28 February 2007

Red Hat Magazine - The Open Palette

 The Open Palette

Red Hat Magazine started a series of of tutorials on how to create art with Free and Open Source creative tools. The first in the series, authored by me with help from Mairin is titled How to use Inkscape’s new blur filter and is a celebration (albeit a little late) of the 0.45 release of Inkscape.

go and read the article

I used my own research on orbs, a little inspiration from Ryan's tip about 3D text combined with other minor elements (trace, inset/outset. boolean operations) and excessive use of blur.

The same technique can be extended, even to create something like this:

fedora logo 3D

More tutorials

The column in Red Hat Magazine will continue (probably monthly) with other interesting subjects (we already have a list of ideas), but the tutorials posted on my own site and blog are put on-hold for the time being, due to the lack of reaction to my previous call for help.

26 February 2007

Service Announcement: Hackergotchi Service

After the hit received by the Fedora Art project, we are thinking about ways to revive from its own ashes. The current idea is to organize it as loosely coupled sub-teams working on different areas.
So here is my take:

The Hackergotchi Service

In the past I worked on my own to polish a few hackergotchi images and send to the Planet Fedora admin, but this is an easy task, perfectly suited for beginners.
I created a page in the wiki where any Fedora contributor can request a hackergotchi and receive help from an Art Team member. Consider yourself already invited to use it.

note: I am sure Fedora Art people will be open and answer requests not only from Fedora contributors and not only for Planet Fedora.

21 February 2007


I lost my words. It was expected, probably everybody saw it coming from a long time ago.

Due to unrelated reasons I am too unmotivated to fight, so no flamewar from me today.

19 February 2007

Office stuff; Tutorials

Microsoft Office 2007

officeI see a lot of complacency inside the OpenOffice.org team regarding the new look and feel of Microsoft Office 2007. The general tendency is to disregard is as something user will reject, wanting something more familiar and choose OOo as the "safe" choice. Is hard to argue for or against without facts, so I used the opportunity of an MSO 2007 deploy to observe the users (my own Guinea Pigs) and draw my own opinion based on this.

Premise: I had recently to upgrade some of my desktop users with both hardware and software, going from Windows 98 + Microsoft Office 2000 to Windows XP + Microsoft Office 2007. Of course I tried to push OpenOffice.org, but the reply I got from the decision maker was something along the lines: "I saw OpenOffice and it is a fart" and he went for MSO 2007 Professional, top of the line, full-price (why he thinks that is a long separate talk, we can discuss with another opportunity).

Users: My users are, I think, a very good sample, they use various incarnations of Office for a long time, at least 7-10 years but at a very basic level, mostly Word and Excel for simple things (no charts, mail merge, templates or such "advanced" stuff). They may use PowerPoint only to see a .pps joke received in the mail and nobody ever used Access (note: Outlook is forbidden in my network).

Reaction At the first look, they reacted exactly as expected, ranging from "can't you make look like the old one?" to "I can't do anything with it, I have to re-learn everything I knew".
The very next day, their opinion changed dramatically, to "wow! this new Office has a lot of new functions, I never saw those in the old one" and to "I said is hard to use but in fact is much easier".

Conclusion: I see two possible conclusions from this:

  • Microsoft is up to something here and they have a really better, more usable interface
  • we are completely brainwashed by Microsoft and without comment will accept anything they throw at us.

Of course I did my own testing of the interface in the 5 minutes or so spent learning how to change a couple of defaults (.doc instead of .docx as file format for compatibility with the rest of the users and with the rest of the world and A4 as paper size for compatibility with the printers) but I keep from expressing my opinion as I, as a long-time member of the OpenOffice.org community am far of being unbiased and also far from being a regular user.

What OpenOffice.org people do about this? For now nothing, I saw a core developer saying "we can easily implement this Ribbon interface if we want" and this is all.


Easy to notice, another week passed and no tutorial on my blog, probably you saw it coming (not only because I was busy with deploying MS Office and observing the users). And I am not sure I want to continue without help from my readers, I really need raw materials and motivation.

To not spam the aggregators, I will add in the comments how the readers can help me with this.

09 February 2007

No tutorial this week

Bummer of the week

grep -c inova access_log.nicu
grep -c inova access_log.nicu.1
grep -c inova access_log.nicu.2
grep -c inova access_log.nicu.3
grep -c inova access_log.nicu.4

So as a consequence, I didn't have any incentive to write any tutorial this week, being defeated by my miserable failure. Which is unfortunate, the new Inkscape release is worth celebrating with a tutorial.

Here is a list of tutorial ideas I had in mind at various points in time:

  • face drawDrawing faces with Inkscape if you can't draw: using Beziers or the calligraphic tool (there are two distinct ways) you can draw over a photo and do something called a manual trace, resembling the original portrait of the subject. Is not state of the art or some high art, but is good enough if you cant' draw

  • face drawDrawing orbs with Inkscape: this is simple and easy, but Is what I feel a good way to introduce people to the brand new Blur filter in Inkscape. I have not abandoned completely this idea, this tutorial may appear at another time in another place

  • face drawTouching-up photos with GIMP: with the omnipresent digital cameras, all of us are taking bad photos, so retouching them is an absolute need, but also imperfections of the subject can be corrected (this is called airbrushing): remove blemishes and wrinkles, make the teeth and eyes white, the skin softer and so on. Another problem with the picture I wanted to use in this tutorial is the interdiction to use the photo: "you can do anything with it but don't put it on the 'net" - the thumbnail here should be fair use, but I can't think of a workaround for the full size image.

Some meat

To make this post not so useless, here is some meat: a few 3D effects on the Fedora logo made in Inkscape with a combination of the 3D text tutorial by Ryan and my own research into orbs:
fedora logo 3D
fedora logo 3D
fedora logo 3D

SVG sources are available on my Fedora Artwork page.

02 February 2007

Jigsaw Puzzle Tutorial

seven blueThis tutorial brought to you by the number seven and the color blue

This is the second in a series of tutorials, I intend to continue it even if I get tons of "ur GIMP skillz are teh suck" as comments in reply.
The article was ready for publishing yesterday but I published it today (Friday) to have it as close as possible by the "7". (7 days, weeks, months, years, something like that).

Jigsaw Puzzle Tutorial

Made mostly with GIMP with some introductory Inkscape and a bit of Clipart.

jigsaw puzzle tutorial

The tutorial is very graphic intensive, with screenshots for every little step.


A guy I know complained recently in a private (messenger) talk about what he perceive as abusive use of the "suck" and "bullshit" words on my blog. Well my friend, this is the reality, the way I see my surrounding world and is very hard to change that (pictured is my 4 months old beard, as a proof I know what I say).