Friday, April 30, 2010

More Blender & Next Steps

The past week, I played around with my 2D physics engine and plant growth. I also had a look at soft bodies in Bullet, which would be great to simulate cells.

I found the Algorithmic Botany website which has a lot of interesting papers on simulating plants and plant growth and checked out some of the papers.

I recognized that plants are essentially spatio-temporal structures (STS), that is: structures formed from the movement of a body in time. So I abstracted the problem away from plants, and thought about simulating and animating spatio-temporal structures in general.

I thought about how I wanted to implement an STS generator, and concluded that it would be best to integrate it as as plugin into Blender. Problem is: I know very little about Blender. So I dug around in the Blender 2.5 scripting documentation, and it looks easily extensible from what I can gather.

I want my spatio-temporal structures to be transformable into physical objects, so I need some integration with Blenders' built-in physics engine. They are also most likely to generate geometry as part of an animation. I have no idea how to bake that.

As a first step, to get comfortable with Blender, I will do a test scene for a small segment of the music, to see how well I can synchronize the visuals to the music. This will also answer the question how much I have to program to get good results.

I know that my own program would render images much faster, as it's not software rendering, but GPU accelerated, but I can anticipate the amount of work involved with building my own editor, which I don't want. I will instead master Blender, and maybe one day write my own GPU accelerated renderer for it.

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