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Art projects and principles

HOWTO: Rotated Halftones in Inkscape

There are a few good tutorials on the web about how to get a (mediocre) halftone screen in Inkscape (1, 2). (The GIMP, by contrast, has a special halftoning plugin that does a nice job. I wish that Inkscape had one of those.)

One thing that none of these tutorials tell you is how to rotate the halftone screen. This turns out to be important, since unrotated screens of different colors do not overlay well.

In this tutorial, I summarize the basic technique for halftoning in Inkscape, and suggest a way to do rotation…


Wikipedia Art

My friend Ethan Ham just pointed out an interesting "art" project around Wikipedia. Really, it's more an argument for Wikipedia social change, as near as I can tell. Of course, as such it fits well with my own views from previous blog posts [1, 2, 3]…



FOB Cow from Disney's Steamboat Willie. Thanks to for the capture, and to my wife for tracking it down.

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Portland On Fire / Toonlet

Raven Zachary started Portland On Fire at the beginning of January. It's a site that self-profiles a Portland tech-related person each day. I had my reservations, but it turned out it's quite cool. I'll submit my profile as soon as I can get a decent picture taken of myself.

One of the profilees, Craig Schwartz, posted a link to his new website toonlet, which promises to make it simple for anyone to put up a webcomic. It's a great idea, and he got some great art to work with. The editing is mostly pretty intuitive, and there's enough graphical elements available to make it possible to do some things.

In the end, though, the formatting proved too constraining and time-consuming, and I had to give up on reaching my dreams of having my own bad webcomic for now. You can check out my trial comic at the toonlet site. Fob


HOWTO: Picking "random colors"

So, a friend's project tried to blind me today with a hideous "random color" for a large area of text. The quotation marks are because it's hard to say what a "random color" even means. For most purposes, it means a color that is chosen solely as a label, and that therefore can be anywhere in the color palette. The usual constraint is that a set of labels need to be chosen, and so successive random colors should be easily distinguished…


That wacky theme

If you select the "fobtest" theme from the box on the left of this site as I write (although it may not be by the time you read this), your eyes will be assaulted. Red-on-pink, with a red spray-painted logo. It looks like a joke, and it is. But more than that, it isn't supposed to be here…


Which theme (visual appearance) would you like to see on the site?

The theme that's on here now (garland w/ minor mods)
25% (1 vote)
The theme that was on here a couple of days ago (fob, chameleon w/ minor mods)
25% (1 vote)
The theme that's been on here for about a year (stock chameleon)
0% (0 votes)
The cool new look all the boyz and girlz dig (fobtest, just kidding)
0% (0 votes)
They're all hideous---give me another choice! (please add a comment)
0% (0 votes)
Couldn't care less
50% (2 votes)
Total votes: 4
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Gah. When I was perusing the National Novel Writing Month website last night after I posted, I discovered that their donation-funded annual budget is around $200K. They post enough information to know that most of this goes to salaries for a staff, including a full-time managing editor.

IMHO, $200K is a ridiculous budget for this organization. All they are, at the end of the day, is a website. (Maybe they provide some expensive service I've missed. But I looked pretty hard.)


There's been a lot of discussion here about good web comics. For my money, there's just no way to beat Dr. McNinja. It's a really eclectic premise (spawned by a semi-real-life experience of the author), beautifully rendered in very high-quality, classic-comics era style. Three times a week, you get a full-page of comic book goodness. The humor is really, really humorous.


The Perry Bible Fellowship

Ran across this webcomic when it was nominated for an award this year. I'm not sure what to make of it. Amazing art, and really nice 4-panel storytelling, but very sick-n-twisted a lot of the time, and always kind of dark. Still, some of his strips are pretty nice.

Actually, reading the bio just now, I find out that the Portland Mercury actually publishes it. So you may already be reading it. Oh well.



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