May 22, 2024

Native American Dakota nation chief quote

This work I started as an analog airbrush with a physical airbrush gun and real paint on a T-shirt, that I photographed and edited extensively (adding plenty detail) in Affinity Photo many years later. I appreciate the Ctrl+Z and History of digital tools to get things closer to where the image is in my mind (without getting my fingers covered in paint). Digital art creation in my view is in no respect inferior to the traditional analog way of conceiving. It takes effort to reach the point where artists want to be, the tools they use are just different.

In the early 90's of the previous century I discovered CorelDRAW as an amazing tool. Later I fiddled with Inkscape, after which I worked with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign on a professional basis. When Adobe started their ridiculously costly subscription model, I discovered Affinity suite and switched to those programs. Most recently I ran into the magnificent VectorStyler, so I guess I evolve along with the tools that become available to artists that are continuously looking for tools that help them express what is in their mind.

Click the image to see a larger version in Google's Lightbox

Halfway the 80's of the previous century I happened to run into a Native American lady of the Comanche nation, who lived on the edge of an Indian reservation, who told me a lot of her culture and what life is like in her area. It is nowhere near to the fake representation that the Hollywood moguls prefer to offer to the public. To unassuming people that live in a comfortable place in the West, it is bizarre and mind boggling what life is like in such a part of the world. Even to those, like me, who live in a way that sets them apart from the common people in their area. In spite of the difficulties that minorities are forced to deal with, the spiritual wisdom of their ancestors remains to linger in the minds and hearts of their offspring.

May 2, 2024

Custom guitar skin wrap

Customizing guitars by analog airbrushing (with real paint) is quite expensive and time consuming. If the image is damaged, the musician is facing the same high cost and lengthy separation of his or her instrument.But there are ways to avoid this. I was thinking of hydro dipping first, but skin wrapping a guitar allows a more precise positioning of the image onto the body, requires less time than the other two options to make, while repairing is cheaper and faster. Replacing the original image with a new one or the same is possible - for which the time to create (print) the image necessary, although it is an option.

I have posted several designs and there are more to come, so stay tuned. A number of the designs is interchangeable between guitars of different brands. I will probably tinker with all designs over time, since time is the cradle of creative impulse in an illusionary realm. Some will lead to improvement, others to regret, such is the nature of hampered development. Below the images are the guitar brand and model and the title of the image.

Gibson Les Paul - Jimi Hendrix

Gibson Les Paul - Jaguar

Fender Stratocaster - The Witcher

Gibson Les Paul - Assassin's creed

Gibson Les Paul - Comanche chief Quanah Parker

Selmer Maccaferri Gypsy Jazz - Gypsy caravan with horses

Fender Stratocaster - Cat with gun

Fender Stratocaster - Smoke

Fender Stratocaster - Smoke 2

Fender Stratocaster - Visitors

Gibson Les Paul - Hieroglyphs 1

Fender Stratocaster - Red silk

Gibson Les Paul - Fractal 1

April 20, 2024

Is there a future for graphic designers?


Since the rise of AI and its heir AGI becoming more mature within approximately a decade, according Nvidia's CEO Jensen Huang and Google's AI boss Demis Hassabis, coders will no longer be necessary, because everyone will be able to create programs by using natural language. Barely a day goes by today in which a new development in the AI field is published by the media; Chat GPT, Bard, Gemini and soon Gemma in the Google sphere alone within one year and countless other systems that generate a plethora of applications artificially, many of which have a focus on graphic environment. What effect will these emergences have on people that work in the illustration business, logo design, animation and even movie creators?

Already now many laypeople use online AI-systems to create all sorts of graphic design stills and animations, that in many cases would have required a professional to create. This inherently leads to the thought: Why pay a pro when I can let AI do the job for me for close to nothing? I've seen several predictions saying that the graphic industry will grow with 10% or more up to 2030, but nowhere did I see on which grounds this supposed growth was based. Also nowhere was it said that this increase means that professional graphic artists would have a profitable income to prevent poverty or starvation. As AI probably is going to be involved more and more in graphic design, it is most likely that laypeople are going to ne included in the increase. Question is: will professional designers - those that do manual work and those that also use AI - be able to avert an abhorring existence or not?

AI generated art (edited in Affinity Photo)

AI generated art (unedited)

It is probable that AI will affect any job in any trade to a huge extent, while the quality of the works will become better and done faster on average. Such is the worrying future that the entire work force on this planet will inevitably be facing, provided humanity and / or AI do not destroy life before any sort of progress will be made, in view of the fact that the threat of war anywhere seems to become stronger almost every day. The nature of this blog entry strongly suggests that there will be less skilled professional human input as the capability of AI systems increases, which confers with what Google's former product manager Mo Gawdat has stated, that AI is more dangerous that Climate Change and Elon Musk who said that AI is a greater threat than nuclear war. Those are claims that offer few reasons to be cheerful, but those that are destined to survive the longest, will be those that familiarize themselves with the possibilities that AI presents. Old school pro's that cling to traditional digital working methods will find themselves living in a trailer or in their car if Gawdat and Musk are correct.

