art, media, videogames

A Beautiful Journey – thatgamecompany and the Aesthetics of Mysticism

I like how video games have a way of drawing the secrets out of people. We can put on social facades in front of our friends and acquaintances (our “public face”, which the Japanese call 建前 (tah-teh-mah-e)), but in private settings, we can express our true feelings (本音 (hone-nay)). Games have a way of making the private known public in a statistical way because people don’t pay for what’s fake; they like having entertainment that appeals to their deepfelt desires.

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anime and games, art, books, media, tv

Introducing FLAT STUDIO

There’s a new animation studio making its debut this month on the animation scene. Named “FLAT STUDIO“, it’s run by none other than pixiv‘s famous artist “loundraw“.

The company was launched back in January when loundraw set up a website and declared he was recruiting. And according to the look on loundraw’s twitter page, he still is. He stated the company would be very open, and although now he has a bunch of people, you might still try your luck to get in the door.

loundraw as an artist has an impressive background – or should I say, prolific. He has quite the eye for light and shadow, which makes his works – now including animation – more fascinating. Critics are already saying he may be the next Makoto Shinkai.

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anime and games, art, comics and manga, media, tv, visual novels

Regarding the Funny Thing of Anthropomorphizing

(Featured image is 軍服 (Military Outfit) by 凪白みと)

Ever since ancient times (going back probably farther than even bear worship and the Egyptian god Anubis), people have put some kind of human attributes into non-human things. It’s easy to do. After all, we have a consciousness (which is in the soul),  personality, and character, leading to likes, interests, and traits that can be expressed through a body – ANY body. Pick a body or put eyes and a mouth on something – a planet, a tree, a potato chip bag – and you have a face.

Faces are quite critical in projecting our consciousness and human traits into something else. You could put arms and legs on a tree, but it wouldn’t seem human. But give in a face, and somehow we can affiliate with it.

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art, fractal, software

Faster Fractal Flame Rendering

My astute readers may note I have written a more complete description of the actual algorithm for fractal flames in another article. This article is more about improvements to the general process in the software for rendering fractal flames.

Preface

Having been creating fractals for a number of years, I have grown considerably interested in making software that allows me to create these structures. Not considering CPU vs GPU, there are a couple of common approaches, and I have had the pleasure of trying them all out. After toying with various software and examining their inner mechanisms, I’m now familiar with how each of these programs render fractals.

Addiction to creating fractals can be a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you are creating the most liberal art in the universe – pure color and shape – without so much as a single relation to a controversial topic. On the other hand, the artwork never provides complete gratification. It drives you to want to see more and more (and spend hours on end rendering it). The fine details are the main attraction and the source of endless entertainment.

There is an enormous potential in fractal design, and I’d like to see it manifested. However, fractal creation can be inherently slow or spotty in appearance depending on the type of fractal being rendered and the software used. Out of disappointment, I’ve pondered the details of the process and how to improve it. What follows in this article is an overview of those thoughts and an analysis of some of the solutions I’ve been dreaming up.

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art, comics and manga, media

ClipStudio Paint vs Krita

Some time ago, I made comparisons between different types of art software available. I compared Krita and Gimp, then I compared Krita and PaintToolSAI. Now it’s time to look at what the pros use. I’ll begin with procedure, explain the gaps in free software, and then discuss how ClipStudio Paint fills in those gaps. Finally, I’ll throw in alittle bit about what I think of Toon Boon Harmony.

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art, fractal

Tweaking Fractals Example – “Three Styles”

Sometimes it’s nice to see how a fractal is tweaked from start to finish. Below is an example of one of my own fractals that started with a simple idea, looked like junk at one point, and with some tweaking came out really nice. How do you tweak a fractal? That deserves a full length feature (which I may do later), but the gist of it is knowing balance. Fractal flames are created with points that are sent from variation to variation to be modified. The best-looking fractals are those that perform a balancing act: sending points to the places they are mots needed while still supporting the finer details of the fractal. Remember: even invisible transforms receive points and it is important that they are provided them depending on what role they perform (usually some intermediate transform). The balancing is all done by the Xaos (notably: JWildfire 1 labeled these as “Rel. Weights”, which is more descriptive but not common terminology).

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art, freeware, software

Is Krita better than Gimp?

The Gimp is arguably the most popular free software for non-vector digital art and image editing. (Inkscape is the best free program for vector graphics in my opinion.) Some time ago, I analyzed Paint Tool SAI, comparing it with the Gimp, and the results are in. But SAI has an unrelated, nay, a mirror image in the FOSS world trying to do what SAI does in a better way: Krita. Krita is a cross-platform open-source free software tool for digital art. In fact, I’d argue that, in light of what Krita has to offer, Gimp may be considered the best for image editing and not for art creation. But here’s a run-down comparison of the two.

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art, software, web design

Ripping 3D Models from Websites

Anyone who explores the internet long enough should already be well aware of frequent image re-posting. While for some things, this is acceptable, in other areas, it leads to the ever louder cry of “art theft” and helps keep the lawyers active in the courts in D.C. and the halls of the copyright office. It is rather easy to copy a 2D image, and with Adobe CS 6, it is easy to remove a watermark. While images with watermarks removed may not be an exact copy (due to the algorithm for image correction and the style of watermark), the average naked eye won’t notice. But what’s more important is that a work with possibly a great deal of time put into its production (depending on if we’re talking about amateur photo or something like a realistic digital painting, etc.) is now available to everyone, and unfortunately, allows for just about anyone to take the credit. This tends to tick off artists and has lead to a whole lot of bickering and lawsuits.

Interestingly enough, what one might call the “calamities of Flatland” have yet to hit the 3D world. But here’s how that could change…

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