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.....