Linux (Ubuntu) Notes


Installing Houdini 10 on Ubuntu 9.04 was pretty simple. Extract the TAR file and run the installer with
sudo houdini.install
The options let you decide which license server to install, as well as whether or not to create the start menus for you.

Once Houdini is running have to remember to disable the Alt hotkey in the Window Manager control panel, otherwise your Alt+clicks will not work. This can also be completed with the Compiz Settings Manager in 12.10, but it needs to be installed first.

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Shake 4.1 (64 bit)

Here’s the stripped down simple instructions for installing Shake 4.1 on Linux, specifically, tried this on Ubuntu 10.10. More details can be found here.
mkdir -p /usr/nreal
cat shake-linux-v4.00.0607.tgz | (cd /usr/nreal; tar zxvf -)
ln -s /usr/nreal/shake-v4.00.0607 /usr/nreal/shake2

install getlibs from…

sudo getlibs -32 libXext.so.6
sudo apt-get install csh

Besides the libX11.so.6.2.0 => libX11.so.6, you will also need libXi.so.6 => libXi.so.6.0.0. You can get this from the libxi6_1.2.1-2ubuntu1_i386.deb package. Details here.

Keyboard & Mouse Setup

After a reboot and test of the new key, I remapped my mouse buttons with some help here.

I first use “xinput list” to get the name of the device.

I next use “xev” to find out what my mouses Middle and Thumb button positions were (2 & 9). In the command below, positions 2 & 9 have a value of 2, which is equal to my middle mouse button. Yup, I want two middle mouse buttons, so I can alternate when I feel like it.
xinput set-button-map "Evoluent Vertical Mouse 2" 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 2

And for my IntelliMouse Optical (best mouse EVAH!!)
xinput set-button-map "Microsoft Microsoft 5-Button Mouse with IntelliEye(TM)" 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2 2
To save my wrists from tension, I’m lowering the mouse speed.
xinput -set-prop "Microsoft Microsoft 5-Button Mouse with IntelliEye(TM)" "Device Accel Constant Deceleration" 1.5

Trackball settings for left and right-handed use. Hmmm… a shell script file for switching hands would be even better…
xinput -set-prop "Logitech USB Trackball" "Device Accel Constant Deceleration" 1.5
xinput set-button-map "Logitech USB Trackball" 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2 1

Joystick / Gamepad

Found this link which contains info on how to install Microsoft SideWinder digital joysticks and gamepads (along with many others.
sudo modprobe sidewinder

Microsoft xbox controller then the command is

sudo modprobe xpad


Next step… getting Skype to work properly. I can use my microphone, but noticed that Skype isn’t receiving any input. I’m hearing that I should first install Pulse Audio.

Hmmm… so now I can still record (luckily) but not in Skype. Gah! K, now for Skype’s Linux sound FAQ.

More specifically, I”m going to try this thread that talks about Skype V2 and PulseAudio support (the solution seems to be downgrading..

Wacom Intuos4 drawing tablet

Lastly (I hope) I needed to get my new Wacom Intuos4 tablet working. The Wacom drivers built in to the 9.04 build work with all devices, prior to the Intuos4. Luckily, I didn’t have to run through the full install of the latest drivers supplied at the Linux Wacom Project. I only needed to compile some of the files and replace existing ones. This info was very helpful in getting everything working. Specifically I used the “animone” post to get the Wacom pen working. However, I have not yet setup the pad.

Running a dual monitor setup, I wanted to restrict the tablet stylus to the left screen. According to this thread (thx Ben Simmons), I had to do a matrix transform. Luckily, I didn’t have to do any math to get it to restrict it to the primary monitor.

xinput set-prop "Wacom Intuos4 6x9 stylus" --type=float "Coordinate Transformation Matrix" 0.5 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1

or, if you want to use your Wacom on the right monitor:

xinput set-prop "Wacom Intuos4 6x9 stylus" --type=float "Coordinate Transformation Matrix" 0.5 0 0.5 0 1 0 0 0 1

You can even get a little creative by having the eraser control one monitor and the stylus controls the other. Just use “Wacom Intuos4 6×9 eraser” instead.


First, gotta get the middle-mouse scroll enabled so I can casually slide down the pages. You might have to first disable the auto lookup URL thingy. While lookin around also found out about the middle-mouse paste. Nummy : middlemouse.paste

Synergy – Control the Desktop of Two Computers.

To install it I just ran apt-get synergy to install it. I then used these instructions to setup and run the server.

Simon – Simple Speech Recognition

Hmm, judging by this demo, it doesn’t look like it’s really “speech recognition”, but “voice commands”… ? Will have to look into further.

Plastic Animation Paper

Trying to get Plastic Animation Paper working on linux is going to be a bit tricky. I can see that already. There are minor issues with the Wacom tablet, but much larger issues with the sound drivers. Also, noted that with 9.04, PAP couldn’t find the libstdc++5 libraries, but I got the package here and all is good.

So, with the sound stuff, it appears that I’m not the only one having issues.

I think I’ll just stick with Pencil for now at is suits my animation needs… on Linux. Just came across this MyPaint app too.

USB Network Card (DLink DWA-130 v B1)

Used this link in order to download the necessary ndiswrapper packages from another computer that had internet.

DLink had the drivers on their website, including 64 bit versions.

