When I decided to really learn photography, I sat down and studied. I shot a lot of film, but also I read a lot of books. And practiced my Photoshop chops. I spent the three months in New Zealand cozied up with Martin Evening’s Adobe Photoshop for Photographers (now updated for CS3), a laptop, and some sample images. My foundational knowledge is strong.
Not so my programming skills. I’ve never quite caught the desire to learn the fundamentals, but I want to make stuff work the way I want it to work when I want it. AKA dive right, damn the torpedos. Which is probably twice as hard, but in this instance, I prevailed.
As a warm-up exercise, I spent the weekend configuring an Apache webserver. You may recall that I have traded specialized labors with R, and my task is to redesign his lab website. First, I needed to upgrade their install of MT to 4.0, which went pretty well after I recalled my woes from previous attempts if files weren’t FTP’d over in binary or ascii as demanded. See, I’m talking the talk, right? Once installed MT, I wanted to set a redirect, and the Mac’s Apache server wasn’t obeying, so I used Google-giver-of-all (GGOA) to figure out how to configure the httpd and it worked as desired. I’m feeling good.
In between, I’m reading my RSS feeds, and I see this post on Textorizer. I want these techniques in my toolbox, and I want them now. There’s a web-based tool for the original flavor, but not the new one, and I won’t be satisfied until I have both versions running on my Mac. Did I mention I’m not a code monkey?
This goes on all weekend. Download, unpack, libraries, Fink: by now I have ten windows open, all pointing to web-resources put out there by generous people, and I am struggling. I’ve never compiled a program in my life. But I persist, and by Sunday at 6 pm, I have my first Textorizer 2.0 file. Hurray.
Textorizer 1, from which the self-portrait arises, took longer. Oddly, this post on Mac specific edits to the program (instructions not at the Apache website) appeared the same day, was indexed by GGOA, and I found it. Amazing coincidence and now both codes are working.
T2 generates EPS files, which I know what to do with. T1, the older sibling, alas generates SVG files, which display nicely in modern web browsers if you have half a day to wait for them to load. But not if you want to bring them into PS. And after all that, I was not going to settle for screen captures, which is what some people on the Flickr group are doing. I tried double-clicking on one, to see what programs my Mac might suggest. Illustrator had a major exception to the file. Back to GGOA for an SVG-PDF converter for Mac, which seems not to exist. So I will settle for a rasterization. Back to Apache for Batik, another package, two more days of wrestling, and I prevail. Again.
Now I have a directory full of JPGs from my SVGs, including this one I’m showing you today. The original file came from Rich Legg, if you want to compare, but I tweaked it a little to amp the colors once processed by T1.
Then the saddest thing happened. I went to open one of the JPGs, and I accidentally double-clicked one of the new SVG files. Illustrator launched, opened the file just fine, and let me save it as an EPS, which is what I really wanted in the first place. Arrrgh. All I can figure is that SVG I made when I first tried out T1 had so many lines in it that Illustrator burped. The ones I made later had much shorter text strings (like in this one, three letters) because they gave the look I wanted. Didn’t occur to try it again in Illustrator. Now I know. We call that hard-won knowledge. Which I hope not to need again.