Monday, April 27, 2020

The hills of graphic automation

Persistance is the key to success.

I am having a very difficult time automating the spread of the six races across the Earth. I have tried several different techniques and most have such poor results, they aren't worth using.

From what I read, the graphics industry uses different packages to accomplish their graphically intense movies. From what I read, I need procedural graphics. The apparent go to package for that is Houdini.  That's my next venture. I will learn procedural graphics using Houdini and then pass the work into Unreal, which has a built in interface to Houdini.

It's one thing to paint an area and then paste that painting onto the Earth. It's quite another to make it so that you can grab a slider and move forward and backward in time and view the changes indicative of that particular time.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Ready for Anton and Fonta video

Well...... Another hiccup along the saga of how to show the travels of the races across the globe.

Decals didn't work. Morphs didn't work. Splines didn't do the job properly. So after some study yesterday, I found videos on how to control textures on a surface. Well ,so that's how its done.  In a way, I wished I had did the research on how the studios do it first. So textures will work. No doubt. In my work on 3d automation,  I've never dealt with them. Everything was solid objects that changed shape and color. Excepting the work I did on the architectural worlds. That was simple pasting though.

So after a few YouTube videos,  I'm ready to create the materials that will show their travels.

The work consists of using Gimp, Photoshop like drawing app, to layer their travels on the picture I use for planet Earth's sphere.

A layer makes it so that you don't draw on the original picture. The way it'll  work is that I create a series of layers, each representing another a small change and then, when complete, place them into a master texture (picture) as a series of rectangles. Then I will mathematically call out different pieces of this series so that it appears as a flow.

I purchased a Huion Inspiroy Q11K Graphic pen Drawing Tablet to draw it all with. That should make it easier to create these different layers.

Heres a video of the application ready to accept the beginning of the races. 


Saturday, March 28, 2020

The first video

This is a ridiculously simple video showing the sliders. I've just recorded it for posterity.


Position earth the improper way

So, as I said,  I'm not an artist or graphic design guy.  I am, though, a really good programmer that has spent 40 years programming computers. I created the  software that created the first digital Aerospace maintenance manual in the industry. I was a contractor, partnered with Ken Stiles on the Md11 aircraft at McDonald Douglas. My software was capable of taking 160 technical writer's word processor outputs and repaginating and automatically compositing every aircraft's 110,000 pages in the maintenance manual.

I have a list of companies that I automated aspects of their business so I am still capable of powerful software.

I believe this is the best way I can help the Urantia movement.

So I'm setting up the environment with floating sliders that control planet Earth and some of my work has been heading in the wrong direction.

Let me explain. To properly present the spread of the races, starting with, possibly, Andon and Fonta,  I need to position the view above Mesopotamia.  My mistake was that I was positioning and rotating Earth while what I should have been doing is rotating Earth and then positioning the camera above the right spot. I'll get it working eventually.

After these controls, it'll be time to start the spline system that I'll use to show the movement of the races. I will use these same controls for many other stories.  I will use procedural,  mathematical splines to present these movements. In this way, a time slider can move forward and backward through time presenting the current status of their movement at that particular time.

A lot of the work will be extrapolations and will not be truly indicative of the exact placement of the races as the Urantia book describes only only general positions of these different races.

I realize that these visuals cannot delve deep into the fabric of  the Urantia book's concepts. They are simple attempts to create an interface that can be used to present, game-like visuals alongside, either the text, or other visuals that can be used to dig deeper into the concepts of the book.

This is just the beginning of a technique of programming called Agile programming. This technique evolves software rather than completing it all at once. The engine that drives these visuals is quite large and by the time this system is complete, I'll have incorporated the Urantia search system to work alongside this 3d system, so it will take up a lot computing room. Like a lot of the games today.

There are techniques that can present this work on browsers. They already work as is. Webassembly being one or HTML5. These, though, arent quite ready for the size of the Unreal engine and the entire piece of software has to be downloaded every time the website page is visited. No one wants to wait a few minutes every time you want to run the software. There are techniques to save the software with the browser but are beyond the scope of my work and will be fixed at a later date. So my work will be restricted to Windows and Android. Android tablets are inexpensive. I've seen some that work with the engine for 45.00. I won't support Apple smartphones as yet. Their licensing doesn't easily lend itself to Agile software changes. Although, I am perfectly willing to share this software with anyone who is willing to jump through those hoops. The system is very capable of running on Apple equipment.

The future of software is still evolving as a whole and so is the hardware that drives it. CPUs and GPUs that drive this 3d splendor will become more and more powerful and it will be much, much easier to create these environments that present intricate, real looking worlds and I plan to take advantage of them.

I know that artificial intelligence will evolve these engines until we will be able to simply talk these Urantia environments into being. They will be easy to create. Currently, I have taken tutorials where entire forest environments were created in less than one hour using the current engine as is.

I look forward to those artificial intelligence days.

Pierre Chicoine

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Presenting human evolution according to the Urantia Book

So how does a regular guy like me, who once had a study group for 30 years, and has programmed computers since 1983, create an app showing the races from Andon and Fonta to the present time?

