Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Computer graphics

Monday February 08 2016

More and more, as I browse around in places like dezeen, I come across pictures looking like this:

image

The this in question being the idea of connecting the tops of towers with footbridges.  And that particular picture having been produced to advertise a new scheme for jazzing up Paris.

I love bridges of all kinds, and footbridges just as much as any other sort, so I have been paying attention to such pictures as the above for quite a while now.  And I reckon there’s now something of a buzz developing around this idea.  Simply, there are about to be a lot of such bridges as those fantasised above, connecting the tops of buildings, and often for the use of the general public, rather than just the people in the buildings directly connected.  There will, in some big cities, in only a few years, be entire new alternative worlds at the old roof level, where you will be able to travel for miles without ever touching the regular old ground.

I am now going to scroll down at dezeen, to see if I can find more pictures like the above.  Bear with me. …

Well, it took a while.  Dezeen has lots of postings about stand-alone little modernist buildings, which, frankly, don’t interest me that much.  My feeling about such stand-alones being: we already know how to do those.  Modernist versions of big sheds or older school houses are just stylistic tweaking.  Nothing profound is going on.  But pictures like this …:

image

… and this …:

image

… (which I found in this posting, and which I remember being very struck by when I first set eyes on them) tell me that a seriously different urban future will soon be happening, in cities all over the globe.

The underlying story here is that cities are ceasing to be mere machines for living in and for working in, with occasional little spots that tourists will like to visit and have fun in (but which the locals ignore).  They are becoming nice experiences.  Everyone is becoming a tourist in them, you might say.

Central to this process is the banishment of big old road vehicles, and an alternative emphasis on being a pedestrian.  Or even a speeded up pedestrian.  Think of how the old dock districts of big cities are being turned into nice new developments with lots of waterside footpaths.  Think of what has been happening to canals.

What’s going to happen is that one city – maybe Paris? – will do this in a big way, and tourism, including by the locals, will surge upwards, in the city and on the graphs.  People will love it.  And then lots of other cities will do it.  Including London, because London has a natural pre-skyscraper height at which this will make sense, and because London is now so full of stuff that is worth seeing from this particular height..

A big reason why all this is going to happen is that it will not be all that expensive to do, one of the big reasons why pedestrian footbridges are already a major design flavour the decade being that public money is now tight, and footbridges are relatively cheap.  Designers love them, because although footbridges do not involve that much metal or timber or concrete, they do often involve a lot of design.

The picture at the top of this posting has the words “Ternes-Villiers, La Ville Multi-Strate by Jacques Ferrier” attached to it at dezeen, and I just googled those words.  And, I immediately found my way to this, here:

image

It’s not clear from this picture just how public these bridges are intended to be.  Other pictures suggest that the “community” able to use these bridges will just be the people who live in the apartment blocks thus connected.  But this doesn’t alter the fact that the general public are going to want to get involved in all this high-level fun and sightseeing (and photography), if only because it will all be so clearly visible from below.

Sunday January 31 2016

This picture of a taxi ticks two BMdotcom boxes.  First, its a black cab which isn’t, either because it just isn’t, or because it is covered in an advert.  In this case, it’s a bit of both:

image

But better, we observe in the advert on the not-black cab two Big Things.  The Big Thing on the left says: London!  And what is actually the much Bigger Thing, on the right, says: New York!  I am collecting imagery that says: London!, and this fits that bill very well, even if it does say: New York! as well.

I quite like the replacement for the Twin Towers, but it seems to me rather bland, in a picture, when you can’t see how very big it is.  Bland being what you do not want in a Big Thing for saying: New York!  But I guess, the Twin Towers having established themselves as the Big Things that formerly said: New York, whatever replaced them was going to have to do that job as soon as it appeared, bland or not.  The Empire State or the Chrysler would no longer do, them having already been dethroned as the sayers of: New York!, by the Twin Towers.

