Command & Conquer Inspired Tesla Tower

Command & Conquer Inspired Tesla Tower Prototype

Command & Conquer Inspired Tesla Tower

Created in Blender & Textured in Quixel

Today I would like to share what I have created using Blender3D and the Quixel texturing suite. Using just default materials from the Quixel suite, and lots of modelling in Blender I created what I envision was an early Tesla Tower prototype in the C&C or Command & Conquer universe. I hope you like it, and always please comment if you like it. It might not be perfect, but I am always trying to improve.

My trade is computer networking so doing 3D is not my primary job. With that said if your very impressed with my work and want to commission me I must decline in advance as far as the date of this post is concerned.

C&C Inspired Tesla Tower
by David Prentice
on Sketchfab

Going a little further into how I developed this object I’ll show you the low and the high poly from Blender3D.

Here is the low poly:

lowpoly

Here is the high poly:

highpoly

The reason its colored all crazy is because I created a color ID map that I baked out for use with the Quixel software in order to apply the materials properly. This is best done in Blender3D using the Blender Internal render engine rather than cycles due to the simplistic nature of the Blender Render, and since your only using the internal to create 3 maps (normal, ao, and id) you don’t need what cycles offers :).

Space Marine Tools

Space Marine Tools

These files were very hard to find considering they were all originally hosted on Rapidshare, but they are long but gone. So today is your lucky day I have the tools here to download.

If you’re not sure what these tools included are well. They allow you to extract models and textures from the Warhammer 40k Space Marine game. Includes the 3DS Max script for importing. Readme files are included.

These tools are the same tools as seen from this link.

Download Space Marine Tools


Santos Tools 2

Santos Tools 2 V0.6.0.0

I had trouble finding this so I made a mirror here on my site.

“Santos Tools 2 is a collection of tools for Dawn of War 2. It’s main purpose is to allow editing existing models and to create new ones. Tools provide import and export scripts for 3D Studio MAX, as well as separate application called Model Editor for editing models and their accompanying files.”

Download Santos Tools


Switching to Blender 3D

Switching to Blender 3D

Blender Logo

So it is no surprise that you might of heard of Blender 3D from a long time ago. Well if your like me you tried it a few years ago and realized the interface, and everything about it was difficult or un-orthodoxe. All that actually changed in about 2012-2013.

I’m am not 100% sure that my time estimation is correct but several years ago development on Blender 3D was ramped up. Many things changed the UI, the tools, a new render engine, everything is, and has improved.

Now if you use Blender 3D you are greeted with a much less intimidating interface. Using it now I don’t think I’ll ever honestly be able to look at Cinema4D the same again.

Everything from 3D modelling, texturing, and UV Unwrapping is in fact easier than it ever was in Cinema4D. Thinking back I can’t really think of anything Cinema4D did better besides have a simpler interface, and smaller learning curve than Maya/Max.  Other than that simple fact I probably will have little use for the software now.

If you look up historical posts related to Blender3D you will find that many people say the program is hard to use, and has a steep learning curve which way back when it did. Now not so much.

Now its more about learning the hot keys to increase your efficiency with the program as every command can be selected from a menu or searched using the search command. If you want speed though you will know the hotkeys which are pretty intuitive.

To open search you press Spacebar. Simple enough how about save? CTRL + S just as you expected. How about extrude? – You press E. How about extruding along several face normals? You press ALT + E like “Alternative Extrude”. Also often times the hotkeys will display if you highlight the commands. The best way to learn the hotkeys in my experience though as been through watching tutorials.

You won’t LEARN the hotkeys by just watching tutorials forever eventually you need to pause the video, and practise those commands, and they will stick to your memory. In Cinema4D I don’t think I can tell you a single command I remember.

TL;DR: I decided to give Blender 3D another look to see if it changed, and it did. I decided to give up Cinema4D and become a dedicated Blender user.

Note: I don’t do 3D work for a living.

