Archive for category programming

pure unadulterated actionscript geekery

Man oh man. One link clicked led to another, and suddenly I’m obsessed with PaperVision3D.

It all started with this link (which you’ve already seen if you follow me on Twitter): the The Eco Zoo. If you haven’t seen it, please clicky! It’s fantastic.

PaperVision’s been used for a number of neat projects, but the Eco Zoo is a work of art. So I started searching for stuff on the train in the morning (thank you, iPhone) and turned up a bunch of great links:

For those who didn’t know, you can either use the open source Flex SDK or, if you’re a student, you can get a free copy of Flex Builder 3 by sending them proof of enrollment. I did it; I got a serial in about an hour later, although YMMV.

Not that I have time to sit down and actually play with any of this… But it’s fun to learn about. Oh, and I like PaperVision3D because the API is very well thought out and very Flash AS3-like; if you don’t like it there are other options. There’s a nice comparsion on the four major 3D engines for Flash here (warning: it’s in French). Lots of talk about speed of object creation, memory requirements, and so on. It’s always good to be informed of options before starting a project.

stuff and things

I’ve seen a bit of complaining about Dollhouse. I think people are expecting Joss to play by regular Joss rules, while Joss is going in a new direction. I’m totally enjoying the show. It’s not Firefly or Buffy, and I think that’s a good thing. While Joss’ fans have always been rabid, myself included, I think Dollhouse is more accessible to the general public. Also, the second episode opened a lot of plot doors. I’m excited I see where this show goes, and that’s not something I can often say.

I’m back on Twitter with a bit more consistency now, thanks to Tweetdeck. If you haven’t tried it you should– it’s the only client I’ve tried so far that does everything I want. I’m not into paying for Twitterific since most free AIR-based clients have similar or better features, but even free clients had me looking around for something better. Just wish AIR could publish iPhone apps.

This week I move from a “finished” storyboard into layout on my short film at Animation Mentor. This is currently frightening because I don’t have one of my characters modeled and neither ares fully rigged. 🙂 I have a feeling it’s going to be a long weekend, and for me lately that’s saying something.

I did buy that book on doing short films in Blender, so I’ve been reading it as time allows for info specific to Blender and managing data flow. The first shock I had was that “library data” (Blender’s name for references / XRefs) is not editable. You can easily set up library data for animation, but there are different ways of doing so and which way you use depends on the asset. I like the system, though– it means that unlike Maya, nothing I do in my animation scene files can corrupt what I’ve set up in my library assets. Shibby!

Okay. Today my list says: write emails (check!), blog (check!), research that thing Cory Doctorow uses for backups with Git, prototype some face rig ideas, and do some Python scripting research. I need to think through some workflow issues and whether or not scripting solutions will save me time in the long run. (Surprisingly, for the rigs it will not.) Speaking of which, if you’re not a usual follower of Jason Schleifer’s Justin Barrett’s blog (Jason, Justin, you can understand why I was confused), I highly recommend his articles on Lambda functions. Maya UI coders, take note!


cinema 4d scripting, part 2

Three posts in three days! I don’t actually have as much time as It appears I do; the iPhone WordPress app is very useful.

I’m finally at a good place with my rigging library of COFFEE functions that now when I code out a set or rig steps, things are behaving as I expect. I’ve recreated the “Wipix Leg” in code (if you’re not familiar with it, it’s a method for making a stable IK solution without the 90 degree pole vector flip trick in used in Maya), and I’m now at a point where I have to do some rig redesigning. In other words, I’m no longer fighting the code misbehaving– now I’m back to working on conceptual stuff.

I do plan on releasing some of what I’ve learned either for free here or on a DVD at some point down the line, with my function library.

One thing I found out that really put a thorn in my side is that my constraint code was made useless by changes to the Constraint tag in R11. By cleaning up how the tag works, Maxon has rendered the tag completely useless when working from COFFEE. I’m not sure whether Py4D will be able to do what’s needed; I won’t be able to begin porting my rig to Python until the whole thing is finished. However, because you can get selected objects as arrays through Py4D (and not through COFFEE) maybe there will be better constraint code workarounds in my future.

Also nice to discover was that the Wipix Leg works just fine in Blender. Stable leg IK was the one thing for which I didn’t have a setup I liked in Blender, but that problem is now sorted. Still thinking I’ll be using Blender for my short film because of it’s speed of use. I can build that leg from scratch in Blender in twenty minutes; it takes significantly longer in both C4D and Maya.

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qt 4.5 now lgpl

Some excellent news: Qt is soon to be released under the LGPL. Long story short, this means you can now use Qt for commercial projects (provided you’re careful and understand how the LGPL 2.1 and provided you don’t modify the Qt libraries) without paying the old $4995US fee.

They’re still providing the “commercial” release for people who want to pay for it. I suppose in some circumstances companies might need it, depending on what other code they need to interface with, but for the majority of new projects the LGPL license is perfect.

I’d always shied away from Qt in the past because as good as it is, the licensing was too restrictive for some of the things I wanted to do. But combine this news with the fact that Qt 4.5 will support 64-bit Cocoa for app creation and I’m already planning on using it for my next personal project.