I think it is very telling that in the New York picture there is a clump of skyscrapers rather than just one.  Because New York is not any one skyscraper.  It’s a forest of skyscrapers.  Each individual skyscraper may be rather bland, but what it all adds up to is anything but bland.

But New York is not my town, and that is only me guessing.

Sunday January 03 2016

Indeed.  6000 miles away, in Cape Town, England have been making hay in the sunshine:

image

Sunshine?  Well, I heard a commentator say at the start of the game that it was 43C out in the middle.

I do love the screen capture function.  I can’t think of any better way to frieze an otherwise doomed-to-oblivion sporting moment.  Now, it makes little difference.  But when, as death approaches, I entertain myself by scrolling back through this blog, postings like this one will be very sweet to remember.

England reached 629-6 after being 223-5.  And now, South Africa are 7-1 in reply:

Anderson to van Zyl, OUT, oh no! It goes from bad to worse for South Africa! A shambolic piece of running. Van Zyl pushed the ball into the off side and set off for the run, but Elgar wasn’t interested at all. Van Zyl was halfway down the pitch and had no chance to get back as the throw came in from Compton to Bairstow at the stumps.

Hashim Amla now in.  Out of-form-batsman, and out-of-depth captain of a team already one-down in the series, and he knows at least one of these things and probably both.  So if he also got a double century now, that would cheer me up too, because look what the human species - the species that both I and Hashim Amla are members of - is capable of when under extreme pressure.

Amla doing well now would also be good for cricket.  You know your team is doing well, when you start thinking that if the other guys were to start doing a bit better, that would be good for cricket.  Although, were Amla to get out soon, I could just about stand the disappointment.

Saturday January 02 2016

Well, I think it’s artistry.  It is definitely wrap advertising:

Using what is known as a “conformable vinyl wrapping” material, a high-quality print or protective clear wrap can be molded to almost any and every part of a vehicle. Typically, conformable material is used because it is the easiest to work with, especially on contoured surfaces. Using the proper adhesives when applying the material to the surface of the car is essential, otherwise the wrap can lead to adhesive failure in a few months after the application.

Advancements in plastics have led to new types of vinyl designed specifically for wrap advertising, including vinyl sheets that feature bubble-preventing air channels. Microscopic glass beads are used to prevent an adhesive from functioning until the user is ready (the beads allow the material to be repeatedly lifted and reapplied during the wrapping process, without compromising the longevity of the wrap). The vinyl is heated with a heat gun or torch for the purpose of molding the material around objects.

Yesterday’s posting here was all about hand-painted vehicles.  Here are some photos of some of London’s famed black cabs which have been wrapped with adverts, in the manner described above.  I have concentrated on black cabs which are wrapped all over:

image image imageimage image image

Again, I make no artistic claims for these photos, just for the people who wrapped the black cabs, and above all for the people who worked out how this could be done, in the elegant way that you can observe.

Resulting in all these “black cabs”, like so many of the species these days, not being black at all.

I got talking to the owner of “black” cab 2.2, i.e. the one in the middle of the bottom three, in close up, and he said he gets paid £70 a month.  Which is not enough for anyone to make a living just by riding around inside a 3D advert.  But, enough to make a nice difference.

Sunday December 20 2015

The commenters on this Guardian piece by Oliver Wainwright and Monica Ulmanu disagree about what it all means and whether it’s good or bad.  But all who express an opinion on the subject consider the piece itself to be an outstanding piece of explanatory work.  I share this opinion.  If you want to know why London looks the exact way that it does and how it is developing the exact way that it is, then you really should read this.

It contains this graphic, which concerns the elaborate rules that have accumulated over the years concerning views of St Paul’s …:

image

… and much else besides.

Wainwright also wrote the piece I linked to in this posting.

I think I’ve linked to this guy quite a few times before, but before I just called him The Guardian.  Which he is.  But he is also somewhat more than that.  By that I mean that his work is better than his mere opinions, and the latter is probably a very reasonable price to pay for the former.

Monday December 14 2015

Indeed:

image

My bet?  It won’t be built in New York.  It will be built somewhere else.

