Sunday, 30 October 2011

MyPaint Sketch 2

After a rather long hiatus I've got back into playing about with MyPaint.  Part of the trouble was that my Wacom Bamboo tablet had been acting up for some reason.  It seems to work OK with GIMP GPS (a painting add-on for GIMP) but sometimes doesn't register properly with MyPaint.  Could be a MyPaint problem then, although this is forgivable considering that MyPaint is open-source and entirely free. 
Anyway, here's something I started, just to try out some watercolour brushes; actually they're some of the brushes that David Revoy made for MyPaint (v4, I think).  Importing new brush packages on MyPaint is really simple by the way and just involves pointing it at a zip file of brushes and it does the rest.

As for this sketch, like most of the things I do this is just a start and will be added to the stack of unfinished creative projects that are piled up about the place.  So many projects, so little time...

Thursday, 27 October 2011

1541 IPA

Being a rather eclectic chap I'm always looking for new activities and interests.  The latest is beer making.  This has been prompted not only by my creative urges but also the exasperation that a pint of decent beer in the pub in Edinburgh (Deuchar's IPA, for example) currently costs £3.30.  Yes children I can remember when beer was less than a pound and in fact recall fondly the days (c.1986) when a pint (of McEwan's lager, admittedly) cost 64p in the Queen Margaret Union Bar at Glasgow University.
The exasperation comes in when you consider that, even with blatant profiteering by the oil companies a pint of beer is still four and a half times more expensive than a pint of petrol (at £1.35 a litre say, or approximately 78p a pint)
The point here is that petrol is the finite resource, not the beer, unless there are whole bunch of beer wells in the North Sea or (crivens!) Saudi Arabia running dry that we weren't told about. Anyway, once you've collected the kit and the empty beer bottles, making beer is not only cheaper (it works out at about 50p a pint) but it also allows one to be creative, as mentioned above.
In preparation for bottling my first batch of India Pale Ale (IPA) I decided to make up some labels in GIMP and as an added wheeze I'm going to use them as light-hearted marketing for my partner's new business (mentioned below).  So here are the labels I've designed using the banners from her website (which I designed), the company name (well, I am a Director, you know) and even the fonts we use (Georgia and Lucida Sans Console, if you must know).

You can see how they link to the 1541 banners I posted about earlier and also the heading of this very blog.  I'm intending to bottle it tonight so here's hoping that once conditioned (takes about two weeks) that the beer tastes as good as I think the labels look....

Sunday, 23 October 2011


Yes, I know. It's another post about virtual synthesizers, but I couldn't keep this one to myself.  I managed to pick this up for the cover price of the latest Computer Music magazine (No. 171 - it was on the DVD).  It was formerly retailing at about 69 dollars/euros, I think.  Anyway, I've had my eye on it for a while, particularly as there was a KVR Audio One Synth Challenge (OSC) using this very synth a few months ago (see link).  Actually you could use the recently released Z3TA+2 if you wanted instead.
This OSC was unusual in that it was the first time that the competition had been held using an out-and-out commercial synth.  A lot of the regulars were no show because of this (I count myself as a regular although I rarely participate), but it did attract a lot of new people to the competition.  Might have had something to do with the tasty prizes too.

Anyway, it sounds good and has some interesting arp (arpeggio) patches to add movement to the mix.  I have far too many virtual synths as it is (all free-ware) but have decided to remove all the extraneous ones downloaded on a whim and concentrate on just a few to really get to know them.  This one (and Oatmeal, below) are on that select list.  There are a few others that I have retained and I may get around to posting about them if I have time.