Copyright Notice

All images, photos, and video excluding advertising and google generated content, or unless otherwise labeled, are Copyright Jephyr (Jeff Curtis). All Rights Reserved.

These images are not in the public domain. Contact me for licensing terms and pricing.

Unauthorized or unlicensed use for all commercial and personal applications is prohibited.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Blender 3D: Alarm Clock Tutorial by tutor4u

Hi again,

Everyday recently, I've been picking away at mastering Blender 3D.

I've been given a huge edge by watching YouTube tutorials...especially those by tutor4u.

This time I followed his tutorial on making/modeling an alarm clock.  (see the embedded video below)

I'm excited about the next tutorial video he has on animating this little clock....which will be my first animation in Blender 2.70!

Here's the 3D alarm clock image I just finished:

Blender 3D:  Alarm Clock - Jephyr 2014

And here's part one of the tutorial:

tutor4u's website is where he has resources for open-source software Blender, Gimp, and Inkscape

As well as code and instruction for html, css and java.


As always...thanks for stopping by!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Blender Tutorial: Jephyr Makes 3D Pool Balls

Pool Ball Tutorial Image One:  Jephyr 2014
An image from today's Blender efforts
Hello again,

2D With Toon Boom

I spent some time earlier today working in my trial copy of Toon Boom Animate Pro 3.

It's the same company that shows like Family Guy use to produce their 2D animations....although they use a MUCH more expensive version.

My 3D "Coffee-Break"

Anywho...after working with the Blender over the last week or so...I was finding my efforts in Toon Boom to be very slow going and decided to take a break and try another tutor4u YouTube - Blender tutorial.

His website is:

Man...that guy really knows how to teach!!

This time the lesson was on how to create pool balls. 

It was very interesting because he covered creating text, and Boolean intersections to set those numbers into the pool balls.

Here's a link to the video:

After a very short time I had finished the lesson and rendered some images from it.

3D Verses A Camera

As I looked at them I thought about how long it would take to set a shot up like this , and then take a high quality photograph of it.

First of all you'd have to have a great camera and lens, then you'd want access to a brand new table and balls, you'd have to know a lot about lighting, then you'd have to set up your camera looking for the best angles, and THEN try to capture a great shot.

With create perfect images of the table and balls, you can easily set up different lights, move them and your scene around to get the best lighting and angles, and you can set your image resolution very high to get a crystal clear picture....all while sitting in front of your computer with a tasty beverage on ice right beside you.


It is really is amazing technology!!


Here's another look at today's efforts:

Pool Ball Tutorial Image Two:  Jephyr 2014

Thanks as always for stopping by!

Blender 3D: Jephyr Makes Wine Glasses

Image:  Public Domain


So I've been slowed a bit by some 'puter issues....spending the last coupla days on help forums and on the phone.

Some day this era of computers will be in the same category with intrepid early automobile owners...who always needed to take tool boxes and parts with them...knowing they might have to make roadside repairs at any time along the way.

: )


My work with Blender 3D continues, this time by following a'nudder tutorial by tutor4u on how to make and render wine glasses.

This tutorial was a bit more involved and since he used an older version of Blender I needed to keep my eye on his video descriptions and annotations...but on my third try I finally had success with it.

If you are at all interested in learning 3D, I highly recommend getting Blender.  It's free to download and use (even for commercial purposes) and YouTube has a large number of beginner tutorial videos for it...that will fast-track you to mastering it! are the wine glasses I made recently:

Thanks for stopping by!

Ciao fer now

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jephyr's Blender Frenzy: "Fuzzy Stuffed Bear" Tutorial


Lost In A 3D Trance??

Back in 2005, when I was taking Maya 3D classes at MCC I remember spending days and weeks hunched over my computer...modeling and animating for hours on end.

One cool December day I remember "coming back to my senses" after I'd been working non-stop since the early afternoon.  

When I finally decided to take a break I discovered that the sun had gone down hours earlier...and by the time I finally looked up...the house was freezing cold and pitch dark except for the light from my computer screen.

Only then did I realize that I'd been sitting barefoot on a hard floor...and my feet felt like they were blocks of ice!!

: P

I'd been completely lost in what I was doing for hours!


I'm feeling that same rush now as I'm learning Blender 3D. 

(Please see my posts and Blender images from 4-15-14 and 4-21-14)


Tackling Another Blender Tutorial

Tonight I decided to tackle another tutorial video from tutor4u's YouTube channel...on how to model and render a cute little, "fuzzy stuffed bear".

This tutorial was a much bigger challenge than the other two because its 3D modeling was MUCH more involved...and it covered the use of particle emissions to simulate hair.

