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Archive for the ‘ Art ’ Category

more thoughts on Cultural Loss: Cultural Entropy

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you might have read Mikes last entry about the preservation of culture here. and he does raise interesting points and whilst I agree with him, that cultural artifacts need to be preserved, I kind of disagree that culture is defined by artifacts

In my view culture is an all-encompassing set of tools we use to consume culture and interact with other members of our cultural group. Having a great play or book is fine, but if you don’t understand the language spoken or even the concepts of reading and writing then it becomes meaningless squiggles on a page.

how about this for an example of loss of cultural knowledge

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I know I’m probably too old… but

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I really like this song  — Be aware there are some swears in this content.

It’s a great song.

Now some may say “Hey – Mike …  Aren’t you a little old for this sort of angsty shouty stuff”. And you’d probably be right.  Personally I think I have a good mix between the shouty and cool.  I’ve recently started getting into cool jazz – I got Time Out and I have even tried some John Coltrane – some of it’s cool,  but I just don’t get some of it.

Anyway I sat here at the laptop, having just fixed the FilmFixer script, and thought “I’ll see what’s cookin’ in the digital amazon music store”.  I racked my brains trying to remember pierce the veil – All i could remember was that it was a bank job music video.  Eventually I found the video and had a look at amazon to see what deals they had.

I dug around and found The war of the worlds – the original 1938 broadcast staring Orson Welles for £0.99, and I eventually found the album that featured King for a day.

The MP3 Album is  £7.49 – or I can buy the CD – which has a free mp3 version of the album for £4.99 – which I would have straight away.  Even with the packaging and postage – that would come to £6.48 – still cheaper than buying the MP3 album.

CD as found in the CD store

Go looking for Pierce the Veil in the Amazon CD store, and you can buy the album for £8.60

CD as discovered in Digital Music

Find the same album in the MP3 music store, and you can buy the CD for £4.99

Orders over £10 get free delivery, so by adding something else i needed, I was able to buy the album for £4.99.  I decided that, as I have much more music these days, that I’d get a larger SD card for my phone, as the 8GB I have at the moment is full, and I hardly have any music on it at the moment.
And the Auto rip was available right away 🙂


Snail Tales – Building an Animatic on Azure

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In the previous post I talked about setting up Jenkins – I have also been able to apply the same instructions to an Azure hosted linux sever.

The instructions are identical – except that the ports need to be connected

Configure ports for Jenkins

Configure ports for Jenkins

Using the endpoint configuration I was able to map the 8080 to port 80.  I needed to set up the security so that anonymous users could see the job status but would be unable to run or add jobs.
I create a user and set up the security like this :
Configure Jenkins security

Configure Jenkins security

Snail Tales – Building an Animatic

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I’m going to start this blog post by saying : I’m not an animator.  I know nothing about animation.  Well that’s not strictly true – I did learn something about animation from this tutorial video :

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Snail Tales: Part 1

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I have been working for a long time on a short piece of animation. It’s been made longer by my insistence on using purely Open source software to make the animation with.

I decided to use Synfig Studio and set about creating characters over a year ago.

Of course real life got in the way of this. There was a house move, and of course there’s been my work on Elite Dangerous and Zoo Tycoon as well as the work I continue to do for Hoo on Who. but here are some early tests and work in progress shots for the short.

In the original story board the opening shot was much shorter and it was static but I have decided to make it a longer shot to better establish the kingdom in this early test, there are no peasants, I will add a couple of peasants to the fields and village.

the scarecrow I added on a whim. I had watched the Wizard of Oz a couple of days previous and  trying to think what i could put in the environment to help set the scene, I thought it would be fun to animate a scarcrow. I built and rigged a scarecrow and animated him making a little wave and turning his head to look to camera.

A lot of his animation is masked by the tree currently. I might put the tree on the first  hill so it is well out of the way .


In this shot, the Cat detective is being telephoned by the Queen to come find her stolen money. I wanted to give some contrast to the cat detective’s office, so I designed it to look more Noir-ish and forced the perspective. I always though it could be funny to have the cat play with a ball of wool while taking the call, the idea to put the framed picture of a ball of wool happened as I was designing the background. Originally there was going to be a newtons cradle in the foreground, but the scene was busy enough and I didn’t want to pull focus from the cat.


In this shot, the cat detective is looking through his magnifying glass. I used two copies of the cat detective, and used the shape of the magnifying glass to mask out the larger cat



this shot is tricky and is in the process of being re animated.  The cat detective is climbing up a spirtal staircase, following the dragon prints. The Background was a 3d model I rigged and animated in 3DS Max- still frames were rendered out and the cat detective was then animated to look like he is climbing the stairs. I changed the camera angle to better show the dragon prints. so the cat Detective needs reanimating.


