June 2004 to March, 2012
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Category — Image-making

MacKeeper to the rescue

MacKeeper found my photos of masks from 2 years ago.

Inadvertently, I deleted, then emptied Trash. How to get my photos back?

I fired up MacKeeper and set it to work finding deleted images that had not yet been overwritten on my hard drive. When I got back from my afternoon nap, the list of rescuable items was HUGE! I could preview them to hunt for the ones I wanted and retrieve them with a click. Pretty nifty.

January 16, 2012   No Comments

Got ya covered, Sax.

Some months ago, I designed a dustcover for a new edition of Sax Rohmer stories. Although I haven’t received a printed copy yet, I hear that the book is off the press and I should see it soon.

Click to enlarge

During the layout phase, John Robert Colombo (author of the book’s introduction) shared the design with at least one other person whose opinion he values. I loved the response that came back:

“I think the cover design is most accomplished, nightclubby elegant and a bit sleazy, a difficult mix to have managed […] this is the best cover of all your books.”

High praise indeed, considering that JRC has over 200 books to his credit.

In fact, I have designed a couple of other J.R. Colombo books and two for Ruth Colombo, too. Retired now, I get to work for “lunches and chocolate” on projects that appeal to me. I have to change that to “lunches and coffee”. The chocolate calories are too much.


Got your back, too, Sax.

October 31, 2010   2 Comments

The art of the iPod touch screenshot

Two things that iPod Touch users might want to discover:

1. How to take a screenshot on your iPod Touch.

Get whatever you want to shoot on screen, then hold down the Home button at the bottom of your screen and do a quick click on the Power button on the top of your iPod… like you are clicking the shutter. The screen will flash white and your screenshot will be saved into your photo album. Look for it there.

Donna drew and emailed this little piece of art to me, directly from her iPod photo album.

Which brings us to:

2. A wi-fi art app you can use on your iPod Touch (or iPhone)

Go to this URL and draw with your finger. You can change brushes and continue drawing. Change colours, too. When you’re done, save it as a screenshot, since you can, now.

BTW, Mr. Doob is a clever guy with a lot of interesting stuff to explore. His drawing app works on your iPod because it does not depend on Flash. This may mean nothing to you, but it’s a good thing.

July 28, 2010   9 Comments

After Effects sign in

My typing still sucks, but my handwriting is improving.

December 17, 2009   4 Comments

Reminders to self: complexities of 3D Flash objects.

Don’t bother reading this. I am making notes to remember all the steps I had to take in order to get this simple (and still imperfect) thing to work on a WordPress page.

I began by making the 3D book in Kinemac and animating the spin there. It will not export with a transparent background, so I used a workaround. I made the Kinemac background bright green, like a green screen, and exported my Quicktime movie. Imported the .mov file into After Effects and used the Keylight plugin to get rid of the green background. Aha! Looks like transparency… but it will not be when saved as a FLV file for Flash Player. More tricks are needed.

An auto trace layer (Layer>Auto Trace) has to be created above the .mov layer, tracing the background of the work area. The blend mode for this layer must be set to Silhouette Alpha. The background should look transparent at this point. If you need to change the dimensions of the comp, this is the time to do it (so both the Auto Trace and the movie layer get the same changes).

Send the comp to the render queue.

Change the output settings to produce an FLV, set the Video Output>Channel to RGB + Alpha. Set Color: to Straight (Unmatted) In Format Options, make settings as wished but be sure that Basic Video Settings has Encode Alpha Channel checked. If there is no audio, you can uncheck Export Audio. Click Render. The FLV should have a transparent background.

Now to get it to show in WordPress. I do not like the plugins available to insert FLVs into WordPress so I create an html page holding my Flash content and place it into my WordPress post with an iframe tag. <iframe style =”border:none” src =”http://ripple.ca/indifferences/indif.html” width=425 height = 420</iframe><!–more–> Without the more tag, the other entries in the blog don’t displaym so I stuck it at the bottom. Don’t know why it works, but it does.

Publishing and uploading the HTML.SWF,FLV set. First, I made an FLA to hold the FLV Player component and sized the document to fit my WordPress column width. I set the player source to the absolute path for the FLV. In the case above, it was on my server, in a folder called indiffereces. The HTML page, the skin SWF and the SWF are in that folder, too.

Last thing: As published out of Flash, the HTML page doesn’t control how borders and margins are handled by browsers, so it must be edited thus:

<body style=”padding:0; margin:0;” bgcolor=”#ffffff”><div width =425 height =420>

November 7, 2009   No Comments

3D Escher Knot

Photoshop CS 3 and 4 can import and move certain 3D file formats but this shot is from a test movie I made in After Effects. The sky background is a movie clip of clouds and the 3ds file of the knot rotes in space, reflecting surroundings and moving closer and farther away from the camera.


March 29, 2009   No Comments

Trying out iWeb

You can click on the image or use this link to check out the first example page  I ever made using iWeb, a web authoring application that comes free with new iMacs. (It’s also part of Apple’se iLife Suite of apps, if you want to buy it separately. $79 for 5 apps.)

First impressions? It couldn’t be much easier to make a web site and the templates are nice to look at. You can do a lot of customization, too, so don’t worry about your iWeb site looking just like everyone else’s.

The HTML in any template system is a bit bulky, so iWeb sites aren’t as fast to download as they might be, but they aren’t too bad. I think this is a handy app for anyone who needs to put together a little web site and who doesn’t want to climb a steep learning curve.

November 4, 2008   No Comments

Another source for free textures

I’ll move this item to the Image-making category after a couple of days, to keep it handy for ready reference. The link (click the image) takes you to a Flickr posting of a set of quite lovely textures and photos. They are offered free, for anyone to use.

September 30, 2008   No Comments

Seeing is believing, or is it?

August 15, 2008   No Comments

Seam Carving: smart image resizing

A larger Quicktime version is here, if you'd like a better look.

The web site mentioned is rsizr.com and I encourage you to try it for yourself!

Below are the photos used in the movie, first the original size, then the narrowed version. Notice how the resized shot still contains all of the elements and still looks like an acceptable image.

July 2, 2008   1 Comment