This is a fun table design concept. I’m not sure what situations it would be better than legs, and it’s a bit cobbled together, with all the support braces and legs all over the place, but it’s quite a conversation piece. I’d love to see a more polished version. (via Thereifixedit)
Proving once again that the Post-It Note is one of man’s most versatile inventions. (via thereifixedit)
Frugal Soap, designed by Ji Woong Kim. An elegant and well thought out design. The shape of the soap perfectly matches that of the dish, so that it doesn’t end up sitting in a pool of water, and keeps its form. The concavity of the top is printed with the instruction to fit your last piece of the previous bar into the top to prevent waste. It’s not the first time a soap has used these concepts, but it is all brought together with an elegance and simplicity of design that should have regular old bar soap designers hanging their heads in shame.
Tilt shifting in photography is when you deliberately put your lens out of line with the sensor in such a way that it changes the focus on the sensor/film rather than just based on distance of objects and depth of field. The resulting photos and videos trick the eye into thinking it is seeing a tiny scale model rather than something miles away. A similar effect can be created through video/image editing. In the above pictures, artcyclopedia has added an effect similar to tilt shift via software to several of Van Gogh’s works (click the picture to see their full gallery and the originals). I love the effect.
I think the kind of visual cues we take from tilt shifted photography are to some extent a product of the photographic age. We are used to seeing two dimensional representations of three dimensional space as seen through the single eye of a camera. When you look at a real scene through two eyes, whatever you are looking at is in focus, while anything out of focus is blurry and doubled (and by definition, not what you are currently looking at). One of the flaws with the current round of 3D movies is that while things have depth cues based on sending a different signal to each eye, there is no adjustable depth of field based on what you are looking at. The focus of any given object is chosen by the camera, rather than the viewer, and the whole image is the same distance away, even if each eye sees a different angle.
I did a little experimenting on my own to get a better understanding of things. I think the choice of impressionism is a good one. Impressionists have a tendency to capture the soul of a thing crisply, but without much detail. This means that when you blur a background, it looks believable rather than smeared. Creating this effect in Photoshop can be pretty simple.
Part of what makes tilt shift photography make things look miniature is the difference distance makes to depth of field. In tilt shift, focus is much more independent of distance. In a large scale photo, once you are focused a ways out, it tends to focus to infinity. Painters tend to make their paintings fully focused at all distances, which improves clarity, but degrades the feeling of depth. With a tilt shift effect I wanted to choose a subject in the composition, bring the eye to them, and then create the illusion of depth in the rest of the image by virtue of knowing where the eye is already looking. This is counter to one of the usual goals of composition: To keep the eye moving. Below is a Monet I found with a quick image search that served my needs nicely for a very simplified test.
The alterations I made can be seen below. I don’t think it made the image nicer, but I think it accomplished my compositional goal of directing the eye and holding it on the subject.
I chose it because it covers a vast distance, contains a subject to draw the eye, and has a tree that exists within the plane of focus, but in front of an area that I planned to blur. The clarity of the tree is what makes the end result different from what you would see with a tilt shift lens. This only took a few minutes. Below are the steps I took. If you have a copy of Photoshop, give it a shot. It’s a good skill to have in your repertoire.
- After opening the image, duplicate your background layer and work in the duplicate.
- Select anything outside your intended focus area that needs to remain sharp. In this case, the tree and the canopy on the right.
- Click on Select/Inverse.
- Click the add layer mask button in your layers pallet.
- Click select/Reselect.
- Click on the gradient tool and make sure you have it set to a black to white reflected gradient.
- Click on the part of your image that should remain focused and drag toward the edge of the picture perpendicular to the intended strip of focus and release.
- Right Click on the layer mask and click on Apply Layer Mask.
- Click on Filter/Blur/Gaussian blur, and drag the slider to create the blur.
I’m sure you can find a more long winded tutorial somewhere, but if you have a moderate knowledge of Photoshop, this should suffice as a bare bones process to get you started.
Someone has come up with these fancy zip ties with leaves on the ends. They’ve got them in all sorts of colors for different application, from attaching plants to support rods, to making your iPod cord look like it’s sprouted white leaves. I like ’em. I hope they become a thing. And they sell them on Amazon!.
It’s that time of the year again. The first Saturday in October is one of those few days of the year when I’m glued to the weather channel, hoping to see that little puffy cloud icon that around here means dreary, overcast weather. Photography weather. Pastels on the Plaza weather. Overcast weather seems like such a fixture around here that I don’t know why we bother having a weather forecast at all. The weather guy could just put up a poster with a dreary little cloud and a sign reading, “Partly cloudy”, and go on vacation for a few months. He would probably improve his record. Somehow, that first Saturday in October seems to be an exception. In recent years we’ve found ourselves sitting in a puddle in the rain, trying to draw on the sidewalk with a muddy piece of chalk, or plagued with steep shadows and gusts of wind that erase an hour’s work in an instant. This year, things were terrifyingly different. The weather was perfect. There was no excuse for failure.
