Once upon a time to work with 3d software you8217;d need a small fortune to get you started – a few thousand Euros for the software, and a few more to partake in a premium rate course or two to learnthe basics. Or you could save your pennies and buy a mute tutorial book, which would invariably goout of date as newer versions of your program would surface, and keyboard short cuts, terminologyand layout would change. Now the world of 3D computer graphics has opened up and its anyone8217;s game. Blender potentially replaces the industry standards of Maya, Cinema4D and 3DS Max, happily quelling the age olddilemma of 8216;which 3D program is best / should I fork out on?8217; (8216;try Blender, its free and its great8217;).Your premium rate teacher is replaced by the hoards of helpful souls wandering Blender forums,waiting and eager to help, and to get you started you can search for the array of video tutorials onYouTube and beyond, lovingly created to make learning easy.In the year and a half I have been learning and working with Blender
Like all digital media, video-games can be designed, produced, deconstructed and re-appropriated within the context of art. Even though the history of video-games is relatively short, it is already rich with examples of artistic experimentation and innovation. Unlike film or video, games still represent a fairly immature medium, slowly evolving to locate itself in mainstream culture. The majority of games often present simplistic or crude visions of interactivity, narrative and aesthetics, but the mediumoffers unique potential for the creation of exciting new forms of art. Like any digital medium the evolution of art/games is closely tied to the development of software, hardware and thesocio-cultural forms that grow around this technology.
Image reigns supreme. From the thousands of films churned out each year from Nollywood, to the persistent recording of images by security cameras in London to the scaling of windows on your desktop computer, you are already a pixel pusher. But, how can you reign supreme over images? How can you become an active participant in the creation of graphics and move beyond passive consumption. While the distinction between amateur and professional is erased in the Youtube-record-a-video-get-rich-generation, the focus upon high-quality content controlling tools is key. What is the point of mastering verion 3.5 of Killer Graphics App 978242;s fuzz filter  if you don8217;t have a use, or you have become locked into a niche application that costs 2000 Euros for each new version? The focus of this chapter is about exploring free and open source tools that empower you to do what you want to say and if the tools aren8217;t working out, you are allowed to change them from the inside-out! The major tools in this chapter to be discussed are bitmap editor Gimp, vector drawing tool Inkscape, 3d graphics with Blender, and algorithmic graphics creation with Processing . By the way, these tools are free! They have huge constructive communities around them waiting to help you with your tasks, adding new features and supporting vibrant actively producing pixel pushers.
In working with any graphics application, it is important to understand the difference between vector and pixel graphics. Vector graphics describe the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, Bezier curves, and polygons to represent images in computer graphics . It is used in contrast with the term raster graphics (bitmap graphics), which is the representation of images as a collection of pixels (dots). Vector graphics are math equations to define curves, generally have a smaller file size than raster graphics and also, can be scaled from tiny to massively huge billboards with no loss in quality. The letterforms for these words I8217;m typing are vector graphics. Bitmaps on the other-hand, are the types of images that a camera outputs, for example. Maybe your camera is a 5-megapixel camera, meaning it can record 5 million pixels per image. With bitmap graphics the more data about an image, then generally the better quality image, and thus a larger file size.
Gimp is one of the oldest free and open source applications. It is now 10 years old and is on par with major closed-source  applications. Gimp is primarily a tool you can use to edit all aspects of a bitmap image, from color retouching of photos, to painting on a canvas to fixing blemishes on a face, Gimp is chock full of tools. Its vector-based sibling is Inkscape, an Open Source drawing tool. With it you can make complex typography, make huge billboards, draw architectural plans and make lovely charts. This powerful tool implements the World Wide Web consortium8217;s Scalable Vector Graphics specification (SVG) and points out another strength of Open Source graphics tools in supporting free and open standards that won8217;t just vanish because a company closes shop, or locks down a format under proprietary patents.
