I was wrong about AutoCAD 2013 Help, it still sucks

In my effusive welcome of AutoCAD 2013’s updated Help system, I wondered if I had been shocked into missing some glaring problem. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. In my enthusiasm, I managed to totally miss the fact that the new system has not been introduced for offline users. If you use the new system, there’s a link on the front page to the offline files. I got as far as downloading and installing what I thought was the offline version of the new system and discovered that it didn’t want to install because the old one was already installed. What I should have then done, and didn’t, was to uninstall the old and install the new, before running it in offline mode. I intended to get around to that to check the performance and responsiveness of the respective versions, but didn’t have the time right then. If I had done so, I would have noticed that my download, uninstall and reinstall would have been in vain, because the offline version pointed to by the new system is still the old version. My apologies to anybody who wasted their time because of what I originally wrote. There are many legitimate reasons why Autodesk customers want or need to use their software, including the documentation, entirely in offline mode. For example, the users I manage can’t access the online Help system from AutoCAD because Autodesk writes its software in such a way as to fail in a secure proxy server environment (yes, this has been reported as a bug, repeatedly). So for my users and many others, it’s true to say that despite the best efforts of Dieter and his team, AutoCAD 2013’s Help still sucks. Look at this from the point of view of such offline AutoCAD 2013 Help users. We…

Full post and comments

Magic vanishing images

In a thread in the Feedback & Questions about the Discussion Groups section of the Autodesk discussion groups, somebody called ACADuser contributed what I thought was a highly amusing bar graph as a test image. Inspired by this, I contributed a couple of test images of my own. A few hours later, the whole thread magically disappeared! It seems a shame that I went to the effort of making those images, and all for nothing. The handful of people who would have seen them on the discussion groups have now missed out on the experience. So I’ve decided to make up for that by posting them here, where thousands of people can look at them instead. Here’s the first one (not that amusing): Here’s the second one. Given the circumstances, it seems somewhat prescient: If ACADuser wants to get in touch, I’ll be quite happy to post his image too.

Full post and comments

Shorn Shaan – you saw it here first

I was amused to see Shaan Hurley losing his locks at AU. Some of you may recall me suggesting this course of action a couple of years ago. How close do you think I got with my artist’s impression? Original images © 2008 and 2009 Shaan Hurley.

Full post and comments

Ralph Lauren – genuinely dumb or trying to be clever?

One of the blogs I read regularly is Photoshop Disasters, which recently posted a picture of a Ralph Lauren ad. In common with many fashion photos, this showed a skinny model that appeared to have been further skinnified on somebody’s computer to the point that the poor waif was ridiculously deformed. Like this: Nothing out of the ordinary there, then. Under normal circumstances it would have received a few dozen comments and scrolled off the front page in a week or so, because there is no shortage of bad image manipulation out there for the blog to snigger at. The image was reposted at Boing Boing, but it would still have been forgotten in a week. Except this time, Ralph Lauren prodded its lawyers into action and demanded the image be removed from both sites, issuing a DMCA notice. The DMCA request was spurious, as this is a clear case of fair use of an image for the purposes of criticism. Photoshop Disasters is hosted by Blogspot, which automatically complies with such requests. Boing Boing is not, and instead went on the offensive. They refused to take down the picture, instead reposting it with biting sarcasm. Read it, it’s funny. Ralph Lauren, if you’re reading this, please send me a DMCA notice too. I’m feeling left out. This led to a flurry of comments, reposts and reports all over the Internet, including here. The comments (running at over a hundred an hour right now) are almost universally mocking of Ralph Lauren, its legal team, its models and its image manipulation propensities. The criticism goes way beyond the few snipes at a mangled-body image that would have been the case if Ralph Lauren had done nothing. It has moved on to the fashion designer’s ethical standards and those of the fashion…

Full post and comments

Gaahl’s Tr00 Life Adventures Week 10, and Peter Beste

Time for my own bad Photoshop. Truly, truly awful work here. This is the tenth and last (so far) edition of Gaahl’s Tr00 Life Adventures. Click the thumbnail to see the full size image. This one contains a few in-jokes (e.g. “many Norwegian countries”) from the Mike Portnoy forum community that was the original audience, so much of the original amusement will be lost. I am posting this one mainly to complete the set. The original Gaahl photograph is by Houston documentary photographer Peter Beste, who has this to say on his site: In the last two decades a bizarre and violent musical subculture called black metal has emerged in Norway. It’s roots stem from a heady blend of horror films, extreme heavy metal music, Satanism, pagan mythology, and adolescent angst. In the early-mid 1990’s, members of this extremist underground committed murder, burned down medieval wooden churches, and desecrated graveyards. What started as a juvenile frenzy came to symbolize the start of a war against Christianity, a return to the worship of the ancient Norse gods, and the complete rejection of mainstream society. I have spent the last 7 years photographing in this insulated and secretive community. I am pleased to report that Peter has no objection to his original photograph being (ab)used in this way. If you’re intrigued or amused by these black metal guys, check out his site for more images. There is even a book called True Norwegian Black Metal, available (of course) in a limited edition of 666 copies. Peter has taken photographs of other subjects, including similarly confronting ones of Houston rap culture (some include nudity), with a book due to follow on that subject later this year.

