Once in a while, I invite a few friends up to our family house in Sweden for a weekend. We enjoy the fire in the garden, good usually cholesterol-laden food and alcoholic beverages. Sometimes, even music. Most recently, my dear sister whom is also a proprietor of our fine house, has purchased a phonograph. Convinced that such a device is all it takes to mount a successful expedition to said location, I have not only acquired a fine selection of gramophone records, but I have produced a poster to celebrate the occasion. The poster will also function as an invite-to-be-sent. Eventually.
Feel free to bask in my awesome taste in music.
The process is relatively simple and painless. Twirl stuff in Illustrator, paint and compose in Photoshop and then pile on layers upon layers of dirt.
While making Noscope January, quietly and in the comfort of my own home, large parts of Asia and Oceania were hit by devastating tsunamis. The randomness with which such disasters happen, is the same randomness that drives me, during these monthly sessions. As such, it is with the outmost humility and respect for the victims of said disasters, that I feel it appropriate to dedicate this installment.
Needless to say, I would like to encourage everyone to help. The most effective way is by making a monetary donation directly to an organisationyou trust.
"Frost" is based on photos I took during a recent visit to Sweden. This is nothing new, as manyofmypastinstallmentshaverevolved around the same theme. But it was a conscious choice to keep things simple and easy. After all, it's easier to elaborate on a fleshed out theme, than it is to re-invent the wheel every month, and there are many things one would rather do in the last week of December.
In the end, however, I think the images turned out alright, albeit a little uninspired.
The format is the same as last month, which has a widescreen feel that seamlessly melts into the bottom whitespace. The composition is also straightforward; some 50% "action", and the rest of the image framing this.
As promised, the images rely heavily on textures to make the images different from plainly stylized imagery. I've tried to capture the feel of waking up a winter morning, wiping away the frost on your window and looking out at a white world.
As such, I've not only tried to add frosty textures, but also the illusion of glass, an effect which is most clearly defined in in image #2. This "glass effect" was basically achived by a) blurring the backround of where the glass would be, b) painting in 30% with a solid color to give some density, c) add textures and a fingerprint.
The fingerprint idea came from one of my texture photos where my sister had melted the frost on the window with her hand. Obviously her fingerprint wasn't visible, but merely "melting" the frost on the photos wasn't enough to convey the sense of glass, so I googled a fingerprint and simply added that. I know that such a "print-on-frost" could never happen in real life, but in this case, exaggeration helps to communicate.
Additionally, I added a "sparkler" that follows the mouse. It's been a long while since I actually properly used the Flash that all the Installments are embedded in. The sparkler is basically a particle spray that follows your mouse. Click anywhere on the Flash to disable it, click again to enable it. Alas, I must admit that it's a cheap effect, and it's not even put to as good use as it was the last time I used it. Nevertheless, I thought it added some dynamics to the images.
Noscope December is an attempt to step back in history to the surrealists. Surrealism was a movement, and the surrealists tried to penetrate the crust of the existing reality in search of the true reality – the super reality. Hence the name, "sur – realisme", french for "over-realism".
It all really started with an illustration I saw in a Danish magazine called "Ud & Se". It was an illustration accompanying an article about "mind medication", and showed a blissfully smiling man, with his head being poetically dragged apart as though it was goo. It was a lovely inspiration, and reminded me that Photoshop has just such a tool, called "Liquify". I cut out the illustration, and hung it in my kitchen. It was enough for me to decide to explore the "liquify" tool this December.
I did the images chronologically this month, so picture #5 was the last one I did over a period of two days. I do think I went overboard with the liquification of the clouds in some of the images, but all in all, I'm satisfied with the final result.
As for the composition of the images, since the very purpose was to explore the liquify tool under the cover of "Surrealism", I wanted a big canvas to liquify. As such, I have purposefully let the clouds be the major player in the images.
The tiled ground/forests in the bottom of the images, that too, is on purpose. On one hand it adds to sense that "something's not quite right here", and on the other hand it clearly communicates "this is just decoration, look at the interesting part above".
The huge tree limb, or tree tops in the right of the images are there for a couple of reasons. First of all, it looks eerie, and adds some dynamic to an image that would otherwise just be a vista. Secondly, it adds distance from the background to the individual tree.
The beautiful musical track is, as always, composed by Kate. This specific track, is one of my absolute favourites – let it play for a few minutes to get the full experience.
"Du gamla, du fria" is the first line of the swedish national anthem. While this May edition is indeed a tribute to the Sweden that I love, this choice of title is more decorative than nationalistic.
By decorative, I am speaking of the content of the images I made for this month. The idea, initially, was to make postcards from Sweden, old tarnished, slightly tacky postcards.
While only the text on image 1 and image 5 is tacky, I am pretty satisfied with the end result of this months pieces. I wanted to make sharp contrast, use much more white than I usually do, and create great textures that weren't just Photoshop's "texturizer". This, I think, I succeeded in.
With this said, I'm far from happy about image 2, 3 and 4. It's just something about the composition, the colors, and the texture that's just not spot on.
The text on image 1 says "Du gamla, du fria, du fjÃ¤llhÃ¶ga nord", which as mentioned is the first line of the Swedish national anthem. Very roughly translated, it means "you old, free, mountaneous north".
The text on image 5 says "Hälsningar från Sverige", which translate to "greetings from Sweden".
3 year aniversary
Noscope was launched as part of the May 1st reboot 2001. Today, May 1st 2004 I have been true to the legacy I more or less swore myself to. 5 images, every damn month. Some quick pocket calculation makes this 3 * 12 * 5 = 180 pictures / illustrations. Needless to say I'm proud beyond what words can describe, because one thing is sure: statistical probability says, atleast SOME of these 180 images has to be good.
As a celebration, I'll post my personal favourite images I've made over the past 3 years, not to forget the beautiful music Kate composed!
This is my 2 years anniversary! Meaning that this month, May, is the first month of Noscope year 3.
I am immensely proud to have gone this far, especially considering all the coincidences that led to what Noscope is today.
The story is this. Back in 2000, in the wake of my turtleshell website, I wanted to do something completely different. So I started sketching and pondering. I wanted a simple concept, which was easy to update. Some of the early concepts I came up with were "foamscapes", "foam" being some sort of intangible mass. Phew.
While in business practice at NeoIdeo, I suddenly thought of the name "noscope". I didn't really think i'd use it, but just for the heck of it, I bought the domain name.
I think I had a bubbletree as the only thing on the website. Ack… When I think of the cheesy stuff i've made… If you want a taste of it, look through my noscope archives for June 2001.
However, things started taking shape, and a friend of mine told me about May 1st Reboot. It was a massive collective website redesign event. I didn't even have a site to redesign, but I figured i'd partake anyway. And for some strange twist of fate, my site was selected to be among the best of the reboot sites. Take a look in the archives for May 2001 to see what artwork I submitted.
Some months passed, and Kate contacted me regarding music. I was unable to turn down her offer. She made music, I made the graphics.
Today, 2 years later, I've made more than 120 illustrations, and Kate has made 15 full-length music tracks, some of them exclusively for noscope, some with vocals, some featured on her new album. They are all freely downloadable.
During the course of these two years, there have been ups and downs, both in my life and in the world. I've had countless discussions with all sorts of interesting people from all over the world. The comments page have been locale to several verbal battles on right or wrong, or just common chatter. I am truly proud to have been part of this—thank you all for making it so great.