Sunday, June 12, 2005

Vegas - the low zoom zone

Last night was interesting. I have been working on materials inside of Combustion to apply to a model on Max. I needed to make some modifications to my previously rendered material - so I went back into Combustion to edit. There were some extra seconds in my re-render, so I had the bright idea that I could pull the actual mat into Vegas (without re-rendering from Combustion) and remove the segments of extra frames, there for giving me back my original time line. I pulled the footage into Vegas and discovered that the zoom is a very limited feature. Since my mat had text layers that faded in and out, I needed to not effect those particular areas, but I couldn't see the text without the ability to zoom in close enough. Then I discovered the edit operation inside of Combustion and was able to slice and delete my timeline, and see it close enough to know where it needed to be done. A minor miracle, but now, onto the next challenge!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Gina,

I've seen your website and your work is very interesting. I hope you will be doing more nanotech animation soon...I learnt something about animation by reading your website and your blog.
I am interested in nanotech too. I am a chemical engineer working towards a MScEng (manufacturing major) at the University of Washington (Seattle).

1:13 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

Thank you so much for your kind words, makes it all worth it. I am currently working on another nanotechnology animation and as soon as it's complete I will post it to the blog and the website. It's wonderful to hear from someone who is interested in both nanotech and animation. I greatly admire your education goals - I suppose there is little irony that chemical engineering can develop raw materials into products and one day nanotechnology could too. Welcome to the blog!

2:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think the animations and nanotech drawing that you did are very good (I saw the book page that you posted with your work).
You should continue your education in the animation field and nanotech representation.
Before getting my chemical engineering degree, I got also a BS chemistry degree. I am almost finished with my MScEng (only 4 courses left). I have worked in the chemical industry. But I am interested in manufacturing in general (not only chemical) and in nano fabrication.
I was going to join your yahoo group on nanotech but I was afraid to receive too many e-mails! I may do it, though.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

I finished my animation classes (as of 3/04), and have received all of the three available Discreet certificates. So from here on out my learning curve continues with each new project I do. Programs like 3D Studio Max seem to have an infinite amount of calculations and resolutions to be figured (and discovered). 4 courses left, congratulations! I would be very interested in hearing what direction you take with your nano fabrication interest, if that is the route your pursue. There are two nanotech email lists, one (nanotech) which includes not only my free Nanogirl news service but also discussion from members, (which you might want to avoid), and another (nanogirlnews) list that was created for folks like you that only includes my news service and nothing else. I enjoy some of the discussions on the more populated list, but its a personal preference. Another alternative is that you could join the nanotech list and edit your memberships settings with the "no email" option selected, meaning you would come to the email list homepage to read the email messages. Or you could select the "daily digest" option so that all of the days posts are compiled into one email and sent to your box.

Detailed descriptions of each email list can be found here:

For more animations see The Museum of the Future:

By the way something that might interest you - I found a plug in for 3D Studio Max that allows me to import Protein Data Bank (PDB) files. It sort of up's 3D's level to lower than a molecular modeling program, but much closer than standard movie and gaming program. Perhaps I should write it up on the blog.


9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info about the settings of the e-mail lists and your reference to the Museum of the Future. I think the "daily digest" option of the list would be the best for me.

Regarding the Max plug in, it sounds very interesting. I've seen molecular modeling programs but didn't work with one. I took a course on quantum chemistry some years ago, and did some modeling but it was a very crude program to predict the energy level and bonding of simple molecules during a chemical reaction in gas phase.

Something that fascinates me about animation is the possibility of representing physical reality when the software interfaces with machinery or monitoring devices.

I don't know if you've seen the DCS systems used in control rooms in manufacturing plants, where you can see the animated pictures of equipment operating on the computer screen...It is amazing! I don't know what is the software they use to do that, though.


12:44 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

Years back Chem Draw (
products/dsdemos.cfm) and Hypercube ( were the hot MM programs. I did download the Chem Draw demo at one point. I also played with a lot of the free 3D molecular and protein based programs (some more quantum mechanical than others), Rasmol, Charm, Tinker, Xmol, Weblab and the like. I was interested in these programs for their potential to build what has yet to be built.

