Recent Posts

5 Tips for Generating Amazing Music with Udio

Wow! That was my first thought when browsing some of the examples of the recently released AI music generation platform https://www.udio.com. It is hard to believe how far AI music has come in the past couple years. I have no way of knowing how ethical all this is with trained data, but that is for another discussion. Knowing it is possible to create results like this from an algorithm is pretty fascinating.

UX Strategy Book Review

I spend most of my time these days doing development. It would be nice to focus on UI/UX things more, but that isn’t always where business priorities are at. UX Strategy: How to devise innovative digital products that people want was book recommendation that came across on my LinkedIn feed. The concept of “UX strategy” intrigued me, so I decided to give the book a read and extract any useful insights it might offer.

D3.js Zoomable Line Chart

A simple line graph that allows for zooming, updated to version 7 of d3.js. The maintainers really need to update the examples for their site as they are stuck on version 4. I am still not convinced d3.js is focused on making charts. It seems more of a library for making SVG graphics. See working example Everything is all in one HTML page, so you can view the source to see what is going on.

A novel approach for using static sites as user-friendly CMSs

Recently I finished converting the krita.org website over from WordPress to Hugo. One of the challenges with this conversion is trying to make it easy for authors to publish news posts. WordPress is just so easy to log in, make a post and publish. How can this nice user experience be replicated using a static site generation tool such as Hugo or Jekyll. Current issue with static site generators There are a lot of technical hurdles that need to happen to make static site generators accessible for more people.

Beyond form fields

I do web development and design all day at work. I come home, eat a bit, then start dwelling on my current skills becoming irrelevant. I browse a few YouTube ’expert’ influencer types. Look through the news to see what technologies are shiny. After a short time infinite scrolling, it begins to settle that the landscape of web development is too disorganized. I take a step back, sit in silence, and hear a distant voice….

Your 100 year old advisor

Many books and self-help articles bring up the deathbed scenario to help you think more clearly. That is, when you are on your death bed, what are you going to regret? What did you wish you spent more time doing? What are you wasting your time on, or what risks should you have taken that you didn’t. While this deathbed perspective is useful, I recently found a better take on this concept that is more actionable and just feel more natural.

Programmatic weight painting example with three.js

Earlier in the year, I went through a great three.js training course learning more about WebGL and the WebGL framework three.js. You get a certificate that you can share with people for resumé purposes (e.g. https://threejs-journey.com/certificate/view/27115). It is a really good course. While I don’t really use this at my day job, it is a fascinating area in web technology. A side project that I thought would be fun is making a sort of Mixamo clone.

Building Krita for Windows in 2023

If you want to start developing for the Krita drawing and painting (krita.org), developing on Windows is the easiest path in 2023. This is the general guide for building Krita from the source code. If you don’t care about history, skip to the next section. Near the end of 2022, and through 2023, the drawing and painting application Krita has been updating/replacing a few of their core C++ libraries. These new libraries have a much deeper feature set.

Twelve and a Half Book Review

Gary Vaynerchuk is a guy that is all over YouTube if you are get into marketing. He is similar to a Seth Godin type of thought leader. Sharing nuggets of wisdom from his experience as a business owner and entrepreneur. Where he differs a bit from Seth Godin is that he spend more time on concrete examples and real life situations to help teach his message and ideas. Seth always seemed kind of in a higher, ideological, plain of existence at times with his ideas.

The perfect length of a book

Writing is a form of art as much as utility. Whether telling a story or providing education to people, a “book” is something that comes with expectations. One of those expectations is how much content should be in the book. This is an important aspect to writing and something worth thinking about at a deeper level. How many pages, or words, that are in a book seem to be driven by a number of factors:

Education-centered Discussion

When heated arguments arises in the workplace, relationships, or with strangers on the internet, how often is your objective to be right? Harsh words are used and people question your judgment. It can be very easy to get on the defensive where you stop responding rationally. You dig yourself into a hole and come across even worse. This happens to everyone including myself. This loss of control intensifies the more emotions are heightened.