Don’t buy an HDMI cable in a physical store

Don’t buy an HDMI cable in a physical store

HDMI Cable

You have probably wondered before if that $12.99 eight foot HDMI cable your looking at in the store is worth it. Well guess what almost certainly without a doubt it is not. With the advent of the internet it is really easy to find HDMI cables for almost nothing.

Take for example this 50 Foot HDMI Cable that I bought recently that sold for $23.99. A 50 foot cable in a physical store like Walmart usually will run you well over $50+.

Yes the company you buy your cable from does matter when buying online. Generally in stores like Walmart they stock brands that don’t suck so you don’t have to worry but that is no reason for you to pay for your ignorance.

If price is not a big deal for you than think about this!

  • Ethernet over HDMI (Good luck finding this in Walmart)
  • HDMI 1.4 (In my experience the only way I can tell if a cable can do 1.4 is via an item description online not an in store box).
  • Generally anything over 50 feet is not sold in store (From experience).

With the advent of Ethernet over HDMI this means way less clutter. So if you want an advanced cable you will WANT to buy it online. Amazon pretty much is the go to website for things like this. Especially if you’re an Amazon Prime member you will want to take advantage of the 2 day shipping.

If you are still having doubts about buying cables online versus in store than go out, go to the store whichever it may be, and look at the cables prices. Compare those prices to the ones online and be amazed as you realize the prices online even with shipping cost beat the store prices.

We hope you enjoyed this MD5Live.COM article!

Should I use a VPN to download torrents?

Should I use a VPN to download torrents?

vpn
Random image I found on Google Image search, but it explains what a VPN is very clearly.

 

VPN software is all over the internet, but so are the threats, and the answer to the main question in short is YES you should use a VPN.

A VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and pretty much what their designed for is privacy, and security. If your wanting to download something that the government or another agency might not like you downloading you can use a VPN.

The way VPN works is simple. You usually download a software from a 3rd Party or use Windows built in connection tools. You login using your credentials and bam your VPN is set-up. Now your internet connection is ROUTED through the server your connected to. So all of your actions are personally hidden through what you are connected to.

This is useful for many reasons, but the main is privacy and security. Most people simple just feel like big brother is always watching them. Well he might, but who is always watching you is your ISP which in 9/10 cases in the United States will probably be Comcast (Come on Google Fiber!).

Yes if your downloading stuff you should not and Comcast catches you or your ISP than they will likely send you a warning. If you continue they will shut you down. Generally cases of online theft are not taken to court unless a company wants to make a public example of them.

Though it was recently proven that you can not take someone to court, and prove them guilty based on an IP address alone.

So if you want to start using an VPN service now (which is smart) I can recommend one.

pia

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/

Yup those guys are the best in the game, and no one can or should try to tell you otherwise. They don’t log your traffic which is GOOD.

Anyway this concludes the article about VPN’s  I hope you enjoyed it and as always link back to us at http://www.prenticenetwork.com/

Software for generating normal maps

Software for generating normal maps

software

There are lots of software for generating normal maps, and various other maps needed or wanted so that you can apply them to your models and achieve better visual results.

The problem is that some work better than others, and some cost money while others are free.

Today I’ll be going over a list of a few different software packages I’ve found that seem to be popular, and work well for the intended purposes.

xNormal

This is a free software package that you can use to create normal maps. It is regularly updated, and is used by lots of professionals.

nCombine

This is a neat piece of free software that you can use to combine normal maps. I could see this being very handy.

Nvidia Normal Map Creator

I’ve used this tool before and it seems pretty good. I’ve never done anything extensive with it though. It is free in any case.

ssBumpGenerator (Source Engine Only)

This is a free software for creating bump maps in the source engine. (Valve likes to think their special).

NormalMapOnline (Super Cool)

This is one of my favorites. This is a totally free online map generator. It can generate four different types of maps, but sadly it cannot generate maps from photos. The author says he is pretty busy and more donations would help him spend more time to work on it. Otherwise you got to use your own heightmap.

nJob

This site has some errors on it, but this is a free software suite for creating various maps.

