3D Movie Making for Kids: & Cheap 3D Rendering Programs

3D Movie Making for Kids: & Cheap 3D Rendering Programs Pool Party July 31rd. Contents 3D Movies...Pages 3,&4 StrataVision 3D...Pages 4 Infini-D...P...
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3D Movie Making for Kids: & Cheap 3D Rendering Programs

Pool Party July 31rd.

Contents 3D Movies...Pages 3,&4 StrataVision 3D...Pages 4 Infini-D...Page 5 Bryce...Pages 6 & 7 Bruce’s Box...8 & 9 Pool Party...Page 10

Executive Contact List Please feel free to contact any of the following individuals if you have comments or questions relating to Macintosh Users East or Macintosh computing in general. Position/Name

Phone#

President Bruce Cameron

Hm: (905) 983-9205 Orono Email: [email protected]

Past President Hugh Amos

Bus: (905) 683-4760 Ajax Hm: (905) 683-4320

Vice-President Mark Fenton

Hm: (905) 430-8234 Email: [email protected]

Treasurer Membership Chairman Doug Kettle

Hm: (905) 683-3214 Ajax

Resource Librarian Michael Shaw

Hm:(905) 576-2097 Oshawa Email: [email protected]

BBS Administrator Jim Foster

Hm: (905) 432-0921 Courtice Email: [email protected]

MaUsE BBS - The Source Courtice

(905) 404-6603 33,600bps (905) 404-9874 14,400bps

Special Events Chris Greaves

(705) 887-2508 Fenelon Falls Email: [email protected]

Executive at Large John Field

Hm:905-885-8718

Mary McCarthy Greeter/Blithe Spirit MaUsE Message Line

(905) 433-0777

From the Editor For this July summer issue we are heavily into Cheap Thrills : Software and Hardware bargoons. The Issue has a 3D theme...3D movies and 3D landscapes & object rendering programs and features software that used to be prohibitively expensive but now can be had for a song and a bit of luck and patience on the eBay auction, (www.ebay.com). Where possible I have included the final eBay auction price of the software described. This Issue was originally planned as a full review of Bryce 1, 2 & 3 but a dear Member requested the inclusion of something fun for children.You will notice that I review fun software only. Since we all do some work on our Macs whether we want to or not I will only review applications that I use for their entertainment value. Except for Bruce Cameron the general membership has so far successfully resisted the impulse to inundate me with contributions that you will have to accept another issue of mostly my idea of what constitutes Mac fun. All of these 3D programs, (except for the kids’ movie-making software), take a considerable amount of time to master but all are worth the effort. MacAddict recently had a QuickTime video on their magazine CD that shows a couple of staffers heaving a PC from the back of a fast-moving vehicle.....a real waste of gasoline, in my opinion. Our Bruce Cameron has done them one better in this issue. For a better idea see his PC Tower on page 8. ___________________________________________ The Double Click is produced on a wickedly fast Macintosh IIfx computer by and for members of the Macintosh Users East, a group of young and old Macintosh computer users with old and young Macintosh computers. The venerable IIfx has recently received an organ transplant and now sports a SCSI-2 Quantum Fireball 540S hard drive.....which is why you are getting your copy of the Double Click so early. The Double Click also now has a FAX number, 905-576-5527, so you can send in your comments and contributions by FAX if you want to. There will be an August Double Click Issue.

Double Click Double Click Editor Michael Shaw

Hm: (905) 576-2097 Oshawa Email: [email protected] FAX: 905-576-5527

Printing & Distribution Doug Kettle

Hm: (905) 683-3214 Ajax

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MaUsE Mailing Address Macintosh Users East 419 King Street West Oshawa Centre P.O. P.O. Box # 30530 Oshawa, Ontario

