The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions | Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I saw this amazing film with even more amazing VFX last night and I was stunned! Not only by the story, but mainly by the visual effects. If you haven’t seen this film yet, you simply have to go to see it! It’s definitely a milestone in making hyper-realistic human characters in super fine detail on the big screen! My kudos to Digital Domain for the VFX on the hero character, Benjamin. HATS OFF! :bowdown:

WoW got me too!

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions | Monday, May 25th, 2009

I know… I know… terrible…

But hey, I got so pumped up by Diablo 2 I couldn’t have resisted! :love:

World Of Warcraft

I’ve always admired and loved the beautiful art of Blizzard’s World Of Warcraft (or any other games, really), and now I have a chance to play this beautifully crafted, amazing, game. Even though I’m definitely not a “hardcore gamer”, but rather a “casual player”, I still think it’s worth the buck to play this game every now and then. Right now, I suck real bad :D even 13 year old kids laugh at me, but I’m enjoying myself in the game. And, of course, I’m playing with my girl. Both warriors and a few friends of ours are some other classes (don’t really know which). Tons of fun!

If you have a few dollars to spare on relaxation and fun, I highly recommend World Of Warcraft!

3ds Max 2010 ini changes

loocas | 3ds Max,software,technical | Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Autodesk has changed the way inis are being loaded up in 3ds Max 2010. I didn’t know (even though I was on the beta program) about this new feature until I bumped into a problem with it. Namely, plugin.ini seems to be loaded at startup no matter what, which means setting up various flavours of 3ds Max requires an additional step that wasn’t necessary before.

I also beta test finalRender for Cebas and I heavily customize Max beyond the UI, which means I load up certain plugins at certain times, when I need them. Up until now it has been the way that by default (without specifying a different ini file), Max tries to load up everything that’s in plugin.ini, which worked perfectly for a full-blown installation whenever I needed it. But since 3ds Max 2010 it seems that plugin.ini is being loaded up every time no matter what I specify during the startup. This means that I have several other ini files with various configurations and plugins I want to load up using the -p parameter for 3dsmax.exe, like this:

"C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2010\3dsmax.exe" -p myConfig.ini

Now I bumped into a problem when Max was trying to load a full, retail, version of finalRender Stage-1 R2 as well as my beta version of fR (specified in a different ini) at the same time, which caused a conflict. So essentially, for a full version of fR I run Max with fR_RETAIL.ini settings and for a beta version I run fR_BETA.ini settings. Now I only keep stuff that I want to run every time in plugin.ini, no matter what configuration I’m using. This is a bit of a change and I though I’d point that out for anyone interested in customizing the hell out of 3ds Max 2010 ;)

I’m loving Nuke!

loocas | opinions,software | Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

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Yes! I’m finding Nuke more and more appealing. Especially the customization and general workflow parts. I’m really digging the whole channels paradigm as well as the Python integration, of course ;)

I’m yet to script something more complex than a “dir(nuke)” or “print ‘test’” :D but I’ve managed to get some custom menus and toolbars out of the init scripts with the help of the documentation, which is great, by the way. I’ll also try to script custom Nuke comp scripts out of Nuke, say, via MAXScript, which shouldn’t be that complex. I’m thinking of writing out a simple pre-composite script after rendering is done, for example, which will generate not only the rendered images, but also a simple pre-made Nuke composition for the 2D artists to start with, with all the renders in it, maybe even put together. Just for the fun of it :)

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Diablo 2, the unbeatable classic

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions | Thursday, May 14th, 2009

In the anxious anticipation of Diablo III, we wanted to re-live the nostalgia of the unbeatable classic, Diablo 2, with my girlfriend. So we sat down and started playing in the co-op mode, which is tons of fun! The game, despite its terrible graphics for todays standards (max. 800×600 resolution, 256 color palette), is still highly addictive and playable! We’re loving it!

I’m a barbarian (as always ;) ) and my girl plays as an assasin. Hopefully we’ll finally beat Diablo over the weekend, however, based on our performance against the last boss, I highly doubt it. :D

I hope Diablo III will be released soon, because when it’s out, I’ll buy 2 copies and play ’til my fingers bleed or until we beat the game (whichever comes first)! ;)

Diablo 2, Act II

duber studio has successfully migrated to its own hosting server

loocas | miscellaneous,technical | Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

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duber studio and its projects (duber.tv, this blog, mycirneco.com, chargethedragon.com and various other hosted services) have today successfully migrated all the databases to its own server, Dell PowerEdge. We’ve been running our own server since July 2007, however, most of our databases were still being kept over at our hosting partner, Hokosoft s.r.o., which still manages our server housing and maintenance. This move means a bit faster db transfers (most likely not noticeable to the visitors of our sites), but in terms of administration and management, it’s a much welcomed move as we can now start to integrate our vfx pipeline and management tools to a remote server for faster and smoother collaboration.

