I found myself angry that I couldn't finish my mowing job. This morning I put in new gas, a new spark plug, a new air filter, and it was still a miserable and frustrating time getting it to run. But finally it DID run. And more mowing happened. Now I am drinking a beer and feeling satisfied even though I somehow wrenched my knee and can feel it throbbing!!! LOL, it feels good to accomplish a task on the list of things to do.

I'm glad you like my flicker page - sometimes I think it is a little goofy - but then so am I so I got to live with it!!!!

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PietFrancke
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Post by PietFrancke » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:21 pm

Psjunkie wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:36 pm
When I find myself up, down, or all-around I realize that I was allowed to wake today and do at least one thing productive (no matter how trivial it may be) and one thing helpful as a thanks for another day…just reading what all you’ve done has worn me out, I’ll have to muster some energy or call it a day…I am envious of your abilities and will be looking for another post…..
YES!!! Believe me good friend Frank, I am thankful for every day that I get. Only sometimes I feel like I didn't use it properly, but at least now guilt and frustration is making me do something about it.

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PietFrancke
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Post by PietFrancke » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:37 pm

minniev wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:40 pm
PietFrancke wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 2:52 am
I am lost and bewildered. ...
As someone who is always lost and bewildered and often uninspired, torn between projects, desiring to learn more than my mind and the ticking clock will allow, I feel your pain.

But you must not walk away from your art in your frustration- second to our loved ones, it is the only thing worth having. Think about it. What does anyone leave behind, that is valued by those left? It is the things they created. For most of us here and other similar places, it is recording the beauty, comedy, and intrigue of the world and its inhabitants, whether by photography, traditional art, writing, or some related enterprise.

The closing line from our friend Matt Quinn's eulogy made a profound impression on me, in spite of the creative desert I am yet in. "Photographers are God's record keepers". That is a real serious responsibility.

Programming is an art form too, especially in the way you are using it. My grandson would like to please come and live with you and sit at your knee. He is 9, and has various ideas for video games, some that he's been developing since he was 4, but lacks a teacher.

My advice: pursue the interesting Gettysburg project, postpone projects that don't matter anyway (or can easily be hired out), but also force yourself to walk your beautiful surrounds and make images that will eventually bloom for you as art. Your spirit needs that, and it will help you with the other project. And share with us your journey(s)..
Hi Paula, thank you for your uplifting words and your very good thoughts. I am fearful that I have spend too much time watching and not enough time Doing. But I will attempt to fix that by making sure that Doing is a larger part of my everyday life.

About your grandson, if he has access to a PC, have him google Unreal Engine Game Development and see what happens. And if he has the interest, get him a Udemy account and see if he will take a class (12/13 buck investment). The system is free and extremely powerful - have him start with BluePrints (no programing at that level). The kit will allow him to develop for multiple platforms and is unbelievable. If he is interested, he only needs to know about it and next thing you know, he will be doing it. Never underestimate what a kid can do if he has an interest in it!!!!

I tend to circle round and round hoping that the hodgepodge pieces I am involved with come together, not smart perhaps, but by following my interests, I tend to keep chipping away at things. But I have to watch out and not set aside those things that I will lose if I don't stick with them! Been working on the house some more, we finally got to the kitchen floor tile, and I found I had to do some floor repairs. On the positive side, I also recently created a long bar/table top out of two slabs of walnut that I am placing on top of cabinets. We watched you-tube and figured out how to finish it and it is looking great - NoteToSelf - take and post a picture of it for you guys - it is worth a thread.

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PietFrancke
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Post by PietFrancke » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:52 pm

Duck wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:47 pm
Ho Boy! Do I know how you feel... I have a few back burner projects I should be doing but... well, you know.

As for your terrain map... that's entering my realm of graphic design. The first thing I would say is don't use your current color scheme to delineate height. It does not read as height. Color variances in cartography has to do with terrain variances in composition, not height. Use shading to create your height map but color to identify terrain type. Definitely stick to established conventions (dark brown for rocky terrain, light tan for sandy terrain, blue for water, etc.) The other major point of consideration is contrast of topographical elements (roads, waterways, buildings) and game assets (troops, equipment, information elements, etc.) If they blend in too much with a very busy background you'll loose your audience.

This is an interesting project. Can't wait to see what you do with it. :D
Hi Duck, thanks for your thoughts on this!.. I might be a little OK with this, the Reds and Browns do reflect the rocky hill tops that they fought for as strategic objectives. The yellows and light greens were mostly orchards and developed farmlands. And the darker greens were the lush bottom lands surrounding the streams. The hexes will be in three dimensions at the proper height so I want to see what this texture will look like mapped to those hexes - but your thoughts have definitely convinced me that I need to "bland down" the map so that the Blue and the Gray Units pop.

I am thinking you are right on target that the pieces will be the most important thing visually to see on the terrain, and if the terrain is overly dramatic, it will make everything else much too busy!!!

It might take me a little while to get the first shot at those hexes with the texture applied to them, I will be sure to post when I do and will be very interested in your reaction to them. Thanks bundles Duck - I appreciate it.

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Post by minniev » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:48 pm

PietFrancke wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:37 pm

Hi Paula, thank you for your uplifting words and your very good thoughts. I am fearful that I have spend too much time watching and not enough time Doing. But I will attempt to fix that by making sure that Doing is a larger part of my everyday life.

About your grandson, if he has access to a PC, have him google Unreal Engine Game Development and see what happens. And if he has the interest, get him a Udemy account and see if he will take a class (12/13 buck investment). The system is free and extremely powerful - have him start with BluePrints (no programing at that level). The kit will allow him to develop for multiple platforms and is unbelievable. If he is interested, he only needs to know about it and next thing you know, he will be doing it. Never underestimate what a kid can do if he has an interest in it!!!!

I tend to circle round and round hoping that the hodgepodge pieces I am involved with come together, not smart perhaps, but by following my interests, I tend to keep chipping away at things. But I have to watch out and not set aside those things that I will lose if I don't stick with them! Been working on the house some more, we finally got to the kitchen floor tile, and I found I had to do some floor repairs. On the positive side, I also recently created a long bar/table top out of two slabs of walnut that I am placing on top of cabinets. We watched you-tube and figured out how to finish it and it is looking great - NoteToSelf - take and post a picture of it for you guys - it is worth a thread.
I too get caught in "too much watching" and took a break from both Awake and Udemy because I could see that past a certain point I was losing ground, and simply needed to do some work.

Thanks for the ideas for Walker. He is a techie to the bone, intrigued with the kinds of games where you create the game components as you go, and dreaming up imaginary worlds that he wants to bring to life.

Yes, do share the table, it sounds wonderful. My cousin just finished tiling her floor, and it was a fascinating project. She had, over her (and her mother's) lifetime, collected many decorative tiles, some that her mother or she made in art school, some they got from friends, some they purchased or picked up various places, ranging from current days to several hundred years old (Delft). She embedded these decoratives into a design, mixed with the standard bland tile she'd chosen to serve as their "matts and frames". It is quite a floor, a life of art. So I understand that flooring is art. Cabinets and tables are art. Show us all of it!
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