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L'Ancien Regime

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  1. Now some of us are artists and some of us are programmers. But then some are artists and programmers. That is the ideal. I've tried to learn to program many times. I've tried to learn C#, C (omg it makes me vomit), I've tried to learn Python at least 5 times, and I've tried to learn C++ I don't know how many times. Each time I felt that I was being taught commands but not the structure of programming itself. One video tutorial series, by a Stanford prof teaching C++ said mid way through a long tutorial that she assumed you already had a firm grasp of Java. Hmmm. I kept this in mind and forgot about it. Then I was over at Engagma, and those maniacs are working in VEX and VOPs, that is the native language of Houdini, Vector Expressions and VEX Operators. Once again I was following tutorials without grasping the fundamental structure of what was going on. Frankly I was lost and wasting my time. But then they mentioned that you should get your introduction to programming with Java again, in particular this course taught by this zany CS prof at the Tisch school of entertainment arts at Columbia University in NY. He uses a Java compiler with it's own special libraries constructed for 2D and 3D graphics. It's called Processing. There's two books. Book One; Of course there are other books for Processing It's perfect for 2d and 3d graphic artists like us; all the examples and all the problems are very cool ones involving fundamental graphic ideas, like generating noise in 2d using elements as simple as a bunch of rectangles filled with a random black and white level between 0 and 255. In a word, you won't be learning how to program your computer to say HELLO WORLD. It's hard work, but I've just finished Ch 8 and I'm having fun, and what is more important, it's making sense where none of the others did before. https://processing.org/tutorials/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvjgXvBlbQiydffZU7m1_aw Of course you might ask "why bother learning to program at all when there's all these programs written for us?" Well for one thing there's a lot of tasks that come into play with managing data on complex tasks like creating and using hair, for examples, managing databases for it all the data that these intensive tasks require. And there's a lot of procedural stuff that you might want to do on a custom level, writing your own fractals from the vast and ever growing number of fractal algorithms found in books of pure mathematics, and this can be very fruitful leading to some genuinely original looking work. And I suspect if you can program as well as create art, you're more likely to get hired. And so on..
  2. https://community.foundry.com/discuss/topic/133055/mesh-fusion-and-moi3d
  3. http://www.cgchannel.com/2018/10/michael-gibson-unveils-moi-4/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+cgchannel%2FnHpU+(CG+Channel+-+Entertainment+Production+Art) Developer Michael Gibson has unveiled MoI 4 (Moment of Inspiration 4), the first update to his intuitive, lightweight NURBS and Boolean modelling software in three years. The release, which is currently in closed beta for users of MoI 3, makes the software a 64-bit application, improving performance on complex assets. The update also makes MoI a native Mac application, rather than relying on porting utility Wineskin, as in previous builds. And that’s essentially all the information so far: to judge from the announcment thread on the MoI forums, development work is still at a fairly early stage. Updated 22 October 2018: Michael Gibson has released a new beta build of MoI 4 adding the option to convert Sub-D surfaces to NURBS. In most cases, the conversion should generate a NURBS surface with G2 continuity or greater: there’s an interesting comparison with tools like 3ds Max and Modo in this thread on the MoI forum. The conversion is currently performed automatically when importing OBJ files, but Gibson says that he aims to make it possible to apply it to any Sub-D surface.
  4. That's the problem with 3dsMax; great plug ins like Hair Farm, but who wants to get into Max itself at this point?
  5. https://www.madewithmischief.com/ https://community.wacom.com/inspiration/blog/2015/january/50-trillion-to-one-the-magic-behind-mischief The unique shape representation made possible by ADFs manages to be neither pixels nor vectors. It takes the best of both worlds to yield a drawing program that’s fast, high quality, and infinitely scalable with no loss of resolution. “You can take any part of this infinite canvas and expand it to any size and any resolution – you can take your doodle and expand it to the size of a billboard,” Frisken said. “There’s a 50 trillion-to-one zoom factor, which is like sitting on the moon and looking at a single flower on Earth and then drawing on a petal of that flower.” Made with Mischief is a digital pen-based drawing system designed to be used with both Apple and Windows computers that combines two of the most commonly used design and drawing processes. Users can design using colored pixels, like Photoshop, while it also has Illustrator-like tools that lets users draw what Frisken called “mathematical curves.” The outcome is the most high-tech computer drawing process I’ve seen, allowing users the fluidity of drawing by hand, and the infinite possibilities of computer design, without the limitations of either Illustrator or Photoshop. Mischief is powered by a revolutionary patented shape representation, known as Adaptively Sampled Distance Fields (ADFs), co-invented by Frisken. ADFs have several advantages for creative applications: they provide high-quality stroke rendering; they are amenable to hardware-based rendering so drawing is extremely responsive; they are very compact, resulting in small file sizes; they can be scaled without introducing pixelation artifacts; and they can accurately represent much richer and more complex shapes than traditional vector-based stroke representations. For Frisken, the acquisition of Made With Mischief by The Foundry enables her to retain her core vision of providing high-quality software tools for a wide range of artists and to preserve an accessible price point, while bringing future versions of the platform to an even broader audience. ADF https://www.fxguide.com/featured/whats-the-foundry-buying-the-tech-of-adf/ ADF actually came from research into medical imaging for applications such as anatomy education, surgical simulation and computer-assisted surgery. "1998 was the first paper that represented shape with distance," Dr Frisken explains. The team needed a way to represent three-dimensional medical examples such as the way a knee worked as part of a coordinated a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary project to simulate arthroscopic knee surgery. Frisken served as project leader, algorithm designer, software system designer and implementor on the project. "We couldn't represent a knee as just a mathematical equation with some distance, you needed to sample the space within which that knee sat, and the distance in that space. If you just sample at a very high rate you get a huge volume of data, and that makes it slow to process and render, so we started looking at ways to reduce the number of samples you needed and we came upon using an adaptive sampling of the space." The 'adaptively' part of ADF comes directly from that initial knee problem and it has since been implemented in a host of ways from simple Oct-trees to more complex and powerful data structures. The first research was done by Frisken and Ron Perry who continues today to work on ADFs at MERL, but who also consults to the Foundry. He was key to establishing Mischief and coding the original the product. Perry is very much a key author and developer of the technology, but he also has other important research interests at MERL where is is a senior researcher. ADF vs Voxels Back to 3D and the roots of the technology. You might be wondering about the differences between traditional voxel representations and ADF distance fields in 3D? It is a complex area of 3D maths because a voxel representation can be thought of as a partitioning of space into cubes, and one can store anything in each cube (including theoretically distance). But if one accepts that most voxel implementations are not storing distance then the comparison is a little easier. A more traditional voxel representation use regularly sampled volumes and they store either binary values such as inside or outside or density values (using a density of 1 inside the shape, a density of zero outside the shape, and an average density for voxels that contain the surface). Voxels have many uses - sometimes the value is assumed to be the average of what is in the cube/box/voxel, sometimes it is assumed the value is at one corner of a 3D grid. Significantly, if one uses a discrete sample approach, then you really only get binary samples for shapes that have hard surfaces and you have to interpolate the density inside the cube when you need to locate the surface of the shape for rendering or other processing. (eg. 1 inside the shape, 0 outside). There are several problems with this approach. First, traditional voxel models were regularly sampled so you needed a lot of samples to represent shapes that have complex and compound detail, even if that detail is only on the surface or limited to a very small part of the shape. If you are more than one voxel away from the surface, the density is just zero, so you have no way of knowing where the surface is. And, while one can reconstruct the surface position inside a voxel, you can't apply higher order filtering (which is applied over larger regions of space) to get a smoother surface reconstruction. Thus, voxel models tend to have a fair amount of aliasing, or require a lot of samples... ie. data. Distance fields are defined throughout space and they vary continuously across smooth surfaces (unlike voxel density which jumps from zero to one as soon as you cross into a shape). Thus, they can be sampled more sparsely and they can be reconstructed with less aliasing. Importantly, they can also be reconstructed relatively far away from the surface, as the reconstructed distance field gives you useful information such as what direction you should look to find the nearest surface and how far away it is (both useful for ray tracing or for estimating forces for interpenetrating objects). Which is why Frisken initially thought of using ADFs in collision detection over a decade ago. Also key for any good renderer is that when a sample is on the surface, the direction of the distance field is the same as the surface normal, which is useful. In the sculpting R&D test application above, Tomas Pettersson used a vector distance field for his sculpting system. This is an extension of ADFs, to do this you sample the vector distance instead of just the signed distance. The vector distance tells you both the direction to the closest surface and the distance from the surface. These are known as vector distance fields, and for the price of 3x as many values per sample, they allow The Foundry's team to reconstruct surface normals or direction vectors more accurately and they allow artists to represent non-manifold surfaces such as points, lines, and infinitely thin sheets. http://www.merl.com/publications/docs/TR2000-15.pdf
  6. I did a few searches on CG just to clarify my knowledge on certain specific topics and now I'm getting all these You Tube videos suggested to me that are actually pretty good, so I thought I'd start this thread so we can share fundamental CG knowledge among ourselves here. It'll be good for beginners but also to clarify things for those of us that are more or less experienced. https://www.chaosgroup.com/blog/the-truth-about-unbiased-rendering
  7. 3D Coat is still better for UV mapping than Houdini 17.
  8. I've been watching a lot of videos on the latest GPUs and of all of them this is the most interesting I've seen since Nvidia RTX came out; it's all theorizing but based on some very good evidence. I'm hoping it's true because this guy is saying the AMD's 7nm Vega that should be out before year end will be in many ways superior to the RTX 2080 in performance (for artists wanting fast provisional renders) and in price. He's predicting a price of $549.00
  9. Somebody once said to me that unless you were an experienced engineer/programmer in image processing from the JPL, then with two years of that very expensive schooling from a place like Gnomon or VFS, you were looking at 8 to 10 years as an unpaid intern before anybody would even think of giving you a job as a TD. I"m not sure how true that is but you'd better be from a rich family if you want to be a TD regardless.
