I don’t think an About section would really work here, though it probably needs one.
I had one back in the day (now buried under mostly inaccessible layers of long ago murdered .swf’s) and it really had the details; system specs of the machine(s) and hardware I was using, lists of all the software and versions, location, times/dates, stuff like that.
So. Instead of that, we’ll do this.
I’m just going to post this right now and hope that it forces me to change and edit it throughout the day instead of just not doing it. As much as I crave detailed information (and do feel oddly impelled to share it for whatever reason; posterity, ego, I dunno) I hate reading my own words about as much as I hate hearing my own stupid voice.
It’s 1996 and I’m using Windows95. I’m tweaking scripts, installing .exe’s, bludgeoning .html, and what I’m doing is creating a live link between selected things happening on my computer and a web page. The web page displays all kinds of real-time stuff; imagery and stills from animations that I’m working on, a clock with time and date, info about my computer, a text area where I can post messages, my current IP address, if my pirated software FTP server is online, then some bookmarks and links.
It didn’t, but I remember I wanted it to look like the bridge console screens from Star Trek. I have a few Zip disks that likely have the archives, screenshots, etc., but the Zip drive is long since dead.
This was all on Geocities. Or it may have only worked on Tripod. Or Angelfire. I can’t remember, but I do remember being pissed that I couldn’t get it to work on my artic.edu/~sfoyle space because of their IT security polices then. My point is, it was basically a “web log”. The term was actually coined a few years later. A blog. For the whole world. It was incredibly novel and thrilling.
While the web continues to grow more amazing by the minute, it also becomes more difficult for an amateur to publish or broadcast. I mean, on their own terms. For better or worse, without being prisoner to the whims of corporate winds.
At some point in the past several years WordPress became integrated into Dreamhost and while I saw the WP stuff I wasn’t impressed. This was around the time I’d just finished the long and tedious process of scanning and uploading my dad’s sketchbook pages to WordPress.com (eventually, I’ll start linking them here) and while it did occur to me that I could potentially install it on Getofthisplanet.com, the software seemed way too wonky and not really meant for what/how I wanted to use it. Flash forward a few years, though, and here we are.
During the inevitable rush to capitalize the Internet of Pixels it was transformed away from a sharp-electronic, dream-garden of staggering artistic originality and newness that seemingly erupted simultaneously simply from the overflowing digital-eye-candy-design-orgy produced by what at the time felt like the unleashed creative fury of millions of plugged in eyestronauts. Its freeform space and limitless potential stunted, assaulted, then was deliberately transformed into templatization, to Artstation to Behance to Twitter to YouTube to Twitch to Facebook to Instagram to technologies that were designed to wrest full control away from the user by facilitating unnecessary burdens.
Yeah yeah. Ok. So, why a blog, why now?
A bunch of things, if I’m honest; an invocation and maybe a promised response to a muse or a ghost or long lost soul, posterity, advances in software, advances in hardware, available time, awareness of mortality, hatred of a small man and a $5 “I’m paying for it I better use it” increase in my monthly webhosting fee are all mentionable reasons.
Basically, it’s this:
Technology, right now, has nicely dovetailed with my artistic goals.
On the software side of things the Dreamhost/Wordpress combo has made the simple goal of posting a 5 second animation to the web a much more enjoyable, reliable, tweakable and accessible process.
The renderer inside 3ds Max, Arnold, has matured into a increasingly versatile and fast engine.
On the hardware side, the 30 series of Nvidia of GPU’s are several times faster than current gen CPU’s for 3D rendering. It’s a shocking speed jump.
Speed, simplicity and motivation. Right now the process from thought to creation to planet-wide accessibility with as little corporate entanglement as possible and, I hate to say it, maybe some artistic integrity intact is as easy as it is seductive.
So far I’ve settled into a working rhythm of posting daily, mostly 5 second long .gif animations. For most of 2022 I’ve tried to keep their size below 30 MB. Sadly, .mp4’s ubiquity just isn’t there: I need the animations to, by themselves, play, always, forever. Shamefully, that’s still impossible for anything other than the animated .gif. It’s become part of the challenge, though. 256 colors, indeed.
Technical wise, in order to get something worth posting I need the renders take less than 1 hour for 300 frames. This seems to be a good amount for visual interest, speed, and tweakability considering a constantly looming daily posting goal. Everything is rendered out of 3ds Max to 800×450 .png’s @ 30 fps then either tweaked in After Effects and re-rendered for Photoshop or just brought straight into Photoshop to use its legacy .gif animation exporter. Thinking about inserting a comprehensive software list here.
Content wise, a lot of the work is purely experimentation. Some work is deeply personal and those who know, will know. Meanings are often assigned when I title the things. Titles are references to stuff I’m thinking about or stuff that I read or stuff that hear when working. Sometimes there are messages. Sometimes there are hidden things. Sometimes there are codes. Sometimes there are no codes. A consistency is the desire to create something worth spending at least 10 seconds of time looking at. Something beautiful.
And I like to post the music that I’m currently listening to because it’s an integral part of the creation engine.