Monday, 25 August 2008

SPORE and monsters of the 15th century

I was experimenting on the weekend with the SPORE creature creator, building some creatures based on historical monsters and marvels from the book 'The History and Lore of Freaks' by C.J.S. Thompson.

The creature below was "discovered" by Lycosthenes, and was known as the "Moster of Horrible Aspect".It's missing the animal faces on it's body, but the gist is there and, you may note, it's anatomically correct.

Ambroise Paré imagined many creatures, among them, the "Headless Monster".

There wasn't a lot of text on this one, for example I couldn't work out what the little shovel part on the shoulders was, but I made it a horn anyway. This one also has features on it's back.
The next creature, again documented by Paré, was born in Ravenna and coincided with difficult times for the Pope. Google Books has some more illustrations here.

And it's SPORE equivalent:

There are some limitations with the creator, as objects can only be scaled down so much and it's OBSESSED with symmetry. (Not that nature relies heavily on symmetry or anything... wait...) I wanted to have the horn just twisting to the right in the above creature and I couldn't manage it without the horn becoming two. I also couldn't work out how to add/remove individual digits. Still, it's an amazing piece of software and I'm pretty excited about seeing how some of these may evolve in the "SPORE Universe" when the full game is released.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Secret government code

I do a fair bit of commercial work in publishing and some time ago I was laying out something for the government and I noticed a little oddity in their logo. Here it is for the unfamiliar:

This is an .eps vector file opened in Illustrator and for some reason I had to view the logo as outlines (this helps you to see how graphics are constructed, what's behind them and makes things easier to select). Here's the logo as outlines:

Below I've zoomed in a bit, and if you look carefully (or click to zoom) you can see to the left of the 'Australia' scroll one of the leaves has a little bit more of something on it than it's right hand side counterpart (it's a tiny difference):

I've zoomed in again to the maximum zoom the software allows (6400 percent) and you can see the objects a bit more clearly, but can't discern what they are.

I selected the object, scaled it up and still zoomed in a bit. As vector graphics are mathematically created, you can zoom and scale infinitely, and in this case scale up something that was otherwise microscopic. Below, you can see what the object was, some text reading 'RSW95'.

In order to view this at this size I scaled it 10000 percent and zoomed in 2400 percent as the text was only 0.144 mm x 0.028 mm. In other words, TINY. You could fit 35 of these in 1 millimetre (high) if you stacked them on top of each other.

So what does this mean? A cataloguing-number? A signature of the original creator? The text is far too small to be printed, and it's the same colour as the object in front of it so it wouldn't be seen either way. The only way you could access the code is through the working files and then you'd have to do some fancy zooming to even see it. And what does it matter if it's not there? Perhaps it's some way to determine if the logo file's integrity remains, but you could still tamper with other aspects of the logo and inadvertently keep the code.


Now I've got to go before they find me.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Borrowed time on a pixellated watch

To paraphrase: "If there was hope, it must lie in the n00bs".


This is what happens when a page layout program loses it's fonts for a moment and tries to compensate. Has it's charms I guess...

And for added interest (!), here's the sound of me laying out an article, as interpreted by the VoiceOver utility for blind people:

Dialogue Box Dialogue [864KB mp3 file]

Monday, 18 August 2008

Fish-book typography

Porcupine fish by the convict artist William Buelow Gould. Scanned from 'Gould's Book of Fish' [buy].

I'm reading 'Gould's Book of Fish' (finally) and enjoying it, repulsed by it and am completely engrossed by it. Last night I was checking the publishing details and noticed that the book is set in the 'Historical Fell Types' the site of which has been recently re-designed.

Type example from 'Gould's Book of Fish'.

The Fell types are an excellent example of freely available (as long as you credit the author) fonts and are as irregular and as characteristic as the text they set in 'Gould's'. It's appropriate that 'Gould's Book of Fish' is a quasi-historical account set in historical fonts rendered and reproduced via digital technology.

Note that these scans are from the hardcover edition which is printed in full-colour throughout (to excellent effect, capturing the various pigments and effluvia Gould uses to write each chapter) and the paperback version lacks this.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Dubious 133rd post

I fully endorse the using of emoticons in a sarcastic manner. Found written on a table in a park near Prahran station.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Medium Tedium recommends

If you're in Melbourne, I highly recommend an exhibition in the Degraves St subway Platform Art Space: WHEN THEY COME WE WILL BE READY by Simon Pericich. The cabinets in the space are full of jerry-rigged weapons made from regular household objects and re-tooled into nasty (and sometimes ridiculous-looking) weapons. I think the exhibition finishes on the 30th of August. It's definitely worth a look.

Note that the second image is called 'nasty_hoes.jpg'. Could make for some interesting image search traffic from dyslexic gangster pr0n seekers.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Great! Glitchy! Garbage!

Glitch-a-licious printer errors. The pages printed displayed fine, but the printer fudged the data.

Monday, 4 August 2008


INT. A bedroom. — morning

Come on, wake up, the arborist is coming this morning.

(groggy) Who's Barbara?