Silent Era Cool Hand Luke

This Return the Silent Era video remakes the 50 eggs eating contest in the 1967 classic prison camp movie Cool Hand Luke. On a sweltering stormy night, the prisoners are dreading the closing of the windows of the barracks as it will mean a sweaty night of misery. Luke (Paul Newman) takes the bunch off […]

This Return the Silent Era video remakes the 50 eggs eating contest in the 1967 classic prison camp movie Cool Hand Luke. On a sweltering stormy night, the prisoners are dreading the closing of the windows of the barracks as it will mean a sweaty night of misery. Luke (Paul Newman) takes the bunch off guard by flippantly suggesting he can eat fifty eggs. Even his biggest fan Dragline (George Kennedy) finds it hard to believe this is possible. Soon a wager is born and the camp is again distracted from their suffering through Luke’s impishness and levity.

The contest scene takes about ten minutes in the movie and I was pretty sure I wanted to keep the silent version much shorter. So I decided to cut out most of the haggling over the rules of the bet as well as speed of the film. At times I made moments as much as 2.5x faster than the original footage, which quickened the pace but also reflected the unnaturally fast footage often seen in silent movies which were shot at frame rates lower than the 24fps standard of sound pictures.

Another hard decision was to choose which pieces of dialogue to place on title cards. The most important elements of time and the number of eggs eaten were included, as well as a number of Dragline’s colorful comments as he coached Luke through the contest. Also I hoped the Dueling Banjos soundtrack would provide an emotional substitute to a lot of lines.

I edited the film using Final Cut Pro and made the title cards in Photoshop. But I again found a good use for my iPhone as part of the process, similar to my recent discovery of using it in my designs. The 8mm app has some really awesome antiquing filters for video, including a ‘Noir’ and ’1920′ filter. I ran the video through both filters.

Bouncing a three minute video at almost 100MB in size bacj and forth between the computer and the phone and then back again is little cumbersome but the effect I think makes it worth it. There’s even an included projector sound effect.

Rear Window Animated Movie Poster

Alan Levine’s post about watching cool flick’s with Jim Groom finally got me to get of the snide and finish this animated movie poster for the amazing Hitchcock classic Rear Window. I have an older post with animated GIFs from … Continue reading

Alan Levine’s post about watching cool flick’s with Jim Groom finally got me to get of the snide and finish this animated movie poster for the amazing Hitchcock classic Rear Window. I have an older post with animated GIFs from Rear Window, but all things GIF need to ratcheted up a notch every few weeks.

This poster is was created for the limited theatrical re-realease of the movie in 1999 after an extensive restoration. I am a little disappointed with myself as if I were to really make something truly awesome, it would have been modeled after the original theatrical poster, which showcases all the happenings in the many neighbors windows. *Note to self, amazing summer project might include creating a number of Hitchcock animated movie poster GIFs.

To make this poster, I used the James Stewart GIF from the previous post, as well as made a new one for Grace Kelly. The work on Grace Kelly’s GIF was a lot tougher as it required the erasing of the background on ten separate frames (not fun). Here’s what one of the frames looked like beforehand:

To create the animation, I used the animation timeline in Photoshop in which you basically turn on and off different layers per frame. This is also a bit tedious, but it allows you to create some interesting timing options. Each frame can be assigned its own amount of time, which is how the pauses work. Here’s a look at a few frames of the animation timeline:

And here’s a look at the layers:

Since Alan’s post refers to Blow-Up as well as Rear Window, looks like I still have more work to do.

Bad Guy Business Cards – David Lynch Edition

So what’s really surprised me recently is how my phone could suddenly be such a big part of my design process. I’ve used Photoshop and Illustrator for years, to touch up photos, create logos, set typography, etc. But in the … Continue reading

Frank Booth Business Card

So what’s really surprised me recently is how my phone could suddenly be such a big part of my design process. I’ve used Photoshop and Illustrator for years, to touch up photos, create logos, set typography, etc. But in the past few weeks I’ve been bouncing images back and forth between my mac and my phone just so I could use these amazing photo image adjustment tools that I don’t have on my computer. In particular I’ve been using Snapseed an iPhone app that maintains the original image’s resolution and allows for multiple passes with filters unlike apps like Instagram.

I created this Frank Book Business card based on the frame below from the film Blue Velvet.

After deleting the background, I converted the image to grayscale and applied a Halftone Pattern filter, which emulates old printing processes to emulate grays with lots of tiny black dots.

