Friday, February 25, 2011

Stuff that'd be cool to see...

Just a little random list of things that I imagine would be quite nice / interesting to see:
  • An animated short film or even a full length feature film rendered without wireframes showing (and possibly no or few textures) - I'm sure that we've all seen those 3d model turnarounds where people show their wireframes for their models. Well, IMO these look quite beautiful as they are already (especially when these have really great topology), and even more so in motion. Hence, I think it would be really cool to see this once - who knows, it's possible that the producers of such a film could get away with a lot less, especially by reducing the need to have such highly detailed lighting + shading (though interesting lighting would also come into use). 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sintel Anim Test - 04

A little anim test inspired by a pose/shot from news coverage of the quake.

Sintel Quake Anim Test

A bit rough, timing-wise though, but it was a quick job last night as a pre-bedtime activity. There were a few sizeable jolts running through town during this time too...

Post-Quake Snapshots

Today we went out to grab some bread (we practically only had some freezer bread left), and also to see if we could get more petrol for the car. I also took my camera along for snapshots along the way.

Firstly, here are some images from home, immediately after the quake...
The TV fallen over, water stains, and fish in temporary container.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Earthquake Tribute Song

A few days after the original September 4th quake, while driving around surveying the damage, I came up with the following little melody, which I think is even more fitting today.

Two versions:
- Midi synthesizer version of the score
- A slightly improvised version "live" version (it was a bit of a rough recording, which I wasn't totally happy with yet, but I'm releasing it today)

I also still have some photos to upload from the camera later, but will leave those till later perhaps...


As many of you may have already heard on the news, Christchurch has been struck by yet another earthquake yesterday just before 1pm (local time).

To all the well wishers, thank you for your concern and support in this difficult time. Thankfully we're all safe and though shaken (and hoping to be able to have a decent shower sooner rather than later).

While typing this in the same place I was in nearly a day ago when the quake struck, there is a general feeling of despair for our fair city. First and foremost, condolences and best wishes for all the dead, trapped (and waiting to be freed), and wounded in collapsed buildings around the CBD; with deaths this time, it is really a more sorrowing experience.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Summer's Over...

Well, that folks was summer 2010-2011. Just another 10 months till the next summer, 6 weeks till the next holiday break, and umm... 2 days till a "day off" (*ehem* I meant, day of enlightenment and literature review).

An "Orientation week" lunchtime event. Ice cream seems to be quite popular, as well as scowling at cameras passing by.

Duality SVN - First Public Release

After some "production delays" delaying the completion of initial targets, today I can finally proudly present to the world the first official release of Duality SVN (

For the uninitiated, Duality SVN is a Subversion (SVN) frontend written in Python and PyQt for the SVN commandline tools. One of its goals is to provide a UI streamlined for optimal service of daily client-side version control workflows, making it easier and faster to concentrate on your core activites instead, be it developing code, writing documentation, or working on art projects.

The other (and original founding goal) was to provide a branch management workflow non-reliant on SVN's slow and fickle "merge" tools, which were a significant barrier to successful branch management for many users.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

WIP Animation - 11 Sec Club Feb

It seems this week has been a bit quiet around here... that's because I've been busy hacking away on Blender, attacking my stash of todo's. But (and there is a but), I've also been chipping away at this month's 11 Second Club sound clip. What you're about to see is still very much WIP animation (playblast quality) of just part of the clip...

11 Sec Feb 2011 - WIP 01

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sintel Anim Test - 03

It's about time for another animation test I think! (Viewable when Vimeo decides to convert it once again)

Aligorith Sintel Test Skit - 03

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Animation Editor tweaks needed...

One of the goals of the little animation exercises I've been doing in 2.5 recently have been to assess for myself the state of animation system when actually animating (as well as the more obvious ones of having fun practicing animation after doing a fair bit of reading about but not doing much of it). In the past, I've found that such exercises have been very productive + insightful experiences (usually I end up finding a fairly large cluster of bugs that nobody seems to run into or at least complain about), and this series has proved no different.

Rant about soundsystems...

Aaarrrggghh grrr... some of the neighbors, arguably some young hooligan heads or "flatwarming students" have decided to turn on their booming soundsystem, with the bass turned up to "earthquake" level at midnight.

For those not in the know, I absolutely despise bass noise, especially when turned up loud enough that it travels through the walls of my house, severely itching my eardrums (the itchiness is bad enough that it can be almost painful at times). Such low-pitched noises sound so thug-like, duuuh... duh duh duh... duhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhu.... duh... duuuuh... duuuuh.... duh duh, that I'm often left contemplating the level of intelligence of those who listen to this kind of bland noise that they pass for "music".

