Saturday, December 29, 2007

VBLOG! Houdini Digital Assets - Distance Tool

Finally off the job and have some time off! Today I spent some time figuring out Mantra's DOF features, and I lacked a tool to accurately tell me the distance between point A and point B. Or perhaps there exists a tool and I missed it....

So, as with all things Houdini... BYOHDA! Or... Build Your Own Houdini Digital Asset.

I've left the file on Odforce, and the video can be located here:


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

More pics uploaded

More pics uploaded! Check two posts down for the link!

Just when you think Pizza in Singapore is crap...

Pizza Hut has been sucking for more than a decade; thick thick crust and razor thin cheese layers just have had it for me. The awesome service also helps me not want to visit there (can you smell the sarcasm?!)

Just came back from a lunch with a kaki, and it seems my sis ordered in pizza from - OMG, this has to be the best pizza I've had in a long while. And it easily rivals the pizza I've had in LA. Two thumbs up!

Monday, December 24, 2007

LA in Panoramas

I used this really cool software called AutoStitch to create the following panos. Been real busy with work (hate 3ds max - I need houdini love!) so this automated stitching software comes in real nice. Props to the people who wrote it!

Last Week in LA

Happy Holidays!

To anyone still reading this near deceased blog, Happy Holidays! It's Chrismas season and I can't wait for the year to roll by.

Right now back with Lights and Shadow working on a quick spot, after which I'll take a break for a bit. Was supposed to work on some H9 tutorials, but teaching a class is one thing, a video tutorial.... I can't get the same flow and momentum. I've put that off till after this current project.

Be back soon!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Practice Practice!

The last few days, I've been using 3dsmax, primarily because my current workplace uses it, and that I also need to use the most awesome FumeFX for the project.

FumeFX, is the most excellent Smoke/Fire fluid sim plugin for 3DS max, from the same people that brought us After Burn. I would say, from my newb experience, it is hands down the easiest and fastest way to get awesome looking fire and smoke out of the box.

In barely half a day of working with it, I already have a nice fireball working as expected, and the simulation is very, very fast. Not only is it fast, but it is super multithreaded, at least the help says it can scale up 16 cpus! The rendering is also absolutely, impossibly fast. My PAL res renders were running nearly 6 seconds a frame!

FumeFX and Afterburn are probably one of the 3 reasons why it's nice to have a copy of max lying around (the third reason, is the awesome Editable Polygons. THAT contains a very nice suite of tools for modeling stuff fast. NB: While so awesome, I wouldn't hesitate to go over to Houdini's SOPs anytime - proceduralism kicks serious ass, and I know it.)

Now the problem with re-learning software is that the keys get all messed up. Heck, I only figured out how to switch between Shaded and Wireframe mode barely 5 hours ago. What's worse, when I load up Houdini (Apprentice HD FTW!), I'm already exhibiting 3ds-maxism - I'm trying to rotate the viewport using Alt-MMB lol! While I only have 1 or 2 waking hours at home, I am going to dedicate them to figuring out more Houdini. Tonight's schedule is Character Rigging. Well not Character Rigging as per using the H9 Auto Rig, but just using good ol' bones and capture regions.

Enough blogging, time to give SOPs a good run!

Friday, December 07, 2007

One Week!

It's been one week after I left the US from my SideFX Internship, and whilst I would love to regale you with stories, I am unfortunately recovering from a very bad cough. So bad, I'm under antibiotics, so I'm still suffering from post-antibiotics weakness.

Still, here are some thoughts:
a) Macdonalds: Good lord! Just a few months away, the Big Breakfast not only shrunk, but price went up! ?! Basically, that was the first thing I tried, as it's equivalent in the states, tastes too "chemically".
b) Terminal 3?! Duh!
c) Lavender. The color lavender. My flat is painted lavender. DUH. Who, I would like to know, is color co-ordinating all the flats in Singapore? Perhaps from the hubble telescope the colors would form some kind of meaning? I mean, come on, even the road signs are lavender....
d) RAIN! GAH! Even my fur coat is damp, and it's lying indoors!
e) My favourite food stalls in my market, as well as at the Beach Road market, have changed owners :(
f) MRT: Still as annoying as ever. Though I doubt I will live to see the day of Star Trek transporter technology.

I am now working with Light and Shadows for a spot, and unfortunately, due to some requirements I am working in 3dsmax (grumble grumble). Still, it's nice to work at the old office with the old kaki.

Some houdini house hire me pls!!! =)

Signing off, the half drugged Gallen Wolf.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

2GB of ram kicks ass!!!!

Well not as much as 4gb of ram, but that's like on my desktop PC back home :P

Just upgraded my laptop to 2GB, and boy, it's like I can breathe! Running a Houdini fluid sim whilst I type this, and I have my email and a few other tabs running. It's a tad late else I'd like to setup a more serious fluid sim... but oh well....

