44 entries tagged
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....
This week’s instalment of
my on-line tarot deck
is the four Threes:
This week also sees a behind-the-scenes change to the way
I convert the simple
images in to the complete cards. Up until now I edited
the fancy image file by hand in a text editor using cut &
paste. Now I have a Tcl script that does this step
automatically. The idea is that I spend more of my time
drawing and less of it fiddling with the SVG code!
This week, just in time for St Valentine’s Day, my on-going tarot deck project reaches
VI. The Lovers
and VII. The Chariot.
The main innovation this week (don’t get too excited...)
is I have added a definition for the letter ‘v’
to the font used for the card titles.
In my SVG tarot deck, I could not
decide between drawing the pips cards plain or with pictures
on, so I added a button to toggle the picture on and off.
People using Adobe’s SVG plug-in version 2 have reported
getElementById. I did not want
to start getting in to an endless struggle to remain compatible
with what is after all an obsolete browser (version 3 is
available gratis from Adobe); I have enough compatibility
nightmares with HTML on Netscape Navigator 4. But it
occurred to me to try to instead use SVG’s built-in
all. I hope that I can thereby avoid causing trouble
on older SVG viewers, since they presumably will simply ignore
the animation elements.
SVG’s intrinsic animations (XML.com).
This week’s installment in my
on-going project to create an
tarot deck in SVG is the fours of each suit:
Hope you all enjoy them.
What with visiting friends and misecllaneous babies in London
(not to mention the V&A, the illuminated float at the
British Museum, and the newly-opened Millenium Bridge),
I almost neglected to draw this
week’s installment of my ongoing virtual
tarot-deck project, which is two more of the trumps: VIII. Justice and VIIII. The Hermit.
This week’s installment of my ongoing
tarot-deck project features the fives our all four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and
Coins. As it turns out, three
of the four use the brush tool from Adobe Illustrator, a
relative new addition to the intentionally
limited repertoire I have
allowed myself in this project. (Mostly I use the freehand
tool to draw the heavy outlines, and then colour them in using
coloured shapes made using the pen tool. I use the brush
for coloured shapes in the background like the painting in the Four of Wands, and
backgrounds in the Fives of Wands, Coins and Swords this week.)
Live and learn, eh?
Tonight I discovered that my web site was
full—I have reached my 20 Mbyte quota! As a
stop-gap measure, I have made format changes to my tarot
sections. First, I have removed the
‘simplified’ SVG versions; your choice is now
simply SVG vs.
PNG. If you have
a burning need for the font-free versions (this being the major
difference), let me know and I will see if anything can be
arranged. Second, I have switched to compressed
.svgz). This format is identical to SVG, except that it is
compressed with ZIP (the format used by GNU zip and by PKZIP).
This SVG variant
is understood by Adobe’s viewer plug-in (versions 2.0 and
3.0), Batik, and, I hope,
other viewers as well. Since the reduction in size is typically
from 69 K to 16 K bytes, I don’t think
I can afford to ignore this option. Again, please let me
know if this ruins your enjoyment of the graphics.
The latest installment of my on-going project to create a
virtual tarot deck consists of two more trumps:
X. The Wheel of Fortune,
and XI. Strength.
I flirted with using the older name
(Fortitude) for the latter, but in the end Strength is such a
stronger title, even if it is a little misleading.
The Wheel is probably the most complex image to
date—especially in the
which has details that are lost in the raster version (the
Ace of Diamonds card tucked in to Fortune’s hat-band, and
the labels on the Wheel).
Strength was tricky in a different way—it took me a few
tries until I could get the lion to look more or less right.
It turns out that the title of The Wheel of Fortune is a little
long for the way I have designed the cards, annoyingly. On
the other hand it is time for bed, so I shup upload a
corrected version later in the week.
I have redesigned the layout of the cards so that the titles are on the left side
rather than the right—and this way they read up from the
bottom of the card rather than from some point part-way down.
