video: Publishing Revolutions

I’ve just finished a new video, on some of the exciting changes taking place in the publishing world (I recommend you watch it in High Quality & full screen, if possible):

If you watch it a couple of times (once to absorb everything I’m saying, then again to absorb the production techniques) you’ll see that … at the beginning of working on this video, last Monday, I had never done any 3D animation and only a modicum of modeling (mostly in SL), and had never used Kinemac before.  (I bought the Macheist 3 bundle earlier this year, for access to that and BoinxTV, mostly.)  As I worked for about a week and a half on this video, I became more and more experienced with the software, more aware of what it was capable of, and more comfortable doing more advanced things with it.  So at the beginning, the big 3D text is pretty neat, but by the end I have an entire bookcase of individually hand-animated books leaping in and out of a box.

There’s things I’d like to change about it.  Not just improving the animation in the first half, either.

On Demand Books is now saying they’ll have two million titles available by years’ end, rather than one, for example.  Plus, I feel like I may have represented the kindle more strongly than the iPhone – while I believe the 41million iPhones/iPod Touches in circulation worldwide, each with hundreds of individual book apps and at least 4 different major eReader apps, each with robust eBook catalogs and (coming soon) in-app purchasing will do significantly better and reach wider and have more of an impact than the roughly half-million, all-US-based kindles.

I’m already working on the script for the next couple of videos.  More thoughts on what it means to have over 1400 new titles published every day.  More thoughts on print on demand.  Something about eBook pricing.

New Video – On Margins

I should probably have posted this here last week when it went up on YouTube, but better late than never, eh?  I’ll go figure out where to cross-post this to … when I get around to it?  Look, posting this is effectively procrastination vs. editing tomorrow’s podcast episode.  Ooh, I should go Twitter to procrastinate posting this. I love multi-dimensional procrastination, especially when every little step along the way is part of my job, part of building my brand/community/audience, and/or part of being a full-time creative.

What’s the video about, you ask?  Umm… it’s about how I, Modern Evil Press, have decided to handle pricing of the for-pay text versions of my books, including the paperback & eBook versions through various sales channels.  There is another video needed, to cover the alternatives being explored by other publishers, especially re: eBook pricing, and I hope to have it up in a week or two.  (A lot going on right now – did I tell you I’ve started screen-printing T-Shirts?)  Here it is, I encourage you to watch in “High Quality” if your bandwidth allows:

Tim O’Reilly on Open Publishing

This is a great little video on why publishing should be open (variously: DRM-free, cost-free, copyright-free, using open standards) and how that doesn’t have to mean you can’t make it a business.  One of the best videos I’ve seen come out of Tools of Change so far, and well produced. Definitely worth your four minutes:

Tim O’Reilly makes the argument for Open Publishing @ TOC 2009 from Open Publishing Lab @ RIT on Vimeo.

process of painting ‘1, 2, 3, 4, ‘

This one should be the most fun, though perhaps the least inspired, originally. On account of I shot a video of part of it. (Scroll down to see it.)

I started sketching in a cheap sketch-book I had on-hand, while waiting for the paint on ‘darkness looming‘ to dry, and started trying to see what might turn into another new painting. After several pages of messy nothing, I came up with a sketch for a something I liked. Sadly, for you, I didn’t take a picture if it, and I’m not going to, now. Maybe later. Anyway, it seemed interesting enough, and I annotated a few lines and spaces with ideas for colors, and after finishing the inking on ‘darkness looming‘, I started to work on the first layer of ‘1, 2, 3, 4, ‘. This layer was intended to be seen only in the vertical split between the left 2/3 and right 1/3 of the painting, and in the square in the lower right corner, but I wanted to do it right (and add a layer of texture) so I painted the entire canvas.


1, 2, 3, 4, - process step 1 1, 2, 3, 4, - process step 2

1, 2, 3, 4, - process step 3 Then I waited half a day for that to dry. And then, before I started working on the painting again, I set up a video camera to capture the rest of the process. I put a line of 1/2″ tape vertically on the canvas, and cut out a square of tape for the square – it’s like a sort of stencil; where I put the tape, the purple remains when I paint over the rest. Then I painted on the red circle, the blue background, the off-color right-side… You’ll watch the video and see it, right? I don’t need to describe it all in detail? Well, I painted on the colors, and as I’ve learned to do from countless past tape-involved projects before, I pulled up the tape while the paint was still wet. So, to explain the next part of the video: tape isn’t perfect. So some of the paint leaks under. What you can see me doing is cleaning up the worst of it, trying to maintain the purple background as intact as possible without hurting the (still wet) pink and blue foreground. The image you see at right is the painting when this process was complete; the main elements of color are present, but I hadn’t yet put on any borderlines, and certainly hadn’t painted the most-foreground element (the black, horizontal lines), so this image is sort-of an in-between-takes image. It was taken in between where the camera angle changes in the video. The camera angle changed, by the way, because I waited until the next day for it to dry, and I had to put away the camera before Mandy came home, or it would have blocked the walkway.

After the new color layer had dried, it was time to deal with the remaining (slight) leakage (mostly of white) at the edges of where the tape had been. I had taken a day to think about it, and had decided to use pearlescent purple and blue paint pens to both clarify the division by increasing the contrast from one color to another, and to cover up an otherwise unsightly evidence of my process which (in my opinion) did not improve the end result. The video of my tracing the outlines of the previously-taped sections is not particularly interesting, but I decided to just leave it all in. Then, semi-satisfied with the result of the colors, and after the paint from the paint pens had had a chance to dry, it was time for the three rough, black lines that overlap the piece. I put them vaguely on (for scale, placement, and some semblance of erraticism) first in Sharpie, then with a paintbrush and black paint. I knew exactly what I wanted, and it was no problem to execute this final step. There were only minor touch-ups of the black lines after the video camera was turned off, and ‘1, 2, 3, 4, ‘ was ready for hanging.

So that’s how I made this painting.  The title was selected while it was still a sketch, and ‘1, 2, 3, 4, ‘ is now available for purchase at

1, 2, 3, 4, - finished