Welcome, IdeaPerson.

Ideamen Halloween goodies!

Soooo…  Way back in 2008, I created an Ideamen themed pumpkin carving template, and promptly forgot to give it to anyone.  I found it after recovering my dinosaur computer, and finally tweaked it for release to the public.  So here it is!  A JPEG for everyone HERE, and a PSD for anyone who wants to mess with it HERE.  I actually carved this once way back when, and I may do it again this year.  Send us pics if you choose to do it on your pumpkins this Halloween!

An Ideamen Themed Pumpkin

A day in the life

Waal, actually a few weeks.   We made a video with the footage we captured in the weeks before the CD release tour through the tour itself.  Here ’tis!

In other news, we finally got the Factory shirts and posters.  Those of you who ordered them will be getting them soon!  Thanks for waiting!  They look really nice.

We’re shipping!

The first 50 orders have been mailed out, and the rest are getting processed tomorrow.  If we get lucky, all of them will arrive at the right places in one piece.  Dang we had to mail out 121 packages.  I mean…  thank you for your amazing support!  In the mean time, Mark and Dave are hammering out a video update to bring you all up to speed on how the campaign went, and what we plan on doing next.  What are we going to do next…

The Campaign Is Concluded!

Hello from Ideamen!  Thanks to everyone who participated in our Pre-Order / Tour Vehicle Crowdfunding Campaign!  You all rock and we love you all for supporting us no matter how stupid we are!  The campaign raised a gross total of $8205!  Of course there were expenses and we’ll do a more detailed post about that later, but on the whole it was a success.  We had a successful CD release tour and are back home figuring out how to ship out your orders.  What’s to figure out you ask?  Waaaal we were in a bit of a time/cash crunch before the tour and ordered a few things a little too late.  Fortunately the Progress CD’s are arriving today so the only things missing are the Full Color Factory Shirts and the Factory Posters.  We will be shipping out all orders in the coming days, and will ship the missing items separately when they arrive.  Thanks again to everyone and we’ll see you again soon on the road!

We’re Going On Tour!

Yeps, the CD release tour is upon us!  Check us out on the road!

Emerson Theater – Indianapolis, IN – 08-23-2017

Agora Theater – Cleveland, OH – 08-24-2017

Bogart’s – Cincinatti, OH – 08-25-2017

The Token Lounge – Westland, MI – 08-26-2017

Reggies Music Joint – Chicago, IL – 08-23-2017


It’s almost time!

So, just updated the website with a new look and feel.  Why?  New album!  Ideamens’ new album “Trained When We’re Young” will be releasing soon, and we’re gearing up for a spiffy pre-order campaign that will also be a fundraiser to help us get a touring vehicle.  We’re still dealing with some back end stuff and prepping content to make it interesting, but the web theme has been sitting waiting to go live, and now seemed like a good time. 

Please try your best to break the site and tell us if there’s any problems that we should fix before we launch the campaign.  As usual we do all this stuff ourselves and occasionally some things slip under the radar.  Thank you all for your patience, and looking forward to hearing from you all about our new album!

ArtWork with us! Render your very own Gear Head Kid in Pov-Ray

Creating artwork is fun.  Choosing a medium is delightful.  It is primarily based on what you are capable of doing, what you know, what you are interested in learning, what you are interested in sharing.  I would like to share with you some of the doing, knowing and learning involved in the Ideamen art.  I bumped into a program – Pov-Ray – a long while back, downloaded it, stared at the screen, tried to read and understand the code shoved in my novice face, failed.  Hit “run” a few times, watched it render the sample scenes a few times, and put it on the back burner.  Waaaaay on the back burner.  None of that made any sense.  Well, some of it made sense, but it was too much to take in all at once.  Intriguing.  But way beyond my pay grade.

Fast-forward to after programming.  Learning a programming language is like learning most of the programming languages at once.  Once you grind your way through one or three, you can make sense of much of what you see in another.  I waded into programming languages initially doing html and javascript for my bands.  Really simple stuff, never really understood what I was doing but did it anyway.  Through a few good iterations of learning various languages and after learning lsl in Second Life I bumped into Pov-Ray again and finally understood it.  Like really understood it.  It was awesome!  It was like walking into an ocean and being able to breathe.  I want to share that with you.  Here’s the Wikepedia page about Pov-Ray.

This may not be for the feint of heart, but it ain’t rocket science.  First, you’re going to have to install a program.  Then grab some files.  Then click “run” like I did.  None of it will make any sense, but never mind that.  You’ll get this:

Gear Head Kid Rendered

You don’t have to do anything more than this.  Just render one image and giggle in joy because you did it.  It’s fun.  But if you dig, you can edit it.

First, download and install Pov-Ray:

The overview download page is here.

A quick link to the Windows .exe is here.

Then download the custom files that make it happen:

The zip file with everything you need is here.

A folder with everything including the zip file for those who want to see it, is here.

Save those in a place you can find them.  If you got the zip, the extracted folder is where your files are.  If you downloaded them individually, you know where they are.

Open Pov-Ray, poke around, and render a couple of the sample images just for kicks.  Then eventually click the “Open” button and open the poseGearHeadKid2016.pov file, and maybe the other ones if you want to look at them.  While you have the poseGearHeadKid2016.pov open and in focus, hit the “Run” button and the image will render.  If you’re courageous and want a larger image, you can fiddle with the render options (sizes and such) at left top just under the “New” and “Open” buttons.  I had the demo image set at 1280×1024, 5.4, AA 0.3.  Run it!  Click the “Run” button and it will render.  Now there will be an image in that folder called poseGearHeadKid2016.png.  That’s your rendered image.

