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Posts Tagged ‘Redbubble’

Anak Krakatau aka Krakatoa Volcano

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Landsat image of Krakatau Volcano
Landsat image of Krakatau Volcano

I’m not sure what possessed me to seek out a Landsat image of Anak Krakatau (aka the Krakatoa Volcano) at this time – but I did. In my presentation Planet Earth As Art: The View From Space I do include images of several volcanoes so perhaps adding Krakatau was in the back of my mind. Whatever the reason, the Anak Krakatau Volcano is the latest addition to my Planet Earth Satellite Imagery Gallery on Redbubble.

In processing the raw Landsat image files (separate 16-bit black and white images for the red, green, and blue channels along with the panchromatic image for luminosity), I employed a work flow that had a number of differences from work flows I’ve previously used to process satellite images. Of course I tend to employ a slightly different work flow with every satellite remote sensing image I process since I have no interest in creating a workflow “recipe” and don’t bother to document the processing steps I do take.

Krakatau (Krakatoa) Original Landsat Red, Green, Blue, Panchromatic Images Stacked
Krakatau (Krakatoa) Original (Non-Processed) Landsat Red, Green, Blue, Panchromatic Images Stacked

The challenge with this particular image was to visually magnify the contrast of the waters of the Sunda Strait and to brighten the image without blowing out the cloud details. Unfortunately since I kept no notes as to the specific steps I took to get from the raw input to the final output I can’t precisely recreate what I did. This is unfortunate because the results turned out better than I had expected.

Enough about the image processing – it’s time to talk about the volcano and the major features in the image. For reference purposes, use the following map to identify key features in the image.

Map of the region of Krakatau Volcano in Indonesia south of Sumatra
Map of the region of Krakatau Volcano in Indonesia south of Sumatra

Rajabasa is an isolated 1280 meter high stratovolcano located at the southeastern coast of the island of Sumatra. The summit crater is approximately 600 meters in diameter. It is not known when this ancient volcano last erupted.

Sebuku is a low lying island in the eastern part of Lampung Bay and is only 2.5 kilometers north of Sebesi island. Sebuku is also of volcanic origin and probably dates to the Quaternary – the most recent period in the Cenozoic era.

Sebesi is about 12 kilometers north of the Krakatoa islands. While it is volcanic, there are no known dated eruptions. Inhabited at the time of the 1883 eruption of Krakatau, estimates are that some 3,000 people on the island lost their lives as a consequence of that eruption.

Sertung, also known as Verlaten, is another volcanic island a mere 2 kilometers west of Anak Krakatau. Unlike the island of Krakatau which lost about two-thirds of its area in the cataclysmic 1883 eruption, Sertung temporarily tripled in size due to the volcanic fallout (pumice) from the eruption but much of that gain quickly eroded away.

Panjang, also known as Lang and as Pulau Krakatau Kitjil, is the small island about 2 kilometers east of Anak Krakatau.

Krakatau and Rakata are the remains of the original island of Krakatau which was destroyed by the 1883 eruption. Rakata itself is one of the three volcanoes that made up the island of Krakatau – the other two having been destroyed during the 1883 eruption.

Collectively Sertung, Panjang and Rakata represent the boundaries of the large submarine volcanic caldera which is almost 8 kilometers in diameter.

Anak Krakatau (Krakatoa) Volcano - full size detail
Anak Krakatau (Krakatoa) Volcano – full size image detail

Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatoa) is a new island that emerged in 1930 following submarine volcanic eruptions and represents the center of volcanic activity for Krakatau/Krakatoa. As of 2017, Anak Krakatau’s height was over 400 meters above sea level.

The eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 was one of the most powerful eruptions in recorded history. The energy released in the eruption is estimated to have been on the order of 200 megatons of TNT, which is approximately equal to about 13,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs. The eruption also impacted global climate, causing an estimated one degree Celsius decline in the Earth’s average temperature in the year that followed – with global temperatures not getting back to normal until 1888.

If you are a fan of geology, volcanoes in general or Krakatoa in particular, I have made this image of Krakatau available on a number of products in my art gallery on Redbubble. Click either the button or image below for additional product information.

Anak Krakatau (aka Krakatoa) Volcano on Redbubble

Krakatau Volcano Merchandise and Clothing on Redbubble
Krakatau Volcano Merchandise and Clothing on Redbubble

 

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Best Day and Time for Art Sales on Redbubble

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Redbubble Sales by Day of Week Graph
Illustration 1: Redbubble Sales by Day of Week Graph

Do a google search and you will find an abundance of results for answers to questions like "what is the best time to post on social media?" (For example, see my post Best Times to Post to Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter) or "what is the best time to send email blasts?" or "what is the best time to sell on eBay?". But what about "what is the best time to sell on Redbubble?" Running this question past Google I got lots of results for "how to sell on Redbubble" but nothing regarding the "when" aspect.

