Sunday, April 27, 2008

nCloth and PFX, What to do with a magnolia, Boats

In the world of 3D modeling, animation etc., I made a discovery recently that I thought I should share. You can use Maya's Paint effects in conjunction with Maya's nCloth. I used it in this example to build a rude hammock. I built the geometry for the hammock as a polygon plane and turned it into an nCloth object. Once I had the evaluation behaving the way a hammock should, I made it live to add the PFX brush fiber>rope.

I see this new found marriage as a really cheap way to illustrate earthquakes and fiery lava flows with sparks, things of that nature, but it would be a good way to show living tissues with bronchioles or other nasty inner space visions too.

On a personal note, I cut down a beautiful Star Magnolia or Northern Magnolia today, shown below after flowering. It died of unknown causes over the course of a few years. I was really sad to see it go and I am mystified by its passing, so if anyone knows why a 60 year old Magnolia might up and die, please pass it along.

My son Xander and I have begun work on our father/son expedition boat, most likely to be named the Dawn Treader. She is a plywood sailing skiff and I will be posting a photographic log of our progress beginning with the next post. In that vein I have decided to add a new blog link section see Kick Ass Boat Blogs for more info.

Here is the boat we are building:

I screened the film "24 hours on craigslist" last night. I had really high hopes for this film and wish I could say it lived up to them, but it doesn't. As a huge craigslist advocate, it pains me to warn you away from the film.

And that's the Cold Hard Blog!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Chumby and Bug Art

Right, What the hell is a Chumby?

A few days ago I attended a fantastic and inspiring lecture on Bug Art. This could have gone anywhere since I, myself have created a load of sculptural and 2d art based on insects and once heard a story about a guy who pulled the wings off of thousands of beetles and pasted them inside of a box the end of which was to potrait some kind of beautiful artistic vision, I didn't get it. The Bug Art refered to in the lecture was a completely different sort art, one that I feel is extremely topical and worth exploring on many levels and with many of todays vast and imperfect digital tools.

Here is an abstract in the Author's own words:

    An Argument for Bug Art
  • "For as long as artists have worked with computer-based tools, artists have had to contend with bugs. Typically these bugs are considered problems: when a piece of software doesn’t work as expected, there is a general rush to fix it. In this talk I will introduce Bug Art, a movement suggesting that these so-called broken pieces of code should be explored as novel and valuable art-making technologies before being hastily fixed and lost forever." (Perry & Sax 2008)

  • I don't want to spoil the mystery so that is all I will say but if you have any "bug" art you would like to share, Send it to me and I'll post it here, or send me a link and I will put the link in the 'Cool Ass Links to Hot Bug Art' section.

    Next topic:
    If you haven't seen it already, What are you waiting for? Of course I'm talking about Flight of the Conchords. The bad boys from NZ rocking it up on the big apple's grandest stages. OK here is a small taste if you live in a cave, which you obviously don't because you are reading the most obscure and pointless blog on the blogosphere.

    Finally Chumby: A Whatsit full of widgets.

    This info came from Wired magazine:
    "The Chumby is a small, inexpensive, leather-clad Wi-Fi Internet appliance with a hackable operating system that has become a popular device with software and hardware hackers. "The key part of the Chumby's appeal is that it's an embedded-hardware device that's open," says Linux programmer Andrew Walton, a Chumby software hacker who moderates his own Chumby-hacking forum. "Everyone's used to open source software, but with open source hardware it's a whole new game. When you combine them both, Chumby hackers can literally do anything they want." The Chumby can deliver whatever channels of Internet-based content a user wants, and also comes with Adobe's Flash, enabling developers to construct their own widgets."(Gardiner, Bryan)

    I can't decide if this piece of harware has any value in the home or not. Sure it delivers any web content you could think up to your bedside but c'mon do I really need to get the WWW delivered to my alarm clock? If you own a Chumby, please explain the value of one to me. Thanks. Find out more...

    On a final note if you are running Maya 2008 and hate the view cube as I do, good news. I wrote a script that adds the former view compass functionality to a shelf, so you are always only 1 click away from switching from an orthographic to a persp view again. Download it here.