Gaea to Lightwave – The Basics

Filed in Gaea, Lightwave, Tutorials, YoutubeTags: , , ,

Gaea to Lightwave - The Basics - Part 1

I have begun creating tutorials for various parts of my content creation pipeline.   There are plenty of tutorials for how to use $Program(A)  or $Program(B) to do $Task(X) but rarely do you see anything on how to use $Program(A) to enhance the functionality of $Program(B) in performing $Task(X).

In this instance,  I’m going over how to use Quadspinner’s Gaea to not only do the obvious; ie.. create landscape meshes and color maps for same, but to create ancillary maps to control instance placement of foliage, specular settings for wet ground vs dry ground, a ‘placeholder’ map for where to place a water mesh and a bridge object, etc.
Doing this within Gaea means that you can make changes to the landscape within Gaea, export the maps and if you use the same map names and export directory, all of those items and placements change automatically in Lightwave, even if you change the landscape shape drastically.

Take a look at the video and subscribe to the channel to keep an eye out for the next video in the series.   I have a short one going up in a day or so showing using Substance Painter with Gaea and Lightwave.  Longer ones focused on the River/bridge scene are in the works and will be going up over the next few weeks.

Youtube channel is at:

Once I get enough subscribers, I’ll be able to actually name the thing something reasonable like, you know, Brainflogging  or something.    But by then, Youtube may have moved the goal posts out even further so you never know.



Ground Control and Lightwave 2019

Filed in C++, github, Ground Control, Lightwave, pluginsTags:

I finally got around to testing out Ground Control under Lightwave 2019 and it appears to work identically in 2019 as it does under 2018.  This doesn’t surpise me much as most of the calls it uses in the API for both Modeler and Layout haven’t changed between the two versions.

I’m starting to look at ways to improve memory handling so that it can handle some of the massive datasets coming out of NASA and elsewhere.   Some of the limitations come down to the limitations in Modeler (when’s the last time you tried to programically create 500+million polygons in modeler?) but some are in GC itself.

Long term plans include a potential rewrite in python or at least integration of some of the new python libraries for handling new data formats and even the possibility of an interface to draw from data sources directly right inside LW similar to some of Houdini’s shelf tools.

All of that’s down the road though but I wanted to at least let people know that I haven’t abandoned the plugin and that I do have plans to keep working with it.  If anyone wants to join me in maintaining, modifying, fixing, or enhancing it,  grab it and go.  Let me know when you’re ready and push a merge request my way.


Ground Control

Filed in C++, Developers, github, Lightwave, plugins

Now that the convention season is over and both LibertyCon and DragonCon are behind me, I can now get back to my new projects.

A little while a go a really nice commercial plugin for Lightwave 3D; Gound Control, was open sourced by the fine folks at Digital Carvers Guild.   The original works great in older versions of Lightwave, but with the major changes that came with the relase of LW 2018, several key functions broke.   Rather than let the plugin wither and die, its developer gave the community a gift and open up the source for anyone who wants to take it, make it work and expand it beyond it’s current functioanlity.   In short,  he gave it to the people who need it most.  The users.

I have created a fork of the project and successully gotten it to compile and all basic functionality working under Lightwave 2018.  At this point, I need people who have been using GC under older versions to send me sample data files of all types, especially files that push the limits on what the plugin does.   Especially helpful are the orignal data files and the output models to compare with.

The original Github repo is at:

My fork can be found at my own Github repo:

I’m also looking for ideas for expanding functionality and utility, improvements in the interface or anything else to make this plugin even better.   We have the source, now let’s do something awesome with it.


It’s Alive!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Filed in Uncategorized

Like a bad 80’s franchise, we’re back from the dead. More details soon.

Today’s Moment of Motorcycle Maintenance… er.. Zen.

Filed in Uncategorized

Context: discussion of the sparsity and vagueness of LDAP documentation:

Engineer 01: there has to be some secret cabal of the keepers of the ancient knowledge

Engineer 10: Yeah, they all live in a hidden valley in the Colorado mountains. Smoking ganja by the pound and laughing all us kids with our fancy GUIs.

Engineer 01: pretty f-ing much

Engineer 10: One day, I shall be met by the ghost of Dennis Ritchie and be shown the way to that shangri-la of geekdom.

Engineer 01: and then you get recruited as a new sysadmin in the fight to keep the “Universal Machine” running

Engineer 10: Next up on Cyber-Battles!! It’s Universal Machine vs. Turing Machine! Which one will win? The Machine War had BEGUN!!!!

On the Safety of Vaping

Filed in vapingTags: , , , ,

The discussion of vaping in public spaces at a local Atlanta convention came up a couple of days ago.  As anyone could predict, much muppet-flailing ensued on both sides with more mis-informed and un-informed opinions than you routinely see on CSPAN when discussing anything scientific than how to take a bribe.   (and we all know that politicians are born knowing how to do that..that’s why they’re politicians)

First, on the toxins released by ejuice on inhalation (ie…the maximum exposure possible. Exhaled vapor is going to be significantly less than this by fact that your lungs absorb a majority of it).

From the Journal of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology we have a study entitled: Comparison of select analytes in aerosol from e-cigarettes with smoke from conventional cigarettes and with ambient air


The takeaway from that study is that the levels of HPHCs in the aerosol (ie.. “vapor”) were consistent with the air blanks (ie.. ambient air in the room) at <2 micrograms / puff.

Mainstream cigarettes were in the level of 3,000 micrograms/puff.

Table 5 is the one you want to look at:

I don’t care about cigarettes as this is about vaping so I’m only going to give those numbers:

The range of e-cigs tested came up at 1.7micrograms/puff (on average, range is 1.5 to 2.0).
Air comes up at 1.6 micrograms/puff.

