CGI coffee


Revelations of a computer graphics apprentice

David Eagleman on how your brain and your body are the drivers for your consciousness

David Eagleman is a renowned American neuroscientist and a well-known "brain science guy", who gained widespread popularity following his Emmy-nominated PBS documentary, The Brain with David Eagleman (2015). It's a series I believe everyone should absolutely watch regardless of their interest in science in general. This show raises and answers a lot of questions you may have on how the brain operates (as far as the contemporary science can tell) and how this affects everyone on a daily basis.

David Eagleman

I see Mr. Eagleman as a person from the world of "popular science", considering the way he delivers his ideas and discoveries on public and how he presents his views overall.

In the following video he gives a short and effective presentation on how human biology is tightly intertwined with one's personality. It's no secret that people are different. We have extremely contrasting views on various subjects and beliefs. Our personalities, especially, can make or break our ability to make friends, take part in a conversation, develop skills and so on.

But not many are aware that it's not just society, environment and education that take part in forming a pliable, developing mind. It's the body one resides in and carries around that can, and absolutely does affect one's the very decision and adds even more credibility to a well-known proverb:

"A healthy body makes a healthy spirit"

This brief presentation is a short and sweet bit of information of the topic that might help you take your body seriously as well as think twice before attributing actions of others to pure malice or conscious ill will. The person you know may be either a guest or a hostage to his or her own body and hopefully this talk will give you a basic idea why we are so different at the most fundamental level. Since a tower of cards we call "consciousness" is built upon this very foundation, when the underpinning groundwork is starting to give, the whole building is surely to be affected as well.

Twitch 2019: reaching levels of hypocrisy that should not be possible

Do you know Twitch?

Introduced in June 2011 as a spin-off of the general-interest streaming platform, Justin.tv, the site primarily focuses on video game live streaming, including broadcasts of eSports competitions, in addition to music broadcasts, creative content, and more recently, "in real life" streams.

I... I accidentally (yeah, right!) stumbled upon such "in real life" stream with almost a million views. And I have to say...

WOW!

Please note: you can safely share this post with your children of all ages, because the stream was marked as "family friendly":

family friendly twitch stream with boobs

What? You disagree? Come on... Twitch knows best.
Let's check out the official Community Guidelines:

twitch community guidelines regarding  attire

Ooooooh... So it does actually say that "attire (or lack of attire) intended to be sexually suggestive includes undergarments, intimate apparel..."

You're just seeing things, OK?

Trust me, it was surely not "exposing/focusing on male or female genitals". I totally didn't see any "undergarments or intimate apparel" in the video above. As well as didn't notice anything even remotely "sexually suggestive".

NOT SEXUALLY SUGGESTIVE

NOT SEXUALLY SUGGESTIVE

NOT SEXUALLY SUGGESTIVE

Did you?

Oh, Samsung... You truly are the most laughable copycat of all copycats

Remember this "family"? The one Samsung marketing team created to mock Apple and stress how ridiculous of a concept the notch was?

Samsung Apple notch haircuts family

Or...

Remember this guy? The one from the ad?

Samsung dongle guy

One who drops the phone into water and has to put it into rice in hopes to help it dry up and recover since iPhones back then were not even remotely waterproof, as well as has to use a dongle to have his phone charged and connected to his headphones at the same time? What a loser, right? Samsung phones are where it's at! They have the 3.5mm audio jack! Right?..

Right?

Bethesda Chronicles: Rock Bottom

Long story short:

  • Bethesda released ports of Doom 1, 2, 3 for Nintendo: SWITCH with DRM. Yes. You read that right: a set with a 25+ year old game with DRM and a Terms of Service agreement.

Doom 1 DRM. WOW Bethesda... Just... WOW

  • The very same Bethesda released Wolfenstein: Youngblood which... Which... Let's just say, that corporate greed and the real face of the "New Bethesda" is strong in this one: complete failure to market the product, deceitful videos which didn't show the true nature of the product until the very last day prior to release and, of course, loads and loads of microtransactions to seal the deal. I've made a backup of all user reviews from Metacritic just in case, so we all could revisit this trainwreck of a title any time to remind ourselves that the Old Bethesda is finally gone.

I wonder how the New Bethesda is going to embarrass itself again in the future. It will sure be spectacular!

