Tag Archives: art

PTJ 259: Face Time

Whether it be tech giants facing Congressional committees or the Google Cultural Institute showing people the power of facial-recognition algorithms, El Kaiser and J.D.  have things to say about it all. Also in the mix: Several states and advocacy groups have fired up the Lawsuit Machine and aimed it at the Federal Communications Commission’s recent repeal of the net neutrality rules. Oh, and here are a pair of newsflashes: Apple has lots of money and Facebook maybe didn’t do so much to stop misinformation on its platform last year.  Spool up Episode 259 for the details!

Links to Stories Discussed on This Week’s Episode

(Hopefully) Helpful Hint

Museum Piece

If you like museums — but find you don’t have the time or money to travel around to them — check out the Google Cultural Institute. It’s an online repository that helps explain and illustrate history right in the web browser. The project launched in 2011, and now includes more than six million digitized items, including high-resolution photos, archival video clips, maps, documents and artwork. Google’s partners in this effort include the British Museum in London, Museo Gallileo in Florence, the Museum of Polish History in Warsaw, Museum Nasional Indonesia and institutions in more than 40 countries.

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The site is roughly divided into three main topic areas: Art Project , paintings, sculpture and other creative works from around the world; Historic Moments, exhibits that focus on pivotal events in the human timeline; and World Wonders, detail tours of heritage sites around the globe. You may learn more just by wandering the site and randomly stumbling into things you didn’t know were there in the first place, like The Palace of Versailles in 3D or the site’s LIFE magazine photo collection.

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For geeks, there’s a trove of material from Bletchley Park, Britain’s codebreaking center during World War II, as well as an exhibit from the country’s National Museum of Computing on Colossus & The Breaking of Lorenz, a Nazi cipher thought to be uncrackable. War is well represented on the site — for example, more than 40 items are on display from the National World War I Museum in Kansas City. That exhibit is part of a larger World War I project with material from other institutions like the Imperial War Museum in Britain. Cornell University has a collection on Lincoln at Gettysburg and there are plenty of other military topics explore.

cello

Music and comics are covered, too. There’s an exhibit called Unveiling the Mysteries of the King Cello, which looks at the world’s oldest surviving cello, as studied in CT scans and icongraphic studies. Tezuka Osamu: Revival of the God of Manga, another exhibit, focuses on the works of the Japanese master of the form.

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Too many cool, informative things are waiting online at the Google Cultural Institute to mention here, so go look if you’re interested. The site also has its own YouTube channel (which has a video that explains how to use the Google Cultural Institute), an online tour and a Google+ page. It may not be quite the same as being there, but hey — no airfares, long lines or hefty museum admissions fees.

PTJ 84: Facebook Drones And Bitcoin Heists

J.D. goes all Winslow Homer on us this week and introduces us to apps she uses to convert photos into digital works of art on her smartphone.  In the news, Samsung reportedly spends $20 million on Oscars product placement; Facebook looks to fill the sky with drones; Radio Shack closes 1100 of its retail stores; the US Department of Justice sides with broadcasters in fight with Aereo; Google barge ordered to pull up anchor and scram; Sony’s PS4 arrives in Japan; and Pizza Hut developing an interactive touchscreen pizza-ordering table.

Paint Job

Far from those blurry VGA days of early mobile photography, smartphone camera are getting better and better. These days, 8 to 16 megapixels of resolution are not uncommon on some models, as well as other features like selective focus, add-on lenses and HDR. It all adds up to the ability to produce amazing pictures on the same device you use to talk to your Mom and program the DVR over the Internet. Along with the built-in software that comes with your handset, plenty of third-party photo apps can make your pictures look even better — or more unique.

We’ve all seen filter apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic, which can be great if they produce the effects you’re trying to achieve with your pictures. If you really want that hand-made touch, consider apps that turn your pictures into digital paintings. Through filters and algorithms, these apps cam make your photo of the Empire State Building look like a painting of the Empire State Building. 

If you’ve got an Android phone, check out apps like the Photo Painter, which sells for a whopping $1.49. There’s also the free Oil Painting (shown above), Photo Oil Painter and Camera Illusion, all for Android. Camera Zoom FX, which is $2.99 and considered by many to be one of the best camera apps around, also has some artistic filters you can use to give your photos a new look.

WaterlogueBeeps

If you’re rocking an iOS device, you have plenty of apps to choose from as well. Waterlogue is one app that transforms your photos into digital watercolor paintings. For a mere $3, it does incredibly nice work, as shown directly above. Other options for the iPhone and its ilk include Paint FX for $2.99, AutoPainter for about a buck. Although it’s $7.99, the SketchMee app for iOS does a lovely job transforming your photos, especially portraits, into pencil-sketch art; the same company also has apps that can give your photos the oil-painting treatment, too.

And don’t forget the filters and other features of Adobe Photoshop Touch for either iOS or Android. It’s $4.99 for the phone version and $9.99 for the tablet edition. And those with Windows Phone 8 handsets can tinker with images with Microsoft’s free Fresh Paint app. (These apps are just the tip of the iceberg, so spend some time in your local app store and see what suits you best from the dozens of options for every platform.)

And once you’ve made art out of your photos, wouldn’t it be cool to display them as art?  Many images make great desktop wallpaper, but some would look even better hanging on the wall.  If you want to go that route and print out your image, make sure your chosen app can output decent-size files — none of this 90 KB stuff.

Unless you’ve got a bunch of pro-quality printers around, you need to output the file to your computerand upload it to a digital-imaging service; you may also be able to upload it directly from your phone. Going for the art-museum approach? Use a service that outputs digital photos onto canvas or high-quality paper, suitable for framing.

If you’ve never heard of canvas printing, there are specialty services like CanvasPop and Canvas on Demand, for starters. Photo-printing companies you may already use, like Snapfish and Shutterfly, offer canvas-printing options alongside calendars, mugs, posters and everything else they can do with your uploaded images. Time-honored photo-finishers like Walgreens and Costco can also do canvas prints, too.

As you might expect from material costs, canvas prints are a bit more expensive than your glossy or matte 4 x 6 photos. Prices start around $30 for a smaller size in the 8 x 10 range, but it’s do-it-yourself art — no expensive supplies needed. Your kids won’t sit still for more than five seconds? Snap ’em and app ’em — and boom — you have an arty portrait of the brood, just in time to get it printed and framed for Grandma’s birthday.