Image of the Week

Shop window, shot in 1993.

Concept car

The above is a design study of a public transport concept called “SNAP”, which involves single, three-wheeled cars, which are able to connect to a train. This has actually not so much to do with visual arts, but with automotive design, but I found it so cool that couldn’t resist posting it here.

This outstanding concept was designed by Vít Bechynský from the Czech Republic. Wow! is all I can say. The only weak spot of this visually very appealing concept could probably be the question of security.

Discovered via 20 three-wheeled vehicles geared for a green ride.

Posted in Design. 1 Comment »

Views of the Earth

POV-Ray rendering of the Tatra

Image © Copyright 2009 by Christoph Hormann. Licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Via the POV-Ray web site I discovered the really amazing renderings of Christoph Hormann. He renders detailed images of just about any landscape on Earth, using the (imho very underrated) freeware renderer POV-Ray. Both the level of detail and the colors are simply amazing. Technical information on how he did this can be found on his Rendering planets page.

Related:

Bitmap editing in Inkscape

bitmap, edited using Inkscape

This is an attempt of mine to use Inkscape 0.46 for bitmap editing. I got the idea for this sometime last year, and I already posted a few attempts of mine on Flickr. The reason for all of this is, that the handling of the bézier curves in Inkscape is so amazingly intuitive that the idea for using this for bitmap editing came kind of automatically, after I had imported a few bitmaps into Inkscape and tried out different things. (I actually cannot exactly recall when it occured to me that Inkscape has possibilities for bitmap editing, but I guess it was when I trie d to to edit a few of my own photographs and had to realize that the possibilities of the Gimp where somewhat limited for the things I wanted to do.

Here’s just one example of a task that is a bit challenging when trying to use the Gimp:

The problem is that the clone brush doesn’t work so well because the transition between the different brush strokes is not as smooth as it should be. In Inkscape, though, I found a feasible solution for this by using gradients. By superimposing several circular gradients over one another & then fine-tuning the result in Gimp (read: adding some noise and using the clone brush a bit here and there) I was able to get satisfactory results. (At first—before I decided to use Inkscape—I even gave CinePaint a try, but although the brushes in CinePaint are of far better quality than in Gimp, the look of the edited areas was not as smooth as I wanted it to be.)

After trying some basic bitmap editing, I went one step further & used Inkscape for things like additional eyelashes, eye shadow, and lip gloss.

Then, still one step futher, I painted some floral vector pattern on top of the respective bitmap & exported the result as a PNG.

Yesterday I made a new discovery: that it is possible (and comparably easy) to use Inkscape as a vector paint app, similar to the—as to my knowledge discontinued—paint* by discreet; only that the strokes in Inkscape cannot be animated that easily. (Basically it is feasible, though, to animate SVGs by using a language such as JavaScript.)

CinePaint

CinePaint mascot

claus@ubuntu:~$ sudo apt-get install cinepaint
[sudo] password for claus:
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
Package cinepaint is not available, but is referred to by another package.
This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
is only available from another source
E: Package cinepaint has no installation candidate

What would I not give to have CinePaint available as a .deb package for the current Ubuntu 10.04. Alas, it is not meant to be (yet). A while ago, I posted on this to the Cinepaint-users mailing list, but got no response.

For those who are not familiar with CinePaint and its capabilities: CinePaint is a deep paint program actually designed for editing film, but it can also be used for photo editing. The present (Film Gimp) version evolved out of the Gimp, but due to some controversy, the developer teams (for Gimp, and Film Gimp) went their separate ways. Currently , the CinePaint developers are working on a new CinePaint version named Glasgow, which is based on FLTK instead of GTK.

CinePaint offers up to 32-bit/channel color depth, color management, and CMYK support.

Related:

Underrated

ImageMagick logo

The command-line based ImageMagick is imho really one of the absolutely underrated graphics programs (actually, unlike Photoshop or similar, rather a set of various tools). To get an idea of what ImageMagick is capable of, please, check out the Usage section on the ImageMagick web site. And the great thing: all commands are scriptable. It is in fact possible to access the ImageMagick commands out of almost any programming language, be it Perl, Python, PHP, shell scripts, or whatever.

Related: Building ImageMagick RPMs for linux from SRPMs

Image of the Week

Editing: Gimp 2.6.7, Inkscape 0.46. You can find more of those photographs on my Flickr page.