Day: July 13, 2018

Disney tech smooths out bad CG hair days

Disney is unequivocally the world’s leader in 3D simulations of hair — something of a niche talent in a way, but useful if you make movies like Tangled, where hair is basically the main character. A new bit of research from the company makes it easier for animators to have hair follow their artistic intent while also moving realistically.

The problem Disney Research aimed to solve was a compromise that animators have had to make when making the hair on characters do what the scene requires. While the hair will ultimately be rendered in glorious high-definition and with detailed physics, it’s too computationally expensive to do that while composing the scene.

Should a young warrior in her tent be wearing her hair up or down? Should it fly out when she turns her head quickly to draw attention to the movement, or stay weighed down so the audience isn’t distracted? Trying various combinations of these things can eat up hours of rendering time. So, like any smart artist, they rough it out first:

“Artists typically resort to lower-resolution simulations, where iterations are faster and manual edits possible,” reads the paper describing the new system. “But unfortunately, the parameter values determined in this way can only serve as an initial guess for the full-resolution simulation, which often behaves very different from its coarse counterpart when the same parameters are used.”

The solution proposed by the researchers is basically to use that “initial guess” to inform a high-resolution simulation of just a handful of hairs. These “guide” hairs act as feedback for the original simulation, bringing a much better idea of how the rest will act when fully rendered.

The guide hairs will cause hair to clump as in the upper right, while faded affinities or an outline-based guide (below, left and right) would allow for more natural motion if desired.

And because there are only a couple of them, their finer simulated characteristics can be tweaked and re-tweaked with minimal time. So an artist can fine-tune a flick of the ponytail or a puff of air on the bangs to create the desired effect, and not have to trust to chance that it’ll look like that in the final product.

This isn’t a trivial thing to engineer, of course, and much of the paper describes the schemes the team created to make sure that no weirdness occurs because of the interactions of the high-def and low-def hair systems.

It’s still very early: it isn’t meant to simulate more complex hair motions like twisting, and they want to add better ways of spreading out the affinity of the bulk hair with the special guide hairs (as seen at right). But no doubt there are animators out there who can’t wait to get their hands on this once it gets where it’s going.

Feng Shui and Wellness: What You Need to Know

The ancient Chinese thought a lot about the relationship between the body and the environment. This helped them create a holistic system that nurtured wellness. They called it feng shui.

Early feng shui practitioners studied medicine, astrology, meteorology, and aesthetics. They supplemented it with lots of practical observations of the world around them to come up with their guiding principles, many of which hold up remarkably well in contemporary times.

good feng shui

So, what are those principles? How do they affect the use of feng shui for harmony in the home?

One of the main ones is about flow or what the Chinese call chi (also spelled qi). Chi is all about movement, breath, and energy force. It is integral to the study of Chinese medicine and martial arts.

The role of chi in spatial design

For one, there should be just enough space for the energy force to flow easily and freely. A good floor plan ensures a circuitous and even flow between and within rooms. Stagnant energy (i.e., in a basement apartment or a room teeming with clutter) or overpowering direct energy (i.e., at the head of a T-junction) can have detrimental effects on your health, relationships, and/or finances.

On the other hand, imagine the feeling you get when you enter a well-designed spa. With every object chosen and placed intentionally, it captures the flow of gentle chi and immediately invites guests into a state of serenity.

About Yin and Yang

Another guiding principle is the harmony between yang (active) and yin (passive) elements.

Certain rooms should emphasize the yang (office, living room) whereas others should foreground the yin (bedroom). All rooms, however, should incorporate both the yang and yin in harmony. This could be reflected in the color scheme, proportion of different objects, and in the lighting of the room.

An example of this is a bedroom that features restful colors, such as greens and blues for the walls but incorporates enough warm colors. You can use a pop of orange or bronze in the accessories to offset too much coolness in the overall design. Most good designers can naturally harmonize the different elements to create a general sense of balance and elegance.

Finally, good feng shui practitioners showcase elements of nature throughout their designs. Feng shui recognizes and harnesses the power inherent in natural objects: the living dynamism of plants, the solidity of rocks, the brilliance of metal, the mobility of water, and the warmth of fire.

Even indoors, these elements can emit their special properties and influence the energy of a space. For example, plants and fish tanks could energize your living room and enrich your social life but might not bring about the most restful sleep in your bedroom. Metal elements, symbolizing wealth, should be sprinkled liberally near the entryway or in an office to usher in prosperity.

feng shui house

Conclusion

So, when you’re considering lifestyle changes to promote improved well-being for you and your family, consider the interior design and feng shui as much as you think about your diet and exercise. Seek inspiration in the photos of the beautiful spaces that populate Instagram or in your favorite e-magazine.

Ask yourself what feelings these photos invoke and try to emulate the designs in those projects. Think about how well your space flows, how well the various design elements work together, and how the space functions and feels.

Place natural elements throughout your house, tapping into their energy. Just like our body, our homes need consistent loving attention in order to be the soft landing place that nurtures us for our life journey. That’s the basic idea in using feng shui for harmony in the home.

The post Feng Shui and Wellness: What You Need to Know appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Trump gets rude welcome in UK thanks to giant crop circle

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A massive crop circle that will troll Trump as he flies over the United Kingdom isn’t the work of aliens, but it’s definitely sending a message.

The crop circle on Moat Farm in Stoke Mandeville says “блядь” in Russian, with “Trump” directly beneath it. The Russian word directly translates to “whore.” It’s also used as an exclamation, much like shit and damn. In this context, it probably translates to “Fuck Trump,” possibly a jab at the president’s chumminess toward Russian president Vladimir Putin. The circle is directly under Trump’s flight path from London to Chequers, where Trump will visit Prime Minister Theresa May on FridayRead more…

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What’s in Season in July?

Hello Summer, hello July, and welcome to month 7 of our Monthly Produce Guides!

This is the season we wait all year for, the time of plenty. Our gardens, local famers markets, and supermarket produce sections are filled with glorious choices.

If July isn’t National Zucchini Month, it should be, right? If you garden, you might be regretting that decision to plant more than a couple zucchini plants, as each one produces enough zucchini to feed a family of four. No worries! We have you covered with dozens of recipes for zucchini and summer squash.

Continue reading “What’s in Season in July?” »