Thursday December 10 2015

Where would we be without maps?  In what world would we be living, without maps?  A very different world, I think, and a much less coherent and join-up world.  While travelling we consult maps, and are often unable to distinguish later what we learned by actually going there and being there, and what we merely saw on maps while going where we went, and being where we went.  That was my experience anyway, when, much younger, I roamed about in Europe, on a bike.

However, when I am on one a walk with Goddaughter One, I tend to learn rather little from maps, until afterwards.  She is usually the one choosing where we go, and I just follow her lead.  And, I don’t consult a map, because I always have my bag with me, and my camera in the other hand, and would need a third hand for a map, but do not have a third hand.  There is accordingly a basic sense in which, after one of our joint expeditions, I don’t know, at the time, where I am, and don’t know, afterwards, where I have been.

It would be different if I was taking photos with my mobile phone, and also using that as a map.  But, I use a regular old camera to take the pictures I take.  I only use a mobile when (a) I want to take a photo, (b) have forgotten to bring my regular camera, and (c) have remembered to bring my mobile.  This circumstance is very rare.

Take our most recent trek, the one which began when we met up at Manor House tube, talked for a while, and which only really got started after we had found our way to that amazing castle.  I only worked out quite recently that we had started our walk here:

image

When we walked from Manor House tube we were walking south.  When we reached the Castle Climbing Centre, we arrived at the southern most point of our travels that day.  Then we took the path in an easterly direction along the canal, i.e. the blue line.  The map looks a bit like a pair of spectacles, I think.

Here are some of the pictures I took that day, when the journey really began:

image image imageimage image imageimage image image

As you can see the path we took is called the New River Path (the canal being the New River).  Wikipedia seems to be quite informative about “New River (England)”, but my blogging software seems to refuse to do that link (brackets?), so you’ll have to take my word for it that some of the words there are these ones:

The New River is an artificial waterway in England, opened in 1613 to supply London with fresh drinking water taken from the River Lea and from Chadwell Springs and Amwell Springs (which ceased to flow by the end of the 19th century), and other springs and wells along its course.

I don’t know when those reservoirs happened.  Later, I presume.  Until this expedition, I had no idea that the “New River” even existed.

As I said at the end of this recent posting here, I have some catching up that I want to do.

Monday December 07 2015

imageLast night I gave a talk about London’s Big Things and their historical and theoretical backstory, at Christian Michel’s place.  The talk felt very disorganised from where I was sitting, on account of me trying to say too much, but it seemed to be quite well received.  Aiden Gregg was kind enough to compare my talk to London itself: crazy, but lots of interesting things vying for attention.

Last July, I featured a computer fake-up picture of the next London Big Thing, and there on the right is the same picture, again, smaller.  The new building, under construction now, is the one in the middle, and the tallest.

But now, just a day after giving my Big Thing talk, I learn of the next but one London Big Thing, which will, if all proceeds according to the current plan, look like this:

image

I like it.  On its own it’s nothing very fantastic, but presumably, this being the City of London, the detailing will be stylish.  And it will lift the City Big Thing cluster to new heights.  I think the combined effect will be excellent, and I rather think that the consequence may be that after it goes up we may talk of the City Cluster, rather than of its individual Big Thing bits.  I also think I detect the influence of the Broadgate Tower, with those big Xs all of it.

A pattern seems to be emerging with these Big Things, aside from the patterns on the outside of them I mean, which is that they stick an eatery-and-drinkery and a viewing gallery at the top, to get at least some of the public (definitely me) behind the Big Thing.

The architects are really selling this latest Big Thing as something that may help to stir up the weekend in the City, weekends in the City at the moment being about as lively as the inside of a coffin.  Not only are they throwing in a bar/restaurant and a viewing gallery at the top, open free of charge to all comers, but they are also clearing out some space at the bottom of the Big Thing for us punters to wander about in, and presumably buy yet more stuff.  We’ll have to ask nicely on the internet the night before to go to the top of this Big Thing, if the rules for the similarly welcoming Walkie-Talkie top are anything to go by.  But the big space at the bottom will - presumably again – be a place you can just show up in and enjoy.  Photoing upwards from that space should really be something, as well as outwards and downwards from the top.