3D Movie Making for Kids The best childrens’ movie-making programs at our house are Microsoft “3D Movie Maker” and Theatrix “Hollywood,“with “Hollywood High,“ all generally available on eBay, (www.ebay.com) for a pittance. I have bid on and won two of these programs this month to give as gifts to favourite kids, and paid $9.00 U.S. for the 3DMM and $15.00 U.S. for the HH. The “Hollywood” program I found by asking around. Unfortunately the Microsoft program, which is a perenial PC kids favourite (and, until I got Theatrix Hollywood High, was the mostused PC software in our house) is PC-only, while the Theatrix software will run equally well (read superbly well) on both platforms. “Hollywood” also comes included on the Hollywood High CD waiting to be unlocked with a special code purchasable from Theatrix for about $10.00 U.S. The continuing popularity of Microsoft 3D Movie Maker has made it one of the most desirable low-cost PC 3D programs available for kids condemned to use Pentium computers. The Hollywood High program, (from www.theatrix.com), a hip, teen-oriented version of the original Theatrix “Hollywood”, program that was bundled with some Performas, teaches kids to develop cre-

ative writing and communication skills in a multimedia authoring environment. Here are some of the educational benefits : Kids watch their writing and directing come to life as their script is performed by animated characters that literally speak out loud! They can create their own TV show, play, commercial, or full-length movie with storylines, plot twists, and characters and situations that will

make them laugh, and make them think. While developing word processing and authoring skills, this program promotes collaborative writing and freedom of expression in a familiar and positive environment. Kids can choose from over 30 backgrounds representing places teenagers go in their everyday life, including the mall, an arcade, a dance at the school gym, the beach, and more. Multiple backgrounds can be used within the same show, and many backgrounds can be viewed from different perspectives. Kids cast actors for the show, picking from 12 characters that look like people they know, including Matt the flannel shirt kid or Lilly the pony tail girl. They give personality to the characters by naming them, then choose roles, hobbies, and moods from a hilarious list of options and write dialogue, narration, and stage directions for the production. (Put any words into the characters'

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This program will play like a champ on every Mac beyond the Macintosh LCIII with 8 MB RAM; 4 MB available disk space; 13" 256 colour monitor; double-speed CDROM drive & System 7.1. It is accelerated for Power Macintosh. There is a translator on the CD that enables movies created on a Mac can be ported over to a PC. If there are PC kids in the family anywhere, the 3D Movie Maker at less than $10.00 per copy on eBay is a true bargoon. All of these programs are suitable for kids ten years old and up.

StrataVision 3D mouths, and they'll be spoken out loud -- complete with lip-synch!) Kids can customise facial expressions, voices, body language, and movement on screen.& make the characters roll their eyes, chew gum,spray their hair, or even play air guitar. Add opening titles, music, and sound effects. It all shows up in the script where the entire show can be edited and controlled. Titles and credits, narration and dialogue, music and sound effects, character mood changes and actions are performed exactly as scripted. Play the show live or share it with friends over the Internet. The Hollywood High program differs from MS 3D Movie Maker in creation of script in one very important way: the PC microphone is used to put words into the mouths of the 3D Movie Maker characters but all scripting beyond sound effects must be typed into the Hollywood High program. Sure...your kids know all the really bad words but can they spell them correctly?

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ty, translucency and colours to place a skin over the framework. (See left and previous page). Like the Hollywood High program, this program works just fine on older Macs as well as the new ones, and gives very adequate performance on my old Quadra 950. The key to StrataVision 3D is patience. It boggles the mind to think of every shape, object, surface and scene created for the entire Myst CD being rendered one at a time using StrataVision 3D but the world of Myst is there to prove it can be done.

Specular Infini-D 3.0.1 StrataVision 3D is another eBay find, and one well worth the unbelievable price of $6.60 American that I bid for a boxed unregistered copy with all the manuals. This program is most familiar and famous as the software that was used to create the 3D scenes for Myst. Like Infini-D, this is a quick rendering program that creates primitives, or simple shapes, using geometric planes to create a surface and provides a library of textures and degrees of reflectivity, opaci-

This one (see below) went on eBay for the princely sum of $15.50 American, boxed with all the manuals and runs like a charm on my old Macintosh IIfx. The strength of his program lies in its ability to create the same type of textured objects as StrataVision 3D and then gives the artist the ability to subtly alter their shapes and distort them along paths that can be followed and repeated to create animations of the objects. The ability to distort the shape of an object in response to motion enhances the effect of motion: for example: a rubber ball can flatten out upon impact with a hard surface and then return to its original

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shape after the bounce, or an inanimate object can be made to twist and squat before it jumps or squirms across the screen. The program comes with lots of sample stills and animations, tutorials, and Peter’s Player so you can watch your animations after you create them. Like StrataVision 3D there are ways to improve the performance of this program using memory and extension sets management and the faster the processor the better the program runs. With patience and time a very complex set of textured objects can be created and animated using Infini-D. The basic requirement is a 68030 Mac with FPU running System 7.0 and the program asks for 6 Megs of ram to run in....8 Megs for a 16 inch or bigger monitor in millions of colours.

