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

Free Download Car Cartoon Calendar 2013

Single A3 Car Cartoon Calendar 2013
Download your Free single page Art & Technology Tuner Car 2013 Calendar 

With a cool background Hot Rod image.  This is an A3 PDF that will print fine at A4, or legal.  The image left above shows it printed on A3 300gms card.  $2.38 at Officeworks.

And visit here to purchase the 13 page The Son Of The Hot Rod That Ate My Wallet Calendar 2013 for the give away price for $5.00 for the 5Mbyte pdf.  1 page per month  calendar with a cool illustration, great quote and style.

Here are the DIY instructions for the 13 page calendar, for anyone interested. The original is a single page PDF.

But we do all kinds of design work......

For contact and more info visit  Art & Technology.

Strings, French Horns, Trombones, Bassoons and bleeps….

Orchestral Project in Reaper
We use Garritan Personnel Orchestra (GPO).  Amazing value orchestral sound module. We have used it for studying orchestration, and also a bit of spice in what we more often do.  The above is a short piece that we were making for a soundtrack..... not something to be center stage.  No guitars and the only drums are Timpani.

Roland PC-180
Use a 4 octave Roland PC-180 midi keyboard with a MIDI to USB interface to play the parts.  The expression slider is vital in getting life out of GPO sounds.

It is also the soundtrack for our most unpopular video clip of all time!

It doesn't even attract the curious as to what it might be.  It is a short slow 3D modelled and rendered Starship fly by at the Horsehead Nebular.  I think it is rather beautiful, and I am currently using a version of this at the top of our Facebook page.

I did the modelling many years ago and recently rendered a short sequence for this clip. I call the ship a Gas Harvester, and it is very Chris Foss inspired. This was done in Animation Master.

Other bits and pieces at our main site: Art & Technology.

Vehicles, Starships, Starbase Concept Designs and Sketches

GEV - Ground Effect Vehicle Concept Sketch, Dry Markers

We have done quite a few future tech designs over the years. Inspired by the likes of Ron Cobb and Syd Mead and others.

We used Letraset dry markers originally, and have used pastel, acrylics and the usual materials. Now have Copic W1~W10, but just as likely to scan a sketch and colour it in Photoshop, as we do have a Wacom tablet.  Pens are expensive, they dry out, are not so readily available any more.  An Inkjet printer ends up being more flexible.

Tracked Vehicle Concept Sketch, Dry Markers

Wanting to design the future is part of it.

Helicopter Concept Sketch Pastel and Marker

And there is this incredible challenge to design something cool that hasn't been seen before. And that is really really hard.

Retro Prop Bomber Concept Sketch, Dry Markers

This retro SF bomber is inspired by a few different historical and technological things, that I put together differently to make it unique.

Space Carrier Concept Sketch, Dry Markers

This Space Carrier is also based on aircraft carrier shapes. A nod to Star Wars too, but not one of their machines.

Here is a video with our original sketches and music.

We have been involved in developing real products, and we use the same design techniques and sensibility.

For more samples and hopefully cool stuff, visit Art & Technology.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Custom Hot Rod Truck Vector Design & Wireframe.

Hot Rod Truck & Dude as a Vector Design.
This is a view showing the vector wire-frame and some of the rendered image that goes into making a size independent illustration.

It isn't like drawing at all. I start with a sketch that I import and trace different objects to form the design. Graduations are added to form the panel surfaces,  reflections and chrome. One of the things that give drawings and cartoons life is various line thicknesses. That is tough to do with vectors without drawing the outline of each line. So we compromise.

Ed Roth (with Ed Newton ) and Dave Deal were the big names in the Hot Rod cartoon world, and we can say we have been most influenced by Dave "BIG" Deal, who passed away July 2011.

We do these to the customers requirements, usually from supplied photos.

More details and samples at Art & Technology.
New and Improved!

30 second Video Instrumental Music Production

The Production as seen in Reaper

Music Recording and Production Notes

We work in Reaper and start by recording a normal 3 minute or so piece.
The above screen shot of the production shows the 9 instrument and two effects tracks we ended up with. Several Guitar, Bass and synth.

And by guitar we mean Fender Stratocaster, modified with a bridge hum-bucker , and by Bass we mean Fender JBass.  Not being a real Bass player means I like the neck of a JBass and I play with a pick. The synth here is just a Korg Monotron, but we do have a real midi keyboard and LOTS of VST synths when we actually play keyboards.

The top track is drums using the grooves that come with the "Drum Kit From Hell". They are played by a real drummer, and that makes a big difference.

The synth noises are inspired by the type of thing in Jean Michel Jarre and The Edgar Winter Groups Frankenstein and Free Ride tracks.   The Monotron does that well, and it is a fun little box.

