3d Android Dev with jMonkeyEngine SDK

Android 3D Development
    The jMonkeyEngine SDK is a custom environment built on-top of netbeans for developing with the jMonkeyEngine library. The jME3 SDK provides you with unique plugins for creating jMonkeyEngine 3 game content. You can download and install the jMonkeyEngine SDK as a ready-to-use complete game development environment, rather than using a generic Java IDE. (What's an IDE?)

Showcase of some jMonkey Powered Games http://jmonkeyengine.com/showcase/

Lets install and setup all the software to start developing with jME3 for Android, we'll need:

    After installing and starting the jMonkeyEngine SDK start a new project, and make it a jME3 BasicGame, the project will have code already in place that opens a window and displays a cube in 3d space press "f6" to run the project. After seeing the cube and debug info we know that we installed everything correctly and can close that window by hitting the "esc" key and move on to getting jME3 to make Android packages. This is done by adding the Android plugin in the plugin browser. It's under "Tools > Plugins".

Android 3D Development

    After installing the plugin go to the jME3 options under Tools and select the mobile tab, and point it to the Android SDK folder. Almost there getting it all set up, the last step to make a jME3 project run on an Android device, is to right-click the project that you created and select "properties". First click "Build > Compile" and deselect "Compile on Save" Now go to "Application > Android" and select "Enable Android Deployment" then give your package a proper name.

Android 3D Development

Congratulations!! It is now possible to run jMonkey Engine games on an Android device or emulator.

    If there was a problem take a look in the forum for a solution, if there isn't one leave a post and someone will respond with suggestions. http://jmonkeyengine.org/forums

Documentation & Tutorials

    One of the best things about the jMonkeyEngine is the community provided documents and tutorials. They have really detailed tutorials that will cover allot of questions that would arise, plus the forum members are always there to answer a question and give a helping hand.

Related Post: Open Relish - jME3 and Android 3D Development - 2011

Mozilla Launches Popcorn Maker

    Popcorn Maker is an HTML5 web app for combining web media with images, text, maps, and other dynamic web content. Its appearance is unique, but not unfamiliar, providing a timeline-based video editing experience for the web. Once created, Popcorn Maker hosts remixes as simple HTML pages in the cloud, which can be shared or embedded in blogs or other sites. Furthermore, every remix provides a “Remix” button, allowing anyone watching to become a creator themselves by using the current remix as a base project for their own creation. This “view source” experience for web media is a key aspect of Popcorn Maker’s goals as part of the larger Mozilla Webmaker project.

    On a technical level, Popcorn Maker is the combination of a number of separate projects, each heavily influenced by the “12 factor” philosophy: a node.js-based web service called Cornfield; a JavaScript framework for creating highly-interactive web apps; and Popcorn.js, with a set of custom Popcorn.js plugins.

Watch one of the creators of Popcorn Maker explain the project

See an example in action

Make something with Popcorn Maker today: Popcorn Maker

More info about the code and development team and process

Bug Tracker

Ubuntu - Mark Shuttleworth Keynote Speech

    Ubuntu is one of the most popular versions of Linux on desktops and laptops, and soon to be in your tv, phone, and who knows what else. Development of Ubuntu is led by Canonical, Ltd. a company owned by Ubuntu's "self-appointed benevolent dictator for life, South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth. Canonical generates revenue through the sale of technical support and services related to Ubuntu, and since version 12.10, by displaying advertisements in Unity Dash, the default file manager in the standard desktop version of Ubuntu. According to Canonical, the Ubuntu project is committed to the principles of free software development; people are encouraged to use free software, improve it, and distribute it

    Ubuntu is a fork of the Debian project's codebase. The original aim of the Ubuntu developers was to create an easy-to-use Linux desktop, which has led to a large user base as well as helping people new to Linux switch over. On a side note Windows users can install Ubuntu right in Windows, Ubuntu will install into Windows as an application that will give users access to all the great and Open Source Software that only runs on Linux without having to leave Windows.

    Mark Shuttleworth Keynote from Ubuntu Developers Summit. Mark covers topics such as Steam coming to Linux, Ubuntu desktop for Android and What to expect on the server side.

