The Paintbrush versus the Toolbar

This will be a short little ramble on how I feel about the separation of Art and Technology within my own major and the world in general. From this short piece of prose I hope to get some inspiration on two things:  One, the topic for my History and Theory of Digital Media paper;  Two, the themes I want to include in my next big composition “ART =/= TECH“.

To begin with, the first thing that always comes to mind when I discuss art and technology is the difference between digital art and what is now referred to as “traditional” art. Traditional art meaning that the medium chosen by the artist is something tangible and not digital and digital art meaning any form of art where a computer aided in the process. I have gotten into a bad habit of saying specifically that I am a Digital Designer, when in fact I do my designs in all sorts of media from pen and ink to Photoshop and Illustrator. That’s not to say that a large amount of my production time is not spent on the digital “side” of things, but it does mean that I don’t do everything on that “side”. I usually do most if not all of my planning and sketching on regular paper with a regular pencil or pen. I also do quite a lot of my writing on paper, even though I can type much more quickly and efficiently than I can write. The reason for this most likely lies in my own personal comfort zones.

Even though I have been using Photoshop for almost a decade now, I still feel the most comfortable with a pencil in my hand and a paper on the table than I could ever feel with a tablet pen and a screen. I love the effects of digital production and the fact that the limitations are almost entirely based in your own artistic limitations and not the limitations of the media itself. Still, for me this seems like a second step not a first step, in the process. “Traditional” media flows much more freely and quickly than digital media, without a doubt; so when those first little bits of inspiration shoot through my head I am always in a rush to get them down as quickly and clearly as possible. It’s usually a messy tangle of scribbles and mistakes, but that’s all it takes for that initial idea to come to life. I’m sure many artists feel the same way- at least, I assume that they do. Because we all started out with crayons on construction paper- nothing fancy- where you go from there depends completely on your interests and passions. I grew to love digital art from the first time I used M.S.Paint. Some people could never imagine completing a whole illustration on a computer screen.

There is another comfort-zone factor that I think exists within this debate between digital and “traditional” art and that is the tangibility, or lack-thereof. I can think of at least three friends who would never trust three or four hours worth of work on a piece to their computer’s hard drive. Being in complete control of where your work is at all times is definitely a comfort issue. If you’re more of a techie like me, then you may have some trouble getting through your head that someone would not trust their own computer to save information for them; especially since that is technically what is was designed to do in the first place. But there are some people who would rather risk carrying around their work in a plastic sleeve than ever save it to a hard drive and leave it there. Maybe it’s the idea that what you are creating on a computer screen is not really there, but just a representation of what could be there. What you are really creating when you open a new document in Photoshop and start slapping down paint strokes is a series of zeroes and ones that just happened to be arranged and aligned in such a way that they display exactly what you want on the screen. From you- the Photoshopper’s- point of view, you’re just creating the way anyone would. Step by step, working with different materials and producing different effects, but what’s there isn’t really there. It’s never really there until you make a physical copy of it, at which point it becomes tangible and therefore we once again gain total control over it’s existence. (This is probably why some professors feel more comfortable asking for “hard copies” of work than requesting it only sent through the OnCourse sharing site.)

I feel like I should be saying something far more enlightening, but this is all I have to work with for now. I think, as far as rambles go, this one is a pretty good start. I’ll need to do more in-depth research to gain more knowledge and opinions on these things though. For now, the ramble is a ramble.

Myrskyä

Myrskyä is a storm…

Myrskyä, my new Toshiba A505 Satellite laptop is a lovely, sleek, shiny black machine with small, lightly stenciled designs of lines running across the front and back of the machine. Despite it’s smart and clean exterior though, it’s a whirlwind of power. Running 64 bit Windows 7 it roars through all applications like they were nothing. Even Adobe can’t outclass Myrsky’s phenominal power. This laptop is easily the best machine I have ever purchased. It deserves something truely great to represent it. I decided to go with a personalized laptop skin from SkinIt.com, which I recieved giftcards for as a gift several years back, and never felt that (the late) AcerDemon really deserved.

