re: Optimistic futurism 

Needless to say this leaves some questions about what people are doing for work. On that, Seba doesn't say too much, but I think I've got a feel for where it will come from.

Blockchain tech is aptly suited to addressing coordination of "in commons" accounts - it relieves certain custodial responsibilities, and in combination with machine learning AI to judge and sense-make, you have a bureaucracy replacement at the fraction of the cost of a bureaucracy: something that can tell you what needs doing and properly credit you for it being done. Once you have that, you have economic coordination.

The reason why "cryptocurrency" works so poorly is because it has been normalized to resemble the nation-state model, and therefore proceeds down the path of claims to property, hierarchical enforcements, surveillance systems, etc. And AI, likewise, isn't being assumed to be the boss and giving out tasks, except that when you look at all the systems we put it in, we are already trusting it to be one. So it's the niches like the cypherpunks and "blockchain socialists" who have an edge on seeing alternative uses. The barrier is not really a technical one but a norms shift, something which is not clear to see from this side of it, but also not impossible.

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re: Optimistic futurism 

One example he uses frequently is the idea of self-driving robotaxi fleets: by itself, still just a taxi. But if they are built on increasingly cheap EV platforms, then he predicts that the cost of using them falls below car ownership - even if you already got the car for free. Which means that suddenly everyone gives up the car and therefore doesn't need parking, so cities suddenly have a lot of extra land.

And if it can be done as a robotaxi, it can be done as a bus, or a bicycle, or any other mode, so traffic overall becomes lower in impact. More food can be manufactured locally due to other breakthroughs so the shipping industry isn't as critical to supplies. Delivery services themselves also become much cheaper. The list goes on and on.

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Optimistic futurism 

Lately when I want to think "maybe things can be good actually" I watch a Tony Seba lecture. He's in the mold of silicon valley thought leadership, but the basic premise he's using is simple to accept: "Every time there's a disruptive technology it follows the S-curve of the logistic function, with a swift change in a short time, like horse to car or the adoption of the smartphone. Therefore if I plot curves indicating progress in developing technologies I can identify the disruptive ones and make some really wild predictions years in advance."

And so the meat of his lectures isn't "is the disruption going to happen" but "what things are following disruption curves and what does that mean" and he describes this decade as potentially one of the biggest disruptions in history because it's full of them: he identifies five general categories, energy(renewables and battery), transport(self-driving AI), communication(remote work and decentralized networks), food(protein synthesis) and materials(nanoscale, additive, etc).

It's not really the individual breakthroughs that are the compelling part of the story, but the implied combinations: a total change of land use, work life and lifestyle.

Going through the "New Masters Academy" timed figure videos on YT with MyPaint acting as the sketchbook. All "ink", sometimes I erase though. I basically rely on two things: that quadrant grid(which I cast some angles and gesture lines into) and constructed geometry(to fix up the gesture). When I first started studying again I was doing a lot of tracing over mosaic filtered images to test my understanding in an easily checked way; this is a little advancement on that into more challenging observation. That 10 minute one in the lower left turned out great. The 5 minute one on the right, not so much.

When I try to lie in bed drinking coffee I've noticed I tend to lose control of it more easily than when sitting up so I actually considered how to solve this today.

The trick is to slightly lift the mug and then, keeping the wrist locked, move it towards my opposite arm, and then lift it to drink. The loss of control is from trying to do it in one motion, which makes the wrist tilt.

ladies. if your man is

- considerate of the probabilities of different outcomes
- understands and manages his volatility
- cools off over time

that's not your man. that's the Glicko-2 rating system, authored by Mark Glickman as an improvement on the Elo rating system.

Learning anatomy drawing 

When I really focused and put it all together I managed to come up with this

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Learning anatomy drawing 

While studying anatomy for illustration I've gleaned four rules. Well some of them have just been told to me, but I'm trying to put them all together now.

