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14. July 2011


In my prior descriptions, I had some not too nice words for the GIMP.  For those that have GIMPnever heard of it, The Gimp is a free art program, generally regarded as the closest thing to Photoshop that the OpenSource world has to offer.  In my prior use, I found the GIMP pretty much terrible and I resorted to using the much less powerful but more more enjoyable Paint.Net.





That said, I started running into limitations almost instantly, so I gave the GIMP another shot, and colour me impressed!  I managed to import multiple screenshots, into a single layer, resize and crop them all in one action, optimize and export for animated GIF in minutes.  This was an eye opening experience!


That said, I then spent 5 minutes and had to resort to Googling to figure out how to draw a line… so, yeah, the UI still needs a bit of work!  Fortunately that is what they are working on now.  All told though, I really shouldn’t have had such a negative view of this app, when using it to actually get something done, as opposed to just messing around in it, it came through brilliantly.


13. July 2011


Tweak is a neat feature in Wings 3D that allows you to do radius based editing, by setting a falloff radius of effect.  There is one confusing thing with Tweak though, when setting the radius, you get the following item in the info bar:



Here’s the catch, in order for the radius adjustment to be working, you need to be actively mousing over an object!

Tweak Radius modifier in action









Tweak radius modifier in action.


11. July 2011


You’ve probably seen me ( and many others ) mention ngons in the past and if you are drawing a bit of blank on why they matter, here is a bit of a demonstration.  An ngon is simply a face with more than 4 edges.  Let me illustrate.


Let’s say you have a object like this:



And you wanted to cut one of the faces in half like this:



Well, everything looks normal, but in reality you just created an nGon ( two actually ).  See, look at the number of edges in one of the faces you just created:


See, 5 edges.  In a app that doesn’t support ngons ( such as Blender without bmesh ), this simply isn’t possible.  In Blender, you would need to cut all the way around the object to make sure no polygons have more than 4 faces, like this:



This is purely a modeling feature though, at the end of the day, Unity will convert your object to triangles, like this.



This is why working in quads is always so handy, they convert to triangles in a very predictable way.  Working in ngons is incredibly handy, allowing you to model detail only where you need it.  It makes it a lot more difficult to screw you your topology with needless geometry.  But as illustrated by the final figure, it’s not the end of the world, everything ends up the same in the end.


4. July 2011


As is the joy of being a PC user, you are on occasion going to encounter Gremlins.  I’ve been doing this way too long and recently encountered a problem that I simply could not solve.  When rendering some video in Blender recently, I started getting out of memory errors, then my computer would crash completely.


I spent many days trying to figure out what the hell was going on.  After countless Google searches and the like I found absolutely no solutions and in the end, I decided to re-install completely.  Then much to my chagrin, after installing and running all the various service packs, the problems came right back again.


In the end, it ended up being the Broadcom Wireless Tray application that was leaking memory.  Worst part was, it never showed up in PERFMON, or Task Manager, which made debugging a nightmare.  The memory was being leaked at such a low level, none of the monitoring tools tracked it… a proverbial needle in a haystack.


Then I happened upon this:


… that’s a lot of Page Faults, and thus my first indicator.  Page Faults sadly aren’t shown in Task Manager by default and thus I overlooked this issue.  In the end, removing BCMWLTRY.exe and presto, leak is gone.


Totally off topic, but this problem is why I haven’t updated more here.  Hopefully just one person comes across this problem and I help them in some way, as when I googled, there was nothing.

Totally Off Topic

2. July 2011


As I noticed on Design3 made a series of tutorials for Blender 2.5x UI navigation available.  Considering that the user interface may perhaps be Blender’s most difficult aspect for new users, these can be incredibly handy. 


However, Design3 have made available all off their tutorials available for free until July 10th.  Considering they cover Blender and Unity development, this should be of interest to all of you, so check it out.  You do have to sign up for a free account to access many of the tutorials however.



Big gotcha, their site SUCKS with Internet Explorer 9!  Badly.  Point blank, the registration process will not complete if you are using IE9. It worked flawlessly in Chrome however.



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