Designing a Space in 3D (Task)

For the 3D animation „Titanic’s Victims – Echoes from the Sea Floor“ I imagined a remote-controlled submarine with a spotlight transmitting noisy video & spooky sounds from the ancient sunken passenger ship.

Download the original video file for better (noise) quality!

This is my first Blender project, so I had to learn a few things, e.g. how to make a camera follow a path or how to control the lighting. The Blender infographic map smoothed the way for me – thank you very much!

Title & credits was created with the image editing program GIMP and the graphics knot & seahorse form I took the 3D models (gramophone, shoes, cello, rocking horse & bell) from

The choral Näher, mein Gott, zu Dir is in the public domain, the free sound effects are from YouTube’s Audio Library. Audio editing & mixing was done with Audacity – like Blender & GIMP a free software!

# Add Gaussian noise to the images
for i in *.png; do convert +noise Gaussian $i $i; done
# Merge images to video (16000k with Gaussian noise)
avconv -framerate 24 -i %04d.png -b 5000k video.mp4
# Combine video and audio to one file
avconv -i video.mp4 -i audio.m4a -c copy video+audio.mp4

PS: YouTube offers a page with recommended upload encoding settings (container: MP4, audio codec: AAC-LC and video codec: H.264). It also suggests appropriate frame rate, bitrate, resolution and aspect ratio.

Switching from LastPass to Firefox Sync

Recentyl, I use my tablet more often, so I need my passwords on more than one device… I seized the opportunity to quit my password manager LastPass and switch to Firefox Sync (free software).

LastPass offers a „Security Challenge“ which I employed to identify and change weak passwords during the migration – logging into all of my accounts and accepting Firefox to store the passwords…

I started with 367 accounts but many online services are no more, so the number went down to 223. Amazing, how many online services seemed useful at the time and I simply forgot about them!

Firefox Sync also handles bookmarks, so I imported all of my 6003 bookmarks from and Diigo. Afterwards I let the Firefox add-on iMacros delete them from the social bookmarking sites.

Finally, I activated Pocket for Firefox: „Click the Pocket button in your Firefox toolbar to save articles, videos, pages, and more. You can view them later in Pocket on any device.“ What’s next?

Pixilation Task Revisited

For „Yogilation – A Pixelated Yogi in Pixilation“ I videotaped myself practicing yoga and extracted the relevant frames with VLC (hotkeys „e“ for frame by frame navigation and „Ctrl+s“ for snapshot).

I recycled the accordion music from my „Pixilation Task“, reversed it and applied the effect „Paulstretch“ with Audacity. For the graphical effects (brightness, contrast and pixelation) I used the command-line:

# Apply brightness and contrast to each frame
for i in *.png; do convert -brightness-contrast 11x22 $i $i; done
# Apply the pixelation effect to each frame
for i in *.png; do convert -scale 10% -scale 1000% $i $i; done
# Merge individual frames to video
avconv -framerate 12 -f image2 -i %04d.png -b 16000k

Pixilation Task

For the pixilation „Accordilation – Accordion in Pixilation“ I videotaped myself playing accordion, grabbed four frames per second, added a title, applied a charcoal filter and merged the frames to video again.

The course instructors curate pixilation animations in this playlist. I used the command-line interface (with a little help for ImageMagick and Libav) on my laptop with Ubuntu. The commands I’ve executed:

# Grab four frames per second
avconv -i videotape.mp4 -vsync 1 -r 4 -an -y -qscale 1 %04d.jpg
# Extract the audio
avconv -i videotape.mp4 -c:a copy -vn -y audio.aac
# Apply a charcoal filter to each frame
for i in *.jpg; do convert $i -charcoal 2 $i; done
# Merge individual frames to video
avconv -framerate 4 -f image2 -i %04d.jpg -b 65536k
# Combine video and audio
avconv -i -i audio.aac -c copy

Cel Animation Task

For the cel animation „Walk Wait Wave“ I used the Stick Fighter app on my tablet for the stick figures and the video editor Quik to add the title as well as a nice background music:

FilmoraGo is another good video editor, but it adds its name at the end of the video. The course instructors found this helpful video of the walk cycle and curate cel animations in this playlist.

Stop Motion Task

For the stop motion animation „Cubing“ I set up my desk with three lamps for lighting, my laptop as background and a tablet with the Stop-Motion Movie Creator app for production:

FutureLearn is a social learning environment at its heart – here are some social media tips and tools for social learners. The course instructors curate stop motion animations in this playlist.

Flip Book Task

My submission for the online course Explore Animation. I used GIMP to stitch together the individual pictures, reduce the number of colours and resize the final GIF animation:

Flip Book (Bouncing Ball)
Flip Book (Bouncing Ball)

Thomas and Johnston’s twelve principles of animation are illustrated well by this video and also in these animations. The course instructors curate flipbooks in this playlist.

Hacker’s Digest – Don’t Panic

Ich lese viel und gerne… Hier präsentiere ich einige meiner aktuellen Favoriten in al­pha­be­tischer Reihenfolge – und bin gespannt auf Tipps und Kommentare von euch!


  • Accelerando (Charles Stross)
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (Eliezer Yudkowsky)
  • Homo Faber (Max Frisch)
  • Millennium (series) (Stieg Larsson & David Lagercrantz)
  • Off to Be the Wizard (Scott Meyer)
  • Ready Player One & Armada (Ernest Cline)
  • The Circle (Dave Eggers)
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (series) (Douglas Adams)
  • The Martian (Andy Weir)
  • The Once and Future King (T. H. White)

Lesetipps von den Teilnehmern:

  • Daemon (series) (Daniel Suarez)
  • Der aufrechte Mann (Davide Longo)
  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency & The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (Douglas Adams)
  • Rainbows End (Vernor Vinge)
  • Starfish (Peter Watts)
  • The Futurological Congress (Stanisław Lem)


  • A Short History of Nearly Everything
  • For the Love of Physics
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

Lesetipps von den Teilnehmern:

  • Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction (Steve McConnell)
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void (DE: Was macht der Astronaut, wenn er mal muss?) (Mary Roach)
  • Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words (Randall Munroe)
  • Weniger schlecht programmieren (Kathrin Passig & Johannes Jander)

Aller guten Dinge sind drei

  1. Gehe heute (Mo, 19. Oktober 2015) spontan an die Frischlingsparade im Casinotheater. Wer kommt mit? Werde um 19:30 Uhr an der Abendkasse lösen. Wenn es keine Karten mehr geben sollte, machen wir halt etwas anderes 🙂
  2. Am Do, 22. Oktober 2015 um 20 Uhr zeigt Roswitha den Film „Inhabit (2015)“ über Permakultur mit anschliessender Diskussion im Quartierzentrum (Jonas-Furrer-Strasse 84, Winterthur). Es gibt Süssmost. Knabbersachen und 4 CHF mitbringen.
  3. Am So, 25. Oktober 2015 um 11 Uhr zeigt Nele den kubanischen Spielfilm „Conducta (2014)“ mit Erläuterungen von einem Kubakenner im Saal der Giesserei (Ida-Sträuli-Strasse 65, Winterthur). Snaks & Getränke vorhanden, Kollekte.