I hope that this attempt to forecast a possible future for jobs in the graphic design trade does not destroy the tiny, worthless, depressing little life expectancy of designers that will perhaps find a way to earn money from creating NFT images, that are not particularly part of the graphic design market, but somewhat related to it, even though this segment will be flooded by AI creations as well. The key to get through these ominous developments unscathed, is to recognize lucrative trends swiftly and have really creative and appealing ideas.

What is an opportunity to live a proper life, probably is at the heart of the impending situation, which primarily is living outside of the clutches of the WEF influence that intends to monitor and control literally everything you do in life. WEF's credo is: You will own nothing and be happy. Imagine how that is possible. It nevertheless is a lot closer than most would care or dare to believe. If you don't know why I am writing these things in this rather specific way, you're probably on the brink of being too late to avoid being a totally controlled, powerless puppet of the illegal global power 'elite', for which this blog is not the place to explain how I arrived at this sadly not common enough viewpoint. Yet this gloomy prospect will soon be what threatens the quality of life in general, which will also affect graphic designers. So, take care of how to avoid being totally suppressed first and only after doing so, consider how to make a proper life for yourself in graphic design.

I am writing this in such a particular way, because when all your earnings are in total control by anyone other than you, it is impossible to maintain control of your own life. This exactly is the aim of the WEF; they want to control you. Totally. This means that your priority is to prevent that from happening before you must and can do anything else in your life. Cheers. Have a focused day. 

April 7, 2024

T-shirt design


Some people earn a comfortable living by making T-shirt designs. What strikes me is that most of the good selling designs are sort of corny - to stay polite - which means that corny is popular, which, reasoning further, must have been caused by the mindset of the buyers, which in turn is the result of the way in which they grew up and were educated (or not) if there is a relation between being plagued by a lack of education and buying apparel that tends to make those that wear it look like they have been raised in an environment that didn't offer proper support. But there still are designers that refuse to make corny stuff, as a result of which their sales are miles behind those that do not shy away from making corny rubble on T-shirts in which buyers look well....., corny. I would like to express to both the designers and apparel buyers of a garment style that obviously is not at the top of my preference list, to not take what I wrote here personal; I think every person is free to make or buy whatever bunk they like. 

However personally, I prefer to sell less non corny merchandise, because I do not wish to be involved in making designs that reflect the lack of taste or other disabilities that urge people to buy and assemble a wardrobe that a three year old finds appealing while already having reached an adult age. Of course fans of corny T-shirts would rather be found dead than wearing the fruits that erupts from my brain, but I would sooner pass away being considered a more or less ethical designer than to give in to the frenzies of the part of the market that isn't bothered by leaving the house not appearing properly dressed.

Below you find some of the designs that are appreciated by far less people than the common majority of clients of the T-shirt industry, even if it is not particularly helpful to properly replenish my bank account occasionally. I assume that most would prefer to call me weird or unassimilated, which in fact is true, but I don't necessarily consider generally accepted values to be a contribution to the evolution of humankind. So, from this it is safe to conclude that the market segment I intend to target consists of those that have a defiant mindset, that inspires them to care less about what the majority of people thinks of the products they create. In view of the misery today's world finds itself in, it can be assessed that majorities all too often cheer dubious decisions and trends, which are triggered by being easily misled as opposed to minorities that bunk or debunk what is presented to them before making choices. 

Click on the link below the images to visit my Red Bubble shop. Clicking on images will also show a larger version of them in Google's Lightbox, in which you can scroll through them or pick individual images to the thumbnail display at the bottom of the screen on a PC or Mac. Or just click on an enlarged image to move to the next. Mobile devices unfortunately do not offer these options.

I feel that I must warn you that more produce inspired by not choosing to create corny rubble may find its way into this blog entry in future, allowing you to mentally prepare for such an impending event and decide to visit again or stay the heck away.

March 30, 2024

Canva's pledge to Affinity


After the news was published that Canva had acquired the Affinity programs from Serif, Affinity's forum exploded and most reactions were not particularly positive. The main reason resulted from the fact that Canva is a subscription based web based tool, while the programs from the Affinity suite require a one time payment for each major version upgrade. The users' concern was justified, since by far the most had turned to Affinity after fleeing in droves from the absurdly expensive and monthly recurring fee Adobe suite. Switching platform is very time consuming and not a leisurely stroll in the park, since the file formats are proprietary for all brands, which means that either files need to be converted to the file format of the refuge application and start a new library from scratch, which will not make customers  and designers happy and therefore reduces income. Particularly modifying and updating legacy files that can not be imported into the involuntary chosen application is a horror scenario for graphic designers.