Autodesk Toxik is out

loocas | opinions,software | Sunday, May 10th, 2009

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I’ve given Toxik a spin and I’ve found it unusable for my particular needs (but that was kinda obvious almost from the very begining).

The cons were namely:

  • Awkward user interface
  • Strange and unfamiliar compositing paradigm
  • Owned by Autodesk
  • Dubious future
  • Newly revamped compositing package from a dead end concept
  • Seemed to be aimed at larger, primarily 2D, post-houses

While the pros were:

  • Built-in revision and versioning system
  • Built-in connection to Oracle database (perhaps other DBs were supported as well?)
  • Collaborative compositing design
  • Fresh, modern architecture with HDR and 32bit compositing in mind
  • Python scripting
  • Seemed very robust and fast

As I said, those pros or cons reflect my particular needs. While others might or might not agree with me, it’s their problem :) I found Toxik unusable for my needs and thus I ruled Toxik out of my pipeline development process.

I’m finding Nuke quite interesting

loocas | opinions,software | Friday, May 8th, 2009

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As I’d mentioned, this year is a year of changes and expansion for me, so, naturally, I’m looking for ways of expanding my postproduction pipeline, namely, compositing. I’ve been using Eyeon’s Fusion for a few years now and I find it very powerful, fast and realiable. However, I’ve been looking into other areas as well.

While I own a copy of After Effects CS4, I don’t find it that flexible and suited for my particular needs. I certainly want to go the “node-based” way. Don’t get me wrong, After Effects is a great package with a huge userbase which means tons of plugins and tutorials are available for it, but, as I said, I don’t want to go this, linear, route. So, I have a few options that are within my financial reach: Fusion, Nuke or Toxik. I certailny don’t want to invest in a brand new product on the market with dubious future, especially when owned by Autodesk, which potentially rules out Toxik, however, I’ll see how well it plays with 3ds Max and Maya (downloading the trial as I’m typing). I’ve been using Fusion for some years and I love it, so that certainly makes it a hot candidate. However, I’m always open to new possibilities, better, smareter or quicker workflows. Basically, anything that helps to improve my work in any way, ultimately in quality, will be on my highest priorities list.

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A quick note about 64bit virtualization

loocas | software,technical | Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Naturally, I’d downloaded Windows 7 RC1 x64 as soon as it was available to test it out. Obviously I can’t afford to ditch my current setup and reinstall from scratch on my primary workstation just to see whether Windows 7 really are up to the hype and thus worth the upgrade. That’s where virtualization comes really invaluable.

So I prepared a new virtual machine in my VMWare Workstation and, surprisingly, got an error message saying “This CPU is VT-capable, but VT is not enabled (check your BIOS/firmware settings).” The problem was that I had Virtualization enabled by default in my BIOS!

I searched the net, but all I found was always the same recommendation: enabling virtualization in BIOS. So I checked Gigabyte’s website for BIOS updates as that was the last resort I would be able to go to, if that wouldn’t have worked, I’d have been pretty much doomed and wouldn’t be able to virtualize 64bit guest operating systems.

Thankfully, flashing the BIOS to the latest version worked and I am able to fire up a Windows 7 RC1 x64 virtual OS for some testing.

Just a side note, I run a Core i7 CPU (920) on a Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P (BIOS: F7) board, the rest of the HW is irrelevant to virtualization (except perhaps the amount of RAM), no need to brag, besides it’s more like a gaming rig than a workstation, but I’m more inclinable to the value/price ratio than a brand let’s say. ;) Nevertheless, this rig runs faster than a more expensive machine from Dell (Precision T3400) I have here temporarily for rendering.

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MyCirneco.com is online

loocas | miscellaneous | Friday, May 1st, 2009

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We started a blog dedicated to our beloved Ruby, MyCirneco.com. Primarily my girlfriend will be publishing and maintaining the site, in both, Czech and English, languages.

It’s at the very beginning right now, so we’re yet to translate the posts to English, but if you know someone interested in cirnechi dogs, they might appretiate our experience with our little devil ;)

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