My PATREON for World Domination

patreon.jpg

So, I launched a PATREON page today. O_O

…I feel as though it was done sort of on a whim. I signed up on the Patreon site Sunday night, and I’m already rolling this thing out, video and all… just four days later. crazy!

If you don’t know what Patron is or how it works, it’s basically a crowd funding platform like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, accept… its purpose is for content creators to raise a monthly income from their supporters instead of one larger lump sum. Where it is less appropriate for launching big projects or bringing products to market, it’s great for writers, artists, and makers who could use some support from their followers to take their passion to the next level.

I learned about Patreon when my favorite webcomic artist launched his campaign back a few months ago. His was quite successful and resulted in freeing him up to pretty much draw on stuff all the time. That’s heaven.

I had been mulling the idea of launching another Kickstarter to support my personal robotic projects, like NoodleFeet. But the nature of that sort of beast leads you into deadlines, promises, and ultimately a lot of time spent fulfilling… and not creating.

Where I do see Mark and I running another Kickstarter campaign in the future, this time I’m trying out something new. The Patreon platform seems pretty great so far, as it is low pressure in nature. You can edit your project page and your rewards even after its launched and you don’t have to ship anything out if you don’t want to. Additionally, there is no campaign period as with Kickstarter. Your Patreon just is. If people find you tomorrow, or in six months… the page will be there, and they can throw you some change!

Really, the worst thing that could happen is nothing.

My hope is to raise enough money per month that I can make larger purchases without cringing. Sometimes the next step in a project is to buy better motors, or have metal pieces cut at a fab shop… and I come to a screaming halt because I can’t afford to do so. In return, I’m going to continue doing what I’ve always done. I document the creation of everything and publish what I learn along the way. I’m happy to give advice about anything, to anyone- you just have to approach me. I’m trading my experience for support.

So, alas… this is the link to my virtual tip jar.

IMG_7322.jpgIf you enjoy the content on this blog and would like to see more of it… A LOT MORE of it, then consider checking out my Patreon. I made a firkin video of Noodle begging for money with cue cards, so at least give that a look… ;]

-S

 

Making an Anaglyph!

IMG_6862

You know those cool images that become 3D when you put on the spiffy red and cyan glasses? This weekend I accidentally learned how to make them! They’re actually ridiculously simple to create… and extremely fun to layout once you get the hang of it!

I was adding the finishing touches to the next page of my webcomic. The subject needed to appear “glitchy” so I decided to mess with the registration of the RGB channels. Sure enough, this produced the appropriate effect I was going for.

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 5.32.01 PM

By shifting the channel registers, I was trying to produce an anaglyph style, but I had no intention of the effect actually working. After all, I assumed those nifty dizzying images were hard as hell to make.

Out of our shared desire to figure out how things work, Mark dug up a pair of 3D glasses and we started fussing with the channel layers. As I shifted the channels to the left and right, I was able to make the panels retract and extend from the foreground. Eureka.

So I did a little bit of homework on the subject (which I’m surprised I’ve never done in the past). It turns out that with the help of Photoshop, it’s quite easy to create your own 3D anaglyphs. You just need to plan what it is you want your image to do.

Here’s How

FIRST and foremost, you’ll need an image editing program like Photoshop, and a pair of anaglyph shades.

Start thinking about how many levels of depth you want your image to have. You’ll also want to decide what parts will recede from the foreground and what you want to pop out at you.

For my example, I’m going to use this sketch of Noodle with his lint:

noodle1

Foreground: His feet will pop out the most, sitting over his pile of lint

Middle-ground: the lint pile will be slightly under his feet

Background: the rest of his body will set slightly behind the pile

Each level of depth should be completely separate from the others. In other words, if you use many layers in Photoshop to create your image, just make sure none are shared between your levels. I separated all of my assets into folders to make sure this didn’t happen (and to make the process less confusing!) You can see the folders for my three levels of depth below:

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 2.17.18 PM

Now with the foreground level at the top of your list and the background level at the bottom, go ahead and make a copy of each level. Add the tag “RED” to one and “CYAN” to the other:

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 2.19.03 PM

Tweaking the channels

Open the layer options for each. If you’ve selected the copy which you’ve tagged “RED”, you’re going to want to uncheck the “blue” and “green” channel like this:

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 2.20.04 PM

Do the opposite for your “CYAN” layer:

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 2.20.31 PM

Shifting the Register

The way you’re able to achieve the illusion of depth is by tricking your eyes into converging where you want them to with the magical glasses. In short, the farther the red and cyan channels are from one another, the more 3D they appear. Whether they retract back or pop out at you depends on which direction the colors are shifted from one another:

move1

(NOTE: In the image above it appears that the colors are doing the opposite of what the text says. This is because the color channels will visually appear opposite of what they are)

Choosing Your Levels of Depth

For Noodle’s body (my background), I’ll select the move tool and nudge the CYAN channel twice to the LEFT, and the RED channel twice to the RIGHT:

noodle2

For the middle ground, I’ll nudge the CYAN channel 5 to the LEFT, and the RED channel 5 to the right. Lastly, for Noodle’s feet in the foreground, I’ll move the red and cyan channels the furthest apart, at 8 strokes in either direction:

noodle3

That is all there is to it. Crazy easy, huh??