SkinIt.com laptop skin teal and light green

SkinIt's Teal and Light green skin

SkinIt.com has many, many laptop skins for you to choose from, limited only by the make, model and size of your laptop. Even with those limitations, there are still hundreds of choices and dozens of themes to pick from. I saw many that I really liked, but I did not feel really matched the personality of Myrskyä. There was one in particular that I really loved, that is shown at the left there.  <—

This one here is a beautiful symphony of shapes and colors that I really love. The rich, deep teals and the nice, light greens are fantastic and match my own theme colors of the year. Also, the flowing, cloudy patterns are exactly the sort of abstract feel I want to portray the “storm” theme for Myrskyä. However, I feel that the design itself is a bit too generic in style. Also, I’m not a huge fan of the gilt-esque appearance of the golden and green outlines on the light green flourishes. It looks almost too “hotel carpet-y” for my tastes. Perhaps too elegant a design where I really want something that portrays both elegance and power.

Still, there is something about the feeling behind the movement and shapes here that I really like and I find really inspiring. I’m not sure where exactly I’m going to take it, but my own design will definitely be remeniscent of this one, if not completely inspired by it. The colors and composition especially.

Though, I would really love the colors to be brighter and more saturated; that would really suit my personality better, plus it will stand out much more than this design. I don’t want to get TOO specific with the colors, because goodness knows what their printer will spit out, but a similar color scheme is the plan. Teal, chartreuse, spring green, some light aqua and probably even some rich blues. Maybe even some orange-y yellows for contrast. I’ll just have to see what looks best in the final design.

About the über-mouse

Logitech's M305 wireless mouse

Logitech M305- blue w/dragon

Another important thing for me is for the skin’s design to have at least accent colors taken from my absolutely über-fantastiche mouse, from Logitech. It’s not just über-fantastiche because it’s in my favorite color, or because it has dragons on it, no-no; it’s really fantastiche because it’s a wireless, takes just one AA battery, senses motion and turns off when it’s not being used, has a very small USB nano-reciever that I can leave in the computer without fear of knocking it out every time I move it around (any USB port in a Storm…), AND has a small spot just for the reciever inside the mouse’s casing itself, right next to the battery. Oh yes, this was a pricey mouse, running around $35, but it is SO worth it. I’ve even taken it other places and used it on PCS and Macs in the labs as well as friend’s Macbooks and laptops. It even works with Ubuntu. Just awesome. It’s also pretty small, I can slip it in my jacket pocket to take it across the room and the scroll wheel is practically silent compared to some mice I’ve seen.

And did I mention it comes in my favorite color? It probably comes in yours too, with or without designs. When I see something in aqua or teal, odds are I’ll pick it up right away just because it’s my favorite color. This time I’m really glad I did! By the way, for no particular reason I named it “Mushroom” or “‘Shroom” for short. It may have been because of the shape or size. Whatever the reason, it’s an odd nickname, I feel like I should be something that fits the storm theme better. It needs to sound cute though, because my little über-mouse is just adorable. ❤

By the way, this counts on The Big List as item #1.

A List of things to make a List about:

I like making lists, it makes me feel like I’m doing something to get organized-even though in actuality it is probably just another form of procrastination- ha ha. Anyway, a list of things I need and want and must do, in no particular order, over the next month or so (things due this week marked * as needed).