I don’t really know how this sort of thing works, but what seems to be happening is that they are trying to make this Big Thing as popular as possible out here in punter-land, to maximise its chances of getting a smooth ride on the planning permission front.  I’m guessing that in a deal like this, there is just nothing better than getting your Big Thing built really big (and it really is big), as planned and on schedule, with no grief from the politicians.  That’s all well worth a public space and whatever places up top that Joe Public (aka: me) and his digital camera may desire.

LATER: The Guardian - 1 Undershaft, the tallest skyscraper in the City of London, revealed - goes into much more detail, very informatively, if a bit sniffily in the way you’d expect from the Guardian talking about trade.  Ends by saying what I say about how the City Big Thing cluster will “congeal” into one lump.

Will this Big Thing just be called “The Undershaft”?.

The next but one London Big Thing
Metros of the world
Four towers joined together by two bridges
Antony Flew on the Terrors of Islam
Going to Kings Cross to see gas holders
Jim Glymph gets Frank Gehry past the limits of what is buildable
A new Big Thing for Paddington?
Painting the bridges of Richmond
What’s this?
A day in BMdotcom heaven (4): A tale of two penultimate overs
A day in BMdotcom heaven (3): Adverts
A couple of old squares
Designing and building with glass
Palestra House – then and now
The next London Big Thing
The Shard was looking very special today
Windsor Castle from the top of the RAF Memorial
Tourists and locals in London
All this stuff
Snohetta does zig zag roofs for competitive cities
London is getting more colourful
From a cat cushion to Bill Murray and a nude to a demon horse sculpture that killed its creator
BT Tower behind trees
Feline Friday – an apology for yesterday’s premature posting about cat recognition
Peter Thiel on how humans and computers complement each other
Drunkblogging a new London Big Thing
The Bayeux Tapestry small enough to fit in this blog
The Bayeux Tapestry – the ultimate horizontalised graphic
Smartphones and tablets at the Charlie Hebdo demo
Hand done photos
Sixty Charlie Hebdo demo signs that say something other than “Je Suis Charlie”
Some photographers last November
Posting difficulties so see you tomorrow
Touch typing or no typing at all
Christmas Day photos
Christmas tree with scaffolding
Trousers keyboard
Cameras photoing the Wheel (in 2007)
Cats – and technology
A small photo posting
Friday photo-puzzles
In which I quotulate from a photo of a Canadian train
Driverless open-plan tube trains for London
An old story about colour perception
Helter Skelter scrapped
Another facade being carefully preserved
The ballerina and her support act
On not letting either God or (the other) God do everything
PID at the Times
Back from France (plus cat photos)
The River Thames carpet
New London bridge competition
OpenOffice Writer default resetting nightmares
More Big Things from the Oval
Big Things in the sunset
Cashing a cheque by photoing it
Robyn Vinter is wrong about Google Glass
Capturing moments
Photographer photoing photographer photoing Big Ben
The London Look
Moving picture
Pictures of soon-to-be-built London Big Things
Spot the owl
Battersea park in the sky
Another strange artificial landscape
Sam Bowman on Bleeding Heart Libertarianism
Blue wind
Me trying to tell Norman Foster and Richard Rogers apart
When Open Symbol attacks!
Big Things happening in the City
One new thing (an IPS screen) makes me want another new thing (also an IPS screen)
My 110 percent problem
Eiffel Tower with chimney pots – La Défense ditto
I now have a new computer screen
Big Thing news from New York and London - and a picture of climate alarmism losing
Please help me buy a new computer screen
The text of my talk for Christian Michel last night on the impact of digital photography
3D printer sighted!
Nowadays a picture is no longer worth a thousand words
I’m not the only one who suffers from rightward lean
