Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Art: The Angel (MH/AW'd) (Also, Curiosity talk)

Okay, so first, real quick thing. As I mentioned earlier, props to the Curiosity team at NASA for a successful touchdown. Now, just sit there and think about just how incredible this feat is. At this moment, we are remotely exploring another PLANET. Do you understand just how insane that is? People are all excited over it, but I'm not sure everyone really comprehends how unbelievable this is. Here's a couple reasons why this is beyond extraordinary.
1) Angle. The Earth is constantly revolving around the sun. Mars is constantly revolving around the sun at a DIFFERENT rate. When we launched Curiosity, it started traveling and at first was affected by trying to tear out of Earth's gravity while staying on the right path, then it needed to dodge any gravitational impact of the Moon as well, and then it needed to be on just the right trajectory that it could angle in AT A CURVE because of the sun still exerting its gravity on the rover and it had to just properly hit a target that, cosmically, is like hitting the head of a pin with another pin's head.
2) Distance. You can't see Mars from Earth with the naked eye, right? So it's obviously really far, but it's hard to grasp just how far it is - seeing diagram of the solar system and stuff just fails to impose that sense of scale on you. Alright, let's think. We can see the moon. How large is the moon? It doesn't LOOK that big, right? Alright, the Moon has a circumference of about 6700 miles (I know, I know, science means I should talk in km, but I'm not very good at km). So that means that on a full moon, we can see half of that (though on an angle, of course), and half of that is about 3300 miles. 3300 miles is the same approximate distance as driving from Miami to Seattle. That's quite a ways, isn't it? So that's the distance covered that we can see on the Moon. But of course, it's important to think of how far away the Moon is then! It's 238,900 miles away. Again, big number lacking in perspective. Okay then, imagine traveling around the Earth once. That's a long way, and quite time-consuming, even if it's a continuous trip, right? Well, do it nine and a half times and you've traveled approximately the distance to the moon. Think about that: standing on a flat field, objects start looking miniscule from like a mile away. You can still see the moon at the size we can from a distance 9 and a half times the Earth's circumference, and this is a stellar body that's close enough to us to be gravitationally locked with us! Now, Mars. Our distance Mars is about 142 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. If you were keeping track, that's the same as traveling around the Earth 1349 times. Here's the math for you: your average commercial airliner, the sort your family would fly on,  goes at 550 miles per hour. Now, pretty much no standard airliner can do this without landing for refueling, needing to do so about 5 times to make it around. Let's say it takes an hour to refuel. This means it takes about 50 hours to go around the world in a standard plane. It would take almost 20 days of this to get to the moon. From here to Mars? You'd be flying around the world (with 5 hours of refueling per revolution) for 7 and 3/4 YEARS. Flying in a commercial airliner, cramped the whole way, eating nothing but shitty airport food and in-flight snacks, stopping every 9 or so hours to take a stretch and then getting back on the plane an hour later, for nearly 8 years. The amount of distance you've traveled? Yeah. That's what Curiosity's done.
3) Speed. That 7.75 year journey in a commercial airliner? Done in a little more than 9 months. It was moving at 17 times the speed of sound when it entered to do that. That is FAST.
Hope that puts it all in perspective! This has been the Math and Science minute here on the Logbook Project. Now to the art:
Okay, this isn't the art I'm actually featuring today. But I made it in like 5 minutes earlier and tweeted it at Nasa and the Curiosity team, so I guess it's fan-art of NASA. Enjoy my low-effort work.
Now, to some more serious work of mine. Now, here's a very interesting thread on Story Games (this is relevant, I swear): http://story-games.com/forums/discussion/16853/monsterhearts-the-angel/p1
Okay, now that you haven't clicked that, it's Joe Mcdaldno's nearly-complete Monsterhearts skin, The Angel. Now, as with Apocalypse World and Dungeon World, I'm a big Monsterhearts fan. What Joe is doing is allowing folks to take a picture of their beautiful people acquaintances and send someone who would fit good as the Angel in to him to be art-converted instead of him hunting through stock photo sites.
I don't know anyone who quite fits the Angel description, but the whole thing hit my art-inspiration button, especially since I've been drawing a lot of Apocalypse World styled stuff recently.
Did this on a 3 by 5 index card first in pencil then went over with my Sharpie. If you aren't familiar with Monsterhearts, it's a teenage monster horror sex fiction RPG. Yeah, it's sweet as hell. That inspired the decisions behind clothing and such, but with the blatantly angelic wings of light.
I was happy with it. Really happy. So I took my best photo of it (lame-ass scanner) and cropped it up and took a look and...well, turns out when you're zoomed in a bit you realize that sharpie has really fuzzy edges, and I wanted the very clean images ordinarily found in AW or MH. And so I started a long-ass journey to learn my way around the Pen tool in GIMP. Frankly, I'm super-happy with it.
THIS is it.
Yeah, pretty sweet, huh? And that's not all of it - if it looks a bit fuzzy, that's because Blogger is resizing it. Click it for full-size: it's way big and stuff.
EDIT: Turns out Blogger doesn't like images this big. Here's a link to the full piece: http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b330/maxdxam/TheAngelLighterthanBlack.png
 I'm really proud of it. It's not quite eligible for Mcdaldno's Skin, but I'm happy to have in my stable of pieces.
Here, have a little something extra:
Futzed around with a Cubism filter a bit and it gave me a pretty cool looking result. Again, click for full-size to get the real look.
EDIT:  And again, the link for the actual full size: http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b330/maxdxam/TheAngelCubismd.png

And unlike the last AW-tized image for The Boy & His Dog, this is totally all mine! From start to finish.

I have a thought in mind for another minor variation that makes the background mostly white with black outlines, a bit more in the Monsterhearts fashion than in the AW fashion.
So hey, I hope you like seeing some actual original content out of me for once! I have a bit more art up my sleeve, but not to go with The Angel today. My hint will be that it's in the same sort of style again, and over a stock image again, but I've really gotten a handle on the Pen tool this time. It also could TOTALLY be a Monsterhearts image in my opinion, so look forward to it.
Hmm. What's tomorrow though? Let's say...Fiasco? I have one of the Actual Plays for Fiasco written already and it ended up being a bit longer than a Rapid-Fire, so I think I'll go with that. See you tomorrow!

End Recording,

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