Friday, June 27, 2014

Glen Keane's Duet

You may or may not have already come across Glen Keane's latest short, Duet, which has been doing the rounds since its reveal at Google's I/O conference earlier today. This was produced as part of the ATAP shorts series - a collaboration between Google engineers and animators, who work together to produce a new type of interactive short film (I guess you could call it that) where viewers use their phones as interactive windows into the world of the story.

Wow, I really love this. It's a really captivating and beautiful piece. There's just something really soothing about the smooth flowing shapes, and that unmistakable pencil-on-paper "Glen Keane" look. It's often when looking at hand drawn animation like this, that, as a CG animator + developer of software for doing so, that I get inspired to think again about the tools we have at our disposal, and specifically how we could wring more expressive flexibility out of them.

The full presentation, including background info about how they did it:

Monday, June 23, 2014

To Build In Or Addon: That is the question...

It has been an exciting few weeks in the land of Blender addons over the past few weeks with the launch of CGCookie's Blender Marketplace and the appearance of various useful tools such as ndee's Asset Sketcher (for being able to randomly scatter collections of objects over a surface, complete with different sizes, rotations, and so forth), or MCHammond's PAE (a set of scripts which defines an optimised UI for seeing and editing the properties associated with a rig) and Proxy Picker  (defining one of those schematic diagrams for off-character selection tools). These are by no means the only ones, but for me personally, these were the most impressive.

These addons also bring up a very important issue: where does the boundary lie between stuff which Blender should provide by default (i.e. as part of the core program) versus what is provided as addons or as stuff that individual users should be looking to tweak to optimise their workflows?

Some more piano music

Just a few more short pieces/snippets of music I bashed out for fun a while back (and only recently got around to cleaning up and uploading).

Getting a new mouse

This afternoon, I finally went out and got a new mouse. After over 7 years of loyal service, my old Logitec M-UAG96B was finally showing signs of wear and tear. We'd gotten it special many years ago (perhaps dating back to 2004/5 or so), but it didn't start seeing active use until I got my Toshiba in 2007, at which point I needed a mouse to use with it for day to day activities (as you do). Over that time, it's done its job pretty darned well, considering that it's just a simple basic mouse.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Karcher Vacuum Window Cleaner

At risk of this sounding like blatant promotional material, I have to say that Karcher's Vacuum Window Cleaner is an absolutely awesome device!
The vacuum cleaner (yellow) and accessories (detergent spray bottle + wiper, and concentrate detergent). The real star here is the vacuum cleaner though...

You may initially think: what's the point in having a powertool for cleaning windows? Doesn't the detergent do most of the work anyway? And indeed, that's what we initially thought when seeing the ads. However, the true value of this device lies elsewhere...

Gems of Serendipity - Handbook of Perception and Human Performance

Life can be funny sometimes - giving you unexpected surprises even when things did not go according to plan! This morning, I had thought there was an event I was supposed to be at on campus which would last an hour or so. However, upon arrival at the venue, I realised that in fact I'd gotten the wrong date - it was on Thursday instead Tuesday. Doh!

With an hour suddenly free, I decided to have a bit of a walkabout. As I was nearing the central library, I remembered that there was a book I wanted to go and take a look at (which I'd seen references to last night), so off to the 11th-floor it was. Unfortunately, all I could remember was that the id of that book began with "BF" (and nothing else!), which meant it was practically impossible to quickly find it. Despite this, it turned out I was in luck today: while wandering the shelves, I stumbled across the gem pictured above.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


With winter, comes wintery weather - like fog, rain, and sometimes snow. Late this afternoon, I watched as a thick blanket of fog enveloped the city leading up to sunset. So I thought: what a great opportunity to try and get some moody fog-lit shots around town, since I'd be heading out anyway.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

More Macro Food - Summer Time Food (2012 - 2013)

I've been meaning to post these for a long time, but a growing backlog of unposted shots, a desire to keep things chronological and timed to display at appropriate times, and "because life" have transpired to delay these. Well, since it's now officially the start of summer in the northern hemisphere, I guess this is a good enough excuse!

Food Macros Photos

Here are some highlights from recent months, starting from most recent. Apologies in advance for any hunger pangs which this may incite... ;)

Mum's Tofu and Surimi Soup - A recent and very tasty invention :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Lo and Behold - 4 Years On

According to the archives, I've been running this blog for 4 (!) years now... yay?

As regular readers may have noticed, the number and frequency of posts here has been falling for the past year or two. A number of reasons have contributed to this decline: notably the factors mentioned in my previous post, but also things like having something like 2 years of backlogged photosets after it took longer than expected to finish writing up my trip notes from HK 2012 (which ended up getting a bit out of hand in the end).

Fear not though. I've still got quite a bit of content lined up - including several on the Depsgraph refactor, NLA/Animation development plans, some proposals for fixing some big-issues in Blender, Windows hacking tips, and a backlog of collections of some of my favourite shots from the past 2 years. Working through the backlog and getting these put together is currently the bottleneck though (admittedly, the burgeoning length/complexity of some of these has been complicating this). So, in the coming months, I'll be experimenting a bit with new ways of getting these out, even if it means that some of these may only be partially complete when first published, and having these update over time as live blogs or as a series of smaller posts? We'll see...