MapZoneEditor

This is an older piece of software that was created by allegorithmic the guys behind Substance Designer/Painter. It is free software, and it really powerful so it might be worth a look. Note though it is old, and not really support much anymore.

SmartNormal (Online)

This is another online normal map generation tool. This one unlike the other lets you use photos, but as far as I can tell it JUST makes normal maps.

nDo (Not nDo2)

nDo is a powerful normal map creation script for Photoshop.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/269450/

Out of everything I’ve mentioned the one program I recommend. Which is also the one program I happened to pay for, and is not free, but is pretty cheap is MindTex. It is a very cheap successor (i’d say) to crazybump.

I hope you guys enjoyed my list, and I hope you helped at least one of you guys out. As always please link back to us at http://www.dengan.net/ It helps.

PCI WiFi Adapter VS USB WiFI Adapter

PCI WiFi Adapter VS USB WiFI Adapter

pci-wifi adapter
Image of a PCI-E WiFi adapter card.

 

Likely you want to enable WiFi access on your desktop or laptop without wireless adapter to eliminate the need for so many cords. Well it is good your here to learn the difference.

PCI WiFi Adapter

I’d like to start this one off by saying if your getting a wireless adapter for your laptop stop reading and just buy a USB dongle you can’t add PCI devices to a laptop.

If your wanting to add wireless to a desktop though that is a different story. PCI devices are much faster than USB devices, and can achieve much greater speeds, and allow for more stable connections. Their raw power, and ability to transfer data is much higher than a USB dongle.

While I say PCI don’t worry if all you have are PCI-E slots most if not all WiFi adapters have this port option available.

Usually these kind of adapters are best if you do a lot of bandwidth intensive task, and game a lot. Their price is not bad either considering they range from $10~$100 dollars. The more you pay the better off you are though. At $10 your probably looking at B/G wireless adapters which will max out at 54mbps which for more people is good enough, and perfectly fine for gaming or YouTube. If you need more though be ready to pay more.

Doing a quick Amazon search you can see the prices aren’t bad. PCI devices are really easy to install too. All you got to do is open the side of your computer see which slot it fits, and than identify that slot if it exist on your motherboard. These days they are usually marked on the board as well in white text. You can also look online using Google image search.

USB WiFi Adapter (Dongle)

Depending on who you go with, and what speeds your looking for these range from just a few bucks to $40+ according to Amazon. The main thing with USB Wifi Adapters is that they are convenient, pretty fast, and very portable. If your laptop’s WiFi adapter burns out a cheap USB Wifi Adapter is the best option rather than getting it repaired.

USB Adapters are great for space too. Usually people who are working on small projects with Raspberry Pi devices use these to give their devices WiFi capability.

The downside to USB WiFi adapters are signal range, and the fact they usually max out at 300mbps on the market. Anything above 300mbps starts to get expensive.

Conclusion

If your looking for convenience, or need a laptop WiFi replacement than get a USB WiFi adapter. If your using a desktop than I would recommend a PCI or PCI-E WiFi adapter card which are relativity cheap, and easy to install.

Don’t forget to bookmark us, and come back and visit at http://www.prenticenetwork.com/

If you feel like supporting us, and want one of these devices you can also follow one of the two below links for either one of the above devices.

PCI/PCI-E WiFi Adapter

USB WiFi Adapter

Pagerank – Is Google done with it?

Pagerank – Is Google done with it?

google-pagerank
Looks like PageRank will be no more!

 

Say goodbye to Pagerank as Google has stated they will likely never update it again. Does not mean it won’t exist it just won’t be updated again.

The last Google Toolbar update rolled out on December 2013, and might be the last one according to John Mueller who stated it on a recent Google Plus Hangouts chat.

The main issue was someone asked a question who could not understand why so many spammy sites selling PR6 back-links had not been dealt with despite having been reported to Google multiple times.

 Here is what John Mueller said:

“There are a few things where we do take action that you might not see directly. Toolbar PageRank is something that we have not updated for about a year now, and we’re probably not going to be updating it going forward… we have a lot of way to recognize these problematic links, and the sites selling those links, that essentially blocks the PageRank from passing through those sites.”

