Went to the Carnegie Museum of Art this weekend to see their exhibit on Accessibility. This sparked a lot of new ideas about how to focus on solving human problems through empathy. The variety of solutions was truly impressive (concerts for the deaf, eating utensils, mobility assistance and augmentation, navigation technology for the visually impaired, and so much more!)
This month cruised by fast. I have been spending the bulk of my time in Fusion 360, both for class projects, as well as personal exploration of the software. Here are some recent renderings:
For anyone getting into CAD, I also recommend GrabCAD.com, where you can download (and contribute) 3D models for free! I was able to accelerate my workflow by downloading prebuilt models of the ethernet, USB, and HDMI ports.
Last week I returned from my trip to Memphis (thanks, Andy! Hope Meara’s potty training is going well!) and I’ve been playing catchup ever since. I’m getting back into Fusion 360 with some more challenging projects. This week we covered how to use joints in assemblies. This is pretty wild stuff. You can download models from GrabCAD.com and upload them Fusion 360. It auto-magically converts models to work natively (with mixed results) in the work space. From there, you can define joints and move parts in real time! We did this in class using an industrial robot model. Of course, this meant the robots needed to fight…
This wasn’t the actual assignment. Instead we needed to create a render scene involving an earlier model from this class being assembled by robots. I was grinding away at this all day yesterday, and finally got around to rendering it. Because of the complexity of the scene, it’s taking quite some time to bake in all of those rays at HD+ resolution. Here’s the object being assembled for reference:
i’ve been taking this class as an opportunity to not only learn the software, but also to push the limits of what the software can do. For me, this practice is like cartography. I’m mapping the borders by extending to the edge in all things. With this project, I wanted to not only torture test the rendering pipeline, but also test the limits of my beefy Hackintosh. As noted previously, my CPU appears to be the main bottleneck. But I wanted to see what it takes to exceed memory requirements. For this design and ray tracing session I’m utilizing ~25 GB of memory, and cooking my poor little quad-core Haswell® chip.
It’s been over four hours as of writing this, and the rendering has not yet reached “final” quality. Scene complexity is a huge factor in rendering time.
I’ve been playing around with some more complex geometry, materials, appearance settings, and texture mapping. The real payoff comes in when it is time to render. In an earlier post I talked about Fusion 360’s ray tracing render engine. Much to my surprise, in examining the system resources during in-canvas rendering, it looks like Fusion 360 accomplishes photographic quality ray tracing without heavy GPU dependency. Take a look:
My GTX 1080 Ti is practically idle why the CPU is 100% stressed. Even with a beastly Thermaltake Water 3.0 Pro, this rendering pushed CPU core temperatures to 70˚ C. Since nVidia launched their 20-series RTX GPUs, I’ve been curious about what it will mean for creativity software. It looks like Autodesk will be adopting this technology (Arnold GPU), but maybe not for Fusion 360.
“1) Use the selection tools + refine edge to isolate objects from the Culture Catalogue image, then copy and paste them into a New Document, so that each is on a new layer. Rename the layers, save as: lastname-isolated-objects.psd”
Click here to download a copy.
“2) Use Retouch and Repair tools to modify radically alter the castle while maintaining a ‘realist’ aesthetic. Save as lastname-weird-castle.psd”
Click here to download a copy.
“3) Recombine objects from the Culture Catalogue within the Castle image, using refine-edge to integrate the objects more seamlessly. Save as lastname-weird-castle-2.psd”
Week 3 – Day 2
First, make sure you change three defaults:
Auto-select/Layers/Show Transform Controls
Modify Selections by holding down SHIFT to add to a selection or Option to subtract from a selection.
Note: By default, when copy/pasting, it is added to a new layer
Checkerboard pattern indicates a transparent background
When selecting an object on a white background, you may get a white edge.
Use Refine Edge:
Option under selection tool.
