Monday, December 31, 2012

Peter Bryant - CAN-AM Challenger and the UOP Shadows

Have read this book, CAN-AM Challenger, over the break. Amazing. But the story for me goes back a very long way.  And the ending of the book strikes a chord with me now.

The UOP Shadows where something I followed as a kid in Autosport Magazine in 1971 and 1972.  The UOP machines were one of the stand outs to me of the era.  Over 14 years ago that inspiration, Pete Lyons Books, and the availability of some 1/43 starting kits allows me to put together some very detailed, small models of the cars.  I also wrote up what I did to put them together. Posted them to a car site in 2001, after leaving Japan and getting settled in Australia.

Peter Bryant emailed me in Feb 2002 on the making of articles on his two main Shadow cars.

"Hi Adrian, My name is Peter Bryant. I surfed into your web page about the 43rd scale model of the Turbo Shadow.
 I must say that it looks really nice, I can believe it took 4 months to do.  If you have read Pete Lyons Book CAN-AM Photo History you will have recognized my name.  I also have a small web Page at
I designed the Shadow 30 years ago and it makes me feel good to see that the car still draws peoples interest. Congratulations on making such a nice looking mode.
Best regards   Peter Bryant"

I was very happy to get this at the time, and see that it meant something to him.  Unfortunately, Peter has since passed away.

These articles are still at the GMPA site.

The Shadow Mk2 article at GMPA

The Shadow Mk3 article at GMPA

The contact details are very out of date.

I find it very interesting that to Peter the cars didn't win and didn't think things were working out, but to the sponsor UOP, they saw their involvement as a great success.  
I was just one in the crowd, and to me UOP was doing the most amazing things.   It is very true that you don't always see that at the time.

I was doing this modelling at a rather stressful time in my working life at Roland in Japan, and the effort I put into it indicates how much I was trying to distract myself from it.

Shadow MkIII 

A story itself on a completely different subject, and a bit like the end of Peters book.

Shadow MkIII 
I am also very proud of a music production system I developed over 30 years ago, the Fairlight Instruments CMI III, and can empathise with Peter's email when the system gets mentioned by someone somewhere.

Fairlight Instruments CMI Series III

Contact us at Art & Technology.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

VST Reverb Plugins (Free and Affordable )

In our projects we DI guitar and bass. Every thing else is a VST sound module or synth.   Even doing direct injection, which doesn't pick up any acoustic environment, reverb isn't a big thing in most of my own projects. I am more likely to us short delays instead of reverb so as not to add mud to the mix.  We don't do vocals often, where you do fuss about the reverb.

But when we do need reverb, there are plenty of free Reverb Plugins that do the trick, and there are LOTS of Impulses Responses on the net that do everything when used with the right plugin.

We use Reaper, and do everything ourselves, and aren't into huge projects. At least that has been the case so far. We keep it to a track or two for each part, plus a track or two for reverb, and generally one or two for delays  for short and long echo.

We recently used our Crystal Soup Project to look at all the reverbs we do have and see if we have been over looking something in our reverb selection.

The Crystal Bass Soup Project
The plugins we have on hand that we have used on occasion are Kaejerhus Classic Reverb, epicVerb, GlaceVerb, ReaVerb, SIR1 and Ambience. These are all free and downloadable from the web. We have also recently tried the Demo of ValhallaRoom. 
ValhallaRoom Demo
Kaejerhus Classic Reverb

Of these ReaVerb and SIR1 don't have a sound of their own, but use Impulse Responses of other gear or rooms.   We basically use what you get in Lexicon MPX500-PCM81-PCM-91.rar with a few other plates and rooms you can find on the Internet.  The SIR1 has an EQ window, but we prefer using ReaEQ anyway, so ReaVerb, despite being very spartan, is just as good, and is part of Reaper any way.