Get Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com/
Learn and Get Help With and Ubuntu: https://help.ubuntu.com/community
Develop for Ubuntu: http://developer.ubuntu.com/

FlightGear a Flight Simulator

    Founded in 1997, FlightGear is developed by a worldwide group of volunteers, brought together by a shared ambition to create the most realistic flight simulator possible that is free to use, modify and distribute. FlightGear is used all over the world by desktop flight simulator enthusiasts, for University research and education, for a variety of aerospace engineering and visualization work in industry, and even for interactive exhibits in museums.

    FlightGear features more than 400 aircraft, a worldwide seamless scenery database, a multi-player environment, detailed sky modelling, a flexible and open aircraft modelling system, varied networking options, multiple display support, a powerful scripting language, and an open architecture. Best of all, being open-source, the simulator is owned by the community and everyone is encouraged to contribute.

    Have heard that with the right equipment playing the FlightGear simulator could be used as pilot hours towards a pilots license. The features available in this open source project are amazing, not to mention just the scenerey would fill more then 3 DVDs. Check out the feature list at http://www.flightgear.org/about/features/

Start downloading FlightGear for free on Windows, Mac, & Linux from http://www.flightgear.org

Watch FlightGear in action

Mixxx - DJ Software Review

    Mixxx has everything you need to start making DJ mixes in a tight, integrated package. Whether you're DJing your next house party, spinning at a club, or broadcasting as a radio DJ, Mixxx has what you need to do it right.

    Best of all it's Open Source, free and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux!

Here is a quick 5 minute review of Mixxx by InfinityGalatic (who's been doing Linux App reviews on youtube). He is using the Ubuntu Linux Operating System which is also free and Open Source.

Download: Mixxx DJ Software http://www.mixxx.org
Download: Ubuntu Linux http://www.ubuntu.com

The Internet Archive Offers Over 1 Million Torrents

    The Internet Archive has seeded over 1,000,000 torrents of creative commons and public domain media, as well as complete websites

    The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge". The Internet Archive permanent handles the storage of and free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly 3 million public-domain books. The only problem is that it costs so much to share that infomation with direct downloads, torrents are the perfect way to share this legal content.

    Torrent is a protocol for computers to communicate and share files in such a way that as a user downloads a file they share it as well. When a user has the full download they can choose to seed the torrent longer or remove it from the torrent application while keeping the downloaded data. A single torrent file can have hundreds of files in it, and users can choose to download certain files or the whole torrent.

     A torrent file only works with a torrent downloading program. The Opera web browser can handle torrent files and I'd recommend using Opera, it has allot of good features and is secure. If your running a Linux operating system there is most likely a torrent application installed by default. For windows users the best torrent programs are Azureus which is open source and hosted by sourceforge.net it is also a torrent browser and media player. Utorrent also has torrent browsing capabilities but is more lightweight.

Internet Archive blog post - 1000000-torrents-of-downloadable-books-music-and-movies
Internet Archive - Torrent Hotlist
Internet Archive - Torrents Over a Million Books

Windows Desktop Customizer

    Have yet to cover a Windows only piece software on the blog yet, but plenty of Linux only software. With Linux there are many options for the desktop and even more options for each desktop interface, but with Windows you need third-party software to get a really customized desktop. Well that software is called Rainmeter, and is open source and free to download.

Here are a couple of example of what Rainmeter can do. All the skins are easily customized and parts from different skins can be combined, or you could make your own from scratch which is made easy by allowing the creators to focus on the look by plugging there artwork into functions that are already available.

    Rainmeter is the best known and most popular desktop customization program for Windows. Enhance your Windows computer at home or work with skins; handy, compact applets that float freely on your desktop. Rainmeter skins provide you with useful information at a glance. It's easy to keep an eye on your system resources, like memory and battery power, or your online data streams, including email, RSS feeds, and weather forecasts.

    Many skins are even functional: they can record your notes and to-do lists, launch your favorite applications, control your media player - all in a clean, unobtrusive interface that you can rearrange and customize to your liking.

    There are thousands and thousands of skins available, crafted by a large and ever-growing community of Rainmeter users. !!! WARNING !!! Be careful where you get your skins and plugins, try to only get skins from rainmeter.net and when downloading from deviantart.com make sure the comments aren't disabled on that skin!

    Rainmeter is not just an application, it is a robust toolkit. Create and modify your own skins in a simple language that's easy to learn, with the help of extensive documentation, getting started guide and skin tutorials. Skins call upon measures, a set of powerful built-in modules that do all the heavy lifting, and create interactive meters to display that information however you decide. In this way, Rainmeter brings productive innovation together with creative artistry like no other platform of its kind.