Brush based retouch and repair tools
I started with this image:
I then decided it was time to “patch” this castle to its former glory…
I expanded the vertical dimensions by more than 400%, and then proceeded to “build” more layers of bricks, up into the sky. I used the lens distortion tools to create an illusion of perspective. Finally, I decided to add a “window” by cloning and inverting one of the smaller doors. Overall, I am pleased with how convincing this image is, but there are a few “bugs” in the picture (redundant, duplicate patterns) that detract from the overall realism. Still, I think I’ve done a better job than North Korea, and their use of Photoshop.
I’ve taken the criticisms into careful consideration, and here are the latest image updates:
I spent a lot of time figuring out how to use perspective to give the blood spatter a solid “floor,” but the letters felt too flat against that perspective surface. Carl had some input on this, and the end solution was to include a 3D Extrude stylization filter to give depth and dimension to the letter “A”. There is a nice contrast with the flat letters in the background, and a slightly more gray value is applied to the background letters to emphasize this.The blood was given more detail by using the Wrinkle Tool. Overall, this is a pleasing change and I’m much happier with the results than earlier versions.
hat kind of magician would I be without a rabbit? The peer critique included an earlier, rougher version of this critter, but I’ve refined it to a point where it is a welcome distraction and not just a proof of concept. The sparse grayscale image really Pops thanks to the included red bowtie. This was created as a series of shape (Rectangle Tool) and a thicker brush setting for the outline. A heavy use of Gradient was applied to multiple Layers of the top-hat to give it a more three-dimensional appearance. Abracadabra!
The lion’s share of time went into this third image. Carl had an interesting suggestion to give the background a crumpled paper appearance. I scoured the web for a few options on how to do this. One suggested using a gradient tool in Photoshop and importing that image into Illustrator like so:
This wasn’t a bad approach, but it didn’t really “look right” in Illustrator. The better solution I found came from a multistep approach involving actual crumpled paper (Read here). I started by crumpling a folded piece of paper, and then scanning a highDPI image of it and saving the PNG for use in Illustrator. I then used the Image Trace tool to assign shapes their corresponding values (4 shades of gray). The end effect was more convincing because it was derived from the genuine object. Next, I created improved letter “clippings” for the ransom note stylization by choosing a variety of fonts and color combinations, grouped with rectangles that were altered using Transform to give them a more natural appearance.
The final steps involved creating a severed finger – because just one pool of blood in a project is never enough. I started with the Rectangle tool and created two segments, for the third segment (the fingertip), I used a pair of Ellipse tool shapes (fingertip and fingernail), which I altered with the Pen Tool. I then used a gradient fill to give the nail some depth, but struggled to find a gradient to give the finger segments an illusion of depth. I decided to hold off on that detail and used a regular color fill from the Skin Tone Library (color swatch). I then rotated the segments to give the finger a more curled appearance, and the Pen Tool to create the creases in the skin.
Solution for creating depth: I layered four stacks of cloned finger (object groups) on top of one another and then used the Eraser to create a gradation of shadows (Stylization and Drop Shadow)to create a rounder appearance. The end effect is consistently cartoonish with the rest of the image.
Finally, I created a “blood soaked paper” effect by changing the fill color of the surrounding Image Trace generated shapes and the Wrinkle Tool to give it a more distressed appearance. The one effect I want but haven’t been able to figure out is how to “crinkle” the ransom note letters themselves. They feel a bit too flat, and out of place, but after a few failed attempts with the Knife Tool to create segments I’ve decided to error on the side of caution. If I come up with a solution by Monday, I’ll be sure to update the results here.
” When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures…”
Type Text “CARL”
Object -> Make Outline
DON’T FORGET TO: Ungroup Text
Knife Tool -> Cut “waves” through the text.
Color the top half “Fill” Brown
Color the bottom half “Fill” Blue
Brush Pallet (icon looks like books on a shelf (i.e., library))
Using the brush tool change the outline of the letters to give a more “watery” look. Change stroke size to amplify effect.
Just like the brush library, you can fill an object with a variety of textures.
Command: Paste in place
This creates a copy of an object directly on top of the original; useful because you do not need to align the new object.
