Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Horn Theme

And now for something different... a little horn theme I came up with this morning. Probably indirectly inspired by some similar bits and pieces from a John Williams score or from one of the cues from Thomas Newman's Bridge of Spies score.

Disclaimer: Any similarity to any of the aforementioned scores or anything else is entirely coincidental.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Microsoft's Revamped "Paint"

This evening, it came to my attention that Microsoft has been working on an updated version of their classic "Paint" app, but "Windows 10-ified" and with support for basic 3D drawing/sketching...

Woah... this is an interesting move, though not completely unexpected, with the other basic 3D creation tool they bundle by default (IIRC) that's aimed more at people interested in 3D printing simple objects. Having begun my digital art journey with MsPaint in Windows 98 (I like to think I got quite skilled at drawing using a 2 button mouse on a pixel-by-pixel scale, "graduating" on to animate my first characters using MsPaint + MsAgent), it's interesting to see what the next generation of budding artists playing around with a "vanilla" PC will be able to start from.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Violin Improv - Moody/Atmospheric Tracks

Today's latest set of tracks:

It's been a while since I've had a chance to have some fun and do this (between being sick and catching up on all the work I'd had to put aside during that time). Once again, everything is just me improvising each track by overdubbing them a few times. Overall, I'm quite happy with how this set turned out - they turned out quite thematically similar (apart from the last one, which was an interesting exercise in seeing what sort of random special fx I could come up with).

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

QML Tip: Making one ShaderEffect use the output of another ShaderEffect

I've been doing quite a lot of work in QML lately for one of my research projects. Recently, I ran into some problems when trying to use ShaderEffects to actually apply them to "interesting" widgets/elements (i.e. on to anything that's not an Image and/or is more complicated than just a simple Rectangle). This post is just a quick guide to some of the key issues here (and ways around them), since it's not exactly that obvious from the documentation that this is the cause/solution, and no other hits come up about these issues...

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Useful Tip: Changing command line prompt on Windows

I just came across a useful little trick this afternoon for making the Windows command line prompt (i.e. the one you get when running cmd, which shows the current directory) much shorter  (heck, you can set it to anything you like even!), so I thought I'd just note it here so that I can look it up again should I forget in future.

prompt [new_prompt_goes_here]

That's it! Just type this little command, and it will change the prompt that gets displayed.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Annoying Habits of Computer Science/Software Engineering (Students) Designing UI's...

Over the past few years, I've had the opportunity to have a front-seat view of how groups of 3rd year computer science/software engineering students approach the problem of designing a UI. It has been said in a few places (citation needed) that ultimately, the way group projects end up taking place for class projects and in real life are largely similar(ly awful). Thus, given that many of these folk will end up in the workforce in the next few months to a year's time as the newest batch of "professionals", if what I've seen is anything to go by, no wonder we're kindof perpetually doomed...

It's also no wonder then that we're often burdened with so many absolutely terrible systems for what-should-be-mundane/trouble-free processes like activating cards or making use of various services for the first time, etc. Or, nastier problems like the current religious dogma + regime of "automatic software updates" that regularly foist themselves at you every other day, usually at the least convenient times, and from time to time leaving a colossal mess behind when they're done.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Grease Pencil - Reproject Strokes tool

Yesterday, inspired by Matias's blog post about storyboarding using Grease Pencil, I hacked together a little tool to fix up your Grease Pencil sketches when you find that you'd accidentally moved the 3D cursor around while drawing, causing all the strokes to be splayed out in weird places in 3D space.

Here's a video showing off how and when to use it (thanks to Matias for letting me use the file from the blog for testing :)

From the video description and commit log:
This operator helps fix up this mess by taking the selected strokes, projecting them to screenspace (i.e. "flattening" the strokes back on to the screen), and then putting them back out into 3D space again. As a result, it should be as if you had directly drawn the whole thing again, from the current viewpoint, but without losing the pressure/strength info.

Unfortunately, if there was originally some depth information present (i.e. you already started reshaping the sketch in 3D), then that will get lost during this process. But so far, my tests indicate that this seems to work well enough.

Friday, August 5, 2016

GPencil V2 Has Landed

In case you've missed the news, Antonio's "Grease Pencil v2" branch landed in master earlier today. Check out the upcoming nightly builds for the new goodies :)

And now for some obligatory doodles I made while giving the tools a bit of a shake down :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Siggraph '16 Paper - Fish Swimming Simulation

This video just popped up on my Youtube feed this morning:

It's the video accompanying a paper that was presented at Siggraph 2016 last week (pity I couldn't be there... there were quite a few talks/production sessions I'd have liked to attend), describing a system they build for simulating how different types of fish swim. They also discuss how this method can be used for simulating schools of fish swimming and interacting to various forms of shaping controls (e.g. for art directing the results), including doing so interactively!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Violin Layering Songs - 20160730

Here's another bunch of songs I recorded for fun (and a break from "work-like" things) this afternoon.

This time, I tried to keep things a lot more "tonal" than in previous recordings, so hopefully more people will find it less unsettling to listen to. Another thing I was playing around with here was tweaking the left/right balance and relative volume levels of each track (apologies in advance if one or two are a bit on the "loud" side) - I ended up optimising for headphones (tracks "8" and "3" in particular really sound a lot better this way; in particular, "3" only seems understandable this way).

My personal favourite of this set is the first one on the playlist ("8 - Horse Riding"). While there may have been a few places where the timing isn't quite perfect enough, the overall effect is quite nice, and really gives off that equine "galloping" feel to it :)

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Sea - Music inspired by a visit to the beach

It's taken a few weeks to get around to it, but I've finally gotten around to uploading the set of tracks I recorded for use as a soundtrack to a bunch of clips I filmed while spending some time out at Sumner beach watching the waves. You can see one of those clips (a real-life homage and fan-art for Pixar's "Piper") and the track I specially recorded for it here.

It was really relaxing spending time just staring out at the waves as them came crashing in to the shoreline. While the picture above shows the tides as they started to recede, they were initially much higher, and would come in thick and fast.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Seagulls vs Waves Clip

Keeping with the theme of "fan-art" of sorts, here's a little video I put together from footage I shot while out a Sumner beach on Saturday afternoon...

From the video's description:
A pair of seagulls hunting for food along Sumner Beach, between the receding tides. Filmed yesterday during a relaxing stroll along the shoreline out at Sumner, after a great lunch. The sea yesterday looked as I've never seen it - the water level was really high, and the waves just kept coming in thick and fast.

The scene reminded me a lot of Pixar's amazing short film "Piper" (showing in front of Finding Dory). It's one of my absolute favourite shorts! Great story, wonderful animation, amazing rendering, and OMG cuteness overload!

While this shaky phone-cam (at reduced resolution to save disk space) doesn't hold a candle to that, this clip is still very much in the same spirit!

The soundtrack here is a little track I recorded specially for this footage. It's done using the "Violin Layering" techniques I've been playing around over the past month of so - basically, I recorded the first pass of the music watching the video (via my phone), and then worked on recording extra tracks for it while keeping in mind the general mood I was going for (in addition to the key beats of the clip). It's not quite 100% there yet, but as a first attempt at doing this, I'm overall happy with the results!