Open Source

I’ve been playing around with open source 3D software, namely the Blender modeling and animation suite, to see what I can squeeze out of it for possible use in school projects and beyond. Here are some of my first experiments:



These two are the slightly jazzed up products of Blender tutorials, the latter involving a “parametrically” generated corkscrew (no, I haven’t gone over to the dark side, in case you’re worried). By the way, Blender’s internal rendering engine is pretty fabulous – every bit an equal of Maya’s, raytracing options and all.

This next one is my first foray into the external Yafaray renderer:


BTW, the texture on the wall is Margo’s fantastico spaghetti sauce:


So far I’m getting really grainy images from Yafaray, though I know it’s possible to make it produce baby-smooth stuff like this, too (take a look at the linked file):

Not that baby-smooth is something I would necessarily strive for, but it does show the impressive capability of this free software package.

And there’s a kicker too: In addition to being a world-class visualization tool, Blender also includes a game engine that can be used to build self-contained, fully interactive three-dimensional “walk-through” presentations. I’ll definitely play around with it at some point, but there’s a lot of other territory to cover before that. Stay tuned.

Emirates fantasy continues to crash

One of my favorite architectural blogs brings us news of serious concern over human rights abuses in Abu Dhabi, involving some of the world’s leading “starchitects”:

This only adds to my qualms about the whole idea of stardom in architecture – not only is crap often purveyed as art under the cover of a famous name (see for example Foster’s Russian exploits), but the rush to maintain media exposure has also resulted in a lack of sensitivity to the human aspect of architecture that I would ascribe largely to the corporate dimension of the starchitects themselves. “Zaha” or “Gehry” are not really flesh-and-bone Zaha Hadid or Frank Gehry, they’re well-branded but in fact faceless multinational corporations that have more in common with IBM or Exxon than with the likes of Wright, Le Corbusier or Mies.