James Plant on: The Digital Economy Bill

If you live in the UK, or more precisely, you live on the internet but you eat, sleep and work in the UK, you may have heard of a little thing called the ‘Digital Economy Bill’. Why do I say that you have to live on the internet to know about it? Simply, it’s been put through incredibly quietly and without much media coverage. Only through the outrage of the British online community I have heard about it, and it’s just about the only thing in British politics that’s put me into an apocalyptic rage.

So you may or may not have heard of it. For the benefit of those who haven’t, and I wouldn’t blame you, it is a bill that will block file sharing, any online content suspected of copyright infringement, and even cut off the internet of those who may or may not be guilty of noncompliance without a trial. If that wasn’t bad enough, the government will have the power to levy massive fines on internet providers who allow circumvention, even accidentally. The definition of “provider” includes anybody who gives internet access to the public, including public Wi-Fi providers. If a user on a Wi-Fi connection in, for example, a café, broke the terms of this bill, the café could then be fined a huge figure. Would a business as such therefore take the risk of even having internet access? Of course not. What about content providers such as Youtube and Google? They would have to filter their content and results, resulting in – at best – the absolute massacre of online content.

Welcome, then, to the death of the public internet. Content sieved by politicians in the record company’s pockets and brought straight to you along a government-approved connection. Welcome to the dark ages of the internet.

Alternately, you can protest. You can say no. Put a poster up. Email your MP. Tell your friends. Take action!©


James Plant on: Computer Graphics

Congratulations, you. Yes, you. The one who came here from my deviantArt page. Well done for seeing, and then having the curiosity to click on, the imperceptibly tiny button at the bottom of the page. It’s grey too, just to make it harder to see. Good job on that.

As was oh-so-subtly implied just now, I have a deviantArt. Yes, it’s full of my 3D stuff. Yes, I’ve been through that before on here. No, I’m not going to link to the page on deviantArt until the end. I’ve taken up CGI a little more as of late, as of late being the last six months or so. I’ve always had a closet interest in design and especially computer graphics and seeing as I spend 99.7% of my waking life sitting at the computer utilising exactly that, I thought back in February that the time was ripe to share it with the world. Or rather, other people exactly like me.

As I said up there, I’ve covered this before. And Christ, after reading that post do I regret it. My writing style was awful back then. Jesus, is that a Japanese emoticon at the bottom there? Fucking hell.

What in the name of fresh hell is that!?

Oh, I remember now. Stuff from when I was just starting with Blender. Two years now? I wouldn’t have thought. I really wouldn’t have, to the extent where I actually haven’t. Why don’t I jam my latest scene up here for a comparison of where those two years has taken me?

Click for full size

I think that’s just a little better. Better in any case than five spheres, a python-script helix, a photograph of my own iris and “Awesome AO”. If I was at all defensive of my former self – and I’m not – I could say that I was using a much earlier version of Blender back then. But that’s no excuse at all, 2.45 was more or less just as powerful as 2.5, albeit with a more bewildering-to-the-newcomer interface. And I was a newcomer. Look at me, using terms like “Nor mapping” and pretending I knew back then what that actually meant. Looking at the spheres, there’s also a blatant cock-up on the sunset-lit one, and I’m not talking about the crappily positioned camera. Look at the reflection. There’s two suns.

Now, anybody who relates with me when I’m talking about my 3D work knows I am an absolute perfectionist. Nothing less than the best goes. So really, past me, was avoiding a 40 minute re-render time really worth the buggered up camera? I wish for 40 minute render times these days, and I’m on a quad-core now.

I know the title of this post is “James Plant on: Computer Graphics”, and I also know it’s degenerated into a rant of how much of a newbish dick I was when I was younger. But really, I have a point. There’s a common misconception that 3D is easy, that it’s just pushing buttons to make things happen. That’s so not true. It takes time and dedication to even get to the meagre level I’m at now.

And hear you me, the payoff of seeing a beautiful render you made yourself is worth it.

As for you, past James, Christ, you’re a tosser. No wonder you never got that girl you were after. Get out of here.©