Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Wooden Memory Family Birthday Calendar

I thought that whilst I have been doing a few Christmas markets and getting ready good feed back on these wooden calendars I make, I would do a post about them here. They have been selling really well and I expect to have to make lots more for the build up to Christmas and new year

So what is it? - I have a few people at Christmas markets that cant quite work out what the calendar is for and move on from the stall if i cant catch them to explain. It essentially a list of all your families / friends important birthdays / anniversaries that you can hang on the wall as a keep sake and always visible. The months of the year run across the top discs and then the birthdays clip under each respective one. Another great thing about the calendar is that a pen is provided with blank discs for you to write your own names on and if a new birthday / anniversary is needed in the future it can be easily added to the respective month.

I had to add one to it already recently for the birth of my niece and for this reason I decided to sell them with blank disks meaning that the writing style / pen colour will be the same throughout the calendar.

The wood I use for the disks is blackthorn, has the natural grain running through them and each one is different and unique.

Link to buy item - 

Wooden Family Birthday Calendar

Above is the calendar - This one is our personal one which is put together and hung up in my dinging room, it was great fun making the calendar and was original done as a craft project seeing different ones online. After cutting, sanding and drying the wood I decided that this has a lot of effort in the making of it and I could see that it would be a great idea to make more and list them on my Etsy shop.

Below are some images of the calendar which comes in two different stenciled names - Family and Birthday and here is way is included in the kit - 

1 x Stenciled, coloured, wooden board made from sanded pallet wood - beewaxed and screw eyes added
12 x larger pre-drilled, natural wood discs for the months of the year
24 x blank, pre-drilled natural wood discs for the birthdays / anniversaries
1 x piece of twine for hanging
24 x bronze jump rings for holding it all together
1 x black ball point pen for writing the names and months on. ( you are welcome to use your own pen but i find that ball point pens don't bleed on the wood and are easy to write with.)

Preparing of the discs from Blackthorn wood

Sanded and drilled

close up of the discs

family, birthday calendar

One with the word birthday written on

close up of wooden birthday calendar

Wooden birthday calendar

Lovely project to make and looks excellent and rustic on the wall 

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Digital Woods Does A Christmas Market.

After building some wooden up-cycling furniture I decided to re-invent a wooden calendar I had seen on the internet using some of the blackthorn wood and pallet to offer some rustic uniqueness to it.

The product I listed with a couple of other blackthorn decorations I made and I sold a couple straight away!
Upon selling a few and getting the bug for earning money making these items I decided to attend a local 
Christmas market and paid for a stall for 2 days. Overall the event was success full, I spent a few weeks making some Calendars above, some children's wooden pallet trays and some wooden decorations.

picture of me setting up for TheDigitalWoods first Christmas Market.

I created some business cards to take, handed out loads and sold some products which helped cover the costs of the event.

I enjoyed the market experience and have since lined up two more Christmas craft fairs for the next couple of weeks. You can find my Christmas gifts for sale here -

Friday, 22 November 2013

Wooden pallet side table and train table

After taking some time out from animation and from gardening I've been working on giving the digital woods another new meaning and direction. 

From a regular gardening job I found myself with access to some free wooden pallets and the ability to take home some blackthorn branches from an area being cut down. The original aim was to build some furniture for my home and develop some carpenter skills in the process. As at present I am a self-taught novice.

My first project was to create a bedside table from one of the pallets for our spare room -

This came together quite easily and with a bit of sanding and a coat of varnish came out ok.

Upon completion of the bedside table and the satisfaction of making it I started looking for other items we needed but didn't have to spare funds to buy brand new. We were in the process at the time of looking for a train set and table for my son and after looking on free cycle, gum tree, ebay and finding nothing suitable or in our own price range I decided to take things into my own hands. Here is the final product.

After dismantling the pallets and planning the loose idea on paper I got to work and over a couple of days a few hours here and there I made the above train table with underneath storage and pull out draws with rope handles. (not bad for a novice eh?)

The train table was then hand sanded down and given to my son with a train set for his birthday and he loves it!

Looking back I should have done a step by step on how to make these items and i will do this for future projects.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Lion Face

Hello everyone,

Thought I'd share one of my recent designs, its a lion mark created in maya and rendered out with its wording, quite simple but I think it could be a quite nice design to have on a t-shirt / phone case.

its gone live on my red bubble site with some others. check it out.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Texturing the Hobbit Style Pub.

