Last night Matt and I watched The Big Lebowski for no particular reason. Such a good movie. Interestingly enough I think Mike watched it yesterday too. Probably because it rocks.
Here are some pictures from the climbing gym we went to on Sunday.
Last night Matt and I watched The Big Lebowski for no particular reason. Such a good movie. Interestingly enough I think Mike watched it yesterday too. Probably because it rocks.
Here are some pictures from the climbing gym we went to on Sunday.
So instead of just saying I should fix my site, I went and did it right after writing the last post. You can see that my site now displays the last five posts at any time. Also, the bottom link on the default page will show you all the posts for the current month, which conveniently activates the code to cycle backwards by month.
Long time since the last update, I really gotta change my backend code to show a set number of previous posts rather than the posts for the current month. Then I won't feel bad about long spans of time with no updates.
Last weekend Kim came up to visit and we had a pretty damn good time. Her bus was late on Friday (something about a gigantic multi-car accident on the 401) so we didn't do anything then other than get supper at McDonald's. On Saturday we went to the ROM and looked at a bunch of stuff. Kim really likes it there, and I had a good time too. The museum combined with Kristjan's website made me really want to go to Europe (ie. Rome) or anywhere that isn't North America. Hopefully once I finish school and get settled I'll have a chance to do a bunch of travelling.
After the ROM we got some Pizza Hut (sooo good, it's been too long) and then headed up to the airport (via TTC) to meet my friend KJ, who was coming in from a year long stint teaching in Asia (specifically China and Taiwan). While waiting we shared a $7 fruit smoothy that was really good (even though quite expensive). KJ was really surprised to see us and even though we only got to chat for 20 minutes I'm so glad we took the time to get up there. I really don't see her enough and it made me realize that I miss her quite a bit. I'll be seeing her again at least once before she heads back to the other side of the world.
On Sunday my mom (who was also in Toronto) came over and took Kim and I out to IKEA for $1 breakfasts. It was pretty good food for the price and afterwards we wandered the store for at least 2 hours. I was pretty tired afterward so I went home and relaxed for the rest of the weekend.
So, onto this weekend that is just finishing up. Mike came to Toronto to visit this weekend, and spent some time hanging out at Alias on Friday. I didn't get much work done as a result, but I did get to play some Xbox 360 for an hour, so I think it all balances out somehow. Friday was also the end of term lunch for the co-op students which means that I now have another Alias t-shirt. Sweet!!! Gotta love the swag!
After work on Friday Mike took me to the house of his friend Ya'el for a Shabbat dinner. It as pretty cool, lots of good food, about a dozen friendly people and multiple bottles of nice wine. I really enjoyed it.
On Saturday Mike and I headed off to Yorkdale mall for some Chirstmas/Chanukah shopping and just general mall stuff. I'd never been to Yorkdale before so it was pretty cool. In addition to several Christmas gifts I also picked up a new plain white button-up shirt for $19 (regular $70) at Club Monaco. Good times.
After the mall we went downtown and met up with Alex for supper at Spring Rolls. It wouldn't be a visit with Mike in Toronto without a stop at Spring Rolls. Fortunately their food is pretty good, so it's always a fun time. Later on we went and saw The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I thought it was really well done compared to the book and the graphics were more or less up to current standards. I have some minor internal conflicts with the whole Chronicles of Narnia stuff due to the intense Christian parables in the story (ie. the Lion, Aslan, is Jesus -- no, really, C.S. Lewis was intensely religous and did this on purpose). I don't have much use for organised religion and even less for Christianity. But despite all that I very much enjoyed the story in the movie. I think C.S. Lewis (and the creators of the movie) accomplished something very significant in their presentation of the whole Christian theme in a delightful and compelling way. This is not to say that I've hopped on the conversion train (next stop, self-righteousness and condescending attitudes), but it makes me wonder what the world would be like if the religious nuts throughout history were more open to creative manipulation and interpretation of the various sacred texts (despite the heavy Christian themes, there was much in the movie that could be seen as heretical). Hell, I wonder what the world would be like if the religious nuts were just more open in general. I also wonder if I would be more open to religion if religion was more open to anything else. Basically the movie just put me in a very thoughtful mood.
Please note that my use of the term "religious nut" in the preceding paragraph, is by no means a judgement on everyone who is spiritual...only those who proceed in religion with a closed mind. If I believe anything it is that we are meant to question everything and pursue truth in all aspects of life.
On a lighter note, today we went rock climbing! I love it! Mike and Alex and I met John and then got a ride up to a place in Newmarket. It was much better than the place in Scarborough that we went to a couple weeks ago, but not quite as good as the place we normally go to. It did have a really unique set of climbs though. They hand molded a huge wall of concrete to create a really realistic "chimney" section. A "chimney" is a section of wall that is closed in pretty tight on at least three sides. This one was cool because the molding made it like actual rock. They had some extra holds on the that part of the wall too, but it was also possible to do it without using the holds and just using the "natural" features of the wall. I managed to get to the top using only features and it was really amazing/fun. Totally unlike any climb I've done before. I would definitely be willing to go back there, just for the chimney section. I'll post some pictures later when I get them from Mike.
This has been a really text-heavy post, so I figured I'd end with a couple of fun photos. The first is an action shot of some pool balls being broke apart on the pool table at work. The other is just a macro shot of some of the random crap on my desk, featuring a Dreidel and a CD with some cool reflections. Enjoy.
Last night for wing night we went to Allen's on the Danforth for supper and it was pretty good. What was amusing though was that we saw Jian Ghomeshi, the singer/percussionist for Moxy Fruvous! For those of you who don't know that band, they did the song "King of Spain." If you haven't heard of it then you should check it out. It is early 90s pop/acapella that mentions Pizza Pizza and the Skydome!
Not much else has been going on lately. Adrienne came to visit Matt again last weekend so we all went to the Santa Claus parade. It was alright, probably the best I'll ever see, but I'm not a huge fan of Christmas or standing in the cold for hours or whatever. Bah! I am a fan of digital cameras though, so I took a bunch of pictures. Here are a few:
I think my biggest question is: Other than the picture of Santa, what do any of these have to do with Christmas? And it's not like I only posted the weird photos. Nothing was very Christmas related.
