Nature Notes

November 15, 2010

Fun with Pixel Bender

Filed under: Graphic,Processing Tips,Reviews,Video — Tags: , , , , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

Adobe offers a free plugin called Pixel Bender which allows filters to be written and run on a number of their products. These effects may be run in Photoshop, After Effects and Flash.

You can download the plug-in for PS CS4 at Adobe and for PS CS5 at Adobe. You can find free filters to run at Pixel Bender Exchange. Some of my favorites follow:


The Droste Effect

The Droste effect is where an image has a smaller image of itself which has another smaller image of itself, and so on. It is named after a cocoa manufacturer who used it on their package labeling. There are settings that can also give you more extreme abstract views.

Droste effect bridge

Gold Starfish

Gold Starfish

The Crystal

The Crystal

Future Shop

Future Shop

Time Lost

Time Lost

RippleBlock Effect

The effect to defaults make ripples in the image. I think it gives the most interesting results by increasing the amplitude in the x and y axis to about three time the defaults.

Pixel Bender Plug In (RippleBlocks effect)

Pixel Bender Plug In (RippleBlocks effect)

Morning Already

Morning Already

Clock

Clock

Alien Schematic

Alien Schematic

Stenographics

This effect creates some stunning burst patterns from images. Images with bold colors seem to work best.

Gone Nova

Gone Nova

Little Red Bike

Little Red Bike


All Images are Available for Licensing at Singular Video&Pix

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November 1, 2010

The Autobiography of Charles Darwin

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am
John Collier?s 1883 portrait of Charles Darwin (detail)

Charles Darwin (John Collier Portrait)

Charles Darwin wrote his autobiography in 1876 when he was an old man, over 40 years from his famous trip on the Beagle. By that time he was one of the most famous persons of his time and a figure of controversy. However the book was not written to answer his critics, as these engagements were normally done by others such as Thomas Huxley. In fact it was written for his wife and children, and not intended for the general public.

The autobiography is largely made up of excerpts from his letters to his friends and colleagues. Much of this material was introduced to the public in 1887 in a biography written by his son, Francis Darwin. Many modern readers will find it a bit dry but it is very revealing as to Darwin’s nature and character, less a narration of facts and dates.

Charles Darwin and The Evolution of the Species

Public Domain

Darwin was meticulous, very careful about his writings and took a long time to finish each of his books. This was compounded by the fact that he was often ill for long periods of time throughout his life and unable to work for weeks and months at a time. I was surprised to learn that ” On the Origin of Species” which outlined his theories on evolution was not published until 1858, 22 years after his voyage on the Beagle. It was actually to be a much longer writing and to be published much later, but it was done because Alfred Wallace had sent him a letter outlining his own similar theory, unaware of Darwin’s ideas. Both men acted with honor, as Wallace readily accepted Darwin’s ideas as earlier than his own, and Darwin’s friends made the facts publicly known as Darwin was reluctant to.

The book is fascinating for the many scientific ideas that Darwin worked on but I will leave them to the readers. I was very impressed with his character, a very honest and humble person, and at the same time, a person with the strength to declare for ideas he knew would be very unpopular.

If you have an interest in the natural world,especially biology and geology, I believe you will enjoy this book.

The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, Charles Darwin, 1887 (Barnes and Noble Edition 2005)

Charles Darwin (English Heritage Photo Library)

Charles Darwin (English Heritage Photo Library)


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