Bryce 1, 2, & 3 The neatest 3D rendering program is KPT Bryce, from MetaCreations (see below) and the best news of the summer is that Bryce 4 has been released, which means that Bryce 1, 2, & 3 will be even

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cheaper and more plentiful on eBay as owners upgrade and update. The only one really accurate word to describe Bryce software is exciting. And fantastic. And neat. And complex, unique, and infinitely rewarding. The interface is bizarre but weird.

Combining wireframe objects covered with a textured skin with elements of geography the Bryce program allows the artist to create extreme exterior landscapes and distort/manipulate elements like land, sea and sky to create fantasy worlds. Objects and PICTs can be imported and manipulated to enhance the alien effects. Much easier to show than describe.The large picture on Page 6

shows the basic interface with Create, Edit, and Sky & Fog across the top and the tools for rotating and rendering along the left side of the screen. All of the Objects along the top in turquoise are primitive shapes that can be imported into the landscape. The four cones on the right are Light source variables.The flat objects directly under the Create menu create Water, Land and Cloud layers. (This document is available as a glorious fullcolour .PDF on the Source Double Click conference & really should be downloaded from there and viewed with Acrobat Reader.) Bryce 1 will run on any 680X0 Mac with a FPU from a 68000 on. Bryce 2 is far more sophisticated and Bryce 3 allows for animation of objects created in Bryce and navigation through the landscapes created with it.! As with all the other programs mentioned in this issue, program performance varies proportionally with processor speed and to Ram installed. Even with a fast PowerPC and lots of Ram allocated to Bryce it is sometimes necessary to create wireframe landscapes with imported textured objects and leave the Mac rendering over-night to see the results. With a bit of time and effort the results can be spectacular. A search for Bryce on the Internet will reveal lots of Bryce galleries where amateur enthusiasts have posted their Bryce creations.Of all the 3D programs mentioned in this issue Bryce is by far the most demanding, potent and sophisticated but also the most rewarding.This program is not for people who are into instant gratification, but for awesome surreal landscapes & photo-realistic alien environments Bryce is the clear choice. The emphasis for this month’s issue has been on cheap fun. Nothing ages faster than computer software, unless its computer hardware, but all of the software mentioned in this article, from the 3D movie programs right through to Bryce 3 can be found heavily discounted on eBay auctions and are as much fun now as they were a few years ago for five, ten, or twenty times the price.

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Bruce’s Mutant PC Ending Desktop Clutter (or how I finally found a GOOD use for a PC) by Bruce Cameron My wife complains frequently that I have way too much computer stuff sitting around the house. There’s my desktop, laptop, the girls’ IIcx’s, a IIvx, the clubs Quadra 650 used for presentations, a laser printer, colour inkjet and a six pen plotter. Throw in a scanner, a couple of modems, some external hard drives, a couple of 6 disk CD ROM jukeboxes, boxes of cables, shelves of books and manuals and it’s all wired together by an ethernet network. (There’s a PowerMac 7100 system arriving soon as well). To help calm the waters so to speak, I decided to do something about the miscellaneous drives hanging around. They were going to be connected to the IIvx, which is the household file server. In addition to it’s internal drive, it’s going to have matched 420 M drives set up as a RAID array, a CD ROM drive and an 8 mm tape backup unit. After having to redo my daughters assignment once because she created it between the time I backed up my system and the time I wiped and reformatted my hard drive, I wanted a secure place to store their data that could be backed up automatically.

