Flat Fine Art
Stuff For You
This year, the Libre Graphics Meeting was held in Madrid, hosted at
Medialab Prado. Tons of talks about all kinds of graphics software,
such as Gimp, Inkscape, Krita, Mypaint, and many more. In addition to these standards, also lots of discussion of
different methods of creating or processing work, such as node based graphics processing, scripting solutions, and the growing
capability and influence of html5. It is always good to see
artwork made from the software discussed, such as with processing.js, used to drive pictures on a giant wall on the side of
A big highlight for me was Nina Paley's talk about the seeming lack of adequate open source animation software. There followed some discussion of the various merits (or perhaps not) of Synfig, Tupi, Blender, and more, as well as the trials and pitfalls of switching from a non-free art workflow to an open source workflow. She also screened This Land is Mine, a hilarious illustration of turf war through the ages. Part of this was explaining her approach to copyright, which is to explicitly not approach it, and concentrate on the artwork instead.
I was quite interested in libmypaint, which potentially allows sharing paint brushes from Mypaint in other graphics programs. This is a fabulous capability. I've been working on a related concept of tool sharing, but for sharing the basic interfaces for manipulating vector objects. No working code yet, but hopefully sometime soon!
See some photos here...
Adventures in Vietnam
This last summer, I spent a wonderful month in the south of Vietnam, and a couple days for a side trip to see the Angkor ruins in Cambodia. Met great people in Can Tho, Ho Chi Minh City, and elsewhere, who graciously showed me around. Ate lots of strange food, and only barely got sick. Went to Vung Tau and swam in warm ocean water for the first time.. A very different experience than the cold water found in Oregon and California! Now I just have to finish processing my giant stack of travel photos!
I spent most of my time in Can Tho, staying at Hotel Xoai. Early in the morning, you can go see the famous river market near Can Tho. Lots of boats gather to exchange large amounts of fruit and other things.
Ho Chi Minh City is large, sprawling, and very busy! Huge masses of motorbikes zoom around everywhere. I'm working on a panorama of that, but it'll take a while! Handheld panoramas taken from a moving motorbike (thanks to T.!) means a huge amount of touchup is required! Also saw a traditional water puppet play, where the puppets move around above water, controlled by people hidden away with mechanisms beneath the water, together with live music. Although I didn't understand anything they said, it was still fun!
No trip to Vietnam would be complete without mention of the huge amount and variety of food there! For all the bizarre things I ate, I barely got sick. From little food carts on the street to sit down restaurants, it would take a long time to sample everything. You'll be sure to learn to count to four: mot, hai, ba, yo! Well, sort of. At one place there were not one, but 3 street performers doing tricks with fire, and one who put a live snake through his nose and out his mouth! Not something I've experienced while eating before!
Right at the end of my trip, I set aside a day to see the Angkor ruins in Cambodia. I wish I had set aside several days instead. I major tourist hotspot these days. Even with the hordes of tourists, it was still amazing. Many more panoramas to come, if I can ever find the time to process them!
All this in one month's time, plus a 3 hour play in Vietnamese, set in imperial Vietnam, that friends valiantly tried to translate for me on the fly. I hope to go back some day! My one wish while there was for a portable air conditioner. Until then, back to Portland, and back to work!
Still haven't quite finished my next comic book Nightlife 12:03 yet. Soon!
The Libre Graphics Meeting was in Vienna this year. Once again lots of talks and workshops about all the graphics software
I use all the time, with people from 32 different countries!
This annual meeting is a great opportunity for users and developers to see directly what everyone
else is doing with open source graphics software, give immediate feedback for better or worse about each others
software and work habits, and strategize how to interoperate.
Although definitely more developers than non-developers, there were many others coming from the art side. Artists are great at using software
in ways they were really not intended, such as using Gimp as a music generator!
Johan Engelen gave a demo of Power Stroking in Inkscape, which lets you change line widths that vary along a path. This is implemented as a live path effect. Another great idea whose time has come is for extending a curve at corners in a path. Normally, corners render rather unnaturally at corners, and this method allows extending an approximation of the path's curvature through the corner, rather than traditional methods that just extend the edges straight out, or abruptly miter.
