Forgelock Glitch Wallpaper

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Glitch city! A little doodle idea we had turned into these. All 1080 resolution, right click to download.

The basic workflow was Blender for the logo + dots render, then Photoshop for the scanlines and minor vignette. Run that through an image glitcher to speed up iteration (you can do it by manually opening .jpg files in a text editor, but this is a lot faster) and then the last two have a little extra film dust thrown onto them.

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The Forgelock Wallpaper Explained

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The good news is that we’re keeping the every tuesday schedule, the better news is that we’re finalizing a deal on an industrial bay to set up shop in and have a ton of sweet tools and cool things to set up in the coming weeks (hint: we bought a 3D printer!) buuut the bad news is that in the meantime, you get half-hearted tutorials. We are planning a lot more video stuff in the future, we are planning to have live streams and production value and an awesome workspace to do it all in, but we appreciate your patience as it’s all being set up first on our end.

Still! Enjoy a basic Photoshop tutorial:

Our very first post was one of the first things I made after we finalized our gear logo idea. People seemed to really like it, so I’m going to demystify the effect and break down the layers. We start, above, with just a basic slate texture that I use quite often. Any rock will do, you just want a big clean surface that has grit and texture without being busy and distracting.

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The second layer is a film dust one, actually, and a favorite of mine. It gives some extra dust, scratches and little pixel details as well as those red scars at the bottom which are actually little lens flares or something, but work for our red fire + sparks theme. While you can sometimes get away with mixing multiple rock layers over each other to add increasing detail, quite often it becomes unrealistic in obvious or even subconscious ways. You start seeing things like rocks coming out of of each other, or sitting in impossible ways. By using layers that are physically feasible (rock texture + lens texture) we can add bonus detail without removing realism, or the realistic illusion thereof.

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Throw the logo in there, add a very slight glow to it. You’ll notice, also, that my glow has a color ramp instead of being one color. Like we did with the animated sparks, fire exists as an energy gradient that goes from white through yellow and orange into red and finally fades out to transparency. Our logo isn’t realistically “on fire” but it is white, and it is glowing with energy so we’re going to respect the fiction a little and give it that extra detailed touch. Besides, it’s almost no additional work.

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I’m going to turn the logo layer off for these next few to demonstrate the fire by itself. It starts as some firepit photos that are set to screen, lighten, color dodge as necessary. Definitely play around with overlay settings – most of the good stuff is in there when creating layers of things like this is. Erase out with a soft brush any signs of non-fire details from the stock photos and you’re left with an alright plate. We can hide that awkward bottom edge with the logo shape itself. Let’s add some more:

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Not bad, got the ring going nicely, it’s sparking and bursting a bit more. The goal with any still frame is to make it look alive – tell a story or give the impression of motion or at least sound. Logos, of course, are a notoriously static thing to work with, so we’re using fire which is a thing that can never be still visually and also makes that whoosh of flames or crackles of a firepit; it’s inherently more visceral than just still rock. Though, if rock or ice is the motif, cracks can suggest nice sounds as well – maybe some wind or snow is blowing past. You can always add dynamic elements to things.

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A smoke layer. Remember how we’re adding texture using realistic / feasible sources? So now we have the rock itself, fire as an object and smoke as an atmosphere all being seen through a film / scratchy lens. These things can exist in one frame of a real photograph together, so it creates a more frictionless viewing – the human mind doesn’t have any trouble putting things together when it works on a very basic plane of knowledge about reality.

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Unfortunately smoke is too light, so we’re going to vignette the frame a bit – another faked camera lens effect. This is super simple and basically a radial gradient.

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We darken the entire thing with a black layer set to ‘soft light’ which will keep our whites and bright yellows dazzling. If you just adjust brightness you clip those values down unfairly, we’re really only trying to darken the medium shaded background area to force that popping contrast.

Then, you throw the logo back on.

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Afternoon Project: Aluminum Tube Geometry

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Based really loosely on the art of Himmeli, a Scandinavian tradition of making geometric mobiles out of straw, I wanted to make something still modernist geometric and minimalist but less patterned and more asymmetrical, like feature rocks in a zen garden or something.

A quick and easy way to build geometric shapes is using hollow aluminum or brass tubing and some armature wire. These things can be found at almost any hobby store (they’re often used for making RC airplane bodies and wings) and probably most craft stores. It’s pretty cheap, we bought 10′ of rod for a few bucks, and the spool of nearly endless wire is a few more. The kind of wire can vary quite a bit, the only thing you really need is something flexible enough that you can bend it with your hands but stiff enough that it’ll hold its own shape. You actually can use loose cable like twine or fishing line if you want, but your knots at the vertices of the shape need to be taught to hold everything together.