More often than not Kaejerhus Classic Reverb is the algorithmic plugin of choice. For what I mainly do, there isn't really much difference between them! Not that they sound the same, but each is just as valid.  Once you make an mp3 file, or a YouTube video, the subtle low level details get lost anyway.

ValhallaRoom is only $50, which is similar to the Reaper license. It works very well and is very efficient, an issue if you have some CPU intensive synth and do want several processes running at the same time.   I haven't bought it, and really know that I don't need it.  It will not make any difference to the tracks I do anyway.

We have our tracks on the usual places;  SoundCloudReverbNation and BandCamp.   But the most views  by a factor close to a 100x is at our YouTube Channel.

Update: Jan 8 2013

ValhallaVintageVerb Demo
We have since been trying the ValhallaVintageVerb, and feel it has something over the ValhallaRoom, and the other plugin we have, for our music.  It indicates that the non NOW colors internally quantize modulation and other control signals and band limit the reverb itself.  These give options over Room and does very much look like the plugin to buy. Actually more than that.....

And from the developer:

"NONE of the algorithms are the same. The ValhallaRoom algorithms, for the most part, use a more "modern" topology (there are a bunch of different topologies in ValhallaRoom, but they all tend to be from more contemporary "schools" of reverb design). The ValhallaVintageVerb algorithms are all based on older reverb topologies, that have different characteristics than the VRoom algorithms."

Sunday, December 23, 2012

'71 Muscle Car Restoration Cartoon Caricature

Muscle Car Restoration. Lost the dog and wife, but the car is finished!
It goes something like this...... restoring a car lets the guy cope with the pressures of life in his man cave.  The Job, The kids, the wife and everything else.....

And you can get the tshirt at our online store.

For custom illustrations and other work, see Art & Technology.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Custom 1955 Ford Pickup Hot Rod Cartoon - Vector Design

Custom 1955 Ford Pickup Hot Rod Cartoon

Custom 1955 Ford Pickup Hot Rod cartoon - Vector Design
A fire breathing, tire smoking Custom 1955 Ford Pickup Hot Rod, Pickup & Go!.  A vector design sample.  

For custom design, t-shirts, signs, and other designs, see the website Art & Technology

Friday, December 14, 2012

Humorous Office Coffee Mugs

Office Coffee Mugs
Office Coffee Mugs

We have done a few Office cartoons to help with office morale, the project handover process, clients and the treatment of the technical staff.

Really, the perfect gift idea.  Any similarity to reality is purely a coincidence.

See our online store to purchase, or Art & Technology for custom artwork.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

American Custom Car Starship Poster Vector Designs

American Custom Car Starship Posters
This is a preview of a series of American Custom car Starship Vector Designs.

Based on Cadillacs and a Lincoln Zephyr, they depict something a bit ZZTOP-ish with a back to the future feel.  Combining car illustration and science fiction design.

Custom work available from the website Art & Technology.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Megacurve Starship A2 Poster - Classic Car Spaceship

Megacurve Starship A2 Poster Sample
A sample vector based poster for Band Megacurve featuring a Cadillac inspired space ship and a wonderful blue space gas cloud.  Very much a cars and guitars ZZTop vibe.

And they sound like:

This is a vector design for printimg at A2 size, but can really be printed at any size..

For other samples see the website Art & Technology.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

1959 Cadillac American Classic Starship Vector Design

1959 American Classic Starship
American Classic Cars of the late 1950s were inspired by the future, with fins, wings, jets and boldly going.  Here is a Starship based on that idea.

It is now available as Starship - Future 1959

For other design and custom work see Art & technology.

Monday, December 3, 2012

History of Cool Stuff - Limited Animation Videos

We put together some short,  minimally animated edutainment videos a year ago to see what interest, if any there was in this format.

We set out to try and explain some historically cool stuff with ,"blackboard" images, narration and a host.  Could we do a "History Of Cool Stuff" series?

We came up with some theme music to use through out the episodes. It isn't Top Gear's "Jessica", but as I wrote, performed and recorded it, I don't have to pay any fees to use it.

