Saturday, April 30, 2011

Left Brain / Right Brain

Yesterday I saw a presentation by Donald P. Greenberg entitled "Left Brain / Right Brain: round two". Quite fascinating. Apart from a computer graphics history lesson (the image to the right shows prof. Greenberg in front of a slide depicting a Lunar Module Docking simulation from 1967) he had a lot to say about creativity versus rationality and the importance of taking Computer Science courses as an artist and to take art classes as an engineer. And how to stimulate faculty working across department and school lines in a interdisciplinary manner.

After the talk he stayed to answer questions from a group of NYIT students (who are taking computer graphics with the event organizer Yuko Oda) and there was some fascinating discussion on whether computers can be creative, and if they need to be self-aware to achieve this. One of the more practical points Prof. Greenberg made that I fully support is that it really helps students to understand what goes on behind the interface of a computer program: you have to "...know what is behind the software so you are not constrained by what you think the software can do".

As representative of the local ACM SIGGRAPH chapter, which co-sponsored the event, I had the privilege to have lunch with Prof. Greenberg and Prof Oda. He is remarkably fit for his age, and extremely sharp. A very inpirational visit to the City!

More Skunks

Oh no, not again! Yesterday morning we again found a skunk in the trap under our porch. Videotaped its release, and it is now confirmed: this was yet another one! His (or her) image is a bit blurry as this one decided to take of quickly once it was released.

So the question now arises: did I catch the first two twice or were there in fact five individuals? The trap is still open for business.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Repeat Offender?

I though this guy really wanted to be on video. The first time I released him after being caught under our porch, I forgot to bring my camera. So it was back the very next day, walking straight into the same trap. The second time I released it in the park nearby, the battery of my camera was dead. The next morning I found our friendly neighborhood skunk back in the trap. So I released it in a bigger park further from home. And brought the recharged camera.

Turns out there are more than one. This morning there was one in the trap again today. Probably the same one I caught the second time. Videotaped (VideoSD-ed?) this one's release as well and it has distinctly different markings.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Paticle Guy

I have been busy, mostly with teaching and submitting my latest works to festivals. But yesterday I found an hour to try out an idea that had been brewing for a while: a character who is more a cloud than a surface shell. A guy we can look inside. So I filled my SimpleGuy Character I use for classes with a bunch of particles. Here is a first test:

Next I need to try using nParticles. Stay away from writing a Mental Ray shader for it I must!