Here is the video chat of the people Participating in the hangouts conversation.

Mr. Mueller in the video mentioned that he would go through an individual’s list of spammy sites to see if he can find anything that Google’s algorithms aren’t picking up on.

Mr. Mueller talked about two very interesting points in the above video. The first being that he said PageRank will (probably) not be updated going forward, and the second major point was that Google has measures in place to stop do-follow backlinks from passing PageRank if they are on a site that Google find to be highly spammy.

With all this information out hopefully people stop buying back links based on PageRank considering it won’t make a difference if you are on a high PageRank site or not.

Make sure to come back for more stories and information at http://www.prenticenetwork.com/

A full list of free textures websites

A full list of free textures websites

free textures
Random free texture from Google images.

 

So your looking for free textures huh? Well good job you’ve come to the right blog on the right post! Here below is a list of all the best free texture websites. Some might require registration, but only to prevent spam. These sites are listed in random order, and the order on this list does not relate to their quality or importance.

Textures.forrest.cz

Texture.forrest.cz is a small simple website with some great free textures that you can download right away without registration.

All-free-download.com

This site has more than just simple textures, and does not require registration. The section you will likely want to visit if your here for textures to use for a 3D environment is the free vector texture page.

Plaintextures.com

Plantextures.com is pretty neat. It does require registration which comes in a the form of a free account or a premium account. The free account can download 10 textures per day, and 1 brush per day. The premium accounts don’t cost a lot, but with so much free on the internet I wouldn’t bother with anything above the free account.

Freetextures.org

For the most part this website has some broken links, and seems not that well maintained or designed, but they do have plenty of free textures for the taking.

Archivetextures.net

This is a great website with tons of free textures. You can find just about everything on their site. I highly recommend them!

Opengameart.org

I frequent this website as it always has something cool, and amazing I can re-use for my own purposes. I highly recommend OGA and suggest you use them.

Texturemate.com

Texturemate is another great free site. It is a tad bit on the slow side for me, but that might just be because it’s popular and serving so many request. You don’t need an account, and the images are presented in full size.

Freepik.com

I’m surprised that I have never heard of this site before until just recently. They have TONS of free textures, vectors, and more. I 100% recommend freepik to everyone.

Brusheezy.com

This is a great site. It offers the ability to download for free, or get a paid membership to download premium textures. I myself though have not found myself in a position where I seen something premium on their site that I just “must have”. I recommend these guys their good, and not crazy about charging.

Freestocktextures.com

A website which has a nice handful of free textures. I don’t see any paid options on the site which I suppose is a good thing, and registration is not required which is great also.

Lostandtaken.com

This is a blog for a design artist who is nice enough to give lots of very high quality textures away for free without any registration required what so ever… amazing!

Allcgtextures.com

I don’t think this site has been updated since 2012, but all the links work, and it has lots of free quality textures you can download without registration.

Textureking.com

This is a free site that has tons of free quality textures for free. Registration is not even an option on this site! So go grab some textures the ones I looked at where great so I’m sure any artist will find something they can use.

Mayang.com

This highly underrated website has over 4,000 free textures! You can only download 20 textures per day per IP address. If you want to download more textures than you can buy the packs for a very affordable price.

CGTextures.com

If your looking for a list of great texture websites you’ve probably been to CGTextures before, but still they are a great website and deserve to be included on this list.

They have over 100,000 textures and you CAN register with a free account and download a nice handful of free textures per day. Unlike other sites instead of being limited by the amount of downloads you got left CGTextures does it by bandwidth limits which I think is much better.

Many popular companies, and games have been made using textures from this site. Killzone 2 had most of it’s in game object textured using CGTextures.

Conclusion

Well I really hope you guys liked this list, and enjoy using it to find textures for your projects. I myself will likely refer to my own post to find some textures (I’m terrible with bookmarks).

Anyway I’d really appreciate it if you guys told your friends and what not about this post it really helps when people spread the word!

http://www.dengan.net/

Casually exploring all aspects of the world, and web inside and out.

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