July 31, 2008

Shiny buttons in Inkscape

Switch on the grid

Create a rectangle

Press F2 and grab the circle grip and drag to make it rounded

Make another rectangle , fill it with white and a gradient from white to transparent

Switch of the stroke

Copy the original rectangle and lower to bottom

Change it's color , switch of the stroke and add transparency

Add some text

Export as a png

You can change the color of the first rectangle and get a variety of colors.

The svg file can be downloaded here .

Complicated selections in GIMP

Complicated selections can be achieved in GIMP by changing the mode of selection in the Tool Options of the selection . One can add, subtract or intersect , even change the selection tool .

July 30, 2008

Plotting from Autocad to Tif

This is how to configure a plotter for plotting to a tif file from autocad .

In the last stage you choose the size of the plot in pixels as you would select a paper size .

Test for a header in nkscape

Created in Inkscape and used directly with the alpha.

Cropped in Gimp and without alpha .

Chart for companion planting

July 29, 2008

Adding bling to drawings with gimp

Architectural drawings take a lot of work to make more presentable . I usually follow the method of plotting from autocad as a Tif file -> open in gimp -> erase the background -> save as an xcf file in gimp -> add a background colour -> add more colour to areas above the background but below the lines -> some shadows -> text . Then I save a copy as png . So at any moment I have the same filename with tif , xcf and png format . Keeping three different formats allows me to make changes as I go along .

Erase the background with choose by colour tool and colour to alpha . Add a layer call it base and drag it to the bottom . You can change the colour easily once everything is on different layers.

Create another layer for fills and move it above the base layer and below the linework . Select areas and fill colours . Select by colour tool again and drop shadows .

Add annotation and graphics. You are done when you think you are .

July 28, 2008

Calatrava bridge Jerusalem

Once again crossed under the Calatrava bridge and wondered if this city needed this 'architectural masterpiece ' . To begin with there is no room for the bridge a the entrance to the city and for most of the views that you get the twenty times the cost of a regular bridge is not money well spent . For a fleeting instant when you cross underneath you get this feeling of awe .

Here is a render that I made for some work we did .

Animation in Sketchup

This was created in Google Sketchup as individual frames , stitched with mencoder . Then for kicks I converted it to Flv format with ffmpeg .

Some animations in Blender

July 24, 2008

Still waiting for your Butterchicken ?

Butterchicken in Inkscape.

Figured out that blurs do not render well . so sticking to plain transparency.

Thanks where it is due

I have been using imagebot for uploading photos to imageshack and photobucket and the biggest advantage is that it gives code for embedding images/ thumbnails to forums, blogs , webpages . Very handy , thank you guys .

Text on path


An armadillo spiral

The armadillo comes from the open clipart library

The embed tag doesn't show up in Firefox 3 , so changed the tags to object .

July 23, 2008

So how does my compost smell

Lately I have started inviting friends to smell my compost pile and the product . People have been quite sporting for the time being but clearly they do not share my enthusiasm for compost . There is a small danger of being left without friends if I keep up with it !!

For the hebrew challenged

For the Hebrew challenged QTL very nice translation tool as an addon to firefox . Highlighting text in Hebrew brings up either the Babylon translation tool in a pop up or else you can choose the Quick mode that put the translation in the address bar. Very useful.

July 22, 2008

Test for GE plugin

This did not work , probably some problem with the blogger code but to get an idea of what the plugin allows take a look here . Nice demonstration of how to make models available to people that don't have Google earth .

July 21, 2008

To shower or have a bath

Today I figured that my two sons having a bath together used about 90 litres of water . A quick search on the internet put the average shower consumption for a gravity shower at 35 litres . It of course assumes an efficient shower head with water discharge of about 7l/min for a five minute shower. I was under the impression that baths take a lot more water but if two people take a bath together it is almost equal to a shower . The best part is that if you are using organic soaps you can even reuse the water . For collecting shower water you either need to have a separate system for your waste water or you have to stand in a bucket to have a shower . Now if all of us were to use the same water ..........

July 20, 2008

A test with svg

With my recent love for Inkscape and scalable vector graphics , I have to do a little test with svg in html. This what is looks like with the embed tag

and this what is looks like with the object tag

Had a few hiccups , the height and width had to be explicitly stated otherwise there were scrollbars on bottom and side
Text came out as black boxes till I edited the text frames to text in inkscape . New problem , I changed the text to text along path and it did not show . Object to pattern also did not show . IE doesn't display the svg without the Adobe svg plugin , I should probably say Best viewed in Firefox or ask everyone to install the adobe svg plugin .