I was worried there for a bit, but it all came together pretty well. Click the image above to see my full picture. My entry once again was dedicated to local garden coach and designer Genevieve Schmidt. The event brings together local businesses and local artists on behalf of a north coast children’s charity, which is a big win for everyone involved. Here’s a shot of the east side of the plaza, one of the four sections of pastels:
I noticed a lot of returning artists from past years, though notably absent was Coco Thorpe, veteran of 17 Pastel years, who stopped by to cheer us on, but didn’t deign to coat herself in chalk this year. In her place for Holly Yashi, we once again have Leah Vaughn, with what I think is her best entry yet:
Her husband, graphic designer Casey Vaughn, designed this square for Tomas Jewelry:
Shortly after staking my claim on an empty square, an artist settled into the square beside me. It turns out it was Alan Sanborn, a former watercolor instructor for HSU with a master’s in art and quite a portfolio. At one point I accused the man of using luminous paint. His way with light is enviable. He was doing a farm scene from memory, a reproduction of one of his previous works which can be seen here on his site.
Also returning was a personal favorite of mine, Jerry Lee Wallace, who I missed once again this year. I was too focused on my own work to do a walkaround until later.
This one clearly came from Duane Flatmo, a man of many talents, everything from building fire breathing dragons, to playing the guitar with an eggbeater.
I was especially impressed by the square for The Sushi Spot. They did a flawless job of making the nori, and from concept to execution, it was truly exceptional. Their sushi is awesome as well, a contender for the best in town, and they do take out even when they’re busy, unlike someone else.
Another square that has been consistently good in recent years is The Alibi. If you like your bars dark, your gin and tonic glowing and with a burger on the side, this is the bar for you. I don’t know who the artist was on this one either, but I like their work.
I thought the entry for Kash Boodjeh was cute.
And this one from Humboldt Wildlife Care center was fun. I didn’t even know they made beer out of smashed owls.
Next year, should I participate again. I want to take a break part way through and just spend some time taking pictures of works in progress.
When getting a new computer, there is always the issue of how to get your stuff off of the old one, which is often not even functional, like the time I knocked a full glass of water into my power supply (oops). This elegantly designed little product not only helps you with this problem, it also gives that old drive new purpose. It works on both IDE (old wide cables) and SATA (new little cables) drives, and lets you plug them into your USB port.
I always keep my old hard drives when I get a new machine, both for security reasons, and as backup, but then they changed the cables. This adapter not only lets you get your data off those old drives into your new computer, it also makes them into a better way to back up your data than DVDs, which I find unreliable, or the lesser capacity of flash drives. It supports the newer USB2 as well, so it works quickly (for USB).
Or you can go straight to Buy.com:
Cables Unlimited USB 2.0 to IDE & SATA Adapter Cable w/ Power
How many different methods of achieving flight do we have? Airplanes, jets, helicopters, blimps, gliders, and nature has flapping wings…thats about all I can think of. This guy seems to have come up with a new one. The FanWing puts the propulsion on the wing, spreading it across the surface in such a way that it provides lift directly, rather than relying on the speed of the aircraft to create the air flow for lift. as in conventional winged aircraft. The bonus of this is that you end up with a much more stable aircraft with the ability to fly at much slower airspeeds. That may not be good for long distance air travel, but for things like crop dusting, news coverage, or even flying cars, the ability to go at a reasonable speed with high stability is a big bonus.
We hit the streets, roofs, and piers of Humboldt County, California For their annual Kinetic Sculpture Race. This is the original home of these races, but there are now nearly a dozen around the country, and many of these contraptions will also be seen in the Corvallis race and at Burning Man.
Despite the increased number of races, there has been a decrease in the quantity of the more impressive and original machines, owing mostly to the loss of Calistoga and Yakima as sponsors. In recent years, Duane Flatmo has been almost carrying the race, with his fire breathing dragon from last year being the best I’ve seen. There are still a good number of smaller entries as well, which are what keeps the race unpredictable and full of personality, as well as some returning favorites.
Duane Flatmo’s entry this year was an aluminum lobster made of recycled parts and complete with pinchy claws and working jaws and tail, done in the same style as his previous Kinetic Carp and dragon. He was sponsored by FoxFarm.
Mad River Brewing Company sponsored this train. Just look at this guy racing a beer train through the streets of Arcata, he couldn’t be happier.
By far the most daring entry of the year has to go to this float, entitled Classical Nudes. Its drivers were dressed in nude suits and created quite a stir. They were pursued by a pit crew filled with some very stern looking nuns in mini skirts and roller skates. The statue on top was hinged, and could be easily secured for the tougher parts of the race.
There is one float that has been in the races in recent years that pretty much just gets a new name and paint job each time, but I’m always glad to see it. It has won numerous awards and seems to me to have the best engineering for the various trials of these races, taking to the water like a duck. Why mess with perfection? This year it was going under the name A Black Tie Affair.
I don’t know the story on this one, so I’m going to say it was inspired by something someone saw in a vision after eating some bad sushi. It would seem to be a giraffe from outer space with ruby slippers.
Guy racing a camel. The legs were attached to his pedals. I think he was associated with a group riding a flying carpet.
This is one of those events that brings all sorts of people together. I thought this was a great picture of the spectators around the judges. Worthy of a caption contest.
For more on these races, crossing the sand dunes, and some video see my post on Kinetic Sculpture Race 2009.