Then made sure to blacklist the built-in drivers that might conflict, using this link, and this one.

echo -e "blacklist bcm43xx\nblacklist b43\nblacklist b43legacy\nblacklist ssb" | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
blacklist rt2400
blacklist rt2570

Not sure if I needed this, but I put the below lines in, based on this thread.
sudo gedit /etc/NetworkManager/nm-system-settings.conf
under [ifupdown], change managed=true


Fire you must unmount the drive that you plan to copy, i.e. :

sudo umount /dev/sr0
next you can use readom to make an iso image of the drive.

readom dev=/dev/sr0 f=~/Desktop/myImage.iso

Shared Network Folders

When right-clicking a folder on the server machine and trying to share it, it will automatically ask you if you want to install the services for sharing. Do it!

Next, you will need to install smbfs on the client in order to mount to this new share.
sudo apt-get install smbfs
Finally, we will need to create a folder then mount to this newly created folder.
mkdir ~/othertunes

sudo smbmount // ~/othertunes -o username=bill,password=nooneknows,uid=1000,mask=000
So that both machines have the same relative references, I can make a symbolic link. For example, on the server machine I would type the following command.
ln -s ~/music ~/othermusic
This thread seems to be a good location for tips on mounting shares and securities.

Zipped Files – Staying Compatible with Windows Systems

sudo apt-get install p7zip


Compiz is installed by default in 10.10, but you have to activate the extra plugins in order to get the sphere of awesomeness.
sudo apt-get install compiz-fusion-plugins-extra
For Ubuntu 12.10 (specifically to disable the Alt-Click window movements) I installed the compiz settings manager.
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

terminal shell cheat sheets


Houdini is 50% off!

Life likes to poke you in the ribs sometimes. Just when you get comfortable, it reminds you that you’re not happy being content. It reminds you that there’s still so much to explore, to experience, to share.
A piece of software that I’ve been meaning to dive into, recently knocked its price down to 50%, for a limited time. That’s a BIG discount, especially when you consider that the product is over $10k.
Buzz has all those great video tutorials, but not sure where to start. Going to send them an email to see if I can get some help. I would like to just get all the vids.
On top of that, District 9 was released, reminding me how entertaining and educational a movie can be. BLOW SHIT UP, HAVE FUN & DO IT FOR CHEAP!! Film only cost $30 million to make.

Sure glad I have a separate blog for my more personal ramblings. Just need to put more pictures in here.

A New Era for the Video DJ

CHOPS baby

Andrew Lowell Productions just released an ebook entitled, Simultaneous Music, Animation, and Sound with Houdini. At $29.95, I picked it up immediately! His goal is to share his discoveries in order spark more interest in this area, and the reasonable price reflects this goal.  Big props to the author for a great price that will certainly help spread this wonderful info!

Skimming through the book, it’s packed with text and screenshots that contain paint-overs that should help to avoid any confusion. The package also includes a few hundred megabytes of example files to work from. I recommend checking out his quicktime demo where he gives some samples of the contents, broken down by chapter.

For months I’ve been meaning to dig around in Houdini’s CHOPS (Channel Operators) for this exact thing. Knowing that I now have a guide to lead me through the beginning hurdles, well… I’m more eager than ever to begin my personal project. This really did come at just the right time.

Guinness Commercial: noitulovE

Guinness gives us a little history of life with “noitulovE” (that’s “Evolution” backwards, if you haven’t noticed). The question of “Daddy, where did we come from?” can be answered in less than 1 minute! I know this commercial is old news, but needed to post it anyways.

Get a better quality Quicktime version here.

Also, Guiness.com has posted a short making-of documentary w/ Danny Kleinman going over some of the FX shots.

Softimage’s ICE


Softimage has introduced ICE (Interactive Creative Environment) in XSI 7. Taking strong cues from Houdini’s procedural workflow, ICE finally brings XSI a particle system and much much more.

Despite what the general public thinks, there is a LOT that can be done on a 3D production that does not require a programmer. Using node networks, we are attempting to keep it that way. However, this doesn’t mean there isn’t some serious logic puzzles to figure out, it just means that the keyboard and typos are less prevalent.

If you are a 3D professional that is curious or if you’re a newb that wants to see a slick way produce do 3D effects, please take a look at Softimage’s XSI 7.

– = UPDATE =-

The Softimage community website has a list of videos with some jaw dropping examples of how ICE is being used. You can dissect the IK solver? Uugh… geek heaven.

Houdini and Mr X Inc

I just finished watching Resident Evil Extinction. It’s the third movie of the Resident Evil series and I was pleasantly surprised. If not for any other reason, the FX don’t feel so fakey and the action is continuous. How about the story? Mad Max w/ zombies? It worked for me.

beatiful Houdini 9 UI

Working in the industry, it’s hard for me not to take note of the effects that make me loose my breath as I gasp “whaaaaaa?”. The effects are killer (pun intended) and they reminded me of another action/horror move I’d seen recently, Silent Hill. Mr. X Inc. was responsible for the FX in both Resident Evil & Silent Hill, and the Houdini software upped the awe factor. From what I’ve read, Houdini’s procedural workflow was essential in speeding up the process in receiving director feedback. How? Well, if something needs to be tweaked or a step backtracked, it’s instant with Houdini. No build history is lost, which makes it a snap to make modifications to prior steps. Fantastic! <insert geek snort here>. This also makes the program a dream to work with, as you can rely on networks of nodes instead of spending your days writing lines of code.

Been reading some other interviews about how Houdini is improving the lives of TDs around the world. I plan on improving my life as well, just as soon as I find a little more time to dive into the free 3D Buzz online class. Speaking of which, even if you have no prior experience in 3D applications, I’m sure you’d be able to follow along in Buzz’s free video tutorials.

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