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Here’s an article I wrote for Falkvinge on Infopolicy, the second in a three-part series on how the theoretically reasonable and rational “profit motive” is actually broken and damaging to society. But we can fix it.

A salesman sells you a tube of toothpaste, claiming it will make your teeth whiter than they’ve ever been in just a week of use. It’s a bold claim, but he wins you over — for twice what you’d normally pay for toothpaste. A week later, your teeth are still yellow, and you’re tremendously ill. Not only was the toothpaste nothing special, but it was also contaminated with a nasty bacteria; apparently, it was cheaper not to sanitize the toothpaste factory equipment. Now your friends certainly won’t buy any of this not-so-miracle toothpaste, but the damage is done. You’re vomiting, and the salesman’s got your money. Herein lies the problem with the profit motive: bad behavior is profitable.
Fortunately, it isn’t insurmountable. It’s a bug in the system, and bugs can be fixed. To fix a bug, you often have to dig deep to find the root of the problem, deconstructing it — and the system it exists within — to its bare essentials.

Continue reading at Falkvinge on Infopolicy

Originally posted at Plankhead
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Principal animation for Your Face is a Saxophone, Episode 2 has been going on for about a week now. I’m working with Erica Frohnhoefer to A) split the workload, and B) bring her animation talents to the table. Already, the character animation from both of us is looking far more expressive and dynamic than the pilot episode.

I’ve also worked out a much more effective lighting technique, using primarily directional lights rather than point lights — it gives us some nice subtle shading without the headache of positioning a bunch of points. We’ll be using spotlights here and there to cast shadows, but for the most part we’ll be using directional and ambient lighting. You can see the results in the freeze-frame below: subtle, and nice-looking.

Freeze-frame of Eddie and Blake in a cubicle

Speaking of subtlety, I realized that the pilot suffered from a bit too much “LOOK WE HAVE MOTION BLUR AND DEPTH OF FIELD!!!”-ing.

The motion blur, I kinda have an excuse for: I only realized what exactly the “Shutter Angle” option did after all of the animation was rendered. Apple Motion defaults to a 360° shutter angle for motion blur, which makes something resembling sense if you’re doing traditional motion graphics. For character animation, it’s, in retrospect, absurd. Observe:

Click for full size
Comparison of 360 and 72-degree motion blur shutter
By the way, Apple Motion was being a bitch trying to render out these two frames, so I just ended up taking screenshots of the viewer window. And the frame up top of the cubicle took about 3 minutes to render out to a PNG, even though it took only 3 seconds to render it inside the damn program. Oh, and they completely borked the Render Current Frame function in Motion 5. So, I lied, Apple Motion still sucks.

Needless to say, for the future, we’re using a 72° shutter.

Depth of field, on the other hand, I don’t have much of an excuse for at all. It was just overdone. We’ll still have it, and still rack focus when it’s dramatically useful, but it’ll actually be at plausible levels this time.

Originally posted at Plankhead
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