Aurora IS

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Base Ideas

  • Feeling alone without physically being alone
    • I think this might be a little to hard for me to make anything concrete out of at the moment, but I like the idea. I just don't know how to represent it visually. Nothing is striking me at the moment.
  • Choice
    • This is a pretty broad vague idea, but something I came up with last night in lieu of the strange events that took up my weekend. Basically, I was deliberating over how the choices I make seem to be choices, but sometimes it's almost as if I have no choice, and I just do things, and the outcome is whatever it may be. But the element of choice in our lives is an odd one, even on a scientific front it's something that we struggle with. In any case. There's a lot more to be said about this, but I have to let it stew for a while.



Software List

  • Maya
    • Particle Dynamics

Jan 8th - 14th Over the course of the past week I've played around with particle dynamics in Maya. I researched the basics of Particle Dynamics, what that means, and how they work, although many of the formulas involved I didn't quite understand. In Maya particles are created by inserting a particle emitter into the scene space. Particle emitters have a number of settings that can be altered in order to effect the way particles are emitted. The shape, range, timing, and speed by which particles are emitted can be customized or randomized depending on the need of the user. The shape of the particle emitter is something I found quite curious. One can choose from a sphere, cone, square or torus. The odd thing is the way in which the particles are emitted from each of these shapes was not what I expected. They are emitted from axises, usually in eight directions from within the shapes, but do not follow the contour of the shapes. I'm not sure the purpose of having various shapes, because I could find no difference between how a cube emitted particles or a sphere. One can also truncate the shape of the emitted, so rather than a full sphere one could make a quarter sphere, or whatever. The Particles that are emitted also have a number of different settings that can be designated. The size, lifespan, shape, among many others can be chosen to serve one's needs. Maya has a preset fire function which is just a bunch of large particles, effected by a turbulence field with a skin that makes them look like fire. The specific settings of the turbulence field move the particles so that they mimic fluid movement. Particles are what are known as Soft Body objects in Maya, this means while they can interact with normal objects, they can be made to collide and bounce off of things, as far as I could figure out, they do not exert any force that can cause movement of Rigid Body objects. Rigid Bodies are objects which can have affect on other objects. Rigid body objects can be made active, which allows them to be affected by other objects. In order to try to execute my idea of making particles/liquid squirt/break out of an objects I tried a lot of different ways to try to turn the particles into Rigid Bodies, or increase their resillience. Nothing I tried worked. Particles are special objects which cannot be turned into rigid bodies because they are not of a normal geometry. I suspect there has to be some way to do so, because it seems unlikely to me that no one would ever need particles to affect objects of normal geometries. What I did figure out how to do is to make regular objects break through other objects. That part was rather easy. Parameters can be set for shattering of objects, and as long as the object that is to shatter, and the object that is shattering it are rigid bodies, the object will shatter automatically.

Jan 15th - 21st I did a lot of work with particles and figuring out how to shade them, as well as how exactly the various dynamic fields affect the partcles. The dynamic fields seem to be one of the most important factors in working with particles. A volumetric field can designate the way in which a particle moves, so you can basically make particles move in any way you want. You can use a combination of volumetric fields to achieve specific affects, that would not be achievable with just one. The volumetric fields are 3D shapes, and one can specify exactly how the particles move about the shape, whether towards or away from certain axises, the magnitude of the field, the particles can even be made to swirl around or inside the shape of the volumetric field. A problem I was having with dynamics fields was when I tried to apply a gravity field to particles that were already being affected by two other volumetric fields, it didn't appear to have any affect. I think this is because a certain variable called conserve was not set to be low enough. The conserve variable determines the ratio between the effect of the emission velocity on the particles as opposed to the effect of fields on the particles. I was not able to figuring out how to make particles break through a barrier, and I believe this is because it cannot be done. It seems to me that the way in which the particles were designed prohibits them from doing so. They were not designed to have a significant effect on the bodies around the, so even if they're mass is made larger, they still don't have enough force to do anything other than collide with other objects. I imagine that there must be additional programs or maybe in the unlimited version of Maya, particles can do much more than what they can in the complete version. I also learned how to apply per particle attributes to particles. Per Particle attributes are stored in arrays. It does not mean that one applies the color to each particle individually, but rather, Maya provides what they call ramps, which, when dealing with the color attribute, is a gradient that gets applied to the particles depending on their position and lifespan. All the Per Particle attributes work this way. I also found out that soft bodied objects are objects that are, well soft, like cloth, and pillows, squishy balls or whatever. These objects have an intrinsic layer of particles applied to their geometry that allows them to be intuitively affected by dynamic fields. Particles can also have goals applied to them, so that, if one makes the goal of particles a cube, they will follow the movement of the cube.

  • Adobe After
    • Basics

Jan 8th - 14th I figured out how to import video, overlay video and apply filters, such as distortion filters and color keying which I can foresee as being useful when compositing. I understand the way the program works and how to navigate the user interface.

  • Possibly Adobe Premiere


Particle Dynamics

  • Basics

Particles have mass, position and velocity but no spatial extent. Supposedly the easiest objects to simulate. x(with umlauts) = f/m is an equation similar to Newton's f = ma, because particles are governed by that equation. the x stands for a position and velocity (clearly no one's trying to deal with quantum physics here, for Heisenberg's uncertainty principle clearly dictates that one cannot know exactly both the position and velocity of a ). The position and velocity is a six form vector, because the particle is moving in 3D space. so the "phase space" equation of motion is {x1, x2, x3, v1, v2, v3] = [v1, v2, v3, f1/m, f2/m, f3/m]. When speaking of a system of n particles, it is described by n copirs of the equation, and that can also be concatenated to form a 6n-long vector. Depending on how many particles one intends to simulate, that's a lot of numbers.

Particle simulation involves two main parts, the particles and the entities that apply force to particles. In Maya, the term that's used is an emitter (if particles are involved something must be emitting them. The emitter can be applied to 3D objects, as well as be stand alone.

I found this nifty PDF that uses C to describe a Particle struct

typedef struct{
	float m;  //mass
	float *x; //position
	float *v; //velocity
	float *f; //force accumulator
} *Particle;

(One thing I don't understand is why the mass is not a pointer and the other values are... but maybe that's because the mass is static... and the other values are dynamic... I suppose that would make sense)


Jan 8 - 14

  • Learn the basics of After Effects
    • I will use video I already have captured to learn the basic workings of After Effects so from there on I can focus on specific aspects of the program to learn
  • Work on particle emission from within objects
    • Start with simple things like spheres and boxes and work on emitting particles from within those hopefully to work up to the bursting of objects caused by emission of particles.

Jan 15 - 21

  • Figure out how to make particles interact with other objects other than just collisions
    • Not sure how to do this, a lot of tutorial scanning.
  • Work on a simple compositing project
    • I want to composite Regino into some footage I have, see how it works out, figure out what things I'll have to take into consideration when compositing in the future.
  • Make a list of basic project ideas, things to work off of

Jan 22 - 28

  • Continue compositing
  • Meshes, Joints, and Animation review
  • NURBS, Curve and Polygonal modeling review
  • Concept

Jan 29 - Feb 4

  • Maya Rendering
    • Combining hardware, software and mental ray renders. What are the differences, how to import batch renders into After Effects/Premiere.

Feb 5 - 11

  • Work on basic models and animations for project (hopefully I'll have a concrete idea by now)

Feb 12 - 15