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.
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.
More progress on the Surfing The Deathine collection. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to use JPEG images, after the book reached around 800mb and kept crashing iBooks.
There’s a minor problem with sound effect text showing some red/blue chromatic aberration, but I may be able to solve that with running the sound effects on a separate layer, and through a greyscale conversion.
I also had a meeting with the library service to discuss my next residency. The project should be VERY interesting, if we can get the tech to work.
Spent a bit of this week trying to teach a teenager about the ethical considerations of relying on volunteers for projects, largely to no avail.
Uncle Trevor was a great guy. A genuinely nice dude, who helped out with a number of things at critical points in my life. He passed away peacefully on Saturday morning.
On Friday, I had both my car, and bike serviced. The bike service is interesting – mobile folks who come to you. So with the end of the week, I’m going to get back on my bike, after a year off.
Work-wise, this week is the week I cracked the issues for images in the Surfing The Deathline collected edition. It’s been a really interesting series of dead ends negotiating macOS bugs, Affinity Photo bugs, and Photoshop issues. But, it’s finally sorted – all the conceptual problems are solved, and now it’s just down to implementation. So far, I’ve managed to lift the text off the page art in the EPUB version, which paves the way for toggling text on and off, and having a sketch view of the original pencils, with the final dialogue over them.
Most of the week spent on an application to the Swell Sculpture Festival – a big outdoor sculpture exhibition on the gold coast. It’s always interesting, making these – having to revisit your bio and cv. It forces you to keep thinking about who you are, what you do, and why. My goal is to get There. exhibited.
Wednesday night was kebabs on the beach, watching dolphins patrol back and forth, about 10-15m from the shore.
Friday was my late father’s birthday, the first since he died. He would have been 75. The same day, we had an offer on his house, and have accepted it. Hopefully the sale will go smoothly.
I went out to the river mouth, and took a few pics to take my mind off things.
On brighter news, my bike is working wonderfully, and better yet, my knee is working wonderfully. Back when I used to ride every day, my knee would puff up after a ride, and I’d need to ice it down with a bag of frozen pees. Now, though I’m taking it easier on my ride, there’s no after-effects of the exercise. Spending most of a year doing 250 leg lifts every morning to keep my kneecap tracking correctly seems to have helped, and I with my general strength and fitness returning, I can finally get back rebuilding that leg.
Had a bit of a blow for the next VR residency project, the technical person I’d hoped to bring on board isn’t going to fit within the project’s budget. It’s a shame, but after the last year’s set of high stress, low return projects dumped my health into the ground, I think I’m going to play this one a bit less emotionally committed. I’ve presented the idea, handed it over to the people who’ll manage it, I’ll do my part, but I can’t afford to become emotionally involved in it overall.
Locally, it’s been interesting here the past week – the tail end of a cyclone has been hitting us, and beaches have been closed after 40 people were rescued here in one day alone.
The storm surge has coincided with massive high tides, which have resulted in signs warning of salt water on the roads. It really is a different thing to be living in a glorified marshland.
My camera tests are continuing, and I think it’s reached a point where it seems to be pretty reliable, I feel like I’m circling around where the solution may be.
I’ve been accepted into Swell Sculpture Festival 2019.
Not that I should be shocked – I was trained for this, and I have some good works sitting around in storage, just waiting to be seen. However, it’s a thrill nonetheless, and ensures I don’t have a gap in my exhibition record this year. The work I’ll be exhibiting is There. which also has a small companion piece, so I can exhibit in the small sculpture part of the exhibition as well.
The exhibition is in September, so I have some lead time, but there’s some significant work to do – I need to perform some repairs to the work where a weld has popped, and then brace that weld invisibly. I know what needs to be done, I just don’t have the studio space to do it. Hopefully I can convince a local fabrication company to help me with it, in exchange for a sponsorship.
Some time working on my next grant application, and some bike riding. Thursday and Friday were spent on Week 1 of my new residency project.
The really interesting news was from chatting with one of the staff about my upcoming residency, and what I planned on doing. He asked how much I was budgeting on spending on welding training, and then mentioned that he’d been teaching and assessing welding for something like 20 years.
I’d been planning on this byzantine process of travel down to Brisbane, and hideously expensive training, this guy is offering to do it for about half the price, and lives about 10 minutes away.
So, with that in mind, my grant application is looking a lot healthier.