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Note: this is a much simpler form of this tutorial from Spoongraphics.

The other night, a friend of mine and I were chatting, and she complimented something I’ve been working on (but haven’t yet posted). And I said, “ehh, it’s just a dumpster.”

She replied, “I would not have assumed dumpster.”

So, here’s my dumpster space scene mini-tutorial.

  1. Acquire a photo of a rusty dumpster. I used this one ($3), but many others are out there. Or—take your own! I used a blue (sea) + rust (land) combo, but there are many other combinations that work. Scratches, however, make it seem unrealistic (though you can mend those in Photoshop).
  2. Cut out a circular piece that you like the water/land shapes on. Spherize (in Photoshop: Filter > Distort > Spherize). Rotate it, if desired, to put the elements where you most like them. (I didn’t bother with this.)

  3. Create a black area the same size. Gaussian blur it with a big blur. Then blur it again. This is the most fiddly part, and you’ll need to fuss with it to make it look realistic.

  4. Expand the shadow region until it looks right.

  5. Add inner and outer glow to the planet so it has atmosphere.

  6. Find a good lens flare photo. I used one from Photography planet I had lying around and used it at 80% normal blend mode.

  7. A good background is black or near-black, and has stars. I happened to use one from here. You can use brushes to make star patterns, or use photos of sky or nebulae—whatever.

  8. I added a different layer above the lens flare, set it to lighten 70%, then filled in a few places (atmosphere, flare itself) with 50%, 70%, or 100% black to keep the stars from peeking through.

From there, the Spoon Graphics tutorial has lovely ideas on how to make the whole thing more realistic, including adding clouds and stuff.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

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Rismo made this rather awesome piece and posted it on Deviant Art. Hot Topic started selling the t-shirt.

No one paid Rismo.

Did Hot Topic rip off Rismo?

No, Deviant Art did through a dark pattern. See below for update.

Here’s DA’s Submission Policy.


Check out d:

the right to sublicense to any other person or company any of the licensed rights in the Artist Materials, or any part of them, subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement.

and 6:

6. Payment Unless otherwise agreed between Artist and deviantART in a writing from deviantART, the license granted to deviantART under this Agreement is royalty-free.

Royalty. Free.

In other words, by uploading your artwork to Deviant Art, you allow them to sell to Hot Topic—and anyone else worldwide—and pay you nothing.

And there’s no way to opt out, at least not on my account.

Update: Deviant Art’s Response

We intend to employ similar methods to allow syndication of art work, like the daily top favorites and even the ability to stream your gallery to your personal website. We couldn’t do this and things like this without third party rights because RSS feeders, blogging services and the like are third parties.

So they say that it’s just for promotion of your work on DA via normal service-type operations that involve DA.

Fact is, though, they absolutely could do what was originally claimed if I’m reading the submission terms correctly.

Update 2: Deviant Art’s Denial of Art Sale to Hot Topic

Text here. Thank you to commenter Kira Spoons for finding it, as I hadn’t checked up on this topic today.

Still, 3d of their submissions policy is overly broad and appears to permit that royalty free.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

Best related work: Fic by Anne Jamison, a history of fanfiction.

Best fan artist: Randall Munroe. Last cartoon of the year is 1311 and first of 2013 was 1155 (thank you @xkcdfeed). Three of note: 1158 (it’s all about physics), 1167 (Star Trek Into Darkness), 1177 (Time Robot). For those who feel he isn’t eligible, he was ruled eligible in 2011 and the rules have not changed. Further discussion here.

Best dramatic presentation, short form: Flying Tiare by Matthieu Courtois and Ludovic Allain. Made as a fan film for the airline’s 15th birthday, it’s a real look at the technology and work of commercial flying. The really cool part, though, is seeing someone go up into the jet engine and get to see the (running) engine from the inside.

I’d already posted a recommendation for: Short story: “The Slow Winter” by James Mickens, so just a reminder.

The Cambellian Anthology

The 2014 Cambellian Anthology is out! It features 860,000 words (eight-ish novels in size) from 111 different writers who are eligible for the Campbell award this year. Totally, completely free.