Another important concept for graphics is the difference between two (2D) and three-dimensions (3D). Most graphics applications, including Gimp and Inkscape, are two-dimensional, meaning they deal with height and width of graphics, also called X and Y coordinates. Think of 2D graphics as a piece of paper. 3D graphics, like those operated on by the free software editor, Blender, add depth (Z-axis) to 2D graphics. This is what you see in the famous Pixar movies like Toy Story and Cars .
These typical 3D animations also add a fourth dimension (4D), time. While Blender does handle the fourth dimension by allowing 3D creators to animate, for these chapters, the concept of 4D also includes the concept of graphics through time and interactivity. When Casey Reas and Ben Fry developed Processing, a simple Java-based language and runtime for creating generative graphics, the tools for creating graphics primarily relied upon manual creation with Gimp and Inkscape, or more sophisticated knowledge of graphics programming in C/C++. Processing lowered the barriers for participation in creating interested graphics from code, and also allowed for these graphics to take on a life of their own through user interaction. It should also be noted that Inkscape, Gimp and Blender all offer forms of scripting and automation as well to enable creators to be extended quickly. The main difference between these three apps and Processing, is that Processing generates standalone applications which can be run anywhere. This is great for artists who are making interactive installations, but way too much manual controls for simple photo retouching.
In addition to these great free and open source tools that exist, there are projects as well, which focus on the community of graphics creation and on connecting together graphics applications into a coherently focused suite. The Open Clip Art Library encourages the upload and remix of public domain vector graphics under the guise of “clip art” and the Open Font Library goal is to build the world8217;s largest free and open collection of fonts . The Open Clip Art Library has approximately 15,000 pieces of high quality public domain clip art, meaning anyone can do anything they want with these resources. The Open Font Library is still a fairly new project with ~40 high quality fonts that are either in the public domain or under the new SIL Open Font License . The most notable font on the system is by famed kottke.org blogger, Jason Kottke. He created the super-popular font Silkscreen, a small bitmap-looking font used everywhere on the web. He recently licensed it under the Open Font License and uploaded it to the collection, signally clearly to other font creators that they can build upon it and make it better.
While all these projects exist in the free and open source software universe, the projects did not talk very much until two key projects developed. The first is the Create Project, whose goal is to provide a third-party space for creation applications to work together on standards, shared resources (palettes, brushes, patterns, keyboard mappings), and to encourage inter-project communication . The other key development is the annual Libre Graphics Meeting  which is the major event where artists and developers come together to work on making free and open source tools better, seeing what is possible by artists, and massive amounts of cross-pollination to create the future for graphics pixel pushers.
The major difference to closed source proprietary drawing apps is that you can8217;t reign supreme over images. You can8217;t become a true pixel pusher. You can only be the pixel pusher that someone else wants you to be. By using Gimp, Inkscape, Blender, Processing or one of the many other free and open source applications, you can dig deep into the code and communities of these projects. You can even shape the direction of these projects by joining in the discussions, filing bugs about problems with the tools, and showing off how much you reign supreme over images pixel pusher.
 Please note, this is vast satire over learning tools rather than having a reason to use them. Also, please note, this should be called the cheese filter.
That8217;s a broad title. Building your own hardware can mean a lot of different things. To narrow thescope a bit, this article talks about embedded Single Board Computers (SBCs) and microcontrollersfrom birds eye view. An embedded SBC is anything that is complex enough to comfortably host astandard operating system, while a microcontroller is too small for that.
In this article, we will cover a few questions and principles of open content licensing. We will discuss why to use a license and how it helps to give a stable legal background to start a collaboration. As choosing a license means accepting a certain amount of legal formalism, we will see the conditions required to be entitled to use an open license. Using the comparison of the Free Art License and the Creative Commons, we will try to give an accurate picture of the differences that co-exist in the world of open licensing, and approach what distinguishes free from open licenses. We will end by envisioning briefly the case of domain specific licenses and with a more practical note on how to apply a license to a work.
