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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2015 VIDEO: AMP resources for video production in virtual worlds

AMP resources for video production 
in virtual worlds 
  • We make the mistakes so you don't have to.

AMP (Avatar Media Productions) has developed this collection of resources for producing videos in the virtual world.  It will be updated as we find or add resources. 

Resources from AMP


Avatar Media Productions is a project of New Media Arts, Inc.a nonprofit organization tax exempt under IRC 501(c)(3).  You may be able to deduct contributions on your tax return, depending on your tax  circumstances.

Support theater and video in virtual worlds when you shop at Amazon: Avatar Repertory Theater, New Media Arts

Thoughts on Robert Frost, casting his dramas

It's a familiar fact that in theater, roles written for men outnumber roles written for women. By a ratio of 2:1.*

Avatar Repertory Theater, in its six year history of producing live, virtual theater, has usually counted in its roster about equal numbers of male and female voice actors. We've filled our character lists by casting women's voices as men and, more often, adapting our play scripts to change roles from male to female. Since our visual characters are avatars, it's easy enough for a female actor to put on a male avatar and get on stage. My real life theater training and experience was in opera, and singing trouser roles to cover castrati parts seemed merely practical. How else to put the show on?

A.R.T.'s been doing it from nearly the beginning with our second show, Shakespeare's The Tempest in 2009. Rowan Shamroy was a kind and wise Gonzalo, using the character's age to disguise her quite female voice, and both Ariel and Trinculo were played by different women on different nights, as women, and it made no difference to the comedy. Barf jokes are barf jokes for either sex.

Six years and hundreds of shows later, we've cheerfully recast parts or rewritten roles from Sophocles to Dickens to Philip K. Dick.

Then we came to Robert Frost's drama poetry from "North of Boston", performed last February and one of the shows we can take into repertory. I wrote the adaptation and changed a couple of parts to be played by a woman - the lawyer in "The Self-Seeker", and the night clerk in "A Hundred Collars". No problem.

We were performing seven pieces with two men and two women, so in the course of working out the blocking problems and needing to even out the sequence of voices, I cast the unnamed part of the neighbor in "The Housekeeper" as a women.

Throughout this piece we are never told who this person is, what the relationship is to either of the other characters, or even why in the scene. Neighbor seems to be there as a sounding board for the old woman, asking questions to get the story told. We only even know that Neighbor is male when John comes in on the next to the last line to say "Just the man I'm after". So I changed the line to "Just the one I'm after", cast the incomparable MadameThespian Underhill in the role (and in truth felt some security with her there while I tackled the old woman), and we went to rehearsal.

A third of the way through the first reading she stops. "Ada, this isn't working. Who is this person?" We talk. We try to fix it. It's just not working, and I don't know why. Our four actors for this show encompass a combined experience of nearly a hundred years of theater, a gifted writer and a retired English professor. We know how to fix this stuff! But no. One word changed, and the thing is broken.

So since we have very limited rehearsal time, I didn't have a piece to replace it with and already had the publicity out, I recast the role with Iain McCracken (Sodovan Torok). He was understated and perfect, the thing sounded fine. Problem solved.

But I felt as though a significant part of my internal landscape of words had sheared off. I grew up north of Boston. I can't remember a time when I didn't know some Frost poetry. It was part of every school year, part of the landscape. Familiar. Take the other road. A well-built wall. Stars don't talk to us, we talk to them. I thought I got it, like breathing. Who knew who the neighbor was? Who cared? It turns out that if Frost is writing it, we have to pay attention.

*The Guardian Women in theatre: how the '2:1 problem' breaks down 
Huffington Post Theater's Audiences Are Mostly Female: Why Not the Roles?

Monday, March 30, 2015

2015 APL: Eight new publications on 2015-03-30

The first is one of Marleens patterns, charted and since it's a quarter pattern, with an extra illustration to show the complete pattern.

Second, another of Flora Klickmanns books, "Pillow lace and handworked trimmings". There's three sections, Pillow lace, Needlepoint laces and handmade collars, Embroideries and trimmings, so it's best qualified as a various-techniques book.

The third and fourth are donations from ebay seller lithopath. The neck pillow drew my attention first, because I've seen the half-moon shape of the pattern often, but I never knew wat it was intended for. That's one nagging question answered. The actual leaf-pattern is a tease too - I know I've seen it once, somewhere - but I can't find it anymore. It's not in the Digital Norwegian museum, though that has patterns of a similar shape.  They haven't been charted yet, I've made preparations, but charting off executed work is slower than from paper. The charts will be added when I've finished them. I still have to figure out a nice way to add a backlink to the items and/or the shop of the donor.

Fifth is another of Mark Bolhoeve's scans of Sajou fruits, charted by Franciska Ruessink. The other two (grapes and cherries) will follow the coming weeks.

Then one of my own collection: a small sampler with a religious motif, and flowers at the edges. I charted it with the colors that are actually on the sampler, but I think that when a shade of green ran out, the embroideress used a similiar but not quite the same shade. Have a look at the photograph to see what it looks like. If the colors were originally the same, maybe they bleached differently in the sun.

And then (drum roll) Wolf Dupeyron Filet Ancien I, and the charts will be added later - soon. Franciska Ruessink charted most of those books. Work on the other volumes is ongoing.

