david's really interesting pages | palaeoart, animation and stuff

Lifting up Relevance

Drawing represents a species of translation that is different from what emerges in photography. Given the new research on how the brain processes visual input and given that drawing is a mental process, no further justification need be made for the utility of drawing in lifting out relevance from within the chaos of actual visual experience.

Jonathon Kingdon

Joe Gilland on computers

I suspect that my now turning towards something as aggressively organic and analog as tattooing is in some way, a rebellion against the cold, souless techno-hypnotic mind freeze of the computer game. I’ve paid my dues playing with computers and you know what? I’d much rather interact with a flesh and blood creature with a soul. Something that talks to me and twitches when I poke it. Something that bleeds. And when I look deeply into a living organism, I see a miracle so complex and miraculous, it makes the greatest super computer look like a pair of rusty pliers. So there….

Joe, you rock. Read the rest here.

Pascal Mamassian; the science of vision

From the perspective of a vision scientist, I think it’s important to understand why artists have chosen to depict things in certain ways … because these are critical clues to some fundamental aspects of visual processing.

Read this… We often underestimate the way our vision functions, and what we as artists can learn from this. Its widely known that Pointillism was inspired by scientific research into light, so its a poetic justice to see vision scientists in turn learn learn from those artists… in particular, how they might be using “equal value” to confound the brain. Monet’s “ineffable, eerie quality”.
Found via the equally interesting Gurney Journey.

Alex Wild; Precision vs Accuracy

“Precision isn’t in itself a problem, but for the human foible of mistaking precision for accuracy.”

Alex Wild from the fascinating and beautiful Myrmecos pretty much sums up what I’ve been mumbling about concerning abstracted representation. Check it out: the trouble with photosynthetics. While there, check out the intense macrophotography made with the freeware program CombineZP.

Dave Hone praises illustration over photography

Click the bone drawings by Emma Schachner to head over to Dave Hone’s thought-provoking arguments for illustration in service of documenting fossil bones. Describing legibility arising from the process of artist-driven abstraction, he has this to say:

“technical drawings … make things in a sense ‘more real’ – by highlighting important features of a bone or leaving out the unimportant or distracting to make the image clearer.”

Ken Perlin; Make it Meet in the Middle

This post is a bit much for the normal “quote” post… as the Ken’s post has too many of them to pick just one, and fills each with too much practical experience to water them down. So click on the image and head over to Ken Perlin’s blog… then bookmark it for daily inspiration (yes, Ken posts nearly every day).

on Wrong is Right:
“When you look at Maurice Sendak’s drawing style, you eventually realize that he had a wonderful trick of keeping you a bit confused about where the light comes from. In his drawings, light seems to come from everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. So to make this test, I modified our shading system in several ways. For one thing, I changed it so that the highlight on an object didn’t need to be in the right place. You could make an object brighter on the left, while having the highlight seem to come from the right.”

on coherence of Look:
“when you’re combining computer graphics with other things (like Jeff Bridges in a weirdly glowing spandex unitard), the trick is to modify the look of everything, so that it all meets in the middle”

and much more…

Andrea Cau: Dinos, not just for kids!

I hate the childish stereotype of paleontology being of primary interest for children and adolescents.”

Switch the word paleontology with animation and you have one of my pet peeves.  Check out Andrea’s inspiring art work and scientific writing at his blog.

David Apatoff on efficiency

The new world of illustration would be one where far less time was spent on implementation and far more time was spent on the imaginative and conceptual parts of the job. I’m guessing Rockwell understood the potential significance of that changing ratio. Parker didn’t ask for permission to change the world, he took it. And I think Rockwell must have respected that, too. So perhaps this letter is symbolic of Rockwell’s blessing for the future of illustration.

As a digital artist, it’s easy to forget how much innovation takes place within analog media. This quote by David Apatoff about Norman Rockwell is very relevant to technical innovations in digital media as well.

Read up on the background at this very interesting post at Today’s Inspiration.

Maurice Sendak, Spike Jonez speak

… and we listen. Repeatedly. Great insight into the motivations and evaluations of two very capable artists:

YouTube Preview Image

Eskil Steenberg; NPR and the flick test

I want my game to pass the “flick test”, where you can flick through a gaming magazine and instantly recognize a screen shot belonging to my game. Most games have detailed surfaces, but sharp edges, so my goal became to make flat surfaces but have organic edges.

GDC talk 2009