Wednesday, August 08, 2007

now available in glorious monochrome

Steel Bridge, Monochrome

I was trying to think of an interesting photo experiment that wouldn't be hampered by the ongoing bad weather, and I hit on something just in time for the weather to improve. I thought I'd try to make a photo look like old-sk00l clip art from back in the Mac Plus epoch, which means no color, not even greyscale, just black dots and white dots, cleverly dithered to give the appearance of a wider tonal range. There's probably an easier way to do this in GIMP (and feel free to chime in if you know what it is), but I figured I'd export the photo as XBM, the ancient X Window Bitmap format, then reload it and clean it up a bit. Believe it or not, your friendly neighborhood web browser probably supports XBM, so long as that browser is Firefox (or Netscape, probably). I thought about uploading them as XBMs but Flickr isn't interested in cooperating, and I'd hate to deprive you poor IE users out there. So I re-exported them as JPGs, which also made the files substantially smaller. XBM is an uncompressed format. In fact, XBM is a text format. In fact, XBM is really just a C header file that declares the image as a gigantic array, believe it or not, with each char representing 8 monochrome pixels. That's pretty cool if you ask me. In XBM, the top photo starts out like this:

#define IMG_7049_width 2272
#define IMG_7049_height 1704
static unsigned char IMG_7049_bits[] = {
0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00,

And continues for another ~3MB.

I trust the Steel Bridge needs no introduction, and neither do the Convention Center towers.


I like the top two photos, but they don't quite have the look I originally had in mind. The old classic Mac series had a screen resolution of just 512 x 384, roughly the size of one of the scaled-down images here, so one of these would've taken up the whole screen, all 9 inches of it. So I tried the same process on a couple of lower res pics, and I think this is more like what I was aiming for, although they're still a bit on the modern-technology side. The first one is of the westside Fremont Bridge ramps, in the remnant industrial zone between the Pearl and the NW 23rd/21st area.


And here's the inevitable Rusting Chunks photo, in glorious monochrome:


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