  10. I noticed in one of those videos that there's a choice between NVlink sizes depending on how much space you have in PCIE slots and the need for cooling the video cards
  11. International student awards scheme The Rookies has released its 2018 rankings for the world’s best CG schools, rating the performance of 580 schools in 87 countries. The USA’s Gnomon – School of VFX and Animation for Film and Games topped the Animation rankings for the second year running, also being rated the world’s best school for visual effects. Other category winners were unchanged from 2017, with Belgium’s Howest leading in game development, the USA’s SCAD in motion graphics, and Australia’s CDW Studios and Flinders University in illustration. So how much does it cost? $102,544.00 USD Now each term is 2.5 months, say Oct 8 to Dec 17. So that will be 30 months of rent. If you want/need solitude to study in peace and tranquility then at $1700 per month for 30 months that's $51,000.00 USD If you don't care and can share then it's $800 a month for 30 months and that''s $24,000.00 USD So for 2.5 years of schooling you're looking at from $126,544.00 to $153,544.00 and that's without calculating the loss of wages and groceries etc you'll have to buy in that time and transportation too if you can't find a place within walking distance of the school. And when you get out what kind of a job will you get? How long will you have to serve as an unpaid intern? This is what happens to the best; But who knows? maybe I'm just a cynical pessimist...
  12. So let's just say you decided to buy that RTX 2080 or that RTX 2080Ti or even wanted to drop $3000+ on a Titan V with it's odd Volta in it. and you liked it so much you decided to buy two and run them in tandem (assuming the PCIE link could even handle all that bandwidth) with NVLink... Yup, that's right; $599.00 USD just for the bridge...
  13. Actually I haven't had a computer I can work in for over a year now and I'm aiming for Cyber Monday to get all the parts for my next rig so it's a matter of growing urgency to me. I have to say in favor of this RTX 2080Ti that it's scoring really highly for Vray. This is very very impressive and the pricing doesn't seem unreasonable to me given that Nvidia hasn't really come out with a new broadly issued GPU, the Pascal, for two years now. So I'm going to be probably posting a lot of news about this over the next couple of months. This thread isn't disappearing off the bottom of the page anytime soon.
  14. "Somebody in marketing realized that the 2080 and the 2080ti strictly in terms of teraflops for FP32 (Floating Point precision mode) don't look all that much better than the 10 series on paper, so what do we do to make it look better? and the answer was to invent a new metric of measurement" The new metric is based around RTX Op...1:32 mark "Nvidia calls a Floating Point Unit a CUDA Core..." It's all beyond me..I'm glad Andrew understands this stuff.
  15. https://wccftech.com/exclusive-nvidia-rtx-series-msrp-pc-cost/ Potentially some bad news... This story will go into one of the biggest problems stopping AIB (Add-in-Boards) partners from achieving MSRP pricing and what this has to do with President Trump’s trade tariffs. …there is a 10% tariff impacting $200B of goods that is scheduled to take effect on 10/1/2018. Every Monday there is an update on whether there is any progress made by US and China in the negotiations. If the tariff does take effect on 10/1, then […] would try to move assembly and testing over to Taiwan in order to avoid the tariff but most likely there would have to push back shipment lead times or else raise prices while they get it all sorted out – Red feathered bird.
  16. https://wccftech.com/nvidia-dlss-explained-nvidia-ngx/ Standing for Neural Graphics Acceleration, it’s a new deep-learning based technology stack part of the RTX platform. Here’s a brief description from NVIDIA: NGX utilizes deep neural networks (DNNs) and a set of Neural Services to perform AI-based functions that accelerate and enhance graphics, rendering, and other client-side applications. NGX employs the Turing Tensor Cores for deep learning-based operations and accelerates delivery of NVIDIA deep learning research directly to the end-user. Note that NGX does not work on GPU architectures before Turing.
  17. https://wccftech.com/amd-epyc-rome-7nm-64-core-cpu-performance-benchmark-leak/ Alleged AMD EPYC ‘Rome’ 7nm Based 64 Core Processor Performance Leaks Out – Scores an Incredible 12,500 Points in Cinebench Multi-Tasking Benchmark The chip was tested in Cinebench R15 multi-thread benchmark and the chip scores an astonishing 12,587 points which are beyond anything current-generation processors can achieve. AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX scores around 5500 points in the same benchmark with 32 cores and 64 threads. The score we are looking at in the leaks shows more than twice the performance of the flagship Threadripper SKU. There’s also the EPYC 7601 SKU which scores around 6000 points that is due to the octa-channel memory support compared to the quad channel on the Threadripper CPUs.
  18. Better hurry up and register for the Montreal Houdini Users Group then and if you don't get an invite right away email Chris. It's free, 2 drinks and snacks and these things are often in very cool venues. I've been to other industry meetups like this in Vancouver where there were cool door prizes too...like Nvidia graphics cards and shit. I won a $35 hard cover book at one for Maya. https://www.meetup.com/pro/houdini
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