Today's Master Copy Monday isn't centered around one particular artist, but instead "life". A picture of salmon fillet in particular. Creating texture cubes like this, is something I've been considering adding to my regimen for the past few weeks.
At this point, you maybe asking "Why salmon?". Aside from salmon niigiri being one of my favorite dishes, I wanted to achieve the effect of a painting through blend modes and masks alone
Since flesh has a wide range of color variation based on density and translucency, I figured salmon would be a good candidate to apply my thought process. I think I was pretty successful at testing my technique.
I may have also found a way to greatly speed up my process; this render took less than 2 hrs, using only 10 layers!
Do you think I nailed it? What would be an interesting material to see cube form? "Hamburger" and "christmas tree" have already been suggested!
Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,
Japanese | Word of the Day
Recently, news has been spreading concerning a number of Kpop stars being involved in the filming and distribution of illicit spy cam pornography. Though this news primarily comes from South Korea, I'm certain Japan is not immune to such illegal activity. In fact, the privacy laws in Japan are so strict in regards to filming individuals without consent, that all cellphone camera apps are defaulted with a shutter sound that cannot be deactivated. However, over the years, numerous hotels across korea have been found to be compromised by highy quality spy cameras, most of which are no larger than a pinhole. The hidden cameras have been found inside the most inconspicuous items such as coke cans, toothpaste rolls, smoke detectors, books, and any/all types of typical hotel furnishings. I recommend taking a look at the video below to see some of the most common hiding places and methods of finding hidden cameras.
Anyway, our word for the day is "隠しカメら/かくしかめら/kakushi kamera or hidden camera. Lets break it down.
*Beware: This is the conjugated noun version of the verb 「隠す・to hide/conceal」.
The later part of the word is written in Katakana, clearly borrowed from English. Its pronunciation is almost identical, so I will skip it. On the other hand, I think 隠し is very peculiar looking. Starting on the left 阝・hill, mound. Top- to-bottom, 爪 or ⺤・claw, ョ・katakana "yo"(could possibly mean "pig snout"), and finally 心・heart. I'm not entirely confident about ヨ having a definition in this context, but if so chosen I think it could make sense. I can imagine a pig at the foot of hill trying to conceal itself(heart) from predators(claws)...or something like that.
Today is a short one, so I will leave it there. Do you worry about spy cams when you stay at hotels? How about in an Airbnb? Will you be super paranoid about it now? lol I know I will. Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, please like and share this post~
Until next time,
News broke last week that famed manga artist and Lupin III creator, Kazuhiko Katou, died due to complications from pneumonia at the age of 81.
Born in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, Kazuhiko became interested in drawing comic strips as a hobby in the tail end of his primary school education. However, his career wouldn't definitively take off until he debuted his manga Playboy School in 1965. Spanning from 1967-2019, the bulk of his career was commited to the creation of Lupin III stories via serilized manga, animated tv shows and movies, OVAs, TV specials, games, music CDs, live-action film adaptations etc. In my opinion, Lupin III's popularity was due to its successful depiction of amusing and unique characters paired with extraordinary situations, ultimately based on simple story premisis. Much like Marvel's new found success with The Guardians of the Galaxy, Lupin III's dynamic cast of misfit characters made for interesting story devlopment in a variety of high-tension heist situations. I think this concept made the manga easy to gravitate toward and captivate audience attention throughout the years as the stories became increasingly more sophisticated. I should also note that Lupin III produced some of the most intricate animated sequences throughout the history of the industry, more than likely inspiring many of today's favorites. Take a look at my selection below. You can gain a deeper understanding of the promising points from Lupin III.
Though you may not be aware of the story from these sequences, can you recognize some of the animation style? Surprisingly, the great Hayao Miyazaki got his film debut through Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, from which a few clips were selected. Though, I'm sure there are countless others who have likely been inspired peripherally through Katou's work, it wasn't until April 2005, he had become the professor of Manga Animation for the Faculty of Media and Arts at Otemae University. Though, Katou's death is a painful loss to the animation industry as a whole, his legacy and profound influence will most definitely be carried into the future by way of inspiring other animated productions; perhaps inspiring yet another Miyazaki or Katou with their own creative visions.
Are you a Lupin III fan? Whats your favorite animated film? Is their an artist you think should be more recognized for their work? Leave your thoughts down in the comments below. As always, please like and share this post~
Until next time,
Japanese | Word of the Day
As you may have heard, Taiwan experienced a sizeable 6.1 magnitude earthquake in its northeastern region yesterday afternoon. The seismic activity was enough to topple buildings and injure at least 17 people according to early reports.
Since Japan also sits on the ring of fire, we experience minor earthquakes on a regular basis. Because of our regions suseptibility to this type of natural disaster, I chose "地震/じしん/jishin・earthquake" to be the word of the day. Lets breakdown these kanji.