Go for it! Newegg rocks!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I wish the Thunderbirds, old, new or 2086 were real. Sigh.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Chocobo Tales for the Nintendo DS


Usually when people buy a Nintendo DS, they would buy games to play. And I've bought a grand total of.... 4 games for the DS. Seems like I'm just too lazy to keep up with the latest and greatest to waste time. Cough. So a few weeks back, after playing Mario Kart DS day after day on the bus/mrt/us bus, I finally got somewhat bored at trashing the cpu carts. (NB, when I go online, I usually get trashed :P)

StarFox simply wasn't cutting it (completed it the first day I bought it!) and Brain Age was well... not my kind of game. So a trip down to the nearest Game Stop to hunt for games. Several that caught my eye included a new Mana game from Square, and some version of FF 12 for the DS coming out later this month, and.... Chocobo Tales (NB: I was on the lookout for the latest Link offering, but it wasn't there.)

Being such a yellow bird lover that I am, I pondered (quickly) between this and Mage Knight, and decided to send my hard earned cash over to the evils of Square Enix.

Chocobo Tales is definitely a kids game with the extremely, extremely cute graphics. Only probably dog pups and cat kittens could be any cuter. It's definitely running off the Final Fantasy III DS engine. Dang, I forgot FF 3. Means I bought 5 games to date, lol. FF3 kicks ass btw, but due to being and RPG, there is like.... Zero replay value.

Now where was I.... the game's graphics were yes, on the same level as FF3, but alot of the battle sequences and game challenges were done in a very artistic Crayon kind of rendering. Just imagine your kid sibling's crayon art come to life, and fighting. Combine that with a card game dueling battle system, and you got a definite winner.

Now a little problem with the game - I completed it all in under 11 hours! GAH! I then spent an extra 2 hours to finish up some minor side quests to rescue all the Chocobos that were captured. Geez. The game itself was less like a traditional FF game where there'd be random encounters all over the place and EXP to earn, rather, the fights are at pre-determined locations. As mentioned, the battle uses a card system, so by doing mini "quests" (aka Micro Games) you will get extra (not necessarily better) cards for use in battle.

Apart from the card duel boss fights, alot of the game revolves around participating in various Minigames, of which a win will give you cards, or an event that will further the storyline. In general, most of them are pretty straight forward to complete, but there are multiple difficulty levels of the same challenge, each yielding a different reward. Some are just plain luck based, which is *totally* annoying, to downright impossible to win. In fact, there is one microgame called "LeapToad" that I've never had the reflexes to even manage more than 3 seconds before I'm dead :P

Which makes me wonder how an 8 year old would fare.... then again.... 8 year olds are doing websites and hacking hardware nowadays so they'd probably kick my ass ;)

Controls are generally very good, and the music is extremely nice for an old FF retiree like me - I could pick out tunes from FF3 NES, FF6 SNES, FF7 and other tunes that I have heard but can't place. The final battle music has to be the best - I've been replaying that stage for the fun of it and the music. And the final battle HAS to be one of the more innovative fights I've every fought - you play Air Tennis with the final boss :P At least it's not Debarrier - KOTR - Win! (Yes I got to the final cave about lvl 40. So yeah it was an easy last boss)

Final verdict, if you are a FF fan, this is one to get. Just don't expect a gigantic storyline like the other FFs (the newer FFs are just crazy), you only visit an area about the size of perhaps 20 blocks (!!!!). I think only one boss, the 2nd, a golem had me fight the card duel with it about 5 times. Oddly enough, the rest of the duels I was just too lucky. Many times I was down to a few HPs, and I managed to cast a TetraFlare+ card, which basically kills off anyone in late battle :P

I'll probably keep this cart around for a few more days before selling it on ebay, or perhaps trade it for Phantom Hourglass if the tradein is worth it. Or I should get the GB FF6 and see what's the new dungeon about. Gah.

I bought a Zune

About a week ago, my Creative Zen Micro decided to give up the ghost. One day it was working perfect, and one afternoon, it just shutdown, never to wake up again :( And so the quest for an MP3 player starts again. I'm just going crazy at work without some music!

So I narrowed down my choices to the new Creative Zen, and the Cowon iAudio. Having tried quite a few mp3 players before choosing my Zen Micro (I like the warmth of the sound. Pair that with my Grado SR80s.... oooo low end eargasmic heaven.) The Cowon was chosen based on it's reputation for sound, and I didn't get a chance to try it out.

Today however, just mere hours ago, I was out doing my weekly shopping and decided to head out to Best Buy to check out if they had any MP3 players. Sad to say, they didn't carry either brand, only some lesser known brands, some Toshibas which were very nice, but extremely expensive, lots of Ipods that I ignored (no thanks, the last one I tried I wasn't too impressed), and.... Microsoft's Zune offering.

Now the only thing about the Zune that caught my eye before today, was their advertisements. Motion Theory did the Birds ad - but I'm not sure who did this Phallic advertisement :P

The Zune itself was rather large, coming from a person using a Zen Micro for more than 2 years - the Zune is, from my estimates about 3 times as large. However, it makes up for it with a lovely, lovely large screen (perfect for showing off Demo Reels and tech examples hehehehe!) and a 30gb hard drive. What made me really interested in the Zune was the interface - it was just pure simplicity. No multi tiered menus to scramble through - I picked up on the controls instantly. Basic features that I required were there - Mp3 play back and some EQ controls. Didn't see any custom EQ settings like my (dead) Zen, but I don't use the custom EQ anyway.

I almost wanted to just drop my cash then and now (it was US199 for the Zune, and you'll need to add tax...), but I kept my resolve - giving myself the excuse that it used a custom USB cable - so therefore, it sucks. :P

So much said, I did not get a chance to try the sound quality. Would it at least exceed the last ipod I tried, and perhaps at least come close to the Zen Micro's warmth? Well.... I'll know in about a week!

