Tuesday, January 31, 2012

please, overcome your FOSS asumptions

What's driving the home grown and grass-root digital arts effort. You'd think it's the same thing that's driving the professional digital art world, after all that is the standard, right. Well yes and no. Yes, the art world as we know it is entrenched, most get schooled for jobs down the road and the notion of art preservation has paved the way to museum walls. On the other side of the coin is portable art, disposable art, art on every object bought and sold by humans to humans. Well............ it turns out that, and we are talking software here, that Free Open Source Software (FOSS) can do the same things that commercial software can do.

Poor Johnny can't draw on his PC because his Photoshop trial version time limit has been reached. Purchasing power has not been bestowed upon him. Maybe he can get another trial version or get a crack (oooh Johnny?) to turn his Photoshop clock back. Meanwhile, his friend and friendly fire rival neighbor has been drawing steady for months, no sweat, with Open Source Software. Now multiply this incident by your classroom of art hungry digital art students. The waiting for resources vs the getting down to draw (with the same tools) today. GIMP today, Photoshop tomorrow or when ever. I am tell'n ya, save the Photoshop for advanced work towards the professional if ya want to go that way.

Meanwhile in a garage across the street from the well established but restricted budget school of sport and ARTS cuts, a dozen art frenzied kids are slinging pixels. Older PCs, XP and Linux powered with Open Source softwares in a low budget operation. That's what I see anyway.

I have a more powerful laptop as I told you all, it is running Ubuntu Linux 11.10. I don't care for the Unity desktop and installed the Gnome Shell and I love it. Having more resources I tried to install XP as a virtual machine. It worked at first, then got messy and I couldn't recover. Instead I have installed Wine, billed as not an Windows emulator, allows you to run some Windows applications in Linux. I've tried this on my old laptop, it didn't work well at all. Now with better processor, more memory, Wine works really well, so far (I'm cautious). I don't want to run every free art app I can find, they don't all work in Wine and who's got that much time or bandwidth. You can only get good at or find useful just so much. The big Windows app I wanted was Google's SketchUp. There is a free version and a feature rich paid version. You can find open source software that does similar but Google's SketchUp is established, has resources, pre-built models and lots of fans. Sketchup works well in Wine, but I am guessing you got to have enough RAM memory and a descent processor. SketchUp is well explained, easy to learn and can be as advanced as any professional CAD system. I would have made SketchUp a Java app like SweetHome3D. SweetHome3D is a Java app that runs on any PC with Java. You draw a floorplan and it draws the walls in 3D, then you can put 3D furniture in there.

So art on the PC can be doodles, paintings or CAD, 2D, 3D and it's all about the tools, not how the tools are packaged. It can be done in Free Open Source Software at low to no cost, nuff said.

No comments: