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Member Since 08 Nov 2002
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In Topic: With 1963 primitive graphics technology, How was this skeleton animations fig...

26 May 2016 - 09:13 PM


I thought the image in the link I posted demonstrated how physical avatars (or puppets) are magnified to life size or giant size. But doesn't explain the unaided synchronized animated movements, overlayed into the real world

They could advance the background projector to by one frame (if a background is required), animate all the figurines by one frame, update/move the matte painting, advance the filming camera by one frame, and then operate the shutter like a regular camera to expose a single frame. That would capture the figurines, masked behind the matte painting, and the background projection behind them.
You could project the already-filmed real-life footage onto the background, which would be equivalent to compositing the matte painting and the stop-motion figurines on top of it.
If you use a black background (and possibly a black matte painting as a mask), and put the already-filmed real-life footage into the camera instead of the projector, then you can also superimpose the stop-motion figurines onto the existing footage via a second exposure over the original frames. This is an additive effect though - and you can see it in that russian video I linked, where the tiny dancing man sometimes appears translucent.



It's worth noting that even though that particular video uses double exposure in the simplest way possible, it was also entirely possible to do proper chroma keying in 1940 as well.

In Topic: How come most HD photos I see online look worse than their downsized versions?

23 May 2016 - 08:53 PM

While I agree with the above, I think the lens vs. sensor thing is a bit of a misdirection to be honest. Video has much the same problem, and in that case the weak link is often the sensor and not the lens at all, but the effect is very much the same, and unfortunately it's not something that can easily be quantified since even "noise" and "grain" can describe quite a few distinct phenomena with different statistical and aesthetic properties. Looking at a photograph at "full" resolution will make any of these artefacts apparent simply because they're the most faithful representation of what the sensor has captured. Most of the time these artefacts do start to look "better" when you down-sample the data, but you're almost always throwing away "real" data as well. The same sort of "improvement" happens when you take a highly aliased image and scale it down.


In all of these cases (including the computer rendering), if you keep down-sampling until it stops looking "better," you've almost certainly thrown away a lot of "real" data as well (that is, if you try to scale it back up, you'll almost certainly end up with something that looks worse than the original -- if this isn't the case, only then is it likely that you're looking at an image that's already been upscaled). The fact that these artefacts can't readily be described in terms of "resolution" is why cameras almost always give the "bad" full-resolution images, so that you can decide for yourself how to interpret that data.

In Topic: Entrapment, should this be legal?

20 April 2016 - 11:11 PM

That is still morals.


Trying to define right and wrong by by social benefits is just another way to define morals.  You can call them divinely instituted, or instituted for the benefit of having a community, or whatever else, they are still morals.


Appealing to Google, "define morality" brings up: principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.


Exactly how you determine morals doesn't matter, it is still those morals that are attempted to be codified into law.  Something is considered right or wrong. That is why I was careful to describe it in terms of "moral/right" and "immoral/wrong".   It does not matter if your morals come from religious teachings, philosophical dogmas, politically designed social contracts, historical study, or some other source, whatever the morals are for the people that is what gets established. Typically the local population defines as right and wrong, moral and immoral, for their society.  


The law is still generally based on encoding the predominant local moral beliefs.


Bringing it back around, most (but not all) of the world has decided, based on their own morals or beliefs of right and wrong, that prostitution is "wrong" and encoded it as such in their law.  And similarly further back along the discussion, most societies have said it is "right" for police officers to investigate crimes under cover, and in order to be under cover they often will be called on to do things typically considered "wrong", within certain limits, such as possessing contraband being allowed but murdering to protect their cover is not.  And then back to the beginning, that in order to catch people who are defrauding people about school (doing "wrong"), to set up a fake school ("wrong") where fraudsters will operate so they can be caught.


Well, maybe this is just a question of semantics, or maybe I don't understand what you mean. As you said, morals define the difference between "right and wrong" or "good and bad."


Generally speaking, those concepts are considered to be something altogether distinct from things like utility and pleasure. Something can be pleasurable without necessarily being moral (or immoral). Likewise, something can be useful without needing to be either moral or immoral. That distinction is in fact the fundamental basis of the social contract theory.


Social contract theory says that there are circumstances in which people acting rationally in a society will create laws based only on the concepts of utility and self-interest, even if that society doesn't initially have any sense of right and wrong. I think my example of stealing still holds up: my friends and I will enter into a contract (i.e. create a law + system of enforcement) that prevents us all from stealing, despite the fact that none of us consider stealing to be wrong, or bad, or immoral. Note that each member of the society would rationally, for reasons of self interest alone, and decisions based on self interest don't have any implicit morality or "goodness." The same result follows even if we replace my friends and I with simulations or mathematical models. That is, in fact, precisely what made the theory of social contracts so groundbreaking: it represents an explanation for how laws arise without morality.


Even if you argue that the creation of this law automatically means that we feel stealing is "wrong" on some level (which I disagree with, again, because I would still make the rational choice to forbid stealing even if I didn't consider it to be "immoral" or even ascribe meaning to the word "immoral" in the first place), that's still different that saying that the law represents that morality.


