Chad Gadya embroidermation progress

embroidermation

A wee taste of the progress Theo and I are making on our “Chad Gadya” embroidermation project.

goat

Frames of the animation are stitched in groups of 6, arranged in a circle on matzo covers. We currently have 516 frames on 86 matzo covers, which I painstakingly finished by hand with multiple fabric layers and labels and everything.

Matzo covers

We hired Theo’s daughter, Emma, to help. Here she is ironing away while I adjust a lining.

NinaEmmaMatzoCovers

Here I am topstitching one of the 86 covers on a treadle sewing machine.

NinaHemsCover

We have a lot of additional photography, stitchcoding and stitching to do, but we are making progress. When the film is done the matzo covers will be for sale.

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Egyptian Falcon

falcon_fast1

Another thing for Seder-Masochism.

Ancient Egypt parallax

I’ve been designing Egyptian foliage for Seder-Masochism. The ancient Egyptian graphic style is pretty flat; there’s little if any perspective to give a sense of depth.

plants3

However, animation can give a sense of depth without compromising the graphic style. Thanks to the magic of parallax, each still frame looks authentically flat, but in motion the scene looks 3-D. Nothing overlaps anything else but there’s still a foreground and background.

plants3Just one of many reasons animation is cool.

 

Chad Gadya cycling backgrounds

Which 24-frame cycle do you like more:

ChadGadya_BG8

Cycle A, “Clouds”, or…

ChadGadya_BG3

Cycle B, “Waves”?

I personally prefer Cycle B, because I like backgrounds where everything is moving – I feel it gives it more depth. As a 2-D design the clouds look nice, but in an animated cycle their stillness bothers me. I did make a version with moving clouds, but on this 24-frame cycle they had to be very dense to repeat:

ChadGadya_BG7

Cycle C, “Repeating Clouds”. I still prefer Cycle B. The sky pattern might be a bit unconventional, but I think it’s stylish. Also I don’t like all that white in the background of A and C.

The palette is limited to 10 colors because this is destined for Embroidermation. The animated GIF doesn’t have great color fidelity; thread colors will look better and have more contrast between foreground and background.

If you have an opinion on which of these you prefer, please leave it in the comments and maybe it will help Theo and me settle our argument.

Cattle of Egypt

I’m back to working on Seder-Masochism after a very long hiatus. Here are some biblical Egyptian cattle:

Egypt_cow2

And here they are after I AM THAT I AM gets through with them:

Egypt_cow_bones

resampling DST files

sampling_demo3

Our Quilt Plotter’s rather frustrating software automatically resamples DST files, for no explicable reason. While we struggle to communicate with its manufacturers to overcome this “feature,” I attempted to explain the problem in pictures.

1. A line, or vector file, is not a DST file yet. A DST file is comprised of many points, like so:

1. A line, or vector file, is not a DST file yet. A DST file is comprised of many points, like so:

2. This has a high sample rate, because there are many points spaced close together.

2. This has a high sample rate, because there are many points spaced close together.

3. Above is a lower sample rate, with "stitches" in black. There are fewer points and they are spaced further apart.  The machine always, always, automatically RESAMPLES DST files, which inevitably degrades line quality. Here's a resample at the same sample rate (frequency/spacing of points):

3. Above is a lower sample rate, with “stitches” in black. There are fewer points and they are spaced further apart. Here’s a resample at the same sample rate (frequency/spacing of points):

4. Every time the path is resampled, it moves further from the original line. This happens even if it's resampled at the same sample rate, as shown here.

4. Every time the path is resampled, it moves further from the original line. This happens even if it’s resampled at the same sample rate, as shown here.

5. Same sample rate, worse fidelity because of resampling.

5. Same sample rate, worse fidelity because of resampling.

6.  If we resample enough times eventually our path won't resemble the original line.

6. If we resample enough times, eventually our path won’t resemble the original line.

7. Not what we want.

7. Not what we want.

 

 

 

sampling_demo30008

THIS is what we want the machine to read. We can control all the points in the DST file in Mathematica. We just want the machine to not resample them, to keep the points in the original file we give it. Here the points are evenly spaced except at corners and curves to preserve fidelity.

Water Wheel

water wheel5

click for animated gif

Back on the Quiltimation front, I was wondering if I could arrange animated frames on a quilt in a mandala/medallion pattern, rather than left-to-right cells. This would essentially be a quilted phenakistoscope, with the animation emerging as the whole thing is rotated (we’d keep the camera and lights stable, and rotate the quilt).

water wheel6

click for animated gif

 

The saturated colors here would be lost, although I could use a few colors of thread. The elements are early Leviathan designs, and Water from Chad Gadya which is still in (very slow) progress.

 

Then came the Holy One, Blessed be He…

God5

…and smote the Angel of Death that slew the Slaughterer that killed the Ox that drank the Water that extinguished the Fire that burnt the Stick that beat the Dog that bit the Cat that ate the Goat that my father bought for two zuzim. Chad Gadya

The Angel of Death came…

AngelODeath8

 

…and slew the Slaughterer that killed the Ox that drank the Water that extinguished the Fire that burnt the Stick that beat the Dog that bit the Cat that ate the Goat that my father bought for two zuzim. Chad Gadya

The Slaughterer came…

 

shochet4

…and killed the Ox that drank the Water that extinguished the Fire that burnt the Stick that beat the Dog that bit the Cat that ate the Goat that my father bought for two zuzim. Chad Gadya

 

Update: animation modified to show Shochet slicing from below. He’s still decapitating the poor beast, but it’s slightly more kosher for sticklers. Yes I know kosher slaughter involves slitting the animal’s throat, it just seems so grotesque that the cartoon shorthand of bloody decapitation expresses it best for me. But for those who consider slitting from below important, here ya go.

Transmission

Transmission_10fps2

The Ox came…

ox5

 

…and drank the Water that extinguished the Fire that burnt the Stick that beat the Dog that bit the Cat that ate the Goat that my father bought for two zuzim. Chad Gadya

just water

water8

 

I made some improvements to the water animation cycle below. I’m quite pleased. Like waves, natural special effects don’t come intuitively to me. I didn’t know if I’d be able to figure this one out.

The Water came…

water+fire

 

…and extinguished the Fire, that burnt the Stick, that hit the Dog, that bit the Cat, that ate the Goat which my father bought for two zuzim. Chad Gadya

The Fire came

flame+stick…and burned the Stick that beat the Dog that bit the Cat that ate the Goat which my father bought for two zuzim. Chad Gadya