Further Show Boating

I went ahead and drew an additional pile of lint and added it above the foreground over noodles feet for EXTREME depth. The cyan channel was moved ten hits to the left, and the red was moved ten to the right:

noodle5

Lets not leave the background begging. I splayed some empty taco wrappers in Noodle’s wake (all robots love tacos). To put these BEHIND noodle, I nudged the CYAN channel to the RIGHT (not the left this time) four or so taps, and the RED channel to the LEFT:

noodle7

You should see five separate levels, like a paper diorama or shadow box.

It’s completely up to you how your levels are parsed, so have fun with it! I will usually keep my glasses on and watch as I shift the channels to figure out what looks best.

From here, there are some fancier things you can do with the color channels to create angle effects, and even give your object sculptural dimension… but I haven’t figured out how yet. When I do I’ll surely share. Until then, expect to see some interesting anaglyph panels in my comic pages… because things are better in 3D.

gr_c1_p3alt

The Thing You Follow Without Trying

toast

I’ve always wanted to produce a graphic novel, but I’ve tried and failed to keep the momentum up numerous times throughout my life. ITS FRAKKEN HARD. I’m not the best at drawing, but I like doing it… and at this point I’m good enough that I can crank out images without fussing over them too much. So I’m giving it a go once more.

The story I’ve chosen to tell is a cracked-out trip of an autobiography. It’s about the important events of my life, told through the dreams I had at those particular times. This is all mapped over a set of characters I’ve been drawing forever who live in a post-human word. It doesn’t make much sense unless you remember to think of everything as a metaphor… much like interpreting dreams, right?

For an additional layer of fun, I’ve only started illustrations after my second cocktail of the evening. This works to keep the storytelling honest while preventing me from getting held up over perfecting my drawings.

The project is called Gravityroad,which is a title I’ve used for a great many things. The comic was originally going to be called “Milktoast” as a nod to the story’s two main characters, also implying the drunken practice of drinking and drawing. Someone did eventually point out that “Milk Toast”… in its many forms of spelling is already used as a title for a few other comics that exist out there in the ether. So, as to clench uncontested domain, I switch the name to good ‘ol Gravityroad.

This is what I’ve been piecing together for a large chunk of the summer. It isn’t electronic, hackerie… or an actual robot… but the comic should explain the back story to most of the robots and gizmos I’ve made over the past five years (like Noodlefeet!). It is the spiritual history of all things Sarah. If that seems cool to you, or you just like seeing robot art, I encourage you to check it out. It is of course, science fiction flavored.

Pinhole Day

I would like you to meet “crappy box” :

crappy

crappy

Without ritual, life lacks meaning. Whether it be a drink every evening at 5 to celebrate the day conquered, or watching the playoffs each season to show pride for your hometown… the little things we assign significance to reward us with moments of privately observed fulfillment.

The last Sunday of April each year is World-Wide Pinhole Photography Day. On this one day, people take strange, unique and beautiful pictures with hand-made cameras and then submit one to an online gallery archive. When you think about it… this is a pretty frikkin awesome thing. Somehow every April thousands of people all over the world remember to try out their newest pinhole creation or photographic technique and then upload a single image to represent an idea from their life on that day. It’s a collaborative snapshot of the world as a whole, and its become one of my life rituals.

I should probably mention that I hate photography. I hate it. I took black and white back in high school and never really grew to love the process. There were too many variables, too many smells, and at the end of the day… my self developed images just didn’t look interesting enough to warrant all the fuss.

So why is this different?

Long ago… when I was still a young college beast, I crashed a number of my friend Keith’s art classes one semester. Regardless of being enrolled or not, I decided I was going to do all of the projects he assigned particularly if they were things I didn’t think I’d like doing. Building a pinhole camera was at the top of that list for me.

Along with the rest of his class, I built myself a Populist from a cereal box, loaded it with film, and started taking arbitrary pictures with it everywhere I went. By the time I got to the end of the roll… I came to really care about the exposures inside my crappy box, because they represented a journey I had gone on stitched together by blips of moments I’d otherwise have forgotten. When I dropped the roll off to be developed, I stressed myself into a ball hoping those memories survived and were more than a blurry over-exposed mush… mishandled by the Walgreens photo department.

The camera did work which made me happy, but that’s not what made the experience important. Some of the exposures didn’t turn out as I had anticipated. The ones I spent a lot of time eye-balling and setting up were less interesting than some of the ones I just took without aiming at anything special. A lot of the exposures overlapped and created weird effects that weren’t intentional, but awesome.

beach2014

roll 2, spring 2010

roll_3008

roll 3, spring 2010

img008

roll 4, spring 2010

Just as unexpected as my favorite pictures on that roll was the weird transformation that had occurred in my head while toting around my camera. I started out passive and by the end of the process really enjoyed the times I stopped to steal a moment in time. So much so, that when Keith boasted about pinhole day, I jumped on board and took a picture for the occasion:

roll_3002

roll 3, spring 2010

Since I led into this post talking about the importance of personal ritual I wish I could wrap up stating that I’ve been participating every year, – BUT the honest truth is that I have not. I have however taken the crappy box with me everywhere I’ve moved in the past x amount of years, knowing that one day it would live to take pictures again…

