GNU & Improved GIFs

PromisedLand2460

Big ups to my friend Barry Israelewitz, who wrote a shell script for ffmpeg (based on this article shared in this comment by Paul Wise) and taught me how to use Terminal on my mac to make much better animated gifs than Flash exports directly. Currently it’s significantly more work than just exporting .gif from Flash, because I have to instead export a PNG sequence, import the frames to Quicktime 7, and export as a new .mov to use as an input file for making the gif. This may be streamlined a little bit in the future, but for now at least I can make higher quality gifs if I need to.

Below are close-up details of single frames. “Before” is here, “after” is above.

before

before

after

after

Here’s a smaller-sized (because fewer frames) animated gif for side-by-side before-and-after comparison:

before

before

after

after

Much better, no? Plus using Terminal is METAL.

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A Bug in My Ass

ass1

So I’m animating an ass for Seder-Masochism, so the Hebrews have something to carry their stuff out of Egypt so their arms are free to let them walk  jauntily and leap around. I export a test and see this weird artifact on the upper foreleg. Flash is rendering the shape as it looks in vector editing mode. If you look carefully you’ll see the point on the upper right has a little bezier handle. Weird, right?

ass2

It’s a bug in Flash (pre-Adobe Macromedia Flash 8, the only Flash I use), the likes of which I’ve never seen before. To make the artifact go away I had to re-draw the foreleg. Below is a render sans bug.

ass3What’s great about this is it solved my problem about how to best use “ass” in a blog post title. I was considering “What an Ass” or “A Fine Ass” or “I Made Myself an Ass,” but this is much better.

 

Dvorak Diary #2: Offline

On a recent trip to Trivandrum, India, I decided to try learning to touch-type in Dvorak (after decades of hunt-and-peck in QWERTY). Here I share some excerpts of my “Dvorak Diary”.

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Tuesday, December Thirtieth, Two thousand fourteen….

I have been kinda ‘offline’ since returning. The last legs of my flights were awful, and I still haven’t recovered, though at this point it’s probably jetlag more than exhaustion that has me failing to connect to ‘my’ world and identity. I haven’t felt connected online, and am concerned about how I let Facebook information just wash over me with no real engagement on my part. It’s a hell of a lot of information to just suck through me like a stream. I surely have more than enough information rattling around in my head already. Maybe it’s time to let it settle, to digest it and let it adjust to the habitat of my mind and maybe make something of itself instead of just washing through like a tsunami. I feel less satisfied being an information node than a full human animal. Jetlag reminds me I am an animal, and no amount of information can heal my exhausted body. I recently read that staring into screens is terrible for sleep – I read that staring into a screen, ha ha – so last night I didn’t check email or read Facebook.

Is Facebook the television of today? It’s not broadcast, and it can be useful sometimes, but I become very passive with it, especially at night when I turn to it in my insomnia.

EmbroiderModder 2 kickstarter launch

The world needs open source embroidery software.

Direct Kickstarter link here.

Some of EmbroiderModder 2’s kickstarter rewards include designs and stitched pieces by me.

Quilt Plotter action shot

A great “machine’s-eye-view” of our quilt plotter is at the one-minute mark of this Apple promo video. In addition to creating the Mathematica user interface and co-founding Touch Press, Theo is Science Officer of our own PaleGray Labs.

R-G-B, C-M-Y, H-O-R-S-E

CMY on K. See previous two posts on TSP animation for context: 1, 2.

CMY on white.

RGB on K.

RGB on white.

A herd of CMY TSP horses.

All The Pretty Horses

I ran an inversion on yesterday’s horse Traveling Salesman Problem animation:

Again I had to take out a few stray lines manually. Here’s the same white on black:

Yesterday’s negative image and today’s positive image together:

The positive image has only 2,000 points, so it was faster to process. It’s still denser than the negative image (background) which has just under 4,000 points but covers a lot more area.

Here are both with contrast on grey:

and in yellow and blue on magenta:

The Traveling Horse Salesman

horse traveling salesman problem animation

I traced the famous Muybridge horse in Flash, exported as a PNG series, processed each frame with the wonderful StippleGen2, opened each resulting .svg file in illustrator, copied back into Flash, removed stray lines by hand, and exported this animated .gif. The manual corrections are cheating and break up the single line I wanted, but StippleGen’s TSP optimizer left more lines crossing the body and legs of the horse than I could stand:

Theo’s going to see if Mathematica’s TSP optimizer with some additional restrictions works any better.

Tupi’s Kickstarter now live

Remember when I pleaded for good Free vector animation software? The Tupi project just launched a Kickstarter campaign and I’m a backer.

Tupi’s strength is its simplicity; it’s great for kids and anyone new to animation. It doesn’t yet have the power I need to produce feature films, but its development is a good thing for all of us. Since it’s FLOSS (Free Libre Open Source), any innovations made in Tupi can be applied to other Free programs, and anyone who wants to customize it can. Oh, and it’s free – you can download and start playing with it right now.

Embroidermation Addendum

Adding to my post below titled Embroidermation: test 1, my co-lunatic Theo Gray shares an animation of the Chinese Postman traveling every path, instructing the machine how to stitch the design:

stitching pattern for Ziz

And here is a screen shot of what he did in Mathematica to get there:

Chinese Postman problem solved for embroidery in Mathematica

They’re Back!

After a long hiatus, I’m finally reviving Mimi & Eunice. New comics every weekday here.

Electric Dog’s Flash Animation Power Tools

electric dog :: flash animation power tools logo

I’m finally using this great plugin for Flash, that even works with Ye Olde Macromedia Flash 8 (considered by most animators to be the best version ever made, far superior to Adobe’s crippled messes). The Library Symbol renaming tools alone have made me a fan.

Synfig help needed in New York

I want to learn Synfig. If I succeed, I can then teach it to others. I bought a used tablet PC for this purpose, but I have never installed Linux, and am used to a Mac. If there are any Synfig users in New York who would be willing to help set up my PC and give me a Synfig lesson, I would be extremely grateful. Please contact me via comments or here. Thank you!

New splash screen. By David Rylander (rylleman)

Copy Bunny Progress Bar

Our first Minute Meme, Copying Is Not Theft, continues its steady spread online. The two versions currently most shared are QuestionCopyright.org’s “official” version, which we unfortunately named “best” instead of “official” (“best” implying a value judgement) and the arrangement by Willbe which uses my original wavery vocals (hence my unfortunate value judgement – the official/”best” version has vocals by professional Connie Champagne, which save me the embarrassment of hearing my own voice).

On the Willbe version youtube page, I found a pretty good suggestion in the comments: a Copy Bunny Progress bar. That was easy enough to make; here’s a truncated version in GIF format:

I also uploaded all the original .fla files to archive.org, so you can remix and modify to your heart’s content.

"Copying Is Not Theft" PinAlso, did you know there’s a Copying Is Not Theft cloisonne pin? Well there is! And you can buy it.

Mimi’s device gets bricked

This is from a little cartoon I’m working on about DRM, privacy, and “three strikes.”