Sunday, June 24, 2007

Work get in the way again.

Yes, the updates in my animation will slow down once more. On short notice I'm working for Mechanism Digital again. However, I am rendering the second scene as I write this.

Yesterday I watched about 86 animations, that's most all of the entries for the annual MetroCAF festival organized by NYC ACM SIGRAPH. I was not on the jury, just helping out, and I admire those who were and actually had to pay attention to all of them and give grades. Yes, some entries really sucked, but I think we'll be having a great festival on September 27, 2007! The quality of what students can achieve nowadays is really amazing. Now it really comes down to who can master movement and tell a story, not who studies at the school with the biggest computers.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Spot the differences...

Making progress on my animation. Not as much as I would want, but hey, its animation!

On the left: image from last Friday, on the right: todays version

Sunday, June 17, 2007

> Antitrust <

Yesterday we watched the movie "Antitrust" (2001) on TV. We tuned in because we saw Tim Robbins was in it, always a pleasure. He plays an evil genius Silicon Valley CEO aiming for world domination through a multi media platform, called "Synapse", which can broadcast to all possible media simultaneously: TV, computer, cellphone, whatever. It is a tale of conspiracy and betrayal. The Evil Company steals code from young geeks programming in their garage and even kills them when they got what they wanted. It is not a good movie, at times it is almost an activist pamphlet. They made Tim Robbins look a bit too much like Bill Gates.

But the movie does raise interesting issues. Like what if one company actually controls all media outlets? This Synapse system somehow manages to overrule everything so its broadcasts from outer space show up on every device in the whole world that has a screen on it, including Times Square (just one of the extreme improbabilities in this flick). More realistic is the scene where the "heroes" look for a media outlet to tell the world about the evil doings of this company and find that the major outlets (I think they mention CBS, ABC, CNN) all are owned by or have ties with that same company. That is scary. Nice trivia for conspiracy nuts: this movie was broadcast on ION (channel 31 here) and not one of the major channels. But I guess it says more about the quality of the movie than it's possible subversiveness, since apparently ION is linked to NBC/Universal.

The movie containes a blatant plea for open source software, proclaiming that information should be owned by everybody. A noble thing! I am an avid open source user myself, but unfortunately a lot of the software has geeky GUI's (for normal people: GUI stands for Graphical User Interface) and is often hard to install. No, I don't like having to compile a program myself from source code in order to be able to run it. But I much prefer using something open source that resorting to software piracy!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Scene 2: Shading.

I'm working on the rendering of the second scene of my animation and am thinking of leaving some of the shading underneath the crosshatching. Makes for a much richer look, but also more 3D-ish. The image on the right is yet another render test, composited and all. Obviously he next thing to work on is the sky. Dear reader, what do you think?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Scene 2, Take 2

The animation for scene two is pretty straight forward. The guy basically walks in a straight line, so that's almost done, Especially since I'm re-using the walk cycle from the original test. But the environment needs a bit of work. By now it is already a bit richer, but not quite full enough.

I am getting sucked into the vortex of diminishing return though. Now that I have a faster computer I can do more, add more stuff to the scene and bring rendering times right down to where they were with the old computer... :)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Gee, was my old box slow!

Originally uploaded by Wobbe F. Koning
My new computer is up and running, and now I really no excuse to make great strides towards completing my animation. Suddenly I have real-time animation preview. Rendering is probably about four times faster. And also quite important: when I turn it on, my new computer starts fast and does not need to be rebooted once or twice. How did I ever animate on my recently deceased old computer?

Of course, the only reason that I now have a machine this fast is that I waited so long with replacing my old machine. Had I bought one last year, it would be outdated by now. But I guess the fact that my laptop was considerably faster than my desktop should have been an indication that it was about time to replace the latter.