Friday, July 31, 2009

New Freedom Force – Part 5 – Night Man

Meet Night Man.

Johnny Domino gained his powers from piece of shrapnel that embedded itself in his head after his car was struck by a cable car that had been hit by a burst of energy known as a "jumpstart", while not unconditionally telepathic, could hear evil thoughts, could see in the dark and did not require sleep. His costume and equipment were merely makeshift items from hardware stores and the like, plus a kevlar vest his father lent him.


Skin includes mesh and keyframes with credit given to original authors in the readme.txt file. Skin and mesh enhanced to work in Freedom Force vs The Third Reich. Skin released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Freedom Force – Part 4 - Hardcase

Meet Hardcase.
Incredibly strong, Hardcase is able to throw a car over 50 yards with little effort. His legs muscles allow him to leap nearly a mile. Nearly invulnerable to damage and changes in temperature, only extreme temperatures affect him. When he is hurt, Hardcase can heal quickly, though the process is sped up if he drinks seawater. His senses are enhanced, allowing him to hear and see over long distances.


Skin includes mesh and keyframes with credit given to original authors in the readme.txt file. Skin and mesh enhanced to work in Freedom Force vs The Third Reich. Skin released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

Freedom Force – Part 10

This is the last of my retrospectives on my time as a Freedom Force skinner. Don’t lose hope though, faithful reader. I’ve actually taken up skinning again to keep up my skills in Photoshop. You’ll be seeing more from me in the future.
This is one of the last version of Ewzzy. By this time the character took a twist as an international man of mystery. I am so glad that I shopped together a cummerbund and bow tie in order to give it that tuxedo feel. This version of me was pretty definitive as far as starting the transition from detective to secret agent. That line leads to our next two.
This black-ops stealth Ewzzy has a real Sam Fisher vibe to him. Freedom Force as a game doesn’t allow for being too stealthy but as a character and skin this one was a big accomplishment to me. I can imagine this Ewzzy leading a team of agents into a villain’s lair and doing what other heroes are afraid of doing.
This is it. You’ve met this version of me before, but not in such fidelity. Between skins, I bulked up a lot and added lots of armor and a big gun. This is probably the most complicated skin I had ever done. Everything but the face and hands were drawn completely from scratch, something I hadn’t ever really tried. This is the Ewzzy that could go toe to toe with a real super villain and come out on top.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Freedom Force – Part 3 – Atom-Bob

Meet Atom-Bob.

Atom Bob was one of the fifty some people present on a cable car that was struck with a burst of energy from The Entity on The Moon, which imbued all of the passengers with superpowers. Bob Hardin was on the cable car with his friend who later came to use the Grenade. They both joined the group of ultras known as The Strangers. Atom Bob was arguably one of the most powerful members but his control over his power was tenuous at best which later drove him to become the villain known as Pilgrim.


Skin includes mesh and keyframes with credit given to original authors in the readme.txt file. Skin and mesh enhanced to work in Freedom Force vs The Third Reich. Skin released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

Freedom Force – Part 9

In this edition of my tour down memory lane we’re examining some of my more experimental designs for Ewzzy. I spent a long time trying to figure out my character, these are some of the failures.

This was the golden age version of Ewzzy. The idea being that if I was a legacy hero from the 1940’s this is what I would have looked like. The big problem here was that the character wasn’t that different and my skin barely changed anything from the base. I look very mysterious though. That’s a good thing for a 1940’s psychic detective.
If the last version of me was from the golden age then this would be me from the future with enough pouches that Rob Leifeld had to have drawn me. This was another one where the original skin was so close to what I wanted that not enough changes could be made. Also, the blonde hair looks so stupid on me. I’m just not a blonde.
The problem with this skin was that I didn’t have a solid idea of what I wanted. The Hitman mesh had just been released and it looked like it was perfect for my character, but at the same time, It just didn’t work. I was just trying to recreate my other look for a new mesh and it didn’t hold up well at all.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Freedom Force – Part 8

I want to be upfront about this. I didn’t make these. Calm down. I said calm down! These were guest skins made by others during events on the Freedom Force Forums. I regret that I don’t know who made them anymore.

