Nevercenter Development Update

posted an update at the Nevercenter forum today that clears up the future of Silo. There has been lots of negativity on the forum in recent months and I'm sure there will be in the future, at least until there is a new update for Silo. I have copied the update from the forum and included it here:

Hey guys,

Hmm, looks like some communication from me is in order again, sorry if some of you have felt we've been out of touch by delegating our communication duties to David. I think probably the main point I should make to those of you who are interested is that Silo is very much alive, though our communication and development patterns are different than they were a few years ago, and we should probably realign expectations for forum users now that our patterns are decidedly different.

In the past we've aimed for continual Silo development dialog with users, which had its benefits and drawbacks to us as developers, and sometimes we've been good at keeping that up and sometimes we've been bad at it. It can be a lot of work to pacify the vocal minority of Silo users who get worked up about certain things and start worrying that the company doesn't value its users or is dying (neither is true, we love all our users and the company is doing great :]). There have also been both benefits and drawbacks to having everyone know what was coming in the next update to Silo. Now instead of saying "ok, we're going to be really good at posting development updates every week", we'll say instead that sometimes we probably will and sometimes we probably won't.

As a company, Nevercenter continues to grow and develop into the boutique software company we dreamed of from the beginning - a place where we can follow our many interests and allow all of our projects to cross-pollinate and make each other stronger. (For example, we're developing a game engine which relates heavily to Silo and has helped us understand what some of you game artists have been saying all along :]). As we embrace this approach, it means that we no longer devote all our time and energy to the development of Silo -- and we feel like Silo has reached a point of maturity where it doesn't need that. We still have a plan for Silo, and it is still under active development, but you'll probably see that development happen in shorter bursts at key times.

So if you enjoy using Silo, use it and discuss techniques and make suggestions to us and we'll be watching and contributing where we can. There will likely be times when we're very actively involved and releasing quick updates, and times when we're not. Promised updates will come out. Sometimes we'll be letting on what we're working on and sometimes we won't until we're ready to release it. We do read your suggestions and comments, especially the bug reports.

As for me, I'm quite literally off to go do some modeling with Silo, I hope you'll do the same!


The full thread can be found here


Orcs ahoy! More Warhammer than Lord of the rings.

We just had a red hot day here in the Northwest of England. In fact, too humid for my liking. Time to update a few of my galleries tonight and here's some Orc models I've been messing with:

Check out my gallery pages as I've been updating Sketches, Cartoons and toys and 3D characters.


Customise Custom`I`vor and win a DVD.

Not so much a collaboration but a competition! The prize is tiny but the winner will have the adoration of millions!


A copy of Visual Story telling with Ian McCaig from Gnomon.



Just Custom`I`vor!!!!!

1. Download the base mesh

2. Download the .PSD template

3. Download the frame for your final entry

So, download the Ivor model, download his UV template. Mess him up however you like and create a whole new outfit and texture map for him. Look to the Vinyl toy world for inspiration folks! Give him equipment if needed. Render him out however you like and slip him into the little Custom`Ivor picture frame provided.

Winner will be chosen in two weeks by Joshua Southern aged 5 + 1/2 So make it appealing to him folks!

The competition is running from the Nevercenter forum. Post your finals there.

Here's an example you may have seen me doing this week:

Don't want to use Silo? Ok...go to NURBS AND POLYS and Jason will be running the same competition, different prize and you can use any Software you like over there.

Have fun and good luck messing up a Custom`I`vor!


Custom`I`vor - A virtual vinyl buddy!

Do you want to use some Virtual Vinyl? Want to try out your graphics on a virtual toy before getting the brushes out?

Meet Custom`I`vor the Virtual Toy customizers new best friend!

Customer`I`vor is a small 3D model and a layered photoshop texture template availalble soon from SouthernGFX.

And the great news? You will even have a template that can be printed out which lets you use any medium, scan it back in and apply that to your Custom`I`vor

Updates will be posted to my Blog

Custom`I`vor is in development and any feedback would be a big help!!!!!



