Skip to main content

Artifastring 1.4

Artifastring 1.4 is now out (now including video output!), along with a heartwarming story: another person is working on this project! Welcome to Marcos Press ("tdy")!

I introduced Vivi to the lilypond-user mailing list, sparking a long discussion, on both the technical accomplishments of Vivi and the musical implications of such work. But in the middle of it, I received a very kind offer of a violin model in blender. Blender is a Free 3D content creation suite; amonst other things, it can create animations. I was using that for Vivi already, but only with very primitive output -- 4 cylinders for the strings, 1 cylinder for the bow, cones for the fingers, etc.

He sent along an image of the violin, and it looked quite nice. So I wrote back to say that I was very interested, and did he also have a bow model?

He replied that he didn't have a bow model yet, but that he'd do it right away, because the bow was easier to do than a violin. A few hours later, he sent me a file with both models.

The small picture I saw earlier did not do it justice. His models were literally jaw-dropping. It includes a sound post. It includes the wires attaching the tailpiece to the knob at the bottom of the violin. It includes curved f-holes. The strings have different colors of windings. The tailpiece has actual holes -- or rather, not just circular holes, but correctly-shaped holes -- into which the strings fit. The bridge has notches in which the strings fit. Ditto for the nut. The strings wind around the tuning pegs.

The below picture doesn't do it justice, either... I should have rotated the violin a bit more so that you could see more details of the bridge. But spending the whole blog post talking about a video without showing any graphics would be a bit weird.

Frame from video (click to enlarge)

After I got the file, I must have spent about 30 minutes just looking at the model. Zooming in, zooming out, rotating... everywhere I looked, there was an incredible amount of detail. I need to learn how to make a "fly-by animation" in blender, to show off all the pieces of this.

The model also included some text inside the violin, like a "maker's mark". I didn't notice it for the first 20 minutes or so, but when I read it, I almost cried.

from tdy's 1st blender modeling for Graham Persival Vivi System Vivi's 2nd Violin Loving OpenSource 2011

Now, I've been working on open-source projects for a long time... since 2003, actually. I've released my own software as open source. At times, I've spent over 60 hours a week on existing open-source projects. I've trained approximately 30 people to do documentation work (admittely, about half of them just read the guidelines I wrote and didn't need any further guidance). I've directly caused literally hundreds of hours of work, mostly on LilyPond. I've reviewed patches, mentored new contributors, and seen those contributors to become much more knowledgeable than me and tell me off for things (that's my favorite part of mentoring :). I've had people express interest in work that I'd abandoned, and I passed the source code along to them.

But this is the first time that somebody's sent a contribution to one of my own projects, and it's a whole new feeling.

I also feel even more inspired to make Vivi better -- with Marcos' work, the sound quality is much worse than the video quality. I need to improve her bow control much more. I was already planning on doing that, of course, but now I have even more motivation. :)

Here's an example of the videos it produces:

So again, Marcos -- thank you so much! To other people: I've got a github repository now, and more bits and pieces will be coming in the next few days. What are you waiting for? :)