artifical-emotional-intelligence

I was late starting this week’s AlphaBot due to some last-minute tax snafus. Just as I was about to begin I found out about the Boston Marathon explosions. So the whole time I was doing this I was thinking of those who ran into the disaster area to help the wounded. I’m sure most of you have heard or read this quote from Fred Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster’, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

- Mr. Rogers

Surprise! I did an AlphaBot this week after all!

We had a surprise flood situation this weekend that put me behind in everything– only the basement was affected, but with both sons home there was a lot of stuff stored down there. Luckily nothing truly precious was destroyed, but it still took many, many hours of clean-up. And it happened on my birthday, too, hmph!! The nerve!! This bot pretty much captures my mien upon discovering the situation.

Sometimes these bots come along at just the right time. It happens that my parents are selling the home where my siblings & I grew up. It’s the right thing to do, but still a bittersweet moment. We had a family “house-cooling” last weekend where we all indulged in a good bit of nostalgia, along with some champagne, a few tears & plenty of laughter.

Do you think the electronic beings of today look back at vacuum tubes with fond nostalgia?

I must say crafting this one in Illustrator was quite the maddening experience. Although I felt it was the perfect program for all the mechanical precision, it kept selecting the wrong paths of the zillion & three I had to create for the circuitry. I was locking everything else down, so I don’t quite understand why. Any wisdom from the AI wizards out there?

On the bright side, I discovered Envelope Mesh. Man that was handy for tweaking the perspective!

p.s. Please forgive my electronic ignorance, all you folks out there who know how circuits really work. (You know who you are!) I’m sure this configuration is ridiculous & impossible. I claim artistic license!

A supposedly useful thing I may never try again: Adobe Illustrator’s perspective tool. I thought it would save time, but there were many things it didn’t seem able to handle– although I must admit the problem probably exists “between chair & computer” as my brother the electrical engineer likes to say. :-\

I had to fake the y-axis eyebrow curve, for instance, & the eyes came out looking excessively flat. If anyone knows any tips on how to make AI render curves in perspective, I’d appreciate hearing them! (I have tried the 3d tool, by the way but I don’t like its color-deadening nastiness.)

After all that fussing, I remembered that I’ve never actually felt satisfied with mechanically accurate perspective in a drawing anyway. It usually makes it look a little stiff & dead to my eyes.

All in all, the experience has left me quite querulous!  Should’ve seen that coming, I guess.

I have a quotation by Deena Metzger painted on my studio wall: “There is time only to work slowly. There is no time not to love.” It helps me keep my focus when I’m freaking out about a deadline or something. Whenever I get frantic & try to rush things, I end up making mistakes that set me back even more. And when my children were small & constantly interrupting, seeing that quotation helped me remember what was really important.

My patience was tested today (with gradient mesh, what a surprise!) & I’m still not happy with the results, but I’m trying to remember that this project is all about exploring a new program, & the only way to make progress is to keep learning from my mistakes!

I’ve been trying to learn to code lately, so I’ve been experiencing plenty of puzzlement! However, I thoroughly enjoy the Lynda.com tutorials, in part because it tickles me to hear serious-sounding British dudes saying “curly braces” repeatedly.

Still, I do sometimes wish I could remove my head & give it a good tune-up from time to time. For one thing, there is loads of useless information in there that I wish I could dump out to make room for more!

It’s a scientific point of contention whether dogs can feel guilt.

What do you think? 

I’m sure there would be similar questions raised about this AlphaBot.

But looking guilty is another matter. That’s definitely in its programming, & I suspect dogs’ & humans’ too. 

Speaking of which, I’m feeling a bit guilty for taking extra shortcuts this week (I cadged a bunch of gradients & blends– and even an eye– from CuriosityBot for this one) but I’d feel even more guilty if I missed my work deadlines, so something had to give! 

EmbarrassmentBot

Leah Palmer Preiss

Artificial Emotional Intelligence

I blush very easily & whenever I’m the least bit embarrassed, or emotionally stirred in any way really, I begin to resemble this AlphaBot, glowing ears & all. Unfortunately I can feel it happening & that just makes me more embarrassed.

I had fun doing all the radiant gradients though! I’m starting to hate gradient mesh just a tiny bit less, though it’s still weirdly unpredictable. It does allow for a lot of subtle mixing!

I also experimented with multiple strokes on a path here, to create a fake gradient for the fingers. It sorta works!

DisgustBot

Artificial Emotional Intelligence

Leah Palmer Preiss

…My Illustrator interest may have crossed the line into obsession. The other night I dreamed I was trying to control my husband’s snore volume using Bézier curve handles, & getting very frustrated with Illustrator when it didn’t work! Perhaps that’s my subconscious telling me that I’m asking too much of this program? In this case an old-school poke in the shoulder was much more effective. ;-) At least I woke up laughing, which isn’t always the case when the snore volume goes to 11!

Wow– the end of another Alphabet Project! Of course I still have a few stragglers to fill in, but I must say I’m happy to be (nearly) done with this one. Over the past six months I’ve certainly learned a lot about Adobe Illustrator,* but frankly I’ve lost much of my zeal for vector & robots, & I’m itching to get back to more organic artwork, both in subject matter & technique. I have a completely different & fun new series in my head & can’t wait to get started! I’m hoping to have my first piece up in the next week or two– stay tuned!

In the meantime, check out everybody’s AlphaBots from A to Z here!

*I just learned about the Distort/Roughen effect, which I used (twice) on a zig-zag path, to make the zap of electricity on this guy’s head look more convincingly random.

Oh how I identify with this wiggly bot! It’s strange that someone with a severe case of the fidgets would choose a career that requires hours on end of near-immobility, but making art is just as irresistible as movement, so my two obsessions fight it out every day. Usually I start with the art & when I can’t sit still another minute, I get up & hoop-dance madly for a while. Then back to the desk or drawing table until the wiggles take over again.

I’m very tempted to animate this little guy, but that would mean sitting here a lot longer, & I really need to go hoop!

Sometimes it’s all too much!!!

And before you say anything about the undeniably awkward title, there is NO really good noun form for “overwhelm”! I had a choice between a rarely-heard & semi-archaic word (“overwhelmedness”) & a cleaner, more current, but non-standard one (“overwhelm” as noun). I rather liked someone’s suggestion of “overwhelmment” but that wasn’t in the OED either. So I went with the superannuated version, because that’s how I roll! I mean, I use a dip pen every day. What did you expect? ;-) It would have been easier if I’d used adjectives to begin with, but too late now!

I have greenish eyes so I’ve always felt a little insulted by the phrase “green-eyed monster.” How did jealousy acquire that moniker, I wonder? Ah well, I gave into the cliché for this week’s AlphaBot anyway! Now I’m part of the problem, I guess.

I’m not very happy with the results either, but I ran out of time to tweak. I’m jealous (or more precisely, envious) of people who have plenty of time for everything they want to do. Luckily I don’t know a single one of them!

FrightBot

Leah Palmer Preiss

Artificial Emotional Intelligence

This week's AlphaBot is a bit of a Fraidy-bot. I have a hyperactive alarm system myself, so I can relate.

I was working on a bunch of projects this week so I didn’t have a whole lot of time to experiment with new AI techniques, but I did figure out that I could use the inner glow effect to make a nifty inner shadow in the eyeballs & head-bulb.