Tag Archives: music

August 2018, come on down!

Welcome welcome! August will probably be remembered best in Australia for when yet another prime minister got knifed by wreckers in his own party, more notably this time because said wreckers had two goes in a single week and didn’t even get their guy in. My country is evidently being run by evil clowns.

Fun with animation

I handed in another animation exercise on the CG Cookie course, this time the splined and polished version of the robot jump. Here’s a fully rendered version which I probably shouldn’t have rendered because there’s a ton of stuff I ought to fix. Ah, here it is anyway. (Animation is mine; Rivet character supplied by CG Cookie.)

Later on in the month I came down with a cold. I tried to power through the fatigue and snot to make a start on the next animation exercise, but.. well..

Stomp, what the hell are you doing?

Definitely going back to the drawing board to give that another try.

Fun with beeps

Speaking of robots, some more beepy things arrived this month. Here’s a trancey techno jam.

I also finally replaced a dud trimpot in my trapezoid through-zero quadrature VCO and got it working properly! Here is some filthy modular techno to celebrate.

Fun with Twitter

Right at the end of the month, I RTed this tweet from Oscar-winning animation director Brad Bird who was complaining about same-day cinema and streaming releases:

Fair call, but I RTed him anyway with this:

To my shock, I got RTed by none other than Oscar-winning animation director Brad Bird!

Not exactly what I said but let’s assume he was being a bit sarcastic. 🙂

I then received many direct and indirect responses to the effect of “you’re wrong”, the famous video where David Lynch gives his opinion about watching movies on phones, “David Lynch would straight up kill you for saying this” (which turned into a thread about how David Lynch would make his move and who would try to kill me in the sequel), and a news story about Darren Aronofsky mixing his sound so it plays OK on iPhones and how Quentin Tarantino found this depressing.

I used a smartphone as an example because it’s small and unflattering, but the smartphone thing seems to upset the cinephile set who see smartphones as the Devil, the Anti-Christ of cinema! David Lynch didn’t complain about back-of-airplane-seat screens – he complained about smartphones, damnit!

So what would possess me to opine something so sacreligious to the idea of cinema? Well, here it is: if a movie still connects with the viewer powerfully on the display equivalent of Auratones, if it manages to cut through on an unforgivingly small screen with crappy headphones without the grand sensory experience of a cinema screen and sound system for support, it’s probably a pretty good movie! That’s all I meant.

(That and if studios sell movies on VOD, I shouldn’t struggle to read any narratively important information off diegetic screens. Looking at you, Blade Runner 2097…)

Brad Bird is a top-flight filmmaker and I’m sure his movies would pass a “smartphone” test whether he made explicitly sure they did or otherwise. I’m more baffled that he chose to RT me. Snarking on the quaint opinion of one lowly random to 132K followers isn’t really a fair fight. Thankfully there’s been no threats of death or rape yet so apparently Brad Bird’s fans are relatively level-headed, but I’ll keep everyone posted if it turns out there’s some cinephile psycho killer whose favourite movie was The Iron Giant.

See you in September, assuming David Lynch doesn’t come and deal with me first.

A quick July 2018 recap

July 2018 was the month of the Wild Boars soccer team getting rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand. Blender got a fur shader based on the one from Zootopia and its shiny new 2D animation system was merged into the 2.8 branch. Hurrah!

Just like last month, my day job bit hard into my time and energy, including one monster of a fourteen hour day (close to sixteen hours with breaks included) which started around 9:30am and finally wound up around half past one in the morning. Outside of work, I logged less than thirty hours of either training or making stuff. Forty hours in a month used to be low, now it’s normal.

Music

I released an album this month called Music for open plan offices. It’s a collection of noisy but calming ambient designed for knowledge workers in noisy offices in need of a relaxing sonic bubble. If you’re not sure what to make of that description, here’s track 2, “0716 (a leveraged synergy)”:

It’s selling for a cheap and cheerful $5 over at Bandcamp. You can preview the whole album before buying it.

Animation

Earlier in the year, I stalled on the last exercise of the lipsync course because using reference video just confused me with all that was going on. I doubled back and picked up the body mechanics course again. (Hooray for self-paced education!)

Why the switch? With body mechanics, the initial exercises are focussed on capturing a particular single action like a leap or a hop or a kick. A full acting shot has a lot of physical complexity to cover like weight shifts, eye direction, body movement and lipsync, all of which has to be motivated by the character. Jumping off a ledge? Not so much. There’s less to understand in a single action and analysing video reference is much more straightforward.

