Know what bugs the crap out of me? The skateboard on the cover of INXS's album "Kick":
Pretty much everything about that skateboard bugs me. From the terrible comp job to the yellow Greg Proops face on it, it's just plain bad -- not to mention the fact that it's meant to look as if someone is actually riding it, somehow jumping to that position despite the fact that there's clearly no understanding of the mechanics of making a skateboard jump on the part of the artist.
Actually, now that I'm getting worked up, it ALSO bugs me that the logo text in the center of the cover is clearly pasted over-top of Michael Hutchence's hair, yet it's BEHIND The Hamburgler's hair, rubble rubble.
This cover is a travesty, and it offends me that someone actually got paid to make it.
So, rather than simply complain about it, I've decided to rectify the problems with it. From now on, please use this as the cover for INXS's Kick:
As you can see I've replaced the terrible skateboard with an actual action shot of a skater executing a kick-flip -- my little addition to making it relevant to the album's title -- and put the logo/title over-top of EVERYONE's hair. The design is still really awful, but at least the specific problems with it have been addressed.
If there's any work of art you'd like to see fixed, drop me a line and I'll see about fixing it for you.
While in Australia, D and I got invited over to one of her coworkers's place for Christmas. In addition to being awesome, this was a much better option than the Hooters plan I had earlier declared. There was much good food, much Mario Kart and Rock Band on their Wii, and lots of good hanging out with other North Americans.
While there, I was re-acquainted with the open source Xbox Media Center, which, since I last was aware of it, is now just 'XBMC' because it now runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and AppleTV. In the years since it left my awareness, it's also become FREAKIN' AWESOME. One of the really cool things it does now is fetch artwork and information about your television and movie files you watch with it from community-maintained sites, while looking really pretty:
Needless to say, the 5+ year-old MythTV setup we were using to play all the things we downloaded got replaced.
While watching programs, I've found that some of our more obscure programs are missing pretty artwork, so I've been dusting off my GIMP skills here and there making some. I've also been fulfilling requests from other less-artistic users, which is pretty good for the old sense of satisfaction of a job well done. It's no secret that I enjoy making things in GIMP, so I figured I'd make some stuff other people will find valuable instead of just silly fake movie posters to amuse myself. If you want to follow along at home, the stuff I've been making is viewable via the following links: banners , posters, backgrounds. The site is pretty klunky, but their API is pretty nice, allowing for anyone to use the artwork/descriptions in their tv-related applications.
The fun part is that theTVdb requires artwork to be of resolutions high enough to be problematic for those who just want to download some off google and upload them. In many cases, you have to 'make something out of nothing,' or, more accurately, out of many different nothings. Other than new serieses that provide lots of high-res wallpapers and stuff to work with, you end up crafting entire posters out of tiny little elements -- and, in many cases, filling in all the rest of it with nothing but your imagination.
I came up with this a few days ago and sprung it upon twitter. Benjamin seemed as excited by the prospect as I, so I figured I'd do what I could to make it a reality. Benjamin makes me happy pretty much every day, so now it's my turn to try and give something back to him.
Without further ado; Benjamin, this one's for you:
(Please excuse the shoddy workmanship. I spent FOREVER trying to get the Transformer bits to "bulge" out of the jacket, ultimately painting it all by hand with my trackball. Robot bulgy bits are HARD. By the time I got it halfway bulgy I just didn't have the heart anymore for the boring "make it not look like ass" part. I'm pretty pleased with how I was able to "pose" Optimus, but saddened that you can't really tell after I covered him all up and painted all over him. Optimus source. Optimus re-posed.)
While working late one night in his lab, Alexander Graham Bell made a discovery of utmost importance. Our culture would not be the same had Mr. Bell not had the perseverance and dedication to his craft, which is really sad since so few people know he was the man responsible for such a culture-defining phenomenon.
While "researching" my previous stupid idea, I had an even stupider one. I now present you with the following 80's sitcom that never was, based around the idea that when your mom is a "ho" -- and dead -- it's never quite clear just who your biological uncle is:
Never one to miss an opportunity to ogle Emma Watson's chest with impunity, I decided to do a little "forensic investigating" to see if there is any explanation that's a bit less sleazy. After many cries of "enhance!" were heard inside my office, I suddenly realized what happened.