This means I can fit in the Wheel of Fortune without the
rest of them looking lop-sided. Also, I have decided that
the titles will no longer overlap the artwork.
I have also fixed a few bugs—the Ace of Coins had not had its
colours adjusted after the CMYK→RGB translation; Five of Coins had changed the
figure’s hair from pink to white; The Chariot was cropped
To explain the colour issue: I am using an old version of
Adobe Illustrator which does not seem to have an RGB option. To convert to SVG
I use a freeware drawing program called Sketch, which is happy
to translate CMYK to RGB,
but does not take account of the fact that Adobe’s screen
display simulates the printed paper, rather than showing
mathematically correct CMYK colours. My brute-force solution to
this is to cobble together a Python script that takes as inputs
Adobe Illustrator’s Targa image and a screen shot of the
‘bad’ SVG, and examines them pixel-by-pixel to
generate a map from the ‘bad’ colour space to the
correct one. It then generates a new SVG file with the adjusted
colours. Sounds complicated? I’m hoping the new version
of Sketch will make it unnecessary...
This week my
on-line tarot deck reaches the sixes:
Alas! the font I am using for the titles is missing the
letter x, so there is a blank square for now.
I will fix this when I have a free
evening—I spent most of this evening finishing off
the drawings themselves. Far too tired to do it now.
I also need to see if I can
think of a better way to combine the pips with the drawings,
since the pips are now obscuring most of the artwork...
Update: I have added x to my title
font, after covering excessive quantities of paper with
mathematical workings as I try to reconstruct enough of my
geometrical and trigonometrical knowledge to calculate the
intersections of all the lines...
Update: I have added an animation to the pips so that when you
click the button to show the interpretation, the pips shrink and
shuffle out of the way!
This is the thirteenth installment of my
tarot project. Naturally this means an
appearance of the famousest tarot card,
XIII. Death, as well as
the card that seems most mysterious to most people:
XII. The Hanged Man.
This installment also represents the appoximate half-way point in
the project—fourteen out of 22 trumps and 24 out of
56 of the minor arcana (38 out of 78 total). By
way of celebration, I have rearranged the descriptive pages
a little and expanded on the
The virtual tarot deck continues with all
Coins). For some reason
these have been the toughest cards so far—the concepts
they embody proved elusive when it comes to devising a
stick-figure illustration. Luckily for ’their’
weekend I have had an extra day or so in which to draw them
(because it is the Easter break).
I have also tweaked the navigation between the pages for pips
cards—each now has links at the bottom to the same number
in the other three suits.
The latest installment in my stick-figure tarot
deck is two more of the trumps: XIIII. Temperance and XV. The Devil.
Hope you all enjoy
This week’s slightly delayed installment of my
virtual tarot deck is the Eights of
week’s main advance is behind the scenes—the
algorithm used for generating the tables for mapping
Sketch’s colour space to Adobe Illustrator’s so that
it works better.
This week’s installment of the Alleged
Tarot project is two more trumps: XVI. The Tower and XVII. The Star. That
makes for quite a contrast—the Tower represents sudden,
disruptive change, the Star peace and tranquility. At the same
time, both have origins in ancient Babylon: the Star is related
to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, and the Tower is obviously an
allusion to the Tower of Babel, a story from that early part of
the Bible that is rooted in pre-Judeo-Christian mythology.
The latest installment in my ongoing virtual
tarot deck is all four Nines:
This week’s installment of my on-line
tarot deck is two more of the trumps:
XVIII. The Moon and
XVIIII. The Sun.
The Moon proved a little tricky, not just because of the number
of weird symbols that need to be included, but also because
I used a lot of
with nonzero black (K) components. It seems that this (or some
other property of the colours I picked) caused
Sketch’s screen colours to differ from the numbers written
in to the SVG file,
which broke my automatic palette-adjustment program. I had
to edit several colour entries by hand...