Wrote is a bit strong a word.  I basically press record, play something on the spot, then arrange and Jam to that to produce this type of thing. Always start with a tempo and guide track put together in ezdrummer. It only has the number of tracks a live band would have playing it, but I do several takes of different parts and edit them together.

Sounds like this:

I worked out a basic script, based on the format I had come up with, which is:

1) A consistent intro and ending with the animated talking head host. There is some basic lip sync.
2) A series of white on black images with limited animation, with narration from the unseen host.  This is to explain some historic sequence of technology.

This seemed like a fair compromise in production effort to get something out in some part of two days, our usual time frame. A bit more than the slide shows we had been doing, and way less work than full animation.

We started by recording and editing the narration against the music track, handling the music ducking in our Reaper DAW.  The Vocal was recorded with a Audio Technica AT2020 microphone and stocking pop filter.

Reaper Narration Audio Project

This gave us the basic lengths of visual scenes required.

We then did a series of black pen on white paper sketches for the required sequences. These where scanned into Photoshop and inverted to look more like chalk on a blackboard.  Didn't worry about making them perfect.

The talking head of our host Rodger was produced as a series of layers in Photoshop, from a single basic pose produced in CorelDraw. These frames with different eye and mouth positions where saved out as individual images. His look is based on an English motor sport hero, Graham Hill, of the late '60s and 70s.

A very basic arrangement of audio and image frames where then put together in Sony Movie Studio.

Initially without any animation at all. Just all still images and this was edited to be the foundations to start the animation.

Complete Video Project
Rodger is basically animated by dragging different facial frames on an upper visual layer.

Rodger Animation Frames
We only prepared 9 different mouth positions, with a traditional lip sync breakdown.

Mouth positions for lip sync

In this video, additional animation of the blackboard images was produced in After Effects. It wasn't really required, and adds extra complication as After Effects CS4 doesn't handle sound sync very well.

After Effects Animation Sequences

Additional frames and animation where brought back into Movie Studio and moved around on the time line there. This is MUCH faster to do.

The result is this:

It is supposed to be interesting and educational.

We have done two videos so far. One on Aerodynamics and one on Turbocharging. What we found is the videos receive few views.  We expected the thumbnail image could be improved and have tried several, with little change in views.
The subject mater doesn't appear to be something that is searched for on YouTube, but we really don't know.  We haven't done anything else along these lines since.

Would making full animation and colour images help? Probably, but a LOT more work, and we haven't wanted to go down that road without any ROI.

The first one on Aerodynamics that set the format is a little simpler

Other work samples at our website  Art & Technology

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Abby Sciuto & '32 Ford Deuce - NCIS Vector Design

Abby Sciuto  & '32 Ford Deuce - NCIS
This combines several cool things into a single vector cartoon caricature illustration.  TV's favourite tattooed Scientist, Goth and Metal Head, Abby Sciuto, and her 1932 Ford Deuce Hot Rod.  Just love that MINISTRY remix of the NCIS theme.

It is all fiction, but a very interesting part of NCIS's producer playing against type.

This is a sample of a more realistic cartoon person with car, but still done as a vector illustration.

More info at our website, Art & Technology.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Chevy Concept Car Vector Design - Designing The Future

This is a Chevy concept car. We aren't talking supercar here. But something that is so conservative it could go into production next year. Has a big brutish nose, but I like it, and have done a quick vector image based on it.

More Graphic Design –ish –ismly.  The type of thing to put on a T-shirt. With a logo "Designing The Future" or something like that.

It would be MUCH FASTER and easier to do more realistically with an airbrush in Photoshop, but it is an interesting exercise to do this with only graduations between two colours, and only use 5 or so colours.

We have made a variation of this for a T-shirt,  Designing The Future, available now.

This is about the attitude of creating a positive future. Features some of the elegant and simple wire frame behind the image.

