See A Classic “Painting” That’s Actually A Spellbinding CGI Masterpiece
By Joe Berkowitz
Hungarian digital artist Zsolt Ekho Farkas has recreated a 19th-century painting with CGI, and it’s an 8-million-polygon, 3-D tour de force.
While a digital gallery could never fully replicate the experience of walking through an art museum, some computer-generated art has the same capacity to provoke awe. Take for example Zsolt Ekho Farkas’s 3-D rendering of the 19th-century painting, Budavár Visszavétele. Observing this CGI masterstroke on your laptop is bound to stir up as much wonder as something you’d find hanging in a hushed room somewhere.
The stunning three-and-a-half minute video above reveals the incredible detail in Farkas’s re-creation of Benczúr Gyula’s painting—and also transcends it. The video itself is a living painting, using subtle camera movements to let the viewers take in the true depth of field each figure in it possesses. Unlike the recent paintings we’ve seen with added movement, all that really moves here are tendrils of smoke that further clarify the spatial texture.
"This was my first time re-creating a painting, and the cause is a bit sentimental," Farkas tells us. It started as a challenge from his wife. She dared Farkas to make a full 3-D version of a classic painting they’d seen in a booklet on holiday, and the Hungarian artist decided on using Gyula’s painting, which depicts Budapest’s recapture as Ottoman forces invade. After analyzing the painting and figuring out the character positions in the 3-D space, he had to create digital models for every person, animal, and object that appears in the image. By the time he finished texturing and planar projection, the image required 8.5 million polygons to support it.
"There are 32 characters in the scene, and I had to rig them all one by one," Farkas says. "Due to my computer struggling with the high poly-count, I had to freeze them, which is the reason I didn’t use any additional sculpting software. It’s one of the things I have to do differently on my next project."
One of the interesting aspects about the process, which you can read all about here, is how Farkas included the smoke effect in the video. He made his own footage by filming smoke from an e-cigarette, using two LED lights and a shut-down computer monitor as backdrop. All in all, the project took 10 weeks to create.
The only problem is now we will want to see every painting this way.
Have a look through some making-of images in the slides above.
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CORRELATION BETWEEN SLEEP HABITS AND LITERARY PRODUCTIVITY
Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized
by Maria Popova
The early bird gets the Pulitzer … sort of.
“In both writing and sleeping,” Stephen King observed in his excellent meditation on the art of “creative sleep” and wakeful dreaming, “we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives.”
Over the years, in my endless fascination with daily routines, I found myself especially intrigued by successful writers’ sleep habits — after all, it’s been argued that “sleep is the best (and easiest) creative aphrodisiac” and science tells us that it impacts everything from our moods to our brain development to our every waking moment. I found myself wondering whether there might be a correlation between sleep habits and literary productivity. The challenge, of course, is that data on each of these variables is hard to find, hard to quantify, or both. So I turned to Italian information designer Giorgia Lupi and her team at Accurat — who make masterful visualizations of cultural phenomena seemingly impossible to quantify — and, together, we set out to explore whether it might be possible to visualize such a correlation.
First, I handed them my notes on writers’ wake-up times, amassed over years of reading biographies, interviews, journals, and other materials. Many came from two books — Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey and Odd Type Writers: From Joyce and Dickens to Wharton and Welty, the Obsessive Habits and Quirky Techniques of Great Authors by Celia Blue Johnson — as well as from the Paris Review interviews and various collections of diaries and letters.
We ended up with a roster of thirty-seven writers for whom wake-up times were available — this became the base data set, around which we set out to quantify, then visualize, the literary productivity of each author.
One important caveat is that there is an enormous degree of subjectivity in assessing a literary — or any creative — career, but since all information visualization is an exercise in subjective editorial judgment rather than a record of Objective Truth, we settled on a set of quantifiable criteria to measure “productivity”: number of published works and major awards received. Given that both the duration and the era of an author’s life affect literary output — longer lives offer more time to write, and some authors lived before the major awards were established — those variables were also indicated for context.
Lastly, I reached out to Wendy MacNaughton — illustrator extraordinaire and very frequent collaborator — and asked her to contribute an illustrated portrait for each of the authors.
The end result — a labor of love months in the making — is this magnificent visualization of the correlation between writers’ wake-up times, displayed in clock-like fashion around each portrait, and their literary productivity, depicted as different-colored “auras” for each of the major awards and stack-bars for number of works published, color-coded for genre. The writers are ordered according to a “timeline” of earliest to latest wake-up times, beginning with Balzac’s insomniac 1 A.M. and ending with Bukowski’s bohemian noon.
The most important caveat of all, of course, is that there are countless factors that shape a writer’s creative output, of which sleep is only one — so this isn’t meant to indicate any direction of causation, only to highlight some interesting correlations: for instance, the fact that (with the exception of outliers who are both highly prolific and award-winning, such as like Bradbury and King) late risers seem to produce more works but win fewer awards than early birds.
