B4L: Of Dedication to Digital Doodling

     I tell you this, friends: I am a long-time lover of the monochrome bitmap (if we're being picky about the language, all bitmaps are monochrome -- anything with more than one bit per pixel is a pixmap, but that's neither here nor there). It feels sometimes like I have used just about every monochrome paint program of the last 30 years; on the 68000 Mac I've done MacPaint and Superpaint and this paint and that paint, on the Atari ST I've done Degas and PrismPaint and Pixart and Artis, on the PC I've done MS Paint and GEM Paint and a gaggle of others and through all this I've come to find that absolutely none of these work exactly like I want them to*.  So! Something I've wanted to do for a long time is write-up in whatever language was convenient a very simple monochrome paint program that did work exactly like I wanted it to. This past weekend, that's precisely what I started doing.
*     I'm happy to note, however, that in the area of indexed-colour paint programs I find great satisfaction in GraFX 2 which, after having been in development limbo for a time is now actively being maintained/updated again. Hoorah!

     When I've the luxury of more time (and inclination) I'll write all about how that's progressing, but for the moment, this exciting bulleted list will have to suffice:
  • It's being written in ActionScript
  • It's coming together quickly
  • It's already quite usable (for me, though the UI is spare and cryptic), and 
  • I've no regrets about spending all of last Saturday working on it instead of schoolwork. 
     As I was doodling with my Doodler (that's its name -- I'm trademarking it! Mine! *hiss*) I thought it might be interesting to print off one of the drawings and paint on it to create an under-painting that the bitmap would then be composited back on top of. Sort-of a bitmap-painting-bitmap sandwich. I hastily performed the experiment, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about the result. Below you can see the three stages. The astute observer will note that the last picture, with the bitmap overlaid, has been reduced to 16 colours. This was done because the, um, digitalness of the bitmap was, to my eyes, just too incongruous with the organic qualities of the paint. They looked terrible together. But flattening the colour space, introducing that banding effect of a limited palette, helped the two gel, I think.

B49: Computer Art

"Computer Art" is just not a phrase that you hear much anymore. I think it went out of vogue in about 1987, right about the time computers had become so commonplace in homes and offices that any mystique the word "computer" once had had was gone almost entirely. Either way! Computer art, generative art, whatever folks are calling it these days is something I've always had some interest in.

For an illustration project last week I was trying to come up with an abstract background for an image, something that had a similar visual character to models of Calabi-Yau manifolds. Upper-dimensional spaces and what-not. After some unsuccessful paint sketching, I remembered a program I'd written about a year-and-a-half ago in ActionScript that generated these ever-changing, overlapping, intersecting patterns with circles and lines. I fired-up FlashDevelop and started poking around in the source and watching the program go and decided, yep, that was exactly what I needed.

I had a great deal more fun tweaking the program and grabbing stills than I did doing the illustration. So here are some screen grabs to show the kind of stuff I was playing with. 

B41: Face The Face

I have a big project due on Monday, and I've got exactly 0% of it done. Ugh. But! I've at least accomplished this little warm-up painting! The mouth is terrible, the ear is barely an ear, but whatever! It's okay for a warm-up, I think.

I really wanted to write a caption, but I couldn't think of one. Balls.
My intention is to execute six little acrylic paintings like this, although a bit more developed, over the course of the next three nights. Without laughing at myself too hard for having said that, I shall now step away from the blog and see if I can try and actually make some kind of battle plan.

Good luck, me!