Monday, June 29, 2009

DIY Moco Update

So it's been several weeks since I posted any real progress on the DIY Moco front. So here is a bit of an update.

I was almost ready to release the software, but as I was going over the code I came across a few fatal flaws in my design :( The most obvious was that my position engine could only support one stepper motor! I thought it would be easy to make it support more. But due to the dynamic nature of the engine, I would have to resort to some serious multi threaded type coding and interrupts to get it to work the way I want. If you are not familiar with the Moco Tools For Maya project, here's an example clip. This is just one piece of a much larger idea :)

I discovered a new micro controller platform which is slowly louring me into it's multi-core ways. It's called Propeller and it's made by Parallax. I'm interested in it because it can run up to 8 parallel loops due to it's multi-core design. So in my case I would use one for serial communication, one for file reading and buffering and the other 6 would each have their own position control engine. Each Proc is called a "Cog" and while they function independently, they can all talk to each other as well!

If I was just reading the move data from a file, all of this would be much easier. But I am really interested in the interactive position control for all six stepper motors at the same time. This is why I'm seriously considering the propeller for this for this project.

On the weekend I attended an Arduino Physical Computing class. It was run by a couple of guys for the Adelaide Dorkbot chapter. Check out this post for more info. Fun was had by all!

At my real place of work I have be learning pftrack. It's a piece of software used for extracting a moving 3D camera from 2D footage. It's not the funnest job I've had to do, but iteresting none the less.

I've also been learning Perl and Processing. Why Perl you ask? The current interface for the openMoco timelapse engine is written in Perl. So if I am to speak to it, I need to know it's language (well, a little :) Why Processing? It's visual! and it plays nice with Arduino and I am in the early stages of writing a generic animation editor. Like the ones you see in most animation packages, only much simpler.

A few weeks back I did a talk about my motion control adventures for our local chapter of Dorkbot. It was well received.

Tomorrow night I am doing a talk for the Australian Video Producers Association. I'm tag teaming it with a friend of mine who is a professional timelapse photographer. Check out his work! I think it's beautiful.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I made the top 20!

A friend of mine just notified me that I'm on the HacknMod top 40 Arduino Projects on the Web! I can scarcely believe it myself! I came in at number 20. Check out the link for loads of other cool projects!

The project I'm listed for has been on the shelf for a little while. Maybe it's time to dust it off and release it to the world!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

This is Me!

Apparently this is me! :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

First Light (Image Based Lighting Test)

Original Sculpted Maquette

3D Render A/B Composite (no textures)

So I had some time off work and decided to dust off the old film again. This time I did some RND on the Lighting Pipeline. I am using Mental Ray's hidden Production Shader Collection. These shaders are awesome. So far they do everything I need them to do and are fairly quick to render too! It's nice to know that this result can still be acheived with out proprietry tools like the ones I use at work.

This clip has obvious issues with the shadows and depth of field. These problems should go away, once I am able to render into separate passes.

There are still a few tests I need to do such as outputting render passes for comp and how to control specular with the mia materials. But I'm feeling pretty good about it. Once I am confident with the lighting pipeline, I will balance the textures ready for the final renders. Soon I will be able to see more than just grey characters slapped on top of the background footage. Yay!