Ivor lost some of his cuteness in translation

I'm quite happy with the first set of 3D tests for Ivor but the feedback from a few guys was that the model is a little different than the concept and that it had lost some of its cuteness. I went back into Silo and bulked up the belly area, increased the size of his hands and repostitioned his arms. Added his ears back as I thought he lacked something without them and lowered his eyes giving him a bigger forehead (ie. younger).

I am happy enough with the progress so far, so much so that I am looking at having him 3D printed if costs aren't too high. I would like to get about 4 main characters done in concept and 3D before commiting to print I think.

I wanted to hold off with doing any real sculpting until I was happy with the 3D concept but I ended up making a start this morning. Out came the pasta maker and off I went with my black sculpey Premo.

A few more concepts for the next toy.


Ivor gets his first appearance in 3D

I took the Ivor concept one stage further today and modeled him in Silo. I asked a buddy (Thanks Wayne!) to run me off a couple of renders this evening and they aren't looking too bad so far. I'm not sure where to go with this idea now. I've started creating Ivor in Sculpey but as I was un-wrappping the first block I began thinking about getting Ivor 3D Printed. Need some sleep to think about this one.


Some studio shots and a look at some of my books

I really love snooping through other artists studios and work rooms. It is the first thing I look for in a new art book and it's often the best thing on a new training DVD. With that in mind and on the request of a couple of twitterers I'm reposting shots of my shit-pit studio. I have always had a work room of one type or another. Sometimes a bedroom, sometimes a shed. This one is a custom built studio made by converting a double garage and I will have to be carried out of here in a large wooden box before I relinquish the helm! If you have a special art place in your life you will know what I mean.

Note: These are quite big images compared to my normal posting size so they may take a second or two to load.

No one cleans it but me (not often as you may know from my blogs) and the kids have to ask for a pass to even look in here (thats a lie but it would be great wouldn't it!). I keep it in such a way that I can move desks and stands around to suit whatever project I have on the go. The PC/Mac table stays pretty much the same and is a great setup when I bring 3D artists here to train. The other areas of the studio are alwasy in flux. Sometimes covered over if I'm spraying. Sometimes just a table in the middle if I'm scultping clay or messing with wax. A 20ft wall is dedicated to DVD's and books and I love my little library. I keep lots more books in the house but the studio is filled with inspirational stuff in the main.

If you've got any snaps of your work space please share them in the comments. `I've shown you mine...` as they say on Carry On films!


Ivor the Diver concept and color tests

A little more on Ivor today.


Needed a toy template

Having finished a few more sketches I went looking for some templates to use to start fleshing out the `Ivor` design a little more. I couldn't find anything that quite met my requirements so I sketched out a triple set of blanks and scanned them into photoshop. Using vector magic I cleaned them up and converted them to .EPS files. The lines are nice and crisp now and are fine when printed out at A4.

Here are the files if anyone wants a look or maybe even to mess with them on your own projects.

Small triple blank jpg
Large triple blank jpg
Vector triple blank eps (compressed as a rar. Get winrar if you can't open it.)

Onward and upwards. Ivor-the-Diver here we come.


Sculpey order and some more concepts

I ordered my Sculpey PREMO from the amazing Dougarts on Ebay (Ordered Friday, it arrived Saturday am. Cool!). If you are in the UK and need modeling supplies fast and fairly cheap he seems to be the man! So I am now just waiting for some 1lb blocks of super sculpey and I'm ready to start some serious toy modeling. I'll be sketching all weekend and see if I can lock down an idea or two so I can have a go with the new modeling supplies.

I carried on playing with the underwater theme and I've started to refine one or two characters. I really like my little `Ivor-the-Diver` and `Ocho` so far. I think I will ink one or two images of these characters and then convert them to vector line art to see how they turn out. That way I can have a go at several color variations in photoshop. Ivor seems to be shaping up as my lead creation so I think I'll start with him. I'm trying not to look at too many other peoples toys as I don't want to be influenced too much, however, I need to research some eyes. I can't decided how I want Ivors eye to look like through his mask.


