One of the signs of adulthood, I once said, is the first
party you throw where one of the guests brings a baby. This
happened to Ian and Ruth when they volunteered to be this
year s (or last year’s) New Year’s Eve party
venue: Dan and Lucy brought with them tiny Nathaniel (a bare
few months old). Given Lucy’s profession (genetics
inseminating frogs through a process that is fatal to the male
frogs, we were relieved to see that Dan is still hale and hearty
(or perhaps she replaced him with another
genetically identical copy). Jenni (visiting from the US) have
me a fantastic Xmas pressent: a framed drawing by Matt Feazell.
Today Jeremy and I spent mainly recuperating (Jeremy has a
lousy cold right now) but after a while we felt we had to go
stomping out in the cold bright winter sunshine through one of
the bits of green that the Oxford map is liberally daubed
with. I took the opportunity to phone my Dad while ducking
under ivy-laden branches to say Happy New Year. Phoning my
parents while Jeremy is throwing sticks at frozen rivers is
becoming something of a tradition...
A while back I produced a minicomic (on paper) which
depicted the 22 major arcana and the aces of the traditional
tarot deck. I have decided to start a new project, which
is to produce a colour version of this deck, to be published in
(OK, I will also include versions of the images in
good old-fashioned PNG for the sake of people with older
browsers.) When I have a complete deck I intend to
make some sort of automated generator of readings.
So far the Alleged Tarot 2002 has two cards drawn:
the Fool (number 0) and the Magician (number I).
Still tweaking the first two entries in the Alleged Tarot 2002: I am still having
trouble with my crude tools, which consist of an obsolete
version of Adobe®
Illustrator (on Mac OS 9), a free Python-based sketch
program called Sketch (which can
output in a near-SVG format, but which has trouble converting
Illustrator’s CMYK colours), and a
script for fixing up the namespaces in SVG files...
I have created proper card mock-ups of my two Alleged Tarot 2002—adding the title of
the card in a font I have cobbled together for the
occasion. The SVG format allows for the creation of fonts using
SVG primitives, and just this once I have elected to write
a font by entering the numbers by hand, viewing some sample
text, and changing the numbers til it looks right (yes,
I know this is crazy). To do this I an using a text editor
on Jeremy’s NT box, displaying the
SVG in MSIE with Adobe’s plug-in. It works so long as
I include the font definition in the same SVG file; my
attempts to use indirect
@font-face definitions (so
the font data can be in one file shared by all the SVG files)
have so far failed. Also, after repeated reloads of slightly
broken SVG files, the plug-in eventually crashes and takes MSIE
I also discovered a strange anomaly when using the
image element to include one SVG file in another:
it all worked OK while I was viewing SVG in files
file://... URLs), but when the same images were
installed on my test server, the referenced image vanished!
Worse, after I had tried viewing them from the web server,
the same problem manifested when I viewed the corresponding
files on disc. After closing MSIE and restarting it I was
able to view the files again. The workaround for this problem
is to not use images indirectly, and instead to copy the
referenced SVG direct in to the referring image. At some point
I will make a script for doing this automatically...
I have tried viewing these images with Mozilla 0.9.7 with SVG.
The simple images are partially
displayed, but the
viewBox attribute is ignored; as
a result you see only the top-left corner of the image! Also,
the colours are all replaced with shades of blue and magenta.
The fancy versions with the title
displayed in my special font do not display at all.
I have added the four Aces to the Tarot
project. I have
also hand-corrected the colours in the SVG files (to adjust for
the oversimplified CMYK-to-RGB conversion). Because I have
not yet defined some letters in the title font, there are some
blanks in the titles on the cards...
This week’s installment
of the Alleged Tarot 2002 consists of The Papess and The Empress.
I have also added half-baked commentary on the cards so
far. This has not been added to the PNG versions of the pages
yet; I’ll get around to that.
The fourth installment of this work in
progress is the Twos of Wands, Cups, Swords , and Coins. For a while
I have been debating whether the ‘pips’ cards
should be decorated or not I happen to prefer the
graphic purity of having the pips alone on a white card, like
old eighteenth-century playing cards, but you don’t have
to read much about Tarot to know thjat undecorated Minor Arcana
are not rated highly. In the end I have compromised: the
version has a little blue button which you can click on to toggle the
decorations on and off!
In the latest installment of the
Alleged Tarot 2002
I have decided to try to reward people visiting in SVG by
adding a couple of pointless details
to the Emperor and the Pope that cannot be seen
without zooming in!
As I work on the cards I am also doing little bits of scripting
to automate the repetative parts of the
process of taking the picture I produce in
Adobe Illustrator and turning it in to a complete card image
(basically the additon of the card border, the keywords, and the
title in the custom font).
The Pope is assembled automatically; the Emperor I did by hand.
The main thing missing is an
correction step; until I manage that, the Pope’s lawn
is a bit garish....