How to make triangles:
Use the Polygon tool, and then rightclick for a menu to select “sides”, change to: 3
Create object from center:
Hold down the option key
How to create “Distressing” shapes
Use the “Warp Tools”. The Icon looks somewhat like a tulip.
PNG Export: (For blog)
300 DPI (High)
Background color: White
As of Wednesday evening this was the status of my three images:
My peers had some excellent suggestions.
Image one (accident-prone), is too flat. Consider moving the other letters of the text “back” into the image to create more depth
Image two (magician), needs more color. Black and white images are less interesting in this context, and more stylization of the letters would really help. Just as adding a gradient to the “wand tips” gave greater depth, consider adding more depth to this image as well.
Image three (hostage). This is an early start, and needs more work. Particularly, the texture on the letter “A” isn’t working well. The concept is interesting, but more details will make this a successful piece.
The first day of the week and we’ve hit the ground running on this first project. It’s almost the end of class and I’m just now getting to the 2nd (of three) portraits. I asked for help on my first iteration, because it seemed like something was missing. I had followed the basic draft pretty closely, but it felt bare and uninteresting.
After talking with the professor, it was clear that I needed to express a greater range of tools. This was my second iteration:
Better, but not great. I added an organic shape and used the gradient tool to create a shadow effect. Still, the image felt a little too flat. One more tweak:
This simple vertical offset creates a bit more motion and surprise. I’m not sure what more I could add or subtract at this point. On to my second portrait…
In order to create a three-dimensional “floor” I used the perspective grid tool:
It isn’t really easy to see what I’m experimenting with just by looking at the image, but I have several elements that are grouped into logical objects. The “wand tips”are made using the rectangle Shape Tool, arranged above the Text and then individually grouped with their respective “T”s. Same for the “shirt buttons” on the “M”, as well as the top-hat. I’m not sure if this one would benefit from color or not. Perhaps I can use the gradient tool to give the “wand” more of a cylindrical appearance?
Over the weekend I had a chance to sit down and read over the first two chapters of Adobe Illustrator guide. I think I may have just confused myself. One of the key challenges is the fact that I have very little experience with Adobe’s Creative Suite. It’s like a whole new language. Furthermore, I do not have this software at home, and thus cannot easily relate to these new sets of terms. It is hard to apply knowledge when everything about it is purely theoretical. Last but not least: this was just a ton of new information.
At least there were pictures.
llustrator is a massive heap of skeuomorphisms, and this only makes sense for those who began their careers in print making prior to the advent of computers in Graphics Design. This can be a huge challenge for newcomers, but this challenge is hardly unique to Illustrator. True story: a seventeen-year-old in one of my freshmen courses once described the save button in MS Word as a “purple truck”.
See, the thing was, she’d never even seen a floppy disk before. This graphic held no contextual meaning for her. She never experienced the joy of inserting a 3.5-inch piece of plastic into a clunky (yet essential) device to save her document. By the time she was old enough for K-12, the iMac was standard, and those computers (controversially) never shipped with a floppy drive.
he accepted the function (saving her document was important, after all), but couldn’t make the connection between function and form. I’m not telling this story because it is funny (I still laugh when I think about her), but because I can now relate to her better after reading about Adobe Illustrator’s Tool Bar and Control Panel. Some of the symbols are easy to recognize, despite the fact that I’ve never actually used them in real life:
I’ve never used a fountain pen. I’ve had a classmate spatter ink on me accidentally with one, but that’s really about it. Generically speaking I “get” pens. I’m fond of needlepoint over ballpoint, but that’s not the graphic here. What if I’d never seen a fountain pen before? How’d I ever hope to recognize the function?
I’m sure I’ll catch up, and with enough practice become proficient with this tool set. I just wonder how many “purple truck” moments I’ll have along the way.
