Bringing closer the Middle East

I like ideas which make us understand and respect other point of views, which try to bring people and cultures together.

Recently I stumbled upon two of such ideas while getting my daily dose of TED talks.

The first one is “The 99″, a superhero comic book. Although the back-story and the base rule set is heavily influenced by Islamic culture and history, its world is very open: the 99 superheroes are from all over the globe, they are citizens of 99 countries. (Even Hungary has one lol.)
It is quite refreshing to see a bit different kind of storytelling. I’ve read a boatload of comics (Marvel/DC) back in the day, so I learned much about American ideals, their way of life.
The 99 is not like that. It somewhat reminds me of the TV series “Heroes”, but the Islamic concepts give it a different flavor which makes it interesting.

TED talk

After superheros here are some regular but much funnier guys from the Middle East: The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour.
Three fellows with middle eastern roots doing stand-up comedy about hatred, fear, extremism, prejudice, stupidity, hypocrisy… on both sides of the fence. The western and the mid-eastern world both have more than enough things worth mocking.
Quite a few jokes are “edgy” (politically is sooo not correct), so much so that only someone from that community and cultural background could tell them without being of bad taste. They make fun of things without becoming self deprecating or “anti-western world”.
The aim of AoECT is to be funny and to show that we all have the same faults and virtues regardless in which country we live in.
I think they succeed spectacularly on both counts.

TED talk

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Climbing the animtree

Not much to tell this week: I’m animating in MoBu and working on the animation tree.

As it stands now I’ll need to make around 220 animations and 135 poses, which is a daunting task for me. “Jim, I’m a technical artist not an animator!” But developing the animtree requires lots of experimentation, so me creating and tweaking the animations makes the process more efficient.
When everything becomes solid and technically sound then I’m going to involve a real animator to fix stuff artistically.

When I get upset and/or tired I play Gyromancer.

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IllusTweaks v1.1

I updated IllusTweaks. These are the changes in v1.1:

• Pie menu has item highlighting.
• The pie menu only shows up on the canvas.
• The mousewheel zooms only on the canvas and works as usual everywhere else.
• The mouse does not jump back to its original location if the RMB is released outside the pie menu. (Cancel action.)

Download: (v1.1)

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IllusTweaks – Usability tweaks for Adobe Illustrator

I extended the IllusNav script with a pie menu. (Also renamed it to IllusTweaks.)

The application now changes Illustrator’s behavior the following ways:

– Middle mouse button drags the canvas.
– Mouse wheel zooms.
– Holding right click invokes a pie menu:

  • Releasing the right button in the center shows the classic right click menu.
  • Releasing the right button on a colored area will execute the indicated function.
  • Releasing the right button outside the pie menu closes it.

The menu is made in way that allows quick, intuitive gestures for common functions. For example “RMB+a short move up” brings the selected objects forward one level. “RMB+longer up” sends it to the top of the stack, moving the mouse toward the direction of the File menu has the Save and Export functions and so on. With a little practice the pie menu can be used without looking, purely from muscle memory.

Download: (v1.0)

Extract it to a folder and check out the readme.txt file for more detailed instructions.

UPDATE: Updated the script so it does not exit whenever ESC is pressed.

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