*Beware: pronunciation of individual kanji may change depending on context.
Though these kanji may look complicated, I think being aware of each individual definition makes this word easier to understand relative to the instances in which we encounter them in the context of other words.
That might seem like a lot, but the point is becoming accustomed to using context clues; identifying the relationship between the kanji you do know, among the ones you do not. I didn't know the word 耐震 before writing this post, but if 「耐」is associated with "resistance", then its safe to assume that if I encountered it combined with a kanji I'm familiar with...like, 火・fire, 「耐火」probably means "fireproof".
Hopefully that bit of logic is helpful. Have you ever experienced an earthquake? How about any other natural disaster? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,
Throwback Thursday | Cookieholics
Today is "Throwback Thursday", so I decided to revisit a logo a made for a bakery about 4 years ago. Instead of just re-posting the logo, I took the opportunity to update the character. I've become much more familiar with the pen tool at this point, so I thought I could simplify some shapes and add an extra level of refinement. The thing that bothered me the most about my original design was expressing what ecstasy looks like. The idea of the average joe eating these cookies in an unconstrained manner, leading to addiction; a cookieholic.
I think simplifying the expression by opening both eyes to look upward and doubling down on the glowing rim light, makes it seem like a heavenly experience. Whereas the character in the previous image has a more perplexed expression directed toward the cookies that isn't quite clear. There are some elements in the older image, like the level of contrast, that I still appreciate but I'm not so certain it would be necessary in the end. Perhaps I'll come back to this image in the future.
What do you think? Which image do you prefer? What image from my portfolio should I update next? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, please like and share this post~
Until next time,
Japanese | Word of the Day
As I'm sure everyone has heard by now, France's famous Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire and received severe damage to its largely wooden internal architecture. Since the incident was surprisingly timely, I thought I would take advantage of the occasion to teach you guys another random Japanese word.
Therefore, today's word is 大聖堂/だいせいどう/daiseidou or "cathedral". As usual, lets break it down.
*Beware: The pronunciation of this kanji may change depending on context.
I think this one of those reasonably understandable kanji compounds that makes sense when the individual definition of the kanji is understood. That being said, cathedrals are generally known for their large scale, so its no wonder the first kanji is "大・big". The next kanji, "聖・saint", is also a reasonable selection, considering Catholicism enthusiastically celebrates the contributions of saints to Christianity almost as much as Jesus himself. Aside from that, the individual radicals for "聖" are also very intuitive for those familiar with Christianity. Psalm 47:7 states "For god is king(王) of all the Earth: sing(口) you praises with understanding(耳)." Along the top(かんむり), we have "耳・ear" and "口・mouth". At the bottom(あし), we have "王・king". Taking that loose interpretation into consideration, it isn't unreasonable to assume the definition of "聖" to be a person/instituition that spreads the word of god to all whom listen. I'm no christianity expert, but that sounds legit to me. Anyway, the last kanji "堂・temple" rounds out the compound neatly to inform the nature of the building. Since a cathedral is a place in which spirituality is cultivated, this kanji selection is also quite natural.
Thats all for today, hopefully you guys learned something interesting as it relates to current events. Are you religious or spiritual? Do you attend some sort of service at an institution like a cathedral, church, shrine or temple? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, please like and share this post~
Until next time,
WIP Wednesday | Satoyama
Its time for me to share what I've been working on this past week. If you've been following the past few "Freeday" post, you would know that I've been discussing the most pressing visual design trends of 2019. Drawing inspiration from that, I decided to try my hand at developing a mock ad in the same vein as the advertisements I see along my daily commute. As I've mentioned previously, Japanese design tends to lean heavily into simple design principles that focus on balance, economy, harmony, scale and reptition. Simultaneously, very few design elements are used in comparison to western-centric design philosophy. Those design elements primarily include space, line, shape and the occasional value or color. Just so we're on the right page, check out the selection of graphic designs below; can you see specified design principles/elements represented?
Taking those ideas into consideration, I chose to develop my idea with the help of my friend Raun. He is a fantastic photographer, whose work can be found on his instagram. Recently, he visited Tokyo and had some photos of his trip developed here. Upon receiving and looking over the results, one photo in particular caught my eye.
Raun was trying to expend the rest of the film so he could install a new roll, therefore considered the photo a throwaway. He didn't particularly find this photo well-shot or interesting, so he gave it to me. I think its quite amazing that even his trashiest photos have a remarkable amount of depth and value. Anyway, I had been thinking ahead to this particular project; considering the use of his photo as a great opportunity to express an idea for a restaurant ad inspired from a Japanese chef I had seen on a Netflix show(The Final Table) months prior. Getting to the start of this project was very roundabout, but I think thats what makes it the most interesting.