Full post and comments

Bad Photoshop 4

Pathetic perspective, courtesy of the work experience person doing Clark Rubber‘s brochure images: The same background is used for another table set. The perspective doesn’t match in that one either, but it’s not as bad as this. Maybe it’s just CAD geeks who notice this sort of thing? One more to come from this brochure, and it’s the worst one of the lot!

Full post and comments

Bad Photoshop 3

More Fotoshop phun courtesy of Clark Rubber: We’ll allow the oversized box and balls as an artistic device. But the woman has been cut out (badly) and pasted in with little regard to scale; that water is about 30″ deep. She either has very stumpy legs compared with her skinny top half, or the Autodesk shark is in there and it has given her an amputation at about the calf level. Why is her forearm oddly shaped, and shorter and thinner than that of the girl? And what’s going on down by the ladder? Why is it darker one side of the rail than the other? Why is the edge of the water higher and darker on that side? Why does the ladder cast no shadow? Inquiring minds want to know.

Full post and comments

Bad Photoshop 1 & 2

I’ve mentioned before that I love the Photoshop Disasters blog, and I’ve also mentioned that Clark Rubber has provided me with great service. Here’s the first of a few posts that combine the two. I recently received a Clark Rubber brochure, and from the look of it (and the web site), Clark Rubber is not receiving the same kind of service from its Photoshop people that it provides to its own customers. I could fill this whole blog with disasters from that one brochure, but here are just a couple for a start. Putting aside the awful water spray, the cut-and-paste problems, the strange lighting/shadow issues, the unrealistic water edge and the rest of it, how did that picture of the kid in the pool also manage to appear on the water cannon itself (sans pool and with the toy at a different angle)? Eddies in the space-time continuum, perhaps? He probably is.* My head assplode. This magic device not only fires oversized lemons, it also emits a strangely unrealistic jet of water of significantly smaller diameter than the inside diameter of the tube. I must have one! * Joke stolen from Douglas Adams.

Full post and comments

Photoshop disasters blog

I love this blog: http://photoshopdisasters.blogspot.com/ OK, some of the “disasters” are a bit nitpicking, but there are some truly awful image manipulation efforts out there, some associated with very big companies. Look back over the archives, there are some real classics. Lesson to large companies: don’t penny-pinch, it’s not worth it. I can’t remember any Autodesk marketing image disasters, although some of you may remember being bemused by the relevance of the the short-lived Subscription Cow. The BENTLEY BIN image is pretty funny, though. Does anybody have any other CAD-related examples?

Full post and comments

Video – Deciphered lyrics

Here’s another video I have done to the music of Swedish metal band Opeth (the first one is here). This band’s latest album, Watershed, does not come with conventional lyrics in the booklet, but rather a page full of rune-type characters. There are actually two different pages in different editions of the album, and in order to work out the lyrics you need to rotate the pages, work out a substitution cipher and combine the two sources. To save you the trouble of doing all that, here are the lyrics of Heir Apparent. This is the only song on the album that contains only angry Cookie Monster vocals (beware!), so without my expert deciphering efforts (ahem!) it would be rather difficult for the uninitiated to know what the song was all about. If you can put up with the vocals, I think you’ll enjoy this! YouTube link.

Full post and comments

Video – Misheard lyrics

This blog is supposed to a strange mix of AutoCAD, music, image manipulation and video, but so far it has been a bit light on in the latter three categories. This post will redress the balance a little. This is a silly video I made based on the song Ghost of Perdition from the album Ghost Reveries by Swedish metal band Opeth. I’m sure the music won’t be to the liking of many of you, particularly as the vocals are partly in the “death grunt” style. If you’ve never heard a death grunt, just try to imagine Cookie Monster singing while he’s really, really angry about something. For the record, I prefer my vocals “clean” but this style is easy to mishear, leading to general amusement (hopefully). Parental guidance: contains very mild nudity, very slightly offensive language and an oblique drug reference. You’ll have to be quick to spot them, though. I consider this safe to show to kids (as long as you think the vocals won’t give them nightmares), but some of you may not agree. YouTube link.

Full post and comments

Gaahl’s Tr00 Life Adventures Week 5

In this week’s adventure, Gaahl goes shopping. No, it’s not your eyes, the background image is fuzzy. A couple of things may need explaining. According to his mother, Gaahl is vegetarian (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Also, Gorgoroth was his band. They have now split up and ownership of the name is in dispute. Maybe the other band members objected to what he brought back from the supermarket? After all, he eats absolutely no innards. The original Gaahl photograph is by Peter Beste.

Full post and comments