Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Violin Improv Melody - 20150428

Wow, the past two days have been amazingly productive! There's still lot's to do still - far too much that I'd like to work on, but don't have the time or number of hands + brains needed to tackle them all - but at least I'm making some decent headway into this writing project I'm working on, without any of the annoying writer's block that was frustrating me last week :D

Here are just a few quick improvised recordings I bashed together tonight, based on a little melodic fragment that came to mind in the shower. No doubt it's probably easy to tell what it is once you've listened to them :)

Usually I try not to play anymore in the evenings and/or when other people are around, but since I felt compelled to try these out tonight, these were all done with a "light touch" to avoid making too much of a racket. Hence why you may need to ramp up the volume a bit to hear these (and also why there's a lack of dynamic range in general).

Monday, April 27, 2015

Travis Wetland Park

After hearing about the Travis Wetland Heritage Park for years, I finally visited it for myself on Saturday. It was a really nice warm day, with a gentle breeze blowing, making this a really nice visit. If you're at all keen on seeing birdlife up close, this is definitely a place to check out! It's got pukekos roaming around all over the place, like, literally, just idling strolling along beside picnic tables, and so on. There are also swans, paradise ducks, big ducks, small ducks, some geese/waterfowl, and many more that didn't show their faces that day...

Oh, and for some reason, there were quite a lot of sheep around... a lot. I'll definitely be back again, but hopefully with a longer lens next time ;)

Autumn Colours in Hagley Park

This afternoon, I took a good long walk through Hagley Park to capture the trees in their full autumn splendor. This follows on from another long walk I had yesterday afternoon at Travis Wetland park (I'm planning on having a post up on that up shortly too). It's been really nice weather wise this long weekend (Anzac Day this year fell on Saturday, 100 years since the tragedy at Gallipoli, leading to a "Mondayised" holiday), with temperatures in the mid twenties, and mostly-sunny weather.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Autumn Colours

The autumn colours have arrived a bit later than usual this year, showing up this week as opposed to over easter (as usual). However, I did manage to snap some shots of the stunning wall of red leaves on the fine arts building this year at last - see below - which I is quite fitting given the occasion of the day (i.e. Anzac Day here in NZ).

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Piano Improv Recording - 20150228

While I'm posting these snippets, I might as well include some of the better ones from a few months ago too. These were me thumping a piano, trying to get some random background noise to use while working. The first one here (#2) is a bit better than the second (#1) IMO, though they each have their own charms.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Violin Improv Recordings - 20150422

Just messing around a bit this afternoon, on another rainy autumn day... (The silvereyes have been avoiding the tree today... well, until I closed the curtains, and a plump one promptly arrived and started performing acrobatics)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Silvereyes - On the Small Strawberry Dogwood Tree

This month, the fruit on the Strawberry Dogwood trees we've got growing in our garden finally ripened, attracting the silvereyes back to our garden again after several months away. Notice I said trees (in the plural). In previous years, we only had the big one beside the driveway. This year, one of that tree's descendents finally started producing fruit too, after growing in an old recycling bin for the past 3-5 years! Seeing as this young tree is a lot more mobile, we moved it closer to the house/windows at the start of the month, and began to wait. Today, the waiting was over!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pencil Test Appreciation - Complex Character Motion

In some previous posts, I've written about my growing love of watching pencil test animations - specifically, the "raw" sort, straight from the animator's desk before any cleanup/inking/colouring has taken place. IMO, these seem to have an extra sense of vitality, beauty, and I guess what some may call "honesty" that gets stripped from the work when the lines get cleaned/inked, and is almost completely absent once they get coloured. It is even better when we see some of the scribbles, notes, and guidelines/reference points that animators include in these, as these really help you to see the sheer artistry, skill, and talent at work, going into the final animation that just whizzes past on screen.

This afternoon, I came across the following clip from James Baxter's blog:

It's a clip from Enchanted (2007), showing Giselle getting out of the carriage in that extra pompous wedding dress, complete with heaps of ruffles. On viewing the completed animation in context, it may not look like much... that is until you realise that, 1) someone animated this entire sequence by hand, 2) that dress has heaps of ruffles on it that all need to be individually drawn/placed, as the entire shot was drawn by hand using traditional 2D animation techniques.

Friday, April 10, 2015

DRY considered harmful

Increasingly, I've been coming to the view that the DRY (i.e. Don't Repeat Yourself) principle is something that ends up being far too easy to abuse/overuse, leaving you with piles... nay, nasty tangled rose thickets of complexity that quickly snowball out of control. In fact, I'd go so far as to argue that our "cures" for this - templating, generics, class hierarchies + networks (i.e. basically most "OO") - only make things worse most of the time, especially when everyone starts lauding them as "silver bullets" when the see them.

Another probably controversial and related view I've arrived at in the past few years is that I now consider nested/chained event callbacks as evil - it only takes one or two run-ins with these to realise that it really sucks when you have a UI which inexplicably starts running slow as molasses and has a penchant for double/triple redrawing itself with a very visible white/blue flash each time, only to find after hours and days of blood curdling debugging that this is because the callbacks start becoming unintentionally reentrant by calling each other repeatedly...

For an all too familiar take on this, see: http://www.benkuhn.net/rha

Put simply, DRY applies a LOT less than you probably think it does! In fact, it can hurt readability faster than if you'd just left all the repetition in there..

Quick Art Project - Drifting in Uncharted Waters

Last night, for the first time in ages I did some random doodling to relax a bit before heading to bed. Inspired by one of these, I spent a few hours tonight trying to convert these pencil sketches to 3D renders :)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Some Quick BlenderDev Updates

Woah! Where has the past month gone?! Time sure flies...

Sorry about the lack of updates here. Since my last posts, I've been quite busy bunkering down between trying to get a long chapter of stuff written up, teaching/marking (Argh! See Note 1 at the end), and trying to get enough sleep (or to get over a sleep deficit) caused by the disruptive schedules imposed by the university's timetabling team (damn you... whoever you faceless people hiding behind the mask of a buggy timetable algorithm are! Wednesdays have been complete writeoffs for me this past month!).

Unfortunately, that has not left much time or energy left to do much Blender dev (even though even short doses of that are enough to increase net productivity for several days afterwards), and even less for writing blog posts (it seems I only have a fixed tolerance/daily quota of verbiage I'm inclined to try to write).

With this long weekend (and term break for 3 weeks), I finally have a bit of a reprieve from all that now. As you may have noticed from the commit logs these past 2 days, it's been quite good to finally be able to let loose on the long list of smaller things I've been meaning to do for ages. Truth be told though, none of these things are really the things I most want to work on - though, there's another kind of satisfaction that comes from just powering through these more mundane but more pressing/important things first :)