lunedì 22 aprile 2013

Streaming audio from Ubuntu to a DLNA player

Dmitry Sandalov posted a great in-depth article about streaming audio from Ubuntu Linux to a DLNA player without using Rygel. You can read the entire article here. I've tested his solution with my Onkyo receiver and it works fine. The idea is quite clever and simple: "The way I have it now: I pass the pulseaudio stream over HTTP, setup a ‘Favourite’ link on Onkyo receiver then play it. It works a lot more stable without DLNA server".

domenica 21 aprile 2013

Sopcast stream via Mediatomb

I'd like to watch a Sopcast stream on my TV, so I'm trying to figure out a way to do it. Internet is great, the solution is very easy. I will use Mediatomb to broadcast the stream to my TV. Mediatomb is running on Ubuntu 12.10 32 bit.

First of all, let's install Sopcast:

 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ferramroberto/sopcast

 sudo apt-get update

 sudo apt-get install sopcast-player

Let's launch Sopcast from the dash home. If Sopcast returns an error like this:

 sopcast-player : Depends: sp-auth (>= 3.0.1) but it is not installable

We have to search for sp-auth_3.2.6.deb and install it.

lunedì 25 febbraio 2013

Streaming DVD iso with MediaTomb and VLC

Long time ago I backed up a couple of dvds as iso image files and now I'd like to watch them. My DLNA Player is a Sony BDP-S790: it can play video/music/photo files stored on another DLNA-compatible product (DLNA Server) via a network. I will use MediaTomb as DLNA server on Ubuntu 12.10 and VLC to stream video and audio data. VLC will not execute a real transcode saving your cpu: this is very useful, especially if your pc is quite old.

First of all I have to prepare the DLNA-compatible product (MediaTomb):

martedì 18 ottobre 2011

Error 1920 while installing 3ds Max 2012 Service Pack 2

I noticed an Error 1920 while installing 3ds Max 2012 Service Pack 2 x64. Error 1920 is a Windows Installer error code indicating I do not have sufficient privileges to start system services.
A simple workaround:
run a dos command prompt as Admin, navigate to the location of the msp file and type:

msiexec /update 3dsmax2012_sp2_64-bit_enu.msp

Best regards.

venerdì 14 ottobre 2011

Mental Ray errors

 If you notices these errors

// mental ray for Maya: using rayhosts file C:/Users/User/Documents/maya//maya.rayhosts
// Error: (mental ray) : Unable to load file: plugin.dll //
// Error: (mental ray) : cannot load plugin.dll, The specified module could not be found. //

using Mental Ray Satellites, probably the slaves don't have the plugin installed. A quick fix, if you don't need the plugin for the scene:

run Window -> Rendering Editors > mental ray > Shader Manager and unload the plugin:

Best regards.

martedì 6 settembre 2011

My 3D brother

I decided to create 3D portraits of people I love. I'm using Maya 2011 and ZBrush.

First of all the reference, a couple of photos to use as guide. I decided to to model the initial geometry in Maya because it's easier to navigate the viewport. This is quite important because it's all matter of proportions. Before importing the photos as image planes,  I altered the front view in Photoshop to match the perspectives.

On the right, the initial shape I modeled in Maya. I started from the side view drawing the profile and extruding the rest. During this stage I prefer to turn on a smooth mesh preview to see possible problems. I think I spent 3 hours, more or less, to model this shape.

Now it's time to run ZBrush. I'm using GoZ to quickly transfer my geometry back and forth between ZBrush and Maya. I imported my photos into Spotlight to sculpt, refine and texture the mesh. I didn't activate symmetry because the human body is not symmetrical. Initially I grabbed the eyes from demohead.ztl to have a reference, I made realistic eyes in a second moment.

Essentially in this phase I used the clay brush and the move topological brush to make further changes, for example the cheeks, the eyes, the ears and so on.
When this work was done, I decided to create the UVs. I used UV Master, a free plugin for ZBrush which lets us create very efficient UVs for our models in a few steps.
Now it's time to paint my model with the textures to have a more significant reference and refine the mesh with further details. I used a layer to store the texture. The powerful Spotlight allowed me to combine the front and the side view. On the left the front view applied to my model.

On the right all the photos have been painted on my model. I exported the texture to make further changes in Photoshop. For example, I decided to erase the hair and the eyelashes because I want to create them in Maya. The UVs I created with UV master allows me to reimport the fixed texture.

Now the details. With a simple noise effect I created a base for the skin and, using alphas, I'm adding details like big and small pores, eye wrinkles and so on.
After that, I will export the model to Maya to create a hair system and render the model with Mental Ray.

The next step consists of creating realistic eyes for my model in Maya. Now the eyes are quite important, they really can change a face but they are also quite complicated. Rather than importing an eye diagram into Maya and understanding how an eye work, I followed a fantastic free tutorial by Alex Alvarez (Gnomon). The biggest difference is that I used a marble texture for the veins, Alex used an effect from Maya. Anyway the veins are really small and I don't think I'll zoom on them.

First of all the hair system to complete the model. A lot of curves to easily style the hair, the eyebrows and the eyelips. Then I created a a bunch of maps (epidermal, subdermal...) to plug into a misss_fast_skin_maya material to achieve a realistic skin. I plugged a mia_exposure_photographic and a physical lense dof node lense into my camera.

So, on the right the final result. I'm quite happy because this is my first 3D portrait.

Best regards.

mercoledì 22 giugno 2011

Unable to connect to Google bookmark service. Your browser is offline

Google Toolbar for Firefox may return this error whenever you try to bookmark a site if Internet Explorer has been setted to work offline. Open IE and check out if the Work Offline option is enabled 
( Menu Tools > Work Offline) and, if so, disable it. Google Toolbar will work fine again.

Best regards

venerdì 27 maggio 2011

Mudbox 2012 x64 on Ubuntu 11.04

If you have installed Maya 2012 on Ubuntu 11.04, you can install Mudbox 2012 only, otherwise you'll need to install all stuff (flexnetclient, flexnetserver...) and check out if you have all required packages.

martedì 24 maggio 2011

Maya 2012 x64 on Ubuntu 11.04

Maya 2012 x64 is incredibly fast on Ubuntu 11.04. Unfortunately Autodesk doesn't support Ubuntu and the packages we can download are rpms. Anyway, I'm trying Maya now and it works very well on ubuntu 11.04. Here the steps I followed to install Maya 2012 Hotfix 1:

martedì 5 aprile 2011

Xrayunwrap 1.5 for 3Ds Max

I bought this small piece of software and I'd like to recommend it. Xrayunwrap is "a real single click solution to speed up work pipeline in the creation of UV mapping". It works fine and it's very easy to use. Below a couple of video tutorials made by RayLight.

Best regards.