Four of the classes of HPHCs being tested for were lower than was reliably measurable, but again, consistent with *air*.

Remember, this is the *inhaled* vapor, not exhaled.  The lungs hold onto much of the particulates and most of the chemicals.

(addendum using data from the study talked about below)

Normal breathing (~ 20 breaths/ minute) in a room with a low, but measurable amount of cigarette smoke yields an intake of 1 microgram of nicotine every THREE HOURS of breathing..  The study above shows the levels of nicotine in vapor from ecigs or ejuice to be 15% of that of cigarettes.   Using those numbers, you’d need to be in a room for 21 hours or so to get the same dose, or the amount of ‘vapor’ in the air would need to be 7 times as high.


The topic of nicotine exposure from exhaled vapor (I refuse to call it ‘smoke’ or especially ‘second hand smoke’) comes up a lot too.

From the study: Nicotine yields to the aerosol were approximately 30 μg/puff or less for the e-cigarette samples and were 85% lower than the approximately 200 μg/puff from the conventional cigarettes tested.

So, whereas there is a measurable amount of nicotine in vapor, it’s miniscule compared to cigarettes.


While we’re talking about nicotine exposure, let’s look at other things that expose us to nicotine.

This time, let’s look to the New England Journal of Medicine and a study called “The Nicotine Content of Common Vegetables

(and no, I don’t mean your dear uncle Fred who lives in his mother’s basement at 45 years old surfing /b/chan 20 hours a day)

Go read the study if you’re inclined:

But here’s the gist.   Certain human foods, especially the plants in the Solanaceae family (potatos, tomatoes, eggplant, etc..) contain  nicotine in measurable quantities high enough to result in nicotine byproducts to be expressed in urine (ie.. cotinine).

I’ll let you look at the study, but you’d have to eat 140g of potatoes to get the same nicotine as breathing normally for 3 hours in a room with a low amount of cigarette smoke.

Normal breathing in those conditions gives you 1 microgram of nicotine in 3 hours.

Power Rangers De-Boot fan short.

Filed in ShortsTags: , , ,

Or what I like to call the “Shut Up And Take My Fucking Money!!!” Power Rangers fan short.

I won’t spoil it for you by telling you more than this:  Watch it.  If you hated Power Rangers, watch it.  If you loved Power Rangers, watch it.  If you don’t have a single fraking clue who the Power Rangers were, then you should still watch it you old decrepit troglodyte who didn’t have a TV in the 80s or 90s.

Nudity (very brief, but oh so lovely), language, violence, and (in the words of Darph Bobo) Bloody Vengeance!!!!

UPDATE:   Vimeo has pulled the video.  They apparently don’t understand the concept of parody and derivative works.   Queue “The Streisand Effect” in 5…4….3…

So, with that said, here’s a youtube link:

Superfish, https redirects and other security stupidity

Filed in SecurityTags: , , ,

First there was a $300m bank heist that was driven out of the news by the NSA (again) snooping on everyone (well, yeah.. this is news?) and then the news broke of one of the most boneheaded tech decisions since Sony’s rootkit laden audio CDs.

With that kind of week, you know the awesome weight of attention turned on one little company’s products,ie.. superfish, was going to turn up more and more fun for us security types.   Lo and behold, here’s what’s behind door number 2.

The SSL exploit code has been identified in at least a dozen more apps,  several of them marketed as security apps.  If that wasn’t enough, it’s been discovered that it also signs invalid or self-signed certificates for you and presents them as valid to the browser.  An in depth technical explanation of just how nasty this can be is out at who seems to be rapidly becoming the go-to place for info on this debacle.

Microsoft has stepped up to the plate with an update to Windows Defender to help clean up this mess.  All I see in Windows Updates is one for IE 11 and an ASLR but in Jscript9.dll.   I haven’ t tracked down the details from Microsoft’s site about the Defender update, but The Verge has some good info on it.

So now that the work deployment I’m assisting with (I’m on call.. if it goes bad, I get woken up anyway so might as well be useful, ya know?) is done, I’ll bring this post to a close and leave you all crying in your beer and cursing at your packet dumps.  After all, how much worse could it get?


Lenovo & Superfish == Sony Rootkit redux?

Filed in SecurityTags: , , , ,

Seems Lenovo got the bright idea that they wanted to be in the adware business and started shipping Superfish adware system that uses a self signed root cert to basically commit a MITM attack and intercept HTTPS connections.   Why?  To inject adverts, of course, because we all know there aren’t enough advertisements on the net these days.

Ars Technica’s article has a good summary and Errata Securty’s blog goes even deeper into the mess.  If you bought a Lenovo laptop any time after October of last year (though some say as early as June) there’s a good chance you have this abomination installed.   The Errata Security link above will walk you through testing for and uninstalling it.

This is why we can’t have nice things and why any company that lets marketing make these kinds of decisions deserves the pounding they get from the users and buyers of their products.  There is absolutely no excuse for this in 2015. Period.

Lenovo just took themselves off my list of considerations for my new laptop this spring.  I’ve been looking for a 4k laptop to replace about 90% of what I use my desktop for and Lenovo had a couple of good prospects.  Not any more.  Damned shame, really.  I love their hardware, at least on the upper end.


Equation Group, Stuxnet and the NSA

Filed in SecurityTags: , , , , , ,

A few links to get you started then I’ll return later today for more analysis.

One of the most impressive bank heists outside Hollywood:  Bank Heist Steals Millions
Sophistication that would make even William Gibson envious: Beyond Stuxnet and Flame
And you guessed it, The NSA is involved (maybe): Sources connect NSA spying with hacks reported by Kaspersky.

More later as I have time to read and research.  If you have something, post it in the comments.



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July 2024