It must be an act of Synchronicity - I was searching for the best prices to buy it. First hit was Circuit City - they had it for 149, and with tax just barely 170. I was about to change, grab my keys and head out, but again, I calmed down, and decided to read more reviews to see if it would suck. After a bit more searching (and deciding, after reading some posts about people using it with some Grados, and the Zune seemed to be driving them pretty well...), Amazon (duh) had it for only... tada! 129! WOO!

Still... keeping calm.... I was still trying to find something about the zune that sucks so I'd not buy it :P The software portion of the Zune seems to be a major down side, but hey, it's the same for my Zen Micro so I just kept going. And suddenly. Dun-dun-dun! This website, had the brown zune for 79.95! Granted it was a refurbished unit, but people who had bought it early reported the units coming in a pristine, like-new condition.

It was the brown version though, and while the price was right... brown isn't THAT appealing to me.... Nearly bought it but..... decided to hang out in some Zune forums :P And came across similar fantastic deal, for the black zune for 99 on

And that was it. No reason not to get it! So now I'm just waiting for it to arrive. If the sound quality is really bad, then this baby will go on ebay. Else I'll just enjoy it until they manage to create the perfect mp3 player :)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sony Bravia Ad

Making Of:

Stop motion kicks ass!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Life Of Mann! Updated!

My ex colleague Josef runs The Life Of Mann, a monthly comic. Please check it out @ !!!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Perils of learning an instrument without a guide.

So... lately it's all been about flutes and no Houdini. Well just so you know, after this post, I'm going for my bath, then it's back to Houdini :-)

But I just want to write about my learning experience thus far. Today, for the fun of it, I decided to pull out my flute's head joint by a couple of millimeters. And, lo and behold, what happened? The flute suddenly sounded so very more flute like (duh? A flute sound more flute like?), and, dang, Low C was now so much easier to blow, and today, for the danged first time, I was able to play the 2nd register all the way to A! WOOT!

Actually made it to the 3rd register C for a bit, but I didn't want to try it for too long, for fear of the wrath of my roomies and other apartment people =) Not bad for a 2 month old n00b.

The point is, if I had a teacher or someone, I'd probably learn a hell lot faster, and not figure out why my flute sounds like crap. Ah well, live and learn.

NB: I left my electronic tuner back home, so I had no way of finding out what position is A = 440, so there :P

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rain and Flutes

So last night and today were a surprise, it was raining! At about 5 plus yesterday it was raining quite heavily at Santa Monica. And probably most parts of LA but hey, I'm not super man. I left the office about 9, and it had already stopped. However, on my way home, it started up again, and thankfully I managed to be within a 100 metres of my apartment before the rain started again. It's nice to feel the rain again, after being used to all the rain back home, but not with the freezing sea side breeze! Brr!

Anyways, so just another blog on my flute. I've been having the flute for a while now, but only practice when I am not distracted by work. Now I have been having a very hard time with the flute, and unable to get the low C to actually play. Yesterday, I received in the mail a book called "The Flute Player's Book", written by Mr Vernon Hill. I am not certain what level of flute player it is catering too, but the book seems to assume we already know all the keys combinations! Which kinda threw me off since I thought it was a beginner's book. Which I think it is - I mean, posture and how to blow?

But in any case, the 3rd chapter was about tonal qualities (the first two were about how to hold the flute and how to blow it), which struck me as quite odd. Why would we be developing tone so early in the game? Shouldn't we be able to like.... play at least an octave of notes before anything else? But the very simple exercise, aided greatly by the included CD, actually allowed me to play all the way down to low C!!! Dang, and that was with barely half an hour of work. I can't wait to see how the rest of the book is. I happened to get the Second Edition, it's a great spiral bound book perfect for putting on a music stand (which I don't at the moment have the funds to cater to). Five stars! Buy it n00b flute players!

I also have How To Play the Flute by Howard Harrison, it's a real nice guide to slowly learning the different fingerings for the flute, so I think both of these books in combination are pretty good. These of course, I read off Ms Jeniffer Cluff's homepage. (USA people, you can get it off

Blog later, very excited right now and going to do more practice.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Visit to Method Studios

Got side-tracked by the material =) But today, as part of the internship program, the interns went on a visit to Method Studios, located just a shy 15 minute walk from SESI. Totally awesome place, and very nice people. We met with one of their CG Supervisors, Andy Boyd, ex-Framestore CFC. He brought us around, and let us see the studio as well as their current project. What's very interesting about the place is probably due to their length in the industry, they have a lot of old hardware around. For posterity, I guess? :-) How's an SGI Onyx 2 sound?!

Hair Material

If anyone actually sees this post, please please please check out the new materials in H9's Material Palette. They've all been vopified i.e. no more code, but visual layout of the necessary commands to generate a shader.

Why I'm so excited is because I learned (too danged late at that) about the Hair shader available in Houdini 9. It ROCKS. It's not the VEX Hair, it's not the Hair VOP. It's it's own shader inside the material palette. I am currently re-doing parts of my bunny, and worrying about how to tell people how to write code for that (I'm NOT a shader writer, even with how much I dabble in it). The Hair Material works perfectly, I love the highlights it catches, and the fur is just so soft and very real. Render times are pretty good as well. So... people who actually read this... explore the Material Palette!!!!