I want to offer my immense gratitude to Stupefying Stories for this. More than any other single award, I try to be well-read for the Campbell, and it used to be a real chore before Writertopia started keeping the eligibility list. Stupefying Stories took it to the next level with the clever idea to have an annual anthology.

Also, immense gratitude (and props) to the authors and publishers who’ve permitted their work to be included.

Special shout-out for Brooke Bolander, who is one of the eligible.


Best dramatic presentation, long form: Sharknado. As billed. Loved it, and I’m not normally up for this kind of thing. Definitely smarter than it had to be.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

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Based on seeing a friend’s pieces on Society6, I decided to start uploading photos there for sale in various forms. They have prints, iPhone cases, computer cases, pillows, tote bags, and stuff like that.

My first piece (my plan is to upload one per week) is called Iceplant.

I know, I know, it doesn’t look like iceplant, right? I prefer to think of it as iceplant in someone’s acid trip.

Actually, the photo is really of iceplant. Rick and I were walking around Pigeon Point Lighthouse one day. I had my finger on the shutter button, as you do, and misstepped, setting off the trigger. I got a lovely streaky blurry photo of a patch of iceplant.

Honestly, it really wasn’t very fetching, but there was something about it, so I played with it.


My friend Joe (zeruch) also has a shop on Society6, and I like this piece in particular. Note that some of his figurative work is NSFW, but I’ve linked to an abstract. I think it looks pretty awesome as a pillow or clock.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

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Everyone in science fiction knows romance novel covers are awful, right?

And Fifty Shades of Grey is a lurid book that can’t possibly have an understated, tasteful cover, right? Because that’s not the kind of book it is.

Well, okay, it has a tie on the cover, and it’s a, well, I don’t know what the hell to call it, frankly. Jenny Trout has a whole bunch of points about why it shouldn’t be called a romance novel, nor BDSM, nor whatever, so I’ll just link to her site and back away slowly.

In terms of marketing categories, though, erotica or erotic romance. (Yes, they are different, and they are also different from the marketing categories of both porn and sexy romance.)

Why, 50 Shades started out as fanfic of Twilight. But the cover on that can’t actually be too horribly awful (right?), given that Bella and Edward both retain their v-card throughout the duration of not one, not two, but three volumes of this saga.

So it has an apple and vampires don’t eat apples. Mmmkay.

But it is about temptation, though most of the temptation is on Edward’s side, and that’s only ever chronicled in a partially-completed manuscript, Midnight Sun told from his POV, rather than Twilight, which is told from Bella’s.

So now that I’ve basically admitted to reading all the Twilight books and none of E L James’s, how about some other covers? I remember someone recommending Outlander once upon a time. I randomly opened it, happened to be on a sex scene, and I backed away slowly.

It’s one of those where I really kinda wish I cared about it. I’ve tried to break into it a couple of times and it’s never quite caught for me. There sure are a lot of people who love it, though. Like Pam.

An oft-recommended book was Tiffany Reisz’s The Siren, which is a complex series to explain. There are a ton of interrelationships (possibly the only thing more complex than Torchwood as far as who has/had slept with whom), and a ton of plot threads. I read the four-book series over Christmas week.

I bring this one up because it is the most overtly sexual cover on her four books. Yet, it’s still quite understated, especially given the content of the book. As far as content: Nora’s a dominatrix on the side and an erotica writer by day. She’s got a difficult relationship with an editor who starts out hating everything she stands for. She’s got a live-in assistant who’s a 19-year-old virgin. (As Rick put it, “that’s just stunt casting.”) And then there’s the ex, but that would be a spoiler.

Are all romance covers like those above?

No. They are not.

Let’s go back to last year, about a claim Mike Resnick made that I’m disappointed that no one called him on.