Guess what! I'm the number one result for "pickle" on Google's image search! Check it out! The image is my earlier pickle shot...reproduced for you here:
I found out this amazing fact with Google Analytics which is a free website statistic compilation thinger from Google. Pretty sweet!
I went home this weekend, but I didn't do too much. Basically I just spent time reinstalling Windows on Kim's laptop. Boooo to Windows! Booooo! Oh I also got to go to some birthday party with Kim for her Great Uncle or something...lots of random relatives that even she didn't know. Good food though. :)
I went through Waterloo on my way home today so that I could finally see my brother's apartment. It wasn't too bad. In other brother-related news, he got a co-op job at Maple which is totally excellent for a first work term.
Tonight along with the rest of my supper, I ate my giant pickle! It was pretty tasty. Below is a picture, note that it is on a dinner plate...no wussy luncheon plate for this pickle!
Not too much has been happening lately. Last weekend I stayed in Toronto and just sorta hung around. I saw Tim Burton's Corpse Bride on the Saturday with Matt. It was pretty good, although I saw it in the smallest theatre ever. I think I'm spoiled by Silvercity and the like, but this was really small. It sat about 90 people, the screen was tiny and the sound was horrible. I don't think I would have minded, except that the ticket was the same price as at a Silvercity!
After the movie we went to the College Street location of Canada Computers which has apparently moved slightly further west along the road. Matt had to get a new power supply for his family's computer (which is the same model as mine, a Dell Dimension 8100). But, when we got back to the house, we checked it against my power supply to see if it was compatible and it wasn't! It really should have been since a power supply is fairly standard, but Dell apparently used to use non-standard power supplies. I hope mine doesn't die...or else I'll have to get a new computer...and that would be, um, terrible. Yeah.
After Canada Computers (but before the discovery of the incompatibility), we met Adrienne at the bus station and went to Salad King for supper. So good, I love that place. Adrienne brought me a birthday present, and it was pretty cool...a single giant pickle imported from Germany and contained in it's own can!
So cool! The can of coke is to give a relative feel for the size of the thing. When I eat it I will take a picture of it without its protective covering so it can be displayed in all of its glory. Stay tuned!
On Friday night and on Sunday I worked on my ray tracer a bit more and added a little algorithm to generate vertex normals for meshes. This turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be, and after thinking about it for a while I realised that it is in fact a rather hard problem. A mesh is a lossy data format so the data I'm trying to recreate is not even really there. The best I can do is an approximation. And since I am not king of spline mountain, I can only do a rough approximation at that. Here is the cow mesh, rendered first without and then with phong shading using my generated vertex normals:
In other news, I got an email from my friend Mike with a picture of me in it at his house from a loooooooonng time ago. I figure that, given my haircut, I must have been in grade 8 or 9. Here it is:
Rock climbing has been going well too. I'm really enjoying it and it is fun to go each week and see myself progressing. I've never really been a "sports" person...not at all. So it is fun to get into something like this. I've been able to do progressively more difficult climbs each week, and I find that I don't get tired as easily. This means I'm developing "technique" or something. But whatever, I'm totally happy that I got the equipment and I'm going to keep going at least once a week for the rest of the term. It is definitely good times.
I should try to update more often, so that when I do update they arn't gigantic posts like this one and the last one. Oh well.
Work has been great, nothing new to report there. Except...that I don't have to do a work report, again! Hahaha to everyone who has to do one. Also, rock climbing with Alias folk has been sweet all around. It's great having people to help/encourage you and I'm really enjoying the sport in general. My new chalk bag is fun too.
Last weekend Kim came to Toronto to visit and we saw the Wallace and Gromit movie (sweet!), went shopping and just hung around. It was nice and relaxing because we didn't want to accomplish anything in particular. On Sunday her mom was in Toronto to watch her sister's Field Hockey game so we met at the game and Kim got a ride home from her. We watched a bit of the game, and I must say, it is a strange sport. Very...um...special. Oh well.
Friday was my birthday (23), and the other co-op students at work did a bunch of really cool stuff for me. I was quite impressed! They decorated my work area (fairly well too given limited resources), and they got me a toy! The Airzooka! So cool! Also we went out to lunch at Betty's, the typical Alias lunch spot. Good times!
By a happy coincidence, some family friends from Ottawa happened to be able to visit my mom's house this weekend, and happened to be coming from Toronto. So, in addition to getting to see some really great people on my birthday weekend, I got a ride to and from Toronto! The weekend was pretty relaxing, we mostly just chatted and ate yummy food. But we did go for a walk on Saturday afternoon in Springbank park in London, which was really nice because of the Fall colours and such. I brought my camera and took a bunch of photos, and here are a few.
It was a perfect day for this sort of thing, so I'm glad I remembered to bring my camera. Also, I'm pretty happy with the results. I didn't spend much time setting up these shots or anything, and I think they turned out pretty well. I need to go out sometime and do some more careful shots. Such a good camera.
Finally, while I enjoyed my weekend, my computer chugged along at creating a new image using a mesh and phong shading. Here is Athena wearing her helmet. The mesh has like 15000 faces, so it took a little while to compute. I'm thinking about implementing a sphere tree to help speed up mesh rendering.
I've got a bunch of stuff to update on today, since I haven't posted in a while (booo to me).
Thanksgiving was a good weekend, as long weekends always are. Only two turkey dinners this year though, but that is still OK I guess. One at my mom's house with my Grandpa, Aunt and cousin and one with Kim's family. The dinner at my mom's house was amusing because afterwards my brother wanted to go visit his friends' apartment so Kim, my cousin and I drove him over and hung out there for a bit. I felt a bit old and out of place, but it was very amusing to see my brother in his "natural habitat." The food was good all around of course. On Sunday Kim and I wandered around White Oaks mall in London, which I haven't done in a long time. It was amusing but I didn't buy anything. Next time maybe.
Work was pretty busy last week, I managed to do 37.5 hours even though I wasn't even in the office on Monday (because of Thanksgiving). But I got some good stuff done and I didn't mind staying later.