Redbubble obviously knows the answer to the question of when most sales occur but doesn’t share that information. In doing my income taxes this year, I was going over my merchandise sales on Redbubble and decided that I wanted to know when most of my sales on Redbubble were being made. So instead of continuing to work on my taxes as I should have, I decided to take a break and do some simple data analysis.

There were two questions I wanted to answer. First, what is the best day of the week for my Redbubble sales and second how are my sales distributed across the week by day of week and time of day.

The starting point for any analysis is getting the data needed to perform the analysis. When artists are logged in to their Redbubble account, on the Account Settings page (labeled as Account Details in the dropdown menu), there is an Artist Tools section with one of the menu items in that section being Sales History.

Redbubble Sales History CSV
Redbubble Sales History CSV

Within Sales History there is a feature for downloading a CSV file of your sales history. The data in this file is very useful if you want to identify which of your artworks generate the most sales or the most income. It will also allow you to see which products are the most frequently sold. For this analysis, we are only interested in date and time of day when sales were made. While the file does have a field for the order date, there is no time of day information.

Fortunately I’m a pack rat when it comes to data. As a seller on Redbubble, generally when a sale is made I receive a "You’ve Made A Sale" email. I say generally because I’ve had multiple instances of receiving a "Manufacturing Invoice" email for which there was no companion "You’ve Made A Sale" email. What is useful about the "You’ve Made A Sale" email is that the email not only has the transaction date but it also has a time stamp. Assuming that Redbubble consistently generates these emails within 15 minutes of the actual transaction time, this data can be used as a proxy for the transaction time of day information.

Best Day of the Week for Redbubble Sales

The first analysis I did was to simply tally by day of week when sales were occurring and to then calculate what percentage of total sales happened on that day. The graph of that data is shown in Illustration 1: Redbubble Sales by Day of Week Graph at the top of this post while the following table ranks the days of the week in order of their sales volume.

Day of
Week
Percent of
Sales
Sunday 18%
Tuesday 18%
Monday 15%
Friday 15%
Thursday 12%
Wednesday 12%
Saturday 09%

The data for my sales indicates that the three day period of Sunday through Tuesday are when most of my sales are made and account for 51 percent of all sales. Note that if sales were evenly spread across all days, then any three days of sales would account for just under 43 percent of all sales. Saturday is clearly a trough day for me on Redbubble with only half the sales volume of the peak day.

Redbubble Sales Heatmap: Time of Day by Day of Week

Taking the analysis one step further, I broke out each day into the hour of the day in order to see at what time during the day sales were being made. Again I must point out that I do not know how closely the timestamp on the "You’ve Made A Sale" email correlates with the time the customer actually completed the transaction. For this analysis I assume a high degree of correlation.

Rather than using colors for this heatmap, I’ve opted to use a simple grayscale value since I’m simply looking at a single simple variable — sales frequency. The results are shown in Illustration 2: Redbubble Day of Week and Time of Day Sales Heatmap. A value of black means that no sales were made during that hour. A value of white represents the peak hour of the week. The rest of the grayscale values, from darkest to lightest, represent the range of least to most sales per hour.

Redbubble Day of Week and Time of Day Sales Heatmap
Illustration 2: Redbubble Day of Week and Time of Day Sales Heatmap

The heatmap shows that the single best hour for sales during the week is during 10:00am to 11:00am on Friday, which is curious since Friday is not a peak day of the week. Sunday from 11:00am to 4:00pm appears to be the best block of time for sales during the week.

Is This Redbubble Sales Data Actionable?

So now I know when I’m making sales and my curiosity has been satisfied. But is there any way that I can use this data to my benefit? Maybe. For example, if there is a good correlation between the times that sales are made and the level of activity in the Redbubble Groups, posting artwork to the relevant groups during these peak sales hours may result in a sales boost.

Another possibility is dependent on the answer to the question "How much of a search results boost does Redbubble give to newly added artwork?" It’s a given that the makers of search engines don’t want to tip their hand as to how their search ranking algorithm works because they do not want people to "game the system" — which makes perfect sense. If we assume that a peak in sales corresponds with a peak in customer visits to Redbubble and if we also assume that Redbubble does give some sort of search results boost to new artwork, then an artist may marginally help their sales over time by adding new art to their account at the front end of a period of time for which the sales volume is above average.

