Some Houdini OBJ stuff

Had a chance to start that RedShift Lesson from LFO Design last night and I am super happy with that purchase already. Lots of good general tidbits in there. In the meantime, the MoGraph Slack has been posting a bunch of great ways to bring in OBJs into Houdini I can’t wait to test out. Here is a free method for simpler models:

And here is a method that will do more complex models and match all the materials but it’s a shelf tool you have to buy. But at $50 it’s kinda a no brainer. OD Shelf Tools.

Can’t wait to dig into both of these at some point. But for now it’s all about RedShift, Redshift and a touch of Redshift…. maybe?

The Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting

I have been doing this two days a week since the end of last summer and it’s pretty interesting what it does.

“I have been intermittent fasting for over one year.

I skip breakfast each day and eat two meals, the first around 1pm and the second around 8pm. Then, I fast for 16 hours until I start eating again the next day at 1pm.

Surprisingly, since I've started intermittent fasting I've increased muscle mass (up 10 pounds from 205 to 215), decreased body fat (down 3% from 14% to 11%), increased explosiveness (set a personal best with a clean and jerk of 253 pounds a few months back), and decreased the amount of time I've spent training (down from 7.5 hours per week to 2.5 hours per week).

In other words, I'm stronger, leaner, and more explosive even though I go to the gym less and eat less.

You may be wondering…”

The Simple Joy of “No Phones Allowed”

The effect was immediately noticeable upon entering the concert bowl. Aside from the time-travel-like strangeness of seeing a crowd devoid of blue screens, there was a palpable sense of engagement, as though—and it sounds so strange to say it—everyone came just so they could be there.

People were visibly enjoying the opening band, at least in part because that band no longer compete with the entire internet for the crowd’s attention. Even the crowd’s milling around and chatting between acts was so much more lively. People were either talking to their neighbors, or taking in the room. And everyone taking in the room was taking in the same room. It felt great. 

…Distracted concert crowds are a problem worth addressing, but it’s a small one, relatively speaking. I don’t think we’ve even begun to comprehend the full cost of our devices on our lives, particularly on our social structures, the development of our children, and our overall mental health. When the long-term studies start coming out, we’re going to be appalled.

I imagine that in another decade or two we’ll look at 2010s-era device use something like we do now with cigarette smoking. I was born in 1980, and I remember smoking sections on planes, which is unthinkable today. I wonder if today’s kids will one day vaguely remember the brief, bizarre time when people didn’t think twice about lighting up a screen in the middle of a darkened concert hall.

I can get behind this. I occasionally go through a phase where I leave my phone at home and there are a few things you notice. First thing I notice is that the cell phone has a cigarette like pull on me. When I used to smoke, the first thing I would do when I had a free second is reach for a smoke. Waiting for the band to clear the stage, smoke. Waiting for other to show up to rehearsal, smoke. Waiting for the bus, smoke. Same damn thing with a cell phone.

The second thing you notice is everyone glued to their damn phones EVERYWHERE. It’s like “They Live”. It’s really odd to see it and not be of it. This is a nice paragraph as well.

Every time someone in a group of people deploys a screen, the whole group is affected. Each disengaged person in a crowd is like a little black hole, a dead zone for social energy, radiating a noticeable field of apathy towards the rest of the room and what’s happening there.

We all know this feeling from being at a restaurant table when one person has “discreetly” ducked out into their screen. Even while everyone else is happily chatting face-to-face, everyone feels the hole.

The full strength of this black-hole effect on today’s social events can be hard to appreciate, because it has crept into our lives so gradually. But it sure was obvious in a venue at which everyone’s ripcord has been checked at the door. So much more attention stayed in the room, and it was palpable.

Think I may give the no cell phone outside the house thing again…..

Excerpted from How to Fly a Horse

Learning to say, "No" is probably the hardest thing to do in business and art. Here is some more reading up to help us all with that.

Time is the raw material of creation. Wipe away the magic and myth of creating and all that remains is work: the work of becoming expert through study and practice, the work of finding solutions to problems and problems with those solutions, the work of trial and error, the work of thinking and perfecting, the work of creating. Creating consumes. It is all day, every day. It knows neither weekends nor vacations. It is not when we feel like it. It is habit, compulsion, obsession, vocation. The common thread that links creators is how they spend their time. No matter what you read, no matter what they claim, nearly all creators spend nearly all their time on the work of creation. There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes.
Saying “no” has more creative power than ideas, insights and talent combined. No guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations. The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know. We are not taught to say “no.” We are taught not to say “no.” “No” is rude. “No” is a rebuff, a rebuttal, a minor act of verbal violence. “No” is for drugs and strangers with candy.

How to be an artist with a day job.

Great little article on managing creative output with work obligations. Good read.

In order to get creating and avoid the instant gratification monkey, you may need to force yourself to get started. This is normal. Set a timer and make yourself begin working for 20 minutes, distraction free (no phone, no email, no social media, etc). If you’re not locked in when the timer goes off, step back, take a break for a few minutes and eat some string cheese. I find string cheese is pretty good at getting my creative juices flowing. Then go back and try again for as many sessions as you have time for. If you are truly in the zone when the timer goes off, ignore it and go as long as your feeble body will take you. Ride that wave to glory, my friend.

Most people aren’t able to do anything continuously without breaks. In fact, it’s been scientifically demonstrated that taking breaks is good for your creative energy. But even if you just get one rather unproductive but good-intentioned 20 minute block in, that’s still progress. And if you can get a couple chunks of work done every day (again, form a habit), you’ll be in better shape than most people who walk all the way to the corner coffee shop to write four sentences of their shitty screenplay about a vegetable who was raised by fruit, then goes on an epic journey to find the broccoli family that abandoned him as a child. Again, on the spot, you’re welcome for the idea.

Hate the new healing brush in CC2015? Change it back!

The new healing brush in Photoshop has been universally hated by any retoucher I talk to. Seems like Adobe listened "kinda" and gave us a way to roll it back with the newest Photoshop.  Just have to get into prefs and a text editor. It's not as hard as it looks. The link will take you to the tech page. 


Follow these steps:

  1. Install the Photoshop CC 2015.1 update.
  2. Use Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac OS) to create a plain text file.
  3. Type the text:
    • LegacyHealingBrush161 1 into the text file for Photoshop CC 2014 and earlier healing brush algorithm (i.e. Legacy), non-realtime user interface feedback
    • Save the file as PSUserConfig.txt to your Photoshop settings folder: 
      • Windows: [Installation Drive]:\Users\[User Name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CC 2015\Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 Settings\
      • Mac OS: //Users/[User Name]/Library/Preferences/Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 Settings/

Now I need a roll back to the previous liquify since the new one puts a 1 pixel grey border on anything I run it on....

Total Finder for Mac

Found this little plug in on the Modo forums and so far I am really loving it.  It brings back the full color bar for labels in the Finder window instead of just the little dots. Some other nice features I like is that windows are forced to open in the same tabbed group and you can have it put folders at the top of a list. Overall makes the Finder much easier to work with when you have a large number of files / projects going on. Called Total Finder.

Stupid Tip of the week

Dan's stupid tip of the week.  In Photoshop when using a lasso selection tool, hit the "enter" key and it will auto close for you. 

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