Communication Arts Design Annual

The new CA Design Annual is out and I’m not sure if it’s just me not noticing before but I really like the new online format. They have a small motion graphics section and we can actually click to see the winning videos – for a price. Most of my reading is done online anymore, so I’m glad to see that there is an alternative to the way they used to show motion through a series of images. If Microsoft products were as nice as the ads they produce, we’d be in business!

Leister.2.0 is finally live!

I’ve been working on a new site design for the last few weeks and would like to announce that it’s finally been launched! Let me know what you think!

For my design friends that are curious, the whole site is done in WordPress, which is a free content management system that you can install on most web sites. It is basically a blog setup, but it is pretty easy to customize it so that it does not look like a blog. There are a ton of cool plug-ins and built-in features that make managing a complex site very easy. For example, for my image pages I can upload all of my images at once and they are automatically formatted into a gallery. I can create a new post, and it will be added to my navigation and menu areas in the appropriate place.

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Unity gaming software is now free!

I was blown away to hear today that Unity is now free for small independent developers! This is the same gaming platform that I used for hypocenter, a recent installation piece. The great thing about Unity is that if you are familiar with javaScript you can easily write code for this platform. As a gaming platform, Unity has built-in physics and all of the standard features you would expect.

I think that this development will make it much more likely that alternative uses of gaming technologies are developed. Cool!

The Ultimate Holy Grail Episode Ep. 4

Cover for the New Republic Magazine for an issue about Monty Python.
Cover for the New Republic Magazine for an issue about Monty Python.

The New Republic, April 1990

This painting was for the cover of the New Republic and depicts the famous sketch by Monty Python “nudge, nudge, know what I mean?”. As a fan, it was great fun to be commissioned to do this cover. In the fall of 2009, my painting was included in a documentary series on IFC (Independent Film Channel) about Monty Python’s Flying Circus called “Almost the Truth – The Ultimate Holy Grail Episode

Simple Examples of Database Manipulation in Processing: Finished Example

Processing Car Database Manipulation

Finished Example

Here is the the finished example of the Database Visualization I have been explaining in the previous 2 posts. A couple of things I added were rectangles based on the engine displacement, a for loop to create a dot representing the number of cylinders for the car and finally a rollover effect so that the viewer can concentrate on the imagery before knowing which car is represented. I don’t know if it’s a useful visualization or not, but I think it is attractive and I will spend more time viewing data like this than a chart.

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Simple Examples of Database Manipulation in Processing: Part 2

Continuing with where we left off in Part 1, let’s start with a bit of data from the cars.tsv file referenced in the Processing File 02 example. BTW, if you are on a Mac, go to your Processing Preferences and check “Place File Menu inside of Navigation to avoid Mac Java bug, that way you can get to these examples very easily right from File>Examples in Processing. Or, upgrade to Processing 1.0.9. Make a new text file and paste this data that I got from the cars.tsv file referenced in the program:

chevrolet chevelle malibu,18,8,307,130,3504,12,70,1
buick skylark 320,15,8,350,165,3693,11.5,70,1
plymouth satellite,18,8,318,150,3436,11,70,1

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Simple Examples of Database Manipulation in Processing: Part 1

I have used Processing many times to import and manipulate database files but I tend to either forget exactly how I did something or not be able to find the kind of instructions I am looking for. I greatly appreciate all of the example’s Ben Fry and others have on Processing and they are important tools in learning to work with data. I would like to provide a one-stop tutorial, reference and explanation for exactly how to get an array of data into Processing and then how to manipulate it for data visualization purposes. And, if possible I will make an extremely simple example so that it is easy to build from here.
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dilettantism? Indeed!

I had never thought of Rubens as a designer, but as Mark Lamster writes in his article on DesignObserver.com, he was and a good one at that. I especially like his Hemingwayesque defence of his design decisions.

Switching Sides

Don’t know why, but this post from Futility Closet caught my eye. A whole nation decides to switch how they drive and in 10 minutes it’s done. No fuss, no muss. Now if we can just do that for everything, at 10 AM tomorrow, everyone will quit smoking. Next day we’ll stop driving.

Data Visualization

This New York Times article has a good overview of the amount of data we are collectively generating. It is literally mountains of information, and the real problem is how do you make sense of the 40 billion photos on Facebook? Is it possible, is it useful? I hope to explore how to use Processing to visualize data in that way. I feel that as artists we have a unique ability to take complex ideas and fix them in a visual form.