As we do it all ourselves we play one part at a time and start by assembly a basic drum track in ezDrummer for reference.  The rest in this case is just made up on the spot. I do multiple takes and variations, edit something together, then that can cause an idea for a different part or instrument.

Phantom powered speaker emulator DI 

Instruments are all Di'ed, and I record guitar and bass with distortion already on it. It is just so much a part of the playing.

I really appreciate the way Deep Purple's Machine Head was recorded in 2 weeks, with only a couple of overdubs, at the T intersection of two hotel halls. Pretty much describes our studio space too.  It is recorded very much as a band can play it live, and I kind of do the same thing here. We are not put down 128 different tracks.... and have 30 tracks of automated effects...  However, if we were doing the soundtrack to Babylon 5, we would do things differently......

This is arranged, then mixed.  Used EpicVerb (Variety Of Sound ) for reverb and Classic Delay (Kjaerhus Audio) as a synced, ping pong synced echo on the lead guitar. Also a bit of compression, and high pass filtering on the tracks, and a limiter on the output.

Normally this would be rendered and output as a 24 bit file, that I than master in Ozone 5 in a separate Reaper Project to make a 16 bit audio file. But not in this case. Just added some compression and limiting and output a 16 wav file for the video project, as this isn't stand alone music.

Here we just check it sounds ok on our small 3" test speakers and our 5" Auratone clone, as we don't expect most people watching YouTube have a great sound system set up.

Our Auratone Clone

The Track and Edit

This is for a 30 second video so we then edited and produced a short edit from the longer piece.  If I did it on a different day I would have used different sections.  It is purely a feel thing. The above has what was used at the start, followed by the longer rough composition.  The longer part isn't finished, but also isn't used at the moment.

It is here because I find hearing this type of thing really interesting.

For example:
Rodger Glover has done remixes  of  Deep Purple's albums and I love to hear the mistakes and what the untrimmed tracks were.  Black Night for example goes on way longer then the single and they end up just kind of slowing and stopping, and not all at the same time.  There is also an organ mistake that was edited out of the single... interesting stuff.  And what about the alternate guitar solo in Smoke On the Water?

This stuff is actually for Christmas Cards. You will also note that it doesn't sound very Christmas Song like.  We think that is actually a very good thing.  It is also kind of "Heavy" in the heavy rock sound sense. The drum kit is actually a Death Metal Kit, but you wouldn't notice that.  It probably needs more cowbell...
These heavy elements are here as the illustrations they go with are light and cartoony.  Love to play against type.

Making the Video

So we have a 30 second bit of music, and we imported that and our images into Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD.  The video format is a  slide show type of thing. We do have AfterEffects for doing really complicated things, but have kept this very simple. It is basically just a very short advertisement for our "Cool Yule" Santa Hot Car Xmas, Happy Holiday Cards on Zazzle. 

The Vegas Video Production

As we have compressed and limited the sound in Reaper, we have to make sure Vegas has it's default sound processing off, or things go weird. Vegas works pretty much the same way as Reaper, so a very simple workflow.

We render this at 640 x 360 for use on YouTube. The file we upload is an MP4.  If we were working in After Effects we are more likely to do it at 856x480.
And the result is this:

Other samples of production and illustrations are at Art & Technology.  You got to be in it to win it!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Project Studio KRK KNS 8400 Headphones

We have a project studio based around Reaper. It actually comprises of very few pieces of gear. The biggest parts being, guitar and bass, near field monitors and an Auratone clone.

The rest is software. Much of which is free or shareware.

Another key component is currently KRK KNS 8400 headphones.  The thing with headphones is that the ear cushions don't last long. We have had many sets over the years. The previous being a wonderful Pioneer set.

It is more important that you are familiar with a set of speakers or headphones, than their obsolete specs.  If you have listened to your favourite albums for years on gear,  you have a really good idea what things should sound like when listening to your own stuff.  Mixing and mastering relies on producing a result that sounds good on any set of speakers and headphones, anywhere.

The KRKs are very comfortable. Maybe the best I've ever had. They also don't hype things like cheaper Sennheisers do.

The KRKs do a very good job. Recommended.

See Art & Technology Project Studio 

Supercharged V8 Drag & Custom Machine Cartoons

Nitro 1914 Biplane

We just loved the Ed Roth, Dave Deal Cartoon Rods and Customs and have been doing commissioned work in our own related style for years.

1932 Chopped Ford Hot Rod
In Vector and as digital paintings or quick sketches.

More examples and contact details at our main site: Art & Technology

Monday, November 12, 2012

Drag Racing Funny Cars and Top Fuel Cartoons and Caricatures

Funny Car Cartoon
We have done lots of Drag Racing Cartoons and Caricatures.  Goes with Custom and Hot Rod Kulture too.
But they don't have to be so cartoony... like this drag team shirt

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. The music is, kind of what we do, such as this

Chromed Nitro!

For more samples see Art & Technology