I stayed in Toronto this past weekend, and that was OK, except that none of my four roommates stayed. So the house was a little bit lonely. On Friday I stayed at work until 9:30pm, and on the way home the subway announcer was hilarious. He said all of the station names in strange voices, and when we got to Bloor he yelled out "OPEN SESAME!!!" just before opening the doors. The whole subway car laughed, it was hilarious.
On Saturday I went to Mountain Equipment Co-op to buy some rock climbing shoes and a harness. They were super helpful there and they even had a wall to test the equipment out on. I ended up spending about $160 for the two pieces, which is pretty good I think. Since they are going to be my birthday present from my parents I don't really mind what the price is anyway. I still might go get a chalk bag. Not sure yet. Here is a picture of my new stuff:
The rest of Saturday I spent relaxing and watching episodes of Firefly. Such a good show.
On Sunday I finally did some work on my ray tracer again. I added support for vertex normals on triangular meshes. I do Phong shading now, meaning that I interpolate the vertex normals across each face of the mesh to produce a smooth shaded effect. It was pretty easy and produces really nice results. I also updated all of the documentation so feel free to have a look at the Ray Tracer section for more details. Below is a picture of a mesh rendered without my new feature and then the same mesh with my new feature. I think the second is a much nicer result. I'm going to look around for some more meshes and try to create some more neat images. I chose this mesh to start with because I didn't think this site has enough boobies on it. :)
I stayed in Toronto this weekend and was able to relax a bunch which is always nice.
I had my rock climbing training session at the Toronto Climbing Academy Saturday afternoon, Matt came too, and we had a really good time. Rock climbing is definitly something I could get in to. I might even get my own shoes/harness so that I don't have to rent. I will be going again with people from work on Wednesday, and if it goes well I'll probably start going pretty regularly.
After rock climbing we went and saw the movie Serenity and it was a really good way for Joss Whedon to end the series. Stupid Fox, grumble grumble, only cancels good shows, grumble grumble.
Today I made a custom Linux LiveCD based on Ubuntu with all of my Graphics assignments on it (as well as Matt's Battleship game). So, as long as I have an x86 compatible computer that can boot off of a CD I will always be able to run the programs I created in Graphics. Linux (and its associated packages and libraries) changes too quickly to depend on it being able to compile old code, so this CD gives me a snapshot of Linux at the time I took Graphics. I already can't compile some of them (without modification) on my new Linux installation due to GCC4.
Finally, I started adding some stuff to my ray tracer, but I don't have anything to show for it. Soon maybe...
Not too much happened this weekend, I basically just went home to visit Kim. I spent most of the weekend sick and I think most of the people I know are also sick. Booooo.
I took the train instead of the bus to get home this weekend. So much better!!! And with my ISIC card it isn't more expensive. So yeah, no more buses for me.
I watched Crash and it was pretty good. Especially because Sandra Bollock wasn't in it too much (she only had a few lines)...hahaha, just kidding, Sandra's alright. :) I really did like the movie, it deals with racism beyond the typical white vs. everyone else boundary.
I also dropped my distance course. I think not taking courses on work terms is much better than taking them. I should have lots of time now to do whatever I want (ray tracer, rock climbing, reading, maybe even work on my website).
Last weekend was sweet, I did lots of fun stuff and saw lots of people. Both Kim and Mike came to Toronto and I hung out with them and Alex and also Adrienne and Matt all at various points in the weekend.
Mike came down on Thursday and I watched The OC with him and Alex at Alias...soooooo good. That show rocks hard core. Hahaha. We also chatted a bunch and ate some grapes. Mmmmm...scurvy-reducing food.
Friday Mike came back to visit people at Alias, and later we got supper at Spring Rolls. Then we picked up Kim at the bus station and took the subway back to my place. I got to see a bunch of stuff from Mike's trip to California and we generally had a good time (mostly involving more food...I ate soooo much this weekend).
Saturday we went shopping at the Eaton's Centre and then in the evening, Matt, Adrienne and I saw Apocalyptica at the Guvernment downtown. The show was even better than last time I saw them. They had a new fourth member (they only had three last term), and the stage was much better (they had cool skull chairs to sit in and it was much easier to see). Also, the crowd was much more into the music so there was a lot of good energy going on. After the concert we went to Loblaws to get drinks and food. I got a gigantic smoothie thing...mmmmm...5.5 servings of fruit. Haha.
Sunday I took Kim to the bus station to go home and then I met up with Mike and Alex to go rock climbing at the house of a guy from work. It was really cool, and I think I'm going to try to do a training session at a proper gym, and then try to go regularly with people from work. Maybe I'll even buy my own equipment eventually. After rock climbing we went to Spring Rolls for one more supper before Mike had to go home.
Here are some pictures of me rock climbing.
Last weekend I went to Waterloo to visit Mike and because I didn't really have any reason to be anywhere particular in the world. Mike just got back from Pixar and California so it was cool to hear about all of that. He also brought me a Pixar shirt and some other fun stuff. Pretty sweet!
On Saturday night, Mike had to go to Toga (frosh leader) so i just hung out at the house. Angela and Kirsten moved in that night so it worked out really well because I got to hang out with them for a bit too. We watched the season premiere of The OC and chatted a bit before Angela went to Bomber with a bunch of other people.
On Sunday Mike's parents and sister took us out for food in Waterloo park (yay picnic!) and it was pretty nice. Bagels and cream cheese and salmon and stuff. Being a student makes me really appreciate when people give me food.
Next weekend is Apocalyptica, I'm starting to get excited!
I've been working for a week and a half now, and things are pretty good. The job is sweet and Alias rocks as usual. I'm living in North York again which means the commute is crappy (40-50 minute subway ride, plus walking on both ends), but I do lots of reading on the subway so that is OK.
I have lots of plans for this term; I want to work on my ray tracer some more, and I want to go swimming regularly. I'm also going to see Apocalyptica again on September 17th. I am technically signed up for a distance course too, but it is looking like it would require effort, and after a day of working I just don't feel like effort. I can't help it. We will see what happens.
