Irish Inspirations, Day 4: A Giant Cause for Photoshop

Irish Inspirations, Day 4

Today we visited the Giant's Causeway in County Antrim, a UNESCO world heritage site that basically marks the origin of Irish hero Finn McCool's bridge to Scotland. Either that or it's an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption some 50 million years ago. Your choice. I mean, that Finn McCool thing makes a lot of sense.

Traveling through Ireland in November has had many advantages, including not having to fight the crowds (and, frankly, more sunshine than I've previously experienced in July). But it doesn't take huge crowds to interfere with your photograph. No, it may just take "idjit" (as they call them here) American tourist with his or her cell phone sitting in a prime photo spot. 

My way around it was to use my iPhone's Olloclip fisheye lens to bend the view around unwanted people. Of course, it also bends the horizon unnaturally; let's call that an artistic choice. This one dude was in my frame, but he seems cool enough.

If you recall, Deke's Techniques 022: "Removing People with Image Stacks," dealt with just such a situation. There was Deke, trying to capture the forced perspective of the amazing Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy. And some annoying tourist---I think she happened to be American as well---kept walking through his frame:

Turned out to be no problem because Photoshop Extended includes a top-secret way to automatically remove view hogs from your travel photos:

Good to know Photoshop has something to offer even the most intrepid traveler. May all your travels---or the Photoshopped versions thereof---be similarly unwanted-tourist-free. Read more » 

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Irish Inspirations, Day 3: Belfast with Bobby

Irish Inspirations, Day 3

We arrived in Belfast too late and too tired to take in anything about the city other than being relieved we were done being lost. Fortunately, the next day we asked the concierge of our hotel to arrange a black taxi tour of Belfast. Even more fortunately, our soon-to-be tour guide, Bobby, had his car parked around the corner and soon became our lively, knowledgable, and patient (i.e. waiting whilst we took copious photos) host for a tour of Belfast's political murals. 

The murals on Falls and Shankill Roads in West Belfast have developed as a censorship-proof way for their respective communities to reflect their political, historical, and cultural concerns. The messages are evocative, mythological, and sometimes disturbing. (For example, there's a mural-bound Trompe-l'œil sniper in the Shankill that follows you wherever you are.) 

Bobby told us that this anti-war mural in the Falls Road, inspired by Picasso's Guernica, is the joint effort of Catholic and Protestant artists:

Guernica homage on Peace Wall in Belfast

After seeing murals in both Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods, Bobby took us to the this section of the Peace Wall (a construction of corrugated steel and barbed wire that divides opposing neighborhoods) in Cupar Way between the Falls and the Shankill roads. Bobby handed Deke a pen so that he could join his signature with those of Bill Clinton and the Dalai Lama.

Deke signs the Peace Wall in Belfast

After an intense, educational, and graphically evocative morning, Bobby dropped us off at the oldest pub in Belfast, Whites, to reflect over a hearty lunch and a pint. Belfast and Bobby were both well worth the trip. Maybe you can even trick him into taking his picture:

Black taxi Bobby with Colleen in Belfast

No Deke's Techniques tie-in today from the past. Is there anything you can think of that Belfast might inspire for a future episode?  Read more » 

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Irish Inspirations, Day 2: Vaguely Familiar Spiraling

Irish Inspirations, Day 2

Nothing about Day 2's spiral encounters in Ireland was younger than 1000 years old and the oldest was over 5000. Yet, we could still find connections to our personal experience in the modern world. It was easy to make the connection, especially if we squinted and drove by too fast.

One of the sights I wanted to make sure we visited in Ireland was Newgrange, a neolithic monument in County Meath that predates the pyramids at Giza and the ring at Stonehenge. It's not just that Deke likes old (really old) stuff, or that you can actually go into a carefully engineered passage tomb. It's that this kerb stone below was to the carved over 5000 years ago:

Look familiar? Remember Deke's Techniques 085 from just last summer?

Deke's Techniques crossing the graphical span of multiple millennia!

Our second adventure of the day centered around an attempt to see the high cross at Monasterboice in County Louth. It's supposed to be one of the best examples of this sculptural form in existence. But it's hidden in an almost abandoned monastic graveyard on the back roads, and if you miss the roundabout exit, which we may have done more than once, you are left having to make a several-kilometer spiral to get back and try again.  Read more » 

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Irish Inspirations, Day 1: I <3 Dublin

Irish Inspirations, Day 1

Day 1 (I refuse to count what is now nostalgically known as "Tow-Truck Day") brought pilgrimages to two sacred sites of equal but disparate sanctity. 

Trinity College is the home of the Book of Kells, a painstakingly illuminated Latin manuscript of the Gospels created sometime around the year 800. There's no doubt the monks who labored intensely over their exacting graphical work are Deke's spiritual artistic forebearers. 

There's no photography allowed in the room where two pages of the manuscript lay open, so I can only include an iPhone shot from a book in the gift shop. Those familiar with Deke's vector-based Celtic Knot project in Chapter 17 of Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced will notice the familial resemblance. 

Note, Deke revisits the Celtic Knot project in Chapter 18: "Live Paint and Interlocking Paths" of his Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate course, which is due out this very week. Read more » 

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Irish Inspirations, Day 0: Part III of Europe in the Off-Season

Welcome to Part III in our design-absorbing adventures in Europe during the slow season, in which we stuff our suitcases full of warm clothes, gladly endure a little chill in order to avoid hordes of tourists, and share inspiring bits of design that we find along the way. 

If you missed Parts I (Amsterdam) and II (Venice), it's because I never quite wrote them. Don't let that stop me!

spiderbunny at Sacramento Metro Airport Read more » 

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