1. The chain link: the way the limbs fit together acts like a chain. A very good starting point to turn a gesture into a pose.
2. Push-pull. There's going to be an opposing set of muscles to make the limb move both ways.
3. Asymmetry. The opposing muscles have insertions that aren't directly opposite, instead they are located relatively higher or lower on the limb.
4. Front vs side views. The complex muscle groups are that way because they act on multiple axes. So if you study the anatomy drawings with an eye to marking out which ones are "front" vs "side", you don't get confused when the limb is turned, you just go back to the original chain to derive the correct planes and then recall how they look in orthographic views.

When studying the orthographic views, marking the different sides and asymmetry helps break down what's going on and makes the drawing logical. Like you know that a front view of the thigh will contain mostly a group of "front muscles" but also some elements from the sides.

It's actually a lot of rules to consider all at once.

Today I learned that "Microsoft Solitaire Collection" exists, I didn't realize one could make Solitaire so complex

Notes on drawing traditional vs screen vs desk tablets 

Some last thoughts: ultimately there's a lot of preference in choosing one of these options. You can do some digital illustration just with the mouse and technical line tools, it just might limit which styles feel feasible. The bulk of the work in making the result look good(in terms of representational art) is in collecting the references, making decisions on what to detail or simplify, doing the composition and setting up a sketch that's worth putting finishing touches on, which if you're really pushing a digital approach leads towards using photo editing, 3D, etc. and has nothing to do with stylus input specifically. For that stuff, it's a fancy mouse and you can hack together lots of methods of getting an image.

Most of how I actually learned to use the stylus is by downloading pictures I like and tracing them. That simplifies the goal to "make good lines, observe what's important in the image and give it nice rendering". This is something that digital is much faster at because there's no special process or equipment, it's just another layer that you draw over. And for that, the stylus input, brush settings, etc. - suddenly becomes essential, because it's encoding your drawing performance.

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Notes on drawing traditional vs screen vs desk tablets 

So phone drawing is only annoying in the basic ergonomic sense of "the screen is tiny and I'm hunching over it". And no pressure control, but that's not a huge deal breaker.

Lastly, there's drawing with the desk tablet. This is uniquely challenging because hand-eye coordination now is dependent on tablet positioning and screen size. Use the wrong zoom level or offset the tablet differently from what you're used to and struggles will commence. And the screen is fixed in the same place, you can't spin it like a phone, but I can assign rotation to the wheel on the bundled remote instead. And using the pen side buttons shifts my grip towards my knuckles (bad for inking)

I've found that I do best if I put the tab on the back of a cafe tray(which I have as organizers) and then put that on the laptop surface. Then it's in a fairly consistent position relative to the screen. I believe I should also try setting up a configuration with a few consistent zoom levels and give them button assignments.

But after plowing through all that to make a good setup, it can also be a good experience without the hunching over of the screen tab.

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Notes on drawing traditional vs screen vs desk tablets 

So, I have three setups I use to draw right now:

1. Traditional on a little folding floor desk (basically do this to study from Drawabox)
2. Phone, using Ibispaint and a Meko mesh tip(the "time filler" draws, and the bulk of my drawing time)
3. On a Xencelabs tablet, using the same floor desk as traditional, but with my laptop set on it(for stuff I actually wanna try to finish)

The thing is, all three are different enough to feel like separate mediums.

Traditional with fineliners, as Drawabox dictates, has the benefit of being physically consistent. As long as the pen has ink and the paper is dry, it's going to be the same. You can physically rotate the page(which is important because there is a limited range of ideal arm motions for good linework) and examine it in different lighting, but you have to lean back or forward to "zoom". And latency is perfect.

On the phone, drawing on the screen, many of these things carry over. Fineliners on paper feel roughly as glassy as the mesh tip on a screen protector. And I have the additional option of pinching to pan, zoom and rotate which makes it really FAST to set myself up for ideal lines. Latency is not perfect, but I can see where my nib is positioned which helps muscle memory.

