The Origins of FreeStuff" - III

LillianH · December 27, 2004 8:37 am

So, tell us a little bit about yourself, who is ockham and what does he do when he isn't doing Poser related things?

Short answer: (a) David G. Drumright. (b) Sleeps.
Long answer: When I was little, I was happiest alone, drawing cars and houses and building dumb "inventions" with Tinkertoys and cardboard.
After some messy years in the hippie era, I settled down to play by the rules, and ended up teaching electronics at a DeVry school.
Sometime around age 35, I realized that the social contract was false. Supposedly if you work hard, treat people decently, do public service, you'll get good results.
The only thing I got was a drinking problem. So I switched over to speech and hearing research, and started aiming toward more freedom.
After 15 lean years, I finally reached the goal of being "independently poor" in 2001. Now I'm back to drawing and building things -- this time with Poser instead of cardboard -- and I'm more or less happy again.
My income is from a series of courseware products in the area of speech and hearing, which mix Poser animations with text and custom programming.
This requires about three months of work per year, to manage updates. I own a tiny house in a safe neighborhood, optimized for minimum expenses and minimum contact with humans.

How did you get started in Poser?
The first courseware project received bad reviews during development. I was using line-drawing animation, strictly within Windows GDI, and the reviewers thought it was crude and dull.
I started casting about for a way to put some life into the animations, and found Poser.
Almost immediately I realized that Poser would also put more life into my life!

Having checked out your freestuff, I see that you began with mainly freestuff models. Did you begin with modelling and find Poser, or did you begin with Poser & move to modelling?
The latter.

For those who aren't too sure, could you give us a simple explanation of what python scripts are and how to use them?
Basically, scripts are a way to perform repeated tasks.
Change the intensity of all the lights at once, or move the body downward in all frames of an animation.
These are tasks that could be done without the script, but would take many minutes of error-prone repetition.

Less basically, scripts can do fancier things like reading a MIDI file to control a model musical instrument, or training a prop to follow a drawn path.
These jobs couldn't be done at all without the script.

A quick one-picture guide to using scripts can be found at:
ockhams bungalow

If someone wanted to learn to write their own scripts, do you have any recommendations for them when they are starting out?
Start from the end, not the beginning.
This means: don't try to memorize definitions and functions.
Instead, take existing examples, see them work, then modify them to meet your needs, making sure that the script works at each change.
Have a real purpose in mind, and try to rig your activity so that you can see a real result at every stage.
The way Python works inside Poser is distinctly different from the way it's described in various tutorials, so you shouldn't spend much time on the tutorials *first*.
With that caution, a couple of good tutorials on the web are:

When did you first come across Python scripting and what attracted you to it?
Frankly I don't remember the sequence.
Judging by some dates on files, it appears that I didn't really notice Python for the first year or so in Poser; I was too busy trying to learn the basics and get the project done.
Oddly, the first idea for using Python was an attempt to reproduce a certain --ahem-- fantasy ;-)
Also oddly, I've never fully accomplished that original idea, though some spinoffs have proved enjoyable.
Programming itself was nothing new; I've been using assembly, Basic and C in the realms of speech analysis and acoustics since 1984.
Python took a fair amount of unlearning; its essential worldview is very different from C.

Although you began by posting models to freestuff, nowadays you seem mostly to post python scripts. What prompted the change?
Probably a sense of usefulness.
The popular models are humans and clothing; I was no good at drawing those things when I was young, and still no good in Poser.
Houses and furniture, though I enjoy making them, aren't especially popular, unique, or useful.
My scripts are certainly useful and some of them are unique.

Where do you get your ideas from?
For models, largely from the past.
At one time I collected antique gadgets and radios. Through years of traveling light, most of those large objects got left behind, but I still remember and enjoy the details.
Rebuilding them in digital form is almost as much fun as fiddling with the real things, and less expensive.
For scripts, mainly from suggestions in R'osity forums.

What was the first model you ever made and did it work out the way you planned?
Again the details are lost.
I began by combining Poser primitives.
The first "original" model that I remember was a zither, made partly in Amorphium.
Now I use Amapi for modeling.

How about the first python script?
Going by file dates again, it appears that the first attempts were all in the area of --ahem-- fantasies.
There's a considerable gap in time between those and the earliest practical script, but that's largely because the practical scripts tend to get revised fairly often.
So any script that I've used often will show a fairly recent date.

Which of the many models & scripts you have given away free is your favourite?
Model: Player piano. Script: SoundScape.

