just another web log

30 Jul 2018:
ffmpeg saves another blender video
really surprised I had not posted this ages ago

# blender video re-encoding from defaults so it can be imported without a speed strip
ffmpeg -i yourfile.mkv -c:v libx264 -crf 23 -pix_fmt yuv420p -c:a copy -r 24 newfile.mkv

This becuase Blender uses an out of date ffmpeg library.
29 Jul 2018:
do not celebrate until it is too pi
Frame 350 completed!

Celebration time? Not quite.

Firstly I noticed I had not set the Seed to Frame in Sampling. This has created a consistent static sheen of random noise across the animation frames. Looks a bit rubbish but I am not re-rendering everything again.
That will teach me to check a few frames and not look at the whole animation full screen.
If I had it set then each frame would have had a different noise profile and the lack of samples would not be so obvious.
Blender 3d software Seed from Frame setting UI

Then I found that the next piece of animation would invalidate at least HALF of that animations frames :( This is because the model used changes, from the empty board to the populated one.
3d rendering of a raspberry pi 3 model B inside a fictional manufacturing unit

To get the Raspberry Pi model into my conveyor belt scene I first cleaned up the Pi model and created an empty. This empty was set to display type cube and scaled to fit around the Pi model. This Empty is then used as the Parent of all the components.

Opened the Conveyor belt .blend file and used File/Append selected the Pi .blend and spent ages trying to select all the Materials/Images/Curves/Meshes and Objects, only to have it fail with the message "Nothing Indicated". To fix all I had to do was ONLY select the items from the Objects as everything else is linked from Objects automatically.

Now I had the Pi with it's handy Empty/Parent to move, rotate and scale! The pivot point was not where I needed it to be, so I created another Empty and set to the edge of the Pi. This was as the Parent to my current Pi Empty and then that was parented to the existing and already animated un-populated Pi board. Hide the un-populated Pi board and all the animation was done!
So just to recap; all the components of the Pi were Parented to an empty that represented the Volume of the Pi, this was Parented to another Empty whose only job was to define the Pivot point for rotations and finally that Empty was Parented to the already animated un-populated Pi board, which was the hidden.

While doing the research into those various aspects of Blender I randomly came across a note of how Animation Modifiers can make infinitely rotation objects of a constant speed. This is interesting as I had spent ages tuning the rotation of my conveyor belt rollers, only to need then to continue at the same speed when extending the animation. I had had to measure the change in value against time and then factor the rate of change to apply to the extension.

Not to mention I am now rendering another 154 ,new frames :p
25 Jul 2018:
frame 289 so far
Frame 289 :(

Really should have opted for a low resolution. Will I learn my lesson for next time, probably not.
21 Jul 2018:
raspberry pi cooking taking longer than expected
The Raspberry Pi Project is progressing.

I created a 350 frame scene and the frames are rendering one every 40mins. Currently on frame 158 and I started in running four days ago.
3d rendering of frame 001 scene 3 Rendering a Raspberry Pi

Really should not do this at 1920x1080 but I want to get it looking really nice.

There are two more scenes to animate and render after this and then a unrelated render to do before I can start editing all this together into the final video.

The final render was going to be a short animation but this is ridiculous!

Might be finished by Xmas (but which one?)!
21 Jul 2018:
Sun dog millionaire
Saw my first Sun dog tonight.

Not amazing enough to take a picture of but still a bit wow.
05 Jul 2018:
a true ping returns instantly
We have a Pingdom account that monitors the company web sites. It rarely goes off and if it does it usually for a 10-20 second outage. So it was a bit worrying to receive an alert and not have it immediately followed by a all-clear.

I got to work and tried pinging the server ... 100% packet loss. Then I tried pinging Google ... 100% packet loss. But I could browse the internet and Google was working fine...

Then I remembered, the serviced offices we are in are blocking UDP ports(aka ping). Drat! But I could ssh into one of our hosted web servers and use ping from there. Perfect.

ping servername

Nothing happened, no error, no pinging and the prompt just returned.

ping google.com

same result.

which ping
ls -l /bin/ping
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 20 Nov 13 2013 /bin/ping -> /bin/true

say what !?

ping points to true and true just returns true, i.e. no errors.