Using open source software has not been easy.  There are certain thing I like to do when animating that Synfig forces to you abandon. In order to combat this, Mike and I wrote Synfig Stage, This software will allow us to compile new scenes with copies of the existing characters in the production. expect a video of it in action soon.

Synfig also has a very steep learning curve, but as with all things, the first time you try anything it will always be hard. Subsequent attempts are quicker and some of the newer chacters have taken less time to rig and in some cases these rigs are more complex than others.  I hope to have a few more shots done soon. in which case ther might be other posts about this (which is why its optimistically called part 1).


George RR Martin Loves DOS

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My favourite things

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Today I experienced the combination of 2 of my favourite things – Humble Bundle and Dr Who.

That’s right – for like $15, you can get your eager hands of a veritable shedload of comics!

Christmas present from Rach

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Rach bought me this interesting ‘thing’ – ‘S’. It would be wrong to call this just a book. I understand that this is more of an experience. I’m going to write up our experience unraveling the mystery. Now I know that some readers may be reading this book, so I’ll try and keep the spoilers to a minimum.

Life Drawing Ettiquette

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As regular readers know, I am a fan of Life drawing. I have been doing it on and off for approximately 20 years. and I enjoy nothing more than sitting in front of a naked person drawing them and should  point out it is in no way gay/creepy

However the other nights life drawing went – a little differently – there where 2 children in the class

Yes, you heard right – children approximately 9 -10 years old with their father  and they where terrible! They kept dropping pencils and sketchbooks all over the place and trying to leave the room while a pose was on.

Maybe it’s me, but I find Life drawing a mix of meditative and analytical observation. The challenge is to capture the collection of muscles, flesh and bone into a solid drawing.  The ability to sort of shut away the worries of normal life and really concentrate on drawing some dude’s wang. It’s a mental battle between the page and what I see.  I see a life drawing room as a quiet contemplative place, like a library or religious building.

The constant sniffing, dropping books, shuffling  and trying to leave the room, was off putting for me and I’m sure the model and other people there to battle the human form.  I was glad when they left during the break (presumably, they didn’t have the attention span to sit quietly drawing for 5 minutes at a time so sitting quietly for half an hour would have been beyond them)

I have always had a set of rules I follow when life drawing and assumed that other people attending classes would have similar, if not exactly the same rules:

  1. Tthe model is making him/herself incredibly vulnerable for your edification. you will afford the model every courtesy during break periods
  2. No talking during drawing
  3. No stereos or MP3 players while drawing and phones to be turned off.  the model deserves you full attention.
  4. Don’t not engage the model in conversation during poses and refrain from mentioning any aspect of the models body afterwards. You don’t know how your compliment about the models glutes or abs might be taken .Keep conversation professional and courteous and for god’s sake DONT TRY AND HIT ON THE MODEL!
  5. Make sure you have all you need BEFORE drawing starts If you have an art case, get your supplies out and put them on your easel / somewhere accessible with no chance of the falling on the floor
  6. No talking during drawing
  7. If you sharpen pencils make sure you can store the shavings until you can safely dispose of them  during the break
  8. Make sure that your drawing location does not impede  others view. do not change this position unless it is between long poses. changing position every 5 minutes slows down the pace of the class
  9. No talking during drawing

Just out of interest do other life drawers follow these or similar rules or are these rules outdated in a 24/7, always online world?




New swag from Jon Pinto!!!!

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Those of you that know me, know that one of my favourite illustrators is Jon Pinto. I have been following his work for a number of years and his style has rubbed off on me a little bit for a recent poster I did for the local AmDram group.

Look Whos talking poster


Anyway, just Before Gallifrey this year I decided to get a phone case for my trusty Samsung Galaxy S3 and found an unauthorised UN Jon Pinto design. I mailed him and told him about it. He asked me if I wanted a print  – Of course I said yes! and sent him my address thinking nothing more of it.

Well, guess what turned up inthe mail yesterday? not one but 3 signed prints !  I cant wait to get these bad boys framed and on the wall (probably in the new Titanium Bunker wing)

Jon Pinto Print 1 Jon Pinto Print 2 Jon Pinto Print 3


If you’re reading this Jon, Thanks so very much . We here at the bunker deeply appreciate this. and if you haven’t already stopped  by the site (and why haven’t you?) then click this link right away. your eyes will love you for it!

Jon Pinto