Designing The Future - Concept T-Shirt

So it isn't a cartoon or caricature. We do all kinds of stuff.

See Art & technology for more details and samples.

Middle East Highway Star Tuner Car Cartoon ( "ستاره بزرگراه" , "الشهرة الطریق السریع")

Middle East - Tuner Car Car Cartoon
Anyone know which one of these is best?  I believe one is Persian  "ستاره بزرگراه" and the other Arabic "الشهرة الطریق السریع". Aren't they beautiful! Anyway a Toyota tuner car cartoon.

Please contact us at Art & Technology.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nerd, Customer, Business & Management Cartoons

The Hand Over
A collection of Business related cartoons.  The Hand Over being typical.

Improving Morale
Organization Morale is always a topic for discussion, and this isn't the way to go about it.


Customers are wonderful. I want it yesterday and I'll change my mind tomorrow, can happen. We are all human.

Nerd Cartoon
Nerds are very important, and this shows the put down for what it is.

Untouchable Strategy
To be successful requires a good strategy, well executed.  Being untouchable helps too.

See Art & Technology for other designs or custom solutions.

DIY Album Production - Audio Technology Magazine

DIY Album Production Issue

The latest Audio Technology Magazine covers DIY Album Production. Interesting, as far as it goes.

They know what has really happened, but don't want to talk about it out loud. There isn't much money left in the recorded music business.

So they don't talk about those core issues, but instead the issues with doing it all yourself.  We all need editors and reviewers, or at least a good spell checker or friend to be objective.  All the same issues for writers, painters, illustrators, graphic designer, dancers and sculptors.  You could say the same for soccer players and other sports people too.

To quote Brian Eno:

"I think records were just a little bubble through time and those who made a living from them for a while were lucky. There is no reason why anyone should have made so much money from selling records except that everything was right for this period of time...
"It was a bit like if you had a source of whale blubber in the 1840s and it could be used as fuel. Before gas came along, if you traded in whale blubber, you were the richest man on Earth. Then gas came along and you'd be stuck with your whale blubber.
Sorry mate – history's moving along. Recorded music equals whale blubber. Eventually, something else will replace it."

And this interview with MOBY...

Are we moving back to a time were musicians are being realigned with other arts to  make a living, or not, from music art?  It seems so.   A key point in the MOBY video is that producing music isn't so special any more. What took 3 months in a well equipped commercial studio many years ago can take 30 minutes on a laptop for his genre today.

Biggest Australian Musical Instrument Chain closed Nov 25 2012
There are dramatic changes afoot. The biggest musical instrument store chain and wholesaler importer in Australia, with 25 stores and around 600 staff has also just closed up for good.  Nov 25 2012 was the last day the last stores were open.

So money to use on music of any type is tight and not enough to support retail outlets?  We will see.

Was told a story from a customer recently that there was a survey on facebook that found that people would pay $3 for a cup of coffee that took a minute to make and not much more to drink,  but would not pay much if anything at all for music, that took many years to master an instrument, create and produce.

Ok. Then recording music and getting paid for it, or breaking even on what it cost to produce is "problematic".  Sound On Sound  magazine has moved into promoting Live Sound, in addition to recording music.  The point about that is that you have to have built an audience, have supporting venues willing to let bands play instead of just having poker machines, and be touring all the time, in large enough venues, to be able to get anywhere near the income that you could have gotten from CD or Album sales in days gone by.    

Some months I put a blog post  on Music ROI on LinkedIn.  I had expected some type of comment. Got nothing at all. The wrong crowd.

What I implied, but didn't directly state using the sports scenario was:  the world of sport is supported by amateur teams and "clubs" that they pay to belong too.  Bigger pro clubs have gambling and generate more revenue to support their teams, competition prize money and facilities up keep  and have the clout to auction TV broadcast rights.

Maybe the music and arts worlds should form their own "clubs" for project funding.  Something more than random live performances. Something like Comedy Clubs maybe.....