  • Write a blog entry on my awesome new Toshiba Satellite A505 laptop, Myrskyä.
  • Work on portfolio site [technically, my M355 final]
  • Research on New Media [LOL, that’s like my entire major right there]
  • Talk to Informatics Dept about Study Abroad opportunities for NM majors [DK plz?]
  • Get Lady GaGa music, so MAYBE it’ll stay out of my head if I get sick of it!
  • Do laundry [LOL, what?]
  • Work on final concepts for cubecats — I want to take this somewhere big. ;3
  • Create and print new designs for new travel mug See it here
  • Find better resources for learning Dansk Now I have to find them on learning Finnish
  • Finish reading Orbiting the Giant Hairball*
  • Work on “ART =/= TECH” piece [more on this later]
  • Empty camera memory of all old photos and videos [more space plz]*
  • Write a cool short story to perform for audio class [N265]
  • Be friends with more artsy people
  • Clean my flashdrives and install Portable Apps on one of them*
  • Find ONE place to put the stuff I carry everyday [and LEAVE it there]*
  • Replace light bulb in bedroom with “green” light bulb
  • Find “SkinIt” cards and order awesome new laptop skin for Myrskyä*
  • Learn the key-combo for the [ä] so I can quit copypasta-ing it* Thanks Alex.
  • Reorganize first 10 pages of R.H and figure out some good redesigns for chara
  • Find all old school textbooks, make an inventory, figure out who takes what, sell
  • Clean phone’s MicroSD and put new wallpapers on it [customization plz]*
  • Find upload cable for phone, make it not so lame
  • Throw out all old school work from last semester [Recycle, plzkthnx]*
  • Use more post-it notes [they are your friends, you know]
  • Doodle daily~ don’t be afraid to draw badly [it’s all good now]*
  • Cook the tofu in the icebox [noodles + peanut sauce plzkthnx]*
  • Buy more Dr. Pepper [oh, ASAP]*
  • Organize computer desk drawers [so full]
  • Organize dresser drawers and closet [so empty]
  • Look through old manga, figure out what to save, list the rest, sell/trade/gift
  • vacuum around computer desk [ask Li for vacuum]
  • Look for decent May plane fares to Dallas and San Jose
  • Eat more chocolate [it makes you happy]*
  • Organize paper-holders in bedroom [too full]
  • Organize boxes on dresser and under bed [too empty full]
  • Figure out which bed is closer to more outlets, move to that one [two beds, yes]*
  • Get a table tripod for digital camera Thank you mom.
  • Get a power strip for bedroom [at least 4 plugs, grounded]
  • Put away now clean dishes*
  • Return Chinese CDs to EALC dept at school [What? I JUST found them]*
  • Find all my pencils [I know I have like 6 million somewhere]
  • Bring in pens and pencils for IT131 lab [because they gave us TWO]*
  • Get gigantor TV from Li [find strong guys to carry it to PP] <She gave it away
  • Make new playlists for iTunes so Dane Cook, Smothers Bros, Wind Waker Soundtrack and my own recordings and assignments quit playing randomly when I put the entire library on “Shuffle” [This is SO ANNOYING]*

“Crumbs” 01/18

Why is the world suddenly in monochrome?

Everyone is wearing the same shades, same hues. Have we drifted back into the monotony of the Victorian Era? The absolute supression of creativity? I honestly hope not.

[Browns, blacks, greys and whites are beautiful in their own right]

But I want to see more people wearing green.

Let’s try this again- New Notebook?

OK, with a slight change in plans regarding the iPod Touch situation I have decided to focus my attention on getting a new notebook. Not necessarily a netbook, but certainly something to replace AcerDemon. The truth is, my mom’s laptop (Oldy-moldy) Owl, took a spill the other day thanks to our adorable kitty Mu and now something isn’t quite right with the power adaptor cable- or that general area on the machine. I attempted to take apart the machine to get to the area in question, but poor construction on the part of Dell (c. 1998) kept me from the power supply and all I managed to do was break the table I was working on when it collapsed under momma’s Dinosaur–I mean PC.

TL;DR? I want to give mom AcerDemon– which at least WORKS –to replace the (Oldy-Moldy) Owl.

This means, I need to get a new laptop. My parents are going to front me the money and I will pay it off in increments over the next year. Now that I have a job as a TCC at IUPUI, I will have a fairly steady income with which to pay them back. It shouldn’t be a problem, at any rate. Anyway, a few must-haves on the notebook that will either limit or expand my purchasing options:

  1. Must be a PC. NO, it has nothing to do with me hating Apple (I’m getting over that- in fact, I’m typing this from a Mac right now) it is in fact a choice based off of how comfortable I am with my computing skills as a programmer–comfortable enough to use a PC Fine, I’ll be honest, I just like PCs better, so there.
  2. I will NOT get another Acer- I don’t care HOW awesome it is. Acer gets no more money from me after last time!
  3. Needs to run Windows 7 OR Windows Vista with possibility of Upgrade is fine, since I own the OS. Needs to meet 7 specs.
  4. Needs to be able to run the Adobe CS4 Suite –
    • 1.8GHz or faster processor
    • 1GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation
    • 1,024×768 display (1,280×800 recommended) with 16-bit video card