As I begin to program various path related features into Laidout, I often think I should be using lib2geom. There was a 2geom workshop, showing the basics of this library. 2geom has spun off of Inkscape, and is emerging as a useful library for path (and mesh) operations. Some people balked at it being a C++ library (rather than C), which doesn't bother me, as Laidout is all C++.
Timothy Giet and Lukas Tvrdy gave a talk and workshop using Krita, with Timothy using a console game controller to help change tool settings, an interesting use for such things! I haven't tried using Krita in a couple of years, and it looks like it may be a good idea to try it out again.
Not to be outdone, some Gimp devs announced the release of Gimp 2.8, which sees a number of gui polishes, and the introduction of the cage warp feature, which is really neat, though works VERY slowly on my computer. They also demoed a functioning high bit depth Gimp, a feature often asked for over the last 10 years or so. Very welcome indeed!
A couple of times we LGM folks visited Metalab, a Viennese hackerspace that had lots of neat tools like 3-d printers, several tables to work on, photo development area, (very tiny) wood/metal shop, weird warning lights, and to top it all off, it survives on membership dues of over 100 people!! If I lived in Vienna, I might spend a fair amount of time there.
I didn't have very much new to present this year, but did I present the new experimental alignment tools in Laidout. Had a little trouble getting Laidout to actually boot properly during my talk. I tested a few times in my hotel, it worked with no problems, but then plug strange projector wires into my machine and all hell breaks loose! It finally worked, though, more or less. I have much debugging in my future!
Here are some travel photos, more to come, including panoramas when I have the time to process them!
Recently I was in Brussels for the Libre Graphics Research Unit's
Co-Position meeting. These meetings are basically small, focused
hands-on meetings fleshing out various aspects of open source graphics tools.
Pierre Marchand's Lazy Landscape, leverages open source development's natural tendency for collaboration by providing a kind of code wiki, where the "page" is actually runnable code. On the other end was a presentation from Nathalie Trussart about the limits of collaboration, in that sharing everything can easily result in too much information for the collaborators to process meaningfully.
Lots of other workshops and talks over 3 days concluded with Alexandre Quessy showing off Toonloop with live animated legos.
See a more thorough summary of the goings on at the LGRU site here!
On another note, I also got some interesting comics, including 3", by Marc-Antoine Mathieu, a French cartoonist, a story basically following a ray of light as it flies around, bouncing off various reflective surfaces, and L'Enfant Penchée by Benoit Peeters and Francois Shuiten, whose expansive architectural comics derive a lot from Brussels buildings (thanks to Agnes for the recommendations, and helping me get to the Brüsel comics shop!)
Now I just have to get over a cold I seem to have picked up on the airplane back!
|Here's a preview of the first 4 pages from my upcoming Nightlife 12:02, which continues where Nightlife 12:01 left off. I should have 12:02 done in time for the Portland Zine Symposium August 6 and 7.|
I was recently in Montreal, where this year's Libre Graphics Meeting
was held. Once again there were a plethora of
on many aspects of open source graphics software, and even some
talk about open source hardware!
Many of the presentations were about color management, still a weak point in GNU/Linux systems, and lots about fonts. Other talks focused on broader issues of the usefulness of free/libre tools, not just for graphics, but also for social networking and hardware. As Jon Phillips points out, as proprietary smart phones, ebook readers, and other portable devices continue to sweep the world by storm, open source creators and other tool creators might want to be concerned about the accessibility of these gadgets.
Another talk from Ana Carvalho and Ricardo Lafuente of Manufactura Independente, was about a project of theirs to remap public governmental details like administrative minutes and politician backgrounds, from a form that's next to impossible to learn anything useful from, to something where you can actually look up useful political data in a much smaller amount of time. Legislative sessions are laid out in a format similar to online forums, and you can click on the picture of the person commenting to get their background. As someone who's done political cartoons for many years, such things are very useful indeed! Check out this magic at demo.cratica.org (it is in Portuguese, for Portugal).
