Caille-lait, Prarial, 227 (Playing with Eevee)

Once again there's been a bunch of stuff I haven't been able to articulate with the time I have to get these things smashed out. I read somewhere that the Internet is a river, we can't hold on to things, so maybe it's time to close the tabs and move on.

decline.online

I made an exhibition version of decline.online which wasn't too arduous and it's off to the Sovereign Nature exhibition in Berlin next week. I won't be able to be there myself but there's a great lineup of people involved so I'm pretty happy to be put alongside them. I managed to fix a bunch of stuff at the weekend but I'm struggling to deal with the lateral visualisation. There's enough data now that if it's compressed on a screen, the red line becomes a mess while I've discovered that some browsers don't like the side-scrolling and also that may not even be apparent. Anyway, that's a problem for next time.

LCC Degree Show

Next week is the LCC Degree Shows opening again. It's the first time ever that I haven't spent June up ladders covered in dust and paint and I miss being able to get hands-on with building the shows and fixing problems. However, it's going to be great. There's more info available here, let me know if you're coming and I'll see if I can give you a tour. 


Eevee


I spent almost the whole weekend messing around with Eevee, which is Blender's new render engine, currently in beta and building the above quick animation. The big change is the real-time rendering. There's no wait time to see rendered results so it behaves a little more like Unreal or something. The tradeoff is having to bake up the lights in advance. I also recorded a breakdown video:


Some observations:

  • The real time rendering speeds up the process of putting together materials that look great. You don't have to keep flitting back and forth between a render and the viewer and waiting for it. You can also (once baked) tweak the lights as you go to check it under different conditions. (I'm doing this around the 1min mark with the marble)
  • There are a bunch of quality-of-life UI tweaks which have long been the bug-bear of the Blender world including (shock-horror) the ability to set up with left click to select! There's also quick menus that appear around the mouse. For instance 'z' used to switch between wireframe and solid view modes. Now it gives you quick select options of wireframe, solid, materials or rendered which is so much quicker. 
  • Some of the simulation stuff is still twitchy. By far and away (and most of it isn't included in the breakdown) hair particles took the most time. There were just a bunch of inexplicable glitches, either due to my mistakes or the nature of a beta that made it really hard to get right. I ended up having to stack multiple particle systems to get dense enough looking hair that didn't glitch. 
  • Shadows in the render looks a bit rubbish, particularly where the focal length blurs and around the grass. There is a new setting for shadow resolution which I don't fully understand which may be at fault. 
  • Generally speaking little has been changed formally since cycles so most of the skills are transferrable. The biggest change to everyday stuff is the need to bake lighting with light probes. Light probes are in Unity too and are basically similar to domains that you get in smoke or liquid simulation - they define an area that light can effect. I can imagine on bigger projects with more complex lights this will cause me problems. BUT, no more fireflies!
Anyway, that's it. Signing off. 

Sureau, Prarial, 227

It's been a good week of learning more things. At the tail end of last week I was over in Lapland for Cumulus. This is a big global gathering of design educators from around the world and I was there to present a paper with my colleague Eva Verhoeven about Global Design Studio, which is a big online design project we ran last year and want to run again this year. So part of the reason to go was to connect with some other institutions that might want to partner. Being in those events is a reminder of the enormous privilege we have in being able to travel freely and just talk about the things we do. Standing at the arctic circle, listening to the sound of military jets, chatting with a reindeer with Christmas jingles in the background gives you a profound sense of scale. The other thing that I'm reminded of at these things is the incredible regard with which the work we do is held, it's humbling to discover that people really do watch what's going on at UAL and LCC and in our courses and want to get involved.

decline.online in exhibition

I've put together an exhibition version of decline.online. It was actually much simpler than I expected and once again Jonny was a real help. That's going out for an exhibition called 'Sovereign Nature' in Berlin on 19 June. At some point I'll sit down and look into adding some more sources. It's already started breaking as sites are updated and the scraper stops working which is why I stopped doing it last time. 

YouTube still got it

I don't have a channel this week but I found this cool little project via the Imperica newsletter. Astronaut is a randomly ordered stream of clips from videos uploaded to YouTube with filenames like 'DSC0001' or 'IMG0003' that were uploaded in the last week and have almost zero views. Weird and cool as hell.

I meant to put much more in here but I've got a twenty minute window to get this done.