A couple of readers have asked about the diagrams in this series of Special Relativity posts. I created them with the freeware 3D ray tracing application, POV-Ray. The diagrams are actually three-dimensional “scenes” designed to be viewed as flat pieces. If some of the “dots” look more like little spheres, that’s because they are!
I wrote some introductory posts a while ago (here, here, and here). You can read those if you want more details about the application.
For a little (optional!) Friday fun, I thought I’d share some POV-Ray images that have a bit more “dimension” to them.
May you — and all those you love — have a Merry, Happy, Joyous, Delightful, Wonderful, Warm, Delicious, Safe, Fun (yet Solemn), Sugar-Cinnamon Hot Cookie-Scented [insert appropriate holiday here].
I made a little something for the day:
Today I want to tie up last time’s post about animation before moving on to other things. I’m sure I’ll return to the topic of making movies with POV-Ray and FFmpeg; it’s just too much fun, and I have tons of ideas. (I can finally do a really decent animation for the Special Relativity article I’m planning for Albert’s birthday.)
Firstly, I’ll discuss the animation initialization file, the ANI.INI file, and show you how the multiple segments are managed. Secondly, I’ll talk about the output files — all those frames we generate — and what to do with them.
Plus, I have a couple of important announcements!
I mentioned last time that a big draw for me with POV-Ray is the ability to create three-dimensional scenes and move around them. Having lots of camera positions is part of that; I want to see my scene from multiple angles. (Moving about a 3D space was often a big part of what little interest I ever had in video games. I especially liked flying games.)
From the very beginning, knowing that POV has support for animation, I’ve wanted to take it to the next level and make 3D movies. Rather than frozen snapshots taken from a bunch of (hopefully) well-chosen points, I wanted a fluid movement through the space.
Today I thought I’d write about some tricks I use to do that.
I’ve been mentioning, and even writing about, POV-Ray for a while now. It and I go back quite a few years, and — as with may of my long-time hobbies — it’s something I’ll pick up and get really into for a while. Then, after some period, which varies considerably, I’ll exhaust my interest, and back it goes onto the shelf (which is not the same as onto the back burner).
This is the fourth or fifth time I’ve picked it up, but the first time I’ve really gotten into it. It’s been fun and very productive (all this retirement free time is awesome). I make no claim for being any good at creating mind-blowing scenes (but I’m working on it). I do, however, have a couple process tricks that have made my life easier, and I thought I’d share them.
This first one is about managing camera positions.
November shouldn’t pass with just the one post. I intended a post last Science Fiction Saturday to rave about the new Doctor Who episode (celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who), but the day slipped to Sunday before I got the writing motor started. I’ll rave about it now: it was really, really good! A wonderful, delightful milestone marker and, as always, built on a damn good story.
I’ve not been idle lately! Dedicated post-retirement loafing finally shook the work dust off my shoes, and I’ve gotten back into personal project work. Seriously into it. In the 16-hour sessions, sleep and eating are unwelcome distractions, not knowing what time of day (let alone what day of the week) it is sense of seriously.
And I read some really good vampire novels!
As reported earlier, this week got off to a rough start. I let my guard down (foolishly) and got nabbed by the greedy PC rapists. All I wanted was to find a particular font for a project. The next day a more careful search turned up exactly what I needed, the fonts and just the fonts (ma’am).
Monday I mentioned that I planned to share my font-needing project with you. It’s not finished (many of my projects live a long time as I tweak them — some are living things that grow and improve forever). But it turned out so much better than I expected, I just had to share it with you this Science Fiction Saturday.
I’m also going to boldly try a new WordPress blogging trick!
Those who know me know that I’m not big on calendar holidays. Even my birthday tends to pass without fanfare. That comes from being single, the island that supposedly no one is. After a lifetime of Christmas and New Years’ being ordinary days, you get used to it.
But I do honor the Solar Event Days because (as I’ve mentioned many times) light is so important to me (and because I’m a geek). Christmas may not mean much to me, but the Winter Solstice does! The days finally start getting longer! Summer Solstice is a day of mourning for the opposite reason.
Today — the Autumnal Equinox — marks the halfway point.
I’ve been playing with Python and POV-Ray, catching up on movies, enjoying the continued nice weather, and even getting in some reading. Yet it’s still weird how little I seem to get done considering the days are all mine. (And I still haven’t fully shaken the sense that all this free time ends at some point.)
For now I plan to focus on project work—the previously mentioned Python and POV-Ray playing—so there may be a pause in the posting while I putter (possibly a plethora of pauses). Please stay tuned!
In the meantime, I have some questions:
Speaking of Happiness Moments, I finished my POV-Ray Tardis project.
Or more accurately, I finished the first phase of the project. The beauty of something like this is that you can return to it later and add details or make improvements. Sometimes you learn a new trick that can be retro-fitted to an older project.
That can happen on programming projects, too. Exposure to the Smalltalk and Lisp communities gave me a view of code as a living thing that evolves (sometimes daily) as all living things do.
I’ll write about that sometime, but today I just want to show off my Tardis!