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Jul 24 2014

Shadow of the Ninja

A photo I took earlier today in the studio, the shadow on the 3D Ninja model I have, perfectly cast across a sleeve on the shelf.

Jul 24 2014

Rewire – a book, vinyl and exhibition Kickstarter

A Kickstarter campaign to get a book with vinyl made has just 2 weeks left to run. It’s run by the Gamma Proforma guys who do a nice line in the more leftfield artists in their exhibitions. Check out this little film for more info and look at that line up of artists!

Visual: Jerry ‘Joker’ Inscoe, Poesia, sheOne, Nawer, Stendec, Moneyless, Phil Ashcroft, Derm, Robert ‘Tone’ Proch, Sebastien Preschoux, Sat One, Graphic Surgery, Felipe Pantone, O.Two, Roids, Clemens Behr, Christopher Derek Bruno, 108

Audio: Kidghe, Stohead, Luke Vibert, Divine Styler, Mike Ladd, Andrea Parker / Daz, Quayle, Cristian Vogel, Arovane, Einoma, Third Shock, Methodblack, Lyken, Monkphat, Plaster, Clatterbox, GFQ, Quinoline Yellow, Evac, Kero, Dalglish, Bogger, Northburg & Ed Devane.

Jul 23 2014

Space In This Place podcast

A podcast I took part in with Ben Eshmade, organisor of the upcoming ‘Space In This Place’ event at the ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park in South East London on August 8th. The Anish Kapoor-designed structure will play host to music all night with a definite space theme, from Grasscut, Paddy Steer‘s homemade instruments, to Astronauts and myself, there will be music at different levels. Ben speaks to Paddy and myself about this and more in this podcast themed on the night to come.

The night runs from 6.30pm – 11pm and tickets are £20 – this might seems steep but it’s £15 just to go into the structure with no music so an extra fiver for all this is a pretty good deal. This is actually the first time they’ve ever had music inside, tickets can be bought from here or call 0333 800 8099 to book – and there’s more info about the various lates on at the structure here.

Jul 23 2014

Frankie flick book image restoration

It’s been a bit quiet on here of late because I’ve been very busy tying up the last pieces of the Frankie Goes To Hollywood box set with Philip Marshall and the deadline is this weekend with the book still to finish. We’ve had some 11th hour changes due to the USM legal dept. getting cold feet over the cassette front cover (there’ll be a lengthy blog post about the cassette one day) but also some higher res images arrived today of one of the Lo Cole gatefold prelims for the interior of the book. These were courtesy of a German fan who went out of his way to get a decent copy of the image from someone who had bought the rough draft painting when it was sold years ago. Now we can have a much larger version of the image rather than the low grade jpegs we’ve had for years.

But the subject of this post is about the Flick book* – maybe considered a throw away item to some, certainly the runt of the litter but getting as much love as the rest in its construction. The book features scenes from the TV advert that briefly aired around the time of the album launch in November ’84 with imagery based on Lo Cole’s paintings – a brief 40 second rampage into the Pleasuredome by the band accompanied by assorted mythical beasts. As pages are limited in the book the original film was broken down into an image sequence – 25 frames per second x 40 to nearly 1000 frames – which were then stripped down to essential frames and made into .gif files to see which few seconds of animation would work best.

*( this is a provisional cover design – it’s changed a bit since this version)

Luckily we can print on both sides of the page with this book so you can view two separate animations depending on which way round you hold the book. In an effort to get the best possible image quality for the book we went back to the sole surviving master copy, a U-Matic tape, and pulled the frames we needed. These were still fairly grubby looking with a dark caste over most, dull colours and lots of ‘noise’ across the image. In Photoshop I set up a series of image filters to find out how best to lighten the images and bring out the vibrancy of the colours without it looking too forced. It turned out that different scenes needed different amounts of filtering as the saturation kept changing so there was no chance to automate the process.

When I was satisfied I’d got the best colour and light balance there was still the subject of the noise and how to remove it, this is when you can see a texture like a grain across an image, usually caused by light or introduced by generations of copies. I use a great Photoshop plug in caused Neat Image (yes, terrible name but amazing results) to remove this. It takes a digital fingerprint of the image and then smooths out all the bumps without blurring the image, something some similar plug ins tend to do. See the process below, at the top is the original as it came to me, then the filtered version with enhanced colours and any dark cast taken away. Finally there’s the denoised version that will end up in the book.

Jul 20 2014

Inky Fingers blog and podcast

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I post original comic art alongside copious amounts of comics news and such. This is because I’ve collected it since the late 90′s, mainly from artists who have drawn for the British comic 2000ad. The original art collecting community is a growing one but the 2000ad-centric one is still small enough that most people know or know of each other.

A couple of collector friends of mine – Simon Beigh and Julius Howe – have started a regular podcast and Facebook page called Inky Fingers that talks about all things related. This can mean interviews with the artists themselves and collectors or musings on pieces currently on eBay and collecting tips. I was recently asked to chat about my collection on their latest podcast and I share time with the great Carlos Ezquerra in another interview. Check it out here...

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