Taking photos with Big Flat Things
Confirmation that map use has seriously declined
Digital photographers holding maps
How big should these squares be?
Rob Fisher on old things not looking old
Smaller is more legible – big is more fun
Twisted picture from Burgess Park (untwisted with Photoshop Elements)
A fake feline photo and a faltering feline enumerator
Women of Japan – better luck next time
The Johnathan Pearce Samizdata gap
the Norlonto Review is back!
Reflections on a strange coincidence involving an Android app and a malfunctioning bus stop sign
Wembley Arch with balloons and with umbrellas
Typing on the new smartphone
More March 5th photographers (and more spaces between pictures)
A mannequin in Tachbrook Street sheds light on the nature of perception
Crossrail grubbings
Panoramic view of London from the top of the BT Tower
Alastair James on Blythe Hill Fields and smartphones
Looking along Victoria Street to The Wheel (and on how to be liked (or disliked) by Google)
Is Samizdata in danger of becoming a photo-blog?
“No one has to know!”
Some more presidential debate prophecy
PID at Samizdata
How gun control works and how it will defend Libertaria
Does anyone know how I can straighten these gasometers?
What’s up with that?
Hockey Stick art
The Jobs difference
One World Trade Center
Empty tables and empty chairs
A photo taken of a taken photo of the photo being taken
Gormley’s South Bank Men
Wot inflationz?
Jobs departs from Apple (again)
On pictures that don’t get any bigger when clicked and on the power of the tangential
OpenOffice.org 3.2.1 Writer font default setting help wanted
Richard Dawkins on university debating games
I can do squares!!!
The new mainframe
First blood to Australia
Shard in rain
Cricket technology and its imperfections
Taranis
Cricinfo gets its clock in a tangle and Pyrah bowls an unforgivable no ball
Everyone who shows this picture needs to add that it is not Photoshopped
Cats and bridges on Pixdaus
Alex Singleton on Photoshop CS5
Everybody draw Mohammed every day!
Darling and Darling cat
Incoming from Molly Norris!
Molly Norris was just kidding!
Everybody draw Mohammed on May 20th!
Beyond iPad (and a picture that goes beyond this posting)
What’s up with this?
Forget the fifth of November - and the Brown curse strikes (again)
Green cats - feral cats - cats murdered in Wales - more than 113 cats in Livingston NJ
A little archaeology
Model T parts flatvert
Back lit by the sun
Laptop for emails
Register for your free pack and five £1-off-coupons
PurseBook
A question about double inverted commas in OpenOffice.org Writer
Cricinfo
Jesus above the keyboard instead of beyond it
Jesus gets a big new keyboard
Another resizing test
JD gets PTD
First picture posted to this blog from the wild
Now I’m going to try to stick up a picture with Jesus
Inamo
They aren’t complete idiots all the time
Wonderwoman picked by Unsuperman
Africa is big
Cats are (as of) now being counted in permanent italics
What’s this for?
Cisco – fuck off and die
Permanent Bold Disease strikes Brassneck
Keyboard blues
PID strikes Guido
An impulse posting about procrastination
PID hits DK
Self-guided photo-tour of the streets of San Francisco
Flat pictures for flat screens
Screen problems
Beetham Tower – and a couple of other towers
Otherwise engaged
Dot matrix printing in the sky
Typed man walking
LAHTML
Aid rewards low growth
Dave Gorman sees faces!
Short picture of a long distance
Photo-ing the weather
Pictures with words
Not actually a photo of Saturn’s rings
Smallest mobile keyboard yet?
Amazing map of amazing new Moscow bridge
Evite makes sure I remember it
New Moscow road bridge
“I already knew most of what they were to try and teach me …”
One Man and His Very Thin Blog
Printer in your pocket
Flashdrawing
Very very low cost kitten in space
Other people’s photos (2): New architecture in Hamburg
But what is so evil about Powerpoint?
Other people’s photos (1): Soul transference
History of the Middle East as a moving map
Screen back
Spreading the word for free
Admiral Coward
Venus undistorted