Maybe too much like herding cats.....

Music production technology was the industry I was in for 25 years. See some of the details here. My original interest was for a system I could use myself.  The early systems I was involved with developing were very expensive, and not something I could own. It is only in recent years with PC based DAWs and software instruments and processors that I have what I set out to develop. And most of what I use now is actually free or shareware software, and we have and need very little supporting electronics.

It is now a whole new world and the best time ever for doing DIY projects.  Even if you don't make any money from them.

Some of our own tracks on SoundCloud:

Contact us at Art & Technology

Pop Art Mustang Pony Car Cartoon Items

Pop Art Cartoon Mustang Pony Muscle Car Puzzle Gift Idea

Pop Art as if Andy Warhol after finishing his Marilyn Monroe series moved onto the Mustang Muscle Car.

A Pony Car Puzzle, mouse pad and large Poster are available with variations of this artwork. Bright, Modern, AND a Muscle Car.

Other design and custom work see Art & Technology.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Custom Cartoons & Caricatures - The Middle Aged Rocking Car Cartoonist

Rocking cartoonist Caricature cartoon
The the music tracks that go with that are like this:

We do caricatures and cartoons of people and machines. Like the illustrator style above, or the digitally painted as below.

Caricatures of people and Machines
Rolf Harris did a wonderful TV series called Star Portraits. Were he had 3 artists  do portraits of celebrities at one time, and then the famous one picked the one they liked best.  What was very clear to me in these was the most realistic, longest to produce and finish work, was never selected.  The skill may have been amazing in the photo real works, but the more impressionistic works were always selected.
We try for the impressions, but do the more realistic when required.

Realistic Digital Portrait

But we do and have done, other things too.

See more at the website: Art & Technology

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gasolene & Classic Restos Car Cartoons & TVS

TVS here in Sydney is a not for profit TV free to air TV Channel that has a lot of really cool local content.

Gasolene & Classic Restos being two locally produced shows car shows that have interesting hosts and look at all types of cars, bikes and related things. And the above are some cartoons on them.

Classic Restos's host is Fletch and even the name of his Itchybutt Productions shows his sense of humour.   Fletch did a Route 66 tour special that was way more interesting than the more upmarket Billy Connolly version.

Gasolene's host is Glenn Everitt and they have everything from car shows, vintage racing, how to panel beat or weld or paint, and most other things too.

Gasolene is now on free to air TV4ME and their promo is:

The Gasolene starting theme is 30seconds and consists of engine sounds, drums and the logo slowly zooming in and out.

We reconstructed it, and put our original music to it. We think this or something like it would be better.

Our reconstructed theme with original theme music: 

Some of the other TVS shows we watch when on are Guitar Gods and Masterpieces and Flesh Air .  Not stuff for the traditional broadcaster......

We do all types of design and development, check Art & Technology website.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Drag Racing Funny Cars and Top Fuel Cartoons and Logos

Funny Car Cartoon
We have done lots of Drag Racing Cartoons and Caricatures.  Goes with Custom and Hot Rod Kulture too.  THE PIZZ has also done a cartoon or two....

Funny Car Cartoon,Under The Hood
It is just an extreme sport, where the cars are already caricatures, but it is the noise and speed that is really amazing.

Top Fuel Dragster Cartoon
Top Fuel machines make the earth shake from a really long way away! Something you have to see at least once.

Supercharged Doorslammer Cartoon
The other classes have something to offer too.  Doorslammer is a purely Australian Class, but it is just below alcohol dragsters in popularity, and POWER.

Funny Car Cartoon Business Logo
Monsters are never out of place either.

Funny Car Cartoon Team Logo
such as the Drag-On Team....

Funny Car Cartoon parody
The noise of Apocalypse Now doesn't match the modern drag strip.

And we love the way it is covered here on TV. The music is, like what we do, such as this

Chromed Nitro!

For more samples see Art & Technology