With the outdoor lighting set up I have began to apply some textures to the building from my past resources and make some new ones in Photoshop. From the beginning of the project I set up a render cam so that all progression images can be from the same position. This cam will be used for the final outdoor render.

Applying the textures has been easy, the work with the UV mapping make the only hard part about this task is matching the same tone of texture and waiting for the long render times. Luckily there is a function in Maya to save the lighting map (final Gather) out and not have it recalculated each render.

Another tip I’ve learnt is that if you know your final image will be e.g. - HD1080 , then you can divide this up 1920 x1080 can be 480 x 270. And rendering final gather at 480x270 resolution doesn’t have cut down the time for the predictions.

The next phase was the apply grass to the building’s roof and two storage walls, for this I have used Maya fur which again takes forever to render. Once I am happy with the fur I will remove this from the render until I am ready for the final output.

This is what I have done so far….

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Lighting the pub

For my last project and in the past I generally texture the object first then move onto lighting, but I have found that when lighting a textured scene you generally need to come in and do a lot of tweaking with textures and working out whether it’s the light rig or the images. I will try it the other way around, get a nice lit scene without any shaders,then I hopefully should know it’s the texture that’s off when applying them…

The lighting has been done with Mental Ray sun and sky and I have tweaked aspects like gamma, secondary bounces, how much light, direction, shadows and smooth quality to allow for as much realism as possible. I am happy with how the lighting is for now and will start to apply the textures.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Uv Mapping the hobbit style pub

The last couple of days I have been going through the model and uv mapping everything. For those who don’t know, uv mapping is like sewing, you have to stitch together the edges of the polygons so that when a texture is applied it will wrap around the model. The better the uv layout of the polygon the better the texture will look. I use a checkerboard texture with the us and vs repeated which shows if there is any warping whilst I sew. There is a function in Maya called transfer attribute and this allowed me to duplicate any polygons uvs that were identical. Eg windows and doors. This process is very time consuming but is rather therapeutic and I quite enjoy this part of texturing.

I have spent time building a texture folder from all the random projects I have worked on in the past and will now go through these to see if I have everything I need to texture the pub or whether I need to search the internet and get my camera out.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Rugs, radiators and the bar

A few more items added to the pub yesterday and today. I have also been doing a lot of research into foundations and central heating for the pub, but I am not sure if I am going to take this project that far. The idea is to have the log burner connected to the radiators and boiler. Possibly having underfloor heating too.

I may add this all at a later date or for another project, but I want to push on with what I wanted to achieve for my showreel.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Extending the Roof

After a busy bank holiday weekend spending time with my fiancé and boy, I got back into modelling more of the house yesterday afternoon.

I did a quick render test with maya fur grass applied to the roof and floor and realised that I would need to add to the building structure. The initial idea was to have the pub inside a hill and this would be quite easy to achieve if I wasn’t trying to be realistic with the build. I could simply build a hill and extrude into it for the house but I want this to be something that could be built in the future and not be an unrealistic / overly expensive idea; after all, not everyone has a spare hill in their back garden they can dig into.

So I added to the shape of the building, bringing down the sides and finding new uses for the space they created. On the right of the building there will be a log store hidden from the front by the same grass to cover the roof and accessible from round the back and via the fire door in the games room. The left hand side of the building will be identical in its structure to the right but be a storage unit and hold any utility equipment.

In creating these spaces I realised that the whole roof structure would need to be reinforced with some more supports, both across the width and depth of the building to allow somebody to maintain the grass etc. It should be strong enough now for someone to walk up the side of the log store and straight on the roof of the building as if they were walking over a hill…

I modelled the spot lights for inside, my brother had said that he would like the inside of the pub to have an old Irish pub crossed with hobbit feel about it spots should allow for the correct mood lighting throughout and could be individually switched on and off and rotated to suit.

Hope everyone had a happy Easter, keep updated on this project by hitting follow me or adding your email to this page, mobile users will need to scroll to the bottom and click the link to view as full site first.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Adding some more props too hobbit style pub - O'Brien's

Yesterday was a day of tweaking some of the model, creating the fence, stepping stones, 3 seater recliner and the surround for the log burner.

I am close to finishing the model stage of this project, I need to add some spot lights inside, a rug or two, some more garden features and a few pictures / ornaments which will give a bit more life to the over all render and a few radiators that would run off the log burner.