¶ Perhaps you are wondering why I have numbered the Sun XVIIII
rather than the more conventional XIX. There is method to this
madness. For one thing, the form VIIII did once upon a time
exist, until the more concise form IX gained popularity. Using
the longer forms has the interesting side-effect that the Roman
numerals up to XXXXVIIII can be sorted alphabetically (I comes
before V, V before VI, VIIII before X, and so on). The theory
was that this would make the file names for the trumps neatly
sort in to the correct order in directory listings (because
I use names like
xviiii-sun). That works
if hyphens are considered to precede letters in the alphabetical
sequence (as they do in ASCII). It turns out that
Microsoft Windows NT has other ideas—it sorts punctuation
characters after letters, which totally undoes my
This week’s entry in the tarot
project is the four Tens:
Talk about being overcommitted. This set is being uploaded a
few hours late, on account of I added some fancy animation to the
Ten of Swords card (as with the other animations, this is
trigged by pressing the small blue button at the bottom of the
card—and uses SVG’s intrinsic SMIL-based
animation). Hope this works on whatever SVG viewer you are
Better late than never—here is the latest installment of
my virtual tarot deck: the final two
trumps, XX. Judgement and XXI. The World. Since
last week’s episode was the last of the pips cards, that
leaves just the sixteen court cards (the Page, Knight, Queen and King of
each of the four suits).
After a one-week hiatus, we are in to the last chapter of my on-line tarot project: the court cards.
This week’s installment is the court cards for the suit of
As you can see, I have stuck with the old-fashioned names,
consistent with the use of mediaeval names for other cards like
The Pope. For no
particular reason I have given the King and Queen chairs by
Charles Rennie Mackintosh (the tall, narrow shapes are
suggestive of Wands, I thought). Whether I can follow
through with the other courts remains to be seen...
Two things are missing however: the font for titles has no
K and no Q. I shall implement thos as
soon as I have another evening free...
After some fiddling I have contrived to create letters
K and Q for the typeface used for the titles
the Knight, Queen, and King of Wands, this week's entries in the tarot project.
This week’s installment of the
on-going tarot deck project
is the last four cards in the suit of Cups:
As with the Ace, the cup is represented as a china tea-cup with
a heart on the side (to remind us of that the suit of Cups
corresponds to the modern suit of Hearts). Again I have
illustrated the King and Queen seated on famous designer
chairs—this time round, organic shapes by Arne Jacobsen
and Eero Aarnio.
There is an extra
cup hidden in one of the cards for SVG enthusiasts to discover....
This penultimate installment in my on-going
tarot project was delayed a week—but it turns out that
the extra week gave me a chance to solve the problem of what
famous chairs to give the Queen and King to sit on. So here
they are at last: the
King of Swords.
This is the final tranche of the
on-going tarot project:
the court cards of the suit of Coins
(often called Pentacles):
This means that I now have all 78 cards drawn—or at
least a first draft thereof (there is a slight temptation to go
back over some of the earlier designs). Now I have to work
out what the next step is. I think I need to start
with an index page designed in
so that you can view the deck in SVG-only browsers like Batik.
My virtual tarot deck is published in
SVG, but the index
pages are still in
which is a problem for people trying to visit
using an SVG-only browser like Batik. So I intend to make
an SVG-powered index page.
My first attempt
uses the SVG
image tag and intrinsic animation
to switch between cards. This turns out to be unsatisfactory on
two counts. First, it works by rendering the card and then
displaying the result as if it were a raster image—on my
computer that leaves the screen blank for some seconds while the
off-screen rendring takes place. Second, the resulting image
is not interactive—you lose the feature of the pips cards
where the illustration can be switched on and off.
paragraph to my Tarot section about how Mozilla does not
This is not news, exactly, but it is disapointing that there are
no new development on the plug-in fiasco—apart from a
succession of duplicate reports of the bug (which I have
discovered is difficult to locate if you don’t memorize
Still trying to come up with a clever way to offer an index to
78 images that uses pure
(and no HTML).