/me face palms

thanks 1and1

By that point the Pingdom alerted me to the fact the site was back online. Still no idea what happened!
05 Jul 2018:
a nation of light blenders for superman
One site I love and visit at least once a day is Blendernation. It is hub of great Blender stuff, from short movies to tips and tricks through a dizzying array of tutorials.

The tutorials range from hour+ long master classes to quick five minute how-tos. I have tried twice to submit my videos and failed. But the feedback was constructive and I have improved my techniques.

Now (almost a month ago) they have published my short tutorial Zooming Light Titles

It was something I had had in my head for a while and one lunchtime I tried out the technique. Not only did it work it was pretty damn cool. I had to share it with the world.

I thought it would be fun to use "Superman" as my example text as I clearly remember being allowed to stay up late to watch the beginning of the film only to find I only ever got to see the overly long titles!

A little bit of Googling lead to Art of the Title : Superman a page talking about the making of the original titles!

(it also highlighted how my titles were not so similar)

I never promote my work to try and get Likes/Followers/Subscribers but I sometimes do want to spread the joy of what I have been working on. So I was very happy to find that

The Video has over 600 views and 9 thumbs up and 8 subscribers!

I am doing something right
01 Jul 2018:
breath of the wild took my breath away and i want it back
It is finally over!

My terrible ordeal. I have said goodbye to an addiction that took a heavy toll on me. And it really was an addiction. I continued to do it even though I knew it was causing issues to myself and others and I even sustain physical injury from it, though very minor. I disregarded things that normally would be my highest priority.

What the hell am I talking about?

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

A computer game on the Nintendo Switch. A game I am going to call The best game I have ever played. There is so much to this game it feels like nothing I have ever played before, and played it I have.

We have.

Just over a month ago my kids saved up and bought tLoZ:BotW and I happened to see their first attempts. I likened it to The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on the Wii and demanded a go.

Mistake number 1, was take the Switch from the communal TV and place it in my office. It is designed to be easily moved and just thought after playing it I would put it back. That was five weeks ago. My office offers a much more comfortable gaming experience and after seeing my playing in it, my kids demanded the same privilege.

This game is massive and hugely open, allowing the player to use a variety of play styles. For instance, the world is laid out with a number of roads, but I opted to always avoid them. Choosing instead to take my time roaming mountain ranges and gorges. This lead to two things. One, I found a lot of cool things that the play is not supposed to find until later in the game and two, I missed out on a number of plot points because, essentially I was avoiding the plot.

I was playing a minimum of 3 hours a day and 6 hours per non-week day. But that does not include the additional hours my kids were putting in. Meaning that as a family we were averaging 34 hours a week non stop for five weeks.
(and loving ever moment of it)

I could write volumes on what I saw in that gaming world but the easiest way to avoid boring you is to note the game was over six years in the making. There are main quests, shrine quests, side quests and additional quests to complete. Most can be done at any time and in any order but they total the hundreds. Not to mention the collecting of food, elixir, enhancement ingredients, cooking useful food/elixirs, mining rocks and collecting seeds. And that does not cover the variety of weapons, collecting pictures, clothing and defeating enemies.

And that ... does not include the game play physics, the weather patterns, the in world clock, the graphics and the music.

The graphics do need a special mention. The are the best you have ever see, the shadows from the clouds, the non-repeating textures and geology and the furthest draw distance I have ever witnessed.

OK, enough gushing. I have quit tLoZ:BotW, I announced it to the kids and I am not going back. I completed all the main quests, all the shrine quests, all the shrines and 72/77 side quests, not to mention numerous "bits" that are part of the game experience.

So why not finish off the last few side quests? Because they are silly time consuming filler tasks and I have done many of them and want my time back!


plus there is something very important I need to blog about and should have flogged about weeks ago ...
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