Staggering in, still getting a grip on how to do this

So, this site keeps trying to discover why it still exists. When I first thought up Tightbytes ages ago, I envisioned: “help site”. Then it sort-of became “hey, look what I’m into now” site.

Now… not really sure where to go with this, but I’ll keep trying to run with that help-site notion a bit more.

So, today, I’m having a go at video. My initial efforts are definitely not all that great (pretty lame, actually), involving long takes of where we live, but anyway, it’s a video. My target audience? family… the ever-patient, ever-long-suffering curators of all that’s deemed somewhat creative amongst us.

So, here ya go. Anyone keen to see how this was done?

I’ll do better next time. By the way, the video was shot with a Canon T3i (now sold). You might notice some takes aren’t the sharpest. I didn’t realise just how unclean the lenses had become and what an impact it would have on the image quality.

Live and learn!

The next step was stabilisation: shaky video is just a pain to watch, so I’ve invested in proDAD Mercalli V3 software. I have a number of issues with this software, the interface being a major one, and the lack of Linux support being the inevitable drama, but it gets the job done. I’ll be finding a Linux solution soon. Certainly not upgrading this rather pricey software, nor would I endorse this product, either… but as I said: for now, it gets the job done. Just.

I have been doing my video editing in Lightworks, but for my purposes, it’s really overkill. I’ll probably not renew my subscription but just use the freeware version of it and in the meantime:  edit in… Blender. Yes, Blender! As this little effort was edited in.

The video currently playing is 45 mB. Given the bandwidth limits of this website, I’ll have to keep this videos fairly short. Still learning about how to reduce bitrate, etc, so less bandwidth is needed. Youtube will do this for you, but I’m striving to be a bit more independent.

Unbridled Excitement

Every now and then, you run into a product that you find addictive, compelling… impossible to “put down”. Blender is such a product.

I’ve been a Poser user since version 6, used it to create scenes, pose characters and texture and give material attributes to the 3d mesh, such as skin and cloth and such. Poser made it easy to create scenes, had a powerful material-room tool to create and assign materials and allowed me to easily pose humanoid figures with expressions and realistic attitudes and poses.

Blender was the content-creating or -fixing centre, for things like dynamic cloth and when I wanted a bit more geometry but Poser was render place, where it all came together.

However, that is shifting, now. My workflow – and emphasis – has changed.

I still use Poser, but only for posing humanoid figures. The rest, Blender does completely for me:

Back to Poser, and creating dynamic cloth in Blender

The purpose of this article is to document my exploration of creating dynamic cloth in Blender for Poser. I have been struggling with the cloth room in PP2014, trying to cobble settings that would result in optimal mesh deformation using conventional quad-based mesh, but I’m not impressed with the results, overall, ignoring the burnt-in specular which is making this hair look really ordinary:

TheBay02Notice how the skirt deforms beautifully and the top, much less so. The reason? delaunay mesh in the skirt, quad mesh in the top.

Apparently,Marvelous Designer does elegant delaunay mesh.  However, at US$60/month, a personal licence is prohibitively dear, and it doesn’t allow me to make anything for sale or to give away. Purchasing a full Marvelous Designer licence is not an option, either, for obvious reasons.

US$4000? Really? I would gladly pay a reasonable amount to be able to create clothing to give away — most of what I create, I donate to the community — but at that price… not an option.

So, we’re left with shareware or freeware solutions. Blender has a Decimate modifier that will generate triangular mesh – even delaunay mesh – from quad mesh, but the settings elude me at present, as the default results are a bit ordinary (uneven mesh resolution). Will post more as new light emerges on this!


Flying inspiring creativity

For those who know me, my sail-plane gliding days are numbered. It’s a fairly egotistical activity — it’s all about me! — and cost / benefit ratio just isn’t there.

So, I bought a 17ft sailboat (project) which I’m going to fix up and take family out on. Better returns for time/effort/$$ investment.

In the meantime, I’ve respectfully created a glider for Poser in Blender 2.70a. ‘Respectfully’, because the whole flying thing was prompted/initiated by this video:

If you have Poser, you can have a play with a very similar aircraft to that Schweizer 2-33 Lilly Mae did her training and solo in… it can be found here.

Click for a larger version…


Catch-all Site, isn’t it?

Tightbytes must, to those who’ve been following it at all over the past few years, seem a bit schizophrenic. It started as a travel blog thing, then sort-of went to Poser and Python programming (those pages are still around, somewhere). Now, it’s about FOSS and computing freedom.

But really, it’s about all of that, and more. Because, mate, that’s just me.  :)

So, in keeping with historical behaviour, it’s now about video. Film-making. I’ve always wanted to make a film, say something significant, but lacked the where-with-all.

That’s no longer an issue: with a DSLR, a few affordable accessories and free (or low-cost) editing software, that goal is definitely within reach. What lacks now is skill.

Case in point – this little YouTube video should illustrate:

Keokua Beach Park and Holualoa

Fortunately, there’s a solution for shaky video. The credit goes to Ise for posting this Linux-based solution on his blog. I’ll post it here for the same reason he did: so he can easily find it again if he needed to.

He uses ArchLinux, for Ubuntu-based systems the code would be:

[code] robyn@NetbookMint ~ $ sudo apt-get install transcode[/code][sudo] password for robyn:
Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done

The following extra packages will be installed:
liblzo2-2 transcode-doc twolame
Suggested packages:
mjpegtools xvid4conf (might need to look at these)
The following NEW packages will be installed:
liblzo2-2 transcode transcode-doc twolame
0 upgraded, 4 newly installed, 0 to remove and 19 not upgraded.
Need to get 1,932 kB of archives.
After this operation, 4,816 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]?

So, I’ve installed on this little system – not that I’d edit video on it – and will do on my laptop once I’ve got a decent connection on it again: the WiFi on it is dodgy.

Well, of course it’s Linux-based: this website is about community, not corporations, so mostly solutions that have a Linux approach will be published here. True, for some things you still have to go to Windows :-/ but I’m going to try not to unless it’s absolutely necessary.

A Call to Freedom

This, from the Free Software Foundation:

Microsoft has shelled out a mind-boggling estimated $1.8* billion to convince the public that it needs Windows 8. Why the record-breaking marketing deluge? Because a slick ad campaign is Microsoft’s best shot at hiding what Windows 8 really is; a faulty product that restricts your freedom, invades your privacy, and controls your data.”

Close Windows, Open Doors

I heartily endorse libre computing for all. Computing should be available to everyone, not just to those who can afford it. Libre (freedom of mind and thought and freedom from corporate control) Software is a step in the right direction. Why? Because the exchange of ideas is what not only fuels innovation  but offers opportunities to the financially disadvantaged. Free computing is everyone’s right. That is what the Internet is for — the freedom of thought side of things, anyway — and what the Free Software Foundation and Libre software is about:

As our society grows more dependent on computers, the software we run is of critical importance to securing the future of a free society. Free software is about having control over the technology we use in our homes, schools and businesses, where computers work for our individual and communal benefit, not for proprietary software companies or governments who might seek to restrict and monitor us.

The Free Software Foundation is working to secure freedom for computer users by promoting the development and use of free (as in freedom) software and documentation — particularly the GNU operating system — and by campaigning against threats to computer user freedom like Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and software patents.”

We do have choices. This is a freedom, one to preserve, to cherish, to be watchful over, since there are those who would take it away if we’re not careful. Chose Libre Software and free your computer and your mind.

Developing free software for free computing