    Over the last few years, a thriving community has built up around Rainmeter, as average users freely contribute their own original skins, their generous knowledge and support, and their inspirational ideas to a project whose scope and capabilities are constantly expanding.

    Rainmeter is designed for YOUR system. Rainmeter uses very little CPU and RAM resources, has a tiny space footprint, and will run perfectly well on any hardware using Windows XP through Windows 8.

    Rainmeter is free and open source. Rainmeter is open source software distributed free of charge under the terms of the GNU GPL v2 license. If you want to get involved, check the Developers page.

Official website http://rainmeter.net/cms
Rainmeter 101 http://rainmeter.net/cms/Rainmeter101
The source code is on Github https://github.com/rainmeter/rainmeter

OpenEMR - Electronic Medical Records

    Recently came across this software used to keep hospital records while browsing a site called BigThink. It is called Open-EMR (Electronic Medical Records), a 10 year old project with ~500,000 lines of code, became one of the first PHP projects to become a government certified EHR. OpenEMR is an ONC-ATB Ambulatory EHR 2011-2012 certified electronic health records and medical practice management application. It is written in php and runs on LAMP systems, most of the developers are Linux enthusiasts but the user base for the software is mainly Windows machines.

The website for the application http://www.open-emr.org/
The non-profit organization for the application http://www.oemr.org/
List of OpenEMR's features http://www.open-emr.org/wiki/index.php/OpenEMR_Features
Online demo of the software http://www.open-emr.org/wiki/index.php/OpenEMR_Version_4.1.0_Demo
A presentation about Open-EMR http://www.openaffairs.tv/2011/06/open-emr-presentation-and-discussion-at-portland-linux-user-group/
Download the application and or the source code http://www.open-emr.org/wiki/index.php/OpenEMR_Downloads

Music Sites for Digital Artists

    Creating a multimedia piece online is relatively easy now, with the rise of Youtube videos, and sites such as Qik and Animoto, make publishing multimedia content even easier. One of the problems many digital creatives face, is music licensing. If you want to use / share someone else’s music, you have to be careful.

    Regardless if you live for music or make a living off of music we can all enjoy Creative Commons licenses. Creative Commons helps you share your knowledge and creativity with the world.

    Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation. By allowing your work to be available to millions of other creators on the web, you might be responsible for the next big thing.

Here are a couple of artists that use Creative Commons licenses

Brad Sucks is the name of a one man band. All MP3′s are available for free download and can be mashed up and used in youtube videos / animations etc.

Josh Woodward
Using the same strategy as Brad Sucks, Josh Woodward offers free albums licensed under Creative Commons.

Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts

    Those are just a couple of the popular artists using the Creative Commons License, a great place to discover new artists is Jamendo. Linux users should be familiar with this site, as access to it is a feature built in more then one music application by default on the Linux desktop.

When browsing for some music to add to your collection go with Creative Commons with help from this list of music sites.

Creative Commons

ccMixter is a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want.

An electronic music community that offers Creative Commons-licensed tracks from genres like IDM, drum ‘n’ bass, and ambient.


This site currently has 19 pieces of music dedicated to the Public Domain, contributed by 1 composer.

SoundClick offers a search engine interface to find creative commons mp3′s.


Personally a big fan of the Magnatune approach to music distribution. Their offering allows you to use music in your project, whilst it is being created, then once you create something commercial, you can move to a commercial license.

http://www.freesound.org/ -  Freesound's focus is only on sound, not songs, which separates it from the crowd. They provide collections of sounds as w


    This is only scratching the surface. There are plenty of brilliant artists out there using creative commons licensing, now at least we have some great sites emerging online to find them. If you offer you music open source, stick a link in the comments for me, and I’ll get you added in here.

Skeltrack - Control Linux with Camera and Body

Skeltrack is a Free and Open Source Software library for tracking skeleton joints from depth images.

    It is implemented with GLib and uses plain mathematics to detect the human skeleton and although it does not use any database, it was inspired by Andreas Baak's paper: A Data-Driven Approach for Real-Time Full Body Pose Reconstruction from a Depth Camera.

   One or both hands are used control the mouse pointer, perform clicks, drag things around and simulates a pinch gesture which adjusts the zoom level. Hands can be also interpreted as if holding a steering wheel, making racing games so much fun.