Stepping in the shoes of the Disney CEO for a week

Recently I finished the Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learning from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company autobiography by Bob Iger. A lot of the book is about business acquisitions and all the tribulations it took to make them happen. Over the course of Bob’s tenure at Disney, they purchased many companies including Pixar, Marvel, LucasFilms, and 21st Centry/Fox. These acquisitions transformed the company and did a great job breathing new life into their stagnating animation division.

Switching blogging platform failures

My roommate gave me an idea to start back up blogging to get some ideas flowing. Looking back at my blog, I realized how many things I worked on while blogging. It is easy to get in a rut and stay inert, and that is where I am right now. Maybe starting to blog again could get my curiosity sparked a bit more. Moving to Gatsby Static site generators have been around for a while now.

Building Scribus on Ubuntu 16.04

Scribus is a free, open source application for page layout and design. This is my quick guide to build the program from source on Ubuntu 16.04. This will build the 1.5.x development version. It has some tweaking that still needs to be done, but at least it works and is pretty straight forward. All of these steps are being done from the command line. Go to your search bar at the top left and type “Terminal” if you don’t know how to get to it.

Losing Context with Technology

Every so often, I get to a point with my RSS feeds where I start to get bored. Right now, it is filled with mostly tech news. While technology improves at a rapid pace, it gets rather boring with incremental speed increases, larger screen sizes, companies merging, or someone being litigated. I often times forget why any of this is important. Will most of these technology improvements make an impact?

The Not-So Starving Artist

I now have a comeback for people that tell me the art field doesn’t pay well… https://www.patreon.com/sakimichan

Draft: For Writers

I was recently told about a neat service called Draft that allows you to write in one spot and publish to many places. You don’t have to publish to places to WordPress though. You can just keep it to yourself if you want. I will probably start using Draft for a bit and see how it goes. The interface is minimal - which I love.

Why Elon Musk is so successful

I occasionally read Quora about advice people have. Sometimes the advice is so-so, while other times it is really profound. I recently read an answer describing how Elon Musk learned enough to start his SpaceX program. The advice made a pretty good impact on me. https://www.quora.com/How-did-Elon-Musk-learn-enough-about-rockets-to-run-SpaceX

Why use cases are so important to great design

I frequently hear from people that are having issues using an application. This can be with either software or web applications. It usually goes something to this tune: Can we add a checkbox in case we don’t want it to work that way This feature doesn’t work I need to be able to add the same thing 10 times Of course this type of feedback is ambiguous and raises a lot of questions.

Your Own "Sense or Urgency"

“For a Limited Time”. “For 2 weeks Only”. “Hurry…this offer expires soon” In marketing, it is commonplace to have a sense of urgency in your communication. How many thousands of these messages have we seen in our life like this. Probably too many to count. After years of seeing verbiage like this, the words begin to lose its meaning and our attention is lost. Of course the purpose of having this type of message is important.

Developer Note: Beware of System Updates

If you are on a Linux machine like I am, you will occasionally get a smattering of system updates that it recommends. New features! Fixes! Better performance! More stability! All for free! Those are usually the things that run across my mind when I see my package manager appear. I squeal with delight. I click update…and away it goes. Everything finishes, but I am never really sure what exactly just happened.

New Krita.org Site Deployed!

[] I have been spending the past couple of months working with the community reorganizing, rethinking, and re-designing the Krita marketing website. It was really fun working with the community, artists, and other developers to make this happen. Like any project that has stakeholders, there is a lot of feedback that had to be processed. We started with a brainstorming session and we had a forum going for all of the objectives we really wanted to accomplish.

Setting up an IDE for Krita

I have recently been taking a break from Blender and starting to help with another great open source project - Krita. I posted a little while ago about the features that Krita has. I wanted to start playing around with the source code, but wasn’t sure the best IDE to use when editing code. After trying out a few options, I settled on Qt Creator. If anyone is building Krita from source and wants to hook up that code to an IDE for a better developer experience, check out the Youtube video I made with me getting it set up.

$10 Sale For Your Tech Book Needs

If you like reading technical books like I do, Packt Publishing just had their 10 year anniversary and their entire library (books and video training) are $10 a pop. I haven’t really done the video training at all, but their books have really helped me take my skills to the next level in the past years (just finished a Selenium book). They are more than just a regular publishing company.

