A beautiful, sun-filled and tranquil Saturday morning, with time to enjoy several cups of coffee and further experimentation with Harmonious, the “procedural drawing” app for the iPad. I still haven’t figured out what procedural drawing is, though as a computer jock, I ought to be able to guess. As my finger traces out a path on the screen, a trail of shapes is left behind, rectangles, for example. As the finger slows or applies more pressure, the size of the rectangles changes. One axis of the rectangle is aligned with the direction (velocity vector) of the pressure track. Seems like a really upscale brush with magical properties, but if the Angry Robot Zombie Factory wants to dub it procedural, so be it. Of course, I am being (deliberately) dense, since there has to be plenty of code – procedures – to translate the pressure track of my finger into a trail of rectangles. But between procedural and magical, I will choose magical, at least on weekends!
Since my last post on the Harmonius app, you will note that I have discovered color. What a thrill! Of course it was there all along, an option just waiting to be touched and brought into being. There is a gallery of drawings with Harmonius, and also a few web sites that discuss the app. So far I have just one criticism. One can save drawings to the iPad photo gallery, or upload them to the Harmonium gallery. But there doesn’t seem to be a way to save a drawing locally, come back to it later, then edit it and perhaps, when satisfied, upload it to the Harmonium galllery. Maybe I just haven’t found this feature. Time for another cup of coffee and to enjoy the sun!
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Plant life on planet K
Let us imagine that these images are sketches by a traveler to planet KrrK. There is an abundance of species on the planent but with a silicon-based chemistry, not a carbon-based one. This makes some aspects of recycliing much easier. The denizens love nothing better than a dessert of crushed bottles with a light dusting of beach sand. And of course colored bottles are prized: the trace elements not only make for a more visually appealing meal, but also add flavor. Love those trace elements! I should note that the denizens blessed (cursed?) with the gift of speech communicate using consonants only, hence the unusual name of their planet. Another consequence of this linguistic peculiarity is that their music is entirely percussion based — though percussion instruments can be tuned, of course. More on this in another post.
Animal life on planet K
Note in case there is a doubt: the inhabitants of KrrK subscribe to a theory of evolution, which they refer to as “Gmmkrkrdd,” meaning to “change and ramify,” if I understand correctly. The fossil record is unusually well-preserved on KrrK owing to the silicon basis of life there. The notion of Gmmkrkrdd was discovered some 4,000 years ago (earth time) and was quickly accepted after a short period of intense debate. It seems that on KrrK, issues once setttled stay setttled. In this respect, their politics is more like earthly mathematics.
More seriously, the above “art” is another test of artwork on the iPad. The tool (men say tool, my women friends and family say “toy”) is Harmonious, by the Angry Robot Zombie Factory. It is described as using “procedural drawing techniques.” Whatever that means, it is great fun to use. (I hate to give credence to the toy theory, but alas, there it is, I said it). I find that slowly moving ones’ index finger across the surface of the iPad works best, with a fair degree of pressure to keep the motion slow and even.
Regarding the iPad itself, my fellow geeks, coders, software architects, quality assurance honchos, and assorted others who dwell in our cubicle-packed technoworld are undergoing a subtle shift of attitude. The sarcasm, the snide and condescending comments are gradually giving way to time spent touching and experimenting with the device while I am occupied with more serious matters such as finding memory leaks in our code. Much of this shift is due to their discovery that the device-tool-toy can be used to read comics. A discovery for me as I come to know better my new country is that comics are not necessarily for kids. Indeed, there is a subpopulation for whom this is not only a passion and pastime, but the essence of cool.
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