Skeltrack is device independent however you can use a kinect to start with.

Visit the devs sitehttp://www.joaquimrocha.com
Get the full source code @ https://github.com/joaquimrocha/Skeltrack

Django/Rails-Like Rapid Development for Ubuntu

Glade + Python is about as easy as it gets for doing Linux GUI development.

With Glade you build a XML-file describing a Gnome graphical user interface using a GUI editor.

    The boiler plate code for a Python GTK project would be some stuff like importing the libraries you need, loading the Glade XML file, creating the initial class for your application and then starting up the gtk.main()-style mainloop.

    Once that is done then it's mearly a matter of defining class methods and assigning them to your various buttons.

    This tool works perfect for the novice programmer just about anyone should be able to get from zero to 'hello world' GUI program in about 2 minutes. With full version control, build environment, and the ability to easily create installable packages.

    From there on everyhing from accessing the hdd, remote file systems, dbus for system events, gstreamer transcoding/encoding/decoding, telepathy for integration into online services, and all that happy stuff is just a few edits away.


$ sudo apt-get install quickly quickly-ubuntu-template

Begin Tutorial

$ quickly tutorial ubuntu-application



New To Programming? Learn Python, which is a good choice for learning programming.

Old articles about Quickly
arstechnica.com - quickly-new-rails-like-rapid-development-tools-for-ubuntu -2010
zdnet.com - unchaining-the-opportunistic-programmer - 2009

Cyclos On-Line Banking System

    With the recent crash of the economy in Greece the people have come up with a new cashless Euro-free currency.  Rawstory: Greece develops cashless, Euro-free currency in tight economy

They were able to do this with the help of Open Source Software by a group called STRO (Social TRade Organisations). STRO’s objective is to move money as a major steering mechanism in society from causing environmental abuse and preventing many poor to optimise their capacities, to become an instrument that serves a qualitative human development. The first STRO was founded in 1970 in Holland.

STRO picks up the challenge described by Bank of England’s governor Mervyn King:
“Is it possible that advances in technology will mean that (...) the world may come to resemble a pure exchange economy? Electronic transactions in real time hold out that possibility. There is no reason, in principle, why final settlements could not be carried out by the private sector without the need for clearing through the central bank. (...) There is no conceptual obstacle to the idea that two individuals engaged in a transaction could settle by a transfer of wealth from one electronic account to another in real time. (...) The same system could match demands and supplies of financial assets, determine prices and make settlements. Financial assets and real goods and services would be priced in terms of a unit of account. Final settlement could be made without any recourse to the central bank.(...) Without such a role in settlements, central banks, in their present form, would no longer exist; nor would money.”


Visit http://project.cyclos.org/ to check out all the features of this Open Source project.

Government Agency Built From Ground Up with Open Source

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had the distinct advantage of being able to build its systems from scratch, having been established by a 2010 law.

    One of the advantages it has had over other government agencies making the transition to more modern systems was the fact it was entirely unencumbered by legacy systems. As such, it took advantage of that flexibility to build open systems built on open source software that could grow with the agency over time.

    So writes, agency acting deputy chief information officer, Matthew Burton, in a recent O’Reilly Radar guest post. In fact, Burton said the goal of establishing the agency IT infrastructure was not only to use open source, but to share code with the public (whenever it didn’t compromise system security).

    In the post, he also outlines the reasons for using open source code from other projects in government initiatives as well, and it’s for all the reasons that you’ve probably been using open source. It easy to acquire with no 0n-going license fees. It enables them remain flexible in terms of platforms because they aren’t tied to a proprietary code base and it allows them to creative with tools they build themselves, something that’s much more difficult in a proprietary stack.

   For some time,  IT pros in the private sector have recognized the value of using open source software. For the government, it’s been a slower track, but since President Obama was elected, the government has embraced open source as a more cost-effective alternative to proprietary software. The US government has also embraced cloud computing under Obama as a way to save money.

Speed Dreams

   Speed Dreams is an Open Source motorsport simulation (sim) and it is freely available. Speed-Dreams is brought to you by an international team of developers and artists, who aim to bring the very best of Open Source racing to your PC. Speed-Dreams simulates a wide range of cars from high-tech Open Wheelers and Super Cars, to 1930's 'monsters'. It includes Grand Prix tracks located around the world, as well as Ovals and Road courses.  Am personally a really big fan of rally racing games and am glad to see rally cars and tracks in this game.