Consider another example: my friend and I discover an island and decide to split it up evenly between the two of us. In this case, it's perhaps justifiable to say that we chose to divide it up evenly because that's the "right" thing to do. That's as far as the "rightness" goes, though. Once it comes time to actually putting this into law, we have to do more, like specifying precisely who gets which piece of land and what happens when we break this rule. If we agree on a law that says that I get the east half and my friend gets the west half and that this is enforced by a fence patrolled by robotic birds, it'd be very strange to say that that represents the inherent morality or rightness of "westness," "eastness," or giant robotic birds. We create these specific stipulations not because they reflect our society's moral beliefs but because they are useful to us, in that they assure that we each get to keep our own half of the island.


All I'm claiming is that the notion that all law necessarily codifies what society considers moral requires, fundamentally, adopting a concept of morality that no longer distinguishes morality from utility. I don't think that's a particularly useful concept, whereas I think that social contract theory does provide some useful predictive power in the domain of individuals acting within rational self interest. I find it almost akin to the idea of evolution vs. creation (not necessarily in a religious sense).


Before natural selection was proposed as a process that drives the evolution of species, "creation" was the best way we could explain it. Once the theory of natural selection was developed and shown to have predictive power, you could say "that is still creation,"  but at that point the definition of "creation" has lost all usefulness as the basis for the development of species.


EDIT: Here's an even better example of law without morality: in the island example, imagine that, instead of discovering the island with my friend, I built the island and had been living there for 20 years. Then my "friend" comes and decides that he wants the island. I think he's likely to kill me if I try to keep the island for myself, and the robot birds are only willing to enforce a law that we both agree to. I'll willingly and rationally enter into a contract that let's me have half of the island, since the alternative is probably dying, and my "friend" will willingly and rationally enter into the contract because he only needs half of the island and doesn't want to bother/risk killing me just to get the whole thing. This is a perfectly valid law, but the law itself does not encode or represent any "morality" whatsoever. There are plenty of laws just like this in all modern countries that I know of.

In Topic: Entrapment, should this be legal?

20 April 2016 - 08:32 PM


it should be band practice.


I don't know about you, but there was all kind of nonsense during band practice.  Kids who locked themselves in the instrument lockers, switching instruments and goofing off, it is amazing that anything related to music was learned.




prostitution and morality


Laws are the codification of what society believes are moral and immoral.  All modern law is enforced morality.


Most people believe that theft is immoral or wrong, and that consequences for theft are moral and right.


Most people believe that certain business practices are immoral or wrong, and consequences for fraud or false advertising or intentionally confusing consumers are moral and right.


Most people believe that various safety practices are immoral/wrong or are moral/right, and society sets up laws to prohibit the ones they don't like and specify through policy what practices are moral/right.


Most people believe that disturbing others is immoral/wrong, that breaking your word is immoral/wrong, and that all the other civil behavior rules are moral/right or immoral/wrong, so these are codified as civil law.


Generally the laws don't call it morality specifically (although laws some do), but that is what the law represents. 




Around the globe, most (but not all) societies have selected that prostitution is immoral/wrong, and codified this into law to be enforced.  Some places do not.  


Whatever the subject, if you want to engage in a behavior, your best options are to move to a place where the law permits the action, followed by attempting to get the law changed to meet your moral views. It is an option to break the law, but that comes with the consequences of having the law enforced against you as a consequence.  Far better to take either of the first options, either go somewhere it is legal or petition for your local law to be changed.



All (or at least most) "modern law" derives more directly from social contract theory, and its alignment with "morals" is typically more usefully seen as a consequence of that, not the other way around.


In this framework, law is nothing more than an agreement about which "rights" that people in that society are willing to give up in return for the assurance that other people also give up those "rights." For instance, I'm willing to give up the ability to steal from people given that everyone else also loses that ability. What's interesting is that this works fine as long as there's a way of ensuring consistent enforcement, and, notably, it doesn't rely on an assumption that stealing is "wrong" in a moral sense, or even that a society agrees that stealing is "wrong." It only requires that the everyone in the society agrees that they'd prefer not having things stolen from them than stealing themselves.


This sort of law can arise even if anyone is deciding in a purely self-interested manner. If we imagine, for instance, that I don't think stealing is wrong, and that my friends also don't think that stealing is wrong, we could still reasonably agree to establish a system of "law" that prevents stealing (obviously we'd need to establish some neutral way of enforcing it as well) simply because we each, individually and acting in self-interest, prefer not being stolen from to being able to steal.  


On the other hand, whether stealing, laws against stealing, or any other things at all are moral depends, by definition, on something extra: whether those things are "right" or "good," not merely whether they're allowed or useful. This is not to say that there aren't laws that come into existence purely because of a society's sense of morality, or that there aren't people who believe that breaking laws is inherently immoral in itself. It's just that neither of these things are necessary for law to exist and be useful for a society, so it's not correct to define law exclusively in terms of morality.

In Topic: Battlefront won image of the day...

13 April 2016 - 09:29 PM



One site I visit requires the developer to submit images with descriptions, web site links, etc. Except the downside is that it could take months before the admin will post it to the site.

That's how it used to work here a long time ago. I think it was weekly they just bulk approved a bunch of screenshots. That was nicer because you saw all the projects upfront instead of voting A vs B. You got to see the whole gallery.



Yeah, I much preferred that too. On one hand I understand why they wanted a system that can process more screenshots with a lower barrier to submission, but on the other hand I can't help but think there must be some way to get enough screenshots from people who have actually, you know, visited this site ever.