Monday, November 14, 2016

Regarding the recent quakes...

In case you haven't heard, there was a massive 7.5 earthquake north of Christchurch (near Hamner Springs) that struck last night just after midnight.

Unlike the previous ones we've had, this one went on for a very long time - for some 2-3 minutes by our rough estimation... much much longer than any previous quakes we've seen (and we've seen literally thousands in several years at this point). It was also relatively gentle (comparatively speaking): instead of any sharp jerking, shuddering, or horizontal shunting (i.e. the most destructive type of quake motion), we were instead treated to a "lost at sea in a heavy swell". The ground seemed convulse beneath our feet in wobbly waves of undulating motion. Combined with the gentle swaying of all the walls, light fittings, and other free-standing objects, the flickering lights (which threatened to blink out at any moment), and doors banging open and closed, it was quite a sickening feeling. I can only image how bad sufferers of motion sickness find travelling to be...

Reflections - Piano Improv - Mid-Winter

I was trying to free up some space on my phone over the weekend when I stumbled across the following recording I'd made of myself thumping a piano back in July (probably in the depths of trying to complete a never-ending writeup of a previous experiment). Unfortunately, the timestamp info got clobbered during the file transfer process, so I can't remember when exactly this was. Nevertheless, listening to this again, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out - it almost sounds like I actually know how to play the piano (TBH, I don't! ;)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Looking Back at 10 Years (and Counting) as a Blender Developer

Woah, I can't believe I missed posting this a few days ago (*), but Wednesday (9 November) marked 10 years since I've had commit rights as part of the core Blender development team! Yipee!

While I actually started developing Blender earlier that year (a search on BlenderArtists reveals that I finally got the codebase compiling in June 2006 for the first time, after many failed attempts), my first major contribution to the Blender codebase was my patch for the Transform Limiting Constraints that got accepted on 14 August.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Horn Theme

And now for something different... a little horn theme I came up with this morning. Probably indirectly inspired by some similar bits and pieces from a John Williams score or from one of the cues from Thomas Newman's Bridge of Spies score.

Disclaimer: Any similarity to any of the aforementioned scores or anything else is entirely coincidental.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Microsoft's Revamped "Paint"

This evening, it came to my attention that Microsoft has been working on an updated version of their classic "Paint" app, but "Windows 10-ified" and with support for basic 3D drawing/sketching...

Woah... this is an interesting move, though not completely unexpected, with the other basic 3D creation tool they bundle by default (IIRC) that's aimed more at people interested in 3D printing simple objects. Having begun my digital art journey with MsPaint in Windows 98 (I like to think I got quite skilled at drawing using a 2 button mouse on a pixel-by-pixel scale, "graduating" on to animate my first characters using MsPaint + MsAgent), it's interesting to see what the next generation of budding artists playing around with a "vanilla" PC will be able to start from.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Violin Improv - Moody/Atmospheric Tracks

Today's latest set of tracks:

It's been a while since I've had a chance to have some fun and do this (between being sick and catching up on all the work I'd had to put aside during that time). Once again, everything is just me improvising each track by overdubbing them a few times. Overall, I'm quite happy with how this set turned out - they turned out quite thematically similar (apart from the last one, which was an interesting exercise in seeing what sort of random special fx I could come up with).

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

QML Tip: Making one ShaderEffect use the output of another ShaderEffect

I've been doing quite a lot of work in QML lately for one of my research projects. Recently, I ran into some problems when trying to use ShaderEffects to actually apply them to "interesting" widgets/elements (i.e. on to anything that's not an Image and/or is more complicated than just a simple Rectangle). This post is just a quick guide to some of the key issues here (and ways around them), since it's not exactly that obvious from the documentation that this is the cause/solution, and no other hits come up about these issues...

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Useful Tip: Changing command line prompt on Windows

I just came across a useful little trick this afternoon for making the Windows command line prompt (i.e. the one you get when running cmd, which shows the current directory) much shorter  (heck, you can set it to anything you like even!), so I thought I'd just note it here so that I can look it up again should I forget in future.

prompt [new_prompt_goes_here]

That's it! Just type this little command, and it will change the prompt that gets displayed.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Annoying Habits of Computer Science/Software Engineering (Students) Designing UI's...

Over the past few years, I've had the opportunity to have a front-seat view of how groups of 3rd year computer science/software engineering students approach the problem of designing a UI. It has been said in a few places (citation needed) that ultimately, the way group projects end up taking place for class projects and in real life are largely similar(ly awful). Thus, given that many of these folk will end up in the workforce in the next few months to a year's time as the newest batch of "professionals", if what I've seen is anything to go by, no wonder we're kindof perpetually doomed...

It's also no wonder then that we're often burdened with so many absolutely terrible systems for what-should-be-mundane/trouble-free processes like activating cards or making use of various services for the first time, etc. Or, nastier problems like the current religious dogma + regime of "automatic software updates" that regularly foist themselves at you every other day, usually at the least convenient times, and from time to time leaving a colossal mess behind when they're done.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Grease Pencil - Reproject Strokes tool

Yesterday, inspired by Matias's blog post about storyboarding using Grease Pencil, I hacked together a little tool to fix up your Grease Pencil sketches when you find that you'd accidentally moved the 3D cursor around while drawing, causing all the strokes to be splayed out in weird places in 3D space.

Here's a video showing off how and when to use it (thanks to Matias for letting me use the file from the blog for testing :)

From the video description and commit log:
This operator helps fix up this mess by taking the selected strokes, projecting them to screenspace (i.e. "flattening" the strokes back on to the screen), and then putting them back out into 3D space again. As a result, it should be as if you had directly drawn the whole thing again, from the current viewpoint, but without losing the pressure/strength info.

Unfortunately, if there was originally some depth information present (i.e. you already started reshaping the sketch in 3D), then that will get lost during this process. But so far, my tests indicate that this seems to work well enough.

Friday, August 5, 2016

GPencil V2 Has Landed

In case you've missed the news, Antonio's "Grease Pencil v2" branch landed in master earlier today. Check out the upcoming nightly builds for the new goodies :)

And now for some obligatory doodles I made while giving the tools a bit of a shake down :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Siggraph '16 Paper - Fish Swimming Simulation

This video just popped up on my Youtube feed this morning:

It's the video accompanying a paper that was presented at Siggraph 2016 last week (pity I couldn't be there... there were quite a few talks/production sessions I'd have liked to attend), describing a system they build for simulating how different types of fish swim. They also discuss how this method can be used for simulating schools of fish swimming and interacting to various forms of shaping controls (e.g. for art directing the results), including doing so interactively!