Speed-Dreams is available for Windows and Linux, and available for free download from

    Speed Dreams is a fork of the famous open racing car simulator Torcs, aiming to implement exciting new features, cars, tracks and AI opponents to make a more enjoyable game for the player, as well as constantly improving visual and physics realism.

In other words, Speed Dreams is the place:
  • where developers can try their ideas and have every chance to get them released to the end-users (democracy is the main principle ruling the dev team),
  • where end-users can enjoy the completion of these ideas and give their opinion about it, and/or make new suggestions.

So, if you find your or some people's Torcs patch proposals don't integrate the official release as quickly as you would have loved, you have reached the right place!

Anyone can join the development team, contributions to Speed Dreams may take place in many domains:
  • The core code itself, and its numerous subjects : user interface, physics engine, 3D graphics engine, race management, input device related code, file formats, ... to enhance, optimize, make more up-to-date, fix bugs, port to another platform ...
  • the robot(s) code (AI racing)
  • the cars design or tuning
  • the tracks design
  • the documentation
Current features of Speed-Dreams as of 2.0 beta:
  • 38 tracks
  • 16 tracks with full scenery and terrain
  • 28 cars
  • Animated drivers with some cars
  • 10 camera modes
  • Close to realistic physics
  • Experimental full 3D physics engine (user selectable)
  • Supported input devices: Keyboard, Wheel, Joystick, Mouse, Gamepad
  • Customizable controls
  • Automatic shifting, ABS, ASR
  • 2 completely different AI opponent sets, Simplix and USR


    More and more open source projects are sprouting into existence, and they are not just software projects they are hardware and educational resources as well. The ChronoZoom project is an HTML5 piece of software but is more then that, it is a new way to browse, learn and contribute to a wealth of knowledge. Even though it runs o the Azure platform this looks like a cool project, hope it gains momentum quickly.

ars technica - ChronoZoom takes you through 14 billion years of space-time

Click this link to open chronozoom, at the top left corner there is a film-strip icon, click it to show the introduction tab and select with or without audio
http://www.chronozoomproject.org/  - if the link doesn't work in Internet Explorer (your version is out of date), it will work in google Chrome, as well as Firefox 10.x and up.
The code is hosted on codeplex @ http://chronozoom.codeplex.com/

    The project is described as "an open source community project dedicated to visualizing the history of everything to bridge the gap between the humanities and sciences using the story of Big History to easily understand all this information."

    "With ChronoZoom," Saekow told Ars, "you can browse history, rather than digging it out piece by piece. Also, today with [fewer and fewer] students visiting the library, the serendipity of browsing for a book and finding another is something we hope ChronoZoom can restore. If you don't know what to search for, it's almost like that topic never existed."
Now comes the time in the project's development where open source comes into its own.
    "We envision a world where scientists, researchers, students, and teachers collaborate through ChronoZoom to share information via data, tours, and insight," the ChronoZoom team writes. "Imagine a world where the leading academics publish their findings to the world in a manner that can easily be accessed and compared to other data. We will be focusing on community development of features, capabilities, and content."

Android - Daily Money

    There is a great open source money managing program for Android devices called Daily Money. With Daily Money you can balance multiple books and currencies as well as view pie charts and time charts, and of course, import and export existing records from other software.

    Daily Money has a lot of good options like being able to choose the folder the program saves its' info to, and being able to changing the default layout.

To make a long story short Daily Money is easy, useful, able to be customized and consistent.

Find it on the google market @
and developers can get the code @ http://code.google.com/p/daily-money/

    If your a Linux user and running the KDE desktop, checkout Scrooge. Scrooge can be installed as a module from KDE Extragear, or through most distributions package manager. Skrooge is a personal finances manager for KDE4, aiming at being simple and intuitive, worth checking out.

KDE vs Gnome 3 vs Unity

    Even though the terminal is where all the action is at, the GUI is what the majority of users deal with to interact with the PC and makes a big impact on how they use their PC. KDE and Gnome are the default choices most Linux distributions offer, while Unity is only on Ubuntu. A couple lesser known GUIs are XFCE and LXDE which are great for lower end, older systems. For example an install of Linux Mint LXDE on machines with half a gig of ram runs the machines run pretty darn well, and functions in a way that windows converts can handle without blowing their mind during the transition.