Helping with the Blender 3D Project: A One Version Journey

I have been wanting to get more involved with the open source community for a while. It is great to have free options for people that don’t have a lot of money - especially college kids who are more focused on finishing school than owning a real copy of Photoshop. The type of people that work on these open source projects appear to be selfless individuals who really care about having software available to everyone.

Krita: The Best Art Program You've Never Heard Of

No, I didn’t draw that - it is Krita’s mascot! Krita is a free open source software designed specifically for digital painters, illustrators, and concept artists. It has the usual photo editing capabilities like cropping and image adjustments, but really excels with its painting and art workflow. I originally heard about this application through the Blender 3D community. While reading an article about Blender’s Sintel project, it mentioned that the concept artists would use Krita to do all of their pre-production and concept art.

Unity3D: Top Optimizations for the Ouya

[] The Ouya needs some love if you want it to purr for you. It doesn’t give you any slack when it comes to performance on this little $100 box. I have been developing a game for a few months and recently started testing it for the Ouya. The game is an open world sandbox, so optimization is at the forefront of my mind. I didn’t originally think Ouya was going to be able to handle it.

Book Review: Unity 4.X Game AI Programming

Disclaimer: I was given this book as a review copy from Packt Publishing. If I didn’t like this book, I wouldn’t be writing a review. That is a little spoiler of what is to come. The timing for me getting this is rather convenient. My artificial intelligence programming skills are pretty much non-existent - and I currently need to start adding AI for the game I am working on.

ArtFlow Review: Awesome Drawing/Painting Android App

I have used a few different art programs so far in the app world with my tablet. I mostly use my tablet for drawing, so I am always looking for better apps out there that make drawing and painting simpler. I actually stumbled upon this app because there was a review on another app ( Sketchbook Pro) that mentioned that ArtFlow is better. It is “Free” to download, but requires an IAP(in app purchase) to unlock all of the features.

3D Web Viewing Tech - Sculptris and P3d.in

[] I recently was looking at some 3D art and the whole “3D sculpturing” technology seems to be standard now for doing modeling. I have been doing polygonal modeling in the past, but didn’t want to fork over the $$$ for the usual tools like ZBrush or Mudbox. I learned about Sculptris a while ago, but never got around to spend time with it. This past Sunday I was bored and watched a couple hours of training video for Sculptris.

My Relationship with Sketchbook Pro after 6 Months

It has been half a year since I bought my Lenovo Thinkpad tablet and I couldn’t be happier with how my drawing/painting skills have progressed in that time. They just came out with a second generation Thinkpad with Windows 8, but I am usig the first generation model with Android. Before I purchased the tablet, I mostly would use a basic 2B pencil and do value sketching in a traditional sketchbook.

Mecanim: Directional Blend Trees + Concept Art For My Game

After installing the update for Unity 4.1 a few days ago, I saw a release note about different types of blend trees you can do with Mecanim. After playing with the different blend state types for a while , I have found that they solve a lot of issues that I struggled with before. They are very powerful and reduce the amount of code dramatically. [] Here is a setup that I am currently using for idle/walk/run/turn.

Unity3D and Mecanim: The Good, the Bad, and the Strange

I have spent the better part of the past two month using Unity 4 and building a game with the new Mecanim animation system. With the video tutorial and material out there, it seems like a great next step for managing animations in Unity. This post outlines some of my experiences and solutions to make the Mecanim system work with non-trivial situations. Creating a Good Setup for Mecanim When starting with any new system or concept, I think it is best to start from scratch.

Global Game Jam 2013 Music

Just finished up with the Global Game Jam in St. Louis and it was a blast. There are so many awesome people in the game development community. I can’t think of many things that are better than spending an entire weekend with a ton of supportive and driven people like you. I have spent about a year now learning to write and arrange music for video games. It has a lot of challenges that I didn’t expect.

ThinkPad and SketchBook Pro

Tablets are everywhere. The amount of choices can make it a real burden to find one that is a good fit. There is always the iPad to default to, but with new entries popping up every couple of months, it is worth to take a step back and weigh your options. Out of all of the tablets that I looked at, the ThinkPad seems to be superior for what I wanted.

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