Showing posts from August, 2008

Cellular Automata Pollockus

(Above) Made in Capow with the usual settings of 2D wave or heat, and the 3D view settings of Sheet, colored lines, med. res., and none of those science class guidelines that are drawn by default (Capow is an extremely nerdy program).

Pollock had his drip paintings, I have my "click" paintings.

One interesting comment on this new digital medium is that unlike the traditional canvas and paint, digital works are intangible and therefore unpossessible. You can't really own an "original" digital work although you could own a numbered print of it.

Unlike traditional printmaking however, there's no plate to destroy after making the limited edition number of copies which through its destruction creates the conditions of scarcity and makes each print copy special and ownable. The digital file is the printing plate, so to speak, and can be easily copied itself. Unlimited and costless copying is part of the digital medium.

This is good for the viewer and for the distr…

Creative Dithering

Dithering can have creative effects. Although dithering is intended to be a way of reducing the number of colors in an image while minimizing the loss of quality, or minimizing the change to the appearance of the image (by using a pattern of dots mixed together to simulate extra colors), it can also provide a creative effect when used in extreme and heavy-handed ways for which it was never intended.

I've often used the dithering effect (called the reduce colors option) in Irfanview to make images that appear to be made of sand. Normally this sort of extreme dithering effect is unwanted (dithering aims to be unnoticeable) but like many things in computer art, new styles can come from very unexpected features and it's what the effect does rather than what it was intended for, that's important.

(First Image) This is the raw image from Sterlingware before any processing has taken place.

(Second Image) Here I've India Inked the image using the Bubbles pattern and Queen color…

Opus Extractimus

I think the fertile places of computer art, are ones where graphic recombination takes place. Here, I've taken a Sterlingware fractal which I think is interesting enough on it's own because it has such a wide variety of detail and applied a simple combination of effects that combines the talents of each one.

To take such an image and apply the Extractor 1 filter by Mario Klingemann will undoubtably produce interesting results because the Extractor filter will render the already interesting image in various ways.

(Above) The original image made in Sterlingware (squaravan04.loo)

(Above) Filtered with Overlap 4

(Above) Further filtered with Mirror, Mirror

(Above) Further filtered with Extractor 1. The first BW image in this posting comes from the same image as this one, just using different settings. Some images, if they turn out really good, can produce several intriguing and quite different "extractions".

I then decided to use a combination of filters that has been sho…

The Story of Land

You don't have to read between the lines to know the story of land.
The outline says enough.
The outline says it louder.

There are no details in the story of land.
No footprints, no fires.
No voice except the wind.

It is a place of sharp sunlight and cavernous shadow.
Simple and sufficient to tell the story of land.

Image Notes
Made in Capow using one of the 2D "worlds" with the Sheet, Lines, Low Resolution, 3D view settings.

Positive and Negative

Something I learned quite quickly when I first started playing with computer graphics (it's just a hobby, nothing serious) by making millions of seamless tiles in "The" Gimp was always invert an image to see what it looks like.

For starters, it's really easy, and for finishers, it often has a powerful transformational effect which can turn straw into gold or what is already gold into something even goldlier. You never know really how it's going to look in the negative and it just takes a mouse click.

The way I look at it is: If the negative looks worse than the positive, then inverting the positive may look much better if what you're already looking at is actually the negative of the positive. Computer art shows you things like that. You bet.

Image Notes
Made in Capow using the 2D Heat or Wave "world" and the Sheet, Colored Lines, Medium Resolution with the guidelines turned off, 3D view settings.

Realism, Abstract and now: Metamorphic Art.

Metamorphic art is imagery that has the appearance of something real, or suggests something real, but is actually created by a process that is unrelated to the real imagery and only bears a resemblance to real things by accident.

The best examples of metamorphic art are fractals which often look like and are described as real things, usually plants or other organic structures, but the resemblance is only accidental. Most algorithmic art or generative art programs create metamorphic imagery because the underlying process is one that can only produce abstract or non-representational images.

It's really just a matter of process. If the process of making "imagery" is not human (or photographic) it is extremely unlikley, if not impossible, for it to reproduce the human form or face or anything else that already exists. In fact, only human artists (or photography) can reproduce real things because that requires intention and very complex thought processes.

Computer programs or…

Grow Yer Own Mountains!

(Above) I India Inked the original image from the program. That had the effect of darkening the colors and applying the fine scratches (engraving pattern) to it. I always India Ink everything. It's almost as natural as framing.

Thanks to my fellow Computer Artist and software enthusiast, Dan Riles, I discovered Capow.

(From the website:)CAPOW (Cellular Automata for Electric Power simulation) is a research project of Rudy Rucker's which was born under the CAMCOS program at San Jose State University. Since 1994 CAPOW has been exploring new kinds of continuous-valued cellular automata.

There's more of that sort of thing on the website. It's a fine example of how the graphical study of mathematics and other scientific subjects can have artistic applications that are completely outside the scope of the developer's initial intentions for the software. I'm sure anyone, art-minded or science-minded, appreciates the interesting graphics, but I get the feeling the pr…

Pieces of the Puzzle

In the old days the great artists were masters. In more recent times the greatness of an artist has measured by such qualities as: expressiveness; intelligence; satire; social commentary. Today, the great artists are scavengers; collectors not creators; thinkers not commentators; pointers of the way, not great ships under sail. Names in the phone book, not brass plates in the galleries. Pieces of the puzzle, not a puzzle of pieces.