Here’s what Resnick said (click for pic of text, quoted below)

And a lot of it abounded in bare, raw, pulsating flesh, totally naked from the neck to the navel. No question about it. It’s there for anyone to see—and of course, since such displays seem to offend some of our members, to picket.
You know where I found it?
In the romance section. I’d say that just about every other cover shows a man’s bare torso, lean and muscular, usually with a few more abs than Nature tends to provide. The man’s head is rarely portrayed. Clearly these are erotic covers, designed to get a certain readership’s pulse pounding.

Personally, I’d love to see pulsating flesh on a book cover—at least the first few times. Never have. That would be science fictional.

Last year, I posted a screencap of 25 (I said 30 yesterday and was wondering why the math didn’t add up) covers that was sort of a side commentary to the SFWA Bulletin issue. I don’t mind admitting I read erotic romance, nor do I mind admitting that I write the stuff. Part of the reason I’ve read so much was to get a sense of the market.

I’ve gone and made a current screencap, too.

In both cases, there’s no censorship about what I’ve read. These are, in order (most recent in upper left, oldest in lower right), the last 25 titles I’d read in the erotic romance genre in both pics. The only thing I’ve done is filter out the non-romance titles I’d read.

Itemizing Resnick’s points:

  1. Covers with men.
  2. Who are totally naked from the neck to the navel.
  3. Man’s bare torso […] usually with a few more abs than Nature tends to provide.
  4. The man’s head is rarely portrayed. (How many covers without heads?)
  5. How many covers with men who are naked, frontal, and without heads?

Difference is? This new batch of covers is infected with teh gay as several are M/M books or have M/M subplots. More men, therefore more likely to meet Resnick’s criteria, right?

So, here’s 25 books from last year.


Here’s 25 books from this year, ~8 months later. Four of the 25 are solely M/M, and two (Tiffany Reisz’s) have M/M subplots with concomitant sex scenes.

2014-02-10 17.39.33

Note: the cover for Where Nerves End got lost somewhere in the ether, but here it is for reference.

  1. Covers with men. 2013: 13 (52%), 2014: 20 (80%)
  2. Who are totally naked from neck to navel. 2013: 4 (16%), 2014: 9 (32%), though 3 of those are M/M.
  3. Frontal enough naked neck-to-navel such that one can see excess abs. 2013: 1, 2014: 1. (Tempting Adam has a frontal cover, but his abs are within the realm of normal.)
  4. Headless men (I counted them as headless if you couldn’t see most of the face). 2013: 2, 2014: 8
  5. Frontal headless men. 2013: 0, 2014: 0.

Lest you think my taste is different than the reality of the market as a whole, here’s a curated list that’s a combination of Amazon sales and Goodreads reviews. Scan down the first 100 covers on the first page and tell me the results are significantly different.

Let’s be clear here: several of the books I read (two from Maya Banks, two from Natasha Moore, one from Cathryn Cade) focus around sex clubs, and a sex club forms part of the plot unifying Tiffany Reisz’s series.

Even those covers are less lurid than the SFWA Bulletin cover for Issue 200.

Just sayin’.

As if all that weren’t enough, this Mary Sue post nails it.

I call bullshit on Resnick’s alleged experiment.

Link: Silvia Moreno-Garcia nails it.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

deirdre: (Default)

Paper is an iPad app from and it’s pretty awesome. So when my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas, for once I actually wanted the stylus designed to go with it, Pencil. It’s got extra features when used with the Paper app, but it’ll also work as a regular stylus.

Now, I can’t draw for crap (though I have resolved to learn to draw better), but I had a lot of fun making this little pic.


Originally published at You can comment here or there.

deirdre: (Default)
Now I've seen people do great calligraphy on YouTube before, but I've never seen someone start this far back in the process and do such traditional forms.

Donald Jackson, scribe to the House of Lords and Queen Elizabeth II:

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Got a chance to watch Water Flowing Together tonight, a movie about Jock Soto, who was the principle dancer of the New York City Ballet for many years. He was one of the last dancers trained by Balanchine.

In addition to talking about ballet, it covers a lot of other subjects: being teased as a gay kid, growing up Puerto Rican and Navajo, and the process of transitioning from a poor family to an international star.

He talks about the tension between his views of living on a reservation as a child vs. his views going back after his retirement from the ballet.

