Downtime, Yesterday and Today

The way I host this blog and my site is unusual, in that I use a PC at home as my Web-server. This is not necessarily what other people should do, only how I do it.

What that implies is that the visibility of my site, is only as good as my ability to keep my computer running, as well as the quality of my personal Internet service. Most of the time, both run well.

But, starting around 15h30 yesterday afternoon, I started having some sort of trouble with my Internet connection. This issue is now resolved (for the time being). But this means that my site and blog were also offline until about 17h00 today.

I apologize for any inconvenience to my readers.

Dirk

 

Cheating a little bit, and teasing a shaded surface, out of a Computer Algebra System.

One of the subjects which I posted about some time ago was, how easy it is for a Computer Algebra System – a CAS – to output a single variable, in order to colour an Iso-Surface, and how hard it is in contrast, to output a normal vector, from whatever Geometry Shader computes the Iso-Surface, such that this normal vector can be used to shade the surface, in a later Fragment Shader invocation.

What needs to be done in ‘3D Game Design’ and (other) ‘CGI’, is essentially that.

But, given that a CAS can be used both, to plot a 3D surface, as well as, to define what the colour-range of this surface is supposed to be, a bit of a trick can be used, to bypass the need actually to compute a normal vector, but to achieve an equivalent result. And this posting will begin with an example which is slightly simpler, than what my earlier posting had assumed. Iso-Surfaces tend to smack of ‘implicit’ functions, while this example is going to start with an ‘explicit’ plot, in which (X) and (Y) are parameters of the function, but where it was already easy to achieve, that a single (Z) value results, such that (X, Y, Z) are in fact the coordinates plotted.

Because we have a Computer Algebra System in the first place, for continuous functions, it’s easy to compute the derivative with respect to one of the parameters. That derivative can be used, just to modulate the brightness of the surface. The simplest example is shown blow:

 


 

(Updated 7/08/2020, 17h00… )


Continue reading Cheating a little bit, and teasing a shaded surface, out of a Computer Algebra System.

The closest that I can come, to making Maxima On Android display an animation.

Maxima On Android really wasn’t designed, either to allow interactive rotation of 3D Plots, or, to allow animated, 3D Plots. But let us put ourselves in the position that it is the chosen Computer Algebra System, and that the user wants ‘interactive 3D Plots’.

What Maxima On Android has to offer natively, is a 3D Plot, but displayed from a static perspective. In fact, I’ve read that the way it works is, that Maxima On Android plots to a PNG File, and then displays the PNG File in a secondary window, from which the user may switch back to the CAS window / worksheet.

Various efforts I’ve made have failed, to get the viewing window for the plots to animate. One possible reason could be, the possibility that Maxima On Android actually waits, until the entire worksheet has finished executing, before allowing the viewing window to be opened. Repeated, iterative plotting locks up the app, until the loop has finished, at which point, at best, the last version of the plot can be viewed.

The following was the best that I could do, to get this port of Maxima to plot interactively:

 


i: 0$

Frame():= block (
        plot3d(sin(%pi*(x+(i/4)))*cos(%pi*y), [x, -1, 1], [y, -1, 1]),
        i: i + 1
)$

Frame()$

 

This Maxima Batch File / Script requires some participation by the user, to work. The user may Load it from within the Maxima On Android GUI, after which the first iteration of the plot will display. After that, the user needs to tap on the ‘Back’ arrow, to get back to the worksheet. Then, tapping on the last ‘Frame()’ command, will cause it to display in the command field. Then, tapping ‘Enter’ will cause the next iteration of the plot to appear.

From the second point on, in the process, that the user has tapped on the ‘Back’ arrow, the command ‘Frame()’ should still be in the command field. Therefore, ‘Enter’ can just be tapped again, and the process repeated as often as desired.

(Updated 7/05/2020, 10h50… )

Continue reading The closest that I can come, to making Maxima On Android display an animation.

A simple 3D animation created with Maxima.

One of the things which I find myself doing quite often is, to be undertaking some sort of task on the computer(s), that I know is possible, but, not knowing in advance what the correct syntax and semantics are, to perform this task. This tends to take me on some sort of search on the Web, and I’ll find that other people have undertaken similar tasks, but not, a task with the same combination of parameters, as my task.

Thus, Web pages can be found according to which 2D animations have been created using a free, open-source Computer Algebra System named “Maxima”. Other Web pages may explain how to create various types of (static) 3D plots. But there may just be lacking examples out there, on how to create the 3D plot, but to animate it.

Using Maxima, there may be more than one way, such as, to keep refreshing the 3D plot over a time interval. But I find that such solutions tend to be second-rate, because of their use of busy-wait loops, as well as the possibility that they may otherwise be wasteful of computing power. I think that the best way, perhaps, to get Maxima to generate an animated 3D plot, could be, in the form of an animated GIF File (of course, as long as there isn’t an excess of frames to this animation).

Thus, the recipe that seems to work is as such:

 


load(draw)$

scenes: []$

for i thru 20 do (
    scenes: append(scenes,
            [gr3d(explicit(sin(%pi*(x+(i/10)))*cos(%pi*y),
                x, -1, 1, y, -1, 1))]
        )
)$

draw(
    delay = 10,
    file_name = "wavy",
    terminal = 'animated_gif,
    scenes
)$

 

The script outputs a file named ‘wavy.gif’ in the same folder, as whatever folder it was originally stored in. In some cases, the GIF File may appear in the user’s home directory, or even, in a temporary directory that’s difficult to find, unless the user also gives a full-path name for the file.

And, this is the GIF File that results:

wavy

 

Caution:

My most recent posting had to do, with a version of Maxima that had been ported to Android. The example above will not work with that version of Maxima. In fact, I can really only be sure that this feature works under Linux, which is the O/S that Maxima was mainly designed to run on. Any directives to ‘plot()’ or ‘draw()’ open a separate GNU-Plot window, which behaves in the predictable way under Linux, including the user’s ability to rotate the 3D plots interactively. AFAIK, commands to change to a non-default ‘terminal’ (for drawing and/or plotting) will fail on other platforms.

But, There is also a Windows or Mac alternative to using this platform, which mainly presents itself in the application ‘wxMaxima’. Here, the functions ‘wxdraw2d()’ and ‘wxdraw3d()’ replace those that open a separate window, and both embed their results in the wxMaxima worksheet. In order to make this more versatile, wxMaxima also offers the functions ‘with_slider_draw()’, ‘with_slider_draw3d()’, ‘wxanimate_draw()’, and ‘wxanimate_draw3d()’.

Potential ‘wxMaxima’ users will find the documentation for how to script that Here.

(Updated 7/06/2020, 15h35… )

Continue reading A simple 3D animation created with Maxima.