Empathy And Google

FalconSorry about not posting yesterday, I’m still sick, and just wasn’t up to posting. I am feeling much better today so I’m going to try and get some extra stuff up to day to make up for it. Now for today’s written post.

If you are here for today’s Painting follow the link.

When Google was first hitting it big my dad became very annoyed. He was annoyed because he had read up on how the search algorithm worked. See, he knew that the algorithm looked at what everyone else was clicking and moved those links to the top, a bit of knowledge which has since lead to untold amounts of abuse. What he would say was “just because it more popular doesn’t make it better.” No as a logical statement this is perfectly sound. just because a thing is popular, does not make it better. But there are two things that my father had failed to realize. The first is that all of those people you had started to use Google back then had access to all of the other search engines that he has access to, including his favorite, Dogpile. Dogpile is actually  a meta search engine, which is to say that it searches other search engines. This is actually a great idea in principle, but in practice leaves something to be desired, since in the results are mostly not what you want, and since it searches Google anyways you usually end up clicking on its link, not always but still.

The second thing, and this is the one that made me want to talk about the subject this morning, is that in many cases something being popular does mean it’s better. Let me elaborate. There are two scientific principles that are essential to this line of thinking, the first is the regression to the mean, which states that the more test samples you have the less extreme the average will be over the course of time. the second principle is the law of large numbers which says that the larger the sample pool is the more precise the average will become. These two closely related principles combined with a fairly new theory called Crowd Wisdom, reveal the true power of Google.

Crowd Wisdom works like this, if you have a large number of level headed individuals, from a diverse set of backgrounds and have them all just guess, their average will be incredibly accurate. The Ideas is the all of the outliers, the high guesses and low guesses will nullify each other leaving only the most accurate guesses. The same principle is in action with the Google search algorithm, they bank on the majority of inquiries will be satisfied by the best available link. It also makes an assumption that is more and more at the heart social values today, that we are all essentially the same. It assumes that if I am interested in a certain website when I make my specific search, that you will be interested in it too.

This level of assumed empathy is incredible, and I think that it is an indication of this to come. I think that the world is really finally coming around the idea that in essence we are all equal, that are values, as far as what really important are the same. People are being to see that there are no bad guys, there are no good guys we are all just people trying to do what we think is right.

And that’s my take on Google and empathy.

And for


Underhill Kingdom

UnderhillKingdomI am feeling a bit under the weather today, I think I am coming down with something. I did not write a new post for to day but I will try to do a double post tomorrow. For now I did finish this painting albeit late.

This one is a painting of a fantasy style kingdom carved from a mountain. I think that it came out okay. I need to work on my edges for buildings, I find my self getting lost as I try to come up with a convincing geometry for a city. Maybe I will try to do a couple of studies of cityscapes.

Anyways here’s the link for the full version of the banner image.

Integrated Learning

IntegratedLearningIn my attempts to get myself up to snuff as far making concept art goes I have been brushing up on various painting techniques. In the past I have had some experience with watercolors and acrylics. I dabbled in oil painting but was never really trained in it, but as I have started reading about some of the theory behind oil painting techniques I find myself getting more out of the lessons due to my lack of experience with oil paints. Let me explain. When you get a tutorial in some technique of another you may learn a trick as you follow the instructions, but when you are forced to take the advice and insights for one discipline and apply it to another, I think that you get more from it. You have to find what is important about the lesson, find what is most useful about what they are saying and apply it to a foreign practice.

I think that there is something there. As I move forward in my self education I plan to do this with more purpose. I want to find texts talking about photography and film, music and dance, and extract what I feel is relevant. To draw parallels between disparate fields of creativity to find common traits. One of the best ways to learn is to explore the very edge of your experience. Your go out to the limits of what you know, and take one more step, simple but powerful. Its the same way we conduct scientific discovery. We find a field of study the has a knowledge base, go out to the edge of our understanding of it and take a look, when you do this you are guaranteed to discover something in short order.

For example, I have been reading a book about using color in oil paints. The book cover everything from the basic color theory like what I discussed last week, to the more advanced methods of manipulating color. One of these techniques is using a continuity color to create harmony in your color palette. The way it works is by adding a little bit of the color in question to every color you mix as you paint, this ensures that the whole painting is harmonious and that none of the color clash. This technique is essentially replaced in the color balance feature in Photoshop, which finds the average color and brings all of the colors closer to that, creating greater harmony in the picture.

And that’s my take on integrated learning.


I will be trying a shorter format, and going back to posting every day. So from now on the posts will be about half as long, but accompanied by a new painting every other day.

Sunday Speed Paint

SP2So this is a little late, because I got wrapped up with Easter stuff, But I did get my five paintings done, Ten minutes each as usual, I feel like I was able to get a bit more detail, and I also tried to put in a human scale reference in each this time. They are are still a bit rough but I don’t expect these to ever reach the level of a polished finished product in just ten minutes. The real hope for me is to get in the habit of roughing out a composition that I am happy with in as little time as possible so the the rest of the time spend on my work can go into making strong perspective and adding interesting details.

Here today’s link to the weekly speed paint, Thanks for visiting!

