I Might Even Be A Rockstar

Someone decided on Sharpay / Hannah Montana for this past Halloween. I thought I’d spruce up the original pic using.. you guessed it.. Inkscape. :)

I dare not show her the final product or she’ll be wanting to dress like that every day! :P

Here’s what I started with:

Shameless Self Promotion (or a couple of logos I’ve done)


I’ve actually had some good fortune as of late. I’ve been able to contribute a little in the way of graphic design to a couple of things I’m into.

Very recently (ie. two days ago), the very awesome Dave Yates (of Lottalinuxlinks podcast fame) floated the idea of a ‘planet’ site to aggregate linux podcasters’ blogs and feeds. For those of you who might not know, planet sites are basically places where the content from various rss feeds (normally blog post feeds) are brought together into one single feed. The idea being that you then have more of a one-stop-shop for getting the posts of people with a common interest. It’s a good idea.


As a slight aside, the Screencasters feed started appearing on http://graphicsplanet.org just a couple of days ago as well! We’re clearly hitting the big time now. The keys to the limo should arrive anytime, or so I’m told by heathenx. ;)

Anyway, linc (one of the hosts of The Linux Link Tech Show) put his money where his mouth is and http://linuxplanet.org/casts and http://linuxplanet.org/blogs were born. He also kindly added our episode feed to the /casts site and our blog feed to the /blogs site. Nice! Thanks linc and Dave!

So Dave asked me yesterday if I’d be interested in doing a graphic for the site and I obliged. This is the graphic I came up with:

As if all this shameless self promotion wasn’t enough, several weeks back, Dave Yates asked me (and a few other people) to come up with a logo for the SouthEast LinuxFest conference which Dave and a whole slew of other great people are putting together. I spent quite a bit of time coming up with relevant ideas for this and they ended up picking one of mine! :) The logo (and a flyer graphic I subsequently made them) are shown below. You can check out their site, which just went public yesterday I think, at http://southeastlinuxfest.org. It should be a great event so if you’re at all near the area, and you’re already into Linux or just want to discover what it’s all about, make sure you check it out.



The Screencasters Flickr Group

About a week ago, one of our faithful screencast viewers zombiebrainz had a great idea and created a Flickr group as a place for people to post their inkscape work. This was done so that people could show off what they were working on with or without the help of our screencasts.

It’s turning out to be a nice place for getting feedback and discussing things like future screencast ideas. After 7 days we’ve already got just under 40 group members and over 50 images. Even if it doesn’t get any bigger, I’m already happy with the little (okay, tiny) community resource that’s been built.

If your interested in checking it out (heck, even if you don’t have any Inkscape chops you want to share), you can find it at: http://flickr.com/groups/screencasters

Putting the Wheels Back on This Wagon

It’s high time I get off my duff and get the focus back. And that not only means blogging more than once a month here, but in a few other areas as well.

I figure the best way to get this thing back on the rails is to plunk down a post that at least lists some of the things I should be finding (making) time to do. Let’s cut to the chase. Here are a few things on my list:

  1. Blog more. Not just pithy two-liners either. I used to enjoy crafting some semblance of a coherent post. Why am I avoiding it?
  2. Get another screencasters episode out the door. I’ve got a couple of decent ideas, just have to sit down and do them.
  3. Re-theme this weblog. Not a do or die thing, but I’ve grown a little bored with this theme and I really like some other design elements I’ve spotted in my travels recently. Plus, it gives me another reason to do some Inkscaping.
  4. Get caught-up with backing up my photos. I desperately want to clear and re-format the card in my Canon Rebel XTi, but I’m hesitant until all the photos on my PC are backed up safely.
  5. Bring my family blog up to snuff. Mostly that means a tremendous heap of RAW processing and image uploading to Flickr. But by picking the best of the best ones, I can cut down on that work. Cull, cull, cull baby.

I think one of the reasons I’ve been posting less and less here, is that I’ve been putting a lot of my cool links, mini-thoughts and various bric-a-brac over on Identi.ca. For those not aware, Identi.ca is an open-source microblogging implementation. I push all my Identica posts over to Twitter anyway, but if you want to check it out, head over to my Identica page and hit subscribe.

ps. I’m posting this from ScribeFire which I haven’t used in a dog’s age. Let’s hope it works ok.

Too much free time…

My internet connectivity has been down for a little over a week now (crossing fingers that it gets fixed sometime today). As a result, I’ve had a little more “free” time on my hands lately. I’ve been thinking about drawing a comic for quite some time, but never seemed to find the time until now.

I was initially going to sketch something on paper, scan it in and use it as a base in Inkscape, but then just threw caution to the wind and started playing around with my Wacom Tablet and the freehand tool in Inkscape. I created the whole thing in about 90 minutes using just the freehand tool, node editing and some other really basic stuff. Adding the text and speech bubbles was very easy and flexible.

As I suspected all along, coming up with a good idea (not sure this one really was) is far harder than drawing it. ;)

Like it? Hate it? Does nothing for you? Let me know what you think.

Episode – 065 LCD Digits

Episode 065 is up. In this one I create some LCD digits from scratch and demonstrate the use of grids and grid snapping along the way.

I really thought this one would be short. But somehow it managed to get to the 17 or 18 minute mark. These things always end up being longer than they feel when you record them. How did I ever do one in under 10 minutes?? ;)

Episode 061 – A Simple 3D Object

Episode 061 is now up. In this screencast I demonstrate how to create a pseudo-realistic looking recycle bin type object. It could be useful for someone wanting to create icons perhaps. It only took 7 or 8 objects to create and demonstrates how some subtle uses of gradients and blurs can help get the effect you want.

I also fooled around with my Flip video camera and ended up doing a fun little intro with it. Hope you like it.

Free software in the real world

Score one for free software today, at least in my personal space.

I had a set of shop drawings come in from a client. These were large format (24″x36″) TIF files at 200dpi. My task was to add a few items to each digital image and send them back. This included a digitized version of our engineering seal, a set of notes prepared in AutoCAD and a hand sketched engineering detail I had done a couple of weeks back.

Hmm. What to do.. what to do… How ’bout this:

1. Produce a PDF version of our AutoCAD notes using CutePDF, which in turn, uses GPL Ghostscript to do the conversion to PDF. Converting them to pdf keeps them in a vector format at this stage.

2. Using ImageMagick, I converted the pdf of the notes (and the engineering seal which is also saved as a PDF) into 200dpi bitmap images (jpegs) like this:

convert -density 200 file.pdf filenew.jpg

3. Using Inkscape, I imported a scan I had made of my hand sketched detail, and added a nice border and tweaked the contrast of the scan a bit. Then I exported it to a png bitmap image.

4. Using the GIMP, I opened the original large format TIF file and via cut and paste, placed and scaled the seal, the notes, and my hand sketch on the drawing.

5. I then printed the image to a PDF file and Voila!

This took all of about 10 minutes. And while I can’t get away from us using AutoCAD for our design notes, the rest was all done by FOSS software.

Who says this stuff doesn’t work well??

Btw, I’m typing this post in Vim and posting it on my WordPress blog, so there!!