Rustic Cyberpunk

Coffee & Cabins

Summer Archipelago

2 min read

While enjoing the start of winter, I came across this lovely animation that I think is a fine intermission to the season's sentiment.

Created by Pontus Ryman.

I always wanted to capture the feeling of the serene environments around my parents summerhouse where i have spent many summer days.

The coasts with its water eroded rocks and trees bent by the wind, the deep forests and open fields has always been striking to me. When the house was about to be sold i realized it was my last chance to fully scan and capture the essence of those locations.

This video is a homage to those summer days and the experience of taking a trip to the coast through the open fields into the dense forests and to the open coast during a sunny summer day.

I kept going to the coast a couple of times during the spring to photogrammetry capture the rocks, trees, houses and other props to collect the parts needed. I also took the time to record a lot of sound, as i wanted something that felt authentic to the location. Initially this was just supposed to be a small scene of the coastal rocks but quickly expanded into something bigger to encompass the whole summer day experience.

I built the content from my own photogrammetry scans and took the opportunity to deep dive into aspects of Unreal Engine i had not done before to learn new things along the way.

On the technical side there is nothing unique about the content. The content is build from scratch after standard game budgets through a curated small set of assets with LODS + billboard final LOD for vegetation, detail textures, and contact shadows, running Real time in Unreal Engine 4.26

Big thanks and shout out to Andrew Hamilton who gave me so much feedback and ideas as i worked on this video, it was a huge help to bounce ideas and he helped me make this into something bigger than just a showcase of nature content.

I hope you enjoyed watching this, it was quite an experience to create.

I dedicate this video to my parents, my wife and my baby daughter who accompanied me on so many scanning excursions.

Taking Notes

3 min read

I can't remember the last time I looked through my phone, looking for a photo I took at least a week earlier. I think I've been taking fewer pictures overall as well; At least going by how infrequently I move photos off my phone and into my computer now. More often, I've been using my eyes to capture the world and my memories to store it. I feel like I'm enjoying these observation sessions more than only taking photos. It's a bit like returning to my childhood when my senses were saturated with the essence of existence. All I needed, and had, was my memory.

One day, my memories will fade as well, but embracing transience is an important part of enjoying life. I love life. With all its quirks, foibles, and hardships, I would always go with living life. I've found the constant need to "record and share" is an obstacle to enjoying life. Living in the present seems to be when I'm happiest and I've become more appreciative of life. Part of what makes memories precious is that they go away. Part of what makes life precious is that it doesn't last either.

Sometimes, I do have to remember details that quite often are lost without recording them. These aren't necessarily to share, but to help me better understand things. Usually, that means recording factual information. Getting the phone out and snapping a photo of that number, address, or whatever else quickly moving by takes far more time than absorbing the information as fully as I can and then writing it down on paper at my leisure. Quite often, the thing I wanted to record is long gone and the picture ends up blurry and illegible anyway. Worse, I would have had plenty of time to remember the details if I had just looked at it instead of taking the photo.

My handwriting is terrible. Part of that is the rush to get my thoughts on paper, but it's also that I've had juvenile arthritis since the age of 12. Writing at-length can be awkward and sometimes painful. Still, it's the most effective way to record details for my purposes.

It's not that I've gotten used to the pain. You don't really get used to pain. It's just the pain is there and a part of my life so I learned to keep it around like the slightly bitter aftertaste when I use too much Rosemary in my cooking. I think there really is a difference between coping and accepting when all the details of a circumstance are examined.

Bit by bit, I've also been learning to draw again. I used to be more proflific in the past, but work has kept me from taking the time to focus on the basics. There's a great tutorial series by Alphonso Dunn on YouTube that I've been watching and it has really helped me. I've also been drawing in my notes as I take them and that helps with details too.

I've been practicing to remember more details as I see them so I can take my time writing them down. The slower speed has noticably improved my handwriting. I've also been slowing down other actions to improve quality rather than speed and frequency of execution.

It's Called "Pounce"

2 min read

When I was little, one thing kept nagging me a lot about medieval programs. "What's that powder they sprinkle on paper after writing on it with a quill?".

Pounce is a fine powder, most often made from powdered cuttlefish bone, that was used both to dry ink and to sprinkle on a rough writing surface to make it smooth enough for writing.

Pounce shaker

Before blotting paper was a thing, apparently folks used to sprinkle sea-critter residue to make paper surfaces more even to write on. When certain movies, shows, plays and so on show little details of the past, I tend to notice small actions that seem out of place and then become fascinated with them long afterwards.

I've watched movies and shows, with plots that didn't particularly interest me that much, just for the ambiance, background, and the little trinkets and tools. I couldn't tell you too much about what actually happens or who most of the characters are in a lot of these, but the ancient books, scrolls, writing and such were always interesting to me.

Wax seals are another mysterious thing before I saw what they were online. Wikipedia was barely over a year old when the first article on them was created (without accompanying images) which I found via AltaVista. A few more niche topics lead me down my first article ad-lib. This can be terribly addicting.

I've played with wax sealing as a kid and was promptly dissuaded by my folks after a couple burns. Children in my family tend to be fairly sheltered to their detriment, I think. Maybe that sort of upringing would explain why I tend to prefer the outdoors so much, especially bad weather.

I recently bought a set of fountain pens to start drawing and writing again. For some reason, pencil drawing was always harder for me than pen drawing. I think the almost infinite number of gradients possible with graphite has lead me astray. I didn't learn the basics first.

There's a wonderful series by Alphonso Dunn on YouTube on pen drawing that I've been following fairly diligently and I think it's a very good step in the right direction. I've decided to buy his book and follow along when I'm away from electricity for some stretches.

I came across the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton completely by accident years ago while browsing the then midly popular Freenet distributed network. There was a fansite dedicated to the charachters, their bios, and ancillary information about the universe. I lost interest in Freenet fairly quickly because of the unsavory content on other "freesites" and glacially slow speeds, but Anita Blake remained.

It's the book series that has intrigued me the most that I haven't actually read.

I have a vague understanding of the main characters, creatures, their histories, abilities, and generally what happens to most of them. But that all came from peeking into profiles written by others. Maybe the volume of original content is keeping me from starting. This is a problem I share with *A Song of Ice and Fire*, I.E. Game of Thrones.

Supernatural and science fiction themes in always seem to fascinate me, whether that's in literature or other artforms. I think I'm trying to satiate myself with the most different realities possible to our current one. A saturated segment for content, which makes sifting through it all the more daunting.

One of these days I'm actually going to sit down and read the damn things. I have a habit of injesting the books I read a little too strongly, almost to the point of becoming one of the characters. Those include the books I've absorbed in trickles through web osmosis. I don't hope to raise the dead any time soon, but the prospect of a DIY lab to hack DNA in the cabin intrigues me.

When I first came across the Anita Blake series, my formerly teenage angst was still fresh in my mind since, back then, I had only recently stopped pretending I was one of those deaf-mutes. I'm now steadily turning into an old man and fighting sharks has left me exhausted.

I don't know if the Anita Blake freesite is still active and I don't remember any addresses or admin contact info to find out. I haven't used Freenet in a very long time. Seemingly immortal content on the Internet have weaknesses, just like vampires.