Out Around Rigel

And so we swept on through space, with Rigel a great blue glory ahead, and new stars, invisible at greater distances, flaring up in front of us and then fading into the background as we passed. For a long time we had been able to see that Rigel, as inferred from spectroscopic evidence, was a double star—a fainter, greener blue companion revolving with it around their common center of gravity. Beyond Kappa Orionis, three hundred light-years from the sun, the space between the two was quite evident. Beyond four hundred light-years, the brilliance of the vast star was so great that it dimmed all the other stars by comparison, and made the nebula seem a mere faint gauze. And yet even with this gradual change, our arrival was a surprise.


At last I could see. Out the window opposite me, Rigel was a blue-white disk half the size of the sun, but brighter, with the companion star a sort of faint reflection five or ten degrees to the side. And still beyond, as I shaded my eyes, I could see swimming in the black a speck with the unmistakable glow of reflected light.

With both gravity projectors in readiness, we pulled out of our orbit and straight across toward the planet, letting the attraction of Rigel fight against our still tremendous speed. For a while, the pull of the big star was almost overpowering. Then we got past, and into the gravitational field of the planet. We spiralled down around it, looking for a landing place and trying to match our speed with its rotational velocity.

(Text from Out Around Rigel by Robert H. Wilson in Astounding Stories, Jan. 1931.  Actually, I got it off Project Gutenberg, but the names of the old pulp sci-fi magazines add a classy touch.  Image is a fractal, probably from Sterlingware and flipped around with a filter that I no longer know the name of and a few coloring ones too.  It does have a passing resemblance to a fried egg.)

November 21, 2008

Desert Portrait

A reworked version (above) of the Star of Arabia series I did in a previous posting.  This time I generated the image 4x the size, but India Inked it (texture pattern) before resizing it.  The result is an antialiased India Inked image.  Smooth and nice and all that.  I don’t know.  It looks more polished, but what’s so great about being neat and polished?

I used (above) a different India Ink pattern here — bubbles — I think.  Not bad.  It makes for a nicer sandstone look and darkens the sky to give a sort of visionary appearance.

My, how a little freaky coloring (above) spices things up.  Nice and neat is dull and boring most of the time.  What strange alien fungus has covered the world and even grown across the sky?

Yeah.  Alright.  Blockwave metamorphosis.  The image speaks.  Pixels into hieroglyphs and the universe becomes a printed page of pictures.  Notice how the rougher, cruder stuff is so much more interesting.  You’ll never get anywhere with this sort of thing by trying to polish what’s already been made.

November 20, 2008

You could not understand them

You could not understand them if I explained them to you, and they are merely two of our smaller developments. I have no serious designs upon the earth nor upon the Solar System, nor have I any desire to rule over, or to control the destinies of masses of futile and brainless men. I have, however, certain ends of my own in view. To accomplish my plans I require hundreds of millions in gold, other hundreds of millions in platinum and noble metal, and some five kilograms of the bromide of radium–all of which I shall take from the planets of this Solar System before I leave it. I shall take them in spite of the puerile efforts of the fleets of your Triplanetary League.

(Text from Triplanetary by Edward Elmer Smith published in Amazing Stories, Jan-Mar 1934.  Image made with the blockwave filter from Showfoto, Jun-Aug 2007)

November 19, 2008

I Speak the Language

Started off with Vernissage.8bf which makes big square objects.  Then I used the Mosaic Toolkit to add the side details which are barely visible now.  Finally I used this filter, Dream Lines by Andrew Buckle.  Normally it doesn’t look very interesting, but with the minimalist squares of Vernissage and the difference type of blending mode it uses it produces something intriguing — and shreddies like.  The words are just a variation on the bold opening lines to a salesman’s resume that I saw in a book.

November 19, 2008

Consider the shredder

I stumbled upon a very simple filter I used to use with the strange name of “shoutin!”.  It’s by Mario Klingemann and shreds your image into a bunch of strips separated by some white space.  What makes it such a useful thing is that this patterning effect enhances the effect of many other filters, just as coloring filters complement the output of almost every other distortion filter effect.

Here’s how it looked after I added the shoutin! effect:

A very simple filter and probably not a very complicated one to make either, I’m sure.  Despite all that it has quickly become a very useful tool in my gauntlet of filters.  After the above image I then made this one below by applying the Revolver filter which is a combination distortion (shape changing) and coloring effect.