Here are some pictures of my room:
I'm in Toronto now. things are still a bit up in the air since I can't actually move into my room until Wednesday, but it's all good. I'm staying in the room next door, so I'm not unpacking and everything is a mess.
I went downtown this afternoon and bought "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley. I've been meaning to read it for a long time but just never got around to it. It will keep me company on the long subway rides to and from work this week.
That's about it, pretty crappy post I'd say.
Yesterday was fun. Kim's family rented the arena in Ilderton for her cousin's birthday so I got to go ice skating (in August!) with just her family. Private rinks are fun! I really enjoy skating, even though I am not so good. After skating we all went back to Kim's aunt's house for shish kabobs and various other yummy foods. It was a really good afternoon.
I start work next Monday, so I'll be moving back to Toronto on Sunday, but for the rest of this week I think I will continue to do nothing much at all.
I'm home in London now, which is pretty sweet because I can just relax for a couple weeks with nothing to worry about. I will almost certainly accomplish nothing, and I'm OK with that.
I'm reading the complete Chronicles of Narnia, and it's pretty good so far. Also, I watched Donnie Darko last night and that was a really cool movie. It gets to go on my movielist. That bunny is the creepiest thing ever.
Hmm...so yeah, not much else happening. It looks like Apocalyptica is coming back to Toronto in September so Matt and I will probably try to check that out again. Oooh, I also forgot Jen's birthday and have absolutely no good excuse. So I stole her an eCard to make up for it. Haha. At least I'm not as bad as Ryan though.
Well tonight was special. I was supposed to have my Databases final, but five minutes before the start the professor informed us that the Registrar's Office, which is responsible for printing the exams, did not print anywhere close to enough. He attempted to get the correct amount printed out, but not having access to good equipment on short notice he pretty much failed. Apparently there is a policy that states that if the exam is more than 30 minutes late in starting it must be rescheduled to a later time. By 8:00 we were still short 40 copies so we ended up not writing this evening.
This kinda sucks because the exam will likely be rescheduled on the last day of exams. Also, I was ready for it today and wanted it to be over with. But I understand that sometimes things go wrong and stuff doesn't work out. What I don't understand is the reaction of many of the people who were supposed to write with me. There was a lot of intense anger and what seemed like no attempt to understand the professor's situation. He is obliged to follow policy. If he were to get us to wait longer than 30 minutes and try to force us to write the exam, any student who wasn't happy could complain to the registrar afterwards and cause a lot of problems. It's not unreasonable to suspect that some students leave an exam unhappy, that happens regardless of other circumstances. Students who originally thought it would be OK to disregard the policy might "suddenly" change their mind if the exam were to go poorly for them. For the professor, it just isn't worth the hassle.
Even if everyone "agreed" that it would be OK to have the exam tonight and disregard the policy, there would still have been the potential for students to complain to the registrar afterwards about feelings of peer pressure. I'm pretty sure anyone who disagreed to having it tonight (given the opportunity) would have been treated severely be the rest of the students. It was a pretty nasty situation.
I am somewhat sympathetic to those students who have plans that may be disrupted by this event, but not too much. This is an upper year class. By now everyone should know that things can happen and exams can get rescheduled. There are a million things that could disrupt an exam at any time of year, it doesn't take a lot of effort to see that. You take a risk by planning something before the end of the exam period. Normally it works out but sometimes it doesn't. You have to be prepared to accept that. It isn't the professor's or anyone else's responsibility to fix it.
So every once in a while I read Fark which is basically just a news aggregation site. It links to news articles and gives a short and normally amusing description of the article. Today there is a link to a BBC article regarding when the US will leave Iraq and the summary is:
"Bush rejects pulling out of Iraq early. Undersecretary of Innuendo Glenn Quagmire heard to comment, 'Heh heh allll riiiiiiight'"
For anyone who has watched The Family Guy that's just hilarious. I'm still laughing about it.
Part of what I love about shows like The Family Guy, The Simpsons, Futurama and others (generally animated) is the social commentary -- both in the shows and generated by people influenced by the shows (as above). That statement communicates a lot of information about a whole bunch of issues. I don't know why the commentary is more prevalent in animated shows though. Maybe because the people who might try to stop it don't pay as much attention to animation because they think it's just for kids. Such a silly opinion. Some of the best TV is animated. Oh well, someday people will learn, or the people who don't will die and then there won't be any people like that left.
Well, I finished my ray tracer. By which I mean today is the due date. It turned out pretty well I think, but I won't know for sure until tomorrow. I created a series of web pages for the presentation and they are posted on this site. I've added a link to my menu above, or you can click here. Be sure to check out the movie in addition to all the images, and, if you are so inclined, the documentation gives a fairly thorough technical description of a lot of the stuff.
Here is my final scene, I'm pretty happy with the modelling of it, but I never got the lighting quite right. There are area lights in each of the lamps over the pictures, but they illuminate too much of the scene. There is also another area light located on the ceiling. The rendering of this image took a very very long time.
So I think bump mapping is working, which means that I just have to create a unique scene, do a ton of documentation and create a presentation for the whole mess. Otherwise I'm mostly done my project! Sweet!
I did soft shadows and planar light sources today. The following image has a square light source (represented by the plane at the top of the image) and uses 25 shadow rays per intersection point to determine shading.
I finished off my noise-based solid textures, they turned out pretty well. Here are some samples. The first is just noise, the second is wood grain and the third is marble.
I've been working on texturing my primitives lately and have succeeded in completing bitmap texturing and simple solid texturing. I still have to create "interesting" solid textures using Perlin noise; hopefully that will work out.
Here are some sample images, first of bitmap texture mapping, then of a simple solid texture:
Reflection and refraction are working properly now. Refraction took a lot longer than reflection to get right (since reflection only took 10 minutes). I had to adjust some colour stuff so the earlier reflection image I posted is only mostly correct. Here are two sample images demonstrating reflection and refraction:
I did another objective today, reflection. It was pretty easy, here is a sample image:
It's been a while since my last ray tracer posting, so last night I stayed up until 2am creating scenes for new images. They arn't just for my website, they will also be used to demonstrate my new features to the prof and TAs.
