Box Bounce Animation (OpenToonz)

While testing OpenToonz 2D animation software, I a hand drew a box squashing and stretching animation sequence with my Wacom Bamboo tablet (CTH-661), which helped me test how OpenToonz handled the tablet and responded with pressure sensitivity, It was fun creating this but the software had issues registering pen clicks at times and rendering certain brush strokes.

AMD support in Blender

Cycles render in Blender for a very long time has been supporting GPU compile, GPU Compile option is like a switch it lets you switch to your dedicated Graphics Card if your system has one for rendering. GPU Compile can be faster than CPU rendering, depending on your system configuration, this means it would take lesser time to render and the rendering task is done by a separate hardware optimised for rendering, this can also help reduce the viewport lag, because the CPU is not in use and can let you do minor changes faster in real time.

GPU Compile has been my long time favorite and was always set to default in my projects while setting up rendering, which at that time only supported Nvidia Graphics Cards that supported CUDA. Until I had switched to a MacBook Pro 15 2015 (with dedicated graphics), which came with an AMD Radeon R9 M370X. To enable GPU compile for the AMD graphics card on the mac you needed to use OpenCL test flags, until release 27.5.

You can learn how to enable GPU compute . Blender 2.76a came with support for AMD Graphics card, that used OpenCL and supported the following Graphics cards, this meant, I could finally use GPU Compile and render my projects with the Graphics Card, this was not very stable and had issues like loading of the rendering Kernel and other strange bugs, until Blender 2.76b which improved the stability by a larger number and now would render most of my scenes with crashing. It still needs a lot of improvement until it could be used in production on a large scale, but it is nice to see support for AMD Graphics card, this lets users have a wider choice of Graphics card option and support.

I still use my Alienware M17 for rendering, which comes with Nvidia Graphics card (Nvidia GTX 580M). Thank you for rendering, If you have any question feel free to leave a comment below.

Typora Markdown editor

Typora is a free cross-platform Markdown editor for Mac/Windows/Linux), it currently in beta stage and under active development. You might be thinking not another Markdown editor, with keyboard shortcuts and side panel preview and custom CSS options. Typora is a WYSIWYG (WhatYouSeeIsWhatYouGet) editor, this means you would not have a separate preview panel to the side for preview, this is a great way for writing content, because your source editor is your preview editor, that updates as you are typing, so you have more screen space for writing and focus while typing will be on the same window and not a separate panel. As the video below

It is one of the best Markdown editors I have ever used till date.

It has many other features similar to the other Markdown editors like Mou

  • Custom theme
  • Font customization
  • Window style(how the app should appear)
  • Word count

It is a great editor for a writer who wants to edit and view the preview in the same place and wants to have a larger amount of screen space used for editing area. Thank you for reading, if you have any question feel free to leave a comment below.

PageKit(preview)

PageKit is an open source CMS (Content Management System) written in PHP, build using Symphony components and Vue.js, developed by YooTheme.

It has a very clean and easy to use admin interface inspired by Google’s Material Design, that contains customizable widgets.

It offers 3rd party developers to develop themes and plugins(extensions), plugin and theme dependencies are managed by composer, which reduces the amount of manual labor for a user, and fewer things to manage for a programmer/coder.

PageKit offers both SQLite and MySQL support, so you can choose what suits best for you.

I discovered PageKit while searching for a CMS that has a well-written codebase, uses composer to manage dependencies and can work with SQLite, you might know, I am not a big fan of MySQL if you have read my earlier posts over other CMSs.

I have been observing this project since I had discovered it, it has a higher potential than most other CMS out there, specifically CMSs that support SQLite.

According to my vision the day PageKit full fills all the common CMS requirements and reaches 1.0, it will already be a big competitor for most of the popular CMS out there.

Once PageKit has well-written documentation and stable codebase, with common feature support which is currently work in progress for the developers, it will be the CMS I would recommend everyone.

This CMS is one of the second CMS I would recommend after Grav

Leave a comment below and lets me know what you think.

Static site generators

Static sites are the fast, secure and easy to create and manage, it is also the fastest in load up time.

It’s the best way to serve content, if all you want to serve is static.

Its can handle higher traffic because it does not require any pre-processing.