It's not music! It's a mind-numbering precursor + brain-washing procedure for thuggery.

Now, combine this with the tendency of people to consider that "being drunk" is an excuse for committing mindless acts of vandalism and crime, and it's not too much of a stretch to understand why we have such a problem with graffiti and other vandalism around town these days, especially during or close to term time around the university, with hooligans such as those with these stereos with souped up sub-woofers belting out mindless garbage late into the night.

Perhaps it's time to make the first call to the noise control department for the year...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chasing the tail of the textureless OpenGL anim-render bug

While doing my animation tests with Sintel, I noticed an annoying problem where the animated playblasts would not show the most of the textures, and yet the still OpenGL renders would.

Over the past few evenings, I've been chasing this bug quite fruitlessly, placing debug prints all over hoping that it was just some missing/different statements in the drawing code but to no avail. Finally, I suddenly had a moment of inspiration, and decided to check the file to see what differences could be found between the objects that worked and those that didn't were...

It turned out to be the Mask Modifier! *shuffle* *shuffle*
Obviously there must be something that I've forgotten to do there, which is making this fail. But what that is will have to wait till tomorrow. Unless someone reads this and decides to pick up the debugging from here :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sintel Test Renders - Window Set

I've recently been setting up a little set of an upstairs bedroom window in a traditional-style weatherboard house for use in some later animation tests.

As usual, it's hard not to play around with various poses and camera angles, so read on for other renders and production details!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Christchurch on a (Holiday Weekend) Saturday Night

This weekend I finally got around to heading out with my camera to the CBD for a bit of night-time photography experiments and also to take stock of post-quake sights since some cordoned off parts of town had finally been opened up again.

Notepad++ Text Editing Tips (and Text Editor evaluations)

Choice of software is largely quite a subjective matter, though the use of some software in particular can get pretty religious, in particular, text editors.

Having trialled many text editors over the past few years, I'll say that for me, Scintilla-based text editors are the best, followed by Vi/Vim, standard Linux/OS bundled text editors, and as bottom of the heap emacs based lispy madness. Of those Scintilla-based editors, two in particular stand out for me: Notepad++ and Geany.

Having used both of these extensively, Notepad++ moreso (i.e. primarily on my laptop) and Geany mostly on Linux (since Notepad++ won't run there, though occasionally on Windows I'll use it too), I just find Notepad++ that much more productive to work in.

And here's why...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sweltering in a furnace

Today was a national holiday here in NZ ("Waitangi Day", sometimes also known as the founding day of NZ, but also in recent years just an excuse for a bunch of predominantly Maori protesters lead by or related to the Harawira clan protesting about some or other matter). It has also been one of the hottest days this summer here, at 36 degrees C!

Hats off to the Aussies who endure hot weather like this nearly everyday :P

At the time of writing this, it's currently still 27 degrees... hmm... it's going to be a looonng night!

Friday, February 4, 2011

[Extending 2.5] Coding your own "Builtin Keying Set"

As a companion article to my introduction to Keying Sets, here is a companion article for the more ambitious users out there who want to get a taste for coding their own Builtin Keying Set. By setting up your own "Builtin" Keying Sets, you'll be able to tweak the ways that the Builtin Keying Sets bundled with Blender work to your liking, be able to "mix and match" behaviors and components, and even set up some new tools that fit your personal workflow really nicely.

Happy Chinese New Year

Today is the start of the new year in the Chinese/Lunar(?) calendar, the year of the rabbit. So, who better than a familiar friend of ours to bring you this greetings...

 (BBB rig - modified to work in Blender 2.56)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sintel Anim Test - 02

Here is another character animation attempt, using a slightly different workflow this time.

Aligorith Sintel Test Skit - 02

Overall, I don't think this workflow worked that great for me (doing poses once every 10 frames), as it made it really hard to adjust timing later without introducing "pausing robot" syndrome, which is really hard to eliminate once introduced! Oh well, at least I found and fixed a few Blender bugs as a result of this effort ;)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

[Scripting 2.5 FAQ] Setting the active bone

Just a quick tip for riggers/scripters working in Blender 2.5.

Many operators for pose bones (including those for constraints) rely on having an active bone to refer to. However, how do we set this?

The answer is simple, though perhaps non-obvious:
arm =["MyArmature"] = posebone.bone

where posebone is a pointer to some bone you've obtained from "object.pose.bones"

That's it. Simple :)