Finally, I Mirror Mirrored it which resulted in the initial image posted at the first.  I couldn’t include the numerous other coloring and distortion effects that brought the image to the final shredding step because I used the undo feature and saved the previous steps and that’s limited to just the last three steps.

I’d almost given up on the image until the shoutin! shredder effect came along.  But I’ve noticed that one is much more creative when they just recklessly experiment rather than try to direct the process.  There’s something about the human mind that just likes to stick to the familiar paths which unfortunately just lead the same old familiar things.  It’s a dead end.  You have to let your idle curiosity and impulses lead the way.

November 18, 2008

Crude Appeal

Along with my last posting, here’s an image that I find is both a crude messy sort of thing and yet at the same time having some special sort of style or character to it. I think I referred to this sort of thing a while back as “Raw Style”, meaning not polished and clean but having something appealing to it all the same.

The image above was made with the blockwave filter from Showfoto during my early discovery days with this tool back in Spring, 2007. I couldn’t display it back then because it was too big for my blog’s smaller layout at the time. Also, I wasn’t sure if the image was actually something I wanted to display anyhow. Since then I’ve come to like the thing.

Analyzing artwork can sometimes be more difficult than making it. Especially when all you do is push buttons and turn dials…

November 15, 2008

Stairway to the Stars

Since I don’t consider myself to have really made this image in the same way that a real artist draws or paints something by hand, I’m quite comfortable talking about how great it is.  First, let’s look at its humble origins:

It’s a watercolor sketch of an opera stage set.  Nothing particularly interesting except the nice muted colors and the variety of textured areas which makes for good raw material for the sort of distorting and genetic recombination of Clickism — art of the future.

Although I just made this yesterday, I can’t quite remember what I did first.  I think it was Picture Chopper by Harry the Raver (a pretty famous filter guy).  No, it was “Holding a Cake to the Sun” by Andrew Buckle.  There may have been one coloring filter before that.  Also, I used a few other coloring filters and at one point after trying and untrying a few I thought I should save the image because if the program crashes (I run XnView on Linux using the Wine Windows emulator) I won’t be able to recreate the image.

I won’t be surprised if some readers find the image to be just a smudgy chopped up thing, but I see a sort of Van Gogh / El Greco fusion in the image with a touch of surrealism — in a good sort of way.

November 14, 2008

Ghost Streams

What is an arroyo?
It is a ghost stream

I have seen them
approaching in the clouds
once a year
like Halloween
flying down from the sky
pouring over the land
The arroyos rise from the grave
full and flush
unlike any other day of the year
thundering through the night
and disappearing at dawn
then riding off
with the wind
and leaving behind
the legend
of rivers in the desert
the arroyo

November 13, 2008

Vintage Pulp Sci-Fi

I don’t like intelligent science fiction.  I like the stuff with spaceships and rayguns and explorers fighting strange creatures on distant planets.

I like stories with pictures where the robots have rivets and look like walking boilers.

Science fiction is too serious now.  Readers get upset when things aren’t realistic and authors try to talk like psychologists with a Ph.D.

Ironically, I think it’s because Sci-Fi readers have lost touch with reality and see scholarly and intellectual pursuits as more noble and want to explore “the mind” (whatever that is) instead of taking off like Sindbad in a Titanium ship for whatever’s out there.

Maybe the space heroes of the future will be expensive machines — space probes — and space exploration for us humanoids will just become a slow moving video game.

Or maybe this is as far as the future goes.

November 12, 2008

People on Fyre

This sort of thing happens all the time when you’re pushing buttons and turning dials, so I gave this type of “looks like” art the name Metamorphic because it looks like things that are real and yet is completely derived from abstract processes and formulas that, at best, are only remotely related to real objects.

It’s like finding a rock that looks like a fish or the continent of Africa.

I think these look a lot like simple pen and ink caricature sketches.

This one (above) is a ghost playing a violin.  Maybe not.

This last one, below, is a little hard to label.  So I put on my “labeling cap” and thought, “Shovelling Biscuit!”.  Yes, it is a Shovelling Biscuit, indeed.

Sometimes, I am a caricature of myself.  We all are.  That’s why we pay so much to have people make insulting drawings of ourselves.

And now computer programs are getting into it.

November 11, 2008