I was tired and almost gave up about a third of the way in...but I saw comments by others who'd finished the tutorial...and  so I decided to persevere!

I'm really glad I did!'s a link to the tutorial video and a look at the image I created while watching it tonight:

Blender "Stuffed Bear" Tutorial:  Jephyr 2014
Click this image to see a larger version of it.

Thanks as always for stopping by!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Blender Boy: Jephyr Makes A "Wood" Cup


Getting Back Into 3D With Blender

I'm having a blast working in Blender 3D. 

Blender Render - Wood Cup Tutorial - Jephyr '14
Alternative View Below
Click Images To See Them Larger

As I wrote in my last post about Blender (4-15-14), it is an awesome 3D program that is free to download and use. 

And best of all...there is no restriction on how you use whatever you create in it...and that includes commercial use!!  (which means A LOT to us starving artists :P )

And I'm discovering that Blender rivals the versions of Maya I've used in the past!

(Please see the note at the bottom of this post about 3D Printing * )


Blender Tutorials

YouTube has a LARGE community of Blender users who've uploaded excellent tutorials about various ways to use the software...from modeling to animation and even game design.

tutor4u has a number of really awesome tutorials and in my last "Blender" post I shared a cup that I'd made from following a video of his.

He goes pretty fast...but since you're able to stop and rewind and go back and forth it works really well.

He is also very precise and clear with his instructions and I really recommend him if you're interested in learning Blender.


Jephyr Makes A "Wood Cup" - Tutorial Info And Image

I just finished working through another one of tutor4u's videos...this time on how to make a wood cup. 

He also covers how to light the, lock and move a camera...add a wood image/texture to the cup...UV wrap and map it...give that texture a displacement using the node editor to give depth to the wood grain....and finally render the image you just created.

It's a really excellent video!

Here's the link if you want to watch the video on YouTube:


And here's a rendered image of the "wood" cup I just made in Blender while watching that video:

Blender Render - Wood Cup Tutorial - Jephyr '14

* 3D Printing

Recently I saw a program on TV about 3D printing.  

According to that show 3D printing has been around for 15 years but the people who are developing it now are planning to make it as widely used as cell phones or computers. 

In other words EVERY home will have a 3D printer which will be able to "print" objects that are made in software programs like Blender.

So in the future when Christmas rolls around...instead of going to a toy store to buy the kids might go on-line and find a 3D template...and then print their toy out at home.

Or instead of going to a home improvement store or an auto parts could go on line and get a 3D copy of the part you need and then print it at home.

It sounds too amazing to be real...but on the other hand...think about how the computer and cell phones etc have changed our world in just 15 to 20 years!


As always...thanks for stoppin' by!  : )

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Sad Connection To Jonestown Guyana And The Mad-Man Jim Jones

9-12-16 Update:  I was just shocked to discover Wesley's name on a list of suspected airport runway shooters reportedly compiled by the FBI.

This only makes my post about this once vibrant, outgoing, and friendly kid even more incomprehensibleand I am truly saddened to think that this his involvement with Jim Jones might have led him to murder.


In Memoriam - 4-17-14

Around the time I was in the 8th or 9th grade, I met a fellow classmate named Wesley Breidenbach.
Photo: Wesley Breidenbach

I didn't know him well, but each time I spoke to him I remember thinking that he was very easy going and always had a ready smile.
I'll never forget the day I saw him ride up to our school on a unicycle, and I went over to him and we spoke for a while.
After that year, I didn't see Wesley around anymore...and I wondered from time to time what had happened to him.

One day several years later, when I was in college, I was speaking to a sister who asked me if I remembered Wesley Breidenbach...and of course...I told her I did.

She went on to say that she'd kept in touch with his sister who said she was living in fear of her life and hiding from The People's Temple "Security Teams" who were searching for church members who'd not taken their lives as part of the mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana.
That sounded so surreal...I must admit at first it was hard to believe it...but what she said next floored me:
Wesley Breidenbach and his mom and a sister had all taken their lives there.
All these years later I still cannot comprehend how the happy go lucky young man I knew, could be led to such a place.

Wesley (left) in Jonestown page 3
Children of Peoples Temple - San
Francisco to Jonestown

 by Judy Bebelaar and Ron Cabral reports that Wesley "entered Jonestown, Guyana on April 24, 1977 and lived in Cottage 33.

He was employed there as a mechanic, worked in the radio room, was a tractor driver and boat operator, and worked for security.

Wesley was the son of Lois Fontaine Breidenbach (aka Rocky), the brother of Melanie Lee Breidenbach, and had a "partner" Avis Garcia, who all died with him in Jonestown."


