Its been an exhausting month – my son was born on October 7, and everything takes longer when you’re trying to bounce a baby with one hand and type with your right hand!

I’m moving to a slightly different system – putting out a pretty stable release and keeping a less-stable bleeding-edge version as well (basically, the version I’m using). YMMV. So, without further ado:

Pantograph 0.5 changeLog (yeah, we’ve got that too)

  • the GUI has been thoroughly replaced by a Blender user-interface.  Its a little spare, but its growing on me and the experience is much smoother running it from Blender.  pyGTK is no longer required.
  • The clipping has been re-written  – with the hopes of dealing with the memory hole for larger meshes.
  • There’s now a “raster fill” option – you can use a rendered version of the scene (a PNG file, to be exact) as a clipped fill – you get sharp linework but also soft shading, textures, shadows.  You could take this into Inkscape and poTrace your way back to resolution independence.
  • There’s now a proper frustum cull – things outside of the camera view are clipped and not rendered.

Known Bugs:

  • The Blender GUI doesn’t yet work properly in Windows – to get changes in buttons to register, you have to raise another window and then go back to Blender.  Works fine in Linux.  Upstream bug?
  • There’s a mysterious, unrepeatable seg fault that happens every once in a while, though I’ve only noticed it in Linux.
  • SWF output is broken.  No, its just not hooked up yet – I’ve been developing on a 64-bit system, and Ming is only 32-bit… if people are clamoring for this, it might happen sooner.

Happy Halloween,

Severn

…has wiped my ftp space – again.  Downloads will be back shortly – sorry for the inconvenience! (Seriously, if I could buy internet service from a herd of baboons operating out of a basement instead, I would)

I have a new full-time job (yay!), which means I haven’t had nearly the same luxury of time to work on Pantograph (boo!).  I have, however, been patiently working through the debugging of Pantograph 0.5 – I’m hoping to have it done by the end of the Summer, if not sooner.

Spurring things on is the discovery that pyGTK doesn’t seem to work with Blender 2.46.  Since 2.46 hasn’t hit the Ubuntu repos yet, I didn’t realize this until people started complaining.  The new version will have a Blender-native GUI, so this should fix the problem.

I’ve also started to look at re-coding parts of it in C or C++.  Very preliminarily – I haven’t written much C since college, and the thought of all those semi-colons makes my head hurt.  At some point it would be great to get help/advice from somebody who has experience cross-compiling between Windows and Linux, or even just somebody who has experience compiling from source in Windows.  I have a copy of MS Visual Studio, though I have to admit I’ve never even installed it.

Team members: Severn Clay-Youman, Nathan King, Daniel Ramirez

Designing for Promiscuity

Because of their speed and efficiency, bicycles may well be the future of transportation in the 21st Century city. For cycling to reach its full potential in the urban milieu, a locking strategy must be developed that meets the needs of all cyclists. The traditional bicycle rack simultaneously accommodates and explicitly limits the urban cyclist: here you may bring your bike on the sidewalk, here you may park your bike safely, here you are allowed.  It is a familiar type of urbanistic intervention: clearly delineated, appropriately proportioned within the streetscape. It belies, however, the opportunistic nature of urban cycling: rather than a simple replacement for driving a car, cycling fills the gaps between walking, public transportation and driving.

(more…)

I’ve been finishing up my studies the past couple of weeks, so not much work has been done on Pantograph. I have, however, been getting to use Pantograph quite a bit, and have some observations:

  • Pantograph is now memory-limited, not cpu-limited. Change is good! The culprit seems to be the Polygon library – my hackish misuse of it is beginning to show, and things aren’t pretty. There don’t seem to be any good clipping libraries out there that do exactly what I need, so I need to write a true 2D geometry core. I’m much more confident in the potential speed of Python, though, so I’m still hoping to match the speed of the 3D geometry functions in the 2D clipping.
  • The program needs a Blender-native UI. After using the GTK UI in KDE for the past few months, and from peoples’ hassles trying to install GTK in Windows, I have decided to not fight it and rebuild the UI using the Blender toolkit. One less dependency is a good thing.
  • Pantograph is still really buggy. Sorry.

I’ve got two weeks in mid-May to sit down and address the bugs and write the 2D clipping code – stay tuned!

Tamito Kajiyama has written a very comprehensive guide to installing Pantograph in Windows.  Thanks, Tamito!