Exploring the Shallows

Clown Anenome

My recently-aquired digital/fractal/3D art program, XenoDream is taking up a lot of spare time right now. (And time that shouldn’t really be spared, come to that. Pictures are more fun than housework.) It’s a big, complex program that works in a very different manner from my previous fractal generators and art programs, so I’ve got a long learning curve to cope with.

I’ve set myself a project: making shells and sea-creatures and other things from the littoral regions of my imagination. I aim for a particular shape, and try to find out how to make it. Sometimes I discover something else on the way, which I can’t resist turning into a picture. Sometimes I surprise myself by getting almost-exactly where I want to go, quickly and easily. And sometimes I flail about for ages getting nowhere near my hoped-for shape. So it goes. In the process, I am gradually teaching myself the basics of XenoDream.

An orange shell

Once I’ve got the shape created, it has to be rendered. That’s the long, slow mathematical process where the computer calculates where and what colour every pixel in the picture should be. (Rather the computer than me!) After a frustrating wait while that happens, I can save the result as a picture. I usually want to do further work on the picture, in another art program – preferably one where I have more idea what I am doing! I am playing-around here, too: trying things out, and experimenting with textures, colours and effects, bringing out the best in the rendered picture.

When I got the new program, I was working very much at random, taking what turned up. I was impatient to get results without bothering to work through the basics. I still do a fair bit of random exploration, but having settled on this simple seashore theme I now have a way of making the very necessary five-finger-exercises more fun to do. And I hope they are also more fun to look at.

Pale dollar

My Flickr set Digital Shores will show you what else I’ve found in the rockpools behind my eyes.

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One Response to “Exploring the Shallows”

  1. Kevon Kenna Says:

    The world broke apart, and an old lady has mended it with a table mat.

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