[Bf-committers] Looking for Information

Sonya Neunzert sneunzert at gmail.com
Mon Oct 3 22:06:04 CEST 2016

Thank you! I appreciate the response and the welcome.

My information-gathering mission is sort of a personal research project-
I'm trying to learn as much as I can about fields at the intersection of
programming an animation. Eventually it's where I want to build a career,
and so for now I'm just looking to get involved with this kind of work and
gain as much context as I can.

"Informational interview" might be too formal of a term for what I'm doing,
really- I've been contacting people who work on projects that I find
interesting and asking them about their process, background, and what kind
of tools they use. For context, this has so far included a cinematic FX
artist, a virtual/augmented reality developer, and an animator/programmer
from NASA's scientific visualization studio. Sometimes that's a phone call
or actually meeting with someone, sometimes it's just an email conversation
like this. I'm trying to figure out a career that uses my skills and
interest, and I find that technical fields can be kind of opaque unless you
talk to someone who works in them directly.

When it comes to software development, I figured an open-source project
like Blender would be easier to learn about than proprietary software
development. I've always been impressed with Blender's community and
documentation, and because I'm familiar with the animation tools, I thought
I might have a better context to understand the work behind them.

Thanks for your advice- getting a feel for the 'pulse' of the project, as
you put it, is exactly what I'm looking for. I'll check out the IRC channel
and the source code and see what I can learn. I've already gained a lot
just by seeing what shows up on this mailing list.


On Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 10:11 AM, Ichthyostega <prg at ichthyostega.de> wrote:

> 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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