I have added extra primitives (plane, cylinder, asymmetric cylinder -- different radius at top and bottom, cone, and torus) and I have implemented the constructive solid geometry operations union, intersection and difference. This means that I can take my base primitives and put them together in interesting ways. Like take part of a cube out of a sphere to get a hemisphere. These two objectives greatly extend the modeling capabilities of my ray tracer.
Here are the sample images showing the new features:
Another month, another ice cream cake. This time we got some writing on it, mainly to get some more sweet sweet gel icing. We also decided that something normal would be too...normal. So here we have the first gay-marriage friendly ice cream cake from Dairy Queen:
I am extending my raytracer for my final graphics project, and today I completed my first objective: hierarchial bounding volumes. This objective gives a significant performance increase, as demonstrated by the following image. It contains 16 sets of 1000 meshs (each individual mesh is a tetris cube similar to the ones I used in my final image for assignment four; the mesh has 26 faces). So doing some quick math, there should be 416000 faces in this scene, and since it is 512x512 there are 262144 primary rays sent into the scene. There are also 107177 shadow rays cast. That's a lot of stuff, but it only takes 155 seconds to render this image with my new feature implemented. With the feature turned off (or non-existant), it takes 10 hours and 32 minutes to do the same image.
This image is rendered with anti-aliasing turned on, so it takes longer to render than the times given above.
Another interesting statistic for the non-antialiased version of this image is the fact that in the bounding volume render, each ray is only tested against an average of 1.28 primitives, versus 16000 (all of them) in the non-bounding volume render. That's a huge difference and is what accounts for the huge difference in speed.
Here is my final image for my ray tracer, it took a while to render but it looks pretty good. I'd like to make a bigger copy, but that would take a REALLY long time. Maybe I will do it over the weekend.
I'm almost done my ray tracer assignment now. I've got all of the major objectives and I just need to make a "creative" scene of my own as well as look into the viewing transformation.
Here is a new sample image that we are required to render, I'll also post my "creative" scene once it is done.
Because of the cows and the antialiasing, this image took about 9 hours to render.
I've added antialiasing to my ray tracer as my extra feature, it looks really nice. You can especially see the difference comparing the box's shadow to the image in the previous post. The image below used 204,750,000 primary rays cast from the eye onto the scene. That's a lot.
So I've been working on my ray tracer a lot lately, and I've finally made some reasonable progress. Here is a sample image which exploits everything I've implemented so far:
Today is apparently National Chocolate Ice Cream day, so in celebration we bought a Dairy Queen ice cream cake, mmmmmmmm.
Ok, last time for real. I can't afford to spend any more time tinkering with Homer. So here is what should be the final version. I even made the tessellation a bit finer so that the image is nicer.
I did some more work on my puppet. Added a torus primitive which allowed me to give him cuffs on his pants and more definition around his eyes. I also gave in to the painful desire to give him fingers with proper joints. I'm much happier with his hands now in general. Other change include the hair on the top of his head, his ears, the definition of his torso and the size of his arms. Finally I fixed a mistake at the bottom of his right leg. Not sure if I will work any more on it, but if I do I would like to give him a collar on his shirt. I don't think that is very likely though, I really should move on to my other school work. Here is the latest:
Well, graphics is keeping me really busy, so in addition to not having enough time to post, I'm not doing a whole lot that is worth posting about.
I just finished my puppet for Graphics assignment three. The assignment is to create a system for hierarchial modelling and then make a puppet using the system. There are all kinds of requirements, like joint range limiting, rotations, translations, etc, etc, so there was lots of work to do before even starting to model the puppet.
I chose to model Homer from The Simpsons because I have this 2x2x2 Rubric's cube of Homer's head which is useful for figuring out how things should look in 3D. I also have a giant Simpsons poster with most of the characters on it, so if it wasn't Homer it would have likely been someone else from the poster.
Here is Homer after rotating the view and "posing" him by manipulating his joints.
Back it Waterloo...the stream of posts shall almost certainly decrease, but maybe I will get around to making selectable themes.
One more day of work left and then it's back to Waterloo for me. This term has some potential to be good. Summer is always fun and Graphics will be neat. Plus my other courses require very little effort.
I just finished reading "Pattern Recognition" by William Gibson (author of Neuromancer - a very Matrix-esque book that existed before the movies). It was really cool because I was able to identify with a lot of the stuff in it. It is set in the present and since it was written in 2003, it actually is the present (more or less). The characters are heavily into the Internet, and the word "Google" is used multiple times as a verb in the book. I just liked how real some of the aspects of the book felt. Like the use of the Internet and the attitudes of the people. Not quite sure how to explain what I mean.
On a mildly related note, my communication skills continue to decline.
I forgot to mention something neat that happened yesterday (well, not neat, but Jen will appreciate it at least). I had to get new peanut butter because I ran out, but when I went to the store I noticed that the packaging of my favourite type (Kraft Extra Creamy) had changed. So I took a quick look at the nutritional information and guess what? Zero trans fat!
Kim came to visit this weekend and we did a few fun things. I really love how you can just get people to come to Toronto and then figure out what to do later because there is always stuff to do.
On Friday night we went out for supper at The Marche which is now known as Richtree or something. It is market style so you go around picking out food from places and they record it on a card you carry around with you. When you are done you give your card to the people and that tells them how much to charge you. I had fajitas and fresh squeezed strawberry lemonade (yum!). Also a big piece of chocolate mousse cake that was really good.
On Saturday we went shopping a bit, I picked up one last book at BMV (see my booklist) and then we decided to do something a bit more cultural. Kim saw a poster for a double bill of operas playing at the Elgin Theatre on Yonge, "Acteon" and "Dido and Aeneas." Kim's really into ancient Greek and Roman history and mythology (she's even minoring in it) so she was really keen to go (since both were based on Greek/Roman mythology). We went to the theatre and found that we could get tickets for that evening for just $15 since we were students. The seats were really good too; they let students buy any available tickets for only $15 regardless of the section. The actual performances were both pretty good; niether of us had been to a real opera before so it was quite an experience. The stories tend to be fairly simple so it was easy to follow even though it is sometimes hard to understand the actual words. Acteon was in French with translations projected above the stage. Dido and Aeneas was in English. The company was extremely talented and the production was quite well done. Also neat was the orchestra which was apparently using antique, priceless instruments, like 200-300 year old violins. Really amazing sound.