GW out.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Haiz notebook getting slow

No updates recently, so thought I'd just pretend to blog.

I'm pretty much used to the speed of the computers at work (and the 4gb ram!), at home it's really a drag to do stuff. Gah! I need ram and one of those lovely Quadros we got at work. I've even had the chance to use two 23in lcd monitors at work, one called Picard, and the other called Riker.

I also recently sent my flute in for servicing, it's been a week and I'm *really* itchy to get back to practicing.

I also had lots of potato for dinner.

Weee! I'm blogging! Ok.... Back to Houdini.....

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'm Korean

I've been doing quite a bit of classes the two weeks after Siggraph, and evidently some ppl think I'm Korean lol! So no, I'm Singaporean =)


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Random Link

Have been seriously vegetating once I'm off work.... Seems like my dilithium crystals need some serious re-crystallization (i.e. current in a semi-burnt-out state) before I can get back into the Houdini groove.

In any case, whilst I am not actively Houdini-ing at home, I am still at work, and although I've not *touched* Houdini at home, I sure have cooked up some ideas with the fluid solvers that I hope to may try out when I'm done with the current project I'm working on.

Anyways, I happened upon this blog today.... hilarious...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Aboard the USS Midway

Here are some pictures from the Autodesk Siggraph 07 party on board the USS Midway. Unfortunately, I missed the mid deck party, so decided to just wander around and snap pics of the various aircraft onboard.

Videos on youtube

Put my Siggraph presentations on YouTube; been working on the site, as well as a mid-term intern report.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Back from Siggraph 07

.... and am friggin' exhausted! I'm going to take the next few days resting up. I'll also want to post my test renders I did for Siggraph soon. And post the files on the Exchange so that people can get to 'em.

Thanks to everyone who came up at the booth to say hi! I'm sorry I am such a scatter brain at times :P

Will post pics and reports soon!


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Siggraph on Monday!

Woo been a week since I last posted! It's been a hairy week, hanging late till the early morn, checking renders and sims. Thankfully the bus runs crazy late (till like 4?)

Monday is Siggraph time! In a few hours I'll be back in the office to pack some stuff and head out to San Diego which is a 2 hour drive away. I hope to post some pics of siggraph! First Siggraph party will be Autodesk's party on an Aircraft Carrier! Can't wait =)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Exploring free Linux Games

There is a whole bunch of free games available on Linux, the amount of which is quite shocking. Didn't really try too many though, but two of those that I have, are quite interesting. The Battle for Wesnoth is a turn based strategy game with ports for both windows and linux. It reminds me of this old Sega strategy called Warsong (aka Langrisser). Graphics are 2D, not to shabby, and it is highly addictive. Bad bad!

Another interesting nugget is FreeCiv - a free version of well... Civilization! I found it amusing when one of the default names you will play as could be an "Ah Beng" or "Ah Lian" lol! You can of course play one of the more historic figures like Sir Stamford raffles or one of the prime ministers/presidents.

Have fun on linux! It's great for killing time when watching sims :P

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I got a flute!

Several posts earlier, I mentioned about Ultima 5 Lazarus, and the music for it has been so fantastic. It is great to relieve a lot of the Ultima 6 music in such high quality. I have also tried to replicate music I enjoy, such as Greyson's Tale on my Native American Flute, but it's chromatic scale is slightly off tune. I don't think it's designed to be a such an instrument anyway, so I decided to get a western concert flute i.e. the one above to see if I can pick it up.

Well for a start, it's a pain! Lol. Literally. I haven't got my finger positioning and posture correct, and my thumb hurts. It's probably that because I'm learning on my own based on what I can glean from home pages on the web =)
I'm also needing to build up my breath capacity =) I thought my plastic NAF was using up a lot of air, but this little puppy needs a whole lot more! Again, probably because of my n00biness.

If not, as of last night I was practicing from C-G, will try A to hi C tonight =)

Siggraph in 2 weeks! Woot!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Just home - and wireless works!

Well it's not too much of a surprise I guess, but I had zero luck getting Edgy to work in wireless. One of the reasons I didn't use it too much. But with Feisty, the moment I got home, I just input my password, encryption type and network name, BAM! I'm in. Friggin' cool. I didn't even have to edit my /etc/network/interfaces file. I also got msn/aim capabilities via Pidgin, also installed with the OS. Everything is slowly coming together =)

GallenWolf: Now on Ubuntu 7.04 :-)

Woo! I'm digging Ubuntu 7.04 - as of this post, I'm in a transition period between XP and Ubuntu :P Running fluid sims at the office, and there's only so much one can take Mario Kart on the DS. So I brought my lappy today to the office whilst sims are running. It's 9pm here, btw :P

Let's see... MP3s are playing fine, mail's fine, blog's fine, got my graphic drivers installed, figured out how to disable the touchpad, youtube works...DOSBOX WORKS! Life is good :) What's left is to get some IM software installed and see if the GIMP is up to photoshop, and of course, install Houdini, 64 bit :-)

PS: Ubuntu is a flavour of Linux in case you are curious.

The only thing to make it better if someone would give me 4gbs of ram lol :)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Switching to Linux?