Inspired by an article in the May ‘99 issue of MacAddict detailing the installation of a single hard drive and a CD ROM burner in an old pc case, I decided to do it one or two better. I found a used pc tower with a 250 W power supply at a new/used computer store in Bowmanville for

$20. It had 4 full height drive bays and 1 double height drive bay. Perfect. There’s room for the CD ROM drive, both 420 m drives, the double height tape drive and even space for another drive core that I’ve got kicking around. Having all of these drives sitting around in separate cases would have required a whole nest of SCSI cables, 4 power cords and a power bar to feed them. By using the tower case, I could reduce it to one of each, but I needed an internal SCSI cable to hook them all together. I found what I needed on eBay, the

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online internet auction site for US$10 delivered.

ves to the adapter trays and the adapter trays attach to the frame with 4 self tapping screws.

Now it was time to put it all together. The first step was to completely dismantle the case and all of the internal mounting brackets. Throw out the turbo switch, the reset switch, the cpu speed display, and the expansion card bracket. To keep everything cool, I added a 5 in. square cooling fan rated at 22 cubic feet per minute of air that I had bought at Radio Shack for a previous project. This required the addition of a connector to the power supply to feed the fan its required 120 VAC. To keep fingers, paws

Now it’s time to start wiring. The power supply comes equipped with 4 standard power connectors for drive products. Cut the end off one of the cables originally intended to supply power to the motherboard and splice on a drive power connector and there’s juice for everybody. The SCSI cabling is a bit more difficult. The cable I bought came with a standard 50 pin Centronics SCSI connector on either end and a matching mounting plate. Cut a hole in the back of the case to fit and screw into place. Now the hard part. Internal SCSI cabling uses 50 conductor flat ribbon cable with “insulation Displacing Connectors” to plug into the SCSI devices. The cable came with 4 and I need 5. Solution? Carefully dismantle the 2 connector cable that came in the case and reinstall one on my ribbon cable. Now everything is wired, well almost. There’s an audio out jack on the back of the CD ROM drive. Pick up a 1/8” stereo jack at Radio Shack and attach through a new hole in the back of the case. Cobble together a connector cable using the wiring that was originally connected to the turbo switch and the speed display.

and cat noses out of the blades, I made a screen from the support grid for a filter from a kitchen stove ventilating hood. The fan and a small piece of sheet metal fill up the hole in the back of the case where the expansion cards used to end. The CD ROM drive and the 8 mm tape drive are perfect fits for the top and bottom drive bays. All it takes is 4 machine screws each through the holes in the frame to mount them securely. The hard drives require 5 1/4” to 3 1/2” adapters, but 4 came with the case, so that’s covered. Machine screws attach the dri-

Now it’s time for final assembly. Cut a piece of corrugated plastic to divide off the space where the motherboard used to be, to force the air from the fan up and over the drives. No sense blowing all of that air through if we can’t ensure that it actually cools off the drives. Install the drives in their locations, connect the power cables, plug in the SCSI connectors and attach the audio cable to the back of the CD ROM drive. Put the cover back on and it’s finished. Total cost is not much more than what it would have cost to buy a single drive case for one of the drives. The savings in unneeded SCSI cable is even more significant. Once I find my Apple logo stickers that came with my computer, I’ll even be able to hide the fact that a pc case gave up it’s life to hide my Mac peripherals. (If anyone wants to see it, I’ll bring it to the pool party in July, and you can see it installed if you come to the BBQ in August.

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Macintosh Users’ Group Private Pool Party For the July event there will be a Pool Party in Port Hope at the home of long-time MaUsE member & past prez John Field, Saturday, July 31st, 1999, from noon ‘till midnight !!

To Get to Port Hope - Take 401 East from Oshawa - Exit At Porthope/Welcome ramp (Exit#461, the first ramp for PortHope) - Proceed to the right (South) off the ramp. You are now on Hwy/County Road#2. - Make the first left turn just past Home Hardware. You will now be heading East on Jocelyn Street. - Go to the fourth street on your right and turn right onto Trefusis Street North. - We are the fourth house from the corner on your right. (#44) Note from the 401 its less than 2km. From Oshawa its 55km and travel time is 30 minutes. RSVP TO 905-885-8718 or mail to: [email protected]

You Bring : Lawn Chairs, Booze, Tents or (Campers/RV's for Bruce), and Fun (Plus Bathing Suits!!). Insect Repellent or DOS removal. Your choice of BBQ stuff such as Hot-Dogs, Burgers.

We Supply : The water and some cold ice!.