The Virtual Urantia application is not a movie. It's an app that can be used to see stuff in the Urantia book using a 3d gaming and film creating engine for real time graphics. Unreal, the engine, creates 200 games and parts of films and series like Mandolorian. They create the film in real time so it can do it both ways, realistic gaming and film.

Although, I understand 3d automation,  I'm not a graphic designer. But I will make an effort at doing my best.

First, I'm using a very high resolution map of the Earth and I've wrapped it on a sphere. Then, I've created a background of stars in the distance. It needs to be pretty.

I need to show the movement Andon and Fonta in Mesopotamia flowing into the Andonite movements. To the right of these flows on the Earth sphere is a floating slider that shows time from 1,000,000 years ago on the left of the slider and 2020, on the right of this slider.

I tried textures, pictures,  decals, which are like textures but different in application. Morphing meshes which are procedural but have an endpoint. Like, say, a tiger turning into an elephant. The endpoint finishes and has no easy way of continuing on like the races did. Man oh man. I thought this would be easier. 

To understand the following paragraph. I need to explain: a mesh is a 3d object that is built of a bunch of 3d points in space.

At least, I've finally figured out how to show the movement of the races on the globe. Their called procedural splines. That's where you use an object mesh that changes its shape based on a mathematical entity that can be used as a path that the 3d engines uses as a method of sizing, moving and rotate the object based on that spline path. They use it in games to create roads. Except that they create the road at creation time and it doesnt change at game play time. Since its mathematical,  I'll connect the slider to a table of mathematic information that the output of the slider will use to control whether the shape is procedurally changing and moving backward or forward in time.

When the shape reaches its maximum, then I'll stop the procedure and go on to the next animation. Now there is an even more difficult problem.  Can I show the color of the race at that spot that doesn't color the entire path of the object? Or will that be an issue? How do I present the blending of the races from the Andonites, Adamites to the red race in the Americas? Challenges take time.

As the object reshapes, I'll place text showing the personalities and the current date. The time will also show st the slider.

It's a very involved process that has to be programmed in. The good part of it is that I can use it on the movement of Jesus through his journeys.

Ok. Work time.

Pierre Chicoine

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Urantia Races on Unreal

How difficult would it be to show the spread of the races with a time slider that shows their progress across Earth? Well I have spent countless hours using techniques that dont work. It's difficult. Finally I have settled on the way to do it. Morphing arrows and decals and textures. Morphs are shapes that change their shapes over time.

The problem with any game engine is, like all 3d engines, is that they aren't made to do stuff that is out of their ballpark. I've tried morphing shapes, effect systems, which work mostly with particles. Decals which are difficult to change over time and water materials which are also difficult to morph as they use shapes also.

Finally, I believe I can use two systems in tandem. First I will use multiple arrows that change in color and shape, that meld into one over time. That will show the mixing of two races. Then I will use a decal that is the same size as Earth with colored areas when a certain race or mixture has settled into one area. That way, I morph arrows and remove the need to morph decals. I can use static decals that don't change over time.

The decals can actually be textured and are transparent over areas that have no races yet. Should work.


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Unreal and Urantia

This doesn't show much now. It will soon. Thought Id just drop videos as I progress.

The Unreal Engine is well suited to show the Urantia book in 3d. For example: Showing the 6 colored races moving across the Earth. All the colors of all the blends showing like water flowing across the globe.

Also, all the information of humanity can be placed in tree form. The difference between  a tree of information and a flat table, like the current internet searches, that can be searched rapidly, is that a tree, by it's very nature organizes information. Using a well organized tree, you can get to the information you want very rapidly and it'll be the information you're looking for rather than 100s of entries that may or may not pertain to what you're searching for. The tree I'm building is of the book.

The original table of contents is basically a tree. It's a sequential view of the book. But there are other ways of treeing the book.

A tree is made of parents and children. The Urantia book tree starts with the top parent being the Urantia book. The two children, I can think of, would be TOC and evolution. When TOC is clicked, you see the 4 parts of the book. When Evolution is clicked,  you see Andon and Fonta and 6 colored races and so on. When you click Andon and Fonta, you see the globe of Earth spin to the Gobi desert and the twins show up on the globe at that spot.

The next entry is the 6 colored races and when you click on that tree entry, you get two children, Text and Travels. If you click on Travels, you are presented with an animated flyover of the globe where the globe spins to the beginning of the family that gave birth to the 6 colored races and then slowly, you see them spread across the globe like water flowing, showing the blending of the colors as they spread out.

Simultaneously, you're presented with a button and a rotation slider, to the right of the Earth, which allows you to select manual control. If this manual button is clicked, then the time  sliders appear to the right of the globe. Using these sliders, you can manually control the animation. You can spin the globe, using the globe slider, to the position you want and then you can move the time slider to the time you're interested in. You can leave it in automatic mode and spin the globe watching them spread.

Let's say you want to see the red race move across the Aleutian bridge, then you would spin the globe above the Aleutians using the rotation slider and then move the time slider to show their movement or leave in auto while viewing their movement into the Americas.

In this way, you could animate the book in various ways, bringing out views that are heretofore unknown.

Of course, if you click on the Text entry, then you are presented with the text of the book. Maybe a button could also appear where the text automatically appears scrolling through the text that relates to the animation. Certainly, it's an attractive way to envision the book.