Warp Cruiser

WarpCruiseToday I finished up a painting of a warp speed cruise liner. I was inspired by the theoretical technology that has been outlined for a practical solution for faster than light travel through space. It’s still taking more time than I’d like, but on the bright side I do find that flow that I keep harping on about, and that not bad.

So here the link for the banner image in full.

Color Theory

ColorColor. What is it? Well, there are several ways to answer this question, none of them are wrong and a good understanding of them all is necessary, I think, to using color properly. Color is light, or more accurately , it is light interacting with matter. More specifically still, Color is the narrow band of light frequencies that we can see interacting with matter. When light leaves the sun it has a presence at every frequency, many of those light waves are harmful to the human anatomy(gamma rays, x-rays, microwaves most of the extremely high and some of the extremely low frequencies), luckily for use out earth’s atmosphere scatters many of the dangerous frequencies of light. I’m not completely sure why so much of light of the light spectrum should be so harmful, but it has to do with how the light interacts with our DNA, Or rather the fact that it interacts with our DNA at all. Generally we prefer that our DNA be left alone.

But I digress, The point I am making here is that not all light is the same, and that the light that we see is actually a very small sliver of the whole light spectrum. We call this small sliver, Visible light, and it is what most people are talking about, artists included, when they talk about light and color. When you shine a beam of light through a prism, the glass in the prism warps the light slightly, and each frequency is warped slightly differently, so that they each come out at a unique spot creating a spreading effect. What you see as a result is all of the individual frequency of the visible spectrum spread out in order of wave length. We call it a rainbow.

It is these wavelengths that we, artists, are describing when we talk about hue. Hues are just the different names that we have assigned to each wavelength. They listed in the same order as the rainbow, from lowest frequency to highest, or Red to Violet, thought for our purposes we are going to call the high end purple (I’ll explain later). Generally, for artistic purposes it is most useful to present the spectrum in the form of the color wheel. The color wheel is organized by hue, so that red flows into yellow, which in turn flows into blue, which also flows back into red, forming the classic wheel. Red, Yellow,  and Blue, are, as it happens, the Primary colors so called because you can make any color necessary using this three starting colors.

However it should be noted here that there is a difference between mixing paints and mixing light. What I mean is, that when you mix red and green paints together you get, sort of a muddles brown. But when you mix red and green together in light wave, like say on the screen of a monitor, you get Yellow. There is a very interesting reason for this, and I think that I should spend more time explaining it, But I have spoken too much on the science of color already, and want to get back to the uses of color. But in summary, the RBG (Red, Blue, Green) scale, deals with what the human eye sees color, and the HSB (Hue, Saturation, Brightness) scale deals with how we manipulate color.

So to begin with you have the primary colors; red, yellow, and blue. Mixing each of these with one of its neighbors in turn will give you the secondary colors; orange, green and purple. Mixing each of these color in turn will give you the tertiary colors; red-orange, light-orange, lime green, turquoise, violet, and magenta (this by the way is why I swap out purple with violet on my color wheel). Mixing these final set of color together creates a level of nuance that is of little use and so the quaternary color are not usually named, though there are many color names that fall under the umbrella of quaternary.

Now, in my opinion this is the sticking point, terminology, in fact I think that this is the sticking point in almost all arguments, debates and misunderstandings. We all have specialized terminology the is specific to our areas of expertise, which other might not understand, so lets break it down.

Color = Hue = Base Value = Wave Length = Frequency

Brightness = Value = Illumination = Tint/Shade

Intensity = Saturation = Purity = Vibrancy

We’ve already covered hue, so let’s move on to Value. Value is the brightness of a particular color. To make a specific color brighter using paint you would add white to make a tint, or add black to make a shade. Manipulating value is a good way to show the turn of an object, depicting the depth and shape of three dimensions. You can also use value to show the recession into space, since as an object gets farther away from the viewer the apparent value gets brighter also with earth’s atmosphere slightly bluer.

Intensity is the measure of the purity of a color. The colors that are on the color wheel are generally at 100% intensity, also the color in the rainbow. Photoshop labels this aspect of color saturation. To change the saturation using paints you can add other colors to them, technically they can be any other color but for best effect most people add amounts of the complementary color. So on a color wheel there is an even number of color positions, and so there is always a color on the opposite side for any other given color. Across from red is green, across from yellow – purple, orange- blue, lime green – Magenta, etc. There is always a Complementary color, so called because when placed next to each other the dissonance in their frequencies causes them to pop to the eye; red makes green, greener, purple make yellow more yellow. Mixing the two colors together on the other hand make the colors less intense, and mixing them in equal part will give you a neutral grey. It actually will look more like a muddled brown, but a true brown is actually a very dark orange.

The final thing I’d like to mention for this post on color theory is  temperature, if you were to draw a line through your color wheel from yellow to purple and the colors on the blue side would be considered cool, and all the colors on the red side would be considered wam. This aspect of the color wheel s usually used to communicate emotion, but is also often used to communicate, as the name would suggest temperature. If you are painting winter seen most of you colors should be on the cool side, and if its and scene from a hot desert day then pick from the warm side.

That about sums up this post on color theory, I will probably want to write up another as some of the more nuanced point occur to me, but for now…

That’s my take on color theory.