Next I imported this image into Illustrator and used one of my favorite techniques which is to convert bitmap images into vectors using the Livetrace tool. After that I did some additional vector work, type setting, and the placement of the Pabst Blue Ribbon logo. To bring me to this point in the design:

Here is where I would have normally stopped and been fairly satisfied with the work. But lately I’ve been importing this work next to my phone and doing additional filter work to produce the final result above.

Right now it feels like a new process, that leads to some interesting rich results. I worry that I might lean too much on some canned computer filters to create a particular ‘look,’ but for now I’m sticking with it.

Below are the before and after phone edited versions of a business card for Sailor from the Lynch film Wild at Heart. And thanks to Paul Bond for the inspiration for the bad guys business card assignment.

Sailor Business Card

Karateka – Animated Floppy GIF

If there is one videogame I’m certain that I spent a few hundred hours playing, it’s definitely Karateka on the Commodore 64. Karateka a simple fighter game, which like most games of that time was really hard to complete, as … Continue reading

If there is one videogame I’m certain that I spent a few hundred hours playing, it’s definitely Karateka on the Commodore 64. Karateka a simple fighter game, which like most games of that time was really hard to complete, as there was no option to ‘save’ and pick up where you left off. The game gives quite an extensive narrative introduction, defining the role of your quest, including this text which rolled in the beginning with this music:

High atop a craggy cliff, guarded by an army of fierce warriors, stands the fortress of the evil warlord Akuma. Deep in the darkest dungeon of the castle, Akuma gloats over his lovely captive, the Princess Mariko.

You are one trained in the way of karate: a Karateka. Alone and unarmed, you must defeat Akuma and rescue the beautiful Mariko.

Put fear and self-concern behind you. Focus your will on your objective, accepting death as a possibility. This is the way of the Karateka.

This kind of narrative foundation was fairly unusual at the time of Dig Dug and Donkey Kong, and even more compelling to me was the minimalist aesthetic that went into Karateka.

The bottom half of the animated GIF shows Princess Mariko being locked up by Akuma. The color palette is restricted to black, white, gray, and the tan of Akuma’s costume. Also, the game was effectively ‘letter-boxed’ into a more cinematic wide-screen format.

So this is not exactly an remixed game cover, but it is in the spirit of that particular assignment. I wanted to give homage to the media of the day, the floppy disk, which allowed me to participate in my first bit of software piracy.

It was common to have dozens of boot-leg games copied to 5 1/4″ floppy disks. Back in the 80s you could rent videogames on floppy disk from video stores, and the only piece of copy protection was a little piece of aluminum foil sticker. It was a bit of craftsman’s work to remove and replace it without leaving behind a hint of your deviant copying behavior.

To create this particular animated GIF, I used this lovely scanned copy of the original C64 Karateka floppy. And to make the animation of the characters, I used an emulator of the C64 for Mac OS X called Power64 and then loaded up a Karateka ROM. The whole culture around rebuilding games from scratch and creating emulators is quite remarkable actually – there’s some real amazing geek efforts to preserve game history.

Once I loaded the game, I used Quicktime to do a screen capture of the intro and some game play. These movies were then opened in Photoshop to do work on the frame-by-frame animation in multiple layers. More to describe about that another time.

York College Album Cover Design Blitz

Your going make an album cover using three random pieces of content for your design. This classroom design blitz is based on the album cover ds106 assignment. First you will go to this site of quotations and the last four … Continue reading

CA PROP 56 - Laugh At Life's Realities

Your going make an album cover using three random pieces of content for your design. This classroom design blitz is based on the album cover ds106 assignment.

First you will go to this site of quotations and the last four to five words of the last quote on the page will be the name of your album.

Second the name of your group will come from the name of a Wikipedia article selected at random.

And finally the image for your album cover will be the third image you find on Flickr’s interesting images from the last 7 days.

You will work in groups of two, to create your album cover. Choices the two will have to make include, trimming the image to a square aspect ratio. Other things you can do is filter, crop, contrast, colorize, decolorize, etc.

Choose fonts for the name of the band and the album title. You can visit dafont.com to find fonts.

Once you are finished, upload the image to a Flickr account and tag with ds106albumdesignblitz.

Here’s a link to the results in the Flickr RSS feed.

Freedom From Fat Cats

This fat cat started like probably a lot of other fat cats, you find the cat find the painting or vice-a-versa. Well I found this fat cat all plump and orange and it reminded me of Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving Dinner, … Continue reading

Freedom From Fat Cats

This fat cat started like probably a lot of other fat cats, you find the cat find the painting or vice-a-versa. Well I found this fat cat all plump and orange and it reminded me of Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving Dinner, which is actually the “Freedom From Want” painting from the Four Freedom’s series.  Replace that turkey with a nice plump fat cat, a little Photoshop clone tool to round out its butt, done.