The files included are:

gearHeadKid2016.inc – The meat of the Gear head kid.  This is where it’s defined.  There’s a lot of stuff in here and you shouldn’t have to edit any of it.  But look at it anyway because you should see the bones, for context.

myTextures.inc – Some textures used throughout.  Meh.

simpleShapes.inc – Some shape stuff.  Easier to create a template and use it later with a few simple variables.  The first thing in there is my SRT (that’s Scale, Rotate, Translate), the stuff that lets you move things around in my Pov-Ray files.  I use it everywhere because scaling, rotating and translating things are the things that you do to stuff, and that is the order they are meant to be done in.  Anytime you see this, the variables are scaling, rotating, and translating what you see.  The format is like this: SRT(<1,1,1>,<0,0,0>,<0,0,0>)

orientation_xyz_med.jpg – That’s an image that describes the Pov-Ray orientation system.  If you’re looking to move and rotate things using the SRT, this is a thing.  The second two variables in the SRT are rotation and translation.  If you’re unfamiliar with the format (and that’s totally ok), it goes <x,y,z>.  Zero is zero.  X is right and -left, Y is up and -down, Z is forward and -back.  Rotations are positive towards the arrows, negative against.

Pov-Ray orientation Image

Now you can play with it, break it, fix it, and do things you didn’t know you could do.  Or did.  There are so many things I could tell you about but won’t because this is not the medium.  There’s radiosity, cameras, lighting, texturing and the whole CSG thing (Constructive Solid Geometry) and unions and differences and all the stuff you’ll find when you dig down this hole.  But you don’t need to know that.  Yet.  Just run it!  Dig later.

Have fun and share with us if you render some images!


Digital Drama

Hi kids!  It’s been a while since we made a post.  We’ve been doing much of the same since the last post, recording and working on the new album.  It has been mostly boring stuff so we kind of kept it to ourselves.  To boot, I lost my camera charger so we haven’t been able to capture any quality video to share.  I’m gonna have to pick up a new one shortly because we will have a lot to share in the coming weeks.  The new album is done being mixed and will soon be sent off for mastering. 

To the meat of this entry, I have been working on album artwork.  I had a vision for the theme and wanted to dig up the “gear head kid” we used for the Interesting Times art, but couldn’t find the files.  I discovered them on my dinosaur computer I had way back then, and also realized that I didn’t back up a good chunk of the data on that old PC.  Soooo I started up the backup process, and somewhere in the middle of the backup, everything crashed.  My old pc got bricked, and at the very same time my backup drive crashed and became useless.  I panicked.  Somewhat calmly (I had to take a lot of deep breaths), but it was truly a feeling of sheer dread, as all of this was the cumulative data from something like 15-20ish years of my life all lost in one swift blow.  All the pictures, flyers, art, music, files and EVERYTHING.  All gone.  Including the couple few files I needed to do the album art.  What to do?  Call Stoof!

Stoof, or Stephan, as he is less commonly known, is a computer wizard.  He’s a friend of ours and a fan of Ideamen.  I did some looking up on the intertubes and found out that the hard drive I had was not the best, and had a very high failure rate.  It technically shouldn’t have lasted as long as it did, and my last push to drop several gigs of data onto it just pushed it past its capability.  I also learned that recovering the data on these things can be difficult, but not impossible.  So I had some hope.  I brought my PC and the drive to Stoof and he got to work on it.  He was able to recover the PC drives relatively easily, but the backup drive was a chore.  I got a new backup drive, this time I did a bit of research to make sure I got a reliable one, and we copied the files over to it.  A few days later, I heard from Stoof, and somehow he worked some insane computer wizardry magic and got the backup drive functional enough to copy the files over!  I still owe Stoof a good few more six packs to pay for it, as he simply refused to take my money.

So we didn’t lose all of the digital history of Ideamen and its predecessor soulvasq and everything else that was stored on those old pieces of machinery.  My dinosaur computer is now dead and in a scrapyard somewhere (may it rust in peace), and all of the data is now on my new backup drive.  Thanks Stoof!  No seriously, thanks mang, I would have cried tears of blood if I lost all of that stuff. 

Now I’m working on album art.  It’s a tedious project, as I’m using a wild and weird program called Pov-Ray to make it.  It’s the program I used to create the Interesting Times art, a 3D rendering program with no GUI (Graphical User Interface).  It’s all code, all the time.  You have to click the run button to see what you’ve been coding for hours.  I basically learned programming languages between Pov-Ray and Second Life, and boy is it fun.  Grueling, but fun.  I will likely be sharing some of the code from the Pov-Ray artwork in coming days, so for the brave and curious, download it and start tinkering!

Follow-ups: The Interesting Times art was designed from the ground up to be animated and used in videos, but we only did one thing with it.  Please watch this video.  There was one frame in that video (the one at the end where the camera passes in front of the projector) that took 6 days to render on my dinosaur computer.  The entire video took nearly 3 weeks to render.  Also if you’re into virtual worlds, check out Second life.  I’ve done a good deal of work in there, from volunteer work at Dreams to paid work at Virtual Ability Incorporated.  Those links will only work if you have Second Life installed.  In SL I am SamBivalent Spork, a giant ant.  Yep.  I’m a giant ant.

–Ideamen Dave