Concluding Thought

There are a lot of unknowns associated with this analysis. A key unknown is just how well my sales data aligns with Redbubble’s site-wide sales data. For those familiar with astronomy, there is the concept of the homogeneous universe. If that concept (that the universe is the same everywhere) applies to my sales data for Redbubble, then there will be a high degree of correlation between my results and the results that any other artist doing a similar analysis would get — in which case this analysis would be useful to anyone selling their art and/or photography on Redbubble.

For any artist or photographer engaged in selling on Redbubble, I hope you have found this information useful and that you will consider following me on Redbubble.

Visit Jim Plaxco’s Artist Portfolio on Redbubble

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Ambient Recursion Algorithmic Art

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Ambient Recursion Algorithmic Art
Ambient Recursion Algorithmic Art cropped version.
Click the image to see the uncropped version.
The original artwork is 30 by 30 inches printed at 300ppi.

What could be the first in a series of algorithmic artworks, Ambient Recursion was created using a programming technique known as recursion. Note that the image above has been cropped to fit the screen. To see the complete artwork, click on the cropped image above. A new window will open revealing the complete artwork. Note that a full size excerpt from the center of the artwork is displayed at the bottom of this post. Once you’ve viewed the uncropped image, it will be clear that while the artwork is strongly symmetrical, it is not perfectly symmetrical. I find that by avoiding perfect symmetry, the image becomes more interesting and aesthetically pleasing.

The programming language I used for this work was the Processing programming language. The most challenging part of writing this Processing program was in getting the recursion to perform as I wanted it to – especially with respect to screen boundary conditions.

Because I used a random factor to determine which sub-functions would be called, which in turn influenced the depth of recursion, I found that much of the drawing was being done off-screen – or so I guessed when viewing the program’s output. To get a handle on just where the drawing was happening, I replaced the drawing commands with print commands that dumped out the x,y coordinates and other supporting parameters for every shape being drawn.

This problem solving tactic proved to be most useful as it led me to reevaluate the entire drawing process. If I could dump the coordinates and associated parameters of every shape to a print file, why not write them to a Java arrayList and then draw using the data stored in the list. While the principal benefit of this approach was in insuring that every rectangle would appear within the canvas, it also provided me with the opportunity and ability to manipulate the relationships between the shapes. This was a true case of serendipity.

The second most challenging aspect was in coming up with a title. Given the nature of the image and the fact that I was listening to a collection of ambient music by Brian Eno while developing and writing the program used to create this artwork, the title Ambient Recursion was a natural choice.

While I have not yet added Ambient Recursion to my gallery of artworks here on Artsnova, I have made it available on Redbubble.

Ambient Recursion Algorithmic Art on Redbubble

Ambient Recursion Samsung Galaxy Smartphone Case

 

Ambient Recursion full size excerpt Case
A full size excerpt from the center of the artwork.

 

What is Recursion?

Using the definition from Geeks for Geeks, recursion is:

The process in which a function calls itself directly or indirectly is called recursion and the corresponding function is called as recursive function. Using recursive algorithm, certain problems can be solved quite easily. Examples of such problems are Towers of Hanoi (TOH), Inorder/Preorder/Postorder Tree Traversals, DFS of Graph, etc.

For more about recursion, see the Wikipedia definition for Recursion (computer science)

And remember…

To iterate is human, to recurse divine.
L. Peter Deutsch

 

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Orbital Decay Interactive Algorithmic Art

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

Orbital Decay Interactive Algorithmic Art
Orbital Decay Interactive Algorithmic Art on Redbubble

Orbital Decay is a work of algorithmic art I created last night and is 25 by 25 inches when printed at 300ppi (pixels per inch). To create this art I used an interactive algorithmic art program I finished writing yesterday. Traditionally algorithmic art was defined as art created by a largely deterministic, algorithmic process using parameters to control the process. Complicating the matter of categorization has been the introduction of that category of digital art known as generative art – which has substantial overlap with the algorithmic art category with respect to how the art is created from a computational perspective. In fact it has been argued that algorithmic art is a subset of generative art – even though the former precedes the later. Wikipedia has this to say on the subject:

Algorithmic art, also known as computer-generated art, is a subset of generative art (generated by an autonomous system) and is related to systems art (influenced by systems theory). Fractal art is an example of algorithmic art. Source: Wikipedia entry for algorithmic art

Why Algorithmic and not Generative?

So why have I categorized Orbital Decay as a work of interactive algorithmic art and not as a work of generative art? That’s a good question because this work does qualify as a work of generative art. However as I am the artist I get to decide what I want to call it – although I could argue that to label this art as generative would be equally appropriate.

