Braille Bricks
Craft and creativity

Braille Bricks: Lego letters for literacy and inclusion of blind children

Braille Bricks: A toy building brick can be whatever you imagine it to be, or even something you’ve never imagined. Braille Bricks is an experiment that transforms these bricks into a tool capable of encouraging creativity, helping blind children learn to read and write. It also encourages the inclusion of children with or without visual impairment.

Braille Bricks

See also: Lego sets are getting grayerThe transition from the old grays to the current bluish grays (or “bley”) is a hot-button topic for many Lego fans.

Standard

The Beeping, Gargling History of Gaming’s Most Iconic Sounds

Wired: Four video game sound designers explain the thinking behind some of the world’s most recognizable video game sounds. Featuring sounds from the Legend of Zelda, Half-Life, The Sims, Minecraft, Dota 2 and more!

See also

Portraits of Imaginary People

A work in progress by Mike Tyka:

For a while now I’ve been experimenting with ways to use generative neural nets to make portraits.

Adding a third stage allows upressing up to 4k. However I dont have any actual training data at that resolution, meaning the network only learns to generally predict smooth edges etc, It can’t know the details of what skin pores or eyelashes look like. A super-highres database of faces would be needed here. Still for purposes of printing it’s nicer to create some interesting looking artifacts at this resolution, rather than bilinear interpolation of just pixelation.

Anyways, the goal is to make these into printable physical-world art pieces but I found in practice the resolution and detail has to be pretty high or it just doesn’t look nice printed. Like I said, it’s all work in flux and progress, more soon.

(via waxy)

See also

Craft and creativity

Portraits of imaginary people

Mike Tyka studied biochemistry and biotechnology at the University of Bristol and currently works at Google. He became involved in creating sculpture and art in 2009 and later co-founded ALTSpace, a shared art studio in Seattle where he started creating sculptures of protein folds.

Gallery

Skyline Chess NYC

Skyline Chess — New York City Edition

Following the success of the London edition, we are delighted to present the next skyline in our range – New York City.

We are funding on Kickstarter to allow us to complete our first production run of sets and packaging – this will allow us to produce the full 32 piece chess set, complete with presentation box and folding board. Each set contains an information sheet with details on each building and how to set up the board.

We’ve chosen a range of buildings from across the city, some of which capture the essence of the early 1900’s construction boom and the growth of skyscraper architecture, through to their more contemporary counterparts, along with some of the city’s most recognisable silhouettes.

We gave careful consideration to selecting each piece on the board, to ensure that it both visually reflected the appropriate chess piece and also reflected the architectural status and scale of that building in the city.

(via ARCHatlas)

See also

  • Skyline Chess – New York City Edition on Kickstarter
  • Beautiful and unusual chess setsSome designs, as with the Communist Propaganda set, arose from ideology. Some were born out of wealth, such as the opulent rock crystal and silver set from 16th-century France. And some were made from necessity, such as the cardboard pieces created during the 900-day siege of Leningrad in World War II.
  • Chess set architectureAs chess increased in popularity across Europe in the 1800s, the proliferation in the variety of chess sets caused confusion amongst competitors, especially those hailing from different countries.
  • Architectural playing cards — designs by Italian architect Federico Babina.
Craft and creativity

Skyline Chess: New York City Edition

Skyline Chess is a company founded by two London based architects, Chris and Ian. We take iconic architecture from around the world and reimagine it as pieces on a chessboard, allowing you to play with your favourite cities and pit them against each other.

Gallery

Hitler was High During Most of World War II Says Norman Ohler

Vice News: There are many things considered to be common knowledge about Hitler. He was vegetarian, partial to the toothbrush mustache, a failed fine artist and a Nazi despot responsible for the reprehensible, systematic murder of six million Jews. What has only recently surfaced is the assertion that Hitler was also high off his face for the entirety of World War II. As was most of the third reich. That’s according to Blitzed by Norman Ohler, the international bestseller that’s been translated into 26 languages.



