My quest to live green and leave a small ecological footprint on this planet has taken a leap forward. I have ordered solar panels for my house that will supply close to 100 percent of my electricity, including charging my electric car.
I went with a company called Solar City who are giving me a great deal on the system. Plus Sony Entertainment where I work has given me a big cash incentive to install the system. In the end I’ll break even after just two years, and after they the system will pay me!
It’s a 4.8 kW solar system, mounted on the back side of my roof (facing Southwest). The design for the system has already been approved by the city inspectors and the installation will come very soon. This entire process has be easy and smooth. I highly recommend solar to anyone and everyone, especially people in sunny states like Florida and California. The sun is the most powerful energy provider on Earth and we have the technology to tap into it.
After a year of waiting, wondering, foot tapping and having old-world patience, I finally picked up my new Nissan Leaf from the dealer this week. The car is simply amazing, with a computerized dash and console that’s right out of Star Trek (the Next Generation). I have a 220 volt charger installed in my garage now, and so far the charging cycles have been flawless. I can program timers on the charger or let the computer figure out the best time to charge. In the future I’ll be charging on “off-peak” hours at a greatly reduced billing rate which will make the cost of my commute almost nothing (especially since I can also charge the car at work!).
The car drives like a sports car, I mean it really goes! The electric motor delivers pure torque, so zero to sixty in 4 seconds or so feels really great. It also has a low center of gravity with 800lbs of batteries sitting right down on the floorboard. Nissan designed the car with a wide wheel base and standard 18″ aluminum alloy wheels, so it basically corners like a Porsche. It’s a really, really fun car to drive.
Plus there’s the usual luxury car stuff like bluetooth, XM satellite radio, GPS navigation, USB port, SD chip port for playlists, and on and on. Great fun for the tech gadget types like me. There’s even a smart phone app for my Android phone that lets me start and stop charging, turn on the climate control before I get to my car, and check on the battery status any time.
The car is basically perfect for 90% of my driving, which is commuting 25 miles each way to work and back, and it has zero emissions to boot. So no more smogging up the city from my tailpipe. In fact, our utility company already generates 20% of it’s energy from renewable sources like wind, and we pay $5 extra a month to bump that up to 30% for our house. My next project is to add PV solar electric to my house with a “grid-tie” system which will cover 100% of our electricity usage, and then we’ll be really clean and green. It’s not the ultimate solution yet (which is basically using solar power to create hydrogen for a fuel cell system – meaning no batteries and clean power completely off the grid), but we’re heading in the right direction.
More on the Nissan Leaf in the future.
The Smurfs is actually in theaters now, and being devoured by millions of kids around the world. The final results of all those months of hard work are really quite impressive, with an amazingly beautiful Smurf Village and some really cute 3D Smurfs to make people smile.
The film was a great learning experience for me at Sony, being my first time lighting shots in the Imageworks’ katana pipeline. I came out the other end with a lot of respect for the lighting teams and a deeper understanding of how to make the pipeline flow more fluidly from Layout to the end.
Our renderer is called Arnold, which is a true global illumination ray-tracer. Meaning that we could sample existing lighting from the real world in which the background plates were shot, and then apply that lighting information to our 3D geometry in the scene. Then allow virtual light rays to emit from the light sources and then bounce like real photons – thus describing an accurate relationship between surfaces, their materials, and the lights in the scene. It’s complicated but actually elegant and simple.
I finaled my first lighting shot at Sony Pictures Imageworks! The lighting pipeline here is freaking amazing.
Today was my first day as a lighter for the Smurfs movie coming out this Summer. I’ve been doing Rough Layout on the animated sequences in the movie since November. It’s a really fun movie and the best crew ever. A great show. Wish me luck, I’ve a lot to learn.