The other day I finally bothered to buy an optical mouse again. The old one had gone wonky and had been replaced, for a few months, with a ball one. While installing it I suddenly realised that the little graphics tablet attached to my work computer — hidden beneath a pile of well-intentioned clutter — was indeed working. Samir had fixed whatever byzantine driver issues were afflicting it, and in typical Samir fashion had now forgotten quite how he did it and when it had happened (btw, have you checked out his spiffy new blog and site?). With another hour to go before The Simpsons, I decided to give it and the new mouse a whirl.
Firing up the GIMP I loaded up a random picture from my vast collection of junk and played around with various unfamiliar filters and script-fu widgets. One I did have some familiarity with but hadn’t used in years is called iWarp, and is sort of like the liquify tool in Photoshop, or like that old turn-of-the-century tech show favourite, Kai’s Power Goo. It allows you to grow, shrink, warp and shift around various parts of the image, and it’s therefore very useful in creating anime-style characters. That’s what I did to the celebrity picture that formed the base of this. The result looks almost nothing like the original.
From there I took it into Inkscape and used the bitmap tracer to turn it into vector art, then fiddled around with the colours, added in details and shapes to make it more graphic and less like a traced picture. Finally, a background and a random caption (from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, of course). The oversized text in the background is done with a stylus using Inkscape’s calligraphy tool. The word balloon is a standard union boolean of an ellipse and a triangle.
Overall, only twenty minutes of work, which by my standards is a blink of an eye (you all know how many months I can spend abandoning… um, finishing work).
I should do these quickies more often. Hope you like it (and I hope you actually clicked on the image to see the whole, wallpaper-sized thing 😛