Welcome to rhysy.net, a very badly designed website where I showcase my pitiful excuse for artwork. Unfortunately I'm very lazy and steadfastly refuse to learn html, but don't let that deter you.
On the left we have a fully-equipped navigation bar where you can access a selection of my art from the past 10 years. You'll notice they have a science fiction leaning, on account of my epic nerdiness which you can learn about in the "All About Rhysy" section.
Ahem. It's been two years since the last update... ? TWO YEARS ? This doesn't make any sense to me at all...
The Publications section has been updated with a new co-authored paper on a way to test if a galaxy is experiencing ram pressure or not. Instead of having to look for missing gas, which is hard, we found that there's a correlation between the expected pressure and the measured content of ionised carbon. Admittedly, this is even more difficult to measure than missing gas, but it provides an important, completely unpredicted validation of our earlier models of ram pressure stripping.
A new art project ! In the Visualising Virgo section you can find a 17th-Century style map of the Virgo cluster I made as a wall poster. This is part of my dream to have an old-fashioned drawing room instead of the previous IKEA advert that was my home office.
I really do not understand where the last two years have gone. The new version of FRELLED is essentially complete and comes with substantial new functionality, including some (limited) VR capabilities. I hope to publish it this year. As for other projects, I'm still quite active on social media, but I find it increasingly difficult for spare time for writing, let alone anything else... but I live in hope.
Well, I guess the semi-regular updates couldn't last forever, but I did try. The new version of FRELLED is progressing well, and will certainly be ready for general release by the end of the year but hopefully much sooner. It'll probably lack the particle and vector viewer initially so I can concentrate on the key functionality of viewing FITS files. A lot of effort is going in to making it more robust than the older versions, so it should be damn near impossible to break it. It's faster, more powerful, and ought to be a hell of a lot easier both to install and use. Updates soon...
Meanwhile, I've fixed a few broken links in the Progams section. When FRELLED is finished I'll be adding tutorial files on how to setup GUI displays in Blender 2.7X (which conveniently is the same as for 2.8), as I fouind the process of learning how to do this to be far from straightforward. it's actually not that difficult, just hard to find any clear instructions !
- EDIT : I also added a handy new code to generate isosurfaces from FITS files, which is just lovely.
The interactive content front stalled for a while, but now I'm learning Verge3D, a modern implentation of Blend4Web in Blender 2.8. This looks to be as easy and powerful as its older progenitor, and also gives me an excuse to use 2.8. So fingers crossed that in September you'll be able to take a stroll around Arecibo in your web browser...
I finally got an Oculus Quest and it's all kinds of amazeballs. My only issue is that I can't get the Link (to view PC VR) to work. So I've decided to concentrate on learning Verge3D first, since that will give more widely-accessible content in a shorter time. But after that I'm definitely going to investigate how to get Blender content running properly in virtual reality.
Hey, look at me, maintaining semi-regular website updates ! Thanks, COVID-19 ! Being stuck at home does give me time to work on all those projects I'd like to work on but wouldn't otherwise have time for. Currently the task of recoding FRELLED in modern-day Blender is, I'm pleased to say, going very well. I'd love to get it released by the summer, but we'll see how that goes.
Some more concrete updates :
- Added some new programs, for cropping images, adding transparency, and generating isosurfaces in Blender. That last one is a bit crude but it does work (no messing about with metaballs or point cloud skinning - it works properly).
- Made some interactive content. The Virgo section now has a link to an online 3D map of the cluster you can explore in your browser, which I'm super proud of, and I've also been making a map of the hydrogen in the Milky Way. I wanted to add the surrounding clouds, but being unwilling to go into work for the hefy files needed makes that impractical right now. So here's the disc of the Galaxy so far, which you can read about here. These files load quickly for me but some have reported very long loading times - you might want to download the HTML files and view them locally.
Until next time, REMAIN INDOORS.
New project in the works to make a nice map of the hydrogen in the Milky Way. Some old renders using low resolution data can be seen here, but the new data is four times better. Actually the data is several years old, but its 35 GB size made it difficult to open. Having found a way to deal with this, I've added a small new section "working with non-Cartesian coordinates" to the Programs section. These codes are specifically designed to deal with the challenges of visualising large data sets in Galactic coordinates. And you can see a first render in the project here.
I know, I know, it's been even deader than usual here. Good news ! I'm not actually dead. I just seem to have fallen into a blogging zone and haven't been making much effort on the CGI front for a while. You can check out the various blogs and social media on the newly-renovated link, which sadly had to be finally updated since Google Plus is well and truly gone. I've also updated the publications section to include my latest effort to gently prod back the boundaries of human knowledge.
The graphics front is not quite as dead as it appears. Almost, but not quite. FRELLED is still absolutely vital to my day job, and I've finally begun the not inconsiderable task of upgrading it to a more modern version of Blender. All going well, that could be done by the summer. Lots of new features planned, such as isosurfaces, Cycles rendering, heighfields, and better support multi-volume rendering. And I'm trying to wrench myself off blogging my every waking thought and get back into CGI again.