Worth watching.
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My friend Steve (Splicer) Scotten makes beautiful prints at a variety of pricepoints. Many of them are of dinosaurs, some are of pens. They come from small to big with matching prices.

He could use the business, so if you're in the market for something unusual that'll help keep an artist afloat, please take a look at

One of my favorites is this one:

deirdre: (Default)
My mother, [ profile] almelina and I will be having a craft day on Saturday, September 19th.

I have a metric ton of yarn, and I want to part with most of it. I've decided I'd really like to do laceweight projects, and most of my yarn is DK weight or heavier.

This doesn't begin to cover the extent of my stash:

I'll be blowing it all out. It will be priced per tote, and I'll have between 25 and 30 that I'll be trying to part with. So far, prices range from $25-$75, and photos of the box contents I've got inventoried will be available in my MobileMe gallery. Prices for the totes are here (tote is included).

(Maybe that way I can find my unfinished projects!)

My mother is into beads, and has been working on her own trunk show. I'm sure she'd love to meet beaders and swap beads and do generally bead-y things.

We'd also love to have other crafty sorts around, so if you sew or whatever, you're invited.

We're planning on having some barbecue stuff, and we have a neat garden and grow food, so if you're into gardening, we'd love to talk to you about that, especially if you're into organic gardening.

There's indoor spaces, outdoor spaces (weather permitting), and we've got plenty of chairs for somewhere between 20 and 30 people. We do have two cats, so be aware if you have allergies.

RSVPs are welcome at deirdre at me dot com. Directions are here.
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Okay, I'm only a little bit embarrassed about this, but it can't possibly be as embarrassing as Dali getting out of the car at the Residensas, right?

I was always the weird kid in school, but I'm so glad I was never that weird, not even at my oddest and least appropriate. Srsly.

I've seen the movie three times. That said, I tend to be a more-than-once person, because there's details I pick up on later viewings.

Like the movie revolves more around Garcia Lorca than Dali, but Dali usually gets the star lighting.

little spoilerettes and one bad word... )
Listen to the music and play with the silly flash site.
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A few years ago, I took a class in Spanish literature and art, and was exposed to a lot of atypical work by many Spanish painters, including this early Dali painting called "Person at the Window," painted in 1925, during the time that he was a student at the Residencia (and during the period that Little Ashes covers).

Now I thought there was a night-time painting like this, but here's the one I found. There's a shot composed like this, and it seems deliberately so.

(Removed because I re-watched and it wasn't the pic I was thinking of.)

There were several other shots that paid homage to early Dali works, I just can't find the originals that I'm thinking of.
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Grinch Bento!

If you love weird stuff or bento, you should take a peek at the Bento Challenge community.
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Toledo is known for its Damascene jewelry such as this piece:

Pelikan has several fountain pens in its Toledo series featuring damascene: More behind cut )
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What do:

Modern Glassware


Teotihuacan Mural


Ceramic Turkey

...have in common? (answer) )

Art Meme

Oct. 22nd, 2008 11:42 am
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Islamic art and architecture is one of my favorites, but I'm surprised I scored so low on Renaissance an so high on east Asian art.

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Traditional, Vibrant, and Tasteful

Islamic art is developed from many sources: Roman, Early Christian, and Byzantine styles were taken over in early Islamic architecture; the architecture and decorative art of pre-Islamic Persia was of paramount significance; Central Asian styles were brought in with various nomadic incursions; and Chinese influences . Islamic art uses many geometical floral or vegetable designs in a repetitive pattern known as arabesque. It is used to symbolize the transcendent, indivisible and infinite nature of Allah.

People that like Islamic art tend to be more traditional people that appreciate keeping patterns that they learned and experienced from their past. It is not to say that they are not innovative personalities, they just do not like to let go of their roots. They like to put new ideas into details and make certain that they will work before sharing them with others. Failure is not something they like to think about because they are more interested in being successful and appreciated for their intelligence. These people can also be or like elaborate things in their life as long as they are tasteful. They tend to prefer geometric patterns and vibrant colors.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy


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