Interesting Reading – A few Technical “Bibles”

I just wanted to throw these out here because they are amazing books that I use a lot and recommend a lot of other people to use too!

The Photoshop Bibleis THE book that you will want to get if you want to learn how to use Photoshop. I am sad to say that I’m still running Photoshop 5 LE, so I have not picked up a newer version Photoshop Bible that is for newer versions of Photoshop myself, but have read a few pages out of the newer versions in a bookstore now and then. It still appears to be the best source to go to for all things Photoshop. It covers just about every main function in the application and gives you a simple plain English explanation of why everything is there and what you should be using each function for and which Icons you should push on or quick keys to hit to get what you are trying to accomplish done quickly and competently.

The JavaScript Bible is THE book to have on Javascript. You CAN learn some of the basics from visiting websites such as Web Monkey, but when you really want to start digging deeper and understanding how to do things on a more complex level, this is the to go to book that you will be wanting to get. Just about every aspect of Javascript is covered and there’s coding example after coding example that will get you up and running quickly and give you a working understanding of how all the spokes in the wheel run together to get your website advanced to a new level of interactivity.

Beginning Game Programming with Flash is another great book to have for web design. Surely you have played a few flash games on occassion. They are all over the internet. This book teaches you from the ground up how to start building those sorts of games yourself. If you thought Javascript was fun, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The graphics and programming power behind Flash can let you create just about any sort of game that you want online if you have enough time to program and test your stuff out. There are definite limitations to what Flash can do, but many of those limits dissappear with every new version of flash that comes out, especially as more and more people are getting off of dialup and heading to dsl or other high speed internet carriers.

The Artist’s Handbook, or The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques: Fifth Edition, Revised and Updated (Reference)
is just about one of the best “Bibles” on traditional art methods.

Both of the books cover many of the same topics. Mayer’s is considered a little “better” by some since I think it is actually the older of the two.

They cover just about every technique that there is in the traditional arts, and gives some really neat in-depth information that you just won’t find many other places, especially in a single book. It’s actually pretty hard to believe how much information there is packed in this book…It tells you some of the little known facts about how to make pigments, what formulas to use to make your own gesso, explains in-depth information about various surfaces and how you should treat them and more importantly, why. It just has a lot of little key bits of information that are invaluable to anyone that really wants to create artwork.

Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings (California Studies in the History of Art) is another great art related book. While this book is not really a Technical Bible per se, it is a bit like the more traditional Bible in that it goes directly to the source to get first hand accounts of what is going on in the minds of various artist in the contemporary art world. The book is filled with tons of interviews done with artists, diary entries created by artist, and a variety of publications created by artists and those that have an in depth understanding of artists. It gets to the heart of why contemporary art really exists, and has more in-depth, behind the information than you are likely to find ANYWHERE else all in one place.

Interesting Reading…

I’m constantly reading various books, blogs, websites, reviewing new material, reviewing old material, and rethinking about some of the content in those books, blogs, websites, etc.

Moving forward, I’m going to reserve the “Interesting Reading” tag and category in this blog for interesting reading articles, website links, links to books that I’ve come across, new thoughts I’ve got on old material, etc. This is not necessarily for “book reviews” so much as to toss an interesting piece of information that I’ve come across at you to think about a little – a pebble of thought, in to this wide Ocean that is the Blogosphere.

Exhibits Tag and Category

The Exhibits Tag and Category of this blog is reserved for artwork that I have enterered in to various exhibits. I will try to mention in each individual posting, or in the first comment of each posting which exhibits each item was in. I will also try to create a tag, and possibly as category for each individual exhibit. However, the main exhibits tag and category will be applied to all works that were in any exhibit.

Similarly, I’ll try to tag each item with a tag denoting the original year that the item was created. By default I’m tagging all artwork that I know that I created in College with the college and 1999 tags since I graduated in December, 1999, and I might not be able to pinpoint the exact year between 1994-1999 that the college artwork was created. (Yes, it took me 5 and years to graduate from college, but that’s mainly because I took a few extra classes in order to get a theater minor).

Artwork created in Highschool will be tagged with the tags 1994 and highschool because I graduated from highschool in 1994.