Digital spring cleaning time ! With the impending demise of Google Plus, I'm trying to get my digital house in order before seeking pastures new. Mainly I've updated the Programs section with a whole bunch of new code snippets. Mainly this are for my own use, so while most of them should be minimum working examples I can't guarantee that's true for all of them. More programs still to come. I've also slightly updated the publications section. Next up : adding some new science visuals and updating the blog pages.
New art project ! "H-One : The Sequel" is an abstract art video that's full of pretty pictures of HI data. You can find it on my blog here, which is also full of pretentious ranting about stuff, or view the video here. Why isn't it on the website somewhere ? Well the Strato (my web host) web FTP service is currently not working, which makes it very difficult to upload anything until I figure out how to use regular FTP access. :(
Wow, what a long time between updates ! If you're one of the weirdos who only know about me from the website, you can be forgiven for thinking I was dead. If, however, you're aware of Google Plus, my blog, and even my YouTube channel, you'll know that isn't the case. It's just that I seem to have become more focused on writing lately, and the data visualisation I do routinely in my day job doesn't seem to require a website update. Social media is much more useful for that.
Alas, all is quiet on the artwork front... quiet, but not dead. The main development has been to create a 360 VR tour of Arecibo (sorry for the poor compression quality on YouTube). That necessitated learning the Cycles material system and a very substantial amount of modelling additional details, which you can see more of on the updated Arecibo page or jump direct to the much more detailed blog post. I also made a 360 3D flythrough of the Virgo cluster.
In more personal CGI terms, the biggest news is that I discovered that Stephen Hawking used my old timeline of the Universe image in a 2012 presentation in Seattle (go to 7 minutes in for the image). And for astronomy graphics, there simply isn't any higher endorsement than that.
Signing off with the earnest intent not to spend another 18 months between website updates !
New version of FRELLED released ! Lots of bugfixes and some small but useful new features. Updated the web page to suggest a better citation than the AGES paper.
I know things have been exceedingly slow on this website for the last... errm.... while. I've been dedicating time to writing papers. Google+ is by far the best way to see what I'm up to currently, including the latest graphics experiments....
New science visual : the light of other suns. This one is an extension to the VY Canis Majoris project, showing what the Solar System would look like if our Sun was replaced with a variety of other stars.
Another science visual completed. This one explores what the view would look like if we could see the hydrogen of the Milky Way with our eyes. Short answer : very pretty.
Created a much better index page for the science visuals. Added a 3D version of the ALFALFA flythrough of the nearby Universe.
Added a very important postscript to the Solar System vortex. The original author has now made a new version which is far more accurate than the original, but just as pretty. Happy times !
FRELLED has now been updated, with lots of new features and a much better description page with lots of shiny demo movies.
The galleries have been going offline quite a lot for no apparent reason. I'm in the process of replacing the old singapore-powered versions with normal html pages. At the moment, the seven malfunctioning galleries have been replaced. Over the next several days I'll replace the others as well, for consistency. With any luck that will also boost the hit counter - I don't think hits to the the singapore galleries ever counted. The new galleries also have embedded movies and panoramas, which is nice, as well as links to StockTrek images where you can buy hi-res images and prints. Also, I've edited all embeded YouTube videos so that you can play them fullscreen.
The FRELLED page will also get a much-need overhaul soon and a new science project is in the works.
I've decided to add some pages about my actual work. You can see an overview of my research interests here, view my publlcations here, learn about the teaching and outreach activities I do here, and download a selection of my programs here. The programs are mostly written in Python and designed to help clean up HI data cubes, but I've also included a selection of code snippets for very basic Python/Blender tasks. They're fairly well-commented, but I make no guarantee's they'll do what you want then to.
June 2014 :
New major project finished ! Yet another Orion, this time in the guise of the Discovery from 2001 : A Space Odyssey. Check out the gallery and the video section, and read a detailed report on my blog.
A complete archive of all eighteen versions of FRELLED is now online.
March 2014 :
Just a general, "huzzah !". The "Rocky / Blue Marbles" videos have been shared all over the place : Universe Today, io9, the Daily Mail (!) and I Fucking Love Science. Consequently my YouTube channel suddenly has over 120,000 views and 170+ subscribers. Guess I should make more outreach videos !
February 2014 :
Two videos added : Rocky Marbles, the sequel to Blue Marbles, compares the size and mass of some of the Solar System's rocky planetoids with the Earth. The Hydrogen Sky is another sequel, thsi time to the Hydrogen Universe, and examines the gas content of the Milky Way (learn more on my blog).
FRELLED updated ! Well, many times, in fact, but it's time to put a few of them on the front page :
• Operations on FITS files are run by external scripts. This makes it easier to install on Linux since Blender doesn't have to find most of the Python modules any more.
• FITS files without a RA/Dec WCS (i.e. simulations) are now supported.
• Automatic import buttons for people too lazy to read the manual.
• Allows separate colour and transparency maps, making it much more powerful when clipping isn't possible (i.e. volumes entirely full of interesting data). Also logarithmic colour scaling is allowed.
• Easy setup for creating turntable animations. Rendering a sequnce of FITS files (e.g. a time series from simulations) is also supported.
• A vastly improved, more efficient GUI. Data display can be altered much more easily without having to re-export the FITS cube.