    When it comes to my desktop/workstation KDE is the option that I've decided to stick with, while on my laptop I've gone with Ubuntu's Unity. Tried using Gnome 3 with the Mint Gnome Shell Extentions, but just didn't like the interface. The Mint Gnome Shell Extensions provide a familiar feel to a new piece of software. Having two launchers seemed cluttered, not to mention couldn't adjust the properties to either bars. Just wanted them to auto-hide but couldn't tell them to. Also it seemed unorganized how it creates new virtual desktops on the fly, I prefer the four virtual desktops in a 2x2 grid pattern like in Unity. KDE approaches this differently in what is called activities. Instead of switching between virtual desktops the activity is more of a toggle, you set up the desktop the way you like it for a certain task, like video editing then save it as an activity. Then you would just choose the activity that you want to do and all the apps and windows will open. The activities do allot more then just remember what applications are open though, will save that topic for another post though. ( How to use KDE Activities)

 Here is a List of GUIs on the wikipedia, some of them are no longer active though.

    Like the rest of the Open Source desktop environments KDE is much more then a way to use the mouse to click an icon and launch an application, providing file managers, simple tools like a calculator and an interface to change the settings of the PC. KDE goes even further then most, not just with the amount of applications it provides but sheer amount of features and the way they are so perfectly integrated into the system is unrivaled. On top of all the features are the options, there are tons of them and they are easy to find, but not in a way that makes the system feel cluttered. In fact it the is very clean.

    While I like Ubuntu with Unity and the direction their heading, it just isn't the way I interact with a desktop with multiple screens. It's perfect on a laptop though, and will make a nice addition to the market space when Unity appears in televisions and android phones. Unity is also pretty easy to use as Ubuntu has been the Linux system that takes pride in ease of use and setup. Although with ease of use and taking away some of the options and simplifying things users lack the knowledge to fix or work around things that break. On top of that some of the ways that they make the system easier to use feels less safe from a security standpoint. First of all the installations are pretty standard among the install base, and as it becomes more popular it will become a bigger target that'll effect a bigger group, like the users with out of date packages. This shouldn't be a problem as Linux is pretty secure from the ground up, and gets security patches, updates, and bug fixes more often then the competition, but it's up to the user to perform those updates.

This video (not by me) shows the new features of KDE 4.8, but is gets no where near all of the awesome features of KDE. It will provide a good look into the KDE desktop environment though.

This is a video of the Unity interface from Ubuntu. This desktop environment is on its' way to your phone and television, and will be a nice change.

Love Linux Mint, just not a fan of Gnome 3, even with the MGSE (Mint Gnome Shell Extensions) Gnome 3 just wasn't for this user. This is a review of Linux Mint 12 that covers the MGSE (not by me)

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and share them.


    LinuxMCE (Linux Media Center Edition) is a free and open source software platform with a 10-foot user interface designed to allow a computer to act as a home theater PC (HTPC) for the living-room TV, personal video recorder, and home automation system. It allows control of everything in the home, from lighting and climate to surveillance cameras and home security. It also includes a full-featured VoIP-compatible phone system with support for video conferencing. The distribution it runs on is Kubuntu Linux.


    A friend has a laptop that is like a tablet, the screen rotates around and sits on the keyboard. There is pencil like pointing device that is pressure sensitive. First thing that came to mind was PAINTING, and there's an Open Source tool for that. Surprised?

    MyPaint is a fast and easy open-source graphics application for digital painters. It lets you focus on the art instead of the program. You work on your canvas with minimum distractions, bringing up the interface only when you need it. MyPaint runs on GNU/Linux as well as Windows

    Instead of explaining all the cool features and power of MyPaint lets just look at some screenshots and finished paintings.

This is a screenshot of MyPaint running in Ubuntu 11

This screenshot is taken in an older version of Linux
Screenshot of adjusting some brush settings in MyPaint

Another screenshot taken in Linux

Instead of listing the technical aspects of MyPaint let's look at some finished paintings. These are found at deviantart http://mypaint.deviantart.com/gallery/.

    For Windows users MyPaint is available at MyPaint, there are also extra brushes and a gimp plugin for download. There is a tutorial for people who've never used MyPaint, Basic Usage Tutorial. After going through the basic usage tutorial check out the wiki to learn more advanced tricks MyPaint Wiki.

