Something Discouraging, When Using ‘Ayam’

One of the subjects which I have written about, here and here, is that I seem to like the Open-Source application named ‘Ayam‘, as a potential way to create images, which are 2D perspective views of a virtual 3D scene. This program just might do for me, what the proprietary program ‘Bryce’ once did for me, under Windows.

But obviously it’s harder to use Ayam, to create any meaningful images. And one reason seems to be, that doing so requires we define explicit, simulated light-sources, and the fact that there are no defaults, that would set up these light-sources, with parameters, that lead to good images.

I.e., the program will compute per-pixel color-values, that are derived from the positions, geometries, and intensities of the light-sources, but with no advanced warning to the user, of what intensities he needs to give his light-sources, so that the pixel-brightness values are in-range.

Usually, if we begin by rendering a cube, and we find that it renders, but only as a black outline, against a transparent background, then we may have everything set up correctly, except for the intensity of the light-source. It might just take some trial-and-error, before we set that correctly. And what I have found is that on their arbitrary scale, an intensity of 16 or so, just works well, in experimental scenes I’ve created.

At the same time, ‘Ayam’ has a specific idiosyncrasy to its GUI, which I rather appreciate. Its many numeric parameter-widgets have an arrow to the right of them, and an arrow to their left, which respectively, increase or decrease the value in the numeric field. The way these little buttons work, is either to double or halve the value they alter.

I suppose this could confuse some first-time users, because the numeric value in the field defaults to zero. This means that to click on the buttons does not alter the value, because to double or halve zero, results in zero. But what we can do is type a (+1) or a (-1) into the numeric field, and then, if we find that the parameter in question isn’t even close to where it’s supposed to be, we can repeatedly use the buttons, until we either find that (+16) is approximately correct, or until we find that (+0.0625) is about correct… The users just need to remember that after choosing widget-settings, we must also click to ‘Apply’ those settings before moving on, or else ‘Ayam’ will tend to forget them.



The wording ‘Light Values’ can play tricks on people.

What I wrote before, was that between (n) real, 2D photos, 1 light-value can be sampled.

Some people might infer that I meant, always to use the brightness value. But this would actually be wrong. I am assuming that color footage is being used.

And if I wanted to compare pixel-colors, to determine best-fit geometry, I would most want to go by a single hue-value.

If the color being mapped averages to ‘yellow’ – which facial colors do – then hue would be best-defined as ‘the difference between the Red and Green channels’.

But the way this works out negatively, is in the fact that actual photographic film which was used around 1977, differentiated most poorly between between Red and Green, as did any chroma / video signal. And Peter Cushing was being filmed in 1977, so that our reconstruction of him might appear in today’s movies.

So then an alternative might be, ‘Normalize all the pixels to have the same luminance, and then pick whichever primary channel that the source was best-able to resolve into minute details, on a physical level.’

Maybe 1977 photographic projector-emulsions differentiated the Red primary channel best?

Further, given that there are 3 primary colors in most forms of graphics digitization, and that I would remove the overall luminance, it would follow that maybe 2 actual remaining color channels could be used, the variance of each computed separately, and the variances added?

In general, it is Mathematically safer to add Variances, than it would be to add Deviations, where Variance corresponds to Deviation squared, and where Variance therefore also corresponds to Energy, if Deviation corresponded to Potential. It is more generally agreed that Energy and its homologues are conserved quantities.