If you aren't familiar with the horrifying story of Jonestown, here's a brief rundown:

(The following paragraphs are based on my recollection of events at that time...along with a more recent PBS Documentary...and information found here: )
A charismatic leader named Jim Jones had begun small churches, first in Indiana and then in California.

Jim Jones on left - Photo:  Jonestown Institute

From all reports, the church was a happy place in the beginning, but slowly members were expected to make larger and larger sacrifices for it, and give up their possessions and lives in order to serve it.

Then Jim Jones, who was initially highly regarded by people both inside and outside the church, became increasingly volatile.

A PBS documentary I saw about Jones and the church, showed him becoming slowly unhinged...and yet it seemed, members of the church continued to adore and serve him.

At the same time media scrutiny started to build against him and so he decided to move the most faithful members of his church to Guyana.

Calling their outpost, Jonestown, some 900 plus souls...including children...soon lived in a promised Utopia...but what eventually became a place of utter madness.

The people of Jonestown where expected to work long hours, as they ate and slept little...and Jim Jones would continually make long rambling speeches over loudspeakers installed through-out the camp.

Reportedly, Jones health began to fail and long term drug use (injectable valium, quaaludes, stimulants, barbiturates, and amphetamines) became evident.

He complained of sleeplessness for days in a row, and his speech became increasingly incoherent and slurred.

And then...he began to practice the mass suicides of all the members.


Troolie Cottages in Jonestown - Photo
Jonestown Institute
Apparently, Jones had created such an environment of fear and intimidation, that loyal members had begun to spy on other members and report any dissension back to Jones, who had enforcers to keep tight control over them.

Punishments and reprisals grew, and so did the fear. And though there was some resistance...apparently many of the church members...perhaps out of despair, confusion, or lack of sleep and food...continued to be loyal to Jones.

In a day before cell phones their only contact with the outside world was extremely limited, although enough negative information reached the outside world that US Congressman Leo Ryan eventually flew down to Jonestown with a small delegation to investigate.

Initially, they were well received in the camp and enough of a show was put on by Jones that Ryan made plans to leave.

But that's when things spun out of control.

Ryan and several in his party, five in all, were gunned down by Jonestown members as they boarded their plane and five others were seriously wounded.

While at the camp Jones had begun at last to carry out his plan for a mass suicide of everyone including himself.

In all, 909 Temple members, including my friend Wesley, died that day by drinking a beverage mixed with cyanide.

A very small number escaped into the jungle around the camp...but it appeared later to investigators that most accepted their fate that day by drinking the mixture and laying down beside each other to die.

Jones took his own life with a self inflicted gun shot.

Fall of 1978:  Photograph of military personnel carrying bodies of the victims of the Jonestown massacre out of a helicopter
Photo:  Jonestown Institute


It's hard not to look at so many smiling faces shown on the following site...and not wonder what happened!??

JONESTOWN MEMORIAL - The Official Memorial and Wall Founded May 1979


I wish nothing but the best for the Breidenbach family and all their loved ones!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blood Moon Over Phoenix

Blood Moon Photo and Banner:  Jephyr, 4-15-14
Blood Moon Photo and Banner:  Jephyr, 4-15-14


So...if you live in the Americas...did you happen to look up at the night sky and see the "Blood Moon" last night?

I did.

And I must say it did create in me a sense of awe and wonder!

In the creation account in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, it says:

Photo:  4-15-14, Jephyr
Looking back into my house from where  I was
taking photos of last night's "Blood Moon", Jephyr, 4-15-14

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.

And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

Last night's Blood Moon (a complete lunar eclipse as it passed through the Earth's shadow), is the first of four, called a tetrad, that will take place over the next year.
Dates of Biblical prophecy Blood Moons in 2014 and 2015

"These are the dates for the upcoming tetrad – four successive total lunar eclipses – in these years.


Total lunar eclipse: April 14-15
Total lunar eclipse: October 8


Total lunar eclipse: April 4
Total lunar eclipse: September 28

There are a total of 8 tetrads in the 21st century (2001 to 2100). But proponents of this Biblical prophecy regard the upcoming tetrad as especially significant because it coincides with two important Jewish holidays:
The April 2014 and April 2015 total lunar eclipses align with the feast of Passover. 

The October 2014 and September 2015 total lunar eclipses align with the feast of Tabernacles

Many theologians have noted that while Blood Moons have occurred very rarely through-out history, when the do many have noted that there are corresponding changes to events on earth."
Click the pic to see a larger view >
The Blood Moon from my porch, Jephyr, 4-15-14
A photo of the "Blood Moon" from my front porch.

