Blender 2.70 and The GOOSEBERRY project

March 20, 2014

Blender 2.70 splash screen

Today the Blender Foundation released Blender 2.70! Download and Release Notes.

At the same time the Blender Institute and twelve indie studios from all over the world are preparing a cloud funded, featured length animation film: The Goosberry Project. For updates read the blog. Fundraising still going on for a little less than a month…!


Review: “Blender Compositing and Post Processing” by Mythravarun Vepakomma, ebook from Packt Publishing (2014)

March 17, 2014

*Disclaimer and Introduction*

1127OS_Cover_0.jpgI was asked by Packt Publishing to write a short, independent review for “Blender Compositing and Post Processing” in exchange for a free copy of the ebook.

Since the Blender Compositing Nodes (next to the Blender VSE, the Video Sequence Editor) are one of my absolute favourite feature in Blender I decided to go for it: I like to use them for post processing video footage/creating looks and love the fact that you can do this with Blender (a very powerful free and open-source 3D etc. solution) on all major platforms/can share your .blends across all those platforms!

So this is my personal, general impression of the “Blender Compositing and Post Processing” ebook while being someone with a more creative mind rather than a technical one:

*DRM free*

First thing I noticed is that the ebook comes without DRM (Digital Rights (or as some say “Restriction”)) management and you can download it in four different formats. I went for the .pdf version.

*Structure*

The ebook seems very well structured. It starts off with a condensed overview for all chapters and at the end of each chapter there is a brief summary of what you’ve just read. This allows you to quickly find/read what you are looking for when you need it/to just dive into those topics that you feel not so familiar with. At the end of the ebook there is an Index with the most important keywords/page numbers where to find those topics in the text.

*Target Audience*

The ebook probably requires some basic Blender knowledge or some familiarity with (3D, video) post production related technical terms/concepts. I think you could use it with not much prior know-how but would need to do some extra research (Wikipedia, Blender Wiki etc.) in order to really understand what it all means/find it useful. More to this at the end of *Content, Approach and Concept*.

*Content, Approach and Concept*

While I was very pleased with the ebook’s structure I was (a bit) disappointed by the fact that this is not what may be called a “workbook”. While there are many visual examples for e.g. how a particular Node works you won’t find more complex examples for Node set-ups to re-create.

For those new to Blender/Nodes a short introduction to the concept: basically compositing in Blender works via “Nodes”, individual sort of filters etc. that allow you to manipulate an image/a series of images in a very specific way while you can combine those filters etc./the order in which they are applied to your 3D renders or footage by connecting those Nodes via sort of wires called “Noodles” and this way create your own very complex set of filters etc. using a very flexible tree like structure. This concept is much more powerful as compared to what you can do in your average image manipulation or video editing programme where you usually only can lay one filter on top of another one and combinations therefore are limited…

My feeling is that a technical minded person or someone with a compositing background/coming from another 3D programme etc. would probably be able to quickly get started with compositing in Blender using this ebook. Someone with a more creative mind who likes/needs to play around with actual examples/set-ups in order to grasp the concepts on a visual or sort of holistic level might need to invest more time and would need to do extra research in order to be able to fully understand the concepts introduced in this ebook.

*Summary and Thoughts*

“Blender Compositing and Post Processing” seems to be a well structured, clearly written ebook that explains the basic concepts involved you need to know in order to get started with using the very powerful free and open-source 3D programme Blender (available for all major platforms, .blends can be shared across all platforms) for post processing either your 3D renders or video footage.

This ebook seems to either requires some prior related technical understanding or the will to research/experiment on your own if you start from scratch. It is not a “workbook” in the sense that you won’t find more complex example Node set-ups to re-create.

I think from a learning point of view (and for the purpose of having fun with the Blender Compositing Nodes/learning them while playing around with them) this ebook could be accessible to an even wider audience with either one or two extra chapters that show how-to re-create specific Node set-ups (like e.g. a toon look, that’s always lots of fun) or the introduction of a practical example section/project for those chapters where appropriate.

*Thanks!*

I hope this general, personal review was both helpful and describes the ebook in a meaningful and adequate way, thanks for reading, have fun with Blender, the very powerful Compositing Nodes and if you choose so with this ebook!

Valentin Spirik, March 2014


“‘Fuck you, this is my culture’ and if copyright or telecommunications operators are standing in the way, I think they should go” & Updates…

December 16, 2012

‘Fuck you, this is my culture…’

Amelia Andersdotter’s (Pirate Party) speech at the Internet Governance Forum 2012

Transcript via her blog:

Thank you, Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, participants of the Internet Governance Forum 2012.

My name is Amelia Andersdotter. I am a member of the European Parliament on behalf of the Swedish Piratpartiet since December 2011. I am mindful of the fact that I am one of only two women speaking in the opening session. Also, I am probably the youngest person speaking. I am only 25 years old.

The Piratpartiet wants to change the legislative framework for communication, interaction, innovation and culture. We formed around the idea that communication technologies and culture present fantastic ways of building broad global communities.

We want interactions, social, cultural and economical to be determined by and under the control of the people interacting.

When information, communication and culture can be freely accessible and used, which on the internet is basically always the case, this should as a general principle always be allowed and any exceptions or deviations to that general rule must be kept exceptional.

Unfortunately, laws at both nation state level and the international level are very ill‑equipped to achieve these goals.

For instance, direct interventions by nation states into communication and cultural flows of their citizens are ubiquitous in the world. More insidious are the restrictions on communications imposed on users by private network operators or intellectual property rights holders.

We hear words like ”freedom of speech” and ”Human Rights must be respected online”, but so far very few top political figures in the world have acknowledged, or are willing to acknowledge, that this will require regulatory intervention on some private sectors. We may also have to let go of some regulatory protections for private sector actors that we’re currently putting in place to block communications between people.

It is clear to me both at the personal and at the political level that we need to fundamentally reconsider our approach to communication. We need communication to be open and accessible. This is how we make friendships, it is how we make societies, it is how we form worlds.

The control over communities and the ability to shape them must be with the communities themselves. Infrastructure must be regulated to enable that ability and such autonomy.

The raw material for cultural identities, the culture itself, must be made more accessible than is currently the case. Copyright is not only an untimely instrument for the 21st century, it is doing active harm to culture and to communities around the world.

During one of my travels this summer I met a young man who told me with a straight face that he liked open torrent trackers because he wants to be able to seed the unpopular files[1]. I want to seed the unpopular files. I want to see the unpopular torrents and I want to live in a world where a social network, a community on its own initiative preserves the cultural wealth through the spontaneous contribution of all its members. All of the changes that are needed in our laws to ensure that these communities can exist must be undertaken and now.

To all of you here and to all of the Governments and to the public officials and lobbyists that haven’t been able to bring themselves to support these actually very extensive reforms that are necessary for these places and creative communities to exist, I would like to paraphrase George Michael from I think 1992, ”fuck you, this is my culture”[2] and if copyright or telecommunications operators are standing in the way, I think they should go.

Thank you.

[1] In the conference transcription they have put ”see the unpopular files”.
[2] Cruising culture and George Michael, in the Guardian from 2006. And the real quote was ”Fuck off, this is my culture.”

Updates…

16mm short

In case you have been wondering about that 16mm short (4 min.) of mine: I had to figure out something and that’s done. The project is coming back from pause mode now…!

Blender 2.65

In other news: Blender 2.65 has been released last week, another wonderful update for this free and open-source 3d, compositing, video editing and much more package – available for all major platforms (and you can easily share e.g. your video projects/.blends between Linux, Windows and Mac – it really just works…!). Release notes. Download.

Blender2.65_splash


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