Artfolio vs Portfolio

I plan to tag and categorize all future posts that I consider a part of my true art portfolio as “Portfolio” at some point in the future. This is different than the posts tagged or categorized as artfolio. Artfolio is reserved for all of my artworks posted in this blog, both unfinished and finished as well as works in progress, quick preliminary sketches, ideas, notes on technique, diary type art-related postings, etc. Portfolio tagged items are a subset of Artfolio tagged items which are more finished, and worthy of viewing. A lot of artists don’t like to show the unrefined, unfinished works to the public for a variety of reasons. I like doing this so that it’s easier to see techniques being used, discuss various methods of doing things, discuss the historical rationale behind symbols and patterns being utilized, etc. That’s why I created the artfolio tag and category. The portfolio tag and category is reserved for things that I would, and may actually put in my real world art portfolio. The Artfolio stuff is more of a hodge podge mix of everything I do that’s art related.

Fellow Artists – Columbia Art League

I consider all members of the Columbia Art League as “Fellow Artists” since they are all local folks. I am not currently a member of the Art League, but was a couple of years ago. I quit because the gallery was only open during hours I could not get to it, and because real world cash flow issues kept me from having a lot of free flowing cash to spend on art membership fees and art supplies over the last couple of years. Since my work schedule will be changing in 2010, I might look in to joining again. The Columbia Art League’s “Online Artist’s Village” is located at http://www.cal.missouri.org/village/index.html.

Fellow Artist – Rachel (Michael Tiger) Elliott

Rachel and I were classmates together at Truman State University in the late 1990s. We attended quite a few painting classes together. I remember fondly having some in-depth discussions with her as we both sat fatigued on the painting studio floor after having been in our own little corners of the room pulling all-nighters.

Her work has a serene beauty to it. A few of her drawings are sometimes simple on the surface, but very narrative and complex under the surface. I really enjoy her mastery of color and simple lines to evoke a lot of feeling. Her use of compositional space draws the viewer in to the little worlds that each individual painting or drawing depicts and describes. Her works may be small, and intimate since they require the viewer to get up close and personal with the work, but they pack a powerful punch.

Rachel’s Blog is located at http://michaeltiger.wordpress.com/. Her blogging is one of the many things that have inspired me to start blogging again.

Fellow Artists

Items tagged with the tag Fellow Artists are going to be dedicated to some of my fellow artist friends and their websites. Here, I plan to link to websites, blogs, and other interesting online projects that some of my fellow art friends have created, run, or maintain. I’ll try to keep the list narrowed down to artists that I personally know, or have some affiliation with. A copy of these postings will also be added to the Fellow Artists Page in my blog.

Jeff’s Art Folio

People say that it’s not good to show “everything” in your online art creation portfolio or “artfolio”. I’m of a different opinion. Although it is important to show things in a pleasing manner, taking display and presentation issues greatly in to consideration, etc., especially in a resume/full portfolio presentation website that is being used to try to get a job, find new clients, etc., it is also fun to show off every darn thing you can… let the viewer see your mindscape in it’s totality. Where have you been, where are you going… what does a work-in-progress look like. What techniques were used to get from point A to point B to point C to a finished work. Process and technique are sometimes just as important, if not more important than the actual finished work of fine art. Sometimes, especially with artwork that uses the dimension of time and space, temporal attributes of the work are part of the main essence of the piece. For that reason, among very many other reasons, I likely will upload some of my older works here someday soon, assuming I can get halfway descent scans or photos of the works.

I’ve tried to do this sort of thing before, many years ago, but never succeeded for a number of reasons – it was simply too time consuming, my digital camera at that time just did not have enough pixel depth to capture things, or my real 35 mm camera cost me too much to have tons of pictures developed that didn’t come out very well since lighting was poor. My hard drive kept crashing due to the unstable Operating System known as Window 98, or Window XP… CDs of my work got scratched due to improper handling as I moved from apartment to apartment on an almost biannual basis, etc… my never-ending quest for a cheap or free webhost provider always ended unsuccessfully – If I am going to do something like this I want it to be around for a while and not disappear the first time that someone forgets to pay an Internet Hosting bill or the first time that a free website provider goes under, as many of them have done in the past. Before blogs became popular, I was going to do this by creating my own website(s), hand coding things, etc. I studied Flash. I studied Javascript. I studied ASP. I studied PHP. I studied Dynamic HTML. I even studied ways to hand code VRML. I studied all that I could about web programming… I studied Photoshop… I studied Illustrator… I studied Quark… I tried to learn as much as I possibly could about doing websites so that I could create the greatest website ever known to exist on the face of the earth…That was an epic failure because of my lack of time and ability to cohesively get everything together, and/or find a webspace provider that offered enough free web space to consume all the stuff I wanted to put online… Nowadays, with this blog, which I hope to maintain for as long as I possibly can, and various free image hosts, I think it’s time to make this never-ending quest for Jeff’s online artfolio to come to a real conclusion right here and now!

Going foward in time from now, postings tagged as artfolio, painting, drawing, pastel, digital painting, oil, acrylic, color pencil, etc., will be postings of my artwork, and each will probably a little description or at least title for each work. All works considered to be a part of the artfolio will be tagged and categorized as artfolio so that you can get to them easily without reading a lot of other postings about other things that I post about.

I plan to upload a lot of art, and create more to upload in the future…. I’m also going to try to put most of it on cafepress products and link to them from the artfolio, just in case you see something you like and might want to buy on mug, poster, greeting card, or something else. I know that most of it will never get a sale that way, but you never know. I would have never thought that people would buy some of the photos that they have purchased over the years on turbosquid…

I also might try selling some of the original artwork at some point in time when the time is right… and there comes to be a need to sell some of the stuff. In today’s digital world, what exactly is an original work of art anyways?!?… there’s a philisophical question for ya.

Some of ther artfolio work is on ok quality of work. Some of it is near perfection. Some of it severely sucks as artwork, but might have some other interesting quality that makes it worth taking a look at by more people than are looking at it right now, at is sits in a closet or sketchbook somewhere collecting dust… There are some interesting transitions in my style over time, interesting themes I like to revisit over time, etc. This is all stuff that art historians typically study once an artist is dead… Why let them make guesses after I’m dead since I’m alive right here and now?!?… I’ve never understood why artists don’t try to show their ALL to the public. Reveal the inner workings of their minds. We, as creative people, have a lot to offer to the world. Without further ado, welcome to “Jeff’s online Artfolio!”

Feel free to comment on various postings. I love feedback, both positive and negative (although in most real world art classrooms, it’s typically peferred that if you have something negative to say that you offset it with something positive to say – Constructive Criticism is what I’m really looking for…). In the future I may create “Jeff’s online Portfolio” which will be a subset of the Artfolio that focuses only on the best works in a more “traditional” portfolio website type of format. Until then, enjoy the upcoming visual feast.

inspirations

Inspirations… This, and future postings that are tagged as Inspirations are postings dedicated to works of art that inspire me. The postings tagged as inspirations could be thought of as a sort of “Jeff’s favorites” list of artwork, or list of art works that Jeff thinks about somewhat when he’s creating his own works. I honestly like a lot of various artwork for different reasons – and might even go so far as to say that there is something I can find to like about any artwork in the world… at least for some reason… In inspirations tagged postings I’ll try to explain why I like or am inspired by the works of art described or linked to in the individual postings. The Inspirations postings are actually sort of a challenge to myself to think about my own habbits & thoughts, as well as force me to actually look at more artwork than I typically do today on a regular basis. I live in a city where there’s not a whole lot of art galleries or museums, and those that are here or nearby are typically opened only during hours that I have to be at work, etc. so my actual viewing of artwork is a lot more limited than it probably should. Hopefully the inspirations tagged postings here will help me get past that a a bit, and continually grow as an artist myself by looking at what others in the world around me are doing instead of only looking at myself in the mirror…

I-70

Every day that we go to work (Tekla and I carpool) we get the pleasure of down I-70, crossing the Missouri River Bridge near Roacheport, Missouri. When we started doing this a long time ago, I didn’t like it much since I-70 can be pretty dangerous sometimes. Vehicles moving that close together at 70 miles an hour is a little wiked at time, especially if there’s ever a wreck and you have to slam on your breaks very quickly before you smash in to something or someone in front of you… However, over time, I’ve grown to not mind it, and actually enjoy it.

It’s a beautiful drive even if the sun is right in our faces going to and from work some times of the year since it’s right on the horizon almost directly in front of us. I really like watching the clouds and landscape as we drive in this beautiful area. There’s a lot of little things we see daily on these trips – you know, little landmarks and things along the way, that sort of act like a sort of metaphysical reassurances that we are on the right path home, etc.

There’s a big hill you go down right before and after you get to the river… really it’s all a large valley that used to actually be under water many, many, many years ago before people started using dams and things. There’s always more weather in this hidden little gem of a valley that has lots of rich colors, and soil. Fog comes here many times when it’s no where else along the road because of the river. Lightning and rain storms come here more often than other areas along the road between our home and Columbia. It is a very natural location. There are many trees and signs of life here in bushes, wild flowers, and occassionally animals we see along the way… There is also a rail road that is just before the bluffs that travels under the highway. Going away from Rocheport on the other side of the river, up that hill near the train tracks seems a bit steeper than going the other direction. Semis have trouble with that hill sometimes – if you want to pass them, on that climb up to the corner is the best place since they will slow down as they go up the hill… but do it quickly – they will gain speed again once they come around the bend. The hill in this location seems a lot more spooky and a lot longer distance at night than it is in the day time. In the day time is is a neat place since you are staring in to the horizon’s beauty. At night, it’s dark and there’s sillohettes all over the place so it’s a little freaky somedays, especially on snowy days when speeds on the highway are low for everyone. Snowy days in the daytime are a little bad too since that heavy blanket of clouds hangs over this location near the river heavily with a dull, middle grey tone to all the colors that are normally brilliant in the shining sun here…

I love taking photos of clouds in this area since the sky is so wide and open so you can see many colors and shapes in the clouds that you will not see in the city because of power lines and building structures everywhere. However, pictures never do the place justice since they are only two dimensional renderings using cymk instead of real life 3d rgb backlighting on the biggest stage in the world – the great outdoors. Similarly, there’s another area without a lot of overhanging trees and things near the first exit of Boonville and near Midway, both of which are about equidistance from this River spot on I-70. Since it’s almost impossible to slow down and stop in the middle of the river, even though it is possible to stop in Rocheport – the view from there is not that great until you get to the bluffs themselves… by where the Winery is… which is a hassle to get to… I use the places near Midway and Boonville to pull over and take sky shots on occassion because there’s such huge expanses of uninturrupted sky there. It is nice to pull over in places like that and take a few snapshops of God’s great huge abstract paintings in the sky! 🙂

Textures in cloud formations are always rich and ever changing. Many colors of the rainbow lives in these areas. Sometimes even rainbows themselves live here since the river creates neat misty clouds that are low to the ground occassionally.

A little closer to Columbia, there is a smaller river, more of a creek – actually it is a creek, that has a golf course next to it. The golf course floods out a lot, and it’s interesting to see the water formations on the little manmade hills out there on the green when that happens. There’s also a massive amount of power lines just across the highway from there that create a gentle, curvey black line that moves from pole to pole with nothing else around it… that shines in splendor on occassion as sunlight on the Western Horizon bounces off of it … creating an amazing Chiarascuro effect that I’ve tried to photograph before but have never captured. I have wanted to do a painting of it for a long while but have not got around to it yet…

Just a little closer to Columbia from there, just outside of the city limits really, there’s a side road that runs from Stadium Blvd to Dawn, where my Aunt and Uncle live. Going from Columbia heading West, there’s a very unique and interesting visually harmonous formation that I love that is created by this little hilly side road sitting next to the straight and wide black expanse of highway that is I-70. The overpass right there probably helps that effect become a little more apparent, as does the fact that the sun is usually on the horizon when we typically drive past there. That’s something else I’ve been contemplating about doing a painting of. I think part of it is just a love of that area itself – when I was a lot younger my cousin and I used to jog in that area, over the overpass, and swing back out past the junk yard hidden by the great wall that you can still see the beauty of the uglieness of the junkyard through, on around a vast expanse of trees, and over to the mall where you connect back to the other side of the road on the overpass at Stadium…. There is a lot of beauty everywhere if you open your eyes to it. That’s what I love about art. It helps me open my spiritual eyes to the beauty around me. My camera is my “light” version of a sketchbook – used to capture many textures, colors, and other things. Even the most mundane place can be brilliant if you look close enough! 🙂

I might post some pictures of all of this stuff here in the blog sometime. I have taken multiple photos of various aspects of it all before, but never really put it all together in one piece and wrote about it like I am here. Maybe I’ll change that in the near future! 😉

I’m glad that I’ve taken up blogging again, and am doing it in this weird way of putting all my thoughts on a lot of stuff in here… it’s sort of like keeping a diary or sketchbook back in the days when I did sketchbooks daily. There’s a lot of creativity I can feel brewing under the surface of my daily life. Maybe this blog can help me punch a hole in the bubble of cancerous negative false skin that’s keeping that radiance inside of me from shining to the world… 🙂 😉 No, I’m not on crack. I’m just glad to be alive and am glad that I’m able to percieve the world in a positive manner. Doom and Gloom hit me too hard sometimes. It’s good to get over that negative stuff that’s pulling me down and move on.

This little light of mine… I’m gonna let it shine… let it shine… let it shine… let it shine…

Long List of 3d and 2d editing software

This space will is reserved for a list of 3d and 2d editing software that I’ll drop in here in the near future, and/or build over time. I don’t have time to list it all right now, but am putting this here as a sort of reminder to myself to come back here later and add more. There’s tons of great 3d and 2d freeware and shareware out there as well as higher end stuff. I’ve played around with quite a bit of it and will post my comments on each one I have some experience with here.

