Friday, December 31, 2010

End of year ramblings...

It's that time of the year again... the end of another year! And what an eventful year it has been.

In many ways, it could be described as the year of the disasters:
- Christchurch September 4th Earthquake (whose aftereffects are still being felt today - quite literally) and Haiti's January earthquake
- Worldwide air traffic brought to a standstill twice (the Finnish volcanic eruption and now heavy snow)
- Miners being trapped in mines around the world, including the 33 Chilean Miners who were successfully rescued after several months underground, and the 29 Pike River Miners here in Greymouth whose bodies sadly still lie within the mine

But, this has also been a year of great new heights:
- Sintel, the third Open Movie Project was finally completed and released
- Blender 2.5 moves ever closer towards being a stable release (including a little bugsquash sprint effort by yours truly this afternoon to bring the bugcount back down towards 50)
- Bullet Rigid Body physics can now be set up within Blender's viewport and run in realtime, with control using "effector" force fields - at least in a branch, thanks to my GSoC work this year
- The birth of several new open source projects, including Duality SVN (which you'll hear about a bit more in the new year!)
- Me learning a bit more about photography, culminating in buying a DSLR, and thus spelling the start of the end for all the neighbourhood birds!

Well, that was 2010. Now bring on 2011!

Happy New Year all!

Playful Silvereyes...

Wow how time flies. And if time were a bird, then it would be playtime!

The poses here are very similar to some I've seen in other people's collections, though I personally prefer the ones in my previous posts more.

Monday, December 27, 2010

[Animating in 2.5] Getting to grips with Keying Sets

Over the past few months, I've been observing quite a bit of confusion over some aspects of the animation system in 2.5 that's all related to "Keying Sets". These are a rather important new feature aimed at improving the animation workflow, but which many people don't seem to be aware of. So, if you're wondering why you're getting a "weird" error message when trying to insert keyframes, or if you'd just like to learn some new workflow tricks to make animating easier, read on :)

[Rigging FAQ] Constraint Spaces Explained

While working on a bug report today, I remembered that the "space conversions" stuff for constraints (added during my 2.45/2.46 Constraints Refactor) often seems to be a point of contention for some (many?) riggers.
This will be a brief guide to the various spaces and how they relate to each other to hopefully act as a starting point for further investigations by yourselves.

[Side note: I'm trying to get this out between aftershocks here, so apologies in advance for anything that isn't clear]

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Just when you think it's all over...

From last night till the time of writing this post, we've (Christchurch residents) been reminded once again of the power of Mother Nature.

Even before heading to bed, there was already a little gentle shake... something that felt like one of those 3.4-ers or less.

Then at around 2am this morning, there were 2 "rapid fire" shakes: small-ish but still scary considering that it was dark (like that first one that changed everything), and that the second one occurred mere minutes after the first one had started settling down.

Falling asleep after the shock of these two was hard. Were these shakes the precursor for more seismic activity overnight? Is there going to be a third one any moment now? Questions that had long fallen silent after over a month without any major shaking began swirling around in the darkness, hovering over my bed like a swarm of impatient flies and mosquitos...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Festive Silvereyes

Following on from my success a few days ago, I had another go at taking snaps of the silvereyes as they dined on the berry-tree again this morning. This time it was a trio of silvereyes, though I think I only managed to photograph one of them.

I particularly like these two shots as they seem to be the most in focus. However, it's a pity that leaf was still in the way!

Seasons Greetings

So, it's that time of the year again, so here goes...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

I was planning on trying to release some projects in time for a Christmas Eve release, but it seems that being on holiday is a bit more fun at the moment. So, stay tuned... and have fun!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Silvereye success at last!

I've got a few posts about the things which have been keeping me busy (and rather silent here) recently in the pipeline, but this afternoon I was very excited to have managed to finally get some shots (albeit after some cropping) of the silvereyes which are my favourite this year...

Oh yeah! The branches are a bit of a pity, and a longer lens would've been nice (it's all the more painful to think that one was sitting in a locked glass cupboard just 2 blocks away ;)), but finally a decent full-body shot.

But, just wait till you see the next shot, then come back and observe this one again ;)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Recent Macro Experiments

So, it's been a while since I've posted any macro photos here, so here are some recent ones...

Bumblebees on bottlebrush (or pohutakawa, or rata) flowers. Ever since I first saw such a photo several years ago, I've been trying to take one "better" than that (it was great, but I felt that it could've been a bit better still). For the record, this isn't it yet (this is a bit OOF), but the sharp eyed out there may have already noticed that this is the photo in the background of the screenshot in this post.

SVN Quick Tip - Enable AutoProps...

As part of work on Duality SVN, I've been periodically reading the SVN redbook and other SVN documentation to find out how to get SVN to behave in ways that I like most so that my tool will make things significantly easier for myself in the long run.

Today, while working on adding files, I noticed an option: "--auto-props" that can be used in conjunction with svn add. From the documentation, when set, this will automatically add SVN properties to files based on some pattern-matching magic.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Handle-Type Hotkeys Debate

Today there were some changes to the hotkeys for setting the handle types for keyframes and also for standard curve editing back towards the old 2.4x style keymappings. While I admit that the implementation in the Animation Editors was a bit clunky - namely, the menu being a bit unwieldy/ugly - the key benefit of this approach over the old one was that the handle-type hotkeys were now accessible in a logical + consistent grouping.

Therefore, I think this brings up a very natural point at which we should re-evaluate how we're doing this. As I see it, both ways have their pros and cons, though perhaps we need to be looking for another (better) alternative still!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Duality SVN - Self-Hosting Milestone Reached

Today has been a very productive day. 
Today is also a very important day.
Today Duality SVN became self-hosting.

Duality SVN in action, preparing to be used to commit some changes to it's SVN repository. It can also be used to update the working copy from the SVN repository, allowing for the basics of day to day collaborative development work already. Hence, as of this morning, it has "self hosting"! ;)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Duality SVN - Gathering momentum

Things have been getting a bit quiet here over the past few days, so let's dust off the cobwebs here!

Over the past week, I've been slowly working away on getting the Duality SVN UI up and running. Unfortunately, things have been going a bit slower than hoped (so this post does NOT announce the first public release as tentatively advertised before), as I ended up getting stuck for a few days trawling so-so documentation (and dissecting example scripts) before finally figuring out the necessary code to get a few core components working. In particular, most of this work all just went towards...
The "status list" widget.

(NB: The colour of the "external" status indicator is something I'm still playing with. I've been trying to get it as invisible as possible using the "predefined" colours as I really don't care about such entries much. Anyways, on second thought, the yellow seems to be a bit too loud still, yet grey makes it too similar to "Unversioned" which I want discrete yet still visible. Hmm...)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Not all "pedantic" compiler warnings are made equal

IMO, "pedantic" compiler warnings are for the large part evil. Or at very best, very very annoying in most cases. Just like lawyers seem to find some kind of masochistic satisfaction gleaning over twisted nests of spaghetti-legalese clauses, picking apart code so that it is totally "semantically" correct is just an picky exercise in tedium and pointlessness unless something is going wrong.

Without further ado, let's look at some "pedantic" warnings which I think should be considered harmful to resolve - that is, DO NOT CHANGE CODE THAT CAUSES THESE!
DISCLAIMER: you may need to research your compiler's documentation to identify which warnings equate the the ones being referenced here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In a little pickle...

A little Garfield figurine sitting in one of the side cups of my new desk. After so many years of trying to find one, I finally had a nice graphics/drafting desk (i.e. one of those that you can angle), which are so much more comfortable to use than standard desks.

FollowPath Changes - 2.55 onwards

Recently I've been seeing quite a few complaints/confusion regarding some of the changes made with the FollowPath constraint and Path Animation in general in 2.5, in particular, since 2.55. So, if this sounds like you, read on!