Many of the Wacom drawing pens I’ve used over the years have failed in the same way, gradually developing a stress fracture within the plastic barrel. When that crack widens, the stylus’s internal circuit board can slip out of place and cause the drawing nib to retract unexpectedly.
That crack in the plastic casing leads to a mushy feel to the pen, loose enough to make the pen feel wobbly and unsteady. An unstable nib produces unreliable drawing results, spewing digital ink all over like an irritated cephalopod.
Reseating the barrel will temporarily fix the problem, as will a dab of plastic glue. So far, a more reliable solution has been a simple nylon cable tie.
Unsightly, but effective.
Other stylus models like the rotation-aware Art Pen don’t seem to be as susceptible to such a break, though the inner structural design looks identical.
A bare corporate staffing diagram, or org chart, tends to express little more than an organization’s hierarchy, meaningless to outsiders. Or it may inadvertently make a statement about the institution’s convoluted bureaucracy.
This 2013 diagram attempts to convey the capabilities of a flat-level corporation, calling attention to the specialities of each contributor.
The diagram’s basic structure of boxes and lines originated in OmniGraffle, a Mac drawing application well suited for visualizing relational information.
OmniGraffle’s connection lines can anchor themselves to magnetic points on each piece of geometry. Adjusting the position of the objects produces tension and slack in the connection lines.
Next, the rough OmniGraffle diagram went to Adobe Illustrator for cleanup and refinement. As of version 6, OmniGraffle’s vector export discards layer structure. But Illustrator’s selection tools can quickly isolate elements and sort them back into layers.
A shaded circle in the layers palette indicates that the layer, object, or group has a dynamic effect attached. The appearance palette contains a list of these applied effects and provides a way to adjust their parameters. Objects placed within an effect-laden container inherit those graphic styles automatically.
Many paths are simple two-point Bézier curves, easily adjustable using Illustrator’s pen tools.
Wrinkly feline project constructed using Pixologic ZBrush 4 and The Foundry modo 701 in 2013:
(The human-headed, lion-limbed, mythological desert beast fond of riddles is a Sphinx. The kind that meows is probably a Sphynx.)
Originating as a sphere in ZBrush, the kitty model grew increasingly detailed with sculpting techniques and DynaMesh topology tools. Unrefined ZBrush geometry can become dense, inefficient, and extermely slow. Fortunately, ZBrush offers various utilities to drastically simplify mesh information without sacrificing surface detail.
This project employed the process of subdivision re-projection and 32-bit displacement maps.
The cat’s yellow eye color and texture originate from a manipulated image of a human iris.
A morph map in modo controls the eye’s level of pupil dilation.
A spherical magnet deformer gently squishes geometry out of the way, carving out a comfy socket for the eyeball. This allows the eye geometry to swivel around without intersecting with other meshes.
The eyes remain synchronized to each other using channel links. Morph maps and linked deformers ensure that the surrounding facial tissue stretches and slides as the eyes move.
A simple facial rig provides a limited range of motion to the jaw, ears, and neck.
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) is one of the world’s leading nuclear and energy research facilities. This 2014 ARC diagram was part of SNL’s Five-Year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan (FY 2015-2019), and attempted to visually describe the labs’ organizational framework.
Two-dimensional diagram version from The Omni Group’s OmniGraffle design application.
Three-dimensional variations of the diagram used weight containers and deformers within The Foundry’s modo application. In modo, a weight container specifies which of an object’s polygons are susceptible to effects like squishing and twisting. The nodes in this Modo schematic view depict the strength and range of some twist and bulge deformer effects.
Once wired together, polygons within a weight container (depicted in red below) will bulge and twist more readily than other polygons. Such effects can be animated over time and are non-destructive, making it easy to revert the source geometry back to its original rest state.
In the 1990s, playing full-screen digital video often required specialized computer hardware. One such solution was a PCI card called miroMOTION DC20, which supported video capture, editing, and playback at a pixel resolution of 640 x 480 at a smooth 60 fields per second in 24-bit color.
The DC20 encoded video data using a proprietary motion JPEG format, readable only on computers also containing a hardware decoder. Computers without the appropriate hardware would display blank video or fail altogether.
First, open an unplayable DC20 video file in QuickTime Player. Ignore any error messages about missing software. If the application refuses to even open the video, you may have to try an even older version of QuickTime.
Branding project from 2001 for a New York-based software development company called Codpieceware:
The company’s name was a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film “Clockwork Orange.” The blue X shape borrowed from Apple’s liquid-themed system software branding, and the red figure was a nod to Beastie, the BSD daemon mascot.
Codpieceware sought to help users take advantage of the UNIX functionality within Apple’s new operating system. One of their applications was a system diagnostics and analysis utility called “Logg.app.”