I had the opportunity to learn how to setup a dual boot windows/linux system from one of our masta sys admins here with his l33t methods and crazy vi skillz. I actually have Ubuntu 6 on an external drive that I boot into, but without knowledge of drivers, how to configure wireless etc. totally put me off. So now, I can't wait for siggraph to be over and I can setup my system to dual boot into linux! The reason? Performance! Crazy performance.

My sys admin also gave me this cool link that I thought I'd share:

Yesterday I also cleaned out my laptop's fan with some canned air. Helps so much with my fingers getting hot lol. Do if you lappy is getting hot, clean it out :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Still alive and sorta kicking

So... nothing new to post. I'm just basically on my way to check out another siggraph paper, of which the link is on the left side of the blog on my CG Resources section =) With less than a month to Siggraph 07, things are getting rather hectic at work. I am currently working on 3 separate projects (!!!), two at work, and one at home, all for siggraph. All this keyboard banging is getting some stuff working, and I hope to post more about what I'm working on after Siggraph. Till then!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Ultima V: Lazarus

With Siggraph quickly approaching, I'm up to my ears in work, and as I write this I just finished learning some new Houdini tidbits. Remember on July 10th you guys get your paws on this piece of software!

Anyways, during my break I suddenly had the urge to listen to the Ultima V soundtrack... duh is there one? Who know, I had to search for it! Well the first hit was.... Ultima 5: Lazarus? Was this some kind of re-release by Origin or? Nope! Evidently many fans of the game have banded and re-released an updated version of Ultima V based on the Dungeon Siege engine. You do need Dungeon Siege to play it though, so perhaps after Siggraph, I'll check it out. In the meantime, the soundtrack for Lazarus is freely available for download (!!). So for anyone that still remembers rescuing Lord British with thy Avatar, go for it! (Me? I only won U5 once......anyone wanna go steal magic carpets and dodge gargoyles? :-) )

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Was working on this yesterday, had to learn a new scripting syntax in a few hours, but got the basics of the challenge working - to get a workable Katamari simulation in Houdini :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Nothing new for now

Or rather, I have lots of stuff going on, stuff I don't wanna show till maybe after Siggraph :)

I've also resisted the bad urge to stop posting what I've had for dinner. Nyeh.

Mantra Rox, GW out :)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Rushed at Bar None

Props to Boon and his band to their first live performance (so I hear!), check them out at:

Monday, May 21, 2007

Visit to Disney

Spent the good part of the day at the Disney lot in Burbank today, where we were given a guided tour of Disney's production facilities (they'd just finished Meet The Robinsons, so it was a tad quiet). After that, we went for lunch and took a tour of the other facilities, told which room was Walt Disney's old room (!!!), and got a chance to take a quick peek at some sound stages.

Also, I happened to come across this link:

Cool PRMan SIGGRAPH lectures! Gah so much stuff to learn!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007


What's new in LA?! New wheels! New longboard wheels that is :-) I just got my new set of Abec11 Grippins. I haven't ridden them yet, but they're surprisingly soft. Can't wait to test 'em out!

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Annoying fog! GAH! At the time of this post, the tall white building is even more friggin' obscured!


Experienced fog for the first time! Wonderful weather then suddenly... dun dun dun, this white thing rolls in. Instantly reminded me of Stephen King's The Mist.

Anyways, uneventful day till the bus home had some mechanical issues with the door (refused to close!) and it happened near.... Digital Domain! Yep that's the view through the dirt encrusted windows of the bus. I go by DD every single day. Twice.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

More food!

In an attempt to bring living costs down (or the fact that you get sick of frozen food.... take your pick :P), I've started cooking stuff at home. This week I'll be having.... rosti! Ok well... not really. What we have here is some thai rice covered with potato slices friend in egg and sprinkled liberally with black pepper. Ahem.

The weather seems to be improving this week, it's almost too warm to wear a windbreaker when heading outside. Apart from the most welcome warmth, I think the sun seems to be rising earlier? Today I woke up with the Sun shining in my face, and I had a single, bladder loosening thought (ok so nothing with the bladder just pretending to be dramatic) - I'M GONNA BE LATE FOR WORK!!!!

Looking at my clock, it's..... 6am?! What the....?

Will report more happenings as it happens to me, noob houdnik in LA!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Using CG metal balls to hit string and percussion instruments, an entire music piece is created. This is a really inspirational piece!

Let's act like a tourist.

Yesterday was my second time visiting McDonalds in the USA, the first time I just got a Sausage McMuffin meal and it was pretty much the same as the ones back home, except somehow, they don't serve tea?! I had no choice but to go with coffee.

Yesterday morning I was real hungry for a reason (perhaps all the skateboarding and running around the boardwalk :P )
and I happened to meet my colleague on the way to work. We were originally going to Starbucks but the queue was rather long, so I said (and personally I don't like starbucks too much) "Hey let's go to McDonalds!". Once there I just picked the largest meal I saw, which was this deluxe meal. Ok so I wasn't paying attention to the pictures in the store, so when I got back to the office I was wondering... why did they give me syrup?! Did they give me the wrong meal? But obviously, I just wasn't awake enough to realise the amount of food stacked in my carryout! It's basically a Big Breakfast + Hotcakes meal + 2 slices of bacon!

