Saturday, July 11, 2015

GPencil Dev - Stroke Sculpting Demo 1

A quick update on what I've been up to with Grease Pencil development recently...

Hopefully Mr Snowman brings a smile to your day (especially anyone currently melting from the summer heat up in the Northern Hemisphere... I'm sending up some nice cool breezes from the --5 C overnight chills we have here ;)

This demo shows off some of the new "Stroke Sculpting" tools that I've been developing as another way for editing Grease Pencil strokes. In particular, the primary impetus for this work has been to introduce a tool for smoothing strokes to remove jitter/wobbliness, kinks, jaggies, and other undesirable artifacts affecting stroke quality (especially when zoomed in). Some other tools that are a natural fit include a "Grab" brush, and a tool to adjust the thickness of strokes.

To try this for yourself, checkout the "GPencil_Editing_Stage3" branch on the

(EDIT: The crash mentioned in the video should be fixed now... It turned out that I just forgot a small change when adding a bunch of new brush types)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Blender 2.75 Released

Good news everyone! Blender 2.75 has finally been released, with this lovely splash screen from the Gooseberry project!

On the animation front, there are several key features in this release:
1) New Dependency Graph - Most driver setups should now work
2) More tools and polish for the Action Management tools -
3) Time and Influence keyframes on NLA Strips now update correctly without lag

Other smaller improvements include:
* Proportional Editing in the Graph Editor
* Realtime Updates (Live Search) for Animation Channel filtering
* Added a new mode ("Selected Keyframes") for the Propagate Pose tool, as well as a shortcut (Alt-F)
* Numeric input now works for the Push, Relax, and Breakdowner tools
* GPencil: Status indicator for Strokes EditMode, and hotkeys for toggling visibility of layers

Full details about all of these can be found on the release notes page, which I've been keeping up to date with all the changes since the start of the release cycle. What I'm going to do here instead is to point out some of the more interesting points, specifically those which relate to things that people have been requesting!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Awesome Sunset - Wave Cloud

Following on from Saturday's classic lumpy nor'wester, the sunset this evening was equally pretty (and every bit as chilly again). The TV weatherman called it "wave cloud" (or at least the clouds floating nearby), so I'll just call it that.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Piano Improv - 20150627 - T. Newman Style

A short little track, recorded using my phone (lying on top of the piano) after a long walk in the chilly winter air this afternoon. In the style of a "Thomas Newman" score ;)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Violin Improv - 20150625

It was so good to have a nice long session of bashing out some of these this afternoon. Such a nice change from the rut I've been in the past few days setting up systems to power some upcoming experiments. Here are most of the clips from this afternoon, in reverse order (since they seem to work well in that order too - from good to bad). The first clip though I've not uploaded (20 minutes) as that would clog up the remaining space on my account too much...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

NZ Native Fish - Videos

On a more positive note, here are some videos of some fish swimming around in an aquarium of NZ native fish. I'm quite pleased with how these turned out, considering I shot these by holding my phone up beside the tank. Some of the fish may not have been quite that pleased to have been followed/tracked around the way that they were though!

1) A silvery fish showing off its blue fins - I suspect it may have been trying to "scare" me off from tracking it like that

2) Watch out for the antics of the blue cod here - Every bit as athletic as Bubu, but perhaps even more so, and quite impressive for such a long fish like that

3) This milky-white specimen is quite interesting, as it has some of those "wise old fish" whiskers. It also looks quite a bit like an axolotl (check them out too, but be warned that they do look a bit icky; I saw some back in high school, as our biology teacher kept some as pets). Stick around till then end though, for some interesting shots with the snapper(s) just idling around in mid water. It's pretty full on!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

RIP - The Fallen Silvereye

Sometimes, nature can be quite savage and cruel, reminding us all just how fragile life really is. Just over an hour ago, I watched in horror as a silvereye fell out of the tree and onto the cold hard concrete less than a metre away from where I stood. Out of nowhere, there was a rustling of leaves overhead, and then all of a sudden, there was a chaotic ball green-grey wings and feathers flailing around on the ground, frantically tossing and turning (in what I presume was shock) before rolling onto its back, legs twitching, and taking its last gasps of air.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Friday Night Rants

This is an assorted collection of ramblings and rantings derived from various topical issues I've come across recently week. Let the ranting begin!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Anim Tip: Pose Libraries are just Actions!

From time to time, I hear questions about people wanting relink Pose Libraries, or manually reorder the poses, and not knowing how/what to do. The answers to these questions are quite simple once you know one simple trick about Pose Libraries:

Pose Libraries are just Actions!  (*)

(*) The fine print:
- The pose data is just stored as keyframes in these Actions
- The "secret sauce" is that Pose Library actions use markers (stored inside the action) to tell Blender which frame each "pose" is stored on. The name of each marker is the name of the pose. These markers are drawn as the taller, "bone" shaped markers.
- If you're going to do anything to these Actions, make sure you keep the markers and keyframes in sync!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Gah! Stupid HP Design Flaws

Earlier in the week, I randomly started getting some nasty creaking/snapping noises everytime I opened or closed the lid on my laptop. Last night, I finally discovered the cause: the plastic base-plate was coming away from the rest of the case in the top left corner (below the power button)! Basically, every time the lid opens and closes, it looks like the left hinge is forcing open the casing (currently by 1 - 1.5mm, along a 2-3 cm stretch from the top-left corner). For now, I can still nudge/snap it back into place after each open/close cycle; there's also a bit of a rattling sound inside (like some plastic bits have snapped off). Apparently, this design flaw with the hinges+base-plate has caused quite a few people grief.

If the rumors are true that this is because they freaking glued that part of the case together, then that would really suck, as AFAIK, all the heat-producing processors are located there along with some fans. Along with some of the other annoyances I had when setting up this machine (i.e. RSI-causing keyboard, oversized and hard to deliberately-click (yet easy to accidentally bump) touchpad, out of kilter out-of-box monitor colour calibration, and the high pitched eee...errr...eeee....errr whining when it's on standby, to name the most egregious examples), this just further reaffirms my decision to never buy an HP product again. I would also strongly discourage anyone else from doing so in the future as well.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Mid Afternoon Sketches - Birdies

Some mid-afternoon doodles from earlier today - all with black ballpoint pen..


The silvereyes do sometimes get into a bit of a flap over a preferred perch...

A little warmup sketch

Blender Animation FAQ's - June 2015 Edition

From time to time, several issues commonly popup up time and time again. So, I'll try to answer a few of these that come to mind most currently.