Diving into toys for a while

Although I've been sculpting for years I've never designed and made any toys myself. I've done plenty of toy concepts and I've modelled a fair few in 3D for a variety of clients. I've been talking to a few amazing toy-dude (you know who you are!!) and I have ordered a shed load of sculpey, premo sculpey and miliput and I'm going to get sketching for a few days. I want to design a range of little diving characters that I've had in the back of my mind for ages.

I was thinking of a couple of divers (boy and girl perhaps), a couple of hero sea creatures, maybe a Sperm Whale and a Shark and then a plethora of smaller characters like clown fish, a turtle, a baracuda etc.

I made a start tonight to get my juices flowing and I'm more than open to suggestions and critisism. It's nothing more than a fun project and one where I can learn a little about getting into toy design. It seems i've picked up lots of new followers this week and I'm hoping theres some toy-designer-gurus in there to help me out.

Comments, hints, tips, crits and color help more than welcome.


Fuse Wax by Willow products

I've been talking to a few artists this week about using `Fuse` Wax for sculpting and I thought I'd re-post the video that Willow products made to demonstate the basic properties of the wax. I'm a long time sculpey user but last year I fell in love with this wax. I tried about 5 or 6 different type of wax from very soft almost playdoh like Wax to the other end of the scale with carving waxes. Fuse was the best imho.

Heres the demo video to give you an idea of why I like it so much.


Additions to my Library for June 2009

Lot of new books on my shelves in the past few weeks. Parlty due to my birthday on the 11th and partly due to the fact that when I'm on holiday I spend far too much time browsing round old book shops and on amazon or Ebay. I just finished Guernica by Dave Boling which is an interesting little novel about a Basque town that was wiped out by the German just before WW2.

Other titles of interest I've aquired this month:

From Amazon:
From Ebay:
From Balistic:
and loads more from the discount book shops I've trawled though. So lots to read and look at in the next few weeks.


June and no art in site!

I’m going to have to start this post off with a MASSIVE rant at O2. I’m not an early adopter by nature but I was quick off the mark with my Iphone first gen. I lost it on a Bus in Barcelona. I `amazingly` had it insured so got another in three days and a week later promptly upgraded to the Iphone 3G and have had a fantastic year with it (11 months). So, I wait with baited breath about how to upgrade to the new Iphone 3GS on the 19th of June and I am now faced with having to buy out my contract to the tune of £180+ and then buy the Iphone for £180 and then increase my monthly contract fee as well. What is going on! They clearly do not want current Iphone users to have the new unit. Maybe because we got a discount on our 3G units but believe me this has knocked my confidence so much I will not now get one until the Iphone 4.0 which will no doubt be June 19th 2010. The fact that there is no form factor change either (not even an S on the back I read) means I wouldn't really want the 3GS anyway (Sounds like a bitter man taklking here right!!!). All the real goodies are in the 3.0 update not the new hardware and yes, faster would be good but I care not one fig about the camera. Enough said.

My new Sanyo Xacti performed well in Egypt this month. I shot about 3 gig of High Def video underwater including three wrecks which is a new thing for me only having dived reefs before this. I am spending the month do some editing and improving my shooting skills. It turns out I have a really bad habit of swinging the camera around too much and it makes the viewer sick. I’ve always been more of a 2D artist than a camera operator. Actually, I’m rubbish at photography and videography it seems but hey, you can’t have it all. I do think I need to look into a decent lighting rig before entering the water with the Xacti again. Whilst the footage was ok there is a definite loss of color when you go deeper than 10 meters.

So I’ve been back from Egypt for a week and I have not managed to draw or model a single thing. As I said in my Blog update about creative highs and lows I don’t do that much work in the summer months. I do think that a break from art re-charges my creative batteries and I leap back into projects with renewed vigour after the summer. I have 6 week now before I leave on my Med cruise and I’m going to focus on losing weight and getting in shape and spending a great deal of time with the kids and Pam. I’ll get some drawing and modeling done this month but it will be the bare minimum I think.

Tweet deck for the Iphone came out today. If you haven’t seen it go grab it. And later this evening the Iphone 3.0 software update is due to be released. At least that will make up for my lack of a new 3GS! O2 you stink!