AI – Stable Diffusion

Recently I’ve been playing with Stable Diffusion to make some visuals and also reimagine some of my past visuals by feeding it back in. The audio was done in Abelton live with Vital Synth.

It’s very interesting all the possibilities of AI for image generation and tag interrogation. Sometimes as an artist you get stuck in the tunnel vision and having a way to add some chaos into the mix can be helpful. Another area which is can be helpful is initial concepting where you can get a bunch of different variations on a theme and start to work your way towards a goal. Only problem is now I need to invest in a new video card and probably a new computer LOL!

GN-Africa

Heightmap Terrain Project

I recently did another project with CharlesCampbellArt helping streamline his manufacturing process. The project consisted of using heightmap terrains overlaid with a hexagon grid to trace out the curves of the terrain for lasercut acrylic and metal. His old process was a very manual one using fusion 360 to slice it up and get the relevant geometry. As anyone who has used fusion 360 for this process knows it can be very time consuming and frustrating experience doing boolean mesh operations within fusion 360. He had already started using Blender for some of his workflow and I suggested doing a more procedural method using geometry nodes. I setup a process to create the grid network with suitable adjustments for the final material and tolerances. Using Blenders builtin modifiers and geometry nodes allowed going from a black and white heightmap to a layout with all vertical panels ready for nesting. There is still some manual steps to allow for placement of the grid and sizing but the arduous task of boolean operations and laying them out for manufacture was implemented with a geometry node plugin that rightfully abused the new UV unwrap node.

One of issues to overcome was keeping track of what goes where for once it’s manufactured it must be reassembled in a specific configuration. Since geometry nodes is quite new and still under active development it’s missing a few things that would allow using strings procederally in the way I needed. Luckily I found a node group that would work so that all faces are numbered and are visible both before and after the unwrap.

I always enjoy helping artists overcome technical challenges and seeing things come to life. Its also especially gratifying to show people the power of Blender and get more people interested in this great opensource software.

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Apparition

I recently had the opportunity to work with a local artist Charles Campbell in Victoria, BC creating some visualizations of a public art project he is working on. The original models were done in fusion 360 by Charles and exported as OBJ files for me to import into Blender. I used geometry nodes in Blender to replace the complicated meshes from Fusion 360 with simplified ones done within Blender by using bounding boxes and instances making it fairly lightweight. I did some tests with geometry nodes to fake a dynamic wind system but due to the movement in the scene and the size of the objects it didn’t add much to the visualization. We also added some mostly accurate visualizations of how the sun would rise and set given the location and time of day. I used two different times of year, one around the equinox and one around the summer solstice to help offer some insight to the play of light. The proposal was a success and it should appear sometime in the future near a skytrain platform in Vancouver, BC.

Here’s the proposal video by Charles Campbell Art be sure to check out some of his other past works.

Alpha Lyrae (Beakerhead 2018)

This year we were invited back to beakerhead to revisit our previous years project. Unfortunately due to many circumstances surrounding alberta and it’s art funding there wasn’t as much budget or time to create as large of an installation. We decided on just doing the light element and reorganized our triangles to look more like crystals. It just so happened that the star alpha lyrae was going to be directly overhead for this solstice edition of beakerhead so we decided to use the star’s name.

Motion Capture & Rigging

I’ve used Blender for all my animation work but never seemed to have the time for rigging. I decided it was about time to go down that particular rabbit hole and what a rabbit hole it is. Rigging is definitely a huge area in on itself and although I got the basics I realized it would take a very long time to correctly rig an entire human model. Luckily as is often the case other people have been working on solutions. One such opensource program focused entirely on the human-ish form is called Makehuman and they have a blender compatible rig as well. It doesn’t take long with makehuman to fiddle with proportions and come up with a human that fits the bill. I then exported and brought that into blender but animating every tiny bone takes a lot of work, even with inverse kinematics. I decided I’d find some motion capture data and apply that to the rig. And viola! Since I was also playing with the dome visuals at the time I decided I’d also try a 360 export.