Its called "Satoyama/里山". Satoyama is the boundary between cultivated farmland and the mountanous forest region found in rural parts of Japan. Some people harvest wild vegetation from this area so that it may be consumed in local cuisine. Chef Narisawa and his self-titled restaurant, have been leading the charge to make this sustainable and eco-friendly business practice mainstream over the past 10years. Presenting the natural beauty of the earth as edible and high class as any other ingredient produced in well manicured fields. I selected a quote from Narisawa that reflected this message and overlayed it on Raun's photo. I personally think his photo is strong enough to carry the idea since it clearly illustrates the "里山" boundry, only be plused by the restaurant branding and hook in the bottom half of the composition.
I'm still trying to figure out the organization in the bottom half of the composition. Its difficult to think of a hook without an editor or at least someone who is familiar with Japanese advertising(you'd be surprised how little people in general perceive/receive communication). In any case, what do you think? Does my effort look on par to the examples I gave at the top of the post? What should I consider editing? What type of advertisement should I try next? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, please like and share this post~
Until next time,
Last week I mentioned that new designs for the Japanese currency had been announced to start circulating by 2024. However, at that time, I skipped showing you guys what the currency would look like. I, instead, focused on who is currently represented on the bills, since most of my readers are probably unfamiliar with the look of Japanese money. You can read that first post here. Without, further ado:
Next Generation Designs
Per last time, I will describe the significance of each historical figure in ascending order.
On the obverse side of the new 1000 yen note is Shibasaburou Kitasato. Kitasato was a physician and bacteriologist, best known as the co-discoverer in finding the infectuous agent of the bubonic plague in 1894. More impressively, his accomplishments neither began nor ended there. He is also credited for working on antitoxins to combat anthrax and diphtheria, and is also recognized along with his student Kiyoshi Shiga for isolating and describing the organism that causes dysentery, and founding the Institue for the Study of Infectious Diseases with assistance from Yukichi Fukuzawa(currently featured on the 10000 yen note). Kitasato was later nominated for the First Noble Prize in Physiology or Medicine with his colleague, Emil Von Behring, in 1901. However, unlike Von Behring, Kitasato was failed to be awarded for his contribution in the discovery of the diphtheria antitoxin serum. In anycase, Kitasato went on to become the first dean of medicine at Keio University and the first president of the Japan Medical Association.
The reverse of the bill shows a depiction of Hokusai's famed "Great Wave off Kanagawa". The original image was created as a woodblock print, first in a series that viewed Mt. Fuji from 36 angles.
The front of the new 5000 yen notes features one of the most inspirational historical figures I've had the pleasure of sharing with you all so far, Umeko Tsuda. Umeko was born into a devoted christian family that, unlike most, thought highly of the education of women. That being the case, her father sent her to live abroad in America at the age of 6, living as a student until 18. During her time abroad, Umeko excelled at math, science, music and language; especially English, French and Latin. However, upon her return to Japan, she'd nearly forgotten her native tongue, which would go on to hinder her re-adjustment to Japanese society temporarily. That aside, the pressure to conform to the lower status women had in patriarichal society also didn't sit well with her coming from the more progressive United States. Umeko would eventually leave Japan again to pursue higher education in Biology and Education in the United States. It was during this time that she became driven to try and provide the same educational opportunities to other Japanese women by fundraising scholarships. After returning to Japan for a second time, Tsuda would become one of the highest paid (female) educators of her era. She would go on to publish several dissertations and make a number of speeches for the improvement of women's status in society. With the aid of Princess Oyama Sutematsu, Umeko would found the Women's Institute for English Studies, later renamed Tsuda College; still recognized as one of Japan's most prestigous institutes for the higher education of women.
The reverse of the bill shows a depiction of Japanese Wisteria. They typically bloom around mid Spring, carry a strong fragrance similar to grapes, and an grow up to 30ft long.
The new face of the 10,000 yen note is known as Eiichi Shibusawa. He is is commonly referred to as the "father of modern Japanese capitalism". After the Meiji Restoration, Shibusawa served as a pivotal character in reforming economic policy. This is in part due to his exposure with Europe's industrial and economic development as a member of Tokugawa Akitake's delegation to the Paris World Exhibition in 1867. After returning from his travels, Shibusawa realized the importance of these elements among western cultures and societies, taking it upon himself to introduce such practices to Japan. He is credited with founding hundreds of corporations and government entities still in service today. These include the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and "The First National Bank", now known as Mizuho Bank; first of its kind to function via joint stock ownership and the power to issue its own notes in Japan. Though Shibusawa, founded countless numbers of companies, he refused to be the primary stakeholder in any of them. He was an advocate for the harmony of good ethics and business. This virtuous thinking would later develop into the spearheading of projects that would ultimately better society, involving himself in over 600 projects related to the higher education of women and social welfare.
