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Icon(ic) Thinky Thoughts: The Blues so Bad....

As I predicted, the entries in round 170 (Bad to the Bone) of otherworldlyric are amazing, assured, sophisticated, and subversive/beautiful/funny, etc. People managed to make something new and wonderful (several somethings new and wonderful actually) out of a dumb song (can we talk? Oh, wait, we already did....)

I had to vote for 3 entries and I ALWAYS want to vote for at least 4. Never fail. *Guilt sets in*  Maybe instead of voting I should just leave praise in the comments? What if they threw a challenge and nobody....eh, nevah mind.

Share my pain and go vote; the entrees deserve admiration and acclaim.

Speaking of otherworldlyric....there was an additional image of Buffy on the stairs in AfterLife that I tried to make into an icon for challenge #165 (World on Fire); and somehow forgot to mention when I posted the other images I made for that challenge:



1)
[But of course there's more! There is always more!]


Somehow I couldn't get this to work to my satisfaction "sized down", at least not with Photobucket, but I like the image. "Like" isn't quite the right word, actually; "twists the knife in my heart" is more accurate. But then strangely enough I feel better for it: "Whatever I'm going through it's nowhere near the magnitude of the shit Buffy is dealing with."

kwritten kindly told me about ipiccy, the program she uses for icons and I haven't made near the strides with it that clockwork_hart1 has; proving once again it's not the tools, it's the user that's key.  But I decided to play around with this image with it a little more.  I think I understand a bit better the excitement of the young guys in my grad program in filmmaking twenty years ago when the department switched to video editing from film *sniffle* and bought a video "toaster". Suddenly it seemed like storytelling was abandoned in the search for cool effects. Some of us turned up our noses at this but now? I can relate.  Effects are fun. Sue me. Whether they are useful or "serve story" as Baz Luhrmann used to say is another matter.

It's not the tools, it's the one who wields them and how that matters.

With each of these I was emphasizing, or trying to, the "erasure" of Buffy Summers; the denial of her emotions and her full reality by her friends, by herself for their sake and perhaps her own, the only way she knows how to cope; by the writers and perhaps within the fandom itself.

She's not the Buffybot. She couldn't possibly be. But oh how they want her to be - how we want her to be, demand that she be - and oh how hard she tries. But I'm getting ahead of the story....
2) 3)

4) 5)
6) 7)



Because I haven't taken time to master ipiccy thoroughly yet, I transferred the images above from it to Photobucket to "finish them up" with the more mundane aspects of downsizing etc. Lesson learned: the two are not entirely compatible; PB was too slow, too crude to save most the of the images when I attempted to downsize them. Apparently the simpler the effects to start with, the better:
8) 9) 10)
As always - snag if you like but give proper credit. (Not that you'd do it any other way.)
#10 was actually the only successful example of making an image in ipiccy - #9 - and adding more layers of effects atop that in PB. When it comes to icons and imagery I always tend toward the extremes: beautiful images treated in the simplest manner possible, or layering as many effects as possible without "losing" the image.
BTW - I didn't "sign" any of these - should I do, Gentle Reader? **  I pestered my sweetie when she entered art school about proper signatures: "The history of art is filled with works by women whose signatures were replaced by those of men! Female artists have been erased from art history - so sign your work and stop being so modest for god's sake!"

But then I don't take my own advice because this doesn't seem "real" somehow. It's play, it's cheating, it's just a screencap, it's fanart and...I don't know what. Yet I wouldn't deny that "fanart" can be genuine art. I have marveled at the gorgeous, detailed Illyria banners (here and here) that comlodge has posted recently, for example. Clicking the images to enlarge is like being pulled into another universe entirely. There is no other word for them but "works of art".

Nor am I "against" computer art in any sense, except when it's misused for it's own sake. Any lingering prejudices I had regarding computer art melted away ten years ago when my sweetie went to a traditional art school that emphasized the "academic model" in the Renaissance tradition. After five years and hundred of landscapes, pastures, equine painting, and salon-style nudes (good, bad and indifferent) I developed a great appreciation for the work of Jackson Pollack.

And because Toy Story. Finding Nemo. Ratatouille made me cry. 'nuff said.

** ETA: "signature" has been added to the larger images because velvetwhip is absolutely right on the matter (Would I submit a story unsigned? Of course not.) This is a truism of this fandom: When in doubt, trust in her wit and her wisdom; she will not steer you wrong.
I've never heard of picmonkey so thank you! comlodge rec'd pixlr-o-matic which I've played with a little bit
http://pixlr.com/o-matic/

And I forgot the link to ipiccy! *slaps forehead*
http://ipiccy.com I like the fact that it's a MUCH more sophisticated version of PB's old editing suite, now known as Fotoflexer
http://fotoflexer.com
So there's the familiarity of certain effects but fotoflexer feels very old-fashioned now. All the effects on ipiccy have slider bars and I LOVE SLIDER BARS.

