Midi-triggered blender drummer model

My most recent challenge: using midi signals to drive a 3d model of a drummer and drumkit.

For music production I use ardour and hydrogen, synchronized by the jack audio connection server. For this project I set up an audio project for the classic Cheap Trick “Surrender” song and painstakingly created the drum midi track on hydrogen. I had to set more than 20 tempo changes just to keep it reasonably in-sync with the original performance!

The result was a stream of midi signals that were captured to a text file using the very useful kmidimon tool:

The drummer model was sketched using Makehuman, and the resulting model and armature loaded in a blender model of a vintage drumkit.

The script is a bunch of python code that loads the file with the midi events and then inserts the keyframes for the poses at the right frames on the animation.

The first result shows an awkwardly performing drummer hitting the drums on the right moments. The next steps involve working on more natural poses and dealing with alternate use of both hands for quick sequences. A draft animation of the first seconds into the song can be seen here:


Planes from childhood

During my childhood in East Timor my familly and I were often flying on a pair of De Havilland Dove aircrafts which connected remote locations with the capital, Dili, specially during the rainy season when overflowing rivers made it impossible to travel by road.

These two planes are special to me. Not only they had a special odour that only an old plane has (or an old airman remembers), but also because one of these birds literally saved my life on Nov 1st 1973, when I was airlifted from Viqueque to Dili hospital after being seriously injured in a domestic accident.

One of these planes was the Oecusse (registration CR-TAH) seen here in this photo from my family album taken on Baucau around 1972. The girls wearing traditional clothes were part of a welcome ceremony for tourists arriving from Australia.

I lost track of this particular aircraft and, according to this page, it was acquired by Soloman Islands Airways, although I suspect it never left Timor when Indonesia invaded.

The second aircraft (Manatuto, registration CR-TAG) managed to fly out of the island on the day of the Indonesia invasion and, after being parked on a remote spot of Darwin airport for a while, was restored and is now being displayed at the Darwin’s aviation museum next to a B52.

De Havilland Dove CR-TAG – photo from Darwin’s Aviation Museum
from https://www.goodall.com.au/photographs/doves-herons-70/70sdoves-herons.html

Another plane that regularly visited East Timor was a Trans Australia Fokker F27 registration VH-TFM, seen here on a photo from my family album. This was the plane that took me and my family out of East Timor a few days before the Indonesia invasion.

Planes have always been part of my life and that’s why I never cease to be amazed by the act of flying:


Feel good places

For most of us some places will be forever linked to good moments. For me and for the last 35 years, one of these places is the Coliseu de Lisboa, a concert hall in the center of Lisbon where I attended memorable performances since my teenage days.

ticket for Feb9 1982 Ian Gillan Band show
Skunk Anansie, Feb 11 2017, Coliseu de Lisboa

Another much different place which has been attracting me over the last months is a small bar near the place where I live. This place belongs to Apogma, an organization of OGMA workers, an aircraft maintenance company in Alverca, Portugal and although access is reserved for members, I have been fortunate to come along with friends who are.

Rockinh Horse covers band - Setptember 15th 2017
Where are the artists and where is the audience?

The small familiar place, the regular attendance (10% Milennials, 90% Gen X) and a multitude of local artists keep this place buzzing with fabulous live music on Friday nights, superb crowd engagement, and cosy atmosphere. On the downside, the facilities are very old and lack proper sound insulation, there is no effective separation between smokers and non-smokers zones, and although live music finishes at mid-night(ish), people living in the neighborhood understandably complain about the noise.

Rocking Horse covers band, September 15th 2017
Paulo Brissos – October 20th 2017
MT 80, December 9th 2016
D.Gang – November 3rd 2017

E46 3D model – first results

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First final results for the virtual model of my BMW E46 are here!

Below are three renderings of the model within a 360 degree environment photo taken here. There are still some crucial elements missing like the rear view mirror and turn lights.

Below are some pictures corresponding to different phases of the project:

Blueprint overlays used to create the main curves


3D rendering of main curves


Comparing virtual and real models


Main curves rendered for 360/3D VR test


Overall chassi shape


Skinning the model


Differentiating and articulating panels


Fully skinned model


Testing tail lights – each one is realistically modeled using a reflector, light-emitting bulb and textured transparent plastic


Detail of rear axle components


Modeling the dashboard and center console


A quick rendering of the interior


Hinged doors


Nearly finished model


Rendered within a 360 degree environment photo
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