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Tech Reset.

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I have to admit the lockdown has helped me to finalise my home network. From the beginning if the internet was on on any of the two laptops, the home network developed access, and permission’s issues on both computers. I thought I could get to the problem later as I was in the middle of setting up the render capabilities on both machines. I decided to just bull ahead and finalise the graphics capabilities of both. The Dell to handle the complexities of 3D graphics with a faster processor, a dedicated graphics card and thirty two gigabyte of ram. With eleven terabytes of storage including a seven terabyte server and two USB two terabyte drives, one external and one mounted internal. The HP laptop has a slower and older CPU and only has eight gigabyte of ram, seven available for use and that is its memory capacity. It also has a brand new one terabyte SSD drive (OS boot drive) and a terabyte external drive on a DVD tray mounted externally via USB, and a second two terabyte drive also USB. The drives were at such capacity that both machines were running slow and the swap files were too small on both machines to handle multiple applications running at the same time.

The week before last with the network still flaky and the internet resetting the home network to public every time it was connected on either machine. A stroll through the drives on the Dell and the HP showed a lot of backups, of backups, to the point legacy stuff (Talisman and Art as well as design projects) made it difficult to find and access the last revision as updates and changes were done to different backups showing that no project had all the latest updates in a single revision. So I was forced to start some housekeeping for both machines. The data being moved and combined would present a problem and the seven terabyte machine is a slow 5000 rpm drive set so it would be the slowest to be written to. After four or five days the Dell storage capacity went from one and a half terabytes to a healthier four terabytes of space. The Dell has two SSD drives that are the main working drives. There is a five hundred gigabyte M class SSD as the OS boot drive, and the two terabyte one (WD) replaced the old internal one which is now in a drive case mounted via USB. So cleaning the folders on these was the quickest and were done first to improve the speed. As you can imagine several hours were still needed for each copy or move action. So as housekeeping was the order of the days to come. I got a lot of kitchen cupboards, the larder and the freezer cleaned out and sorted into a usable fashion while both computers were locked down in the clean up.

The HP was first to complete and the network issues started to nag my attention every time I set up another action. So when it finished and the Del had barely stated I set about looking into the network problem as I might never get another chance once the machines are locked into the graphics rendering that is needed for the new projects. The network issues revolved around access and permissions if the connection showed up and the internet did not change the status of the network from private to public. The network connections when diagnosed for problems kept returning an error that the home network ethernet connection did not have a valid IP address. Three days of YouTube and trolling every help group for help got me nowhere. By the time the Dell was finished and the storage capacity was looking a lot healthier. It allowed me to set about both connections as they are a paired external USB hub with three slots and an ethernet connection for a separate network from the internet hub.

This is to make sure that the internet when on does not leave any back doors to my offline folders and projects. They both had the same IP address error and I felt I needed to put in a fixed IP on both to stop the error first before I could get the access and sharing as well as the network security fixed for the connections. I could not just go ahead with the fixed IP solution and so was stuck for a day. I decided to look at YouTube again but from setting up an ethernet connection between two peer to peer machines. The first thing the video showed after the cabling was done was setting the ethernet ports IP addresses to a fixed address. I should have just followed my instincts but the result is I now have a stable connection. The whole problem would have been resolved in the setup wizards if both machines had Windows 10 Pro of course as most of the feeds in the help forums all dig you up on network issues on Windows Home version (yeah both mine) which is notorious for problems with home networks. The solution I have still has problems between both laptops. The Dell can show and access both PCs in its network connections. While the HP only shows the HP connection and if it does on occasion show the Dell connection it cannot access the shared folders, rights and access issues still plague the machine. As transfer is only a one way street from the HP to the Dell and as the Dell cannot be accessed by the HP, the HP is the main internet connection as the Dell is hidden from it. Not great but it is a working solution, as the Dell can copy files from the HP shared folder and even pass them back if needed. After two weeks of little or nothing done except the housekeeping and the network getting fixed, a lot of learning videos for Blender and the iClone suite, were watched and some practice lessons done on the HP when it finished first. Also a lot of films were seen and the busman’s holiday is now over and it is time to get back to work.

I have bought the Reallusion suite of programs that includes Character Creator, 3DXchange and iClone the Pro release. This is the most cash I have ever paid for software as I was using all the internet free 3D programs before. I have the latest release of Blender, which is great I have to say. I am learning to use it as it handles alembic and fbx file formats to take animated characters from DAZ or iClone. I was forced to buy the add on upgrade for Character Creator from the Pro release to the Pipeline release, to be able to import and export characters. It has become clear after doing this, I will also have to upgrade the 3DXchange from the pro to the pipeline release to use the alembic file designation for outputting animated characters to Blender. The main reason for Blender is it has an advanced rendering suite of tools. The equivalent for iClone will set me back another hundred and fifty bucks ($), that on top of the pipeline version of 3DXchange at three hundred and ninety nine dollars, means Blender will be used in the interim for rendering until I can afford to upgrade.

I have a huge back catalogue of 3D objects that I have collected over the last fifteen to twenty years that I intended to transfer to iClone, but without the pipeline upgrade that is not feasible, even though Blender can handle the characters if they are exchanged into fbx format. The back catalogue has an extensive props section that has everything from weapons to accessories, with transport for land sea and air. Clothes, hair and footwear make up the rest of the inventory for the props section. These can be transferred right into 3DXchange Pro, and then ported into iClone. So after the housework, comes the restructuring to access the new libraries and to import all the materials and textures into a central repository. At the rate my disability is inhibiting the process it may well take till March next year to get up to speed and become an able 3D designer and animation or cartoon (comic book) writer and director.