Needless to say I had a late lunch as it held me up pretty well :-)

Check back again!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Welcome Angie :)

We've got a new animator join us a few days back, too busy to note it here, but welcome Angie! She is an extremely experienced animator that has worked with many productions across many places. She'll be helping prepare Houdini 9's character toolset from an Animator's perspective. Check out her site and blog here:

Totally worn out :P

I'm totally smashed this week. There's a difference between a 15 hr day in front of the computer and 8 hrs of running around, installing software, figuring out how linux works (GAH!) and plugging cables. Well the end result of that is we had a linux class for that go off quite smoothly, and I spent a day rehearsing/preparing for an Intro to Houdini class that I thought. That went very smoothly yesterday, though I'm quite hoarse today.... well now I'm gonna go back to work on the usual houdini stuff :P

Oh, and if you are curious, you can't use the built in vnc server in Ubutn 6.10 to send OpenGL images over a vnc connection. Install x11vnc instead. Works great :)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Using Camtasia to capture an Ubuntu desktop

Spent half the friggin' afternoon installing vnc servers and fuddling with the viewers and generally not getting windows to speak to linux, I then came across a post on an Ubuntu forum stating that Ubuntu, well Edgy at least, has VNC built in (!!!!) It's inside System >> Preferences >> Remote Desktop

I just enabled it, set the passwords, and used the TightVNC viewer to login from my XP machine. Tada! Now the HDK lecturer next week can do screen caps =)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Life Of Mann April

Remember to check out - my ex-colleague's wonderful collaborative project!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Easing Equations.

Title says it all....

Monday, April 16, 2007


What do you carry halfway across the world? Your headphones and your mouse of course :) Oh they got pao pao cha here, but it's bloody expensive (USD3.49?!).

Visiting the beach

I think I'm finally getting into the groove of work/home/eat/sleep so more or less I won't be running around like a headless chicken and can get more stuff done. This was taken last Friday after work. 3 pictures stitched together. Original res @ 4.7k Wish I had a dslr and a fisheye :P Post more soon!

I didn't know Subway had 3 choices of cheese

This is for Adrian Easton, fanboy of Subway Melts. Come over to Santa Monica and I'll treat you to subway melts with a choice of 3 kinds of cheese :) Yum :)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Procedural Houdini Magic!!!!

You have got to check it out. Procedural growing of lots of stuff. Yeah.

View of the pier

I was out taking shots for use in my Internship projects (Not gonna build cg models - which is why I spent so much time on the Camera Mapping shader!), and took this shot of the pier. I haven't visited the pier yet, probably once I get totally settled in. I definitely want to ride the roller coaster.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Korea Town in the evening

Last weekend I visited this area in LA called Korea Town. I think it's where the majority of the Asian population resides. Everywhere you go, it was mostly well... Asians from all over the place :)

I was standing outside a hairdresser whilst waiting for a friend and took this shot. Original res was 14k wide....

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Prototype Camera Mapping Shader!

Spent the friggin' weekend learning vex, and today, happily came across a light projection tutorial in vex. I then re-implemented it as a surface shader, and it allows me to BAKE OUT TEXTURES! Woot! Will do more testing tomorrow to ensure it works perfectly.

#pragma hint map image
#pragma hint camera oppath

string map = "";
vector uv = 0; // For debug


float uu,vv;
vector pos;

if (map != "")
//pos = wo_space(P);
pos = toNDC(P);

uu = pos.x;
vv = pos.y;

Cf = texture(map, uu,vv);

//Cf = {0,1,0};
Cf = texture(map, uv.x,uv.y); // Debug purposes

Friday, April 06, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

Learning VOPs

Trying to learn VOPs today, and am starting to figure stuff out. First, the space change vop will "fix" a procedural texture in space, so when you move the camera or make TRS changes at the object level, the texture stays put, and doesn't give the "object swimming through texture effect". The texture node just has the UV co-ordinates piped in, and the multiply node combines the color from the texture, multiplied by the aanoise node (it's like a mask of sorts?) and then multiplied by a constant color value, that is given a greenish tint.

I tested toggling off the UV projection on the grid at the SOPs level, and the grid rendered with the green tinted noise, but not the texture. Interesting. I also tried applying a sin($FF*2)*10 on a transform node at the SOPs level, and the texture slid through space. I checked through the spreadsheet, and yes the Z points were animating (as expected). Perhaps we could have a parameter specifying the animation channels at the SOP level, and then subtract that from the incoming P from the globals? More investigation needed =)

This is the final output:

Upgrading the blog template

Gah! Upgraded the template during lunch hour, and missing some links. Will get those back ASAP :)

Shifted to my new place!

Just moved into my new place yesterday, and was too tired to setup the internet so I just took a picture and stuck it into my flash drive. I'm sharing the new place with a roomate, so it's like good ol' times back in BMT. I bought over the ex roomie's bed for US40, and then bought some bedsheets, pillow and comforter for about US39. Oooo. But it's great, I'm definitely shipping the stuff home come November =)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Out my office window

Finally brought my camera to work, this is the view out of the meeting room at about 8.30 in the morning. Man.... wanna go walk the beach :-)

Sony F717, F4/100, 4 pics stitched together in PS. Original PS'd image is 5200 pixels across. USM applied, no color corrects.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Today at work.

Ok so I'm slacking. My housemate has Gnomon's Houdini Rigid Body Dynamics DVD and I'm supposed to watch it, not blog. Bwah. Anyways.