This was made as a favor for another (much more talented) skinner by the name of Next Legend for whom I hexed together some animations. Sorry if that doesn’t mean much to you, but it’s how it went down. I was giddy when I received this. It was like Ewzzy had been sent to the Matrix. Too cool.
This skin only makes sense if you know the secret origin of Ewzzy. As a character I had a secret identity running WZZY rock radio in Liberty City. For a re-imaging contest, another skinner created an alternate world me where I was born in England, loved cricket, and rand WZZY Sports Radio. The coolest part was the custom mesh they made so I could have a cricket bat.
This was from the Amalgam contest where different forum members were combined into new characters. A forum member named ‘Agent’ was amalgamated with myself to create ‘Agent of E.W.Z.Z.Y’ as a brand new character. The idea being that in 40 years, when my vigilante work gets to be too much, I form a new crime fighting organization called E.W.Z.Z.Y. and that Agent’s son would be one of my recruits. Needless to say, I loved the idea.

New Freedom Force – Part 2 - Prime

Today we have FF skin two pack. I did both the classic and neo-classic costumes for this Ultraverse character.  

Meet Prime.

Prime is really a thirteen year-old boy named Kevin Green with the power to transform into a super-powered adult. In this sense, he is much like the Golden Age Captain Marvel. Like the Modern Age version of Captain Marvel, Kevin retains the thoughts, memories and consciousness of his thirteen year-old self as Prime. This is a chief source of conflict for the character as he is frequently placed in adult situations and circumstances he may not be mature enough to deal with.


Skin includes mesh and keyframes with credit given to original authors in the readme.txt file. Skin and mesh enhanced to work in Freedom Force vs The Third Reich. Skin released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Freedom Force – Part 1 – Solitaire

I say part one, but I don’t know how long this series will go. I’ve got 7 skins ready to go so we’ll have at least a week of this. This the first of my new skins for Freedom Force. I’ve been making skins of heroes from the Ultraverse.

This is Solitaire:
Solitaire's secret identity is Nicholas Lone, son of Antone Lone, L.A.'s major crime lord within the Ultraverse. This was, in fact, the main driving force of the plot of the series, as Solitaire's superpowers were given to him by his father after Nicholas tried to kill himself by driving a sportscar off a California cliff side. This suicidal desire was fueled by the realization that his life had become an empty shell due to the secrets he kept, knowing his father's true nature. Anton Lone then had his son's body installed with nanomachines capable of rebuilding his body. Waking up and realizing he could not die, Nicholas Lone swore to use the wealth given to him by his father to end the atrocities his father caused.


Skin includes mesh and keyframes with credit given to original authors in the readme.txt file. Skin and mesh enhanced to work in Freedom Force vs The Third Reich. Skin released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

Freedom Force – Part 7

What’s this? Our hero returns with more foppish Freedom Force frippery? Yes it’s true! I fount images of even more of my old skins. These ones are of my avatar. Lets see Ewzzy through the ages.

This was my first version of ‘Ewzzy’ as a character. The green eyes are because I was possessed by an energy being. If this skin seems good at all it’s because I didn’t change much. I had the theme down right as far as "packing heat” and “psychic powers” went, but lord knows I didn’t know what I was doing yet.
This was my second attempt. Most elements are hand drawn. This resulted in a very sloppy look. If “super hobo” was what I was going for then I had it down pat. It is then unfortunate that I was going for “detective noir” and this look just didn’t work. To be fair to my younger self. I had only used Photoshop for a week or two before this skin was made. The good side of this, is that the character in my head was getting nailed down. I dual wielded pistols, hidden in the coat and used a ridiculous agility stat to avoid all attacks to simulate my precognitive powers.