Which one did you most enjoy working on?
One of my latest efforts, Hansel and Gretel, was definitely fun.

Your "Python script: Eureka (deformer)" has over 5,900 downloads currently making it your most popular download. Were you surprised at how many people have downloaded it?
Yes, definitely. It's imperfect and fussy, not my best work.
Another surprising aspect: many of my models relate to food and cooking. Yet in real life I'm the opposite of a gourmet; if there were a way to get along without eating, I'd do it. Possibly my "inner foodie" is trying to express itself through art?

What do you like best about giving these items away for free?
Seeing my productions used; seeing that they actually help a few people.

Whats the worst thing?
It's frustrating that the work I enjoy most is not popular.
Most Poserites are artists who do still lifes, and I'm just not interested in that sort of work.
I'll gladly fulfill requests to serve that area, but my heart isn't there.
I enjoy making animations and dealing with sound; my favorite models and scripts are in that realm, but very few others seem to be doing animation.

What do you hope to achieve by giving these items to the Poser community?
Seeing my productions used; seeing that they actually help a few people.

Do you have any favourite images created with your freestuff?
My "Dream Village" animations.

Do you have any favourite freestuff providers or a favourite freestuff item made by someone else?
Geralday and SAMS3D.
Geralday's things are specifically made to be used in animation, and his tastes somehow resonate with mine.
Sharen and Mike have a perfect eye for ordinary things.

What does NVIATBWAS stand for?(from ockhams gallery)
Naked Vicki in a Temporal Bone with a Stapes.
Sort of an inside joke for medical types.
I made that image when I was trying to get jazzed up for a courseware update involving the inner ear.
I find that it's useful to wake up the Muse with sexually oriented work, then channel the same work into more practical realms.

You have made some beautiful models, but you don't seem to post your images, why is this?
I've always been more of a tool-maker than an artist.

On a bad Poser day, when everything seems to wrong with the freestuff thing you are making, what keeps you going?
Take a walk, sleep, or shift to sexual subjects as mentioned above.

What do your offline friends and family think of your Poser habit?
My teddy bear approves.

How long have you been a member and what do you like about our Poser community here?
Since November, 2000. Renderosity seems to be well managed, despite the usual little catfights.

Not only do you share a lot of superb free items, but you are also a well known regular poster in the Poser forum here, what are your hopes for the forum in the future?
Just that it keeps going!

Which version of Poser do you use and why do you like it best?
P4PP. I only use 5 to make sure that a script will work in both versions. P5 is too clumsy for animation.

Thanks so much for giving us all a chance to get to know you a little better and I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you for all your wonderful freestuff items. We'll all be looking out forward to seeing what comes next


Article Comments

maxxxmodelz ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 27 December 2004

If it were not for this man's scripts, I probably wouldn't even bother using Poser for animation. His hard work makes mine so much easier. Thanks, man.

Porthos ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 27 December 2004

My favourite script is the delete lights, great if you are using global lighting! Thanks!

Connatic ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 27 December 2004

Thanks for this insightful interview! Ockham's creations are invaluable.

Sarte ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 27 December 2004

Wonderful interview, but I couldn't help noticing that you spelled his name as "Oakham" on the front page.

gtrdon ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 27 December 2004

Poser + Python => Ockham Thank you so much for the extremely useful scripts you have given the community... You have always been there to help us wiht some nifty little script to solve a problem... I have learned alot from looking at your scripts

pbnj ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 27 December 2004

--"I own a tiny house in a safe neighborhood, optimized for minimum expenses and minimum contact with humans." Hahaha, sounds like my kinda place. =) Just wanted to say thanks for the incredibly useful items you've shared with us all, and that its great getting to hear a bit more about you. Take care!

MRMH ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 28 December 2004

Naturalizer,Hand Grasp and Spread, Gravity, Jiggles, Hansel and Gretel, BVH mixer, Crosstalk Killer, Lightning generator (in especial this, and not less important, Eureka, are my favorites phyton scripts. EXCELENT WORK!, Thank You Very Much ockham.

kirwyn ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 28 December 2004

Ockham's scripts have saved me from many hours of tedious work in animation. He is a valuable asset to the "Poser Community" and I wish him all the best. Thanks.

LillianH ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 28 December 2004

Sarte, thanks for mentioning that. It is now correct :)

garblesnix ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 29 December 2004

ockham. The name says it're right, maybe not...Good ockham...there, that's better.

Helgard ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 29 December 2004

Thanks. The hours that you have saved me are priceless.