    See MyPaint in action with a timelapse. This was posted in 2009.
Kristen Stewart, portrait in MyPaint approximately 1 hour into lees than 10 min

Build a 3d Printer

    As an Open Source and enthusiast, couldn't be more pleased to introduce the RepRap 3d printer. The RepRap is an Open Source hardware project under a larger initiative called the Open Source Ecology project aka Global Village Construction Set. Being an open source project the RepRap can be built by following a set of free blueprints from www.RepRap.org, and anyone can submit improvements to the blueprints or build process. One of the key features to the RepRap is that it can print itself aside from a couple processing chips, so you'll print out some for your friends, who hopefully will print ones for their friends and so on.

This device was printed out using a 3D printer. No assembly required!
Brain Gear - Download and Print

This puzzle contains almost 1000 moving parts.
The Petaminx - Download and Print

Build instructions for the simplest RepRap, includes a parts list and videos of the setup process http://reprap.org/wiki/Prusa_Build_Manual

    It works by heating and extruding a thin plastic wire that is purchased as large spools - PLA Clear 1kg spool 3mm. The material that is printed can actually be made from a plant material that would set the way for using broken items as compost. The two common materials used for printing are ABS and PLA. Both are easily purchased but the one I'd recommend is the PLA as it is the material that is made from plant starches and is biodegradable. While the PLA can be home grown the purchased spools are going be stronger.

    The fact that PLA can be biodegraded, and re used to grow more PLA makes it much more attractive for me. One of the main problems with traditional plastics is the fact that they do not biodegrade easily.

    The third world, and manufacturing centers like Taiwan and China are covered in plastic garbage that does not decompose and does not go away, and can not be recycled into quality goods. If switching to PLA will reduce that even a little bit, I think it would be a huge advantage.

    ABS is the stuff legos are made out of  and PLA is made from corn.

TED Talks - We Can Recycle Plastic ( if you just have to print with ABS this should make you feel better)

    Aside from just printing plastic parts the RepRap can print out metals that allow it to print circuit boards, but not processor chips, there are other types of adapters that are in the works though.

This is the man that started the RepRap, Adrian Bowyer

Watch the RepRap print a simple part and listen to the info about the RepRap.

    Having an awesome 3d printer wouldn't be quite as awesome if there wasn't a library of free files to download and print at anytime. There is the RepRap Object Library which is a good place to start for beginners. It has objects available to download and print, but also contains learning resources and links to get going creating your own objects to print. Another place to get free files to download and print with the RepRap is Thingiverse, which is a great site.

Here are some examples from Thingiverse
Vogal The Dragon

A Printable V8 Motor           

    Where the RepRap project scores over large scale manufacturing is the ability to promote quick innovation and "Distributed Thinking". An example of that is on the website Thingiverse any item uploaded, can be altered by another user and re-uploaded, and Thingiverse shows this. The website let's users say that their object was derived from so and so, and will also display that it has 13 variations of it's own and so on.

Screenwriting Software

    Screenwriting software helps the user with creating, and organizing projects which can include but are not limited to screenplays, films, videos, stageplays, audio plays, documentaries, machinima, comics, games and podcasts.

  One of the best open source screenwriting programs would have to be Trelby. Trelby focuses on providing a simple, uncluttered interface to writing screenplays. It is a rebranding of an older screenwriting program called Blyte. It currently runs on the Windows and Linux platforms, with a Mac OS X port in the works.

    Blyte was a commercial screenwriting program written by Osku Salerma in 2003, and was maintained as such until 2006, then the code was open sourced under the GPL license and not found until 2011.

Features of Trelby

  • Screenplay editor: Enforces correct script format and pagination, auto-completion, and spell checking.
  • Multiplatform : Behaves identically on all platforms, generating the exact same output.
  • Choice of view: Multiple views, including draft view, WYSIWYG mode, and fullscreen to suit your writing style.
  • Name database: Character name database containing over 200,000 names from various countries.
  • Reporting: Scene/location/character/dialogue reports.
  • Compare: Ability to compare scripts, so you know what changed between versions.
  • Import: Formatted text, Final Draft XML (.fdx).
  • Export: PDF, formatted text, HTML, RTF, Final Draft XML (.fdx).
  • PDF: Built-in, highly configurable PDF generator. Supports embedding your chosen font.
    Another piece of open source screenwriting software is Celtx. Celtx helps you produce all types of media  film, video, documentary, theatre, novels, machinima, comics, advertising, video games, music video, radio, podcasts, and however else you choose to tell your story.