I used this look for a long time. He was the official Ewzzy avatar with a much more stylish look and a well defined idea. Notice the goatee which I sported in real life all through high school. This skin is based on the same character model as the one directly above, but it looks so different. They were created a month apart. My skills in Photoshop were growing very very fast.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Photography 101 – More Photography

This album is kind of a catch all, you see not all of my sets are worth posting. Some only had a few worth posting in their source sets. Some had none at all. These are the best of the worst.

Well that wraps up Photography 101. I wonder what old stuff I can dig up next.

New Freedom Force – Part 0 – Dr McNinja

I’ve started skinning for Freedom Force again. We’ll see how this goes. I’m starting off with a skin of my favorite ninja and yours… Dr McNinja.
Q: Who is Dr. McNinja?
A: Dr. McNinja is a doctor who is also a ninja.


Skin includes mesh and keyframes with credit given to original authors in the readme.txt file. Skin and mesh enhanced to work in Freedom Force vs The Third Reich. Skin released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Photography 101 - HDR

High Dynamic Range photography is the result of combining multiple exposures of the same scene. The results can sometimes be hyper real to the point of seeming like a 3D rendering. They can sometimes seem more like how the human eye sees things. They can also make things look absolutely crazy. I wanted to do the first example but ended up just making things look too crazy. Most of these were taken in Jennings County, IN. I’m glad I’ve got these to remind me of home.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Photography 101 - Cameras

In order of when I took these, this is the last set I did. My teacher was disappointed because this was so much less dramatic than my self portrait series. That said, I really wanted to take pictures of the camera collection I was starting to accrue. I have a lot more now, but they’re all stuck in Indiana. Someday I’ll be able to have them all with me again. Don’t worry, even though this is the last set chronologically, this isn’t the last set I’m posting here. Join me here for even more of my photos tomorrow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Santa Monica p2

Yesterday was our last day with Jomay. We went back to Santa Monica Pier to play in the arcade and watch some trapeze.

I even captured some crappy footage with my cellphone camcorder

So passes our time with Jomay. Come back anytime. You're always welcome here.

Photography 101 – Self Portraits

The self portrait assignment is easily my most successful. Each photo is designed to put me in a different role. No I had some help getting these, but for the most part it’s all me. Usually in self portraits you are the core of each photo. I tried to distance myself from these, so that I wasn’t recognizable as myself. This is especially true in the horror movie picture, with the muddy baseball bat. I’m there in the picture, but it could be anybody.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Photography 101 – Focal

I absolutely adore getting close up with my subject and playing with focus. I try to do it in all of my pictures. This set let me go all out and let the focus tell be the focus. I’m especially proud of the spider that I fit in the thinnest line where everything else is blurred. Thankfully my time working in video has taught me to snap to and get the shot quickly, cause that little guy skittered away.

The Getty Center

We went to the Getty Center art museum today.

I'm more into modern art but as you can see from my pictures, the place was absolutely amazing.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Photography 101 – Women’s History Month

This assignment was my most controversial. That isn’t saying much, because none of my other projects were controversial at all.  The assignment was to do a set dedicated to Women’s History Month. Most people took pictures of women in their family  or their girlfriends. I decided to do something a little more political and photograph action figures. The concept was that this would expose to people how, ostensibly strong, women are presented to young boys. Some people who didn’t understand the concept thought my work was inappropriate. By the way, yes, the toys were all mine, leftover from my childhood. They’ve since been sold in a yard sale.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Leo Carillo

*updated with more pictures from Jomay*

We went to Leo Carillo beach yesterday for some fun in the sun. It's my first "day at the beach" since I moved here. It took a grueling two hours drive to get there, but it was so worth it. It's underpopulated with caves and rocks to climb. Yes I climbed rocks. That just keeps happening when I'm with Ricka and O'Neal. I also got a wicked sunburn on my back. I've got to be more prepared when I go to these things. I wish I could have swam, but it was too cold for anyone else to want to, so I stayed dry with the group.