Then I went to post this little ball of fur on a plate, and decided to listen to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedom’s speech (advance to 32:02 for the introduction of the themes of four freedoms) delivered during his 1941 state of the union address to congress. I love listening to FDR’s voice for it’s cadence as much as the inspired rhetoric. What was striking to me was the call for sacrifice that preceded the four freedoms at the end of the address:

I have called for personal sacrifice. And I am assured of the willingness of almost all Americans to respond to that cause. A part of the sacrifice means the payment of more money in taxes. In my budget message, I will recommend that a greater portion of this great defense program be paid for from taxation then we are paying for today. No person should cry or be allowed to get rich out of the program. And the principle of tax payment in accordance with the ability to pay should be constantly before our eyes to guide our legislation. If the congress maintains these principles, the voters putting patriotism ahead of pocketbooks will give you their applause.

Can you imagine any president or presidential candidate today asking people to pay more taxes? Or imagine a president asking that congress maintain a focus on citizen’s “ability to pay.” That’s why we truly need “Freedom From Fat Cats.”

I’m Still Chewing on that Over-Branding of DS106 Comment

I’ve been thinking a lot about the over-branding conversation that Stephen Downes started on Alan Levine’s blog post I Want You to Make Art (Dammit). Downes did not like the use of ‘DS106′ in propaganda, and called it “over-branded.” After Alan tried to defend the work as students celebrating the class, Downes continued that it […]

I’ve been thinking a lot about the over-branding conversation that Stephen Downes started on Alan Levine’s blog post I Want You to Make Art (Dammit). Downes did not like the use of ‘DS106′ in propaganda, and called it “over-branded.” After Alan tried to defend the work as students celebrating the class, Downes continued that it was ‘some’ that are over-branding ds106 and ‘didn’t expect you (Alan) to get it.’

I think it was the later comment that lit a fire under a few in ds106, Martha Burtis took particular offense calling that type of commenting, trolling. I as well felt there was more to Downes point that he initially wasn’t willing to discuss. Whether or not it was trolling, and because he has a long standing relationship with Alan, true he shouldn’t have to explain himself but it did seem snide.

The reactions to the over-branding comment regarding ds106 didn’t stay focused in Alan’s blog, as a number of people went on to post new work about it. Giulia Forsythe’s Join the Brand, Martha Burtis’s The Cult of 4LIFE, Alan’s Got Infected, and I couldn’t help myself and made A purely unapologetic piece of ds106 branding. And many others continued along doing the ds106 propaganda assignment.

Downes reacted to the comments and I assume posts as well as ‘hostility.’ Ok being called a troll is a bit hostile, but I’m not so sure that others were at all hostile given the short and somewhat curt description of why ds106 is over-branded. But Downes did finally go into more detail and linked to a post he wrote about the group mentality gone wrong.

And I get it, groups can transform into mobs, can become cults, and people that are part of them behave irrationally. Downes does recognize that groups have a place and have value – they are where you make emotional connections to others, in a family or on a sports team. But they can go to far, and that is a rubicon apparently some in ds106 have crossed – was it just the propaganda posters? Something else?

Downes exhorts in his final comment on Alan’s blog that we must ‘be careful.’ I find this idea particularly alarming because the course is one about creating stories and art. If the community has to be mindful their creations should not cross a line that somehow represents ‘bad group’ activity, ds106 is going to fail.

At a different time, I made art that spoke to ideas of safety and religious iconography. Back then I wasn’t making the effort to narrate the how’s and why’s of my process. About a year before finding ds106, I was working on a project reflecting on old artwork to answer these questions. And one post, “Please Keep Art Safe” I find it appropriate to reference as it speaks to blasphemous art and speech, and how the Supreme Court of the US was asked to rule on a case of blasphemy.

The 1940 Supreme Court agreed unanimously and set a precedent that basically made any previous laws against blasphemy in the US a dead letter.  The 1940 decision explains, that “the tenets of one man may seem the rankest error to his neighbor.” And that in a democracy an individual’s right to resort to exaggeration and vilification are liberties “essential to enlightened opinion.” And under the “shield” of these liberties, “many types of life, character, opinion, and belief can develop unmolested and unobstructed.”

So the line ds106 crossed toward ‘over-branding’ in my mind cannot occur within the creative work of it’s participants. And it would be a fruitless to try and define a line. But if there is group behavior trending toward a ‘mob-mentality’ in the community of ds106, and those actions can be separated from the creativity ethos of the course, I’d like to know what it is.