Pore over (click the image to zoom) and delight in drawing your own conclusions or merely in taking some voyeuristic enjoyment:
The visualization is available as a gorgeous giclée print, with a third of the proceeds donated to literacy nonprofit Room to Read and the rest split between Accurat and Wendy.
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El poema, en estado
de fragilidad o de furia, deja
caer su sombra sobre el mundo y lo desplaza
a pájaros errantes, ojos
abiertos en la sangre, cóleras
del aire, espantos
del amor. Así la tarde
dora su vuelo hacia la nada. El poema
dejó de hablar cuando nació.
Balbucea en la calle
como un idiota ciego.
Otromundo. Antología 1956 - 2007
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A Visit to the Fernet-Branca Distillery in Buenos Aires, Argentina*
Fernet-brancaBack in April I visited the Fernet-Branca distillery outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Some of you may remember me tweeting about it. Well, it’s about time I gave it the formal write-up.
Fernet-Branca owns two distilleries: the main one in Milan, Italy, and this one in Buenos Aires. In past years there used to be many Branca distilleries in different countries (including the US), but as global shipping has become easier this model makes the most sense.
Production began in Argentina around 1905 or 1908 and has continued ever since. The current distillery was built in 2000 and it already at full capacity.
Surprisingly, the Fernet-Branca we drink in the US is made in Milan. The Fernet-Branca made in Buenos Aires is consumed mostly in Argentina but also South/Latin America.
I didn’t directly ask if the Fernet-Branca made in Buenos Aires is made to the exact same recipe, but if you compare them side-by-side you can tell it is not. The stuff made for the local market is less sweet than the international version (makes sense given that they always drink it with Coke, never on its own), and some bitter elements seemed to be different in a way I can’t describe. Also, the proof was different than the international version but I believe recently has changed to conform with the Italian one.
They do, however, willingly admit that they use only three different ingredients than in Italy: The base alcohol is a local 95% ABV sugar cane distillate, and the sugar cane is local as well. The water is also local, coming from an underground river in the area. Another local ingredient used is chamomile, but the same flower is exported from here to be used in the Italian production as well.
Unfortunately pictures were not allowed in the distillery, so below is the verbal tour. I should also note that this is not a distillery at all: the base alcohol is distilled elsewhere. This is the blending and aging facility, but to make it easy I’ll just call it a distillery.
Herbs and Spices
Logo_brancaThe first room we passed had the smell of caramel, and in fact that’s where they were making the carmel coloring for Fernet, which they appeared to be doing by heating and stirring sugar in big tubs.
Most of the work in making Fernet-Branca is doing tons of separate infusions and macerations to get the flavor from the herbs, barks, roots, and spices into the spirit. Thus, the rooms that we walked through were full of different types of stainless steel tanks of a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
Some were small simple tanks, some were huge vats, some had stirrers and filters on them; some were sideways roller tanks that slowly rotate. Our guide told us that some ingredients are infused into alcohol; others into water. Some infuse separately; other ingredients are combined.
The longest infusion of any ingredient in Fernet-Branca is for 90 days, but our guide couldn’t say which ingredient that was. We saw piles of burlap bags of chamomile, zedoria, and other spices from India, Spain, Africa, and Iran stacked in different rooms. Other herbs are kept in a refrigerated room. They store 2 years’ worth of ingredients just in case there are any supply chain problems down the road.
Beneath the factory is a huge basement that stores tanks for aging Fernet-Branca. There are six cellars, plus two additional climate-controlled warehouses. These are full of gigantic wooden vats (one of them holds 100,000 liters!) aging the liqueur. Two of the smallest vats at the distillery date back to around 1908 and were used at the Italian distillery before being sent to Argentina.
Each tank ages separately, but before bottling they pour the Fernet-Branca into one tank that is connected to a series of other tanks by tubes. They only draw the finished product out of the last tank, so this is a way to marry and blend a great quantity of the Branca for consistency.
Fernet-branca-vintage-advertising-posterThe factory is running at full capacity making 4 million cases every year, and presently and they are expanding to double that over the next few years.
They also make Branda Menta here, Punt E Mes, and they bottle Borghetti coffee liqueur.
Drinking Fernet-Branca, Argentinean-Style
Mix it with Coke. They never drink Fernet-Branca on its own; I’d hazard a guess to say that almost nobody has ever even tried it neat there.
It’s funny that to us Fernet and Coke sounds repulsive (while to them drinking Fernet-Branca neat sounds like drinking radiator fluid), yet it’s not actually that bad. They seem to treat it like an everyday cocktail like a Gin & Tonic, but I actually didn’t mind it as a digestif after a meal.
Infographic by Alissa Scheller and Raydene Salinas for the Huffington Post.