See, I was having trouble getting the purportedly "before and after" images to line up properly. Things seemed skewed, shadows didn't seem to fall properly. Then I noticed the young bloke on the right's tie, and how it seemed to be at a completely different angle in the two shots.
"It's almost as if this shot was taken with two cameras at the same time," I said to myself. "Why on earth would they do that??" Then I noticed the overlayed text on the "after" image, and how it proclaimed that some of the movie would in fact be projected in 3-D iin the IMAX theaters.
Eureka! Knowing that 3-D movies are made by filming them with two cameras strategically placed a small distance apart, everything suddenly made sense.
What they're calling the "after" image is actually the shot captured by the camera that was closest to Emma, giving it a view to more of the "profile" of Emma's boob. The "before" image is the camera further away with a more "head-on" shot, making it look flatter.
Here it is as a 3-D anaglyph (that I just generated in The Gimp):
Hopefully you have some 3-D glasses around (mine say Spy-Kids 3D on them) to view this with, but I assure you that I've gotten to the bottom of it. There's no conspiracy here. No one is trying to enhance Emma (nor would the be able to if they tried; she is already a textbook example of perfection as-is), the poster designers just didn't realize that when they 2-D-ified the 3-D promotional poster (I haven't seen said poster, but I am deducing its existence based on my research), the old one used the "left" frame, and the new one used the "right" frame.
I'm sure that no one even thought of this, not realizing that two frames captured mere inches apart would cause any problems. Sadly, with thousands of internet fanboys nitpicking, it can make a huge difference.
Anyway, spread the word. No one is trying to pull anything, it's just an oversight.
Oh, and if you've seen the 3-D poster I'm postulating the existence of, I'd sure like to hear about it.
UPDATE: Some people don't quite understand, so I quickly drew up this top-view approximation of what's going on. It is not to scale.
Does that make more sense?
UPDATE: Apparently not... I thought the 3-D anaglyph would be self-explanatory, but sadly nobody actually owns the glasses required to see it. So I tried to draw a simple drawing explaining it, but that didn't do it either. See, in the drawing, the red/blue lines are meant to show what your eyes are doing when looking at a 3-D scene -- not the cameras. 3-D is all just trickery designed to fool our brains into seeing flat images the way we see objects in the real world. In the real world, each eye sees things from a slightly different perspective, and our brains calculate differences in those perspectives to tell us how far apart things are, how round, etc.
With a 3-D anaglyph, an entire scene is presented encoded in colors so that the special glasses can "filter" the view such that each eye is seeing a completely different view. But the magic really happens when the eyes start to focus at different parts of the picture. The brain is usually fairly convinced that what it's seeing is an actual scene, so your eyes begin to move about the image as they would in a normal everyday view of the world. If a 3-D image is made properly, you can focus your eyes on one element of the composition, then move to one "deeper" into the image, or "farther away" from the camera, never breaking your brain's sense of 3-D.
The 3-D anaglyph above is simply just the "before" image set as the left eye's view, and the "after" image set as the right. Nothing else was done to them, yet the 3-D encoding is perfectly realized when you put on the glasses. This doesn't happen on accident folks. My drawing above was demonstrating what your eyes would do if you'd look over at Emma's side of the composition in such a 3-D scene, to show that the closer eye would see her breast with more of a profile, and the further away one would be more head-on, thus explaining the difference in the curve of her breast and stomach. And if your eyes would behave that way, so would the two cameras.
I decided that perhaps a better explanation would be to try to take 2 similar shots myself. Now, I didn't take these at the same time, and I had to just sort of estimate the exact amount to shift the camera, so it isn't perfect -- but I think you'll get the idea. The subject of the photo was not altered in any way, the only differece between the two shots is shifting the camera about 2" laterally between taking them.
Obviously the effect is more pronounced due to the much smaller scale and the inaccurate camera movement, but I think this really concretes what I'm saying. If I had more scale action figures to play with -- and a lot more time -- I could set up the entire shot, but that's way more work than I'm prepared to put in.