But the thing about Photobucket is that it has both the library/photo album storage AND an editing suite. A simple one at this point, but having all the images in one place means I don't have to download from my computer, and I can move around as the inspiration strikes me. (And it's not taking up space in my computer except for the images I chose to put on my harddrive.)

I'm not aware of any other program like that.
Your work is as much art as if you painted it. Own it with pride! You deserve that!


Gabrielle
ETA: I took your advice hon and added signatures to the images, thank you!

You are a very wise woman - and absolutely right about that. At least that's what I told MY sweetie at the time. (She finally wised up after sufficient nag...I mean, encouragement.)

I need to bother to be more aware, esp after all that's happened with the folks who were stealing other people's artwork and claiming it as their own. Which is ironic, no? After centuries of fighting for the right to be represented in galleries, to have our work seen and our voices heard?

Edited at 2014-04-29 02:31 am (UTC)
I often don't have the artistic vocabulary to say more than "icon pretty". For some reason I like #7 the best, but can't articulate why--maybe it's the simplicity of it. I just wanted to say that even though I don't always comment, I really enjoy your discussions of the icons you make.

Also, thanks for pointing to the Otherwordlylyric round. The "make a good woman" icon with Spike and the box to make the Buffybot made me laugh out loud.
Thanks hon! "Icon pretty" is always nice to hear. (BTW - the bright blue in the background of your icon is really striking behind Buffy. icon pretty!) And I'm glad you're enjoying the discussions; I never know where they are going to take me. 'tis fun!

For some reason I like #7 the best

I've really enjoyed playing with "vintage photo effects" from back when I did moulin Rouge icons on the old photobucket platform, even though "old photo effects" rarely look like old photos which I happen to collect: http://s133.photobucket.com/user/RedSatinDoll/media/Antique%20Photos/img033cropped_2400dpi.jpg.html?sort=6&o=2)

The effect in #7 reminds me very much of an image on a piece of newspaper that's been lying around for 60 years.

The "make a good woman" icon with Spike and the box to make the Buffybot made me laugh out loud.

Is that what that icon was? I couldn't tell that was from IWMTLY. I read the text and thought, "I must be missing something". *Cringes*

Edited at 2014-04-28 11:46 pm (UTC)
Beautiful fanarts. They are really gorgeous as banners. I especially prefer 1, 2 and 3 and I LOVE THAT MOMENT. Afterlife Buffy is just a favorite of mine and Sarah is absolutely stunning in that episode and I'm talking about her whole performance but also the esthetics of newly resurrected Buffy: the melancholy, the almost angelic features (Especially in the final scene with Spike, she's dressed with a very soft shade of pink) in contrast with the vulnerability and the emptiness of her gaze. Beauty in the darkest places. Your images does justice to her.

(I also voted the icons. I'm glad that, somehow, people found a way to make beautiful icons. There's especially the Walter - from Fringe - one that broke my heart. Oh Walter!)
I put links to more variations (to endeni upthread) http://red-satin-doll.livejournal.com/38039.html?thread=1095831#t1095831

I wonder if you'll like them or if they are too "complicated", not simple enough? I love the look of faded Italian Renaissance portrait drawings - Sarah has that look about her esp in that season. She's dropped the complicated makeups etc of the early seasons and is so elegant in the late seasons, so simple.

#1 was the first one I did some time back in photobucket, and I've been wanting to show it off. The variations were super-fun.

I'm talking about her whole performance but also the esthetics of newly resurrected Buffy: the melancholy, the almost angelic features (Especially in the final scene with Spike, she's dressed with a very soft shade of pink) in contrast with the vulnerability and the emptiness of her gaze. Beauty in the darkest places.

I am SO happy you feel I've done her justice - that is the best compliment I could hope for! And YES to everything you said in this paragraph. by the end of the episode she's dressing like they dressed the Buffybot - wearing a costume for everyone else's benefit. But before that, she's just Buffy - spare and stripped down to the core. I just feel for her so much.

There's especially the Walter - from Fringe - one that broke my heart. Oh Walter!

Is that the character you told me about on your LJ? Which icon has Walter in it, is that one of the winners, the one with the very striking male face?
Thanks for sharing all your artwork and your attempts with the ipiccy program. Very cool work, my dear!
Thanks muchly, hon! I hope to continue improving.

BTW - clockwork_hart sent me a link to a Rory fanvid that included the image in your default Icon and I was so excited, it was silly because all I could think of was your icon and "Now I have a context for it!"

I think I may already be in love with Rory and Amy and I don't fall for male characters easily.
I love how you really experimented with the image ... and looked at all those pictures seperately ... I am really bad at just going with one idea, and sticking with it ... whether it works or not.