I was more excited about NanoCAD ( written by Will Ware, who I have met at nanotech conferences. It's free and unusual in that it uses Java and permits the user access to the source code. Not only did I like that the motive of this program came as a direct result of nanotechnological inspiration but I also thought perhaps this program might graduate into something more elaborate. I haven't heard much about the program or any updates for some time now. Then there was the Queen mother, Diamond Cad (
DiamondCAD.html) written by Geoff Leach (
au/~gl/research/research.html) and now freely distributed by Zyvex.

These programs are still around but there have now been attempts to develop more advanced and specific to nanodesign software. Just recently I was lucky enough to be asked to install an alpha version of "nanoEngineer-1"
( a nanomechanical engineering program. It's simplicity is very impressive and it is very user intuitive. You have to see these nanodesign animations:
While I was tinkering in the program I did find a way to import the files into Max, and move them around and edit them like any other object and render them out with full 3DS materials. This program is one to watch.

As for real time manufacturing animations, a lot of companies hire their own programmers to write proprietary programs that have a code we aren't allowed to view. But your comments remind me of telerobotics. This could be an extremely direct route of real objects and software having a symbiotic relationship. I think this is a very real possibility since we already have direct interaction programs. For example, a person can put on a suit and move around and a robot in another room will move accordingly. I also remember a Universities website (which one escapes me right now) that showed a real-time webcam of an arm robot and as the viewer I could type mathematical calculations into a text box, hit enter, and the webcam would refresh with the robot moving as specified. The goal was to get the robot to pick up an object on the floor below. At one of the nanotechnology conferences UNC had an exhibit set up for their Nanomanipulator (
nano/cismm/nm/). I sat down in front of a computer and I could see an AFM image with two surface bumps of macromolecules. My right hand was to hold a pencil shaped device that was attached to a rotatable arm. As I moved and rotated my hand, I could feel (tension) that it was actually gliding across the interface on the computer monitor. When I moved my hand so that it was against the bump, I felt applied pressure. In fact at one point I pushed so hard that my hand slid off (with force) to the right until with a more gentle and slow push my hand moved over the bump. An amazing experience. This program illustrates that we might be able to manipulate the nanoscale with our own hands, something we normally wouldn't be able to do. This programming feat could very well be applied at least in concept to other variables of scaled structures.......... It's fascinating to think about all of the possibilities. Gina`

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the links, Gina. That was great information! I didn't know about all the Nano software you mentioned. I am going to look at those websites.
About the manufacturing software, I know that some companies provide those. I've seen the software they sold to the company where I was working. It was possible to see the animation with tanks and reagents being pumped out, etc. and it was in real time (the sensors were interfacing with the computer system, of course). It was neat!
You know what? You should initiate a blog on nano software! Or I should initiate one on that and said something like "Inspired by Gina Miller"!

12:16 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

Indeed it would be very interesting to see such a highly interactive program at work in real time. You can't beat real time, well except perhaps one day that software could be integrated with hardware - therefore eliminating separate systems. Wouldn't that be convenient? I think that's one of the many things I admire about our bodies, that they are fully contained (at least in this context). Not only do we utilize the mechanics of our bodies, but all of the instructions come pre-loaded.
I also enjoy when a computer comes pre-installed with an operating system, but in this example while it is packaged as one unit, we know that the hardware and the software were developed separately and this is often the cause of great conflict - the communication between the two is not always understood. On one of my computers my DVD burner will only work correctly with a particular brand of burning software - drivers do not all receive instructions the same. Although I see so many biological errors I would like us to over come with advanced technology, I think we can learn a lot from mother nature (when developing our own systems). Not only what works, but what doesn't work as well.

I see you've joined the nanotech group, welcome aboard. Your suggestion is very kind, thank you. I'm not sure if there would be enough content (programs) for a complete blog on the one topic, I think one would run out of material very quickly. But we can keep our fingers crossed! The more potential content, would mean more programs have been developed which could mean new applications, which of course is what I am very much looking forward to! Gina`

7:25 PM  
Blogger Oliver said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


5:42 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

Thank you for visiting.

12:01 PM  

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