Week 1 – Day 2
Introduction to Adobe Illustrator and Vector Graphics
Illustrator is part of Adobe’s Creative software suite (now “Creative Cloud”). The primary focus of Illustrator is the use of and creation of vector graphics. Most graphics are rasterized (a grid of pixels with assigned values); vectors are “drawn” by software (or hardware, if supported) and are not limited by resolution. At our university’s Mac lab, we have preloaded versions of Illustrator, here’s a quick run-through:
There are lots of ways to launch the program. My preferred method is to use Spotlight search.
This will open a search box (this is like Google for your computer), just start typing “illustrator” and you’ll get an auto-complete before you finish typing it. Just hit Enter when it fills in the remaining characters. BAM! You’re in.
Next, we need to create a new project:
File -> New ->
Name: Lastname-Intro [Geiger-Intro ART119]
Size: 960 x 560
After creating this new document, save it.
File -> Save ->
Save as: Lastname-Intro.ai [Geiger-Intro-ART119.ai]
Default settings -> OK
Used to create a vector object
Vector Objects are defined with Paths and Points
Defines the thickness of lines (vectors)
Defines the “filling” of an object (like Twinkies)
Illustrator “stacks” objects in the order they were created. To change this order, go to the top menu:
Object -> Arrange -> Send to…(back/front) Bring to (back/front)
Like with a text editor, aligns an object to different orientations (objects, Artboard, etc.)
Drag to new area to create a duplicate
Bounding box selects multiple items
Save current progress
In-class exercise: practice drawing your name. I wrote mine in cyrillic:
The letter “а” is tricky, and I didn’t quite get it right on the first try (“Матвей Гайгер” The first “a” looks like an “o”). This was all done with the pen tool, but switching back and forth between the curve and straight pen.
Project 1: Typographic Portraits
Mar 30: Project Intro, sketch ideas for next class (blog)
Apr 05: Work time in class following demonstrations
Apr 07: Work Time in class, following demonstrations
Apr 11: Review Typographic Portraits
Example: “Eruption” “Tilt-A-Whirl” “Balloon Darts” “Roller Bowler” “Cock Clock” “Exit” “Copernicus”.
Choose 3 of 6 provided character prompts. Use your name, first and/or last or nickname. Along with typographic and design…
“Hello my name is______ and I’m…”
Sketches and ideas for project
Reflection on Open House (Blog)
Reflection on reading (Adobe Illustrator (Blog))
I went to the Apple store today to check out their latest and greatest. I found that both are too big for my taste. I feel like a phone should be something that I can easily use one-handed. Two hands, and I'm calling it a tablet.
Here's the reason I'm going to complain about this: People drop their phones. Even if your phone doesn't break, it can be pretty embarrassing. If someone cannot firmly grip the sides of their phone while using it, then it is an invitation for drop-tastic disaster.
I'm not a big guy. I'm under six feet tall, and for me, the iPhone 4 and 4s are the perfect size, and the iPhone 5, 5c and 5s are really pushing the limit. I'm honestly wondering if a product like the iPad Mini can survive in a world with five and a half inch iPhones. Neither product fits in my pocket, both require two hands to use (safely), and with a two year contract, the iPhone 6 Plus is one-hundred dollars less expensive.
Lastly, the iPhone 6 feels too slippery and curvy. My iPhone 4s has nice, crisp edges. I feel like I have a good grip on it. Same goes for my iPhone 5 (which was stolen over a year ago, but I digress), and this matters; I've rarely dropped something that I had a good grip on. The light, smoothness of the new iPhone is a turn-off, and I think that getting one would absolutely necessitate the purchase of a protective case. I'm not against getting a case, but this means adding additional volume to a device that is already too big for pockets or single-hand use.
I'm hoping that in another year, Apple releases the iPhone 6s (sounds like, "success") and a smaller iPhone 6c (sounds like, "Sexy"). Give me the features of the Plus (Apple Pay, TouchID, and Optical Image Stabilization), with the dimensions of an iPhone 5, and I'll be waiting in line for one.
Otherwise, you'll have to pry my iPhone 4s from my cold, dead hand -- because that's all I need to hold it when I'm sending a text, browsing the web, checking email, listening to music and podcasts, or looking up directions on Maps.