Today I dropped Kim off at the bus station and then went with Matt and Adrienne to Pacific Mall, which is always an experience. Got some precious precious Pocky and also had a Lychee fruit ice cream waffle. Sweet!
Earlier this week another nice thing happened, I got an offer to return to Alias in the Fall! So sweet! It's been a great place to work and I'm looking forward to returning. Not sure where I will live yet though since I can't return to my sweet downtown condo. I'll probably end up back in North York which is far but still on the subway line so it will do.
On an unrelated note, my good friend Mike Jutan has begun his California work term adventure at Pixar! Check out the link to his blog if you're interested. It will definitely be full of neat stuff.
I am investigating ANOTHER new feature for my website, I'm quite industrious lately. I want to make it so that users can create custom themes for the site so that it can be whatever colours they like. This is pretty easy to do with CSS, but the fact that I have an image makes things a bit trickier.
I looked into dynamic image generation with PHP and found that I could do a good enough job. So, I made this little tester page that lets you enter choices for the four main colours on my site and then you get to see the image that is generated by those choices. Feel free to play with it, and if you create something that looks nice you can copy the address in the browser and send it to me. I may add it to a list of predefined themes if I like it.
At some point I will need to make code that writes cookies for user themes and also lets you switch themes and stuff, but that stuff isn't as interesting as the image creation so it might not happen right away.
I wish the school would change how PHP is compiled on its servers just a little bit. If they would link in the FreeType libraries I could have anti-aliased text in my dynamic images. That would be very sweet indeed.
It's nearing the end of the term and although I have greatly enjoyed my co-op placement at Alias, I am looking forward to getting back to school and Waterloo. It's always nice to see people and I normally like my classes. Also, at the end of terms I get anxious to go back to whatever I'm not doing. If I am in school I can't wait to get to work and if I am at work I can't wait to get to school. I like both, but I am strange. I think this comic sums up my feelings nicely:
Sorry for the poor quality, I had a lot of trouble finding this.
Weekly update time!
Adrienne is visiting Matt this week, so I went to see them on Sunday. We went to The Distillery District and looked through a bunch of shops and stuff. We also got super good chocolate from Soma. We then went to Rainbow Cinema and saw Sin City which is the new winner of most violent movie I've ever seen. It was pretty good though, and had a very cool style. I'll be tempted to pick it up on DVD and I hope there will be a sequel.
For lunch on Sunday we had Bahn Mi (Vietnamese subs), which are cool because they taste good and only cost $1.50. For supper we went to Sushi on Bloor and had sushi...on Bloor. We sat at the bar and I got to sit in front of an Octopus leg. Not very hunger-inducing in my books, but the sushi was still really good.
Tonight was wing night and we went to Pizza Rustica which is an award winning pizza place that just happens to be attached to my apartment building. Sweet! I had asparagus pizza which was totally amazing. The asparagus tasted fresh which is pretty special since it is only April. Jen brought cake for everyone but she didn't have time to stay and eat it so she left without having any. She still rocks for bringing it though. We ate in the lounge area of my building while wondering why the furniture all seemed to have been designed for very unusually proportioned people.
Inspired by conversations at work today, I am adding a new feature to my site. I really enjoy reading so I am starting a Booklist of things I've read so I can keep track and give it to people who ask me for suggestions. I also might do things like comment on the books and stuff, but that is a lot of effort.
Basically the list will have sections for currently reading, recently finished, and all others. It will take a while to populate, but if I do a bit at a time it should come together. I will probably store the data as XML on the backend and I want to add a feature that lets other people give book suggestions.
Hopefully this feature doesn't take me a year to implement, even if it takes that long to populate with data.
There is a new condo going up across the street from my apartment, although currently it is just a hole in the ground. The crane you see in the CN Tower picture below is the crane for this condo. Anyway, there is a portable toilet for the workers I guess, but I don't think anyone will be using it:
Tonight was wings night, but we went to Chris and Jeff's new place instead of going out. Jeff made wings and Chris made pasta and we all played some GameCube.
This weekend's story:
On Friday I left work early to catch a bus to Waterloo to go out for Kellie's birthday. I got there just in time to have a drink and then we left for the Bomber. Lots of people went and it was really good. We got there a bit early, but it turned out well, it got busy quickly.
I spent the night at the apartment on the couch and on Saturday I visited Mike before he leaves for California and Pixar. Pretty good visit, we went to Maharaja Palace for supper with Ans, Kristen and Norm and I got a gigantic amount of food. It was pretty decent and I was completely stuffed. Good times. We followed that up with some gelato and then I caught a bus back to Toronto.
Today I just sat around, watched a movie, did some laundry and went to the gym for a bit. And obviously I watched the Simpsons which, contrary to some opinions, is as good as ever.
I need to create a section of my website just for pictures I think, otherwise my main page will become to large and cumbersome with lots of images. This is taken from the balcony of my apartment in Toronto:
So I got my digital camera and I'm quite happy with it. It's the Canon Powershot A80, and I managed to get a pretty good deal on it. I had to go to the store twice though because the first time there was no camera in the box when I got home!! Crazy! But they were cool and replaced the whole thing when I went back. I should have asked for free stuff for my trouble.
Here are two random pictures taken in my apartment here in Toronto. They were taken within minutes of each other, under the same lighting conditions and the objects are about a half a metre from each other, but they look very different because I did "something" with the camera, not sure what though. Pretty cool.
The thing I like about digital cameras is that taking a picture costs nothing (other than battery life), so you are free to take random shots of stuff without worrying about film or developing fees.
This weekend was pretty cool. Kim came to visit and we just did a bunch of stuff without having any real purposes or goals for the weekend.
She came in on the bus at 4:40 and I picked her up at the bus station, but I wasn't quite done work for the week so I then had to go back to work for an hour after dropping her off at my house. When I got home we had frozen pizza for supper and just hung out a bit. On Saturday we went to the Eatons Centre to look around (which can last quite a long time) and we also went to BMV where I got six books. We then went to the St. Lawrence Market and got some really good strawberries which we ate later that evening. After all the shopping we saw Million Dollar Baby which we both really enjoyed.
