“Warp Speed, Mr. Sulu”. A Playful Computer Gallery Using Crystals.
Richard L. Howey, Wyoming, USA
In this article, I want to be a bit whimsical and explore a function or two of my graphics program as applied to crystal slides. The graphics program I use is PhotoImpact Pro 13. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of PhotoShop but, for my purposes, it has proved quite satisfactory and I am comfortable using it.
The primary function which I will be applying is called “Creative Warp” and occurs under the menu heading “Distort.” I want to begin by taking a single image from a slide and then applying the function to create a series of “distortions” all based on that one image.
Let’s begin with an image from a mixture of Urea and Potassium bromide which was melted and then remelted and photographed using polarized light.
From this image, I created 21 warp images; but you can relax, I won’t inflict them all on you. Some are much more interesting than others. The first one revolves around circularity and it looks as though 3 beams of light are emanating from the central disk.
The next is very fluid and the forms are smooth and rather sculptural in the style of Henry Moore. The first image is the warp and the other two are Moore sculptures, for a rough comparison.
The next warp image is one I quite like; it reminds me of a high-tech toy top formed by ionic fields or perhaps some very strange and eerie alien beast.
This next grouping derives from an image which is a mixture of Strontium chloride and Urea, again photographed with polarized light. The original image might be taken to be an aerial photograph of a complex highway system in a large city.
It turns out that this image produces what I regard as particularly interesting warp images. This first one swirls around and has, in the center, what might be snails teeth on a spiral radula.
Next we get what could be regarded as a cross section of a piece of what might be characterized as a cross between oolitic and crinoidal limestone. I’ll include a photo from Google Image to illustrate each of the two; first, the oolitic and secondly, the crinoidal.
This next one, I think of as a gigantic alien totem pole.
For some reason, probably the character of the spiral, this image makes me think of a carnival ride.
Next more swirls; I, however, wouldn’t want to slide down them.
And yet more swirls, like colorful eddies in pool of water.
And finally for this grouping, we have the shelf of an alien apothecary shop with all kinds of wonderfully-shaped vials and elongated containers. O.K., I admit, I have a weird imagination.
Next, I’d like to show you 2 examples of warp from an image which I have called “Fish form the Abyss”. First, the fish image.
When one kind of warp function is applied, we get wonderful spheres within spheres within spheres–all of them watching us, if you’re paranoid.
And now, I proudly present a design which would be a wonderful inspiration for quilters or embroiderers or fabric companies who want to pay me royalties to make table cloths.
I have many more images and the possibilities for future ones are astronomical, but I suspect I have already strained your patience and so I will exercise a bit of uncharacteristic discipline and stop here, saving other images for a sequel.
In closing, I would say that if you have a graphics program, do have some fun and try a variety of images. They need not even be images of crystals; you could try wee beasties or fragments of coral or sea urchin spines or bits of shells or bits of beetle elytra or....
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Editor's note: Visit Richard Howey's new website at http://rhowey.googlepages.com/home where he plans to share aspects of his wide interests.
Published in the November 2021 edition of Micscape Magazine.
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