Self publishing is not a new phenomenon. It is the publishing of all media by the author/artists of those works rather than by established, third party publishers. Although self publishing has been around since the beginning of publishing , it has seen a huge increase in activity with the advancement of publishing technology and the World Wide Web.
This article introduces the possibilities of the software Pure Data (Pd), explains a bit why it8217;s so popular among artists and shows what Pd can be used for. The goal is to help artists decide if Pd is a tool for their own work.
Pure Data, or PD for short, is a software written by mathematician and musician Miller S. Puckette. It has become one of the most popular tools for artists working with digital media. Originally conceived in the late 90s as an environment to create sounds and to compose music, it was soon extended by modules to work with video and graphics. Pd is freely available for no cost, and it is Free Software in that the source code can be obtained, modified and distributed without restrictions as well. Pd runs on many operating systems including the big three: Linux, OS-X and MS-Windows.
The term ‘software art’ acquired a status of an umbrella term for a set of practices approaching software as a cultural construct. Questioning software culturally means not taking for granted, but focusing on, recognising and problematising its distinct aesthetics, poetics and politics captured and performed in its production, dissemination, usage and presence, contexts which software defines and is defined by, histories and cultures built around it, roles it plays and its economies, and various other dimensions. Software, deprived of its alleged ‘transparency’, turns out to be a powerful mechanism, a multifaceted mediator structuring human experience, perception, communication, work and leisure, a layer occupying central positions in the production of digital cultures, politics and economies.
Working with digital video is part of many artistic disciplines. Besides single screen narratives, video productions can range from animation, multiple screen installation to interactive work. Still, many aspects of digital video can be traced back to the history of film. The interface of a timeline editing software such as Cinelerra shows a multitrack timeline, a viewing monitor, a bin for clips; echoing the setup of a flatbed table for editing celluloid.
You might have come across the 8216;made with Processing8217; hyperlink on the internet or heard ofProcessing before. Over the past six years it has become a real phenomenon, allowing creative mindsto access the digital world. Based on a rather simple syntax and minimal interface, Processingsmoothly drives beginners into the scary world of programming.This article is not a tutorial, but rather an attempt to give you a global idea of what the programmingenvironment is, looks like and why it was created. Should you decide it is the tool you need, thisarticle will hopefully provide enough pointers to online and offline resources to get you started on theright track.
What and who was it designed for ?
As the Processing web site mentions: “Processing is an open source programming language andenvironment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions. It is used bystudents, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It iscreated to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as asoftware sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is developed by artists anddesigners as an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain.”
It is of course a truism, often repeated, that the Internet has been the basis for a revolution in (remote) interpersonal communications, collaboration and data sharing. It is probably safe to say that there would be very few of the Free/Libre and Open Source (FLOSS) projects that exist today without the collaboration technologies the Internet supports. One of the many effects of the powerful tools FLOSS has put in to the hands of creative people is that it has potentially made them more independent. No longer are they reliant on specialists with access to expensive software and hardware to carry out aspects of their projects for them. Their limitations are now time and knowledge, not the lack of access. It is in fact precisely this issue that the Digital Artists8217; Handbook seeks to address, by providing authoritative information to guide practitioners in to new fields of endeavour.
The downside of this independence is that many artists find themselves more isolated, working alone at home rather than interacting with others at shared studios or where shared resources were previously found.
The Internet, being fundamentally a communications medium, offers potential solutions to this isolation, but the solutions themselves have, to date, largely dictated that collaboration happens in new ways, shaped by the technology. For some, the thousands of FLOSS coders for example, the tools have made possible projects that would otherwise be virtually inconceivable, but for other artists looking to enhance their existing practice with new digital methods the situation is perhaps more double-edged.
It maybe be useful to step back for a moment and consider what we mean when we talk about working, or collaborating with others. For a start it could be divided in to five broad types of collaboration: