19 May 2014

Talk about Art

I recently listened to several Movie Meltdown podcasts about art (and some movies about art). I was struck firstly about how I really have no one to talk about the stuff I do with who can relate to it at all and secondly about how universal attitudes about art are. 

I have written about being creative before but I don’t think I mentioned some obvious things the podcast gang brought up. One thing the artists talked about was that many people don’t understand that being artistic isn’t a gift from on high you are somehow able to realize effortlessly and immediately. Creating something takes lots of practice, experimenting, false starts, dead ends and years of experience. Too often they were asked to draw me something cool or do something well outside their artistic field. It appears to outsiders that if you can paint a picture you can make a sculpture, draw a comic book and film a movie as well. All completely different talents and skill sets. It is the same problem I get with my graphic design work, because I can use photoshop etc I am expected to be able to program and create software, fix hardware and automatically be able to do anything involving a computer. 

Another thing was the why don’t you draw me this, you are creativeyou can make a sign for our street fair sort of conversations artists get from friends, family and even clients. The assumption is they are somehow doing you a favour by letting you do something creative for them. I have never heard of an accountant being told hey! you can do our cycling club taxes!. There is an presumption that an artist will jump at the chance to anything asked of them as though they don’t have their own ideas or their own work to accomplish. It’s pretty rare anyone thinks to pay for these requests, just being asked to do weeks of work is payment enough I guess. I suspect artists don’t often refuse, mostly because there is the blind hope that if they do it, the requesting parties will somehow realize how much effort it takes to accomplish something creative. 

I don’t think these demands are badly intended, it’s just that ART in all caps is thought of as being something leisurely and fun, something that doesn’t take work to do well and is, to be frank, something kids do for amusement… not for adults as a career. 

BTW: look up the Movie Metldown podcast, it’s a conversion between friends more than anything else and can be very amusing and informative.)

10 May 2014

Still anti-social

I have been using the Google + app for a while now, trying to give it a shot and find some sort of usefulness for it. It's not working out very well.

I decided to follow several groups, mostly science and sci-fi stuff and while I didn't expect to like even ½ of the postings there, it is all the other crap Google forces me to look at that really gets me angry. I know not many people (relatively) use Google + but I find it impossible to believe that stock photos of flowers or rivers are "popular on google" by any definition of popular. They also force you to receive posts from discussions you have no interest in, like "caturday" gifs. The only thing you can do is mark things as spam or ignore the post. I find I do both of those actions a hell of a lot more than I read posts I've actually requested to see. I did complain several times that being forced to see full screen images with horrible graphics proclaiming "Jesus is Lord" every 3 posts is verging on criminal harassment. What algorithm decided I wanted to see that? It's insulting.

The amount of tacky "funny"gifs is another issue, who posts these things? I have a feeling it's Google itself trying to puff up how many people are using the service. At least I hope it's Google and there really aren't that many mentally deficient people online making these insipid images and posting them 100 times a day for all to see. Opening the app is like the end of Clockwork Orange but instead of being forced to watch violence until it makes us vomit, we are forced, with no option otherwise, to have religious, love and "funny" gifs burned into our defenceless minds.

The saddest thing is the structure of the app is not terrible and works fairly well. If they want to have people use it, there needs to be more control over what comes in and ways to not just "+" things but "minus" them as well. There is a lot of bad information and abusive people, as with all social media, but no way for the community at large to control the abuses.

I do not use anything other social networks (Facebook included) and I imagine they aren't much better. As it is I am looking for ways to limit my use of even this service as much as possible. The annoyances still outweigh any benefits in my view.

07 May 2014

Change of format comparison

I have been working on updating my demo reel and, as always, look back to work in the past to see if any of it should be included. I have little choice since new work is pretty scarce. I came across a project I did for a friend in 2008, a 3D animation set of a camera panning across a field of widescreen Tv sets (which were rare enough in 2008). We liked the final product and it was interesting enough so I decided to re-render it in HD. Not as easy as it seemed at first. For some reason the old Cinema 4D files wouldn't render more than a single frame except in preview mode. So used the original model and did the rest from a new project file.

The image is the origin standard definition frame sitting in the new HD one and it's amazing how much higher the quality is now. I have had a few people complain that Blu-ray os no better the a standard DVD but I think this image shows there is a huge difference