Happy cat

After yesterday’s apprehensive picture of Mao, I decided to post a picture of her in a (rare) happy state. Enjoy!

happy_mao

I’m now a little over my previous visual experimentation with black outlines and blurry colours (kinda like airbrush art). Moving onto layered, “sketchy”, translucent shapes (kinda like watercolour… without the bleeding).

Still working in vector though… I “get it” more than raster graphics.

Giddy

Just one more picture for my series of visual experiments. This time it’s me, looking all giddy and putting on a cheesy pose:

giddy

I reckon there’s both too much and too little detail in this one. I’d probably prefer things to be a bit simpler… with either more obvious depth or no depth at all.

Note: In case anyone is wondering, I made these images in Inkscape. It’s my favourite drawing program – plus, it’s free and open source! 😀

Update: Fixed portrait size so that it matches the other images.

Summer exhibition opening tonight!

The Summer exhibition is opening tonight, so make your way down to Little Creatures from 6pm tonight (Tuesday, 22 December). I’m really looking forward to seeing what the other artists have put together.

I get the feeling (based on what I hear from Simon and read in the Xpress magazine article) that there should be quite a range of art representing contrasting impressions of summer. I’m expecting to see a good-natured collective love/hate relationship – but I won’t really know until I see it all come together!

That’s what I love about exhibitions compared to the stuff you put out there as you go. There’s usually a concerted effort to hold things back until opening night. This creates a sense of suspense about what is going to be revealed and how it’s all going to turn out – as an attendee, you get to see a bunch of art that you haven’t seen before and work out how you feel about it right then and there.

I don’t want too give much away (and ruin the impact of the exhibition) but here’s a teaser portion of one of my pieces:

haze_detail

You may also have seen something of Simon’s work in press coverage of the event… come on down to see the rest! Hope to see you down there tonight. 😉

ETS hacking

If an emissions trading scheme comes into play, I’m considering setting up a non-profit with the sole purpose of buying and holding carbon credits – so that every dollar donated will effectively reduce the overall carbon cap.

This seems like a good way to:

  1. Get around governments setting inadequate carbon emissions targets and caps. (Which seems much more likely than not.)
  2. Further stimulate companies that produce carbon offsets or are more carbon neutral. (Since they could sell their credits at a higher price).
  3. Offer a better way for individuals to reduce overall carbon emissions when compared to purchasing carbon offsets. (Since buying up credits forces major polluters to reduce their emissions).

Unfortunately, the cynical side of me says that if this approach were to really take off, it will just lead to governments issuing more credits when businesses complain.

Thoughts?

The Dream

I was driving home today when I suddenly realised:

Holy crap. I’m living The Dream.

Just try to imagine that thought coupled with a surprised expression followed by a giddy smile. I guess that I really didn’t see it coming!

I think it hit me today because, well, today was a very good day:

  • I woke up with new ideas for the anaglyph print that I’m preparing for next week’s Summer exhibition, and I was able to quickly modify the source images and rewrite my code to get exactly the look I wanted!
  • My sister drove me down to docuprint to pick up some mounted prints of my artwork. I wasn’t sure exactly how they would turn out, but I was relieved that they look fantastic! 😉
  • We casually stopped by the Freo markets to have some of WA’s best ramen (apparently certified by Kevin Rudd) and some crepes. (I also picked up cans of TaB and Dr. Pepper for the office.)
  • I headed into Beyond Motion, where I’m working with a small team to develop a game prototype. Buddhi, who runs Beyond Motion, is incredibly passionate about 3D modelling and animation, but also happy to leave game design, programming, and art to others! 😀

My life has become all about independent art and game development (… and food.)

I know that it’s not everyone’s dream, but it’s pretty close to what I’ve always wanted – at least from professional and creative (and culinary) perspectives. 😀

Stereograms and anaglyphs

I’ve recently been working on various stereographics in preparation for the upcoming Summer exhibition (opening next Tuesday at Little Creatures). I’ve previously mentioned my love for stereographics, but I wanted to write a post with a bit more detail…

I’m technically inclined, mostly work in digital media, and advocate open source software. Accordingly, when trying to generate stereographics, I tried a bunch of open source programs and ended up writing a few small programs (python scripts) to solve problems I encountered.

The two main types of stereographics I’m interested in are anaglyphs (red/blue 3D images) and autostereograms (“magic eye” images). I also like crossed stereo pairs, since I find them relatively easy to view as 3D images.

Autostereograms are generally created from a depth map describing a particular viewpoint of a 3D scene, but other stereographics are usually created using a stereo pair of images (representing unique views from two “eyes”).

I wanted a stereographics creation process that was accessible to 2D artists, and drawing two unique views (and making sure that they match!) seemed like a very difficult task. However, I figured that many 2D artists would be able to draw greyscale depthmaps. So I went about writing a program to generate stereo pairs when provided with a depth map.

When looking for a depth map to test with, I immediately thought of Kazuki Takamatsu‘s work – which I’ve always wanted to see realised in 3D.

Here’s a sample (image resized and used without permission):

depth

Fabian Januszewski has written a neat autostereogram generator which is conveniently included in the Ubuntu package repositories. I used “stereograph” to generate a basic autostereogram of the above depth map:

stereogram

Generating stereo pairs (and an anaglyph) was a bit more work. There seemed to be heaps of programs that would generate a depth map given a stereo pair, but I couldn’t find anything that would generate a stereo pair from a depth map (the displace map in the GIMP seemed like it should work, but I couldn’t get it to…)

I knew that simply remapping the source depth map pixels to stereo images would result in gaps, but I was sure that a simple gap-filling algorithm could be used (rather than having to use splatting or other complex point cloud rendering techniques).

Here are the results of my first pass at stereo pair generation:

stereo

There are a few good guides (such as those by Gale Rhodes and Boris Starosta) on how to view cross stereo pairs such as the above image. (When you can see it in 3D, it’s pretty striking.)

One of the biggest problems I encountered with gap-filling was that anti-aliased edges represent erroneous depth data. If you imagine a depth map with a white line on a black background, the white line is near the camera and the black background is far away. When the line is anti-aliased, the grey pixels falsely imply that there are small dots floating somewhere between the (white) object and the (black) background.

Unfortunately, most of the depth maps that I found online “featured” anti-aliased edges. Fortunately, I should be able to disable anti-aliasing when generating my own depth maps. (Although this apparently isn’t an option when using Inkscape.)

The stereo pair looked good enough to attempt generating an anaglyph. I came across this GIMP script (by Steph Parker) which made it very easy to do. Here are the results (with the original depth map included along with the red and blue layers):

anaglyph

I’ve ordered some 3D glasses, but they haven’t yet arrived. So I’m not sure if the above image looks alright. (If you have a pair of red/blue 3D glasses, please let me know how the above image looks in 3D!)

After reading more about anaglyphs, I’d like to write a script that generates colour (rather than monochromatic) anaglyphs. It looks a bit more involved, but should be worth the effort.

I hope you enjoyed this write-up! No doubt I will post more about stereographics at some point in future. 😉

Where The Wild Things Are

I saw Where The Wild Things Are a week or so ago.

It was alright… but it seemed to be really stretching to add depth (and length) to a fairly basic underlying story. That said, Spike Jonze did an excellent job of capturing the same basic childhood emotions and dreams that the original book (and associated nostalgia) focussed upon.

I saw this video on The Onion today, and it made me think of the hype surrounding the movie:


Adults Go Wild Over Latest In Children’s Picture Book Series

The Onion is awesome.