September 2007

Every blogger feels stale ocassionally and reading how other bloggers stay fresh and interested in their blog is always interesting. Annalyn Jusay has written her ideas on how to keep the creativity juices flowing. Much of what she says has been said before, but its worth reading this brief article as a reminder of good advice on how to stall the blogging blues.

The idea of a 3D web creeps closer everyday. Robert Scoble recently interviewed Mark Zohar, founder of SceneCaster. In a 35 minute interview Mark explains what SceneCaster is, and its advantages over current 3D worlds such as Secondlife.

SceneCaster is aimed at the average user and allows them to build a room or scene in 3D and accomplish this in a browser. They can then furnish it from SceneCaster’s rich database of objects or 3D objects that already online by simply importing and placing them in a scene. Because 3D objects can be sourced from existing 3D object libraries this means that learning curve for average users is not so steep.

For those who are already using 3D software you can create and import objects to your scene but it was obvious to me that the main strength of this service is the fact that people do not have to be 3D software experts to create a scene. So users personalise a scene rather than building a scene

SceneCaster connects objects to large eCommerce sites such as eBay and Amazon. Mark Zohar also explained how there would be product catalogs from leading manufacturers and retailers added as the site matured.

I have not been able to try it as at the moment it is only available for those who use a PC. Mark Zohar said that a Mac version was being worked on so I my impressions of this service are based on the interview.

I can see uses for it as a visualisation tool. For instance if you were decorating your home or if you are an interior designer you could layout and work out what it would look like and get a feel for what works before committing big dollars to a new look. I can see virtual shopping being a big thing too because you can see a model of the product before you buy. As I watched the interview my mind was running through possible self contained art projects that could be created. So there are plenty of applications that this service can be used for.

SceneCaster is also connected to social network sites such as FaceBook and Flickr but you can not have in-scene avatars. In other words you can not meet your friends for a chat and to socialise. I think this is the big downfall as it is fine being able to create a scene but most people will want to share and socialise in that scene.

A 3D scene is fine to look at but it will not hold people if the world simply contains objects. Even if they a very interesting objects an empty room is just that empty. For me without people ie avatars the immersive experience that is so addictive in virtual worlds is simply not there. Life online for me is about that ie life (other people) not things online particularly things online to buy. Although I do shop online it would only be a 2 or 3% of my time spent online. For me the net has always been a communication tool first. It is like this very important aspect of virtual worlds has been forgotten by SceneCaster.

For me without people a 3D scene is empty and for the majority of average users fairly pointless. What do you think? Check out the interview and let me know.

Thanks goes to an email received from Gilbert of Virtual Territory

The latest edition of the Adobe Magazine is available for download. If design students have not  encountered  this  free mag it is a 30-40 page PDF loaded with good articles on design trends and how top designers use Adobe software.

I have been poking around some of the art history resources to be found online and thought some of my students might find these handy
The Web Gallery of Art describes itself as a

Virtual museum and searchable database of European painting and sculpture from 12th to mid-19th centuries. It was started in 1996 as a topical site of the Renaissance art, originated in the Italian city-states of the 14th century and spread to other countries in the 15th and 16th centuries. Intending to present Renaissance art as comprehensively as possible, the scope of the collection was later extended to show its Medieval roots as well as its evolution to Baroque and Rococo via Mannerism. More recently the periods of Neoclassicism and Romanticism were also included.

The Art cyclopedia is a comprehensive fine arts index to artists represented at museum sites, image archives, and other online resources. They state that they have We have now indexed over 2,300 art sites, to an estimated 180,000 artworks by 8,200 artists.

Art history resources on the web Compiled and published by Chris Witcombe an art historian, professor at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. This is a portal/directory type of site which offers links to art history websites. It is a huge site that will keep you busy browsing for hours.

Stephanie Shimerdla of Obsidian Dawn has recently released some more great Photoshop Grundgy and Dirty brushes and some patterns which you can download for free.They come in either brushes or seamless patterns.

When ever you download free brushes from the net it is important to read conditions the creator has released them under so check out the terms of use. In the case of brushes and patterns from Obsidian Dawn, Stephanie Shimerdla asks for a link back to her site.

The site also houses some good Photoshop tutorials. For students in textiles if you have not encountered Obsidian Dawn before check out her Lace Photoshop brushes and her seamless Lace patterns. Another brush set designed by Stephanie Shimerdla is her paisley brushes. Poke around there is alot of free stuff on her site just remember to give credit where credit is due if you use them.

I recently discovered Authority Blogger forum which hosts discussions on everything related to blogging from newbie how to blog tips, to installing blog software and designing your blog. I am sure many bloggers will find it of interest.

The Artist a day site highlights the work of an artist daily. From painters to street artists and video artists to sculptors no matter what your taste a dose of art work is served daily. All sorts of work is highlighted and if you like a piece you can follow through to the artists site.

I discovered it through a little app I added to my iGoogle homepage.

Also artists can submit work for consideration so its a good way to promote and expose your work.’s goal is simple. We feel artists are under-valued, under-exposed, and generally under-appreciated. We want to bring attention to artists that otherwise don’t get the attention they deserve. If we can bring their art to one person that would have otherwise missed the opportunity to see it, we feel like we have made a contribution to the art community.

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