[Bf-committers] Looking for Information

Ichthyostega prg at ichthyostega.de
Sun Oct 2 19:11:28 CEST 2016

On 28.09.2016 20:51, Sonya Neunzert wrote:
> I'm a Blender user and an aspiring FX animator and software developer. I 
> recently finished my undergraduate degree in digital art, and I'm currently 
> conducting a series of informational interviews about FX animation and 
> generative design in 3D.

Hello Sonya,

while I must admit that I can't contribute much to your actual question,
(I am just some random OpenSource dev and minor contributor to blender)
it just occurred to me that you've posted your question already two times,
seemingly without response. Thus, please take my response just as a
friendly notice from a "bystander" that you are not ignored, but welcome!

> I'd like to conduct an informational interview with someone who works in or 
> is familiar with that field, either by phone, Skype, or email.

> Is this possible? Who might I contact to request such an interview? I'm 
> messaging this mailing list because I'm not sure the right place to ask for 
> this-- please direct me!

Basically this list looks like the best place to reach those people actually
coding on blender. But, judging from my own long-term experience, the majority
of typical coders (including myself) feels queasy when hearing something about
"informal interviews" -- it is just not the kind of stuff we're good in.

Maybe it helps if you tell us more about the background of these "interviews".
Is this some kind of research project? Are you working for a publication?
Or are you looking for ways how to get into that matter yourself?

> I'm interested in learning more about the code behind particle and fluid 
> simulation, light dynamics, noise generation, or other kinds of generative 
> tools in Blender. I'd like to learn about the process by which these tools 
> are designed and created.

There are two different paths towards such tools. One is the academic approach.
Some people do research on such methods and might use an existing open source
application as a testbed to try out some new ideas. Also, it happens that
some researcher publishes a paper, and someone else codes a solution based
on reading that paper. Beyond that, there has always also been the pragmatic
approach: people either just using 3D software, or interested in the topic
in general, start to figure out how it works by reading the code and starting
their own experiments, making mistakes, being corrected by the more experienced
coders and thus gradually pave their way towards understanding...

In the end, coding is a craft. No amount of theoretical introduction and
textbook knowledge will ever get you to the point of really understanding
the process. In that respect, it is surprisingly similar to other crafts,
or artwork. For example, consider film making: No amount of film and media
theory of will ever get you to the point to experience and thus understand
the process. Only if you put *yourself* into the position of telling a
story to other people, you'll realize what it's all about.

You do not need supernatural powers to understand or write software; average
intelligence paired with some degree of tenacity and stubbornness is sufficient.
And curiosity -- thus if you're curious about e.g. noise / texture generation,
it might be a good idea just to try to identify the location in the source
code where it is done, and try to make sense of how it works. At that point,
you'll probably also need some theoretical background knowledge, but if you're
curious, this curiosity will propel you through acquiring just some rudimentary
working knowledge (from the net and from textbooks), enough to be able to
change the code and see what happens.

Finally, as a general rule, for any open source project, I'd highly recommend
to hang out in the respective IRC channel(s). For Blender this is #blendercoders
For example, just watch the weekly meetings on Sunday 14:00 UTC, follow some
of the resources / blogs mentioned there, maybe look into some of the bug
reports or improvement entries mentioned there, just to get a feel for the
"pulse" of the project. Maybe after some hanging out, you'll even encounter
some small practical task where you might get into doing something yourself.

-- Hermann

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