John Hagee's Book, "Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change" points out that the discovery of America, the emergence of Israel as a nation, 9-11, and other major world events have all coincided with blood moon tetrads.
In addition, I've read through an old book called The Witness of the Stars by E. W. Bullinger where he systematically goes through the night sky astronomy, presenting charts and diagrams and referencing what we can learn from what was passed down through oral and written traditions, and comparing the names we now have for stars and constellations, with what we can know from ancient Arabic and Babylonian writings.
Bullinger makes it clear that what we see in the night sky is speaking to us...if we will only listen.
So it was with a real sense of wonder, that I spent some time looking at the Blood Moon in the sky over my home...and snapped a photo or two to share here: 
 Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blender Boy! Jephyr Gets Back Into 3D!

Thumnails from various 2005 Jephyr Maya Projects
Hello again!

The Halcyon Days of Jephyr the 3D Dood

In 2005, MCC the college I attend had greatly expanded their 3D Animation and Design classes and were offering several degree tracks in that area.
I took a number of those courses, including Maya Animation, 3 Dimensional Computer Design, 3D Modeling, Compositing, and Digital Film-Making, a class on video editing, screen-writing and storyboarding, etc.

In my last semester of those classes I created a 7 minute long video that combined what I'd learned in those classes:  my original 3D modeling and animation, with photos and live action, green screen composites of my instructors and fellow students:

You'll find other Maya images animations of mine on my video and Art 170/Maya3D pages on my website...And animations/videos on my YouTube channel:  JephyrX.

Here's a composite of some of the projects I worked on in 2005.  You can click this image to see a larger view of it:

Various 2005 Maya Projects:  Copyright 2014, Jephyr
Various 2005 Maya Projects:  Copyright 2014, Jephyr

It's All Over For Jephyr The 3D Guy!  (Or Is it??)

Sadly MCC's Maya / Digital Film-Making program was discontinued...but I'd purchased a student license and had Maya on my laptop and have always been intending to get back to it. 

BUT unfortunately had gotten so busy with other Fine Art classes and other things that with each passing year I'd open Maya less and less often, until I was literally never using it.

Then last fall the reliable computer I had the software on crashed and was unsalvageable.

Since then I spent a little time looking into installing Maya on my newer desktop.  I downloaded a free student copy that was supposed to be good for 3 years...but could not get it to install correctly...and so I just got back into other things.

I'd really begun to think that my days as a 3D guy were probably behind me.

The following video was made for my Maya Animation and Modeling classes.  I took a 3D character I'd designed and created, then rigged it (put animation controls on it), and did some animation with it...a little movement and a walk cycle....then set it in a background and put some original music I'd written and recorded under it: 


The Birth Of Blender Boy...And Other Tales!

Recently I stumbled across some beautiful images and animations made in Blender 3D...which fired up my interest in looking into it.

Blender was originally developed to be sold like any software...but then was given over to the "internet community" as an open source model (FREE to use for ANY purpose), and interested developers have been constantly updating the code to keep it up with changing technology.

Sometime around 2005 when I'd been taking all those 3D classes I'd tried Blender but it seemed like it was cumbersome and difficult to use...especially after I'd been using sleek software like Maya and Shake, and had become so familiar with their use.

But I was in for a surprise when I tried Blender again in the last few days!!

Cup created by following a YouTube Blender Tutorial - Image Copyright 2014, Jephyr!

The download and install on my computer were a BREEZE and it opens VERY quickly. 

The interface, while quite different from Maya, has definitely been improved.  So far I've found all of the "bells and whistles" I'd come to rely on in Maya.  And its functionality has been radically improved.

Following a tutorial for "beginners" on YouTube *, I had an image output in a very short time...the image of the cup posted above  ^^^.

I KNOW I still have a LONG way to go...but I'm looking forward to getting back into 3D...and eventually creating full scenes and animations again!!


Thanks as always for stopping by!!


* Blender Tutorial For Beginners: Coffee Cup - 2 Videos
Made by tutor4u - www.

These videos demonstrate how to make an image of a cup with a handle using the cycles render engine.
Blender version 2.64 was used for this tutorial.


And lastly as a reward if you've read to the bottom of this post:  :)

The eminent linguistic philosopher J. L. Austin of Oxford once gave a lecture in which he asserted that there are many languages in which a double negative makes a positive, but none in which a double positive makes a negative — to which the Columbia philosopher Sidney Morgenbesser, sitting in the audience, sarcastically replied, “Yeah right.”

Found on StumbleUpon from the following site: