11 May 2009


Created with www.wordle.net

Wordle is a free word cloud generator. You can paste in some text or just add the url to any website or feed. From there you can specify the colours, fonts and layout. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text, so they will be larger in the final artwork.

Unfortunately you can't specify the shape of the final cloud, but it's great for brainstorming, finding out about your blogging habits or just wasting a pleasant 20 minutes.

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07 July 2008

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

This is the best news since Dollhouse was announced!

"Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog" is a three part supervillain musical written by Joss Whedon and starring Neil Patrick Harris & Nathan Fillion.

“It’s the story of a low-rent super-villain, the hero who keeps beating him up, and the cute girl from the laundromat he’s too shy to talk to.”

It was concieved during the writer's strike and filmed in 6 days "on favors and waivers" using a crew of longtime Whedon loyalists.

It will be treamed for FREE on the official website for one week only.
The first part goes up on July 15th.

Dark Horse Comics have also released “Captain Hammer: be like me! Nemesis of Doctor Horrible”. You can read it here.

It will eventually be released on dvd with lots of extras "which are going to be the finest in all the land. We're actually going to do, in addition to the commentary, what we refer to as ‘commentary with an exclamation point'! A musical commentary that is a completely original musical, that is all commentary songs, and we're writing that now."

Not that is something I would love to own!

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12 March 2008

Eoin Colfer

I am allowed to be a bit geeky sometimes. Especially if it's in a way that's not really possible very often if you live in SA.)

Eoin Colfer is in South Africa to promote his new book, Airman. (Unfortunately the next Artemis Fowl book is only coming out in August) So of course we took ourselves down to the Hyde Park EB on Tuesday to meet him.

Turns out that he's very Irish, very funny and just really nice too. He's very comfortable in front of a crowd and all the kids just loved him. (There were loads of them. Made me feel extremely old :D)

I also bought the new book and I can't wait to start reading it.

Yay for really awful camera phone pics

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06 March 2008

Woyzeck On The Highveld

Woyzeck on the Highveld © Handspring Puppet Company The Handspring Puppet Company is performing Woyzeck On The Highveld at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg on 4 - 30 March 2008. (It will also be in Cape Town in May)

It's a multi-media event incorporating the animated drawings of William Kentridge with the Handspring puppets and live performers in an adaptation of German writer Georg Buchner's famous play of jealousy, murder and the struggle of an individual against an uncaring society which eventually destroys him.

The production originally premiered at the Grahamstown Festival in 1992 and was the first collaboration between Handspring and Kentridge. It brings together rod-manipulated puppets and animated film to graphically illustrate Woyzek's tortured mind as he tries to make sense of his external circumstances.

I saw Handspring's brilliant Tall Horse a few years ago, so I'm extremely excited to see another one, especially one featuring William Kentridge animations.

Tickets are available now, and it's not even that expensive. Don't miss it!

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14 November 2007

Wind Sprites

Wind Sprites

As the light of the early morning sun hits the pods, they start to emerge,weak from their long confinement and struggling against the tough shells that kept them safe throughout their time of change.
Soon their new wings will be strong enough for the breeze to lightly lift them off their perches and carry them far away.

FANTASY XXIV: "Metamorphosis"

Brief: Things change. You are to depict as fantasy image of things are changing, or how they have changed over long periods. Transformations, transmutations,emerging, polymorphing, evolution, whatever you can come up with, as long as there is some sense of a before and after, it should be fair game for a subject.

Closeup of the first, second and third sprite.

Animated Work in Progress (About 450Kb)


It's amazing how things work sometimes. I usually struggle for ages to find some kind of workable concept. This time I almost instantly knew what I wanted to do. I even made pre-sketches. On actual paper.

I also found the perfect source for my main sprite in Marcus Ranum's DA gallery, so without too much fuss, she had taken (a rather nice) form. I even tried a new technique - painting on highlights instead of using the dodge tool, to give her a much more glistening / surreal look. I'm also quite proud of how well the wings turned out.

Then it got a lot harder. I wasted almost 2 days trying and discarding different backgrounds, but nothing would work. I knew what I wanted, of course, but just couldn't find it. Since time was running out, I finally settled on this one, but it isn't really such a perfect fit.

Most of the critiques I got was about the busyness or distracting quality of the background. Even though I had cleaned the original picture up considerably, I tend to agree with them. Who knows, maybe I'll find or take the perfect picture to use somewhere in the future. Then I can finish this one properly.

Final Score: 8.999 (I can't believe how close this is!! Just a mere 0.001 more and I would have had my very first 9!)

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17 July 2007

Piper's Dream

Piper's Dream
At the base of the ruined city, an old piper still plays.
Dipping into the ancient, forgotten melodies.
Conjuring up images of what was, what might have been.
What could never be again.

Fantasy XX: Music

Brief: This image must contain something related to MUSIC. Since it is difficult to make sound appear in an image, you will probably chose to show instruments, dancing, or other activities that are usually associated with sounds. MUSIC is of course a matter of taste, so a simple horn that would summon your presence on a lonely cliff, would be acceptable,full troops of colourful dancers, pied pipers, surreal images of cellos frozen in crystal, a lonely drummer, an insect rock band, a harp soothing the savage beast or just about anything you can come up with that we could foresee being associated with some sort of sound effects will be fine.

