[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Thursday, 2019-12-26

Cinema Insomnia animated GIFs, part 1

Filed under: Art,Movies,Television,The Internet — bblackmoor @ 13:01

Here are some animated GIFs I made for Cinema Insomnia.

Tuesday, 2019-12-17

Replace white background with transparency in Photoshop

Filed under: Gaming,Software — bblackmoor @ 13:48

I use a lot of found images in my online RPGs, to help set the scene. Sometimes, the image is almost, but not quite, what I want. Cropping, healing brush, and clone stamp solve most of those problems, but once in a while I find the perfect image… but it needs something more complex to make it what I want.

In this case, I found this illustration of a Pathfinder alchemist goblin, but I wanted the background to be black instead of white. So I looked for a tutorial on changing this in Photoshop, and found this one on StackExchange. The basic technique is to use the original image as its own layer mask. I’ll create a duplicate of the layer, desaturate and invert it, pasting the greyscale result into the original layer’s layer mask.

I start with my flattened image.

I then Desaturate the image.

I then duplicate this layer, Invert it, then select and fill white areas until everything I’d like to be opaque is white, and everything I want fully transparent is black. This was tricky, because I want the smoke translucent, but the goblin itself to be opaque.

Now I press CTRL+A to select the entire image, and CTRL+C to copy the combined greyscale result.

I then selected the layer with my original image, made sure nothing was selected in my image, and selected Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to create a layer mask on my original layer.

I then ALT+Clicked in the layer mask icon to enter direct edit mode, then pasted the greyscale image I had just copied into there.

I then clicked on my original layer to exit the layer mask direct edit, and tada, I have my semi-transparent goblin.

Now I just add a black background layer, and I am done. It’s not perfect, but it will do for my purposes.

Wednesday, 2019-12-11

The Google graveyard

Filed under: The Internet,Work — bblackmoor @ 09:50

Any plan to include Google as a core part of a business process should also include a contingency plan for when (not if) Google shuts down that service.

Feel free to quote me.

Graveyard

Monday, 2019-12-09

AWS vs. the non relational database

Filed under: Programming,The Internet — bblackmoor @ 17:09

Currently taking a course on AWS, in preparation for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam. Interesting stuff. Possibly the tangent that is most interesting to me at this moment is the concept of a “non-relational database”. Of course I have heard of that — Mongo, Redis, etc. But I have never had the time (or really cared enough) to investigate them. I might try rewriting one of my simpler web sites to use a non-relational database (Amazon DynamoDB, specifically). I think it might be a fun exercise.

Tuesday, 2019-09-10

Google Images is useless: switch to Yandex

Filed under: The Internet — bblackmoor @ 09:39

Google has removed the options to search for images “Larger than …” and “Exact size” from their Images search. If this makes Google Image search USELESS for you, as it does for me, consider using Yandex, instead.

Friday, 2019-01-25

The limits of rationalization

Filed under: Technology — bblackmoor @ 11:06

So here’s a fun thing. NVidia just came out with the RTX 2060 (a computer video card), which is 50% faster than my current card (GTX 960 — a pretty fast card in its own right). The RTX 2060 costs $380… not cheap… but I could rationalize it (it’s 50% faster!). HOWEVER…

I have three monitors. They have DVI inputs. The RTX 2060 has three DisplayPort outputs. A DisplayPort to DVI adapter is $107. I would need three of them. It would almost be cheaper to buy three new monitors. In any case, I can rationalize spending $380 for a 50% faster video card, but I can’t rationalize $700 for a faster video card — not while my current card works perfectly well.

Gigabyte Geforce RTX 2060

Tuesday, 2018-07-31

Westworld Recaptcha

Filed under: Humour,Television,The Internet — bblackmoor @ 17:09

westworld recaptcha

Sunday, 2018-01-28

Identify this device

Filed under: Society,Technology — bblackmoor @ 15:18

From time to time, there is a meme about “name something today’s generation would not recognize”, or something to that effect. How about this? This is what I used to carry in my laptop bag circa 1990 to get on the Internet when I traveled. This was before the World Wide Web was invented (although AOL, Compuserve, and Genie existed — I had accounts on all three). You had to connect to a phone line and make a telephone call to an Internet provider. This was called “dial-up”.

Fun fact! Millions of Americans are still limited to dial-up Internet, because in the USA, Internet access is not legally treated as the essential utility that it is.

telephone cable with alligator clips

Tuesday, 2018-01-16

The case against home automation

Filed under: Fine Living,Technology — bblackmoor @ 11:04

I have said (and will continue to say) that if a machine can do a task as well and as inexpensively as a human, it should. No one wants to wash clothes by hand, and no one should have to perform drudgery just to give them a job to do.

However, I was an early adopter of home automation. I had voice-activated indoor and outdoor lights in the 1990s, for example. I eventually realized that most of the time, it’s easier to use a button.

I see little use for these voice-activated Google/Amazon gadgets. In the time it takes to turn down the TV or music and speak clearly, I could have typed in “Ewan Macgregor birthday” and found out how old he is. If you have hands and a phone, you don’t need a Google Echo, or whatever. You certainly don’t need one that smiles at you. They’re the current generation’s version of those countertop gadgets that collected dust back in the late 1980s/early 1990s (quesadilla makers, sandwich fryers, etc.). Useless frippery.

Friday, 2018-01-12

Wanted: a simple black computer case

Filed under: Technology — bblackmoor @ 17:30

If you want a new computer case that does not look like a glowing alien life support pod, good luck. I looked high and low for a simple black metal box with no weird protrusions, glowing LEDs, or peek-a-boo windows. I did eventually find one, at a good price, but it took a while.

PH-ES614PC_BK

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