Process notes: I mocked it up in Figma and exported a PNG, imported that into Procreate and painted it, upscaled it, made a heightfield image from that, used Blender with the heightfield as a displacement map, and then in Affinity Photo composited it with the original painting and added textures.
I’m intrigued by the idea of using Blender to add 3D texture and (hopefully) make things look a little more like a real painting. A couple years ago I first experimented with this on my Within the Walls of Your Own Homes piece.
In rereading that post just now, apparently back then it took two hours to render the image in Blender. Whew. No wonder I didn’t continue down that path. If I remember correctly, I was compositing a bunch of different textures together directly in Blender before doing the displacement. This time round, making the heightfield beforehand using Procreate and Affinity Photo seems to have paid off: render time is a mere one to two minutes.
The material nodes in Blender are pretty simple — image texture for the color, image texture with the heightfield through a multiply node to the displacement input on the final shader node.
(Also, to be clear, I haven’t done a deep dive into whether this is the actual reason the render times are so much faster.)
Movemap, a map of the U.S. to help people decide which county to move to, based on selectable factors.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Dominion, the new book by Tom Holland. (No, not that Tom Holland.) Appears to be a somewhat unedited draft, and there are parts I don’t agree with, but I found it interesting. I liked Holland’s Rubicon. Looking forward to Dominion.
As anticipated in issue 2.4, Kobo announced the Clara 2E, with a Carta 1200 screen. I haven’t been reading as much on my Kobo lately, though, so I don’t know if I’ll get one.
Recent nonfiction reads
In the Land of Invented Languages, by Akira Okrent. Enjoyed this. Conlangs don’t actually interest me all that much — there are so many natural languages to learn instead — but they’re still fun to read about. The bit about thesaurus organization was fascinating. Quite interesting throughout.
The Infiltrator, by Robert Mazur. Whew. This was perhaps a bit more intense than I wanted, though thankfully not really violent at all. So, so glad that I did not a choose a career path that led to going undercover for anything.
Recent fiction reads
Foundryside, by Robert Jackson Bennett. While there were some earthy bits I could have done without, in general I liked this. The magic system reminded me of writing software, which I liked, and things definitely got interesting at the end.
The Castle of Otranto, by Horace Walpole. A bit silly, and sadly not scary at all. (Which apparently is what I wanted from it.)
Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen. Delightfully funny at first — loved the satire — but then there wasn’t nearly as much humor in the second half. Or if there was, I missed it. I did, however, come across the word rhodomontade for the first time.