Houdini HDA Python Module and You

I’m getting reacquainted with Houdini of late, and getting back to grips with Houdini Digital Assets.  these are encapsulated chunks of pipeline that support all manner of neat stuff, and they’re usually full of Python scripts that do interesting things with whatever’s going into and out of them.   But they can have some glitchy behavior.

One that’s now bitten me in the ass twice (6 years apart) is the fact that the HDA’s Python Module has no idea where the hell it is.  It doesn’t know where it’s instantiated and it doesn’t know anything about what’s attached to it, or … Read the rest

Zen and the Houdini Text Editor


A career ago, I was a Senior Houdini Artist and Senior Creative Consultant for Side Effects Software, makers of the the amazing DCC package, Houdini.   Houdini allows you to do all kinds of amazing stuff, and a quick Youtube or Vimeo search will reveal the mindblowing works of talented artists who have picked up this oddball workflow and run with it at the speed of light, proving that it’s not just for FX pipeline nerds anymore.  There’s also a lot of stuff that may not look great, but don’t let that put you off: people are sharing their learning … Read the rest

Threads and Cores.

Eventually, I’ll need to upgrade my dev workstation from the 4-core Intel Core i5 I have now to something a little speedier and beefier. Unreal Engine 4 likes to recompile its shader library often enough that it slows me down, and building for multiple platforms can take its toll as well.

I think I’m going to go AMD this round, probably a 12 or 16 core Threadripper, and in my poking around, I found this article by Sebastian Aaltonen, founder of Second Order Games and formerly a lead rendering engineer at Ubisoft.

Lots of solid advice and test results in … Read the rest

Windowpane – Through the Device

The biggest irritation I’ve found with the Magic Leap so far (there are others, but they’re not as big) is the state of video capture.

  • The capture camera and the render camera are offset from each other, so nothing lines up in a recorded video
  • The FOV is not good.  If you want something captured, it needs to be pretty much dead center of your view.
  • Getting media off the device is OK, on par with pulling movies from iPhone onto a PC, and the Device Bridge app in the Lab makes it easy.

I won’t pretend to understand the … Read the rest

Milestone: MagicWax MVP

So a thing happened over the weekend. My scheme to mash up spatial computing and DJing became real. Here’s a clip:

So what’s happening here is this: The earlier Raspberry Pi with AudioInjector HAT now has a twin, with a cloned SD card of the first one.

There is a Pyle 444 preamp on each one:

This is necessary to unwrap the RIAA curve from the turntable signal and turn it into line level, which is what the Audioinjector HAT needs. In order to cure the abysmal latency brought on by the import process over X11, a single-deck instance of … Read the rest

Xwax display over X11 is pricey.

A major performance issue solved: when xwax is displaying in a remote X11 window, the rate of importing tracks is absolutely abysmal. Xwax enables importing of tracks to the player with a shell script called “import.” It’s basically a big case statement enabling the import of different file types based on their extension, and to use the preferred import executable on a particular file type.

Examples given are mpg123 and ffmpeg, and the fallback importer is ffmpeg, so each file type has a command line extension that looks something like this one tweaked for Ogg Vorbis files.

exec ffmpeg -loglevel Read the rest

Magic Leap, OSC, XWax. Working.

In the last six weeks or so since I posted anything about this, I blew up two computers, revived one computer, and learned a hell of a lot about C programs, Unreal Engine 4, networking, and remote development.

The principle described in the previous post is sound:  Spatialize the digital DJ experience by integrating the data with the physicality of the turntables.  Yeah, ok, but isn’t that what Traktor and Serato do?  Sort of.  You’re still checking your mail on a screen.   Not that my current iteration is any less awkward, but the basic idea is there.

This is what … Read the rest

Digital Vinyl Control, I'm Here.

In a previous entry, I showed you the making of the sausage that is a TouchOSC remote control framework: iPhone sends to server, server changes values, everyone’s happy. It was mostly about configuring both OSX and linux to work with pyliblo and all that jazz, but this time around, it’s positioned to be something useful. The arc of this story will come together, I promise, but I need to set this down before moving on to the next phase.

In the PureData post, the idea was to control PureData parameters remotely, which would be fine if I had the … Read the rest

Reach out and Touch OSC

So as I’m bedridden with the cold from hell, I figure I’ll spend some time plinking at setting up a Touch OSC bridge on a Raspberry Pi 4.  After getting Pure Data working with remote X11 display, I thought it might be nice to have some way to control parameters other than poking at very tiny text and widgets on my old Wasabi Mango 40″ UHD monitor.    

The Iron Chef ingredients for this project are:

  • A mobile device running TouchOSC
  • A Linux TouchOSC bridge and a host to run it on
  • Some app or process that listens to MIDI
Read the rest
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