A theory about inking nice outlines, results 

Finally went and put it all together in an original drawing. All done in Ibispaint. I just worked from imagination and rushed it so the anatomy is terrible in places - the face and hands are kinda lol - but I focused on forcing the proportions to assert themselves from the beginning of the sketch, so the result is very readable.

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A theory about inking nice outlines 

Continuing to futz with this, we can see that the square holds if I make the corners straight, even if the stuff in between is wobbly or absent. And in one of the inner corners I leave an "eye" of open space which further draws attention to it.

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A theory about inking nice outlines 

Still thinking about this. In the diagram I try drawing a square 4 different ways:

1. Dotting just the points describing the square
2. Drawing mostly straight lines with some overshoot
3. Drawing lines that "miss" (wrong angles and targets)
4. Drawing wobbly swooshes instead of lines

In 1, we can guess at a proportion but since it's not connected there is some ambiguity.

In 2, extra attention is drawn towards the intersections where overshoot occurs since more proportion data occurs around them.

In 3, it become ambiguous what the shape is because the lines suggest proportions that fall outside of the four points.

In 4, the strong angle changes of the swooshes generate a large number of additional proportions, obscuring the four points making up the square.

This experiment helps confirm that that where we want to clarify a specific proportion and make the lines feel stronger, making them unnaturally straight, with overshoot, hatching or filled areas near the key angles can make sense. Or if you need to convey a swoosh, break the lines up into pieces with small attention-grabbing straight segments where the eye can rest after following a swooshy bit.

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Evaluating f/oss paint programs for ink effects, aside 

When I started looking into "making nice digital line art" I focused on CSP. CSP has nice vector lines and methods for editing them and styling them. It can tend to look a bit uncanny, though, and the default vector line style sticks out like a sore thumb once you know it. The raster brush engine is also just "OK" at emulating traditional. I gradually got a feeling of CSP's features locking me into a workflow that has good defaults but doesn't let me customize too much.

When I started looking at Inkscape, it was mostly because of the idea of using SVG, and it also does have the stuff you need to make distinctive, non-traditional linework. But it's not a great drawing program(yet). As I noted in my post about it, it works better in a post-processing/tracing role, and it's absurdly powerful at that in some respects.

All the open-source raster programs use the MyPaint brush engine now, which is pretty good at emulating traditional inks, especially once you give it a high resolution to work with. It's just a matter of "the rest of the program."

Lastly I should remark on IbisPaint which I use on my phone. It's a great app and helped me get into thinking about brushes since it has a lot built in.

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Evaluating f/oss paint programs for ink effects 

Went through three programs: MyPaint, GIMP, Krita. I want to emulate ink brushes and pens.

MyPaint has really thought out its tools for technical drawing(the line tool lets you hold shift to edit in a curve after stroking which is a great feature), and the infinite canvas is a unique aspect. I like how it does input smoothing and it has good defaults. However, it's weak in other areas of digital art, namely there's no selection-based editing(apparently intentional on the part of the original authors), and no way to rescale resolution. And when I edited the brushes, the UI stomped my edits far too easily.

GIMP doesn't seem to be reading pressure sensitivity on my tablet...and when I tried to add a velocity curve to make tapered speed lines, it started making "dotted" strokes and I couldn't find a way of smoothing it that made it great, just less noticeable. And the technical drawing tools are based around the path system, which is clunky to do things with.

Krita has no tablet issues and multiple smoothing options. It has some options for technical drawing, enough to substitute for MyPaint, though not 1:1. It has selections and transforms, and the brush editing is actually reliable...so overall, it's the best program.

Notes on drawing in Inkscape 2 

The main flaws of working with Inkscape are in the SVG object model(which adds a layer of technical cruft), poor performance/brush latency, and some UX headaches like the brush scaling behavior and various other little details(many of which are being gradually addressed by the dev team). As-is, it's just a little more geared towards design than illustration. But the Tweak tool and path effects are very powerful for adding styling. So I have moved towards starting work in a bitmap program and then importing it to get a cleaner result.

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