Photography 101 - Protoman

This was actually the first photoset I did for class. It was originally processed as B&W but I shot in color. The original color versions are much better. The assignment was to take pictures of a single object that would somehow transform the image. I used a toy of Megaman’s nemesis, Protoman, I wanted him to seem real. Too bad I had no idea how to use  a camera yet, because I took 300+ pictures and these are the best ones. At least I didn’t take pictures of a broken glass and say it was “transformed.” I’m looking at you, rest of the class.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Photography 101 - Lighting

Back again cataloguing my time as a photography student. This assignment was about using non-standard light sources. We had to control the light in each photo, not just use the room light as we usually did. In my life I’m surrounded by LED lights from all of my electronics so I decided to used them as my source of choice. I also pulled some tricks with long exposure. Yes that’s a Mexican wrestling mask.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Photography 101 – Close Ups

The assignment here was to take photos so close to the target that it abstracts them. In a fit of futility I took pictures of everything in my dorm room. The reason was probably laziness above all else, but the result was finding a new view of texture in the banality of dorm life. I got to play with focus in this series which is well noted as my favorite thing to do with a camera..

Friday, July 17, 2009

Santa Monica

Jomay is in town so we went to Santa Monica Pier.

I finally saw the ocean!


The beach was so freaking cool!

I stuck my feet in the water.
Then we went to the promenade.
There were lots of street performers.
I even got pulled into a performance!
That’s me in the yellow! Check out all of my pictures and Jomay’s here:

Photography 101 - Panorama


Panoramic photos are normally done outside when you want to capture an image of something too big to fill the frame. The process involves taking many pictures and stitching them together to make one coherent image. There is a natural distortion created when using this technique that is increased with proximity to the target. I used this distortion to my advantage in this set.

It’s so hard to show these on a computer screen. Some are really tall so we’re going with a taller format today. Follow the following link and be sure to use the magnify button liberally.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Photography 101 – Errors in His Eyes

The assignment was to mix photography with printing. Mixed media and all that. I dedicated my project to sci-fi author Philip K Dick. It tells a short story as my world falls apart in a series of errors before it crashes altogether. Strangely a classmate did the assignment in a similar fashion, using error messages in the real world as well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Photography 101 – Candy

Today’s assignment was to use Color Theory to set up interesting photos. The first one is a total White Stripes job. I have a print of the Gameboy Camera photo. I sure miss that plant in the blue/green photo. Here name was Emilia. She was an Airplane Plane named for Emilia Earhart. I grew her for my botony class in high school. She stayed alive for four years before a harsh winter took her from me. One of her children survives under my mom’s care.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Photography 101 - Sports

The assignment was to take photos of something moving quickly while using a high shutter speed.  There was a football game going on in the Butler Bowl that day against the Panthers from Madison Indiana.   If I remember correctly that was the first game we won that year. (possibly the last) It was so much fun getting shots of the players in motion. I decided to hedge my bets and get some shots of my friends playing Ultimate Frisbee. I’m incredibly proud oh how I followed the ball through the air. Look for it in the shots.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Playback: Ewzzy

I made this video out of the raw images I took while I was in a photography class at Butler University. When you shoot like I do and take a hundred pictures for a single shot they line up pretty well.

I’d also like to announce I’ll be starting a review of my days in Photography 101. I’ll be posting a new gallery every day so stay tuned for more photographic fun.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Errors Make Art

I was scrolling through my old photos, performing upkeep on my collection. Alas some of my old JPG’s had become corrupted. It only effected the largest right off the camera images and they are largely inconsequential but now they’ve been given a new life as error art.

These pictures weren’t worth much when I took them, but they look pretty neat now that they’ve fallen apart.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Freedom Force part 6

Bonus time here the Ewzzy blog. I only have one original character left and he’s obscured by my overly creative typefacing. That means you get three bonus copyright infringing skins!
Tide is another character with a fairly common power. He could turn parts or the whole of his body into water. The difference between him and other aquatic characters was his size. At the size of the Incredible Hulk he was a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield of Freedom Force. I recall giving him all the area attacks that I could so he would destroy all the buildings around whenever he attacked. I believe there was a power so that fire hydrants in the game would erupt in his presence.
Hal Jordan. Green Lantern. This is one of the few skins I made completely on my own with no base textures for the muscles and face. He was a real challenge and one of the last characters I ever skinned.
Kyle Rayner was always my favorite Green Lantern. When he debuted this costume I re-installed Freedom Force just so I could skin him. Ron Marz’s writing of the character is what got me reading comics on a regular basis. When he left the series so did I.

