We've Moved

The blog has been retired - it's up for legacy reasons, but these days I'm blogging at blog.theodox.com. All of the content from this site has been replicated there, and that's where all of the new content will be posted. The new feed is here

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Conquest of Space

One of the hardest thing about working in our business is that the technology evolves faster than our means of talking about it. There are a lot of things which we learn in the course of our work that we have a hard time passing on, because the field is so small and so few of us have leisure to try to find ways to sum up all of the practical knowledge we pick up along the way.
I originally wrote this for Game Developer in 2006, and it was always one of my favorite columns.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Comments requested

I'm working a talk for GDC , tentatively entitled "Technical Art Director? What the heck does that mean?"

I'd love to hear thoughts from all you industry types on what the role means. That could be what you think it means for your company, or what you think it means when other people hear it, or what you think it ought to mean. 

 Good anecdotes are particularly appreciated and may be shamelessly stolen :)

So please comment below and let me know what you think while I'm trying to figure out what I think...

PS for future readers coming here via Google or whatnot, this link goes to my perennial how to write  a GDC talk post. Physician, heal thyself!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Adventures in the 4th dimension

In our last discussion of 3d math, we started to plumb the mysteries of the matrix. Along the way we discovered two important facts: First, that it’s possible to write an article about matrices with only the merest smidge of a Keanu Reeves mention and second (almost as important), that matrices are just a convention for applying dot products in series. We walked through the derivation of matrices for a series of dot products and shows how hat simple operation allows you to do rotations in two and three dimensions.

Naturally, any TA reading this will be knows there's more. We all know that the matrices we’re most familiar with — the transform matrices that drive animation and modeling — do more than rotate. So this this time out we’re going talk about how translation — spatial offsets — can be packed into matrices.  And we're going to do it in a truly brain bending way.  Sort of.
If none of this sounds familiar, you may want to return to the previous post in the series before continuing.

Friday, December 12, 2014

All we are saying is give API 2.0 a chance

Doing all this math-related posting has reminded me of something I've been meaning to write up:

Maya's python API 2.0, first introduced in the 2013 version, got off to a rocky start. People complained about missing functions and missing modules.  It uses (mostly) the same function and class names as the original OpenMaya Python, which is a recipe for confusion. The documentation is pretty confusing too, since it points at the original C++ docs and leaves it up to you to do much of the translation in your head.    However....

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Dot Matrix

We started our math review with a look at the dot product, and started out by showing how dots work in a minimalist way. This time out we’ll do the same thing the most basic component of 3d math - the matrix.