Image Notes A Sterlingware fractal, India Inked.8bf and then filtered with Patch Work by Kipp McMichael which produced the fragmented look. The second one was also filtered with Mirror, Mirror, to give it the symmetrical look.

Rare Picasso Made by Me in 7 Seconds!

I just know Pablo would want to shake my hand and say how relieved he is that finally someone has arisen to carry on the rich tradition of fresh, progressive artwork that he started.

I'm not sure he would be able to relate to the simple digital techniques of blockwaving travel posters off the internet, but then I'm sure many of his predecessors (is there anyone great enough to be considered a predecessor of Picasso?) weren't able to relate to his, sometimes, impulsive style (you might want to check that).

But I think Picasso was very flexible and innovation-friendly when it came to art and methods. Actually, I don't know.

At the same time I "made" this thing too:

It's a bit messy and I only saved it because I thought it shows how simply you can make interesting stuff with this blockwave filter from Showfoto.

Physician, Know thy Applantus!

(Image Above) A Sterlingware fractal India Ink.8bf-ed with the Queen color setting and the Xor pattern at 4x. (What better illustration to senseless utterances than a concert hall?)

I love senseless statements. Especially when they have that special air of antiquity or authority.

Is it a shallow thing? Marcel Duchamp wrote on one of his Dadaist "artworks", "Why Sneeze Rose Selazny?". I think he was engaging in this same sort of thing.

These senseless things are (ironically) a satire on the art of profound statements or quotations. What does it mean when I quote something meaningless? I think what it means is not much less than many of the rich proverbs and cliches people like to repeat.

It's the gesture that's important. We can fill in the blanks. Just like we do when someone quotes something in Latin and we have no idea what they're saying but we can easily guess that it's first of all something profound and secondly has no doubt also had an pr…

The Planet Motif

(Image Above) Raw image made in the fractal program, InkBlot Kaos

Perhaps the round, disk-like images have a special resonance in the human mind? I often go overboard making variations on this planet-like theme.

The central part is usually empty or sparsely populated with respect to graphical features and responds strongly to the India Ink patterns. This provides as marked contrast to the ring-like edge of the planet's surface which often has much more detail and reacts in unpredictable ways to the various photoshop compatible filters.

The Graphical Variations

Give the filters an image with some graphical variety to it and it's not hard to come up with something interesting. That's the power of "Clickism" which leaves the heavy lifting to the computer's graphical effects.

Someday this picture will be worth a hundred bucks!

For those of you who think art has to involve a lot of careful consideration, precision and care, I spent quite some time adjusting the two block wave parameters in Showfoto to come up with this one.

The default settings often work well, but naturally one wants to experiment, and that's quite easy to do with digital effects. I usually make the blocks smaller but then I got bored with that and went in the opposite direction.

That didn't work well until I readjusted the other slider. This result, chosen from a number of similar but less interesting ones, is the sort of raw style that I'm never quite sure of at the time but often become have more confidence in once I've thought about it more.

Some art is straightforward and easy to have an opinion about and some fluctuates between the two extremes of rich-masterwork and cheap-cartoon with every blink of the eye.

Insect Magnetism

Magnetism -- as in attraction and repulsion.

Insects are intriguing; they're like living machines and yet there's something threatening and disturbing about them.

When insects are viewed inside a glass case we can relax and admire their alien architecture. But out in the wild; unrestrained and on an equal footing, they make us uneasy.

I think art is the same. We like the glass cases; the labels; the books that offer us safe answers. But out in the wild -- where art comes from -- we have a hard time seeing it for what it is because out there you have to think for yourself.

Image Notes
A Sterlingware fractal enlarged 2x and modified with the circular wave filter from Showfoto, a Linux photo program.

Sci-Fi Show

Sometimes Sterlingware makes very cool images that have a vintage sci-fi look to them. These images almost always come from the sine-trap rendering methods.

This is one of the things that makes fractals so interesting; they often produce huge panoramas of very detailed and stylized imagery. It can get boring at times since the wild scenery is actually very closely determined and constrained by the underlying mathematics and the overlying methods of visualizing those mathematically determined things.

The ability to modify the color is very important and often completely changes the "style" of the imagery by making the background the figure and vice versa. There's enough variables involved to keep one interested and the results looking fresh, but after a while I always get tired of the "organic" imagery that fractal programs make and need a change to something more (and this is very ironic) geometric.

Sometimes fractals are too real and ordinary.

Image Notes:

Castle of Ancient Kingdoms

It's just a blockwaved black and white engraving from an old book about Columbus. Or to be precise; it's a detail of the blockwaved image.

The full image is just below here. The above is a detail from it. Feel free to explore like I did, although this sort of imagery may not appeal to everyone.

Click here to view the huge original (4540px x 5840px, 604k)

If you look at the original blockwaved image as a thumbnail, it just looks like a blurry image of the original engraving. I find this quite intriguing as it's the tiny details that are interesting and in fact, that's all the blockwave filter has actually changed.

You can see similar effects in something like ASCII art where a picture is made up of letters and is actually a text file and not an image file. The image looks perfectly normal from a distance, but up close it appears to be made of tiny insect characters, in other contexts commonly referred to as letters and numbers.

If I was writing an encyclopedia or just p…