Linux…My New Favourite

Over the years I have flirted with the idea of using linux as my operating system of choice on my desktop however I was never very good with using the terminal or programming or familiar with the concepts upon which linux works. That is different now however. Since my university uses dual-boot systems with windows and linux on them I have found that most of the work that I do can be done much better on linux or should I say in a much more customise-able fashion.

One of the main problems I had was with using the terminal; I knew that I didn’t have to use it to get about the system but everybody I spoke to said that is was the best thing to use but I just couldn’t understand why. This again has changed with me. Until recently I figured that using the terminal was just quicker than navigating windows however I found that the terminal is much more versatile than that. In my case I encountered a problem where I had 5 sets of 96 frames in different folders; this was fine however they all had the same title. That was until the terminal came and saved the day! I was able to put my programming knowledge to good use and wrote a short shell script that simply renamed all of the frames in correct order with a name of choice while preserving the frame number. This saved me quite literally hours of renaming files. Now, I understand in windows you can simply click and drag over all the files, rename one and the rest will take on the same name but with a “(1)” etc after it however, for constructing video from image frames video editors don’t usually pick these bracketed numbers up and so this naming convention causes more problems. Just one example of why I now love linux.

I have considered completely moving over to linux however I am also an avid gamer. Because of this I think I will always have windows accessible in one form or another. Which is a shame in a way but it’s no big issue. The way I see it is I can do all of my work on linux and I can use windows for entertainment.

What are your thoughts on the whole linux debate?


Project Euler…A Hobby?

Recently I have been getting more and more into programming; so much so that I have been not only doing it at university but I have also taken it up in my spare time to make programs that make my life easier and to also solve problems from project euler.

For those of you who don’t know project euler is a website that has a large amount of mathematical and programming problems/questions that can only be solved through making programs to work out the answer (unless you want to spend years of your life working out the answers). An example of these questions is to work out the 10001st prime number or to work out the largest product of 13 sequential digits in a larger number consisting of 100 digits. These are only the easy questions too!

I find myself late at night while my brain is still whirring thinking about possible programmable solutions to the problems to calm me and nothing seems to give more satisfaction then when I solve one of these problems. Could this be the hobby that I have been searching for? It’s almost perfect in my mind as hobby; programming in general that is however as I seem to have a lack of my own problems to solve with programming project euler is perfect for giving me goals to work towards. It’s also quite a feat too to complete the later questions where only handfuls of people (compared to how many have answered the first questions) have tried and been successful. Some of the later questions only ~90 people have solved them where as the starting questions have been solved by ~50000.

Perhaps if I find the time I will update this blog as I progress through the questions; a challenge I am very much looking forward to.

Compositing Project!

The second project I have been working on over the past couple of months is compositing. My project was to take pictures of a set or place and render three balls in different positions to a photorealistic standard and composite them into the original image in a way so that they look like they would naturally be there. Here is the original and then final image that I created for this project.


(For some reason the original image has uploaded in bad quality)


Personally I think I did quite a reasonable job, what do you think?

To create this I used reference images to get the shading correct and then created a HDRI image of of the environment using the chrome ball which I then used as a dome light in the 3D scene. I also created a texture including bump may for the table the balls are resting on so that the colour reflected and the shadows would be exactly the same in the 3D scene as in real life.

Table Texture

Table texture that I created from the original backplate image

Blended images_Rotated

HDRI Image that I created and used

When it comes to rendering I had to render many passes which can be seen below in the layer contact sheets:

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After that I took the images into Nuke and composited all of the images together to create the final image! This is what the final node graph looked like:

node graph

(Unfortunately I no longer have the original render frames so you can’t see the original images in this. Also due to the size of the node graph none of the text can be viewed which is a shame)

There you have it! Everything that went into my compositing project! I hope you enjoyed my work!

Healthy Eating

Finally, after all these years of trying to shift my way from eating chips and pizza every other night I have managed to completely shift my diet over to lots of fruit, vegetables and water instead of fizzy drinks! I know this sounds silly but truthfully this is a big thing for me. I have tried time and time again to eat healthy however it has always been forced yet this time it seems easier and the right thing to do. So much so I actually think I have a chance of keeping up this healthy lifestyle for a reasonable amount of time. Wish me luck!

Beehive Yourself!

This is the first of the projects that I am presenting to you which I have completed recently. This project was not entirely completed by myself; rather I played a part in its production.

For an outline of the project I was set the goal was to create a short animation (approximately 1 minute in length) of a narrative. The narrative was pitched by other students whom wanted to direct these projects and everyone who didn’t pitch (or didn’t have their narratives chosen) were designated to each of the successful directors groups.

Within the group I initially wanted to work on scripting and animation however this unfortunately didn’t occur. Instead I worked on:

  • Character Modelling
  • Rigging
  • FX(Fur)
  • Animation (Shots 4 and 5)

So for your pleasure here is the animation:

I modeled two of the bees; the Drone and the Worker. I was supplied model sheets to do this and overall I think they turned out well!

I also created the rigs for all three of the bees (Drone, Worker and Queen bee). This was relatively simple as they all needed similar rigs and the legs of bees are segmented and so no smooth weight paints were needed for any part of the body except for the neck area and when the thorax joins the rest of the body. I also implemented IK handles in each of the rigs for each leg and the antennae to make animating easier.



Next I created the fur for the bees. To do this I used GMH2 (a plugin for maya hair). The process was simple however there was a large amount of testing performed to get the right look. To attach the fur I used polygon cards which were constrained to the rig. I then attached the fur to the polygon cards in clumps.


After all that all that was left for me to do was animate shots 4 and 5:

Finally, here is the turntables of the two bees that I modeled:

And that’s all there was to it! I hope you enjoyed this post and my work!


New Wave of Content

Hello all again!

I am sorry my hiatus from this blog has been so long. University work had picked up, projects were tense and bonds between friends were stretched and hardened in the process. Projects are still going on with the sight of exams starting to appear over the horizon and so while I take this momentary breath before the next long haul of programming and maths work I have decided to show you all what I have been up to. This time truly a large amount has changed (unlike some previous posts I have written reciting the same thing).

Over the coming days you can expect quite a large amount of posts from me ranging from life “stuff” to the projects I have recently completed with breakdowns and details about said projects.

So if you take anything from this post it should be that I’m still here!

Quick note

Just a quick note, I want to start to bring you all some regular…somewhat expected content. As an example as I am studying animation and one of the main things I have to do is draw. I have managed to somehow get myself into the habit of drawing for at least 10-15 mins every day and because of this I think a weekly post of drawings that I have made from the previous week will be good to show. It also gives me the opportunity to get some feedback about my drawing from people. (Does this sound good to you?)

But because of the nature of things such as drawings I need to get a hold of a scanner but it’s looking like I won’t be able to do that until I visit home again which won’t be for a week or two. After that though you can expect some regular posts of drawing 🙂

I also want to keep you all up to date on the work I am doing for Uni and outside of it so you can probably expect another weekly update section from me specifically on my current work and any work I finish.

Still, this is meant to be just a quick notice to let you know so that you can expect content from me to be sparse for just a little while longer.