Every month I save the majority of the Patreon income for future purchases, split between travel savings and equipment savings.
The equipment savings is mainly to save up for a new camera body, lens, and set of filters once the $2500 goal is reached, but it's also meant for various other hardware necessary to shooting and stitching HDRIs, either to improve on what I can make, or replace broken or deteriorating parts.
Recently my computer has been showing its age - the CPU (i7-2600k) and motherboard are about 6 years old, and as a Blender artist and avid gamer, I've been abusing them this whole time :)
For the last few months however I've been dealing with frequent hardware crashes of various types and other instability issues, so I decided to bite the bullet and finally upgrade.
Rather than just replacing the faulty parts with equivalent new ones, I think it's smarter to spend a little extra to try and be more future-proof, prolonging the next time I'll need to upgrade.
For this reason, and because I know I'll soon need/want to create much higher resolution HDRIs than I do currently, I purchased the following:
- i7-8700k (4.4 GHz OC, 12 threads)
- 64 GB of DDR4-3200 RAM
- MSI Z370 motherboard
This cost about $1200, which is a significant portion of my existing savings, hence why I feel it's necessary to explain the purchase thoroughly in this post :)
The rest of the components from my old PC (PSU, GPU, HDDs...) of course carry over.
Additionally, I was recently contacted by two well-known video game developer studios about commissioning some HDRIs from me, both of which required the use of some additional hardware (a light meter) to provide measurements that they can use in their realtime engines along with the HDRIs.
I decided this might be a good idea for HDRI Haven as well - not only could I provide these measurements to you guys in case there are some video game developers among you, but they would also allow me to verify and calibrate my workflow to ensure complete lighting and color accuracy of my HDRIs.
As it is now I simply follow the theory of what I should be doing to get accurate lighting values, but being able to verify my results with actual measured data will bring my work to a new level of professional results.
The light meter plus an additional full-size color chart cost about $490.
Details of these purchases and how they affect my savings are available on the finance reports page.
It would be a bit cheesy and perhaps slightly incorrect to say that "none of this would be possible without your support". What is true however, is that because of you I'm in the privileged position to be able to do what I love, for the benefit of everyone, with you guys behind me helping me grow and improve. That is really special to me.