The reverse of the bill shows a depiction of Tokyo Station, specifically the Marunouchi side. It is one of the largest and most heavily trafficked stations in the country. It is visited by over 900K commuters daily, ranking it number 4 in the nation.
There is a lot to unpack here, but through my research I can honestly say I've learned a lot. I've never been this curious about the presidents on American money, so its quite interesting to see individuals from other parts of society recognized on currency. Out of the 6 individuals I introduced over these last 2 post, who interested you the most? Did you learn anything new? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,
Japanese | Word of the Day
Its time for yet another addition of random Japanese words to learn. It was a bit difficult to settle on any one paticular word but I eventually settled on a food item this time around. I will be celebrating my birthday with Yui over the weekend by eating a dish that isn't necessarily unique to Japan, but is in stark contrast to what is available in America; 馬刺し/ばさし/basashi・horse-meat sashimi. First of all, sashimi is thin sliced cuts of raw meat; typically fish or crustaceans.
However, in the context of today's word, it quite obviously refers to horses. I should also point out that chicken sashimi also exist here as well(I've eaten it, but I'm not a fan). Anyway, lets breakdown these kanji.
I think this compound is really straightforward, but perhaps I can help you all draw a mental image of what to see when observing these kanji; specifically "刺し". We can break "刺" into two parts, left・へん (hen) and right・つくり (tsukuri). On the right, we have the radical 「⺉」, which is derived from the kanji 「刀・sword」. On the left, we have two different radicals, 「巾・cloth」 and 「木・tree」. Unfortunately, the combination of a cloth hanging from a tree might not mean much at first glance, but in order to fix a cloth to a tree, your presumably must stab it through with a sword/knife; thus we get a generalized understanding of the whole kanji "刺".
*Beware: The pronunciation of this kanji may change based on context.
**This word was originally a verb(さす/sasu) converted into a noun(さし/sashi), thus creating the compound word we see above.
Thats about it for todays word. Have you ever eaten raw meat? Fish or otherwise? Would you be willing to try 馬刺し? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, like and share this post~
Until next time,
I'm back again with another design trend that you should be aware of for 2019. Compared to the last one, this trend is even more direct and probably more obvious. I'm referring to the trend known as color-blocking.
What is "color-blocking"?
Color-blocking essentially takes two contrasting colors, usually complimentary colors, and sets them in juxtposition to one-another. The pairing of the color combination is intended to be striking, vivid, and crisp. Piet Mondrian is famously attributed to be the originator of this design style, commonly referred to as "Neoplasticism". There is some controversy regarding the accuracy of that assertment, but his work is likely to be more familiar with the public than his contemporaries.
However, outside the realm of painting and modern popart, the greater world of graphic design and advertising has revitalized this trend for contemporary audiences in a marketable way. I believe Japan, specifically, has been on board with the color-blocking trend for many years due to their minimalist attitudes toward economical design. This is especially true when it comes to interior design.
On my daily commutes, I notice many types of advertisements adopting aspects of color-blocking in unique ways. As I mentioned in the definition above, traditional color-blocking uses complimentary colors; i.e, red and green, blue and orange, purple and yellow, etc. The two advertisements below are each for a cram school. The one on the left uses "color-blocking" in a fresh and inviting way, challenging the audience's predisposition to the typical cram school advertisment seen right.
Other advertisements take an analogus approach by utilizing different hues within the same color spectrum. Take a look at this Pixar exhibtion advertisement. Each character is juxtaposed with a solid background color that works harmoniously with the overall design, creating separate cells or "blocks" of color at a distance.
We can also see color-blocking in ads for products and consumer goods as well. Pocari Sweat is a sports water brand here in Japan that notoriously utilizes bold blocks of blue in their advertising. This is a clear example in how the strength of color-blocking can be used to reinforce brand identity.
In other ads, the vibrancy of the color- block is greatly reduced to more muted tones that work well along side more natural elements, such as the sky. If you read my first entry about visual design trends, then you will notice that combination of the nature and color-blocking is incredibly effective at targeting consumers.
Finally, I can't talk much about color-blocking without mentioning its prolific use in fashion design and photography. The photograph below comes from a campaign organized by Lumine, a department store chain based here in Japan. Notice how the color-blocking is repeated beyond the clothing to encompass the background as well? This makes the image as a whole more graphical and visually striking; forcing the viewer to rest their eyes on the model's face, the only neutral space ib the composition.
Hopefully, through the given examples, you can be aware of what to look for over the year. The effectiveness of graphic design and advertising is largely psychological by nature, so it is important to know what techniques brands and agency are using to attract your attention. Having a bold, vivdly colorful block of advertising is more likely to grab you for those precious brief moments during your commute than a wall of text. Have you noticed any color-blocked ads recently? Is this particular trend appealing to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,