Celtx includes five dedicated industry standard editors for writing:
  • Screenplay
  • Stageplay - International and US standard
  • AV scripts - including documentaries, music videos and advertising.
  • Audio Play - including radio plays and podcasts.
  • Comic Book

   Celtx is a great program with a good wiki, and is a good example of a profitable open source model. The code, program, and tutorials are free but Celtx offers a service worth paying for that doesn't effect the use of the program if a user doesn't pay. The payment is for online sharing and storage features.

    Celtx offers a web service called Celtx Studios for advanced project collaboration and online file storage. Celtx Studios provides users with a way to work with others online in a simple way and improve the collaboration and workflow process.
  • Share projects quickly and easily.
  • Store every project, every version, and every file.
  • Manage team workflow.
  • Sync scripts with your iPad/iPhone.
  • Access projects from any computer.
  • Privately preview projects on the web.
  • Chat online with other Studio members.
  • Personalize your studio with logos and backgrounds.
  • Celtx Studios are priced to be affordable for everyone - including individuals, production teams, schools, and non-profits.

    As this article is about screenwriting software, Trelby would have to be the best choice. For those that are not writing a play or novel Celtx is great for  all sorts of multimedia projects and would recommend it to anyone that is creative, it is a good program for keeping your thoughts organized.

Digital Makeup with Blender

    Can we afford some actual makeup artists, who will turn our actors into some jaw dropping visual effects characters who are covered with gore, blood, bolts, cables, jelly or whatever is required?
Or can we do that all digitally?

     The basic idea for digtal makeup is easy, as long as you do not think about it too long. Just have a digital double, track the head, body, limbs or whatever, apply the textures, props or clothes to that digital version of your actor and composite it over the actual footage of your actor. Here’s an example from Sebastian König:

Digital Makeup in Blender from Sebastian König on Vimeo.

Second Face Deform Test from Sebastian König on Vimeo.

     As seen in the example Sebastian used object markers for tracking various points on his face, but doing it this way can lead to problems with tracking when a character makes turns a certain way, or has hair in there face, or even a fast movement could mess up the tracking. There will soon be another method added for tracking that will address this issue. We don’t have a kind of tracking called planar tracking yet, but our awesome libmv developer Keir Mierle has something in the pipeline called “affine tracking”, which might help in this case. So with some luck we can do digital makeup without object-tracking.

Intro to New Blender Features

    The release of Blender 2.61 is a pretty big milestone with some really impressive new features that will likely draw in a torrent of new users. The feature that long time blender users are most appreciative for would have to be the new Cycles render engine. The feature that will most likely draw new users would have to be the motion tracking, which let's users put 3d objects in movies.

Cycles Render Engine
     Before Blender 2.61 when rendering a 3d scene that was indoors or most scenes for that matter, the render lacked certain light elements that left the scene looking blan and not real. With the Cycles render engine the lighting is handled completely differently and it shows as the renders are allot more realistic. Another feature of cycles is that it features OpenCL and will use graphics cards for rendering where possible.

In this tutorial from Andrew Price of Blender Guru you will discover:

  • The difference between the internal renderer and Cycles
  • Some of the cool features of Cycles
  • How to create your very first Cycles render
  • Using lights, materials, textures and bump mapping
  • How he made the donut scene

Motion Tracking
    Blender as a video editor is a pretty powerful tool, and with the new motion tracking features things just got serious. Mixing people into 3d scenes had been doable for a long while now, but with motion tracking we can now put 3d objects into movies.

A small 10 second example

A quick run through of setting up motion tracking. In this video the ground has already been mapped and the object is getting mapped.

    The other new features for blender 2.61 include ocean simulation, dynamic paint, camera sensor size and presets, 3D mouse color wheel editing, and more translations to other languages. New Addons in this release are an Adobe After Effects exporter, an Acclaim and C3D motion capture importers. Not to mention the 108 bug fixes and improved methods for new developers to make addons.

Blender is a free and Open Source Software get it at www.blender.org/get-blender/
Release notes for Blender 2.61 http://www.blender.org/development/release-logs/blender-261/
Demo files to that open in Blender's to try the new features  http://www.blender.org/development/release-logs/blender-261/blender-261-demo-files/