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Journals Stuff I made

Succulents and synthesisers

It’s been 23 to 29 July 2017. I’ve got a week of leave booked for the week coming during a lull in the big day job project – and it looks like the weather will be nice and clear! Yay!

I made some progress on Shot 3 of AAAAAAAAAAAAAA last week – I modelled and rigged a cactus, and I got started making a bird. I’m aiming to finish off Shot 3 in the next couple of days by modelling, rigging and texturing the bird then animating and rendering it all  After that, I can start thinking about Shot 4 and maybe even do some preliminary sound mix between tossing around scene ideas.

¡HOLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

In bleepier news, my modular synthesiser (DASYRAC) is nearly out of capacity. Both of the power supplies are getting close to their limits, and the physical racks are so full of modules that I’ll be pulling older/redundant modules out to make room for more useful ones. There’s a lot of sourcing parts, waiting for postal services and soldering in my future, but it’s nice that I’m hitting a natural stopping point.

Thing is, I haven’t really talked very much about DASYRAC or the whole modular synthesiser bit in this blog aside from mentioning dead op amps and soldering burns from time to time. It’s a huge thread of my creative efforts that’s been all but invisible here, and that’s a bit weird because I’ve spent way more time creating voltages than pixels lately. There’s really no good reason not to mix it up a bit in the blog too.

That said, modular synthesisers are esoteric little beasts that take a fair bit of introducing to the layperson. It’s probably worth doing a blog entry about all by itself..

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Journals Stuff I made

Plans meet reality, reality eats plans

Editorial note: This entry was originally way more downbeat than it is now, so I decided to rewrite it to help consider my situation in a different light. Sorry for the wordiness.

It’s been 16 to 22 July 2017 and what a week I’ve had: a 2:15am finish on Thursday night; the emergency phase of this high-visibility high-priority project that I’m technical lead on got extended for an extra week; trying to get fit enough to do an hour of exercise a day, doctor’s orders.

End result? My sleep is super out of whack and I’ve been too tired to unleash whimsical mayhem on my grey cyclorama world. I honestly thought going into AAAAAAAAAAAA that I’d have the capacity to come up with a new scene every two weeks, but for reasons both within and beyond my control I’ve lost my focus and it hasn’t worked out that way.

To elucidate further: animation demands focus and patience and confidence. If I go in tired then I can’t think straight, I’m put off by the thought of sustained mental effort, and I can’t even decide whether I like an idea because I don’t have the presence of mind to give it lucid consideration. The extra hours of screen-staring are not great for my neck or back either. So the project waits for when I’m feeling up to it, whenever that is. If at all.

Accordingly, it’s been yet another slow-going seven days for poor old Shot 3. I’ve got a shot plan and character designs which were OK last I checked, so I’m theoretically ready to wrestle a happy little bird and/or a cactus out of Blender tomorrow. I might even get far enough to animate something.

Lately though I’ve been giving much more attention to music-related stuff than animation. Maybe it’s just the novelty of getting to be creative without a computer being intimately involved, maybe it’s just a relief to follow a procedure to get a working module instead of having to make creative decisions, maybe it’s because I’m learning interesting things in a new field, maybe it’s because I’m compulsively buying these kits and haven’t begun to deal with it like the expensive addiction it is, maybe it’s because playing with a synthesiser is something I can do while I’m tired and animation really isn’t.

If I’m being super honest, music is OK but I get a lot more out of unleashing whimsical mayhem than I do from soldering together linear shift register based clap modules or patching up envelope-controlled through-zero frequency modulation. It’s not like waveforms have silly muppet eyes, though sometimes my patches make cool shapes in a phase scope.

This is the aforementioned thru-zero frequency modulation on a quadrature sine oscillator. It’s all spinny and stuff.

So even though I’m a bit stalled, I still want to keep going with AAAAAAAAAA at whatever pace I can manage because I need that kind of giddy absurd childish fun in my life and I want to build my animation-making skills up without intensive pre-production. I won’t always be able to knock out a new scene every two weeks, and that’s an annoyance because if I get stuck with an idea for too long I can’t help but tinker with it as it gets stale for me, but I’m sure I’ll suss it out if I can just switch off my soldering iron for a bit and show my animation some love again.

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Stuff I made

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

It’s been to 28 May to 3 June 2017.

Gag writing AMITS over the week has given me a bit of fun material to work with, but it feels too much like I’m stalled again. I’ve given the project a month and it’s in a far better place now, but I’m getting bored with it again and I want to work on something a bit more spontaneous.

So I’m starting another interim project this weekend and giving myself until the first weekend of October to finish it off. It’s another step along from the abstract freeform happy times of RYGCBMK◯ towards the more structured story of AMITS.

Just like RYGCBMK◯ there’s a set of rules for me to follow, key among which is that I am to make all of it up as I go along, scene by scene. No planning ahead is allowed. If I try to work out an ending in advance, I’m instantly barred from actually using it.

Felix Colgrave wrote “straight ahead” and got the amazing short Double King, so I figure it’s worth a try.

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Journals

This week intentionally left uninteresting

It’s been 23 to 29 April 2017.

I’ve been on some much-needed holidays for the last couple of weeks. After a stressful three months, I’ve been taking it nice and easy building analogue synthesiser modules, making noises with said analogue synthesiser modules, enjoying MST3K Series 11 and going to Perth Zoo to catch up with their quolls. It’s been very low key and relaxed and without any particular obligations. Just what I needed to relax and recharge!

I’ve been thinking a little bit about Pointy and Gronky and robots but I don’t have anything much to reveal just yet. Perhaps next week! 🙂

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RYGCBMK◯ Stuff I made

RYGCBMK◯ is released!

My little two-minute serve of abstract rhythmic procedural animation is available for all to see! Yay!

You can watch it above on YouTube, download it off Vimeo (CC-BY licence) or listen to the soundtrack on SoundCloud.

If you’ve got Blender 2.78 (even the current 2.78 nightly at the time of writing) with the Animation Nodes plugin, you can download this zip file full of shots to play with. There are even some shots in there which didn’t make the cut.

The final shot running order is as follows:

  • quollism ident: combination of 050, 264 and 452
  • morse code: 120
  • ball snake: 471
  • ring snake: 472
  • doughnut wave: 454
  • braille fireflies: 431
  • bouncy dot: 450
  • do-si-do spheres: 020
  • infinity looper: 470
  • purple attractor: 453
  • rainbow sine balls: 070
  • flippy pink doughnuts: 051
  • grooving amoeba: 060
  • splitting rainbow ball: 170
  • hexagonal echoed rings: 140
  • metaball pipe: 160
  • cool abstract bubbles: 181
  • weird stripy thing: 171
  • grooving bubble tank: 180
  • ring with lasers: 200
  • keke spheres: 220
  • happy bubble snake: 210
  • multicoloured ring explosions: 250
  • spinning mandala: 260
  • travelling mandala: 261
  • receding mandala: 263
  • approaching mandala: 262
  • fake oscilloscope: 264
  • alchemical symbols: 280
  • scribble ball: 270
  • rainbow ring: 290
  • rave curves: 320
  • heartbeat: 300
  • balls on wires: 330
  • random object sine: 331
  • migrating acid eggs: 371
  • jelly boomerangs: 380
  • galaxy: 350
  • ballswarm argument: 370
  • three pulsing objects: 400
  • ball and stick creature: 410
  • colour morphing sinewave: 402
  • neon cell: 473
  • folded circle: 420
  • line swoop: 401
  • travelling mandala: 451
  • reverse flashing rings: 430

I’m not sure what else to add at this point other than I hope my colourful little dancing spheres and toruses brighten your day. 🙂