Today I took Kim to the bus station for the 10:30am bus and now I plan on doing a whole bunch of nothing for the rest of the day.
In case you haven't heard of them, Apocalyptica is a hard-core cello group that plays metal-inspired music with a classical bent. The members all have prestigious classical training but are also metal-heads. The music is really quite amazing, very very powerful but also quite musically valid (it's not just a bunch of noise). To watch them play cellos like they did was incredible, I didn't really think someone could play a cello over their head while head-banging with the music -- cellos are kinda big, you know.
They played a bunch of their old stuff (including covers of some Metallica, their own version of Grieg's Hall of the Mountain King and a whole bunch of their original works) and they also played some of their new album which just came out in January. Unfortunately they weren't selling it at the concert or I definitely would have picked up a copy. The encore was really good too, amazing cover of Enter Sandman by Metallica.
I'm really tired now though so I think I'll go to sleep. Still have to work tomorrow.
This weekend a whole bunch of people (including myself) helped Chris move into his new place in Toronto. It only took half an hour due to the number of people so we got to spend a lot of time sitting around, drinking beer and playing board games. It was fun! And the new apartment is sweet.
I also went out for supper with Matt and Adrienne and we walked past the Ferrari dealership in Toronto on the way. So sweet. We also saw the Rolls Royce dealership which was alright, but I prefer to drive nice cars rather than just be a passenger in one. We had supper at Crepes a GoGo which is this tiny little French place near the ROM. It was very very small and very yummy. And the staff was super nice, the one lady gave hugs!
Someone showed me a cool site today about the service tunnels at the University of Waterloo. I liked it because I enjoy finding ways around campus through tunnels and things. If only I could get service access!
I did my taxes online for the first time on Monday...and I get money back! This is completely unexpected because I did contract work last year which meant that I didn't pay any taxes. I still get $292 so I am quite pleased. Unless of course I made a mistake, and then things will be fairly interesting.
Tonight was *wing* night, and I went with Brad, Jeff, Chris and Jen to some Irish pub near my house. It was pretty good.
I'm a March entry to get rid of the thinger that says "No entries for March, 2005"
Woohoo! Summer and Seth! The OC is such a good show! I know, I'm a girl, but whatever, you'd like it too if you watched it. I know you would! Everyone does. I've even hooked my roommate this term just by watching it myself!
Hahaha, so amused. I just wish I could watch it with all the cool Waterloo people like last term. You rock cool Waterloo people! :)
Two amusing "Internet Thingers" today.
First, although Microsoft isn't good for much, they occasionally make me laugh. This page made me laugh really really hard. Like really hard. Oh man.
Second, somewhere in the world something bad happened with ice. The pictures are really cool so I have three of them here.
This weekend was pretty cool. I was basically on my own for the entire time, which can get lonely but is also rather pleasant at times.
On Saturday I went shopping and got Kim a Valentine's present although I won't be seeing her until next weekend, stupid midterm season. I also got myself some pants that I could theoretically wear while working out...were I to do such a thing. I figure that by having them I have one less excuse to not use the facilities in the building I'm living in. Soooo lazy. I also got some more books (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Salem's Lot by Stephen King, Trainspotting/The Acid House/Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh) at the BMV downtown, not the one at Eglinton. I like the Eglinton one better, but I would have to ride a subway to get to it and that costs money and stuff. I also almost bought a whole bunch of DVDs. HMV has a 2 for $30 sale on (like usual), except that both Kill Bill movies are part of it this time, so tempting! Must hold out until the inevitable box set/director's cut edition comes out.....ahhh! Also, Coupling season 4 was at HMV, which was tempting because I've watched all the others and really want to see the last season. So does Kim because she loves it too. Bah, too many things to buy. I'm still trying to get the last Futurama box set as well, and I have a Futureshop gift card, but I can't use it online and everytime I go to an actual store they never have the last set.
No Frill's is having some sort of massive sale where lots of stuff is only $1, so I thought I would go there to get groceries this week. Unfortunately there are no locations downtown. I live near King and Spadina, which is pretty much right in downtown Toronto (the Skydome is a one minute walk from my place), and there is a No Frill's at King and Jameson (which is over 1000 numbers from here and apparently 2.6 miles according to Mapquest). So I decided to walk it since I didn't really have anything else planned today. It wasn't bad, it's not cold out or anything so that was fine. But I don't think I would do the walk at night, there was the occasional sketchy section on the way there. It's funny, because I think the average person who hasn't been in Toronto that much would be worried about being downtown at night. I'm not saying that isn't scary sometimes, but it's way worse just outside of the downtown core. There is always stuff happening downtown at night, there are always places you can go to be safe, and there is always public transit. But once you leave the core, the transit is a bit irregular and sparse and stuff is often closed so you can't go anywhere if there is trouble. So yeah, it was a nice walk in the daytime, and I got lots of cheap groceries. I took a streetcar back since the walk loaded with food would definitly have sucked.
I also watched the movie Garden State today, and I quite liked it.
Do you ever wish you could transmit your current knowledge back in time to yourself in the past?
The co-op program made me realize what it takes to get good jobs in my chosen field. Unfortunately it didn't convey this information in a timely or useful manner; it was conveyed through failure and frustration...learning from your mistakes and all that.
I have an amazing job this term at Alias. I put a lot of effort into getting the job, and I put a lot of effort into the other jobs I applied for in the same term. I wrote custom cover letters and did research and all that stuff. Enthusiasm plus effort can get you almost any job you want in co-op as long as you are even remotely competent. If Alias didn't hire me there were 7 other companies who gave me offers and 3 or 4 of them would have been pretty good. All it took to get these jobs was confidence and enthusiasm and reasonable effort. It was so simple.
I didn't know this information when I started out. Perhaps that is my fault but I am grateful that I learned it eventually, even if it had to be the hard way. However, I can't help partially blaming the Co-op department and the general attitudes of those around me for the length of time it took to come to this realization. First year co-op students are told to apply to the crappier jobs to be sure that they get something. Personally I was told some variation of this line quite a few times. I think that I started believing that I couldn't get jobs that I might like so I often didn't even apply to those that I found most interesting.
