Archive for August, 2007

oGFx takes over PictureXS

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

I just posted picture number 5000 in PictureXS. This gives me the opportunity to write about something that is not directly related to PictureXS or the web. The picture belongs to a collection of screenshots I have been taking of the ongoing PLW interactive graphics experiment called oGFx (for now) that Kyle and I have been working on. It combines Cocoa, CoreImage, Python, Quartz2D, OpenGL and GLSL to deliver a true interpreted graphics programming environment with direct access to the GPU. Dynamic texture mapping, procedural geometry, and programmable shader customization are the building blocks we are using to make interactive graphics programming feel less like a sandbox, and bring it closer to the true nature of computer graphics.

The following pictures are sections of screenshots taken during tonight’s testing session. We will be updating the screenshot gallery here on a regular basis. We might also come up with a gallery of movies soon.


Some things just won’t work

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

A few months ago I included search functionality in the back side of the Tiny Widget. It works fine, but I thought a more useful way of having the search there would be to let people load a particular icon to the front of the widget for editing. After a few months of staring at the same 10 lines of Javascript code, I have decided to give up. It almost works; the result for the search query is properly paginated, and clicking on any icon flips the widget around and loads an icon, the wrong icon. I can’t figure out why, and I have decided not to worry about it anymore. The Widget is here for you to play with if you want.


PictureXS: zoom in

Monday, August 6th, 2007

I decided to make some changes to the PictureXS interface. The main reason for this changes is that I think there has been something not quite right with the Tiny style of the cover page. The difference between a texture composed of 425 little pictures that are almost like pixels and a sequence of 12 perfectly recognizable pictures reminds me of the difference between looking at the bricks versus the billboards in a cluster of distant old buildings. When I look at the bricks I can appreciate the beautiful and subtle randomness of color combined with a literal symmetry of shape; there is no explicit meaning to what I see, and whatever emotions the building walls can convey for me will be nothing more than a handful of abstract impressions. When I look at the billboards, something completely different happens, because they carry a deliberate message expressed in a visual language I have learned to understand, and I can even mix my interpretation of them in a sequence of thoughts that might reveal meaning not expressed by the separate images of each billboard alone. Filmmakers and Cartoonists have built their masterworks on top of this. Eisenstein called it Montage and Scott Mcloud called it Closure. I wanted to look at PictureXS as a sequence of windows to multiple stories that might be or become related, along with looking at it as an ocean of words and minipictures. When we see the forest we can’t see the leaves of the trees. In an opposite way, we can only experience slices of time, using memory to keep track of our paths through it. Will we be able to recognize our stories if we could look at the forest of time from a distance? Perhaps not, perhaps a lot of the meaning will be lost the same way the pictures that become pixels can’t talk to each other like they do when we turn the pages of an old photo album.

The difference between observation and reading is perhaps the difference between nature and media.


PictureXS 4000

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

Well that was fast, like three weeks at most for the next thousand pictures. All because I changed the way I sorted the tags from alphabetical order to popularity, and my friend Manzur wanted to put his trademark nickname gandul on top of the list. It became a tagging race for him, and I somehow felt that I should join. The resulting sequence of uploads was mostly dominated by Manzur, and picture number 4000 has his signature on it. You cant really tell what is going on in it, except that there is a concert and a stage, and thanks to the tags you can figure out that some of those big pixels might actually be Shakira, the colombian bombshell with a golden butt.

For now though, I am still winning.