Its also one of the oldest ways of creating websites, before pre-processors existed, people wrote website, pages and web content manually, but you really don’t have to, these days there are static site generator, which let you use pre-processors to build static content in a much easier and hassle free way, it also makes managing content easier and some of the static site generators can completely be a replacement to a CMS.

A lot of bloggers go with a static site generator, mainly because hosting a static site is cheaper and sometimes free, there are hosting options like GitHub Pages, Netlifty and many others.

The best place you can use a static site generator when you need to serve content that is not updated regularly or dynamic, it good for a blog, if you prefer writing in files instead of using a front-end interface that uses a Database to store content.

Usage of client sided scripting languages like JavaScript can make you static site serve dynamic content, you can getting commenting services like Disqus to have comment in a static site.

The most popular static site generator is Jekyll, it’s written in Ruby, but if you want more flexibility you can use Metalsmith. I have used both and recommend Jekyll for beginners, due to well-written documentation, community support, and user-friendly design.

Static sites are secure because they don’t have to communicate Database, so hacking and SQL Injection kinds of attack don’t work on them.

Have a question? Leave a comment below.

Grav CMS: What makes it better than others?

Simplicity and ease of use makes Grav a real winner

Grav is a free open source flat file CMS written in PHP developed by RocketTheme, currently in active development, it’s fast and easy to setup and maintain, it supports theme and plugin development, so third party developers can develop themes and plugins for it.

What is a flat file CMS?

A flat file CMS stores data in files and does not need a database, compared to most of the CMS out there that are database driven, which means that you need to have a Database (MySQL, MSSQL, PostgresQL and Sqlite) running to get the CMS’s working, these CMS’s query the database to read and write data. However, the performance of a database depends on the specification of the Web Server, database driven CMS can some times take a lot of resource over large numbers, because every request is made the database is queried to fetch the data, which at times can way to much that a server can handle and block the I/O of the Web Server, A flat file CMS can be more resource efficient compared to a database driven CMS.

So, how does Grav work?

Grav uses Markdown files to store page content, these Markdown files are stored in folders that are named after the slug of the page, however you can change the slug by adding a slug string in the page header, headers in the Markdown file store metadata of the page, like the title, date, description, categories and tag. The Markdown files look like this.

---  
title: Lorem Ipsum  
date: 2015/08/17  
description: A sample post  
taxonomy:  
tag: [sample]  
category: [blog]  
---

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod  
tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam,  
quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo  
consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse  
cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non  
proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.  

Theme development is also a really easy task, because it uses Twig for templating which is very easy to learn templating and directly compiled into PHP, it’s easier than PHP based templating, the configuration are YAML files which are easy to read and use.

Grav uses caching, the page is cached on the first request and after that the other users are served the cached page until the timestamp is not changed, it also supports various drivers for caching APC, MemCached and others, by default set the driver is set to auto, caching increases the performance by a large margin, the cache is cleared when grav is update or can be cleared using the Grav CLI toos that come bundled with it.

Grav also lets you create backup of the Grav instance using the CLI tools, the backup is stored as a zip file in the backup folder with timestamp.

What makes Grav better than other flat file CMS?

There are many other flat file CMS’s out there being used by large number of people on a daily basis, but how much better is Grav? Let me explain it point wise:

  1. Open Source
  2. Active development
  3. Markdown with Markdown Extra for Pages (Parsedown)
  4. Twig templating
  5. Admin Panel
  6. YAML based configuration files and header.
  7. Third Party plugin and theme development
  8. CLI Tools (use to install/upgrade packages and more)
  9. Smart Caching
  10. Assets pipeline
  11. Image modification tools
  12. Composer based dependencies management
  13. Offers Skeletons
  14. PSR code base (Grav’s code follows all the PSR)
  15. Backup (using CLI tools)

Now i have listed the point that makes Grav better than the other CMS, here is an example of a Grav powered website link

Thanks to RocketTheme for spent many hours developing Grav and turning it into a very good user user friendly flat file CMS. Grav is one of the best flat file CMS I have ever used.

If you have any query related to Grav, leave a comment below. I promise, I won’t act like that MySQL database on a low spec Web Server