To ease the minds of the Affinity community and prevent coronary accidents, Canva issued a statement shortly after they published the new that Affinity was acquired. It contained four pledges that can be read in the image below and in the accompanying article published by Canva that you can read here. This allowed most Affinity users to decouple from the oxygen pump and helpers discontinue CPR. In theory the pledges contain a hundred percent positive message, that would put Affinity users' minds to rest and offers Serif to accelerate the programs' development, while operating in a larger chunk of the graphic design market segment. We will have to see what the lifespan of these pledges is. For now Canva should get the benefit of the doubt. It has the potential of preventing a massive parade to the exit of users of the Affinity suite as well.

Canva's pledges to Affinity

Past acquisitions for the majority haven't went well for users of the programs that were built by the company that was overtaken. But there is not a lot that users can do about it. Besides a switch that I mentioned in the previous blog post to the superb, one time payment VectorStyler drawing program, there also is the open source Inkscape that in theory has a great potential where the functional usefulness is concerned, but its UI is by far not as intuitive as Affinity's user friendly interface. VectorStyler does a better job at that, considering that the program has so many tools and functions that it even dwarfs Adobe Illustrator in the versatiliy and completeness department. But after users have become familiar with them, working with VectorStyler opens up new worlds. It however has no photo editor and desktop publishing program, which Affinity has turned into a very proficiently integrated suite of programs, that is unique in software.

VectorStyler logo

So, there is nothing else left for the Affinity community to wait what the future brings. It also is possible to continue to work with the latest version after Affinity would have turned to the subscription rip off model, should Canva dump the pledges in the bin at one point. Pixel pushers could look for possibilities to learn open source GIMP as a photo editor. What VectorStyler has done is prove that the instant of software rot still is quite a distance away. Software rot being the moment in which no further improvement to a program can be made, because it already contains all possible tools and functions imaginable. Unfortunately a desktop publishing program of the level of Affinity Publisher is one developed by Adobe and called InDesign, that is a budget unfriendly, perpetual payment rip off.

Inkscape logo

The question is, can or do graphic designers want to live with the restrictions imposed on them, accepting the fact that they will have to use programs of different brands that aren't designed to flawlessly work together or not? Globalism is a devious corporate / government / UN game in which the losers are known from the beginning as well as the winners. This doesn't exclusively apply to graphic designers; it is why the trillion dollar censorship is coerced on everyone that does not have at least a seven digit bankaccount. Any person with more than two properly functioning brain cells should be tempted to see such an iniquitous development in a broader perspective, because there is more at stake than initially meets the eye.

GIMP logo

Today the globalists' aim to separate the haves from the havenots in an illegal and unfeeling way. They have made it a societal problem that will not spontaneously go away, unless people wake up and stand for their rights, which aren't the corrupt laws that the crooked politicians and evil juridical clowns have imposed. Justice is real truth and nothing else what those without a covert, genocidal plan intuitively feel. Waking up lies poured out on us is the only way out of this callous global misery. 

Thanks for visiting and wishing you an independent future.

March 27, 2024

Canva acquires the Affinity suite programs


The announcement of Canva acquiring the programs of the Affinity suite, came as a thunder strike in a clear sky. Although the CEO of the Serif company, that owns the Affinity suit of programs, tried to make it seem like nothing will change for its community of users, the acquisition caused quite a stir among Affinity crowd. By the way, this topic has recently been closed for comments on the Affinity forum, most likely because by far the most posts, did not cheer the acquisition. The concerns Affinity users put forward make a lot of sense, the most important of which is the fact that the Affinity programs are sold for a one time fee, as opposed to the Canva and Adobe products that require payments according to the subscription model, which means users pay an indefinite amount of money as long as they use the programs, which smells like a daylight robbery.

Surprise acquisition of Affinity by Canva

Most Affinity users abandoned Adobe, because they did not want to continue to pay for the programs by a subscription model fee. In addition the functionality of the online design system of Canva is nowhere near of what can be done with the Affinity suite programs. In addition to this relative shortcoming, Canva bugs the hell out of its users with a barrage of ads, that the locally installed Affinity programs do not. These things give the Affinity community enough to worry about, which they of course do, because they remember how acquisitions that took place in the past turned out, in spite of the promises of the CEO's of the acquired company that nothing will change in the manufacturer - user relation.