See also:
How to play Secret Hitler

BLOOMS: Strobe Animated Sculptures Invented by John Edmark

John Edmark: Blooms are 3-D printed sculptures designed to animate when spun under a strobe light. Unlike a 3D zoetrope, which animates a sequence of small changes to objects, a bloom animates as a single self-contained sculpture. The bloom’s animation effect is achieved by progressive rotations of the golden ratio, phi (ϕ), the same ratio that nature employs to generate the spiral patterns we see in pinecones and sunflowers. The rotational speed and strobe rate of the bloom are synchronized so that one flash occurs every time the bloom turns 137.5º (the angular version of phi).* Each bloom’s particular form and behavior is determined by a unique parametric seed I call a phi-nome (/fī nōm/).

(via @5tu)

See also

  • Instructables: How to make these phi-based strobe animated sculptures, by John Edmark — “This instructable demonstrates and explains blooms, a unique type of sculpture I invented that animates when spun while lit by a strobe light (or captured by a video camera with a very fast shutter speed). Unlike a traditional 3D zoetrope, which is essentially a flip book of multiple objects, a bloom is a single coherent sculpture whose ability to be animated is intrinsic to its geometry.”
  • SLO: 3D Printed Camera — Amos Dudley made made his own 3D printed camera, with lens. He has even made the design files available for download so you can print your own.
  • Still File: Real recreations of computer renderings — …a series of 4 photographs recreating computer renderings as physical scenes.
DermalAbyss
Shape of things to come

DermalAbyss: Colour changing tattoos that monitor your health

DermalAbyss: Possibilities of Biosensors as a Tattooed Interface

MIT Media Lab researcher Katia Vega: The Dermal Abyss presents a novel approach to biointerfaces in which the body surface is rendered an interactive display. Traditional tattoo inks were replaced with biosensors whose colors change in response to variations in the interstitial fluid. It blends advances in biotechnology with traditional methods in tattoo artistry.

We developed four biosensors, reacting to three biochemical information in body fluid and changes colors: The pH sensor changes between purple and pink, the glucose sensor shifts between blue and brown; the sodium and a second pH sensor fluoresce at a higher intensity under UV light.

Researchers at MIT Media Lab and Harvard Medical School teamed up to create tattoo ink that reacts to your body’s chemistry.

DermalAbyss

Co.Design: Researchers are getting closer to turning the skin into an interface, while designers imagine what these interfaces might look like. Do they come in the form of a tattoo, like Vega suggests, or a temporary tattoo that doubles as a circuit? Do they act like a second skin? Will we use them to control our devices, or to better understand our bodies? Either way, there’s a whole lot more to explore on the surface of our skin.

See also

Standard

Juno Perijove — Jupiter Flyby

A wonderful video by Seán Doran putting recent imagery from the Juno spacecraft to György Ligeti’s Atmosphères, famously used in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

From the original video: This computer animation uses the JunoCam images of PJ-05 as textures, and SPICE trajectory data in order to reconstruct the flyby as seen from Juno’s perspective.

Above: Edits by Seán Doran // Below: as featured on APOD

On May 19, the Juno spacecraft once again swung by Jupiter in its looping 53 day orbit around the Solar System’s ruling gas giant.

Perijove Passage

APOD: Beginning at the top, this vertical 14 frame sequence of enhanced-color JunoCam images follows the spacecraft’s rapidly changing perspective during its two hour passage. They look down on Jupiter’s north polar region, equatorial, and south polar region (bottom images). With the field-of-view shrinking, the seventh and eighth images in the sequence are close-up. Taken only 4 minutes apart above Jupiter’s equator they were captured just before the spacecraft reached perijove 6, its closest approach to Jupiter on this orbit. Final images in the sequence pick up white oval storm systems, Jupiter’s “String of Pearls”, and the south polar region from the outward bound spacecraft.

See also

Light-based media

By Jove! Spectacular new views of Jupiter

On May 19, the Juno spacecraft once again swung by Jupiter in its looping 53 day orbit around the Solar System’s ruling gas giant.

