Tossed-off visual experiments and ephemera.
Random design thoughts.
Sporadic behind-the-scenes chatter.

If you are feeling brave...

If you are feeling brave, I am now sharing a working-sort-of preview of a new version of this site.

Now, it's not done, not even close, and as much as I say that's part of the point of a site like this, that it shouldn't be done, that it should always be evolving and a work in progress, I mean, even saying that, this is still, like, not really done at all, not one bit. But I'm already starting to feel better and more current with it than I do with this version of the site, and so that's probably where all content updates are going to go, until I feel confident enough to swap out URLs and move on to the next-next version of the site, in like 2034 or something.

But anyways! Watch out for missing staircases and let me know what you think.

Fun with Processing

I've been playing around with Processing (and Illustrator and Photoshop and and and) lately. Nothing too earth-shattering but experimenting with pattern-making has been a lot of fun; I've been spending too much time over in the web-making side of my digital-creative brain lately, so playing with visuals again has been a breath of fresh air.

Blender/Python Scripting Experiments

I'd never describe myself as a hard-core developer, but I grew up tinkering with enough code to get the gist of it ingrained somewhere into my brain, and I still enjoy working with it enough to want to keep pushing my skills at least a little bit further; there's a thrill that comes from a bunch of text and numbers over here resulting in something cool happening over there. I've been experimenting with Blender over the last year, and the fact that it brings here and there really close together by dumping Python into the middle of everything and letting you go nuts with it out of the box means I've been learning a little bit of Python lately, looking for ways to make lots of cool things happen with as little effort as possible. (Lazy is good, in some scenarios.)

So I've been experimenting with using scripting and creating controller objects that will make lots of other objects do...well, right now, pretty much literally anything, to show I can get that far. Make one cube get big? Make a thousand cubes get big. These experiments aren't exactly the most exciting things to look at. But, playing with the code, slapping scenes together, making cubes dance a little bit, it does get the ideas flowing, and I can see the stories that might just come out of this stuff.

I'm collecting these somewhat tossed-off experiments in a YouTube playlist here.

Or Eve Progress Shot

Things like this happen as I simultaneously work on learning how to work Blender and figure out where the rest of Or Eve might go. There's about a million things "wrong" with this image but part of the occasional fun of leaving the sketchwork behind and just diving in and throwing some stuff together is seeing where you might surprise yourself; and here, it's with that head-shape, which is both exactly like a sketch somewhere in my sketchbook and absolutely nothing like I would have been able to communicate to myself with a pencil. I figure as skills on both sides rise the gap between intent and outcome might lessen, but for now it's great fun to find unexpected results through such simple means. And really I hope the gap doesn't close entirely, just for that reason.

Image created and rendered in Blender and doctored in Photoshop.

Lyric video animation test

Eventually, given the time required to assemble it and, of course, render it, this would be a kinetic typography lyric video for the song "Texture" by Catherine Wheel. I've mentioned my predilection for minimalism in design work and this project would or will either give the lie to that statement or confirm it completely, I'm not quite sure which. Of course the whole thing's a bit on-the-nose as far as wordplay goes but oh well.

I've been in the "playing" stage with this project for a while now; the stage that comes before actual planning or sketching or wireframe rendering. So I get things like this that take forever to render only for me to notice everything that's actually wrong with it (like, the fact that I actually got the words wrong, whoops). But seeing these kind of things early on is helpful, encouraging even. I like the general effect I'm getting though I'm less enamored of the grainy shadows than I was when I was creating the images for Or Eve (where the effect was kind of cool and appropriate). I'm working on upgrading my rendering set-up (I'm pretty sure my current machine could get me to Mars faster than it could render a full-length video) so a final piece might be a ways off yet.

Promo video animation test

When I create work for myself I tend to prefer to want to get lost in big, long, involved projects where I can turn up the music and tune out the world and geek out endlessly over details for days and days on end. So I wind up with things like The Reds and Or Eve and then these kind of weird deafening silences between because I'm either bummed out that I finally had to finish the previous project or I haven't quite yet found my way into the next project. I like journey more than destination, I guess. I mean. I do like destination. Destination is great. But. Journey is just so much more...exciting, yes?

I wouldn't call it a bad habit but I imagine there's much to be learned from smaller projects, too, so I'm trying to trick myself a bit into not exactly giving up on the epic quests but at least setting my sights on shorter trips in greater quantities. Not every trip has to end at Walley World. Sometimes you have to go to the grocery store, too. Or even just the drug store. Or the mailbox on your front porch.

So! We get things like the video above, where I'm experimenting with kinetic typography in Blender. I love kinetic typography and I love working in Blender and there's a wonderful add-on for Blender called Sniper which makes combining the two loves maybe not exactly completely easy but certainly far easier than it would be otherwise. (Says the guy who has spent most of his motion graphics time doing keyframing in AfterEffects; bouncing between the two programs is sort of fascinating, a reminder about just how critical muscle memory is to a smooth workflow.)

In any event there's probably about a million things wrong with this test video as I step back and look at it critically; the animation should be much smoother and the lighting could be more dynamic and there probably ought to be some off-camera stuff for the text pieces to reflect a bit to give them a greater feeling of depth and contrast and and and and, but I do kind of like the general flow of it and for being a clip I didn't sketch or script out ahead of time I'm kind of pleased with the way the general flow came together, especially the bit where motion slides under the main title, which just amused me too much when I decided on that.

Also I'd normally prefer to make the music myself for something like this, even though I have little to no business making music, but I grabbed a loop for this one just to get it done. Listening to samples of loops is a surreal and strange and sort of painful experience. Like, come on, Internet, why can't you hear exactly what's in my head yet and just give it to me? Sheesh.

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