Eating pop-corn

New Unity 2019 2D sprite rigging and lighting tools

With the latest 2019.1 update Unity team have seriously upgraded the 2D tool-set of the editor:

Seems like a lot of those tools were inspired by the Rayman Legends engine. Something I was drooling over 5 years ago, hoping one day Unity would implement some of those. And they finally did!

It really makes me all warm and fuzzy inside, remembering how most of those automated 2D tools and thingies were not available when I was working on Run and Rock-it Kristie in the freeware version of Unity 4 (which back then lacked even the Sprite packaging functionality!) and had to be either developed from scratch or achieved with some cool Asset Store stuff you would need to purchase and integrate into your product.

memories

Oh, the tools... The tools...

IK and rigging with bone weighting? Check:

Manual sprite atlasing and set-up? Check (atlasing is vital for mesh batching and draw call reduction):

manual-atlasing

Sprite assembly and animation? Check:

Dynamic level-building tools? Check (via modded version of the Ferr2D asset):

Dynamic lighting? Check! — With up to 4 live vertex lights and camera-distance based light culling to make sure the game would run at stable 60 fps on iPhone 4 (heavily reliant on the amazing but now deprecated Core Framework asset by echoLogin):

It was... Fun!

You know what I also remember? I remember almost every day working on the game I felt excited and driven. It was FUN. Even when it was challenging to solve some technical issues (there were a lot of those, especially for a beginner) or work around Unity limitations or bugs, it felt truly rewarding and would give such a powerful motivation boost that I would continue working until the end.

Until the release.

manual-atlasing

But the "serious" CG movie stuff I'm doing now?.. Honestly? Meh. It's so slow and clunky compared to my previous game development experience. Everything needs to be either cached, or rendered... I'm also having some grave issues with hair simulation which I wasn't able to overcome for the last 6+ months, many operations in the "classic" world of 3D editors are still either single-threaded, unstable, or require some very specific knowledge or particular and elaborate set-up... It's almost no fun! No fun means much, much less motivation to continue.

It's a problem.

manual-atlasing

Therefore this July I will instead be checking out the latest Unity Engine and see whether most of what I'm doing right now could be ported into Unity. Starting with simulation and scene assembly and hopefully — ending up animating, rendering and applying post effects right within the Unity Editor where everything is real-time and fun! I miss the real-time aspect! Oh boy, do I miss the ability to tweak materials and see the more or less finalized render of the scene even during assembly. The ability to import assets and build "smart" prefabs (like Softimage Models, but with interactivity and intrinsic scene-aware scripting via MonoBehavior) e.t.c...

I miss you, Unity!

The Paper Samurai

Concept rejected by a client? Pfft... Still good enough for the blog!

Can you tell the story by looking at the scene?

Epson Paper Samurai

Softimage. It's time to move on. Slowly. Gradually

softimage xsi splash screen

I found out about Softimage XSI 8 years ago by accident. While trying to create a simple curved satellite dish mesh in a trial of Maya 2011 I was getting constant crashes, weird mesh behaviors and overall was in shock "how hard it was to 3D". I then turned to the internet in search of answers and... found out, everyone was having problems with Maya. Regardless of what you were doing, it was (and still is) a goddamn mess of a 3D DCC package. Particularly for a hobbyist. And especially after it going subscription-only a couple years ago.

well shit

I then started looking for alternatives. Tried Blender... Remember 2011 Blender? Yeah... Let me just say it didn't "click" and the UI as well as the overall flow of production in Blender seemed like something from a parallel Universe. Not the one I wanted to be a part of.

There was Modo and 3ds Max. Modo was kind of weird with its layer-based material creation workflow and was actually not that intuitive to model in (at least for me as a complete noob back then). Max was kind of cool. I remember doing stuff in 3ds Max in college computer class back in the day always finding its interface a bit archaic. I played with it for a while and almost settled, before accidentally discovering a post somewhere on the web talking about about some "XSI" app. There was a screenshot and the author was praising this "XSI" for intuitive UI, ease of modeling and animation as well as a powerful tool-set and even some cool procedural capabilities.

So I tried this "XSI" which turned out to be Autodesk XSI Softimage 2011 and... was instantly hooked! Yes, it didn't have VRAY integration back then, yes, Mental Ray was a pain to work with, but over time other renderers became available: Arnold, Redshift, nowadays there's even "Sycles" - Blender Cycles integraton for Softimage, believe it or not. As well as lots of plug-ins, ICE compounds, built-in dynamics and so on...

I was set.

happy House MD