And this was the year. I had to remember how to load the thing with film and perform tiny bits of maintenance just to get it to work again, but I’m glad I did. It brought me a ton of joy to go through the motions of the forgotten pinhole ritual… and I have really awesome vintagey images of my robots! Now to decide which one to submit for the Pinhole Day gallery this year:

img_1002

roll 5, spring 2015

Another cool thing I noticed was that many of my pictures from 2010 were of robots (I like robots), but they were of little stationary models and statuettes that I built. This year I took pictures of robots I’ve made again, but they’re REAL big kid robots that actually do robot things.

So, what’s it about to me?

Life often turns out differently than we were lining up. Sometimes in spite of careful planning, all is lost and there is nothing to show for your efforts… though occasionally, you get a happy accident that works out better than anything you could have schemed or organized. Either way, *and I’ll shamelessly quote Rush now*

…THE POINT OF THE JOURNEY IS NOT TO ARRIVE…

So find the meaning in everything you do while you’re doing it.

Exposures from last week (spring 2015):

 

Exposures from spring 2010:

As a final note, I scanned my negatives on the same machine I used back in ’10. (Thank you, Keith!)

Robot-Army IRL Plus a Massive Build Log

It was awesome getting to meet the Hackaday crew in person at Maker Faire this year. Our interview was short and muddled under the noise of the warehouse-like space we were in, but in any case it’s good to spread the world of the neon yellow onslaught.

Hackaday

We went to “the dark room” at Maker Faire once more for an interview with [Sarah] of Robot-Army. She and [Mark], who handles software development for the project, were showing off 30 delta robots who know how to dance. Specifically they’re dancing in unison to the movements of another faire-goer. A Kinect sensor monitors those movements and translates them to matching motions from the deltabots.

You should remember seeing this project back in November. Now that the standards for this model have been worked out it was just a matter of sinking about three-weeks into assembling the army. We’re happy to see that the Kickstarter made it to 250% of the goal at the beginning of March, and with that there are even bigger plans. [Sarah] says the goal remains to fill a room with the robots and a we may even see a much larger version some day.

The interview is…

View original post 77 more words

Robot Army : Less Than a Week Away

IMG_0686

So the video above condenses a whole weekends worth of work into ten minutes. In the beginning we don’t have anything flashed or calibrated… and the arms aren’t even installed yet on the newer robots. By Sunday night all three pallets worth are working in sync and are ready to be fine tuned.

As it’s Monday, I’m straightening out kinks now so that we have as smooth a time as possible once we arrive in San Mateo. Mark is required to work at Blue Man all week up until we leave, so he had to grind out the majority of the code/networking related stuff over the past three days so it’d all be done by now.

We’re still flashing them with tweaks to the delta math which effect their range of motion… still working on a solution for the LED cables being a hair too short… still trying to get answers from MAKE in regard to our booth. Time for a bloody Marry. I wonder if I can put a taco in my bloody…. like eight layer dip but with vodka drizzled on top then sucked through a straw. Why does that sound appealing?… my god.

I’m not quite sure how so much got pushed back to the end like this. At any rate… WE’RE SHOWING OFF STUFF AT MAKER FAIRE! WOOOOOOO!!!! I totally never expected to be doing all this so soon. This past year has yielded a ton of experience. =] I remember walking past this massive white colonnade in the lobby of an abandoned building every morning when I lived in Chicago, imagining my installation of dancing light flowers inhabiting the space. That was back in 2011!!! Through all distractions and detours, I am finally getting to show off this idea. ❤ ❤ ❤ The army of dancing lights is sitting next to me as I type and all the stress and work is completely worth it!

delta1

Here’s our KS update from last week BTW :

Like our Facebook page too!

So, I won a tablet…

IMG_4956

Two weeks ago Mark and I attended the Atmel Tech on Tour seminar. This was my first time going to one of their events like this, so I didn’t know what to expect. The exercises brought back memories of being in my first electronics class in college, which also happened to be a grad level course I had no business being enrolled in. It felt sort of like I was drowning the whole time, but Mark was there to fish me out of any confusion I had while trying to navigate their massive programming platform.

At some point before the lunch break our teacher… ugh…. person giving the talk (who thought I was Mark’s ‘secretary’), informed us that Atmel was holding a sweepstakes for a Galaxy tablet which you could enter by submitting a selfie taken with the Atmel trailer in the background. Sweet! I may not be able to program very well, but I can take a picture with my phone just fine. =X

It was a windy day. The gusts sounded (and felt) as though they were going to send the little classroom trailer rolling through the parking lot. Mark and I did the best we could to take an interesting photo in such conditions. Long story short… I got an email today informing me that the dorky picture above won their contest… which is pretty nice!

I won this (and I honestly don’t know anything about Galaxy tablets, but hey… as I don’t own an iPad, this might be a nice tool) :

galaxytab

Thanks Atmel for all the robot brains we’ll be ordering in the near future… and the tablet! ❤