The basic beginning is to take the long rod and make a bunch of semi-random lengths, I happened to have a circular pipe cutter but you can use a knife or saw if you’re careful not to crush the ends of the pipe. My main strategy was to cut one main size and then build off of that based on the angles that look good – you’re essentially building a triangle and then branching off to make the 3D parts. Your shape can be as complex or simple as you want, I opted for a more minimalist thing because I was short on time and made a bunch of smaller ones rather than a single huge one. Feed the wire through the triangle and knot or solder at the end; as you add more rods just keep feeding the wire through and fastening it to the corners you desire to make the shape. Depending on the density of the junction you might have too big a knot or too many pipes vying for a dense space, so you can trim the corners of the tubes a bit to give clearance (or just tie them looser so they end away from the knot).

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When you’re happy, a quick few coats of spray paint over everything

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The next time I try this there’s going to be a bit more utility: wrapping a succulent plantpot or candle, or a shape with a thin platform on top to act as a shelf or something. Lights! Everything needs more LEDs, and you could hide the wires the same way as the structural wire. Make a Deus Ex table lamp, maybe. Not sure if it’s been tried yet, but it might actually work as a good way to make the basic structure for cosplay prop making – the aluminum is soft enough that you can bend it with a table edge and a bit of effort (depending on pipe thickness) and it’s light and strong enough to support a skin of whatever material you’re making the prop with. You might see this technique come back in some of our further prop tutorials.

Stay tuned!

Forgelock Intro Video

The goal of this site is to be a running thread that links our works together. The goal of Forgelock itself is to be broader, more multimedia, and include a lot of awesome, professional videos of building things. Part of the branding, then, is to have an equally awesome intro video for that Youtube and Twitch stuff.

Above is the first one I made up. This is 100% Blender and although not an in-depth step by step tutorial, I do want to go over the basics of what’s happening.

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This is the general view of things: we have a ground plane (or a wall, I suppose, however you think of what’s happening) and the logo object itself. You can see there’s a very slight environment texture providing some ambient light and the material nodes for the glowing orange block is basically a yellow emission and an orange velvet (which is so subtle as to be not there. I was playing with it as a method for getting the insides to flow differently than the outsides, but it didn’t really work out. As it stands, the fresnel node is almost useless since the model isn’t curvy enough to have those sorts of angles be useful in the rendering itself – mostly, it’s all just there because I never axed it).

There’s also the particles themselves for the sparks. I’m on frame 48 here, which is almost exactly halfway through. There’s a wind and vortex modifier that give it that really nice whoosh effect as they die out. The secondary purpose of this is that unless you go to really random particle start values, the symmetrical nature of the logo means the particles themselves burst out very symmetrically which looks super fake. Having the vortex swirl them and the wind going from one side to the other pushes them into a chaos that’s more realistic.

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Here’s the node setup of the particle itself (which is just an icosphere as an object) – basically we’re dividing the time of life vs age, so it’s taking how long the particle lives and how far along it is in that life and spitting out a single value. That value goes into the color ramp, so as it goes along that life it’s moving along that gradient. It starts white hot and burns through yellow into orange, much like a real spark or fire does. We can use that value for a second thing though: that age can also shift from one material to another, in this case the emission itself to a transparency, and “burn out” the spark as it travels so it’s not just dying and blinking out of existence. It’s a subtle difference, and the results of just disappearing at once aren’t bad but it’s slightly more natural to do it this way, and it’s minimal work to achieve the effect. The particles themselves just emit on the frame when the logo lands and do their simulated thing from there.

The camera is pretty basic and there’s not much to picture. I’ve got it tracking to an empty and to do the screen shake, I simply take that empty on the frames just after the logo lands on the plane and move it around a little. You can use the camera rotation itself for this effect certainly, but I like the more delicate touch a target can give and it keeps the camera key frames separate from the empty’s keyframes which is nice in a situation like this where the camera is also doing that second move at the end – you don’t need to worry about that movement interfering with any sort of rotational reset or whatever because you’re never actually rotating it in the F-curves.

At this point I was liking things but wanted to change out that wall texture. You can see the nodes for it below:

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It’s a pretty standard thing, honestly. We’ve got the texture itself in the top left, some cheap quasi-specular reflection mapping in the lower middle and we throw that texture together with a rough bump to give it a little grit displacement for the lighting to really bounce off of from the logo emission.