But that is not the case. Sure, nVidia isn't likely to ship a first year down to California to help write device drivers for their latest graphics cards, but if you put together an impressive package and show that you care, they might bring you down to do some testing or some other job that can get your foot in the door. You can't knock the experience of working at nVidia, regardless of the position. Even if you don't go back for that "better" job, the contribution to your resume is considerable.
Also, there are many good companies (like Alias) that actively hire first year students for co-op positions because they acknowledge that the co-op program is more than an oppourtunity for cheap labour.
Although every individual is ultimately responsible for his/her own life, I can't help but think that if I had received more encouraging and useful information in my first year, I might have applied to "riskier" jobs and made that extra effort. But the goal of the co-op department is high employment rates and the "conservative" advice works out better overall I imagine.
I regret the lost opportunities, and wish I could change the past. It's not that I haven't enjoyed some of my other placements, but the type of work I get to do at Alias feels like a privilege whereas my other jobs just felt like responsibilities. Even if I get nothing else out of my current work term (which is impossible because I already have), I am glad that I got the chance to realize what it is like to really enjoy your work.
So I have 50 Gmail invites now, that is a really large number considering that I think I've given one to everyone I know who wants one. If anyone at all wants one, make a comment indicating so and I will send you one. Here is proof:
Maybe I will just start registering variants of my name so that people can't take them from me, haha, that'll show 'em.
Today is Pancake Tuesday, the day where everyone not in New Orleans celebrates the day that God invented not only the pancake, but also maple syrup (of course everyone in New Orleans instead takes their shirt off and gets really drunk; probably not in that order though - goooooo Mardi Gras).
Since it is a Tuesday we had our "wing" night at the Golden Griddle so that we could have pancakes. It was alright, but I think I ate too much.
I think I want to buy the Ryan DVD. I should remember to do that when I get my credit card back.
Today was fun. I met Adrienne and Matt downtown and we went to Burrito Boyz for lunch. It was this tiny place near Much Music that had some pretty amazing food for cheap. Mmmm...I love food in Toronto. Then we went to Starbucks for the new "Drinking Chocolate" which is just ultra-rich hot chocolate, and was also really good.
The National Film Board has a free viewing location near my house where you can go watch movies from the archives (going waaaay back) for free. We went to see "Ryan" which has been nominated for an Oscar in the Short Film category this year. It's about Ryan Larkin who was an Oscar-nominated animator for the NFB in the 1960s and who is now a panhandler in the streets of Montreal (as the result of various addictions). It is mostly a computer-animated film made by a former employee of Alias using Maya, which is what I currently work on. So cool. The movie was really good, I hope it wins. I also watched one of Ryan Larkin's films from 1968 while I was there. It was interesting; those crazy hippies, they think up some crazy things. Haha.
After that we made the obligatory trip to Canada Computers and then went to Matt's house to have supper and just hang out.
I want to get a digital camera, specifically the Canon Powershot A95, but it sells for $460 at Canada Computers, and the cheapest I've seen on eBay is about $400. Too much I think for my first digital camera. Oh well, maybe it will come down in price by the end of my work term.
I added a comment feature to my website! And it only took a year to implement (it actually took about 2.5 hours, but I originally intended to start last February and that is about a year ago now).
This weekend was pretty good, Kim came here to my apartment in Toronto and we hung out and did Toronto-like things for the weekend.
On Saturday we went to the ROM which was neat since I haven't been there in a long time. Kim really enjoyed the ancient Roman and Greek exhibits (she is minoring in classical studies). Afterwards we walked around Toronto a bunch and I got to see some parts of Toronto that I haven't walked through before. It was neat. I had a sub from Quizno's for supper and it was really good, I have to remember to go back there. Mmmmm...sub. In the evening we watched The Notebook which Kim has been begging to watch with me. It was pretty good.
My apartment is just a room I am subletting from a guy in a condo downtown so I have access to all of the condo facilities such as a workout room, pool tables and a hot tub. After we watched The Notebook, Kim and I decided to use the hot tub for a bit before going to bed. It was really nice because it is in a room with lots of windows on the roof of the building so while you soak you get a really good view of the city. Anyway, after we got back we got a call from security, apparently the "back board" that is in the hot tub room was off the wall and on the floor and they were concerned that someone had been injured. They called me because they knew I had been in there because you have to use a pass card to get in. The pass card transmits your room number whenever you use it and that information is logged. I know that this is useful information for security purposes, but I personally find it fairly creepy. You have to use the card to get into the building and for lots of other things too so they have a lot of information about my movements. Now I'm not paranoid, it's just that they are all out to get me.
Today Kim and I just sat around. We slept late and watched Spiderman 2. We also checked out this market-like store that is close to my house, Rabba's (the website might not be working). It is about a one minute walk from my place and carries most groceries at almost reasonable prices. It's not really much worse than the Dominion which is the next closet grocery store. They are both expensive though, No Frill's should open a downtown store, that would rock.
I'm reading "Planet Simpson" by Chris Turner and it is pretty cool. I personally like it because it shows that the Simpsons has real depth which is something too many people are unaware of. It always bothers me when people say they don't like the Simpsons because it just means they haven't watched enough of it. Or they are completely without a sense of humour. Both of which are inexcusable. People shouldn't pass judgment on things they don't know about, and the world is too ridiculous to take seriously.
My only complaint with the book so far is that the author is too hard on the Family Guy, calling it "mediocre" and "nakedly derivative." While the concept of Family Guy is derivative of the Simpsons (intensely dysfunctional family), Family Guy has many merits of its own. Family Guy helped popularize a type of humour that I greatly enjoy, specifically the blatantly absurd and random. I've noticed that new episodes of the Simpsons tend to use this type of humour more than before Family Guy was popular. Sure, the Simpsons has always been random, but Family Guy is the king of random crap. The show might not have the same depth as the Simpsons but it is still funny as hell. Maybe if it had had a few more seasons it could have become something more.