Groom QR Code

While doing a search for propaganda ideas, I found this site that celebrates all sorts of Star Wars fan art. There’s probably a few dozen pieces to inspire new ds106 assignments. One in particular caught my eye, as ready for some ds106 riffing, Darth Vader QR Code. It was apparently created by a Greek graphic […]

Groom QR Code

While doing a search for propaganda ideas, I found this site that celebrates all sorts of Star Wars fan art. There’s probably a few dozen pieces to inspire new ds106 assignments. One in particular caught my eye, as ready for some ds106 riffing, Darth Vader QR Code. It was apparently created by a Greek graphic designer/blogger and embroidered onto a pillow as well!

So here’s my effort at some Jim Groom Art, for the first time since I made some ds106radio art to celebrate the awesome NYC Jam this past summer.

I looked up some of the specs for QR Codes, but ultimately focused on using just the three orienting boxes that are iconically familiar. To create this, I made a 64 x 64 pixel image in Photoshop in bitmap mode, which restricts your palette to only two colors – black & white. In that space I drew the three boxes with the a two pixel width pencil tool.

Using Mikhail Gershovich’s Jim Groom head, I did some work converting to grayscale, then reducing the file size a lot. Using the Dodge (highlights) and Burn (shadows) tools I was able to contrast specific areas of the face I wanted to. Finally I brought the part of the head into the QR code space and did some more 2 pixel pencil tool work, erasing and drawing until happy.

Only bummer is that the QR Code is not scannable, that would have been a really cool hack! Of course I would have pointed the code to the Bava Blog.

A purely unapologetic piece of DS106 branding

Cogdog’s DS106 propaganda post was taken to task by Stephen Downes for “over-branding” ds106. Is the DS106 to much hype? Not real enough? Adrift in a cult of personality? F****THAT #4LIFE. As Martha mentioned in her comment on Cogdog’s post, there’s nothing but love out there in ds106. No hating on someone for not being […]

Build for DS106

Cogdog’s DS106 propaganda post was taken to task by Stephen Downes for “over-branding” ds106. Is the DS106 to much hype? Not real enough? Adrift in a cult of personality?

F****THAT #4LIFE. As Martha mentioned in her comment on Cogdog’s post, there’s nothing but love out there in ds106. No hating on someone for not being cool enough, not hanging out and making enough art dammit! Every time you come back it’s, “oh my god, we missed you, so glad to see you again.” Like old friends, no apologies necessary.

And isn’t that what so much of the MOOC attitude is supposed to be about anyway? Build your network of learners, your community with people you care about, share interests with? On your own time and terms because when you truly commit and communicate, that’s when the real learning happens?

And if the ds106 learning celebration looks a little too raucous for your taste, that’s cool it just might not be for you.

P.S. – For the ds106ers out there this poster was based on this original piece of WWII propaganda. I used the clone stamp a bunch to remove the original text. And then worked with some new fonts from dafont and fontspace. What’s funny is that one of them seemed to be built for propaganda – American Purpose & Damion.

I Can Read Breaking Away

For the I Can Read Movies DS106 Design assignment, I created a cover for one of my all time favorite films, Breaking Away. If you haven’t seen the film it’s the story of four friends after high school that grew up in a college town, not feeling they were ever to go themselves. Their families […]

I Can Read Breaking Away

For the I Can Read Movies DS106 Design assignment, I created a cover for one of my all time favorite films, Breaking Away. If you haven’t seen the film it’s the story of four friends after high school that grew up in a college town, not feeling they were ever to go themselves. Their families all have some connection to the old Indiana limestone industry, usually as stone cutters, but the business has gone. So the local kids are derogatorily called “cutters” by the college kids and tension ensues. One of the cutters, Dave, finds escape through cycling and dreams of riding for the Italian team Cinzano. For most of the film he basically feigns an Italian accent and listens to opera – which makes for a great soundtrack actually.

This cover captures the moment when Dave drafts off a truck going down the highway. Hopefully the embed below works, as it’s my first time trying to embed from movieclips.com (lot’s of crappy unnecessary code in there).

The tractor trailer truck was a full size truck, but I wasn’t able to make it fit in the cover design. I like it a lot though and hope to find a way to use it at another time.

And this is the cyclist (possibly Lance?) and the book cover texture I can’t seem to find again. I didn’t want to use the cover templates others had done, and tried to make it from scratch to push myself to do something different in Photoshop. I could figure out how to do surface scratches, especially in dark areas revealing bits of white. I’ll have to work on that as I’m not 100% happy about it.