July 19, 2008

Waste and the broken natural cycles

Waste as we know it does not exist in nature . Matter only changes its form, being useful to one organism in a certain state to being useful to another in another state . Take for instance human urine . Urine is the body discharging wastes in a state that it can no longer assimilate . It is rich in nitrates and salts . Flushed down into the sewer it just stinks , the nitrates getting converted to ammonia but if the urine is directed to the ground it can be a very good source of nitrogen ( the famous N in the NPK fertilisers ) for plants . So every time we flush we are flushing a good clean source of nitrogen down the drain . We even throw a good quantity of potable water along with it ( for most of us in the previliged worlds that we live in there is no distinction between water for drinking and for flushing our wastes ) . For a better idea of what we lose with every flush read this
I for my part have a litre bottle with it's top cut off and most of it goes into the garden , diluted with 10 parts of water . Digressing . .
So like this cycle of 'waste' nature has a way of taking all waste as long as we don't screw it up too much . Create something that doesn't exist naturally there is a very strong chance that nature has no mechanism in place to handle it . And so it comes back at us . Take plastic for instance , there is nothing that nature can do about it other than over a period of time break it into microscopic plastic particles that get into the groundwater , might be carried into the ocean or get back to us in out food . Maybe as I write my gut is getting lined with microscopic plastic particles that originated from plastic bags picked irreverently from the supermarket to bring more plastic home and in all were in use for 10 minutes till you got home .

Waste 2

Composting organic waste has a number of advantages
  • The amount of garbage is thrown out reduces considerably . On an average my garbage sack is half to one-thirds of wht it used to be .
  • Lesser garbage means that the garbage trucks carry lesser garbage halfway across the country to a garbage dump . It could eventually reduce the number of pickups which can be a considerable saving in energy transporting and managing .
  • Most organic garbage does not fully decompose in a garbage dump as there is too much of it competing for too little fresh air . Garbage in plastic bags is known to remain in its original state packed in nylon bags in a high methane surrounding for years on end. Even after the organic stuff breaks down there is no way of putting it to useful use as it is full of inorganic stuff of unknown antecedants . So organic matter in the garbage is effectively lost .
  • Even if garbage is separated and taken to a composting facility it involves a lot of energy expended in separating and moving it .
  • Organic matter goes back to where it belongs , into the soil to rise again like a phoenix as organic matter again .

July 17, 2008


A quick little test in Blender for a scene created in Sketchup and was rendered in 3D max initially .

And the original in 3dMax ..

The lighting needs a bit of work but overall the render is quite ok for out of the box settings.

Waste 1

Many years ago in my Urban Design days in SPA Delhi , I heard one of the most fascinating lectures on waste management . I don't remember the name of the person but he sure did kindle something deep down about urban waste . It has been on a low backburner all of this time till some time back , nothing drastic bjt a more concerted effort to deal with the waste we create .
The easiest part of it all is the organic waste from the kitchen and garden . All little scraps and pieces and waste go to my compost pile in the no man's land between the houses . Initially I was worried about the neighbors getting worried but one year down the line it doesn't seem to bother anyone and I have a constant supply of organic compost . Even gave some to our neighbor who showed some interest but then it was too much of a bother for him to separate the organic waste and walk 10 m up to the pile. So I continue with my solo crusade . To dispel some misconceptions
  1. Compost does not smell if you take proper care to turn it once in a while and strike a good balance between greens and browns.
  2. It does not attract rodents and the likes if one takes care to separate non-veg and dairy waste.

  1. we have cut down our waste to a third .
  2. we get nice black compost to grow our vegetables in .
  3. the garbage collectors say a silent thank you every time they cross our house ( they should if they don't )

More testing

I am testing the option of storing swf/flv on photobucket as the youtube videos are quite low in quality for animations of buildings.

and here is the html code

The model was created in Sketchup with very basic rendering in Kerkythea . The output was stitched with ffmpeg .

July 16, 2008

Scribe fire test

Today as I opened up firefox I was told that the Scribefire extension had an update . Since the blog has been languishing for quite some time I decided to fire Scribe fire and see what happens .
And apparently it worked