The very first skin I ever made for Freedom Force was actually of Guy Gardner Warrior. To finish off my career as a skinner I created this skin to see how far I had come. I wish I could find my original, because in three years I had grown in leaps and bounds. Though, I apparently still felt the need to toss some lens flares in for good measure.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Apartment Walkthrough

I'm sure you've all been dying to know what my new apartment is like. Since I'm in Cali, and you're in somewhere-else, that didn't seem possible. Haha! I recorded a guided tour and annotated the crap out of it. Watch and learn how I've been living for the past month. Wow, it has been a month since I moved in. Crazy right?

Freedom Force part 5

It’s time for another round of Freedom Force retro recap. Let’s dive right in.
This is Lucas. I’m glad his lightning powers are covering up his secret shame. He’s based on Lucas Barton from the movie The Wizard and yes that is a Power Glove on his hand. I didn’t have to tell you that. I could have just claimed that was his name and moved on. That looks like any old magic glove in this shot. You can’t tell how I lovingly rendered each detail of the Power Glove. You would never have known!
This was the healer of the group. His name is Patron. He looks sad because I used more lens flares. He is so sorry for me. I really just changed the colors of the default skin for this character model and then fixed up his face. I removed a mustache. Maybe that is why he looks so sad.
This is Shell. He had the power to change his size from normal to small or gargantuan. He’s a fourteen year old super genius. In the large size he was stronger but slower. Obviously. In the small form he was much faster and could scale walls and jump high,  but he wasn’t very strong. The ability to switch out character meshes mid battle came along late into Freedom Forces lifespan with a fantastic mod. Creating characters and making them work within the game mechanics like this was such a fun creative exercise.
Don’t mock me when I tell you that this is named Teppes. Yes, for all intents and purposes I drew Dracula, and gave him a sword. I’m pretty sure new energy draining powers were just added to the game and I created this knock-off just to test them out.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Freedom Force part 4

I have another lineup of characters from my days as a skinner for the game Freedom Force. I found all of these images when I opened my Geocities account for the first time in five years and lo-and behold these were still there. Lets have another look shall we?
This wonder of my early creative mind is known as Impervious. I know for a fact that his impenetrable aura did appear in game and that his only power was invulnerability. Based on his ill-drawn jeans, cowboy boots and gloves I’ll bet he used to be in a Rodeo. Lets make up an origin story. Shall we?
Eugene Coffey was born special, but he didn’t know it. Working rodeo shows since he was just a kid he never showed any fear. That is, until one day he faced off against a bull bigger than any other he had ever known. Showing fear for the first time in his life, he cowered before the bull, on instinct a glowing shield popped up and saved him from certain doom. The bull however died in the incident. Fleeing from the confused and angry crowd Eugene took the name IMPERVIOUS and struck out on his own.
That was fun. The next one on our list is… Jessi. I’m pretty sure this one is based on my girlfriend at the time. I made characters for all of my friends, but this is the only one to survive. Just like I don’t look much like the FF version of Ewzzy I don’t recall her looking a lot like this. I also don’t remember her ever doing Tai Chi on the beach. I clearly spent a long time on this one, because female skins were a billion times harder to make than guys. The chest geometry stretched out any texture you made.
I’m proud of this one. La Prisa had a pretty cool back story. The name is Spanish for “The Rush” and as you can tell she has super speed powers. I distinctly remember her story was that she was very religious and that she believed that her powers were given to her by god. Nothing could convince her otherwise.
I wish I had more of a back story for this one. I think she was supposed to be a love interest for Ewzzy but I could be way off. The only detail I have is that her filename was lora.jpg so we’ll call her Lora. I bet she thinks she’s sneaky hiding in the shade of the otherwise well lit downtown.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Freedom Force part 3

