Hello all,
I’m pleased to announce that the latest version of Blender 3D is out. This is the collaborative effort of a team of developers, which I’m proudly a part of. The 2.65 edition is particularly relevant for the dome community due to a complete support for equidistant fisheye lens rendering.

Equidistant fisheye 180°, used for fulldomes. Image by Adriano Oliveira

Equidistant fisheye 180°, used for fulldomes. Image by Adriano Oliveira

That includes a series of fixes since last release, the most noticeable been the Equidistant Fisheye Lens fix, as I mentioned in an early post. This release not only benefit Fulldome artists, but also anyone willing to experiment with the Equisolid Fisheye lens. The image below is what you see from within the working viewport.

And how simple it is to use this? For those familiar with the builtin Cycles render engine this is as easy as it gets. For Equidistant fisheye lens all you need to do is to set the render dimensions to square (e.g., 1024 x 1024) and to set the field of view angle (usually 180°). For Equisolid fisheye lens you need to do is to set the lens size and one of the sensor dimensions. The other sensor dimension is taken from the render aspect ratio.

Equisolid fisheye, 3d viewport preview. Image by Pataz Studio - www.patazstudio.com

Equisolid fisheye, 3d viewport preview. Image by Pataz Studio – www.patazstudio.com

For the complete release information, please visit the official Blender 2.65 Release Log.

For the Fisheye Lens specific info, check:

Blender is under 60MB to download, free and more than capable to handle small to medium size productions. Go get it! I hope it can help more future fulldome productions in the future.

Enjoy it,
Dalai

Err not really, backup often kids ;). To add it up to my recent tragic Windows 8 destroyed my OSX partitions story I actually have ordered an external hard drive but it arrived one day after my HD was messed up.

Now time for some good news: I just fully recovered my HD. I would like to thank all the help I got over here, G+, email. Really, thanks big time.

So that’s what I did (in case you are here googling about the same problem). I’m assuming that if you got that far in the internet for help, you are already as doomed as I was. So I won’t even bother with warning and re-warning you that you are better off seeking professional help.

1) 2012 is the year of the penguin, but not. But still, Linux still rocks. I have no Mac-to-Mac cable at hand so I had to resort to a rescue live CD. The party wouldn’t be complete without an OS-threesome after all.

So I first tried Ubuntu Rescue Mix but it didn’t come with the application that I was suggested to try (namely gdisk), so I used it only for diagnostic and the dump backup. In the end I downloaded GParted which comes with a nice X11 btw (though you will inevitably use the console, so don’t get pumped it up ;))

2) dd if=/dev/sda /media/usb7/sda_backup
First things first, jokes aside it’s never too late for a backup. I started with a byte backup of my 500GB. It takes time, as in, really. 30 hours later I knew there was nothing I could do to make things worse. If anything I could reverse the dd if/of order and restore my HD to the broken state I was getting familiar with. And there is nothing like Mario U to endure 30 more hours if it comes to that 😉

*) As for everyone’s suggestions I tried gdisk, but my system was too corrupted. It had no internal backup (what you get from using ‘c’ from gdisk) and the error message I got (something about overlapping partition sectors) was stopping me from doing any change in the partition and write it back. I thought it could be a conflict between the MBR Windows tried to write and the GTP created by Mac, so here for a more radical next step:

3) dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=512 count=1
WARNING: This will clean up the first 512 bytes of your partition, namely the boot sector. Note, this may not be necessary, but I was already in the verge of resetting my system. I went back to gdisk to see if that worked, and in fact the MBR was gone. I quitted gdisk because it wasn’t his turn anymore. Welcome the star of the night:

4) It’s fdisk magic time 🙂 I don’t know what to say. A few [enter]s and I had my HD back up and running. This console based program (that comes with GParted, OSX, and any Linux as far as I know) is great. It prints the partition types correctly, list all the files in the Windows partition, and even allowed me to copy them out if needed. Since my Windows had nothing special I turned to the OSX partition and, although file listing isn’t supported, just asking it to fix it solved the problem. I’m not kidding, it took me less than 5 minutes.

Final considerations: I just wished the personal at AppleCare phone line could have drove me through that. They pretty much got me hopeless to the point that I didn’t even bother dropping my computer at an AppleStore.  If I had the time I would get my broken backup back (from [2]) to the laptop to see if the Apple Store crew would have fixed it :p

And that’s all. I hope this turns useful to someone. And again, thanks everyone for the help I got. Very much appreciated. And yes this post has tons of smiles. That looks like me through the entire day 😀

I’m just back from the Siggraph Asia 2012. I was impressed by the people I met, the talks and courses I attended, and why not, the places I visited. Singapore is a very interesting city for a tourist. Among the people I met, a particular meeting was long overdue. I finally had a chance to meet Paul Bourke personally.

We collaborated (meaning he helped me ;)) in the fisheye implementation for the Blender Game Engine back in 2009. Since then there is not a fisheye related question that I don’t bounce by him first. So, in between talks he kindly shared his thoughts for stereoscopic rendering for domes. It took me a week to work around the problem, but here you can see the first real renders in a patched Blender with Cycles.

The formula is very simple, it’s just one of those problems that is really hard to debug (at least when you don’t have a dome with 3d projectors at hand). Thankfully in my flight back I had the peace of mind to wrap that up.

3D Model The White Room cortesy from Jay-Artist, shared on blendswap.com

As a teaser, this is all you get for now. More on that later 😉