For anyone interested, here's the low-down on last weeks NZ LWUG meeting for October!

ICE BREAKER:
Started out as we waited for people to Arrive with a few videos, some Invader Zim, Zoic Studios reel (http://www.zoicstudios.com/) , and some nice apocalyptic showreel by a Max user from www.3dluvr.com/themeny (in case people wanted that URL!)

MUNCHIES
Many thanks to Simon for surprising us with some Muffins and Scones! Also, thanks to Stuart for some huge muffins as well...

THE COMPETITION:
Sadly, well, a little less entusiastic amount of entries this time around! I'm sure that there was a lot more interest shown when it was announced, but with only **2** entries, and 2 that didn't get entered (sadly cause they looked great), I was in two minds whether to give the contest another month.

However I thought it would have been unfair on those who did enter, so we did a show of hands for the images... Both surprisingly targetting the classic Kiwi icon, the 'Buzzy Bee'.

The Winner was Simon with 'Been BuzZy' - Winning by a mere one hand more then Petrik's 'Buzzula'! :-) However I must say that both Simon and Petrik's entries were great! Thanks guys, and congrats!!

***SHOW AND TELL***

KEV SHOWS OFF (AGAIN! - JEESH!)
I followed that little contest up with my personal 'Super hero entry' (which obviously I couldn't enter anyway since I was the prizegiver!).

The entry was 'Captain Pukeko' - You can check it out right here on Newtek Forums - http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthre...threadid=12870

I discussed the progress I made (via the revisions of the model I'd saved) and how I'd used background reference (the cartoon 'Batman' - The image can be sourced from ww.fineart.sk - But the site seems to be down for maintanence at the moment)

Simon asked how I managed to get the belt to contour the body, so I quickly showed a fast way to use the subd model, freezing and some smoothshifting to make the belt.

MORE SUPERHEROS AND CARTOONY STUFF:
Dave was next up, showing us a couple of things he'd worked on for the Competition, but never finished. Included was his 'Paua-man' character, which made great use of the Interference shader to produce the opalescant effect of the paua shell... Nice work, Dave!

Dave also showed us some environment work and character modelling (which was very cute BTW!) for a short project he'd planned on creating. It looked very cool, lets hope he'll continue to work on it and show us it somewhere in the future!

LOGANS RUN:
Next up was Logan, with a pile of cool stuff as usual! Starting out with an awesome 'Watties Tomato Sauce' Superhero, then going into a very photoreal model of his car (Toyota Priva? I think I got that right).

Logan also explained a very cool technique he used with gradients and noise maps to produce a very nice metal-flecked paint effect. Simple idea, and the effect was very effective!

Thanks for sharing the tip!

He also showed a short showreel he'd been constructing from his previous projects, which looked quite promising and professional!

PLUGIN-GURU AHOY!
Jarno had bought along a couple of personal Plugin projects that were pretty outstanding!

Sticky was a motion modifier that would 'stick' an object to the surface of another as it moved around - Wow! Now that IS a good idea! You could control how it 'stuck' through the graph editor. Ideal for sliding things along a surface like slugs, or maybe sticking boats to oceans, or car wheels to terrain!

His other nifty plugin sent F9 rendered output to an openGL viewport! And complete with a multiple image slider, and time stamps provided a very impressive new way of keeping test renders and the like on-screen in the OpenGL view too! It even had a funky sliding bar that let you scroll through the images, with previous and last images shrinking away as the current one came into view, similiar to the effect you see in the Macintosh
OSX Dock. Wow.

Anyone wondering what this guy's been doing with all this programming talent, just check out his awesome hard work on www.tufflittleunit.com

THANKS
Many, many thanks to everyone who's been participating in the meetings with animations, questions, objects, plugins and other material. Its greatly appreciated and really helps make meetings that much more interesting!

*** DEMOS ***
PLUGINS - LOVELY!
Yes, a batch of new and really cool plugins I thought was time to start demoing again - For my first act, I decided to start out with a couple of my own little creations:

Interface Builder
A set of tools designed to allow the 'breaking and rebuilding' of LightWave interface menus. The concept is to allow the core tab toolbars to be 'individual' and be able to import them one by one into an existing interface... You can read more about this tool right here, and why its a good idea!

http://www.learnlightwave.com/interface_builder.htm

LCSM
Lean Clean Scene Machine is designed as more of a production tool for Studios, or where you may have work being done by a lot of people. Its purpose is to simply strip and clean up some small errors in scene files, as well as remove any non-required plugins and information from a scene file.

It also optimises scene for quick 'animatic' renders (ie. test - Low quality, no effects, for checking), production (Screamernet - removing all non-render required plugins (some of which will actually cause LWSN to crash!)) and a 'fastdesktop' which sets up scenes to load and work quickly in the Layout interface...

This was major beta software, and as Jarno and a few others pointed out, its missing a lot of features that need to be added to pick up issues on pfx, path names that are broken, etc.

BANZAI!
Again, the Japanese prove that they produce some really sexy plugins!

I demoed a rather 'bad' graveyard project by modelling some simple headstones. The main issue here was they were simple - Sharp edges, and very CG looking.

TB_EDGE
A shader solution, I showed this very cool little tool and how it magically 'shaded' in small beveled edges, even on sharp geometry! Very nice, and it makes those CG images look so much more realistic with tiny highlights on edges, or smooth curved corners where there was just a sharp point before!

TB_FAKESKIN
Another shader that very Quickyly produces a somewhat semi-realistic skin effect! People often talk about creating that 'realistic skin' using translucency, subsurface scattering and other convoluted processes! This shader just 'did it' and by golly, if it didn't do a nice job straight off with its own default values! Nice stuff!

AND THE END
And again it was over - There's been some tooing and froing on ideas for the next LWUG competition - One more 'Class on Demand' tape to go` (covering surfacing and texturing in more depth, as well as volumetric lights and more!), and then I have some other awesome prizes being kindly donated that I won't reveal just yet until the next Competition is closer!

Thanks to the many folks who came for sharing their time, tips, work and general friendly selves!

Til next month - Keep your eyes peeled for the next competition which I'll post out details on this weekend sometime...

Cheers!

Kev.