That’s really all that I have spec-wise. There are a few aesthetic/personal things I’d like to avoid, such as teeny-tiny touchpads (or the ones that have holes and feel like little air hockey tables), less than 3 USB ports, an easily scratched surface and short batterylife. Ideally, if the battery life is less than 3 hours, I would like something in a 12-15″ screen, so I can carry the A/C adaptor with me in the same bag as the computer. A netbook would obviously solve this and I’m still in love with the supposed 9 hours that the Toshiba NB205 used to brag about, but anything from 3-5 hours would be great (the average time that I’m in a lecture or away from home).

The most important thing overall is weight. It HAS to be light. Less than 7lb, preferably less than 5lb. Oh yeah, and I don’t want to spend more than say $400-500 on it unless it’s a really epic machine.

But, I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions…

I hereby declare that I do not resolve, but might otherwise attempt to achieve in the next 360 days:

  1. Lære mere Dansk!
  2. Be more honest with my opinions of people
  3. Keep up with washing the dishes
  4. Do my laundry BEFORE I run out of clothes
  5. Wear more green.
  6. Find a proper illustrator for Reality. Hacked
  7. Take shorter showers
  8. Work hard in all my classes
  9. Surround myself with cute and happy
  10. Eat more food! Gain 5 lbs!!
  11. Blog at least weekly if not bi-weekly
  12. Do something exciting/profitable with Cubecats
  13. Dis poor font choices less often (ext. Papyrus, Comic Sans)
  14. Make a portfolio website!
  15. Don’t let my lack of phone/car prevent me from socializing
  16. Take the REDLINE more!
  17. WALK more!
  18. Take more photos of things.
  19. Look into studying marketing/merchandising
  20. Learn to love Macs (ugh)

Mu’s Nursery Rhyme

Silly little Mu in her silly little Mu nest
Silly little Mu, no there really is no contest
For there never was really
A Mu quite so silly
As the Silly, Silly, Silly Little Mu

I want, I want, I want…

I want an iTouch. Yes, me the hater of all things Apple and Macintosh, wants an iTouch. Why? Because I hate using my phone, which I can no longer send even a normal text message with, let alone access my IM or email.

“Why an iTouch? I thought you wanted an Android Smartphone?”
-I do, I do. But right now I don’t have a regular calling plan nor the money to switch to one on a company that isn’t AT&T. I still go under my parent’s phone account for my phone service (which is pay-as-you-go right now).

Why else? Well, it’s just such an awesome little thing. I can customize it to my heart’s content, play games, listen to music (I was planning on buying a new iPod to replace my screen-less shuffle anyway), use the internet~ and there are so many more free apps than there used to be.

To add to that, I’m really bad at purchasing electronics. I always buy “the wrong one” (case in point: Burikuu -that is “brick” – my Palm Centro) and I always over-pay (see previous). But I know that this is a good purchase because everyone has one. All of my friends, teachers at school, even the UITS tech support people have them! If it works for them, why not me?

Post-Christmas, Pre-New Years

It is now after Christmas and all pre and post holiday shopping is complete. All the great deals following the Christmas rush have been snatched up and I got some really cute stuff from Target, including a Target-exclusive, limited edition Kit the Cat from the Skelanimals series. I love the Skelanimals, who are a perfect mix of creepy-macabre and ADORABLE. I used to be frightened of skeletons as a child, so it’s surprised me that I found them so irresistibly cute. My Kit the Cat has angel wings and a little crooked halo. I will post a picture later. Posted!

Kit from the Target Skelanimals collection as an angel for holiday 09

Now, cute things aside (but not pushed aside, because pushing cute things is mean!) I still haven’t put much effort into designing my portfolio site yet. I still need to do sketches and some research. I’m pretty sure I am going to use the Gallerific technique that we used in my N341 class, since it is a fairly simple jquery plugin (that even I can utlize, ha-ha). I still plan to go with a mostly minimalistic approach, but I do want it to be a bit flashy to impress possible employers, of course. The ideas are coming slooooowly…

Also, new cubecats to come! More later on that~