I presented a short talk on developments in Laidout during the last year. Also, I showed how I used a combination of Laidout, Inkscape, Gimp, Blender, Polyptych, fabric and 40 iron on transfers to project a panoramic image onto a t-shirt. I'm working on a kind of tutorial of the process. People laughed, I am assuming at my jokes. I've only just learned of techniques to send fabric right through ordinary inkjet printers that have certain kinds of inks. This method would be FAR better for clothing creation, as iron on transfers are quite stiff, especially if they totally cover a tshirt.
For fashion design, be sure to check out Susan Spencer's www.sew-brilliant.org, where you can read about her work gathering forces to create open source fashion design software. Her approach one person described as TeX for clothes patterns. At the 2011 Libre Graphics Meeting, she discussed how you can input various body measurements, and have some clothes patterns automatically resize to fit different body types! How cool is that!
I accidentally missed a talk I really wanted to see, on Lightwist, during which they demoed how to combine two or more projectors to blend together into a single super high resolution monitor! This is now usable as a plugin for the Compiz, opengl based compositing manager. I eagerly await the video of the talk to be released!
The annual Libre Graphics Meeting for 2010 was held in Brussels, Belgium, and I was fortunate enough to be able to go and meet many of the makers of the software I use all the time. There were about 170 people from 47 different countries, each day was action packed with interesting talks about lots of different programs and subjects. When navigating the streets of Brussels early in the morning trying to find the conference, you simply have to throw out any preconceived ideas about urban planning, and this really puts you in a great, open frame of mind when you finally get there and listen to the talks!
Now that I've mostly gotten over a really bad cold I picked up in Brussels, here's a short overview of the meeting. Other non-LGM photos from my trip will trickle in on my flickr page over the next month or two.
I presented Laidout and my interactive polyhedron unwrapper on the second day of the conference. People seemed to enjoy it. You can watch my talk, and all the other talks online, thanks to River Valley TV. The LGM was certainly inspiration to get me to spend more time developing Laidout!
Among some other interesting news was that the development version of Scribus now has new mesh gradient capabilities. Also exciting was some new code to do more intelligent image caching in Scribus, mostly eliminating the huge bottleneck that used to make Scribus impossible to use for documents with a ton of images in them!
That was accomplished by Marcus Holland-Moritz, who used Scribus and various other things he coded himself to create a coffee table book with 200 or so color photos of New Zealand! His presentation covered many innovative and very interesting experiences using Linux and open source software to make image heavy books. This talk hit on many issues I've encountered using Linux, and particularly Scribus, to make books. Definitely one of my favorite talks.
Susan Spencer gave a talk outlining the requirements for fashion design software, and soliciting help to create open source software to cover those requirements, as existing software all costs several thousands of dollars, and is a serious deterrent for new fashion designers wanting to adapt their designs easily to different body types. I can't help but think perhaps Laidout could fill some small part of that pipeline. Layout on strange surfaces is no end of fun.
Martin Renold, one of the developers of Mypaint, gave a talk about extending python with c code. He detailed the strategy of using python for the gui, but when you need pixel pushing power, one may write extra python functions in c. Mypaint is quite an interesting new painting program, which has a lot to recommend it, including removing most gui clutter, to let you focus on the image you are constructing, and still has quick and easy access to a multitude of brush types and effects.
There was a very interesting Nodebox 2 demo, where graphics results from various scripts that can be changed in real time. This strategy seems to be a theme in graphics software these days, and I'm thinking particularly of Portland's own Luz.
Alexandre Prokoudine, who seems to know about every single graphics application imaginable, presented his Darktable photo management program. Darktable can work on all kinds of images, apparently unrestricted by bit depth, or color space. There seems to be adaptible batch processing. Looks promising!
Ana Carvalho gave a short talk about using open source software to make and publish comic books! She is a part of Plana Press, which has published several books of comics, using open source software. See, it can be done!
On the whole, the LGM was a complete information overload, and I hope to go again. You can see various other reviews of the goings on there here.