And then finally "The Wreath", a book about flower making, from 1835, so quite an old one in our catalog. Judith was occasionally a bit irritated by the quasi-humble tone of the text (some nuance that I must have missed). If you like flower making, this is something to work through. There's a funny thing, the "A Lady" who wrote it described rice paper flowers. In Marleens collection there were a few sheets of rice paper flowers ready for cutting out - now I know how they were intended to be used. Little riddles that get solved all the time - I love this work! Next week, rice paper flowers!

In addition to this, detail pages have been added to 35 existing publications. That's because I have been ill for a few days (drat that influenza virus) and during that time I'm only able to do work that does not require much thought - any thought, in fact. So, no editing, no charting, just making detail pages. Still some 300 publications to go, though.

I haven't updated the current donation page yet. So if you donated, but don't see any difference between this week and last week - mea culpa ;-)

Best wishes,

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

APL editing - using Acrobat Pro to crop and rotate

Sytske and I are planning a series of short notes on ways to approach editing the scans for Antique Pattern Library. There are many ways to do it, and we each prefer different software and workflows. Some things are true for all of the books.
So here goes. OK, not so short today...

Right now I'm working on The Young Ladies Journal Complete Guide to the Work-Table, Containing Instructions in Berlin Work, Crochet, Drawn-Thread Work, Embroidery, Knitting, Knotting or Macrame, Lace, Netting, Poona Painting & Tatting, with Numerous Illustrations and Coloured Designs. The title says it all.  It was published in London, 1884, so will eventually end up on our British Victorian page, and is a wonderful resource book for needleworkers and fans of the Victorian era.

I'm often in IM with Sytske while we do this, so I can ask questions. This is her book, she scanned it a few years ago, and remembers it vividly.

The background: We often scan small books or booklets by flattening them open on a scanner so that we take two pages in each image. As we edit we crop each page so that a single page will exhibit on the pdf file at a time - easier to read, especially on mobile devices, and a craft worker often needs to print only one page to work from.

The question: Is it better to crop the pages first, then edit them, or edit the two-page image, then edit? We've both tried it both ways, with different software.
The answer: Crop first, then edit.
The why:

  • Fixing crooked image rotations can be done automatically (I usually do it in Acrobat Pro), but not if two pages are pointing in different directions on the same image.
  • Automating such things as Replace Color to remove smutch from backgrounds is often different from page to page, even on the same scan.
  • A colored page facing a b&w page needs to be saved differently: Index color for color, grayscale for b&w. 
The how: I now use Acrobat Pro to separate the pages, though I've also used PhotoShop and other image editing software. I make sure the images are named so they sort in book number order, load them into Acrobat Pro twice, then fiddle with the sort order there to make sure they'll save to a pdf file in the right order. After I create this rough pdf file, I crop all of the left side, odd numbered pages, then the right side, even numbered pages, working cautiously in small batches, and save the file. Then I run Text Recognition, carefully (don't use clear scan), to keep the image intact at the same or better dpi. , to automatically clean up most rotation issues. Save again, then save the pdf file to Image>PNG to a folder called "editing", which gives me single pages, cropped, rotated, and ready to edit.
Sytske does it differently, and she may post with her tips sometime soon. :)

Judith Adele (Ada Radius in virtual worlds)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Antique Pattern Library Terms of Use

Non-commercial use only!

The downloads are free to download and to share, not to sell. Also the screendumps and later the text pages are published under the creative-commons licence - enjoy, but don't sell. If ever you see a PDF for sale, especially with the Library creative-commons copyright notice or something that looks like it, we'd be glad to hear. Most we've heard of so far are legitimate sellers of their own copies, but every now and then there's one that isn't. In such a case, please email us privately with your concerns and give as much detail as possible. We don't want peoples' names aired about before we've had a chance to look the matter over, in order to protect the truly innocent.

Best wishes,

Antique Pattern Library General info about pdfs

General info about the pdfs, which may not need repeating often

You need no password for opening. 

Anybody who gets a password-required-error, upgrade your Adobe reader first, since that's the most frequent cause of problems. Then, please read the instructions at the top of the Catalog page. After upgrading the Adobe Reader, saving to disk, etc., see if it still doesn't work, then send me an email?

If, and only if, you try to open the pdfs in an application that allows editing, you'll see the password request in earnest. We don't open our pdfs for editing, since this makes ripping them off too easy. Now any image thief has to do a sizeable amount of work or spend a sizeable amount of money to steal them. It still will happen, but let's not make it too easy. 

The iPad/iPhone problem has been solved, see the messages in the forum. The trick is not just to open the file, but to open it with Adobe. I'm still looking for an iPad that I can take photographs of what is actually done.
The Linux users still have their problems, with no solution in sight yet, much to our regret, as we do like open-source. Anybody with a solution is welcome to let us all know. If and when Adobe has a reader working on Linux for the new pdf's, we'll let you know. Anybody who has the news before us, let us know.

For the Linux users for whom the new pdfs are not of use, I put up a separate news page (www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/html/warm/details.htm) on which only the publications are listed that have detail pages. I might mention that the reward offered for the Linux solution is still on offer: find a solution and you'll get a nice antique publication from our duplicates.

Best wishes,