Ooh! Quick, go see! The featured photographer for A Day in the Life this week is Sophia Tsibikaki from right here in Thessaloniki (Greece) and her photo for "Wednesday" was taken on the square where I live. Look at the second pillar, all the way up at the top of the frame. Do you see a very faint grey smudge (at the top of the building) in the triangular white-space to the right? That's actually my apartment! Hah!
"A Day in the Life" is an interesting project in which different photographers from all over the world are invited to take a photo every day for seven days to be featured in the weekly gallery. You can find Sophia's web site, with more photos and other goodies (like PhotoShop brushes!), here. I found Day in the Life via Dirty Thermos, the site behind the wonderful Signs of Life project ("photographs of signs that transcend their objectivity to reveal our humanity" - completely addictive).
Some of you may remember from my old link to Castle Arcana that I really love wandering around crazy, creepy old houses. Well, here's a zinger: Nathalie Lawhead's BlueSuburbia, wonderful art and poetry all wrapped up in a surreal scavenger hunt. Can you find all the nooks and crannies?
Whew! Well, here's what I've been working on today: a very simple, straightforward link blog so I can keep track of all those tasty sites that I keep losing and coming across again. I know I'm going a little whackadoody here and I'll probably end up with 25 blogs on this site before I'm finished, but this is another one of those things that has been on my wish plate for a long time, and today, just because I had an idea about how to use the patterns, I decided to do it.
This is how it went: I had the idea of putting different patterns into side-by-side strips to create a side border background, meant to be tiled only vertically (or, likewise, with horizontal strips, and tiling only horizontally, as a header or footer). Once I came up with one I liked, of course I wanted to try it out on a page design, so I just started farting around in Photoshop with a page idea for a linkblog... and liked it so much I had to go ahead and try setting it up immediately. If you want to try your hand at putting together a sideborder background, just remember to use tiles that are the same height (or else resize the ones that aren't the proper height, if possible) so that after you get all your strips in place, you can crop it to that height, and each of the patterns will repeat properly. (Of course you can use a tile that is 50 pixels high with tiles that are 100 pixels high, but if you use one that is 75 with one that is 100, the pattern is not going to repeat correctly unless you crop the whole thing to 300 pixels high.) The one I used on the link blog, for example, is 100 pixels high, and less than 4Kb; I used four different patterns that were all 100 picas x 100 picas to piece it together.
Okay, let me just do a little wrap-up of our situation at the moment: Firstly, I've uploaded two new pattern sets, "Bosom for a Pillow" (named after one of my favorite songs, Corner Shop's "Brimful of Asha") and "Eliza's Dream". I'm identifying both of these as "retro", because for me they both have very insistent retro elements - "Bosom for a Pillow" is kind of a fusion, with the stripes and colors feeling rather '50s to me, and the pattern distinctly deco. I've also offered this set in a toned down version, in case the colors are just way too freaky. And I'm just overwhelmed with self-delight over the stripe pattern on Eliza's Dream. I kiss me! Why is this retro? I don't know. But it is, isn't it? (Anyway, I've made "pattern box" examples for both of these, here and here.)
Secondly: I haven't forgotten about our "BlogScarf" project: I just need to sit down and finally work out how to present them. I've actually made a couple more additions, and hope to get it all up and running this week, so stay tuned. And as long as we are talking about what I haven't done - yes, I have no "about page" yet. This is always the hardest thing for me to do, and one of the last things I did on my old site. If you just can't wait, you can see the old version here. I'll really try to do something new soon.
Finally, any opinions on how many posts I should show on my front page? I've gone from five to eight, and now I'm wondering if I should make it 10 (or more?). Or should I go back to fewer? I have no idea. It seems alarming to me see them scroll off the page so fast, but I don't have a clue what is optimum.
I think designers who give away template designs with all the graphics and colors in place are web angels, and I've seen some amazingly lovely things offered, but do you know what I really, really like? Sites that give you good, clear ideas about how to put together a design on your own Adam Polselli offers just such a generous gift with his "Get the Look" section outlining palette, font, and key element choices for different styles. Very nice.
I found Adam's site via a resource I can't gush enough about: forty.something's ultrawonderful Etc., a brilliant spot for web design resources. Do you have a favorites folder called "2 good 2 B true"? Go ahead and put this one there.
Well, this is great fun: Videogrid, one of the many mind-bending projects at Japanese Freeware, lets you create little random video clips by clicking inside a grid or typing on your keyboard. Kind of hard to explain, so just go do it. On my first try, just completely clicking grid squares at random, my video turned up lots of patterns punctuated by static, and the declaration "FREEWARE", which - yes - pretty much sums things up on this end. Could this be some sort of fancy-schmancy digital fortunetelling device? I called this one "it's all true", and you can load it (from the right menu) to see what I mean (until it gets overwritten, I assume). On my next try, "revolutionary", I typed in "c moon", and I just kind of liked the result, plus - look... there in the second frame, is that something like the edge of the bright full moon, or what? Is this thing magic?
PS: also check out Slow Mosaic, in which you enter a word and view a a slideshow of web images translated into black and white mosaic form. Again, very, very cool. (Yes, I did have to be a meta-mosaic wiseguy by entering the term "mosaic" in the mosaic generator. So sue me. Or, alternatively, cut me up into little pieces and put me back together again.)
Ohmy. Ohyes. Ahh. Yes. My Pet Skeleton flash gallery of artwork by Vincent Marcone: So good. Option one leads to the main collection; after entering one of the "scarecrow" galleries, use the flourishes on the left and right to scroll through the thumbnails. Go to the house on the right for more fabulous treats, including delicious desktops. Option two guides you to the wonderful limited edition prints. Happy Friday!
Yesterday's moiré post inspired me to make another moiré-inspired tile, and the Japanese Girl site inspired me to experiment with using it to apply an effect to a portrait. You can see the results on this page. In case you are interested, here's exactly how I did it: First of all, I used the first, purplish tile - not the green tile (this will become clear later). In Photoshop, I saved the tile as a pattern (Edit: Define pattern - you'll need to change the mode of the .gif image to RGB first, under Image: Mode), then I created a new layer over the the photo and, using the paint bucket set to "pattern" I filled in the new layer with the repeating tile. Then I went to Layer: Layer style: Blending options, and selected "multiply". Then I used the eraser, in a large size and set to about 50% opacity, on the top layer to clear some of the pattern from the girl's face. Finally, I flattened the image (Layer: Flatten image) and flipped the color (Image: Adjustments: Hue/Saturation, + or - 180).
Flipping the color has nothing to do with the technique - I just wanted the lady's face more bluish and the pattern greenish.
Updated to say I went back to the pre-color-flip version and fiddled some more, this time using a lighting effect (spotlight) on it, and I think I like this moodier, less-formal one better...
Ooh! Pretty! I love the color-bar idea on the opening page of Barbelith, and the way the section posts carry through the category color schemes. This looks really interesting... maybe I'll beg for a membership.
Also... I've just uploaded a nice new pattern I made a couple of days ago. Very "Night of the Iguana". Or something.
I had bookmarked the Project Lite Moire Phenomena site some time ago, but was frustrated to find that the Bush necktie debacle brought it into the glare of the blogging world before I could gather the other links that I wanted to include with it. Here are a couple of nice ones: Molecular Expressions' Moiré Pattern Generator, which we've visited before, and their fun page of moiré-fueled movement illusions, and permadi.com's animated moire circles and moire fractal pattern generator. More, more moiré at Sandot Science, Mathematik, and Eluzions.
For some nice moiré-style tile backgrounds, see these "silk moire" patterns from my old Tile-a-Day.