You will note I have added the qualifier interactive to the algorithmic label. I did this because the creation of this artwork did require direct interaction from me. Unlike traditional algorithmic art programs which can be driven entirely by parameters and parametric settings (an autonomous system), this program as written could not create anything without the artist’s direct input throughout the creation process.

Orbital Decay is available as wall art and as illustration on a variety of products offered by Redbubble. Clicking either the link button or the image below will take you to the Orbital Decay Redbubble product page.

Orbital Decay Interactive Algorithmic Art on Redbubble

Orbital Decay Art on Womens Tee Shirts
Orbital Decay Art on Women’s Tee Shirts

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Product Sales on Redbubble by Product Type

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Product Sales on Redbubble by Product Type Percent
Product Sales on Redbubble by Product Type Percent

As a part of doing my income taxes, I go through my sales on Redbubble for the tax year and total up the commissions I was paid (aka the artist’s margin). This year while doing that it struck me that I had never really thought about what products people were buying – instead focusing on what artwork/photography was selling.

Having finished my income taxes, I decided to take a look at just what products people were buying. The bar chart above shows on the horizontal axis from left to right and in alphabetical order what products people were buying. The vertical axis shows what the percentage of total sales were for that product type.

As a rule when adding new artwork to my Redbubble portfolio I try to make the art available on as many products as possible. Therefore the range of product types I’m seeing purchased isn’t going to be skewed – except with respect to the very largest product items like duvet covers and wall tapestries.

The first thing that surprised me was that 17 percent of the products sold were throw pillows. Me – I’ve never bought a pillow in my life. On the other hand, our home is well stocked with pillows courtesy of my wife. Not surprisingly, stickers are the number one selling item at 24 percent. Stickers also happen to be the lowest priced item and are versatile in how they can be used.

Closing out the top three sellers is iPhone cases/skins at 9 percent. Not a big surprise. Obviously I wish that art and photographic prints were a greater percentage of the products sold since as the most expensive items that Redbubble sells (true only if you are selling large sized framed prints), they provide the greatest return in terms of dollars.

One factor this chart does not capture and which could skew the numbers is the product’s margin. I don’t maintain the same percentage markup for all product types. Nor have I done any comparisons to determine how my markup for any particular product compares with the markup other artists are using. What research I have done on the subject was with respect to Redbubble’s mugs and was done for an article I wrote titled Selling Art On Redbubble – A Review

See my art on Redbubble

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Generative Artworks: Hades to Oblivion

Friday, March 24th, 2017

A Cool Day in Hell Generative Art Landscape
A Cool Day in Hell Generative Art Landscape

One of the negatives with respect to digital art is that the concept of an original does not apply as it does with traditional art. With traditional art the original is the physical media to which physical paint has been applied and there will be only one. With digital art the concept of a physical original does not apply because of the nature of digital files, which are basically infinitely reproducible. What has long been viewed as a shortcoming does offer digital artists at least one unique capability.

Because the original artwork is a digital file that can be duplicated, it is possible to use that digital canvas as the foundation for the creation of other derivative artworks. One piece I recently completed is A Cool Day in Hell which had as its original working title Dante’s Inferno.

In creating this artwork, I used one of the generative painting programs I’d designed. The program could be characterized as the Adobe Photoshop Paintbrush Engine on steroids. With one set of parameters, I can entrust the program to do the entire painting by itself. This would be similar to the filter features of Adobe Photoshop or the auto-paint feature of Corel Painter. With another set of parameters, the program functions very much like the paintbrushes in Photoshop and Painter when placed under the artist’s control. The most interesting set of parameters are those that blend program autonomy with some degree of artist interaction. It was this third option that I used to create this particular artwork.

It was only after adding this art to my portfolio on Redbubble that I decided to take that artwork and use it as the starting point for another artwork. I decided to use the same generative painting program that I had used for the original piece. This derivative artwork, titled Passage to Oblivion, does bear a resemblance to the original on which it is based.

Passage to Oblivion Generative Landscape Painting
Passage to Oblivion Generative Landscape Painting

While similar, the two have different color temperatures, textural feel, tone and contrast. Compositionally, the large, open, somewhat mountainous subterranean landscape of A Cool Day in Hell is transformed into a claustrophobic feeling of being inside an eerie underground cave.

To see either of these two artworks on Redbubble, simply click the appropriate image above and the Redbubble page will open in a new tab on your browser. It’s particularly interesting to see how these two artworks look when applied to apparel.

Passage to Oblivion on Redbubble Apparel

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