Gallery

Block Bills

Block Bills – 64 banknotes generated from the Bitcoin Blockchain

Creative Applications Network: Created by Matthias Dörfelt, ‘Block Bills’ is a series of 64 banknotes generated from the Bitcoin Blockchain. Each banknote represents one block in the chain and the whole series consist of 64 consecutive blocks starting at block #456476.

Block Bills

See also

Shape of things to come

Block Bills – 64 banknotes generated from the Bitcoin Blockchain

Matthias Dörfelt (1987, Hamburg, Germany) is a Los Angeles-based artist. He mainly works in software producing artifacts ranging from drawings, prints, animation, videos and interactive installations to robotics. In his works he often trades control in favor of surprise because he strongly believes in computation as an expressive, playful and humorous tool.

Gallery

David Fincher – Invisible Details

kaptainkristian: A look at the hidden visual effects work of David Fincher’s filmography.

I knew that Fincher used a lot of CGI, but I had no idea how far he had taken this trickery. It’s hugely effective stuff.

See also

I vs I

Better Letterer

Comic lettering tips from Nate Piekos, who has created some of the industry’s most popular fonts and has used them to letter comic books for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and Image Comics.

See also

Craft and creativity

Blambot’s comic lettering tips

“These infographics were originally posted on Nate Piekos’s social media accounts, and are collected [on Blambot’s website] for your reference!”

Gallery

The surprising pattern behind color names around the world

Vox: Why so many languages invented words for colors in the same order.

Colour namingWorld Color Survey

See also

SovietWomble – The Art of Subtitles

Project Kino on the invisible art of SovietWomble’s subtitling craft. I’m not familiar with this particular YouTuber, but clever animated subtitling work on gaming videos — typically online shooters — are definitely an artform.

SovietWomble

See also: Vanoss – Crafting Cinema in Video Games

How Tommy Wiseau Blocks A Scene

This Guy Edits: “The Room” by Tommy Wiseau is one of the best movie experiences you’ll ever have. I’m nerding out on Wiseau’s blocking, but there’s so much more to his genius. I truly am a big fan.

Also by This Guy Edits: Why Video Essays are just plain AWESOME →

Rogue One: A Star Wars Legacy

You won’t hear the “Star Wars” theme in “Rogue One,” but the newest movie’s score does pack a bunch of other little musical references to the original saga. And if you reeeaaally strain your ears, you might actually hear that main theme after all. (via digg)

See also: Lord Of The Rings: How Music Elevates Story — Evan Puschak talks about Howard Shore’s use of leitmotifs.

r/place

sudoscript: Last weekend, a fascinating act in the history of humanity played out on Reddit.

r/place timelapse

For April Fool’s Day, Reddit launched a little experiment. It gave its users, who are all anonymous, a blank canvas called Place.

The rules were simple. Each user could choose one pixel from 16 colors to place anywhere on the canvas. They could place as many pixels of as many colors as they wanted, but they had to wait a few minutes between placing each one.

Over the following 72 hours, what emerged was nothing short of miraculous. A collaborative artwork that shocked even its inventors.

Above, some of my favourite little areas // Below, a static look at the ‘finished’ piece

The final form of r/place

Read more

  • Sudoscript: When Pixels CollideBut at its core, the story of Place is an eternal story, about the three forces that humanity needs to make art, creation, and technology possible.
  • Waxy: This Must Be The /r/PlaceEvery tiny patch of the Place is a story. Every piece of real estate represents a hard-fought battle, drawn from the collective activity of hundreds of smaller communities teaming together, and often against each other.
  • The r/place Atlas

And here’s a video timelapse that shows areas in detail →

Life on the Internet

r/place: a social experiment on a large canvas

“On April Fool’s Day, when the rest of the internet devolves into a cesspool of unfunny press releases and fake product launches, Reddit becomes the most interesting place online by unleashing a social experiment on its enormous community.” — Andy Baio / Waxy

Gallery

Casey Neistat Studio Tour!

Famous tech vlogger Marques Brownlee recently toured the studio of famous vlogger personality Casey Neistat. I’m fascinated by this space.