Jean-Luc_Ajrarn ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 29 December 2004

Thanks for this interview, Okham :D Take care of yourself and have a Happy New Year! :D

PapaBlueMarlin ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 29 December 2004

Thanks for all your scripts :)

duckmango ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 30 December 2004

May you never mix your lambda with your curry. Unless of course you're in a hurry. Python humor -- ockham will get it. Congrats.

masha ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 30 December 2004

It's nice to have a face behind the name; a glimpse at the motor driving the vehicle. Yours is purring along very nicely :) Thanks so much for the frequent and unstinting generosity Ockham. One of these days you will get to see the fruits of your labours in some animations - just as soon as I get to be able to render them Here's Cheers to you for a wonderful 2005!!! Masha

moonrancher ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 30 December 2004

Ockham, I'm a big fan of your scripts and tell myself that someday I'll write one. I'm sticking to still life work because while animations are fun to make, they are harder to share with others, even in an email. And I need to stay connected to some sort of audience. When bandwidths get a lot better, I bet you'll see more of us joining you in doing more animations.

Netherworks ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 01 January 2005

Thanks Ockham for all of your help with my own scripts and it's pleasant to learn a little about you. :)

hauksdottir ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 01 January 2005

A big [[[THANK YOU]]] for all the scripts! You have saved many hairs from premature demise. By taking some of the frustration and tedium out of the mechanics, we are more free to play with the program... and maybe even make a spot of art... thanks to your tools. Carolly

Tamela.J. ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 04 January 2005

Thank you for your scripts! They are WONDERFUL & very much appreciated! ;o) Happy New Year! Tamela

svdl ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 04 January 2005

I owe most of my PoserPython knowledge to Ockham. Thanks you for all the help with my own scripts, they wouldn't have gotten where they are now (a usable stage) without your invaluable input. Whenever I wonder how to do something, I open up one of your scripts and almost always I find a solution for the problem. Thanks again, and a Happy 2005!

LadySmitthms ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 04 January 2005

Thank you for your contibutions and for the time you took for the interview. Thanks for the information, links and the chuckles (the teddy bear's approval, tis important :-)). Happy New Years and all that stuff. Thank You ~Lady~

EnglishBob ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 05 January 2005

You have time to SLEEP? That's where you're going wrong, see. :D But seriously... Thanks for your tireless work in support of the rest of us Python illiterates.

Tguyus ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 06 January 2005

ockham's highly creative, technically rigorous, and very practical scripts have saved me hours, even days, of time doing things I used to do by hand; and they've also allowed me to pursue enhancements I hadn't even thought of. Thanks for all you do ockham!

genny ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 08 January 2005

Interviews like this are just so wonderful. They let you know a person for more then the person who posts and offers help, or even give things away. I am so glad to be able to meet you "ockham" and thanks for all your "freebies"

zap326 ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 11 January 2005

Aha! - Especially now that I've seen his photo I still can't accept Ockham's Razor, and I see neither can David. ;-) -- Thanks for all those scripts!

Angelouscuitry ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 19 January 2005

Hey, does Ockham get a Marketplace Gift Certificate or anything for being mentioned here, I'll galdy donate $5! Ockham is like Old Faithful! I have his Pythons backed up across at least a dozen disks! His efforts have saved me Days at a Time! I'm so very proud to see him honored here! Congradulations, Man, You Made it through to the Big Time! }=^ )

Rance01 ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 20 January 2005

Recently installed and used 1920's kitchen goodies in a project and couldn't remember who the artist who made them. Checked for a 'readme' in the .ZIP file and zip. Tooks a short tour in the Renderosity Freestuff rows and who? Ockham! Three cheers for Ockham! Your service to the community is appreciated. Best Wishes, Rance

mmogul ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 28 January 2005

im learning python. Im from delphi school, so python semmed hard to me, but i downloaded several ockhams scripts... it was a light ! Thank you ockham, im almost there mmogul

jjsemp ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 09 February 2005

Your scripts have helped me immensely in my animation, especially the "naturalizer" scripts and the script to remove all lights. They're so much a part of my daily usage that I sometimes forget that they aren't built into Poser to begin with. Thanks for your talent and brilliance. -jjsemp

ockham ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 26 February 2005

I suspect my "month" is about over. (A Renderosity month seems to be something like a dog year, or maybe a tortoise year) So I'll just say many thanks for all the kind remarks. Especially to those who like my furniture; I wasn't sure anybody wanted it. I've taken that to heart, and switched back to making more household items and fewer scripts!