Blogs

Playing with 3D in Blender

Short Intro of myself

For the past couple months while working with the College of Arts and Sciences I have been doing 3D animation and some 2D artwork.  This blog will be specifically discussing my 3D endeavors in Blender.

Onto the 3D

Media solutions for Drupal

One of my first projects at Arts & Sciences Computing Services was to work on the Video project. This project was, most basically, a YouTube clone that would allow the college to encode, store, and serve up public and private (copyrighted) video content thereby having complete control of its use, availability, etc. The current implementation was in C# in ASP.Net using FFMPEG to do encoding and some other libraries to handle authentication and file management.

Since I this was my first experience with C#, and more so ASP.Net, I didn't get to make a large impact (or even a tiny dent) on the Video project before a separate project took precedence and I started working with Drupal (Hint: you’re currently looking at said project). It wasn’t long I was wrapped up in writing modules and tweaking Drupal to do our bidding. The Video project was almost out of mind, in fact, until I started researching Drupal's Media module for use on yet another project.

Media module

The Importance of a Website

     As I was surfing the web to try and find a gift for Father’s Day, I realized how very important the design of a website can be.  There were several websites that I passed up because they either looked too childish, confusing, disorganized, or even spurious.  Being so involved in the internet and having grown up in the internet generation, I guess I took for granted that everyone, especially entrepreneurs, realized the impact that a website makes on a potential customer.  You only get a few seconds to make a good first impression and if you do not make me feel comfortable surfing your site and giving you my credit card information, I will move on to the next site. 

     Moreover, I was observing a colleague while he surfed several University websites and saw the same phenomenon.  Some sites are just poorly laid out and it greatly affects how potential students view the entire school.  When I was looking at Universities at which to apply, their website did make an impact on me.  Granted, their website was not as important to me as the credentials of the school but it did make a difference in how I viewed the school. 

Visual Chemistry

How does DNA work?  There's an A, and a C, and a G, and some other letter I can't readily recall, but did manage to learn to pass a test at some point.  I remember hearing about this double helix thing, the kind of far out, 'whoa how awesome is the universe!' kind of thing hippies dig, but eventually burn out on.  Apparently it was some transcendental cosmic beauty that made this so, but I would never be able to comprehend it fully due to my insufficient grounding in chemistry, most of which consisted of mnemonic devices to a random assortment of formulas, recounted in a voice to trick toy dogs and cheerleaders into thinking chemistry was fun.  Suffice it to say, the animated cartoon hillbilly DNA strand from Jurassic Park a few years prior made a much more lasting impression on my young mind.

Feynman's illustration of water molecules in steam

Harry Donut Rain

OH MY GOD

If you like crisp images. You, my friend are in for something really amazing. HDR images are what you are missing in your life. They're cool, they're hip, they're HDR!

But really though, they're pretty cool.

Here is how it happens,

Take a billion versions of your solid image (really like 40 versions.) Each version of your image must be taken at a new shutter speed each time. This way you have every possible light exposure for your image. After you have your images, you will use the HDR program in photoshop to blend each one of the 40 versions of your image together so that they create one ultimate image (which contains every possibility for light exposure). Then in the HDR program within photoshop, you can make your tweaks as you please. And, BAM you've got yourself one mighty fine HDR photograph.

Here is a more descriptive tutorial from a website i love called psdtuts. Look at it.

Here are some really cool HDR images.

Thank you, Internet, for remembering

Before I begin this blog entry, I have a confession to make.  I spend entirely too much time on the Internet.  I don’t really have a good excuse for it (although if you gave me about ten seconds I could probably think up a decent or mediocre reason), it just happens.  Even as I type this entry I have four tabs open on Firefox and I’m checking them like a conspiracy theorist checks his tinfoil hat; that is to say, frequently and with much paranoia that something has happened and I’m not aware of it.

On a certain level, I hate the Internet for this.  I spent four hours outside at a nice picnic today, eating sun-warmed food and breathing air that was neither cooled by an air-conditioning unit nor stank of food left by coworkers in the office fridge, yet as soon as the picnic was over I had to hurry back to my desk and open those four tabs to make sure all was still well and good.  Yet as much as I loathe this wretched creation of man for intertwining itself so closely in my life and workplace that I can never hope to escape its foul clutches for more than a few hours at a time, I realize that deep down I truly love the Internet, for the simple reason that it remembers what I would otherwise forget.

Kindle Lending: Libraries of the Future?

Have you ever wanted to read a new book, but didn’t feel like dishing out money or driving to the library? Now, you can lend a book free of cost through Kindle’s Book Lending program, at www.booklending.com.  People are able to lend out their Kindle eBooks to others for 14 days.  It is free of charge for both parties, but each book can only be lent out one time, and the owner of the book cannot access that book while the person borrowing it is reading it.  Once the borrower has finished the book, they can delete it and it returns to the owner, or if 14 days pass, the book disappears and goes back to the owner.  One great aspect of the site is that you can login using Facebook, so you don’t need to worry about creating yet another account.  The lending process is not immediate, however.  I tried to lend a book after signing in, and it told me that a request has been made.  I am not sure how long that will take, or if it will notify me that my book is ready to read.

Baby Steps

I walk to work. Everyday. I realize that not everyone has this opportunity, and even when presented with it, often times it is not the most logical or efficient means of commuting. Fortunately for me, walking to work is the best way to commute. Stepping out my door, I stick in my ear buds and within 15 minutes or so, I'm at the office. Walking to work gives me a chance to clear my mind and commute peacefully, not having to deal with rush hour traffic. With the morning sun shining down on me, I know it's going to be a good day - and I haven't even had my first cup of coffee.

What DA FONT!!!!

I am a huge fan of fonts. I think they bring personality to a banner, log, poster, or even a word doc. In this blog I will be discussing where to find free cool fonts and how to put them on your computers font library. 

First you need to get on the in-tro-net (Internet) and type in free fonts into google, my favorites are Dafonts.com. Once you find a site you like you should explore all of the different genres of fonts and select some that you think could be used on different projects. Once you find one you like you press download. The font is then downloaded as a .ZIP file in downloads folder, there are usually two or three different files that come inside the .ZIP. You then take the files and drag them into the font library, which is located under Library->Fonts. The font is now in all of the applications on your computer. Have fun exploring the different places to use different fonts to make you piece more visually pleasing!

   

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