Not to mention, Instructor Wayne said to do body mechanics first. I understand why now. 🙂

Anyway, here is my blocking for a robot jumping off to ledge. Woohoo!

 

Somehow it still feels off, like there’s some indication of weight which is missing in the lift-off of the jump. Books like Animators Survival Kit can help when I get stuck, to some extent. There is really no substitute for an experienced animator’s notes and lots of practice though.

See you next month!

March 2018 round-up

Welcome to March 2018 – the month of the Cambridge Analytica scandal on the Internet, a ball-tampering scandal in Australia and a big-arse broken drill here in Perth.

In happier news, eastern quolls have been reintroduced to the Australian mainland after going extinct there, and both Krita 4.0 and Blender 2.79b came out in March 2018 too! Yay!

Here’s what I got up to.

Synthesiser!

Two new Eurorack modules arrived this month:

  • Befaco MIDI Thing (kit, racked up 6 March 2018) [modulargrid]
  • Erica Synths Graphic VCO (26 March 2018) [modulargrid]

The MIDI Thing has a simple but useful job: I can now drive my modular synth from my computer’s sequencer like any other external or virtual instrument, allowing finely controlled Nikmis-style baroque electronica… or whatever, I just link to Nikmis whenever I can.

The Graphic VCO is a multiple wavetable oscillator which allows etch-a-sketch style wave-cycle editing from the module itself. Its sound hearkens back to the gritty lo-fi digital scratch of Waldorf’s PPG Wave synths from the 1980s. Here’s a little sample with notes and modulation data coming from the TiNRS Tuesday.

 

After buying yet another set of dud bucket brigade delay chips off the interweb, I’ve abandoned the 106 Chorus build again. There’s too much counterfeit crap out there and I don’t want that chorus enough to keep buying duds. Yet.

Animation!

For now I want to keep upskilling with CGC’s awesome animation courses, then see how I go with texturing and painting. When Blender 2.8 is stable and feature-complete enough to make a short movie with, I’ll hop back into Fishtank and use it as a way of familiarising myself with this new version.

Also I drew a random monster bandicoot in gumboots thing. Maybe he’d be a good character build. What do you think?

Hello!

Animation exercises

I’m a couple of exercises shy of finishing CG Cookie’s Animation Bootcamp course. Here’s my exercise submissions for this month, starting with hand-animated physics to develop timing and spacing, then bringing in squash & stretch, drag/overlap and even some character animation!

The bowling ball here is OK but the other balls… eh…

This one is technically good but a little unexciting. It’s surprisingly fiddly to make a ball roll believably over a sharp point. Really proud I pulled it off.

Squash and stretch comes in here and I’m still a bit green with keeping it consistent.

These motion graphics are a little rough on the settle and lack a bit of whoosh on the zoom.

This is the first bit of character animation we got to do in the course. Pretty happy with how it turned out!

This exercise was about hand-animating drag and follow-through into the antenna. We got given a swoop motion to start with but I redid it. The anticipation came out a little bit “square” and the settle needs work, but the antenna work is pretty good!

The last two assignments are both walk cycles. I wanted to have them finished by the end of the month, but the day job is getting more intense and walk cycles are kind of hard.

Thanks for catching up with me. If you’ve got questions or comments, feel free to fire them at me on Mastodon or Twitter. 🙂

February 2018 in effect!

Here’s my February 2018. Let’s get into it.

Synthemabits

This month’s new Eurorack modules include

  • Music Thing Modular Chord Organ (kit, 1 February 2018) [modulargrid]
  • Joranalogue Compare 2 dual window comparator/logic module (12 February 2018) [modulargrid]

The Chord Organ I wrote a post about jazzy chords I’m trying with the Chord Organ, including a configuration to copy and paste.

The Compare 2 is a smartly implemented window comparator system that also makes a cute little robot face when doing its thing.

compare 2 has a face and that face is :E

A post shared by S J Bennett (@quollism) on

I experimentally tried streaming my patching sessions too. This is a 44 minute jam which starts off a bit slowly but it finds some nice little moments!

Movies and animation

Fishtank is parked because I’ve decided there’s something I need to deal with first.

Since I set myself the goal of becoming someone who makes animated movies, I’ve spent a lot of time learning about and getting practical experience in the pre-production bits. When it comes to outlines, thumbnails, storyboards, animatics and even 3D layout, I’m confident. But I’m too comfortable there to draw a line and move on from it.

At the beginning of this year, I resolved to work on smaller self-contained projects and exercises without extra strings attached. The effervescent Looch Muñoz posted an animation which brought home that I’d never looked into literal animation to any practical extent. So this month I dusted off my old CG Cookie account and got started on their Animation Bootcamp course.