Today we had a intro to fur class. It's very interesting to see how fur is implemented in houdini, I think of the 3 fur systems I've had a chance to play with (3ds max, maya and houdini), houdini is probably the most confusing, but it would definitely be *the* fur system to use in production. The ability to control stuff like fur clumping, length, color etc is very flexible. It's hard to describe, I'll probably try to produce a video tutorial on it using the fur proto install.

I was told that this is the same system used by Framestore CFC to produce the Rexona Go Wild commercial, except that they used PRMan and not Mantra for rendering.

I think Framestore has a slightly less compressed version on its site.

Apart from that... one of my colleagues took us out for lunch at Wolfgang's Express (DUH! lol), where I had a BBQ Beef Foccasia melt and a side of salad. Definitely delicious, and positively EVIL =)

Went home at 6 on the dot, and bought some frozen foods and snacks at a nearby Ralphs then headed home. I heard that Albertson's may be on strike soon? That sucks as I prefer their deli there =)

Alright, heading offline to bathe then do the Houdini RBD dvd till midnight, then I'll turn it.

Auf Weidersehen!


The week in review.

Ok, this IS kinda late for a week in review, especially on a Tuesday night. But I got my stuff down on my pda and never got around updating here, so there :P

Hmmm what did I write here... oh... I think I'm gonna talk a little about the public transport here. I'm in the west side of California in Los Angeles, where I work in Santa Monica. I take a bus from my current residence (with a friend) to work on the Metro. It takes about 40 mins to get to work. There are *many* other services running, like the Big Blue Bus (bad tongue twister), Culver City bus and others I can't identify. Yet.

The bus services here are quite interesting. I've only taken the Metro so far, payment is by Cash, Tokens (prepaid, think of it like arcade tokens back in the day), and passes. Other bus services have card services like back home (I think....), and the BBB actually allows you to top up the cards on the bus. Very nice!

The metro buses I take are also VERY disabled friendly. I've had the chance to see this in action, the metro runs a variety of buses, and the one I saw in action had a folding step to allow wheelchairs to board the bus with ease, and onboard the bus, it's very spacious to allow movement, and certain seats fold up to accommodate the wheelchair. This makes me wonder how back home.... how is a wheelchair is supposed to actually get on an SBS bus? The width of the SBS passage ways just... doesn't work out.

Another feature the bus has are bike racks on the front of the bus? Those are so cool.... I wish I'd brought my bike over. The buses have a rack on the front to mount (from what I see) two bikes. It's nice as the bus I take goes all the way to the beach, and a weekend cycle there would be excellent, especially with the weather warming up and all.

And oh, I think I forgot, but Adrian E. if you are reading this, a subway melt tastes the same here. And I asked another friend over in NZ he says subs taste the same there too.... so Subway must have some very good QC :)

Chat in a while....


Friday, March 23, 2007

Hi from LA!

Hi all! Well to whoever reads this barely-updated blog :P I'm currently in Santa Monica, LA doing my Internship with SideFX. They're the developers of Houdini, and I'm attached to their LA office working on Intern stuff (Brewing Coffee!) and the key point, learning Houdini.

So far, I'm slowly getting on track, more or less fine with traveling to-fro from work back to my friend's place where I'm staying, and will be getting my own (shared) room this coming April. The weather is really cold when I arrived, but I was told it is now Spring, so it should be getting warmer. It was very VERY cold a few days ago, was freezing my head off. But yesterday the skies cleared (was foggy the first few days I was here), and I was totally blown away as I was able to see from the office all the way clear to the horizon, and the amazingly greater-than-32-bit-probably-HDR gradient of blue, without a cloud in the sky. Today, the skies were somewhat cloudy, with some really UNREAL clouds. They looked like something out of a Bryce render (no offense to Brycers!).

Food is rather expensive, IMO, to this foreigner. A meal costs about 7USD, which adds up quite fast if you think about it. I'm now buying frozen food from the supermarkets to bring to lunch, and eat at dinner as well. Today I got some Hungry Man frozen dinners, for USD1.77 each. They taste like well frozen food. And for me I'm not too picky about food, so it goes down well. So long as I have my after-food tea, I'm fine :)

Will check back soon, getting sleepy and need to rest.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Python, anyone?

A fellow student sent me this link for python tutorials!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

For those HEROS fans @ work!

VFX is handled by Stargate!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


You have got to check this comic out, especially if you are a photographer ;-)

Sunday, February 25, 2007 - nifty 3DS Max TD!!! Check out his stuff!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Polarizers for Rangefinders

Know thyself. Ok, probably I still don't know myself 100%, but I do know what kind of photography I like, and so the kind of equipment that best suits me. My camera of choice is a Canon QL17 or a Contax G1 (though for those who know why... the Contax G1 and it's lovely Planar 45mm/2 and 35mm/2 are going to be sold soon.)

The Canon is small, unobtrusive, and well... generally doesn't garner as much stares compare to SLRs of sorts. The contax is even better - it totally looks like a point and shoot camera, and better still, it has excellent metering AND autofocus :)

I saw a thread on on Clubsnap, and it reminded me about a project I did a while ago in order to use Polarizing filters on RFs. These are the end results:

Mounted on my beloved, though now highly unused, Minolta 7S.