Canva needed code like Serif bult, because the latter has developed software that far succeeds the functionality of the former while Canva has the financial power to acquire Serif. It is a repeating story in the world of software, that always evolves along the same lines. The acquired partner always has to cave in and abandon its user friendly policies because those policies are changed towards the nature of those of the acquiring partner. It is of little use to deny such a prospect, because it is the tried and tested way from a business point of view, that outranks all other considerations and policies and therefore makes it predictable what the future developments hold, with regard to user obligations.

Some annoyed users stated that they will return to Adobe, what will cost them an arm and a leg, while it was the reason they abandoned Adobe and switched to Affinity in the first place. So, that doesn't really make a lot of sense in my opinion. Fortunately there still is one appealing alternative available, which is switching to the brilliant VectorStyler, which is built, offered and updated by just one single person (....) a.k.a. programming wizard, named Csaba Raduly-Baka who resides in Finland, who seems to have resisted the temptation of big players in the graphic design market segment to hire him to make use of his outer worldly programming skills. VectorStyler is a graphic design program that is packed with a ton of functions that none of its competitors include and its programmer has a close relationship with the users of the program, that leads to meaningful upgrades that make the program even more usable than it already was.

So, lets see how much time it requires for Serif to succumb to the demands of Canva and in the meanwhile go check out the prowess of the superb vector design VectorStyler program, that also is available for a one time payment instead of the perpetual subscription based extortion method. I promise it will be worthwhile for graphic designers, who are fed up with the corporate greed of the big players in the graphic design market segment. You will be pleasantly surprised by the plethora of very usable functions that VectorStyler offers its users! It is the most estimable refuge for graphic designers that have much talent, but limited funds in trying to survive in the aim of companies to gain limitless corporate dictatorship.

I for one will focus on working with VectorStyler and Plasticity 3D that so far have displayed a fair policy towards their users, while maintaining a rapid upgrade frequency. It has become a challenge to continue to work for graphic artists in a corporation ruled environment, but fortunately there are at least some companies left that value decency and skill on their journey through space and time.

March 5, 2024

Vector painting of a jaguar


This is a vector portrait of a crouching jaguar, created in VectorStyler and Affinity Designer. At this time - March 2024 - it still is a work in progress. VectorStyler I used to create the majority of the spots, using the Spikes shapes effect, which shapes the outline of an object into a spiky line, that can be controlled. In Affinity Designer I did the composition and tweaking. Vector objects can be copied and pasted between the two programs, which is a time saver, since Vector Styler has a ton of tools that are not incorporated in the programs of the competition.

Everything mentioned above was drawn with the mouse. The final touches - the hair strands - will have to be drawn and I plan to do it with my old Huion 620 Pro drawing tablet (in vectors too), because I intend to keep this image a 100% vector drawing. The oldest stage is at the bottom, the newest on top. Click on an image to see a larger version of it in Google's Lightbox. In there you can also scroll through the stages on a PC. I used a ton of tricks to create the desired effect. In a multi layer drawing as this one, that contains a large amount of objects, it is best to use the Spit Screen View in Affinity Designer to select and / or reshape objects to save a huge amount of time. This paragraph also is in the bottom section of this blog entry. Most objects are given gradient fills, transparency, layer effects and Gaussian blurs to avoid the proverbial had edges typical for vector drawing programs. This makes images drawn in such a way appear to be very unrealistic.

Please check in every now and then to see the progress of this drawing.

Vector outline

The vector outline view shows the contours of objects and strokes - what actually is drawn - without fills and effects applied. Below this paragraph is the vector outline view from the stage before adding the fur structure that would dominantly hide parts of other objects, since it literally shows a plethora of objects. At this stage the outline view without the many strokes of hair still gives a rough idea how the drawing was set up. It also presents an idea of how many objects (called Layers in Affinity Designer) were drawn to achieve the desired result, bearing in mind that many objects are stacked on top of each other (most with a different effect or blend), which does not show in the outline view. Drawing the jaguar in vector instead of pixels, allows to resize the image to any scale without loss of quality.

Multiple object / layer selection in Split Screen View

When a drawing contains hundreds or thousands of objects / layers, selecting a particular one is difficult. The only effective solution to this problem is to work with a Split Screen View in Affinity Designer, which makes selecting less cumbersome, especially when the drawing contains many nested (objects within objects to various levels) layers. The image below shows what this looks like.

Jaguar in a virtual 3D frame

I often place my vector 2D images in a virtual 3D frame to see what it would look like, using the Plasticity 3D program to draw the frame, to see if the placement of the composition is off, before having it giclée printed, which is a special fine art way of printing with a high resolution (up to 6800 dpi and a 100 year of quality preservation). If cropping and / or alignment isn't done meticulously, any artwork can be ruined or subconsciously look strange. The image below shows the as of now not yet final stage of March 12 2024.

The vector painting
in a virtual 3D frame