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.

ZDNet being weird

Another post filtered for “profanity” – I defy you to find profanity in this!

This article points at concepts I feel very strongly about:
“Is there an unresolvable difference in ideology between those who consume and those who develop open-source and free software?”
Indeed there is! The mindset of the average consumer towards free software is *identical* to how they feel about proprietary software. They have expectations and behave like the developer owes them something if expectations weren’t met. It’s a consumer mindset and jeez, people, what is with consumers, anyway?
Just read all the angst and aggro surrounding the development of the most recent sortie of GIMP to get an idea.

No one gets “free as in freedom” and to be honest, no one gives a flip. And so the disconnect is very, very real. I completely agree with the author that Richard Stallman’s discussions on the ethics behind the FSF movement needs to be required exposure (so one at least *has* a clue) prior to using *any* software that isn’t proprietary, free (libre) or open-source, doesn’t matter.

I’ve been a nurse for over 30 years. I’ve spent my free time learning to write code in FoxPro, Visual Basic (for Applications), Python, php and javascript. I’ve collaborated with a *now* MS MVP on a FoxPro product (vertical market software that, although the target company chose solutions that made our product irrelevant, still has tenacious users who won’t give it up because it did things *their* way!!) and have since created Excel solutions for rostering and asset management using Excel VBA. The latter (Excel stuff) is all open-source and free – never got paid for my time for the rostering tool and now refuse to consider the asset management VBA app as anything but “Free Software”… I’m spending my non-work hours to develop it not just for Excel but there is a Android component under development as well. I’m saying all this to illustrate that I’m not approaching no-cost/free(libre)/Open-Source from a greedy: “hey, look what I can do and this isn’t costing me a dime” standpoint… I know software development costs money, my money. MSOffice cost me money, Windows cost me money, my broadband connection, Basic4Android, FoxPro, etc. all cost me money. So, why am I doing it? why do I refuse to charge for this? Because, philosophically, I *do* align myself with Richard Stallman’s view on Community… and this is my contribution.

Oh, and I do contribute (donations) to Linux Mint development, Blender3D development and a number of other no-cost software development groups to further their cause.

This is the movement that I believe in and want to promote. Not to undermine the proprietary software developer’s offerings, but to offer a choice for those who feel the same way I do about Community (vs Big Business). It is the core of this movement that Ballmer was referring to as a cancer, and whilst the analogy has negative connotations (disease) the effect is indeed aptly described.

But consumers will never get that. So, those of us who do have that Community Spirit Richard was promoting need to develop thick skins towards those inappropriate consumer attitudes. That disconnect won’t ever change: it’s not human nature. As Ubuntu developers were fond of saying (paraphrasing): “Hey, it’s no-cost. If you break it, you get to keep both pieces…” or “What do you want? your money back?” 😉

Developing free software for free computing