I must be more bold!!
There is an icon for Moulin Rouge that I made perhaps 50 color variations of 10 years ago - different frames etc. I did that a lot then more so than I do now even; but then I wasn't showing them to anyone else at the time (it never occured to me) so I was amusing myself...and procrastinating.

I must be more bold!!

Oh wow! I don't think of myself as "bold" at all, just indecisive! Except that comlodge told me once that she sometimes has put out different versions of things and lets people sort out what they like for themselves, so that did embolden me a little.

But, still, what a compliment, thank you! I guess it's all about perception (self perception and otherwise).
The icons this last challenge were very good. After I voted for my 3 I saw a fourth icon that I somehow hadn't noticed before, that was just wonderful. (Fortunately, others notice it and it won.) I don't know how this works but [Bad username: ] is the only icon challenge community that I usually, always agree with the icons that win.

I always enjoy your posts about icons. I should do one about some of the icons I've made and have entered into challenges. Kind of like an icon challenge meme... which icon won a challenge that surprised me..... which icon didn't win that I was surprised didn't win, etc.



Edited at 2014-04-29 12:59 pm (UTC)
After I voted for my 3 I saw a fourth icon that I somehow hadn't noticed before, that was just wonderful. (Fortunately, others notice it and it won.)

That happens to me ALL THE TIME with OWL. Every time.

With Slayerstillness I can at least spread the love around a bit (best crop, color etc).

is the only icon challenge community that I usually, always agree with the icons that win.

*stage whisper* Me too.

I should do one about some of the icons I've made and have entered into challenges. Kind of like an icon challenge meme... which icon won a challenge that surprised me..... which icon didn't win that I was surprised didn't win, etc.

DO IT! This is a beautiful idea that deserves to be shared. And I love seeing what other people's "alternates" are and the thought or work process. (like with your Buffy/Tarot set.)
Wow awesome banners! Of all the different versions #4 is my fave, very dramatic, stark effect, though re-sized to 100 pixels I think #9 works better.

Large canvases are ideal for text, usually I start with 300 and shrink at the end (less stress on the eyes), but the results are uneven and at times require extra tweaking.
I'd love to do what Comlodge has achieved with her amazing banners and wallpapers, but I find composition quite difficult (and I'm too lazy to leave my comfort zone ;-))

I'm glad you're having fun with the new online editor!

ETA: The "signature on artwork" issue has been going on for a long time, and it's perfectly fine with banners and such, Eyesthatslay used to tag her icons a while back and it was so subtle it didn't spoil the result at all (if I remember she explained it very well). I don't think it would be accepted in icontests though it's not a problem with fic, weird isn't it?

*lots of hugs*
Aw, thanks sweetie! (And your icon? Gorgeous. Buffy in BY OH YES. That entire episode...)

Of all the different versions #4 is my fave, very dramatic, stark effect, though re-sized to 100 pixels I think #9 works better.

Definitely. (10 is just 9, rainbow effects from ipiccy, with the "san carmen" effect from PB added. I didn't think to do that in the large size.) 3 & 5 I was mainly just playing with effects like a kid in a candy shop on a sugar high.

Large canvases are ideal for text, usually I start with 300 and shrink at the end (less stress on the eyes), but the results are uneven and at times require extra tweaking.

That's generally what I do - somewhere between 300-500pixels. This morning I added text to an icon I'd already made, but I rarely do that. Too hard on the eyes as you say.

And comlodge's work is stunning - she's always been good with composition, but now she's really mastering her tools and creating dense, stunning worlds and visual stories. WOW.

I'm glad you're having fun with the new online editor!>

Well thanks to endeni I've added picmonkey and pixlr.com; and comlodge rec'd pixlr-o-matic so I'm juggling all of them with PB. If I don't come out in 3 days, leave without me *lol*

I don't know Eyesthatslay - should I make her acquaintance? I can't imagine doing signatures on icons that are actually visible. (But you have yours on the BY icon and it's not obtrusive at all. Very pretty text, too. *ponders*) It has occured to me that I put a lot of time into these icons and other people more so, and I'm not against it. I have several icons in my user pics listed "artist unknown" and I would love to credit them properly.

I don't think it would be accepted in icontests though it's not a problem with fic, weird isn't it?

Can you imagine voting on fanfic awards in which the name of the author was unlisted?

I've been pondering this a LOT lately. I used to worry that my icons would be recognized; then I saw Kwritten mention having the same worry and I realized that I don't give a damn. I honesty don't. When I judge fics, you could be my best friend in the world but that doesn't affect my thinking. I loook at the work. The same goes for icons and I assume that my friends are classy and mature and will vote for what's best, regardless of who made it.

I don't see why this should have to be a problem with one medium and not the other.