Carteles del despropósito. La censura franquista en el cartel de cine
Se podría afirmar que el diseño del cartel de cine es casi una disciplina propia; durante los años de la dictadura, la censura franquista prácticamente también. Cuatro décadas de censura dan para mucho, también para las anéctotas. Así surge La censura franquista en el cartel de cine, un libro que nos presenta todo el material que Bienvenido Llopis ha ido recopilando a lo largo de 30 años.
Un beso de Errol Flynn a Olivia de Havilland camuflado por un sello del arzobispado de Burgos en un programa de la película Camino de Santa Fe le dio a Bienvenido Llopis la idea: investigar las huellas de la censura franquista en los carteles de cine durante la dictadura. El autor de La censura franquista en el cartel de cine, ha dedicado media vida a recopilar el material que compone el libro.
Un trabajo arduo que empezó hace 30 años en El Rastro, donde Llopis, coleccionista aficionado, tenía su puesto. Un cliente le enseñó una imagen y a él se le encendió una luz. Este trabajo de recopilación hoy tiene su recompensa. Publicado por Notorius, el libro La censura franquista en el cartel de cine ya va por su segunda edición.
Ideas políticas, religión y sobre todo sexo, nada que pudiera alterar la moral y el orden establecidos escapaba al control de los censores, que devolvían los carteles a los artistas para retocarlos una y otra vez. «En el 99 % de los casos, la cartelería la hacían artistas españoles, contratados por las distribuidoras», en declaraciones de Llopis a Efe. Entre ellos encontramos nombres como Jano, «el más prolífico»; Joseph Soligó, «el que más gusta a los coleccionistas», y Macario Gómez, su favorito.
Artistas del cartel que tuvieron que cubrir los escotes y piernas de Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Ava Gardner y Lana Turner, entre otras divas. La única misión de la censura franquista consistía en tapar carne. Ante la presencia de canalillos, posturas insinuantes y biquinis de dos piezas los censores ponían en marcha su faceta de modistos. El resultado era un cúmulo de carteles de cine que acababan siendo un auténtico despropósito.
A veces hay que coger la lupa para ver el ‘erotismo’, pero otras, lo irónico era comprobar cómo el remedio era peor, porque el nuevo cartel no hacía otra cosa que alimentar el fetichismo y el ansia por destapar aquello que aparecía oculto a la vista y descubrir lo que hay debajo de un guante, un chal o cualquier otro trozo de tela. En cierto modo era colarle un gol al ojo del censor.
Dentro de la censura franquista había diferentes baremos de medición. Todo dependía de si el escote iba dirigido al gran público o no. De hecho, lo carteles no fueron los más perjudicados ya se entendía que este soporte tenía un publico limitado. No sucedía lo mismo con el programa de mano, que tenía una gran tirada en España y era mirado con lupa. «El tema sexual, el tema de la carne, tenía a los censores como poseídos», explica Llopis. Pero aparte también había actores que tenían vetado el estrellato. Los casos más sonados son los de Charles Chaplin o James Cagney –’rojos’ confesos– y también Errol Flynn por su apoyó a la República –incluso monetariamente, por sorprendente que parezca–.
Además del cartel de cine, los metrajes también fueron objeto de la tijeras de la censura franquista. La escena del apuñalamiento de Psicosis (1960) en la bañera, protagonizada por una desnuda Janet Leight, se censuró en España, y algunas películas, como Con faldas y a lo loco (1959) o Desayuno con diamantes (1961), se prohibieron durante años. No fue hasta 1977, con Suárez en el poder, cuando la censura dio tregua.
Texto e imágenes obtenidas en http://graffica.info/censura-franquista-cartel-de-cine.
¿Por qué? ¿Es necesario? Nah! Para nadie pero entre editores, industrias de la moda y consumidores que saben que no es así y sin embargo exigen ‘irrealidad’ más que ‘fantasía’ pues… :S
“Lawrence also spoke with Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer about the perils of Photoshop:
"The world has this idea that if you don’t look like an airbrushed perfect model. You have to see past it. You look how you look, you have to be comfortable. What are you going to do? Be hungry every single day to make other people happy? That’s just dumb." www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/12/16/jennifer-lawrence-photoshop-flare-cover_n_4452105.html#slide=2390973.
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Was the Selfie President Obama Took at Mandela’s Memorial Service Insensitive or Epic?
World leaders from around the globe gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa, for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service today. President Barack Obama was pretty busy during the event, giving a speech, shaking Raul Castro’s hand, and, uh… taking a selfie with England’s Prime Minister David Cameron and Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. The selfie, which hasn’t been spotted on Instagram or anywhere just yet (and probably won’t be since world leaders probably have their own exclusive social network), has to rank as one of the most star-powered selfies ever taken.
On a related note, Michelle Obama looks pissed—and Barry might have gotten an ear full later on that night.
By J. Duaine Hahn | Dec 10, 2013 | 12:09 pm.
There is seriously no logical reason to kill these beautiful endangered creatures unless one was coming to attack you. Hunting specifically for sport purposes is one of the most disgusting things ever.
This is fucking tragic.
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