You can see Casey’s video featuring Marques too…

If by some miracle you’ve never watched one of Casey’s vlogs, it just so happens that this recent episode is one of his most entertaining. He’s taken a bit of a break from YouTube in recent months, but seems to be uploading fairly regularly again now.

See also

(It shouldn’t bother me, but I hate that the misspelled word ‘propellar’ features prominently in the video!)

Mateusz Urbanowicz "Tokyo Storefront" series

Mateusz Urbanowicz: “Tokyo Storefront” series

When I moved to Tokyo, more than 3 years ago I was really surprised that upon my walks I encountered so many shops still in business in really old buildings. Differently to Kobe, where the earthquake wiped out a lot of these old downtown houses and shops, in Tokyo they still survive.

Mateusz Urbanowicz "Tokyo Storefront" series

Spoon & Tamago: Mateusz Urbanowicz, also known as Matto, is a Polish artist and illustrator currently based in Tokyo. One of his latest projects is the Tokyo Storefront series.

See also

Craft and creativity

Matto’s incredible watercolour paintings of Tokyo storefronts

Born and raised in Silesia, Poland, Mateusz Urbanowicz studied electronic engineering until he found out that making art can be more than a weird hobby…

Gallery

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights by Zen Pencils, a website where inspirational quotes from famous people are adapted into cartoons by Gavin Aung Than.

another beautiful story: In our latest episode, we speak to Melbourne based cartoonist Gavin Aung Than of Zen Pencils. “A lot of people think I’m just living an exciting life, thinking of ideas and drawing, but being a cartoonist is a lot of hard work”. And while it may be hard work for Gavin to continually push out good quality comics, the cartoonist reveals in this video why his readers feedback, has in-turn made him find his calling.

Progression and regression

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“I quit my job without any grand plan, it was a big risk and one of the scariest things I have ever done.” – Gavin Aung Than

Gallery

International Color Symbolism Chart

A guide to what different colours symbolize in different countries; a useful consideration for designers. [PDF]

For example, the color red has many different meanings in other countries. In the United States red signifies danger and is often interpreted as a signal to stop, yet it also symbolizes love and passion. However, in China red speaks of good fortune, celebration and happiness. On the financial front, red denotes a rise in stock prices in East Asian stock markets while it reflects a drop in stock prices in North American stock markets. In many ways these attitudes toward color are completely opposite in these different cultures.

Purple is another example. There are vast differences in how some countries perceive this color. Japan looks at purple as wealth. France sees it as freedom or peace. The U.K., China and the United States understand purple as royalty. India, however, identifies this color with sorrow and unhappiness.

Six Degrees: An International Guide to the Use of Color in Marketing and Advertising (via Rands in Repose)

See also: Mummy Brown and other historical colours

Humans and other animals

International colour symbolism

“Though this chart may not reflect the totality of color representations, it serves as an introduction to expand your knowledge of color meanings.” — Six Degrees

Gallery

An incredible-looking game from Studio Koba, coming to Kickstarter soon!

Narita Boy

You are Narita Boy, a legendary digital hero in an epic quest through simultaneous dimensions. The digital kingdom is under attack and you are called as their last hope of survival. Explore a vast world to find the techno sword, the only effective weapon against the threat.

The aesthetic of the game is inspired by retro pixel adventures (Castlevania, Another World, Double Dragon) with a modern touch (Superbrothers, Sword and Sorcery) and an 80s plot homage (Ready Player One, He-Man, The Last Starfighter), accompanied by the retro synth touch of the old glory days.

See also

Pixar in a Box — Introduction to storytelling

TechCrunch: Pixar’s previous Khan Academy courses include topics like virtual cameras, effects and animations, but this is the first to focus on the less technical aspects of movie creation.

See also

Tale Foundry: 5 Weirdest Genres of Fiction

A look at Steampunk, Fantastique, Slipstream, Bizarro, and Weird fiction.