Besides my lovely QL17.

Ah not simplicity, but it helps to reduce the time required to shoot with RFs and polarizing filters. The mounted polarizer on the shoe will be rotated to obtain the desired polarizing amount, and I simply transferred that rotation amount over to the main lens' polarizer. Metering in this case is taken care off automatically as the metering cell is located inside the main polarizing filter.

Take care!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Lego Factory!

Check this out! It's gonna be boring for the non-tech dudes and dudettes, but this gent fixed a whole bunch of legos to create a miniature car factory! So cool!

Monday, February 12, 2007


Came across this new comic, Radioactive Panda today. Came across this strip about.... whatdoyaknow, Katamari Damacy. - which is kinda a co-incidence as I was figuring out how to do a RBD Katamari sim on Houdini. No luck with houdini yet though :P

The Life Of Mann

My esteemed colleague Josef Lee has started an online comic called "The Life Of Mann". Well not exactly started; it's already in it's 3rd chapter, and the next updates are coming very soon!

Check it out at

Keep it going mate!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

FX Wars #14, First Previz!

Awright! Here's my first previz for my fx wars sequence. It's gonna be in the open category. Not going to have much time for modelling, so I'm gonna try to do as much as possible in post.


Oldie Cameras!

I came across this site called Junk Store Cameras, the owner reviews and used a whole chunk of old cameras, it's both interesting and entertaining! You have to check out the Gala Section!

And the gala section @

Friday, January 26, 2007

3D Scanner from ya webcam!

Got this hit whilst searching for stuff at work, it looks extremely interesting. All you need is a webcam (I think my DV Cam may work better? Not sure if it has wdm drivers...) and a little time to set up a calibrated platform for the object to work with.

I'm not a hardcore modeler, and for solo projects, it may be a great time saver. The mesh would probably need TONS of cleanup, but I'd just use it as a reference to get my proportions correct and re-model a new mesh over it.

Check this out!

Kaki left me a link to this cool clip on youtube!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

HK Post house and FX Wars!

And oh, FX Wars is starting up again @ CGTalk, the topic this time is Disintegration!

Still haven't figured out which effects to do. I definitely have forgotten the effects from Indiana Jones, Mummy Returns and a few others. Don't have those on dvd, time to rent or buy?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Random Links


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Spent the weekend battling minor PC problems (-urge-to-format-strong-), but otherwise it's still rainy, and not much chance to bring my bike out and stretch my legs :(

I spend awhile today playing the flute again, it is simply a delight to be able to play along (or best as I could) with Scott August's New Fire album. The few songs I played along to were in G and F#, perfect for the new flute. I used to "play" parts of "Heart Of the Sky" (which is in the key of G) on my A flute, and it's a simple pleasure to be able to finally play in key. It's kinda like Karaoke, only with a musical instrument :)

"Mockingbird Canyon" was in F#, could keep up for the slower parts, but I'm still not used to the reach of the F# flute. I guess my paws aren't as big as I thought :P

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I need to knock my head

The flute sound better now. Why? 'cause I was using a wrong fingering for the hi notes! Duh! I simply played my usual tunes exactly as my Sparrow Hawk on the new flute, but evidently, the fingering is slightly differnt.

Time for more practice :)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Flute Pics!

Here's a pic of my new AO PF Flute along side my training flute, a Sparrow Hawk from High Spirits. I've only spent about an hour on the new PF Flute, and am loving it. The finish is frankly, quite bad. Plus it doesn't look like the picture on the Amon Olorin Flutes website. It sound great, and as mentioned I can now play along with some of my favourite tracks. I think it is a great buy for two keys, and won't hesitate to recommend it. I'm going to be looking for leather strips of sorts to decorate this new flute :)

The key of G has a finger spacing quite larger than my Sparrow Hawk, so I'm still unable to perfectly cover all the holes, F# is quite a bit larger (check the pic!), and I am going to take a looong while before I can play on F# properly :) As mentioned before, the higher notes are quite easy to overblow, hope it's just my flute :)

Will post more pictures of the bird (or block) tomorrow :)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Yay, let's gripe.

Awright, haven't updated in months... what's new on my side? Nothing much, busy with work and all. If anything, I'm gonna be posting stuff here 'cause lots of guys in my office are posting stuff on their blogs too, so gonna join in the fun :)

Today's gripe: RAM. Took me about half an hour to figure out the post codes and all, seems like one of the pieces of ram in my main pc died. Yep. Was halfway through the Win2k (YES IT IS SO OLD) bootup, when it dropped to dos, and refused to boot. Spending some time on my dad's PC I figured the beeps then set things right. Now, i'm only on 1gb of ram, thankfully I'm not doing any heavy projects. Well that should change with the next VFX Wars on cgtalk :)

I just got my "belated" christmas present today! Yipee! It's a plastic NA Flute. I'll post pics, maybe even a YouTube test. For the NA Flute players, it's a two in one plastic flute with G and F# keys (woo!). G is totally lovely, I can now play along with some of Scott August's New Fire tracks... Love that CD. The G and F# are quite a different beast from my High Spirits A flute, for the first time, breath control became very important. I have to control my breathing significantly so as not to overblow the higher notes. The first few minutes of practice, I thought something was wrong with the flute, even took out my tuner, but it seems it's just operator error :)

Check back soon :)