Today we focus on the good guys here on my retrospective of Freedom Force creations. Some are better than others so remember that this was when I was just starting up learning Photoshop. Be merciful oh ye gods of the internet.
Ember was the total powerhouse of the team. He was made of fire. I am still super impressed with how the effect turned out. I wanted to make a fire character that didn't look like a flat orange Human Torch that other artists had made or one that relied on the game slowing particle system to make him look fiery. As for a back story I don't think I ever made one for him. Sorry.
This lady is named Heir. I know that because of her file name is heir.jpg and that's good enough for me. If I recall, she was supposed to be from another planet claiming that her father once ruled Earth and that it was now hers. She ended up being a hero after helping stop Demagogue when he tried to take over the world she demanded was hers.
This dude is Hayden. He's named that for a mysterious spot in Hayden, Indiana where gravity doesn't work properly. Naturally his power was control of gravity. He had temper control problems so when he got angry he could lose control of his powers. I'm surprised that I was able to accurately depict this within the game but it worked out pretty well.
This is me as a well dressed gangster. The reason for my longtime gangster kick was my role in the 8th grade production of Guys and Dolls. I played Big Jule a legendary gangster from Chicago. This left a long lasting impression on me. For a long time my online handle was Big Jule. This unfortunatley made me look more like I like show tunes than being a gangster.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Freedom Force part 2

I'm back with more Freedom Force fun for all my fantastic friends and rambunctious readers. This round is made up of what I believe to be the villains who fought against the ever-vigilant Ewzzy. It's hard to remember on account of my creating them when I was still in high school.

This is "Coda" You can tell by the musical marker on his chest. I'm pretty sure I just thought the symbol and word was cool. No worthwhile significance. I have also no earthly idea what his power may have been but his left side is made of metal. His head being somewhat rusted, I can tell I just threw some textures on him and called it a day. I'm glad I got all the lens flares out of my system when I did. Now I know never to use them.

This guy is Demagogue named for Demagogy the strategy for gaining political power by appealing to the prejudices, emotions, fears and expectations of the public. How that relates to his ability to fly and wear skulls I certainly don't know. I do know that this skin is based on the character model for Spawn. He was supposed to be the insidious main villain to face off against Ewzzy but I never really delved into what he could do. I know that he lead the other guys on this page but that's probably about it.

This is one of Demagogue's drones. I didn't actually skin this. The character model didn't have any texture mapping and was actually just a black wireframe mesh. I used a hex editor to change the values of the character model and remove the head and change the color to a shiny green. If you know what that means then you win the no-prise. If you don't then I'm sorry that I confused you.




That stealthy fellow under the moon  is Eclipse. He's another example of a barely skinned hack. What a terrible way to start the week. He is actually a reflection map designed to make the black and white shift depending on how you look at him. It's a really cool effect in motion. Too bad there isn't a way for me to show you that. Sorry. As a character I can tell you that his clothing weapons and armor are all made of the same shape-shifting material. Eclipse uses this ability to hide a vast array of weapons to keep Ewzzy on his toes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Freedom Force part 1

If you read this blog you'll note my love of Photoshop. There are few problems that it can't solve. What you likely don't know is how the love story began. In 2002 Irrational Games released Freedom Force for the PC. The game allowed for skinning of the character models to create your own heroes. The immediate use of this was to put Batman and Spider-Man in the game. I used my school's copy of Photoshop to join in on the fun.
So I'm going to spend the next week or so walking you through my work as skinner for Freedom Force. These are some of my earliest works in Photoshop and will likely shame me for how bad they were.
That guy to the left is supposed to be me. Everybody made avatars of themselves for the game and I was a black-ops guy with the ability to see just one second into the future. Just long enough to dodge a bullet. At night in dreams the power was stronger and would allow him to see into more far flung futures.
You can tell I spent a lot of time figuring out this guy. I went through about 13 different iterations before this one. The others were mostly gangsters in zoot suits.