An attempt to make a very thick fog vapor..

Enough smoke. Time to move on…


Nothing but smoke filling a tall box. Mucking about with Houdini gas and fluid parameters is fun!

Smoke Filling A Tall Box – click this link and expand to full-screen to watch in HD on Vimeo


I do have a fondness for messiahStudio, having used it since early days. I still animate in it and bring the data elsewhere via MDD. Everything else just seems so slow.

In any case, they’ve got a marketing campaign on where you get the package, pro or basic for a ridiculous price ($40.00 or $10.00), but only if they get enough people signing up.

You’ve got (almost) nothing to loose, and it helps me to procrastinate learning to rig in anything else!  PMG “Dare to Share” $10 Challenge.


Wacom config under linux

More of a reminder to myself than a post, but perhaps somebody else will find it useful. I’ve just configured Houdini to run on my Linux box and found I didn’t have the middle mouse configured correctly. To be fair, the tablet wasn’t working well at all. This is what I ended up changing in my “wacom.conf” to make things run bit smoother. I’ll update this as I learn more but it’s behaving itself quite well now.

Option "Button2" "3"
Option "Button3" "2"
Option "KeepShape" "on"
Option "Type" "stylus"
Option "TPCButton" "off"
Option "Threshold" "200"


A number of people have posted comments or e-mailed regarding the status of Flay.Com’s previous site. Unfortunately, the plug-in database and web pages contain a good deal of content that was sent to me with permission to publish. I can’t just hand it over for somebody else to do the same. It’s a matter of respecting other’s intellectual property.

Since I have neither the time nor the inclination to go through every page, entry and posting to decide the status of each, I’m afraid the database won’t be going anywhere in the foreseeable  future. Sorry. There are other alternatives available out there and I suggest that the more they are supported, the more likely they will stay maintained in the future.


Stanley Up a Mountain

Stanley On The Snow Took a great drive with some visiting friends just before Christmas and Lee snapped this of Stanley. Mercilessly swiped from his Flicker account.


I live in Vancouver. Really, the only weather we have a legitimate right to complain about is some pretty constant rain throughout the winter months. It’s often cold rain, fair enough (in fact it’s slushing down outside as I type this, like millions of tiny snowballs being thrown at you).

But when I see the below, I’ve got to consider that I’ve become a mincing motorcyclist. Sure, I’ll put up with a bit (or days even) of riding in the rain when it’s warm out. But as soon as the temperature drops, I’m hiding inside with everybody else. New years resolution #2, stop being such a sissy!


I want to monitor the entire facility here. I mean, I do “check stuff” but getting a actual temp reading from all machines sure beats wandering around and deciding whether a box is overheating by feeling the exhaust vents. Or whether the fans are fine by machine vibration and noise (or lack therof). Being sent warnings rocks. There is, as usual this late in the season, no budget. So…

I cobbled together a box out of abandoned workstation parts and install Ubuntu. Runs great right out of the gate. Nagios, the monitoring application seems to install fine. But of course, it can’t see anything yet…

Now, to join that machine to the Active Directory Domain. Apparently I don’t have to screw around with Samba config files any more because I’m told there is a application to join up to AD in the Ubuntu Software Center. After a few hours of screwing around, I come to the conclusion it just doesn’t work. Sure enough the web confirms it’s fatally bugged. Solution is to ditch that and download the latest from Likewise, the developer. Presto! We log into the domain just fine. Still kind of slow but messing about with the config files for awhile seems to fix that. Thanks internet! Just have to allow the new domain account to sudo so I can keep working. Took a couple of tries but I finally sussed things. Make sure to use visudo or <cough> bad things happen.

Now, for the Nagios client. Luckily there is a project with a precompiled one for Windows, NSCLient++ to the rescue! The install goes without any warnings but can’t communicate with the Linux box. Well, for one the wizard didn’t seem to configure it correctly. And, yep, I left the firewall running on the windows side… <sigh>

Still no go. Looking into the Nagios application configuration, there is some weirdness. The docs refer to config files that can’t be found, even with a system search. Easy enough to re-create them from the documentation but, still, strange stuff. Finally the config passes a sanity check and we launch! Now we connect to the client just fine, but some of the modules are not reporting correctly.  Step one accomplished! Hopefully all the tweaking goes well and I can get those pesky modules performing as they should.

Helpful Links:

Domain Users into Sudoers
Mount samba shares with utf8 encoding using cifs
Nagios Blog
Monitoring Windows Machines with Nagios


Cityengine for Vue

CityEngine for VueOne of the latest fun toys has been CityEngine. We use the (rather pricy) standalone at work but they’ve just come out with a cheap(er) version for Vue users. I’m not up on the restrictions this version is under but if you haven’t check out this software and, well, you have a use for massive cities, it’s amazing to watch your first city being built before your eyes as you press a button. Then it all gets pythonscripty/cody/technical, but the build button is still a hoot. There is a trial of the standalone version for those so inclined.


Maxwell Render Fire

maxwell render logoI bought into Maxwell Render as soon as I came out, being a fanboy of Next Limit’s software in the past (though the stiff upgrade pricing on Realflow has me stopped at V4). It’s a pretty renderer but, as is the lot of unbiased renderers, a bit on the slow side, especially for someone used to FPrime-like speediness. Feedback being the mantra in TV land, I’ve put it aside until now. I must have missed the message but they’ve added an interactive renderer to the lastest version. Maxwell “Fire” works a treat through Maya (and other packages) and lets you tweak quickly before setting off what is likely to still be a long render.