(also linked to from
this page) has the SVG for the card images embedded within itself,
manipulation to bring them to the front.
Here’s my third
attempt at a pure-SVG index page for the virtual tarot deck. Rather than trying to
do it all in one page, this one more conventionally has a set of
links to the cards; you must press your browser’s Back
button to return to the index page. So far this prototype
covers the minor arcana, and needs to be extended to cover the
This might be a good time to mention that from the HTML page, if
you are using Adobe’s SVG Viewer,
you can right-click on the graphic and choose View SVG to show
the graphic full-size in its own window, which makes it easier to
read. If you zoom in, you will see that the card images are
just raster images (and look fuzzy when magnified); click on
them to see the scalable SVG versions.
After several half-baked attempts, I have a working
page to the Alleged Tarot 2002
that uses only static SVG features (no
browsers that do not grok HTML, such as Batik or XSMILES.
(I have not actually tried it in either of these yet.)
It actually looks quite pretty, but on the
box we have here it loads worryingly slowly considering the
pages are not very complicated
(it does work faster on the bigger box at work).
In this case I gave the root element a
attribute but no
a result—at least with Adobe SVG Viewer on Microsoft
Internet Explorer 5.5—the page automatically
expands to fill the browser window. Nifty!
Because my font is
all-lower-case, I tried using the
property of CSS to
convert card titles in the SVG-powered index page. This property does
not exist in SVG, which causes Batik 1.1 to balk (Adobe SVG
Viewer merely ignored it). So I have posted revised versions of
the files that hopefully will work better.
Here is a primitive first
stab at a tarot-reading service.
It isn’t finished yet, but I’m putting it up for
people who like being early adopters...
The front end is very
rudimentary—you choose a spread from the drop-list and
then enter a random number, and press Submit. You should see a
big green screen with thumbnailed cards laid out on it. Click
on the cards to see them full-size.
My simple-minded virtual tarot
dealer now understands the Celtic cross spread.
This was tricky because it requires that one of the cards be
laid crossways, so I had to change the format of the data
arrays to hold the positions of the cards; now
switched to embedding an XML document describing the layouts in
defs section of the SVG file.
My Alleged Tarot 2002 project has been
stuck with an ersatz dealer for far too long (since
August, in fact). I have
used for the dealer so it takes a question and converts that
to a seed number, rather than requiring the querent to supply
their own. Entering the question corresponds to the shuffling
of the deck that you do in a tarot deal in real life.
I have been tweaking the formatting of the Alleged Tarot section of my site. Apart from
replacing the style sheet, thus giving it a completely different
appearance, I have also divided the pages in to
SVG and PNG sections.
Before this, the index pages for the different formats were
mixed up together on the introductory page.
I want to make the SVG version of my Alleged
Tarot virtual deck more self-contained (if only for the sake
of SVG-only browsers like Batik). The problem was, the HTML
pages for the cards include extra info, such as the commentary.
To address this, I have added the commentaries (such as they
are) to the cards in the form of a fancy pop-up window complete
with fancy animation.
SVG-powered simulated deal now works on Safari. In the
end I achieved this by using the special attribute that
not its host’s (in this case, Safari’s).
I have also belatedly switched the script to using
document.URL to find its URL rather than the
location.search (which fails on Safari
I created the Alleged Tarot in 2002 using SVG, which I was confident at the time was the next big thing in web graphics. Seventy thousand years later, I notice that Safari 4 supports SMIL-style animations in SVG, which means that the commentary and animations I incorporated in to the card designs now work again for the first time since Adobe abandoned their SVG Viewer plug-in.
It has taken only ten years but we now have SVG support as good as it was ten
years ago using Adobe’s SVG Viewer plug-in in Netscape 4. I have decided it is
about time I resurrected my 2002 project, the Alleged Tarot.