Tale Foundry is a YouTube explainer show “about made up stuff for people who like to make stuff up”. Although it is currently a small channel with ‘only’ ~6,000 subscribers, it is one of the better produced that serves this niche.

It’s also a really nicely structured channel, picking a fresh topic to explore each month, then starting with a general introduction of sorts (The Storytelling of Dark Souls), following up with a list episode (The Elements of Dark Souls Lore) and concluding with an original work of fiction inspired by the topic (“Faith in the Misbegotten”).

Other monthly topics so far have included Harry Potter, Creepypasta, Celtic folklore, Pokémon and Game of Thrones.

WEB Du Bois

WEB Du Bois: retracing his attempt to challenge racism with data

The Guardian: The civil rights pioneer and scholar is most famous for his book The Souls of Black Folk, but his use of data to show inequality is still profound today

Mona Chalabi has updated WEB Du Bois’ visualizations with recent data, while staying faithful to the design of the original illustrations.

I thought about DuBois while drawing these. Not just his outstanding craft (how did he manage to get those lines so straight? Those labels so neat?) but how he would feel to look at data 117 years later about the “present condition” of black Americans.

See also

Progression and regression

WEB Du Bois: Using data to show inequality, updated

The civil rights pioneer and scholar is most famous for his book The Souls of Black Folk, but his use of data to show inequality is still profound today.

Gallery

Portal Done with 15 Portals in 13:47 – Least Portals

FnzzyGoesFast: This is a segmented speedrun of Portal done with 15 Portals in the time of 13:47.640. This is the least amount of Portals that you can finish the game with. No scripts, hacks or cheat protected commands were used in this run.

Stuff like this blows my mind.

See also

  • Portal: The world between two portalsCrowbcat created a Portal setup that had Chell, the game’s heroine, trapped between two portals that crushed her. The results were an astounding wonderland of psychedelic visuals.
  • Portal Stories: Mela community made, free modification for Portal 2.
  • qCraft: quantum physics in MinecraftqCraft is not a simulation of quantum physics, but it does provide ‘analogies’ that attempt to show how quantum behaviors are different from everyday experience.

Tears in the Rain

In a dystopian Los Angeles future, retirement engineer John Kampff hunts down suspected Replicant Andy Smith. As John soon learns, Replicant detection is nearly impossible without specialist equipment.

Tears in the Rain poster Christopher Grant Harvey: Making Tears In the Rain has been an arduous five-year journey. I had no idea what I was in for when I set out in 2012. A few years into the project I wanted to give up, I came very close, in fact, I gave up multiple times. I asked myself why this particular film was so important. At every stage, over the five year period, I sat with the project looming large and heavy over my shoulders. I would dedicate whole weekends in pursuit of perfection and wake up on Monday mornings only to be greeted by what I felt to be mediocrity. That said, there was a burning desire to succeed dwelling deep inside that didn’t entirely burn out.

See also

Planting and Payoff – Featuring Mad Max: Fury Road

Chez Lindsay: I wanted to do a brief overview of three non-dialogue elements from Mad Max: Fury Road — The silver spray, Max’s blood and Max’s boot. Your basic narrative planting and payoff will include a setup, a reminder, and the payoff.

See also: Other posts on this blog about Fury Road

Shad
Miscellany

How realistic are the fantasy castles from films and games?

Shad M Brooks is a huge, huge fan of swords and castles, amongst other geeky subjects, all of which he enthusiastically explores on his YouTube channel, Shadversity. I’ve been really enjoying his castles playlist.

Skyhold from Dragons Age Inquisition apparently gets quite a lot right…

However, he’s less complimentary about the ‘castles’ of Skyrim, which get some basics right but completely fall apart when you look at the details…

There’s some praise for The Lord of the Rings, but also a lot about the castles that doesn’t make sense…

It’s worth starting at the beginning of the playlist with the first two videos on fantasy vs. reality and the names and terms of a medieval castle parts.

Honor Guard castle

In those videos Shad shows off and explains his own rather cool design for a more realistic fantasy castle he calls ‘Honor Guard’.

See also

Standard