Did a bunch of work on the collected edition of Surfing The Deathline this week. It’s been interesting, revisiting macOS’ Automator software to try and build out my process for processing images, and comparing the quality of images.
I had managed to create a practical demonstration of pulling the textboxes out of the images, and putting them on a different layer in the EPUB. It worked, but seems to be really slow in practice, especially on my older iPad Air. The goal was to make the text layer something that can be toggled on and off, with an eventual goal to make the sketch layer something that can be toggled on and off.
I may just go ahead and do it, as a tech demo, to see if I can.
Where I’m at now is that I output each page from InDesign, using a script that outputs separate pages as individual pdfs, then I have an Automator action which has been made into a Finder service. So, I just select all the PDF pages, right click, choose the service workflow, and then the operating system processes every PDF to an image file, resizes it, and then saves it out to a different directory as a PNG file.
It’s completely removed Photoshop from the later process of the file, which was what I previously needed to create the PNG files.
The working week ended with discovering some of my photos from the Drone racing days had ended up in an article on the national broadcaster’s website. Unfortunately I hadn’t been told they were going to be used, and they weren’t credited to me. So, some quick emails to the ABC, and it was all sorted.
A final week of holidaying, before getting into the year proper. I made a pretty significant decision with regards to the next update to my EPUB comics, and how to evolve them.
It’s going to involve significantly reworking all my original Photoshop files, as well as all my InDesign files, but will result in a structural separation of text and art onto separate layers in the EPUB. The result will be that text can be toggled on and off, different versions of artwork can be toggled on and off, independent of text, and background gradients on pages can be specified in HTML, and changed without regenerating the page art.
As with most things, it involves more time spent on setting things up in the first place, but sees greater flexibility and power to make changes down the road .
I’m starting to have some solid ideas about what this year will be. I will hold back on other people’s projects, and devote my time to my own. I’ll try to be as much stuff out of my storage space as possible, so that I can make it a useful working storage space, and I’m going to set up a welding bay in my back yard, to finally get on with making my ethernet sculptures.
2018 was in many ways, a year of sorrow. I’m going to make this year better, if I can.
A week of time off, and enforced doing nothing. Friends around for dinner on the Saturday. The one worklike creative aspect was discovering that I can output layers from InDesign with transparent backgrounds, which might make it easier to process my comic art at higher quality for EPUB output.
Some bad news this week, but it’s embargoed until next year.
I spent some time messing around with data backups, having to replace an existing backup drive because my backup set was larger than its capacity. Time Machine is such a junk solution for anything other than very simple requirements, and so many solutions to its problems involve “wipe your backup and start again from scratch”, which defeats the point of its use as a historical versioning backup system.
A broken and confused week, as construction around the house messed with my sleep pattern. Progress continued on the SDL collected version, and on Thursday I had a meeting with the Library to talk about my next Artist In Residence project.
Friday, the replacement rail for my pano head arrived, and it’s a secondhand-looking part, with clear wear & tear. It’s so disappointing to have spent ~$900 on a pano head, then another $35 on postage to get a $15 upgrade because one of the parts wasn’t correct for the job, and now that $50 exchange exercise turns out to look used.
Anyway, the distributor seems to have been willing to sort it out, they contacted the factory in Hong Kong, and they’re going to send me a new replacement once they get it in stock, and I can keep the current one, which means I can shoot in the meantime. It’s all worked out in the end, thankfully.
Continuing work on the collected edition of Surfing The Deathline, I’ve made some progress on adding a couple more pages to the start of part 2, which always had a slightly rough opening, on account of it originally being halfway through a scene in a single-volume book.
I’ve had some progress on the new pano head – of which I had to return a part. It’s costing around $50 extra all up, but I’m going to get it all sorted. The problem was that the top rail wasn’t long enough for my 14-24 lens. So, I had to return the rail, and get them to send me a new part. It’s annoying because the American company that sells it has an option in their purchasing process to specify the longer top rail, but they don’t give information that would lead you to believe you need it for that lens.
I also had some progress on a problem I’ve had with my 14-24 lens since day one – it tends to back-focus. So, you focus on a point, and it ends up being softer than detail a few inches behind it. I did some experiments, dialling in some autofocus fine tuning, and it’s made a pretty dramatic difference.
Part of playing around with this, was getting more experience in with my speedlight – I really need to shoot with it more. Though, I’ve also realised the battery for my camera needs replacing.
A week of admin stuff (aren’t they all?), culminating in the launch of the renovated Noosa Library, with its new Makerspace, where I was taking people through the VR station.
My work C45C4D3 is on the wall in the space. Though we still have some gremlins to work out with the way it’s hung.
Work-wise, I’ve spent a bit of this week constructing a complete, collected-edition version of Surfing The Deathline. It’s coming along well, and I think I’ve solved a problem of how to package it, while keeping all the individual covers intact, within the larger document.
A recovery week, not doing much. Picked up tools from the library, and did a bunch of admin emails. Didn’t leave the house for days.
The sound deadening fins went in to the library, they weren’t installed the way I’d been told they were going to be done, so the design I’d prepared didn’t really come off to the same effect I’d hoped to achieve.
I spent some time getting the new pano head calibrated – the device i bought to allow the camera to be remote-driven, and access live-view from an iOS device, has been invaluable. The new pano head is certainly an interesting development over my previous one, and hopefully its greater hardware precision will see it produce more accurate results.
All the drone racing finally came to a head, the majority of the week being spent on getting the race gates built. PVC pipe is a difficult material, insofar as there’s no cross connectors, and the adhesive is so fast that you only get one chance to do anything.
I also had a bit of extra responsibility over at the Noosaville library makerspace – I’ve designed the pattern for the sound-deadening fins that are going onto the ceiling. I was told how many of which colour there was going to be, and then figured out the pattern to place them within the space. I’m looking forward to seeing it.
The week ended with the drone racing itself, documented here.