Archive for August, 2008|Monthly archive page

Instant Mona Lisa

Well the Mythbusters point was to illustrate the difference between CPU and GPU processing (graphics hardware terminology) and how GPU being parallel-processing would be much faster. But that doesn’t really matter, because all you need to see in this video is how they INSTANTLY painted with a massive array of paintball barrels all lined up and programmed to shoot a colored ball at specific locations.

Jump to 1:30 if you’re impatient:


Ballot Design

The US Election seasons are here, and voting comes into the spotlight once again. Here, AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) attempts to redefine how ballot cards should look like – from the almost-incomprehensible version (on top) to the much clearer version below:

Among the improvements are clearer and more structural layouts, a direct and friendlier language as well as clearer instructions on the proper way to fill up your votes. It seems however that due to a range of difficulties these changes may not be in place for the upcoming elections, even if it is 8 years after the famous ‘Butterfly Ballot‘ incident in 2000.

Definitely miles better in my opinion.

[New York Times has more details on the ballot design elements]

Pencil Sculptures

Some artists have great skills with pencils – though most of them use them to draw/sketch, instead of making sculptures like Jennifer Maestre. The sculptures are made by drilling one-inch section on the pencils, and then beaded with ‘peyote stitch‘. Many of them have animal-morphic genes in them. Here’s what the artist says:

Sometimes I have a rough idea in my head for a form, sometimes things go awry, and I end up somewhere I never envisioned. Sometimes I make a ‘pattern’ for myself, and follow it to see what happens. Many times, one sculpture will inspire the next. Originally, I was inspired by the form and texture of the sea urchin, I still make them out of pencils.

For a more comprehensive interview, head over to ReubenMiller.


Branding itself as ‘Studies of Desire’, hundreds of people were asked how much they like being caressed on different parts of the body, and how exciting it is to touch different places on their lovers. No surprising results here – though I thought the visualization was quite nicely done.

There are quite a few other studies by the same people – for instance, studying which body part gets mentioned most in popular songs; the preferred ‘hairstyle’ around men’s nipples; etc. Head on over to Fleshmap if you’re interested – though understandably, there will be some nudity as you explore within the site.

Beijing Olympics

Spotted these cool earmuffs worn during the Beijing Olympics shooting event – pretty cute huh?

Some other great moments:

Over 200 more high-quality photos of the Beijing Olympics like these right here.

The Consumer’s Life

Pretty much sums up our lives, doesn’t it?

[by Bas de Reuver]

Photorealistic Animation

I think we are on the verge of surpassing the what animators term as the ‘uncanny valley’:

For many years now, animators have come up against a barrier known as “uncanny valley”, which refers to how, as a computer-generated face approaches human likeness, it begins take on a corpse-like appearance similar to that in some horror films.

As a result, computer game animators have purposely simplified their creations so that the players realise immediately that the figures are not real.

The animation above is being done by Image Metrics (who are behind popular computer/video game Grand Theft Auto). We’re still not able to do this on-the-fly. Massive amounts of computations are required to calculate and control every little movement – every little twitch of the eye, the sneer, the muscles that contracts under the skin, etc.

But with chip technologies and architecture developing, it’s certainly not a pipe-dream to envision some day in the very near future where this becomes common place. What does it mean for us in the real world when we cannot distinguish the real from the fake? At a massive, ubiquitous level?

Really amazing animation – check out Times Online for a more comprehensive article.

Goatee Shaver

I admire anyone who is willing and able to take the plunge in bringing their ideas/inventions to market – it definitely take a lot of guts and determination. But, this ‘goatee saver‘ still goes into the ‘WTF’ book for me:

‘Tired of the constant struggle every morning trying to get your goatee to look perfect? Goateesaver revolutionizes the way you shave and trim your goatee. goateesaver can be customized to your face in seconds, with three easy adjustments. Just slide it over your mouth and shave to get the perfect look that women will admire and men will respect.’

The three knobs are extendable towards the side – this will help to define the outline of the shape. You then bite onto a mouthpiece, turn yourself into Darth Vader and then use any normal razor to shave along the perimeter. If that still doesn’t explains it, here’s the video:

What do I know though – there could be a ready market of goatee-wearers who always wanted something like this. If he really does make millions of it, it can probably join this honored list.

Akzo Nobel Logo Design Process

A few months back, chemicals and coatings giant Akzo Nobel launched their new identity (as shown above). One of the main highlights of the identity update was the changes done to ‘Bruce’ – Bruce is the ‘guy’ you see in the logo, which is based on a Greek image in advancing knowledge and science.

The illustrator behind the new Bruce, Martijin Rijven, decided to share his process and iterations in illustrating Bruce. For such a big corporation, it is natural that every little detail – posture, perspective, stance, fingers, etc – is scrutinized, commented upon and changed – and the new Bruce above was the final incarnation of that evolution process. Let’s see how Bruce won the race:

Some of the initial sketches

The illustrator also gave a very comprehensive account of the process – check it out at BOLTgraphics.

Most Common English Words

How many Top-100 most common English words can you name in 5 minutes?

That is the premise of this simple game from Codebox Software, aptly titled ‘The 100 most common English Words’. As a person who dabbles in writing almost everyday, I thought this would be peanuts. I got a bare passing mark – 51/100. What about you?