Blender – http://www.blender.org/
Gimp –http://www.gimp.org/
Wings 3d – http://www.wings3d.com/
Project Dogwaffle http://www.thebest3d.com/dogwaffle/free/index.html
cinepaint http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CinePaint

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_vector_graphics_editors

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_modeling_software

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_raster_graphics_editors

http://www.freedownloadscenter.com/Multimedia_and_Graphics/Graphics_Editors/Wood_Workshop.html

http://www.freedownloadscenter.com/Shell_and_Desktop/Wallpaper_Tools/flooring_contractors.html

http://wareseeker.com/free-popular-seamless-texture-generator

http://www.brothersoft.com/texture-generator-download-283505.html

http://software.informer.com/getfree-how-to-create-seamless-brick-texture/

http://www.bricksntiles.com/download/

http://www.3d-rekonstruktionen.de/de/download/

I’ll add more to this list over time… You might want to book markt it! 🙂

=== note to self – http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?p=6717946#post6717946

Also add more like it.. other lists have been in various forums before.. but forums disappear over time. Blogs can too, but not as easily all the time.

Welcome to Jeff Thomann’s “official” new blog. (or JEFF’S ONE BLOG)

I’ve started a number of various blogs on blogspot.com in the past on a wide variety of topics, but never got many or any of them too far because I would start something, get on to another topic, abandon the blog, and not come back to it later.  I am sort of doing a “redo” here and starting over from scratch here on wordpress.  I’m doing this so that I have ONE blog and only ONE blog… I’ll post a link to this ONE blog from my multiple other blogs later so that they all eventually lead you here.  I like it over here a lot better than over there because here you can do tags and things a lot easier.

I’ll warn you now… I’m a bit of an eccentric individual with a lot of various hobbies, interests, and things, so will likely post about a lot of different things over time.  I’ll try to post Tags to each entry to make it easier to maneuver around the upcoming massive amount of posts about all sorts of things under the sun…  I’m in to drawing, painting, 3d animation, photoshop, sketching, video gaming, role playing, theater, the tech side of movie making and theater, art history, free-to-air satellite reception, internet tv, and a lot of other things.

A little about me… I’m a 30 something (possibly 40-60 something by the time you read this) year old, married man.  I live in the mid-west.  I have a BFA in Studio Art,with an emphasis in painting, and a minor in Theater.  I graduated from Truman State University in last century (December, 1999). I have the most amazing child who was recently born! We love her dearly.

I love oil painting, but don’t paint much these days due to lack of time and lack of a studio with a descent ventilation system.  Instead, I doodle with color pencils in my sketch books and panels in my spare time, or mess around with creating sketchy type things in Photoshop, MS Paint, 3d Blender Portable, Lightave 3d, or whatever other artsy tools I can get my hands on at the time.

When I graduated from college, I had a lot of interests in finding ways of combining my backgrounds of theater and art, and found myself studying 3d animation on my own.  Because of that, I got in to Newtek’s Lightwave 3d, which at the time was the only halfway descent priced 3d package on the market that could do some descent levels of animation.  I never got too far in to doing a lot of in-depth animation projects with that because I didn’t have time to create a lot of stuff, and also constantly found myself having hard drive failures, cds that got busted due to improper storage, and other hardware problems that erased everything.  I might get back in to it eventually.

I also like taking digital photographs of various objects and textures that I use for reference photos or to upload as reference photos for others on Turbosquid.  I like Turbosquid vs other places because it’s more forgiving to people that upload things without doing a lot of editing.  I like for photos that are reference shots to stay unedited so that there’s more of the direct just shot looks and feel to the photos, making it like an unblemished, raw material ready for an artist to pick it up and mold it in to something on their own.

I like playing and creating video games, but have not really done any real video game creation full scale yet.  However, I have several tools to do so if I venture in to that someday – Photoshop 5 LE, Torque Game Engine, 3d Rad, 3 Impact Game Engine, Lightwave 3d, Motion Builder, and a lot of various 3d and 2d packages that I’ve picked up for cheap or free on magazine cds over the years, or outright purchased.

I like poetry.  I would not mind writing a book or play someday.  I have tried to write for nanowrimo before, but never completed the book that year since it was the year we bought our house in the same month that I was trying to do that. (We don’t have that house any longer, but it was a nice accomplishment for me to obtain it, a wife, and dog all by age 30! 🙂 )

I will post more later.  I’m out of time right now.  Thank’s for visiting.  Hope to see you here again.