The real trick here is the motion blur simulating shutter speed to make all the sparks look long and more realistic to physically filming it. It’s simply “Motion Blur” in the render setting, and I used a shutter of 0.60 which is 0.6 of a frame. At 24 frames a second, that’s a 1/40 shutter time – reasonable enough to real cameras, if slightly exaggerated.

Slap some vignette on there to keep the corners dark and make the yellow pop, a very slight amount of chromatic aberration for style (they say it’s for realism, but ironically digital things use way more aberration than even cheap real lenses give – it’s a rendering style thing these days), a little bit of bloom for the light and some minor RGB curve tweaking.

Next up, a bit of fire sound effects

Humble Book Bundle: Beginner’s Guides

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A lot of the titles include “for kids” but I prefer to think of it all as “for beginners” – I still enjoy reading these sorts of things, and explaining complex topics at a simple level is an art form unto itself.

If you’re looking to learn, here’s a fantastic way to get a ton of multiformat DRM-free ebooks for just $15 (that’s barely over a dollar each!) and support the writers and charity directly.

As of this post on Feb 7, 2015 there’s 11 days left but note that this link will lead to whatever deal is being presented that week so if you’re reading this from the archive, you’ve missed out on a great thing. Go forth and learn!

Tutorial: Bleach Shirt Designs

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The meta of this project is that we get to show you the things we make in an effort to build a website about making things. It’s doubly useful content! And what is a brand without swag: logo shirts.

We’ll get into screen printing “official” and “nice looking” ones a bit later, but we had an spot of time to spare so we went with a classic of DIY home shirt designs: the bleach spray method.

The gist is simple, you make a mask of some kind to block the half-bleach, half-water spray from simply covering the entire shirt and what you’re left with when it dries is the design you cut out. Now, it should be noted immediately that bleach is a dangerous chemical and shouldn’t be ingested or sprayed about without careful consideration: it will permanently stain most fabrics (including carpets etc.) and spraying something means particles of it are going to be floating around the area, so make sure you have some space and ventilation to keep yourself from breathing it in. Further, we’re working with knives here, so blade safety is a must, of course.

The mask was simple, the logo was carefully drawn on to some thin corrugated cardboard and cut out with a pocket knife. Any ol’ blade will do, ideally sharper edges will cut into the corners a bit better – you can see there’s some less than clean edges in the photo below. They can be fixed easily, but the main cause of that is that my particular knife was a bit fat to get into the curves effectively. A hobby scalpel would have been perfect in hindsight.

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Once it’s all cut out, you can place it on your shirt directly. This is a good time to look at the size and placement of your design and try to imagine it as the finished product, a positive shape rather than the negative cutouts. I’ve put down plastic to protect what’s an already abused shop floor but essentially you just want to keep your bleach overspray in mind. My cardboard piece was large enough to cover most of my shirt but you’ll notice there are exposed areas – if these get sprayed you will see them, so you can cover it with newspaper or plastic to protect them, or be really careful with your spraying. In the end, I actually did make a mistake and there’s a slight lightness to my right shoulder. This was a $5 blank shirt I had laying around anyway so it’s none too concerning, but just know that it can happen.

Also, there’s another piece of cardboard inside the shirt to protect from the liquid going from the front and transferring to the back. That layer can also be newspapers or plastic, it just needs to make some sort of boundary between the two shirt fabrics.

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Here’s the spray when wet – don’t worry if the contrast isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, design wise – it takes about a half hour to really soak in. An interesting thing to note about this process is that while bleach tends to make things lighter (as is its original purpose), if you spray black shirts you’ll quite often get a random colour. This is because, I’m told, black shirts are quite often made from coloured shirts that didn’t sell for whatever reason, and so they take that warehouse stock and recycle it. So, when you bleach it, you’re not only lightening that black, but you’re finding that original colour underneath and revealing it.

When the desired lightness is achieved / it seems dry (and don’t leave it on too long, it can eat through thin fabrics altogether) carefully handle it to the sink and wash it out with cold water. This’ll stop the process and make sure that you’re not going to bleach your chest the first time you put it on. Hang dry.

From here on there’s no special washing instructions – it’s a regular shirt like any other. There does seem to be a slight degradation of strength in those areas, so in theory you might be shortening the shirt life span a little, but I’ve never worn a shirt so thin that holes appear so I doubt it’s much an issue.

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First Post: Flame Background

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We at Forgelock like free stuff, and so do you!

So naturally our first post is that very thing: a sweet wallpaper, and introduction to the great things we have in store for you coming up. Click the image to download full 1080 size.


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