For a few days, my spare time was all about the balls.

At the same time as I was learning how to see timing and spacing and how to manipulate them into illusions of mass and force, I felt like I was rediscovering my tenacity too. I was sticking with it. I was pushing through. I was learning.

I did four exercises over four days. I had a head of steam up. When it came time for exercise five and comparative ball bounces (basketball versus tennis ball versus bowling ball), my frustration got the better of me. I knew enough to know that I wasn’t getting as close as I ought to. My intuitions had outpaced my abilities.

This resulted in some impressively dedicated procrastination where I spent several nights in a row getting 24,000 words into an urban fantasy novella before writing myself into a corner and getting mired in rewrite hell. I’ve got it out of my system now, though. Sort of. (Not really.)

Animation-wise, I want to finish the rest of Animation Bootcamp as a priority. Having someone check my work and provide crit is invaluable. Beyond that I also want to tackle Wayne’s other animation courses at CGC to get my eye and confidence up many notches to where the prospect of animating doesn’t put me off so much any more.

And maybe in the process I’ll rediscover my tenacity again. That would be great too.

Jazz chords for the Music Thing Modular Chord Organ

The Music Thing Modular Chord Organ is a digital chord player for Eurorack. It is inspired by instruments like the Bontempi Organ where you press a button and get a chord. It’s also one of the cheapest ways to get polyphony in Eurorack.

The default chords didn’t do much for me though because I like jazzy chords! I came up with a quick palette of five-note chords which derive from some common musical scales. So if you’ve got your own Chord Organ and want to get jazzy, copy and paste this into the Chord Organ Config Generator, save it to your SD card and enjoy!

1 [0,4,7,9,14] major 6-9 chord
2 [0,4,7,11,16] major seventh
3 [0,3,7,10,15] minor seventh
4 [0,4,7,10,16] seventh
5 [0,3,6,10,15] minor seventh flat fifth
6 [0,3,7,11,15] minor major seventh
7 [0,3,6,9,15] diminished seventh
8 [0,4,8,11,16] major seventh sharp fifth
9 [0,3,7,9,14] minor 6-9 chord
10 [0,4,8,10,16] seventh sharp fifth
11 [0,4,6,10,16] seventh flat fifth
12 [0,4,8,12,16] augmented triad
13 [0,2,7,10,14] seventh suspended second
14 [0,5,7,10,14] ninth suspended fourth
15 [0,5,7,10,17] seventh suspended fourth
16 [0,7,12,0,7] fifth

If you haven’t got a Chord Organ but you’re a Euroracker and you want one, Thonk sells Chord Organ kits. It’s pretty easy to build too! And if you don’t know the first thing about jazz or music theory, have a play with them anyway. 🙂

The music theory parts for people who aren’t nauseated or enraged by music theory

The scales are the major, natural minor, harmonic minor, melodic minor and whole tone scales. There’s a couple of six-nine chords and suspended sevenths thrown in there to make up the sixteen. Each chord is voiced with five notes with the high note representing the tonality (minor, major or suspended). There’s a fifth right at the end in case the jazziness gets too much.

The relationship between chords and scales is useful to know because of the way chords reveal their originating scales four notes at a time. If you stick with chords 2 to 5, no matter what notes you play, you get a noticeably different harmonic colour from chords 3-10.

Here’s the scales which the chords belong to:

    major and natural minor scale seventh chords: 2 3 4 5 13 14 15harmonic minor scale seventh chords: 4 5 6 7 8 10melodic minor scale seventh chords: 3 4 5 6 8whole tone scale seventh chords: 11 12

And here’s how they derive from those scales:

  • major scale: 2 3 3 2 4 3 5 (Ima7 IImi7 IIImi7 IVma7 V7 VImi7 VIImi7b5)
  • natural minor scale: 3 5 2 3 3 2 4 (Imi7 IImi7b5 bIIIma7 IVmi7 Vmi7 bVIma7 bVII7)
  • harmonic minor scale: 6 5 10 3 4 2 7 (Imi/ma7 IImi7b5 bIII7#5 IVmi7 V7 bVIma7 VIIIdim7)
  • melodic minor scale: 6 3 8 4 4 5 (Imi/ma7 IImi7 bIIIma7#5 IV7 V7 VImi7b5 VIImi7b5)

The whole tone scale is symmetrical so chords 10 11 and 12 work fine from any degree of the scale. And there’s probably some other jazz scales those chords fit into as well.