Wooden Vessels

A new project me and my dad have been working on is creating wooden vessels with the CNC machine at work. This project started as a tribute to my late grandma who had her own interpretations of vessels through her years of pottery work. We thought up a bunch of objects that would be near impossible to do by hand. Of course there is still a lot of hand work that needs to happen for these objects to truly shine. It was a bit of a challenge, not only in holding down the pieces but aligning them when cutting out the other side, designing the objects and fine tuning the tool paths.

Hackintosh

To be able to keep up with rendering 2k or 4k video I decided I needed a new computer. ¬†Laptop’s weren’t really cutting it these days, I can’t put new Nvidia cards into them. ¬†Plus mac’s are overpriced for what they contain. ¬† I’ve been following along with mackintosh’s for awhile and even managed to boot up an old Pentium 4 shuttle box I had at one point, but it sounded like now things have started to stabilize. ¬†After many hours researching on tonymacx86 I took the plunge and started ordering. ¬† For roughly $1200 CDN I could put together a pretty powerful unit, ¬†Core i7, 16gb ram, 250gb SSD drive, Nvidia Geforce 960. ¬†There was relitively few snags on setting it all up. ¬†My main problem was because I was trying to triple boot, ¬†Windows 10/ OSX/ Linux (Mint). ¬†It seemed every time I installed a new OS ¬†it would blow away the boot manager from the previous ones, ¬†I’m looking at you windows. ¬† ¬†After some trial and error I have it all up and working. ¬† Now which OS will I find myself in more ūüėČ
 

Pi2

It’s been awhile (3 years) since the first raspberry pi, the $35 computer, came on the scene.¬† Three years is a pretty long cycle not to have any major significant change in the computer industry .¬† Sure they doubled the ram and added a few usb ports over the year, but original processor that drives these beasts was definitely showing it’s age. Then just recently they dropped a full refresh from what appeared out of nowhere.¬† I’ve bought both of the last two significant upgrades and was about to drop money on the third but thankfully I hesitated that weekend and much to my chagrin the announcement came out.¬† So I quickly ordered up a couple with some wifi dongles, it’s really too bad they didn’t include wifi but, it’s only a $35 computer for pete sake’s.
Continue reading Pi2

Spiral Vases

Here is some great new prints utilizing slic3r’s spiral vase mode. Printed on an i3 Wilson using diamond age translucent blue filament at .2mm layer height and .5 mm layerwidth with 1 perimeter and 3 bottoms using a Jhead .35 nozzle
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Grand rep rap bot

Well the 3rd generation of my 3d printers is now operational. I’m sure there will be some initial growing pains but so far the Wilson is shaping up to be a wonderful machine. The newly acquired smoothie board is fully operational and I even managed to print a calibration pyramid with the arcol v4 all metal hotend I picked up a couple years back. I still have to wire up some end stop switches and tidy the wiring. All the components I received from Voxel Factory were top notch. The power supply barley turns the van on even with the mk2a aluminum heated. Although our miserable weather might have some input.

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Printruder II

Well after fixing my idler wheel several times I thought I had it licked. After the epoxy not holding enough, the hot glue seemed great but wouldn’t get through 2 prints. So superglue I go. I let it sit for a couple days, then after a couple quick warmup prints I told it to do the printruder II block, after about 15 minutes the idler wheel stopped moving. It was still feeding the plastic and there appeared to be a crack in the acrylic idler wheel. So it looks like the third one is down. Amazingly it held out the print and I have a nice looking printruder block. This was the last piece I needed but figured I’d try to get a couple more prints in, or at least try. A couple prints later, or was it the new firmware that appeared and I couldn’t resist burning, no matter. The printruder was ready to be installed.

Cracked Idler Wheels 'N Apples

As Sumer in Calgary is coming to an end I’m starting to do more activities inside. I have two heatcores built they were working ok but the noodles were curling after a some time. On one of the reprap blogs someone had noticed a similar thing after lots of usage and drilled out the nozzle thinking it was becoming an oval instead of a a circle. Mine seems to curl but not initially which has started me to wonder if it’s not related to pid settings or something Else related to the new makerbot firmware 2.3 I think.

Blogging made easy

Well lets see how wordpress serves me for my online prescence. Well more specifically wordpresss iPhone app. Now maybe when I get the urge to post something I wont have to jump through hoops to do it.