Animated Work in Progress (485 Kb)


Unfortunately this was a bit of a rush job. It's a very nice theme, but after a hectic few weeks at work and a total blank on the inspirational front, I finally had only 2 days left with nothing more to show than a few scribbles done during the boring bits of Remix'07.

I had found the piper source earlier, loved it, and wanted to use it, but he just didn't want to fit into any else. (The vertical format is more due to not being able to find satisfactory background sources than any artistic choices)

But the dragon I like. They do seem to get easier as I go along. Still blue though. He was actually supposed to have a lot more spikes along his back, but I'm impressed by how well the horns worked.

It looks ok, not as refined as it might have been, but I'm happy enough with it.

Final Score: 7.821

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20 June 2007


Wow, a quarter of a century...

It always sounded so old. So far away.
Now I'm there, but I don't really feel any different.

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19 June 2007

The Lion King

The Lion King

What an amazing, larger-than-life experience! I have been yearning to see this show ever since my first glimpse of it at the Tony Awards all those years ago. It has been well worth the wait.

Using a combination of masks, bunraku puppets, body paint and shadow puppetry, the splendour and diversity of an African savannah is created. It's brilliant and the visual animation on stage is truly the essence of the show.

Most of the lead actors have performed their roles before in productions all over the world and with the exception of Scar's Mark Rayment, all are South African.
The first few notes of Buyisile Zama's Rafiki literally sent shivers down my spine.

I enjoyed the local flavour. Shenzi has a Cape flats accent and Pumbaa uses more than a few Afrikaans words. Even little Nala got a huge laugh with a very well timed "Hey Wena!". This kind of thing is often used to gain a few more laughs in regional productions, but here it also helped to strengthen the diversity of the characters.

The wildebeest stampede was incredibly powerful, and with the exception of maybe the opening sequence and Simba's vision of Mufasa, my favourite in the whole show.

It's strange, the theatre itself feels small and intimate, but it seats over 1900 people! It is so well designed that there's basically not a bad seat in the house, since you are no further than 33m for the stage wherever you sit. I love the way the acoustic tiling inside the theatre is reminiscent of woven reeds - distinctly African, but not overbearing.

The best part? I'm going to see it again in July, this time from the front row, courtesy of my really, really cool boss.

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14 May 2007

The Descent

The Descent

Slowly, gracefully,
the Harpy descends into the dusk,
ready to claim the soul of her first victim.

Fantasy XVIII: The First

Brief: You are to depict an image that shows THE FIRST of something.This could be anything from newborns, to the oldest, to the newly coronated, first contact with aliens, first explored planet, a first kiss, or victory, or the launch of some new overwhelming project on which something is dependent like the first starship, heck you could show the favourite among the concubines of some sultan...lots and lots of fun for the whole family.

Work in Progress


Once again, I'm really grateful to Tracie76 for letting me use one of her wonderful jump photos. (I used them previously for In Captivity)

I really wanted to do something a bit less depressing for this contest, so someone or something experiencing flight for the first time, immediately came to mind. I started this, abandoned it in favour of a Da Vinci-esque, bubble driven flying machine, and then came back to it when I couldn't find the exact right pictures I needed for the other one.

I liked the fact that her arms were merged into the wings, making her different from most usual winged humanoids. After doing a bit of research, I settled on a Harpy.

Traditionally they are depicted as a bird of prey with the face and torso of a woman. In earlier myths they were described as beautiful, winged maidens, or winged death-spirits. It was only later that they became the hideous, foul-smelling, winged monsters with the face of an ugly old woman, represented carrying off persons to the underworld and inflicting punishment or tormenting them.

For obvious reasons, I opted for the earlier description, as well as their traditional Greek role of escorting the spirits of the dead.

I like the warm, pastel colours. It's a bit different from my normal, colder palette, but it works and helps to create a much more serene atmosphere.

I'm really satisfied with the final result.

Final Score: 8.155

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08 May 2007


Cape Town - it was just a quick visit, but it was wonderful!

From eating smoked snoek and grapes while watching the sunset from Signal Hill (a very old family tradition) to finding 2 very cheap Terry Pratchett books in Paperweight, everything was just sooo much fun. I even got to see Herman for a whole 40 minutes before I had to leave for the airport.

Sweet PersimmonsHowever, my biggest discovery of the weekend was sweet persimmons.

We were invited for supper by my Dad's cousin, who lives on a farm just outside Stellenbosch. They mainly grow all the kinds of leaves and greenery you find in flower arrangements, but they also have some persimmon trees.

They look like fat, orange tomatoes, and when peeled, their flesh have a peach-like texture. However, I've never tasted anything like them before. Soft and very sweet, with an almost honeyish taste.

I prefer them fresh and raw, but they're just as delicious when quickly fried in a pan with a bit of cinnamon, and served over ice cream.

Apparently, their botanical name, Diospyros, is even Greek for “food of the gods".

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