Glitch GIMP

On Wednesday 29th April I gave my Allowing Mistakes to Happen presentation at Libre Graphics Meeting in Toronto. I was quite anxious about this because the attendees are, typically, developers of software and/or graphic designers. Looking through the archives I found only a comparatively small amount of presentations from artists talking about their artwork and even fewer from those you might call experimental artists (glitch art, generative art etc).

My fears were put to rest somewhat once my presentation actually happened. Despite my computer crashing towards the end (glitch lol) it seems to have struck a chord with many of the attendees. It seemed that they liked that I was turning bugs and the bug hunting process into a form of art.

One such person that was inspired was Michael Natterer, aka Mitch, one of the developers for GIMP, the premier open source photo and image editing software. He showed me how by changing one option when compiling Cairo the contents of the image window would be glitched.

Glitch GIMP

Of course I was quite impressed by the prospect of having a full-featured editing program that could produce only glitch art, so quickly sought advice on compiling it for myself. Presented below are instructions for creating your own glitched GIMP.

Before we go on

This compilation process and the resulting binary file has only been tested on Ubuntu 15.04. I have no way of knowing if the same will work on Windows, Mac OSX or any other flavour of Linux. Also, this tutorial assumes that you have some knowledge of compiling software. If this is all daunting to you go do some research.

…and now we begin

To avoid conflicts we’re going to compile and install Glitch GIMP to its own directory, leaving the original GIMP unmodified.

First create build and installation directories.

[code language=”bash”]mkdir build
mkdir install
mkdir install/share/
mkdir install/share/aclocal[/code]

In the build directory you’ll need to create a file which will hold our environment variables.

[code language=”bash”]cd build
touch env.sh[/code]

These environment variables will tell the computer where to install GIMP. A word of caution, these environment variables are valid for the current session. In other words, if you close your terminal window you’ll have to load these in again. Fill you env.sh file with the following, changing the first line to point to your install directory.

[code language=”bash”]PREFIX=/~
export PATH=$PREFIX/bin:$PATH
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$PREFIX/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
export XDG_DATA_DIRS=$PREFIX/share:$XDG_DATA_DIRS
export GIO_EXTRA_MODULES=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/gio/modules
export ACLOCAL_FLAGS="-I $PREFIX/share/aclocal"
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$PREFIX/lib/pkgconfig:$PKG_CONFIG_PATH
export CPPFLAGS=-I$PREFIX/include
export LDFLAGS=-L$PREFIX/lib[/code]

Now fill your session with those variables.

[code language=”bash”]. env.sh[/code]

Now we can begin compiling! You’ll have to install GIMP’s dependencies and an extra library.

[code language=”bash”]sudo apt-get build-dep gimp
sudo apt-get install libexiv2-dev[/code]

Still in the build directory you’ll now have to clone parts necessary to compiling GIMP.

[code language=”bash”]git clone git://git.gnome.org/babl
git clone git://git.gnome.org/gegl
git clone git://git.gnome.org/gexiv2
git clone git://git.gnome.org/gimp[/code]

And Cairo.

[code language=”bash”]git clone git://git.cairographics.org/git/cairo[/code]

And now, compile and install babl and gegl:

[code language=”bash”]./autogen.sh –prefix=/path/to/install/directory/
make -j4
make install[/code]

hint: if, like me, you have four processors you can run [code language=”bash”]make -j4[/code] to speed up compiling.

In gexiv2 run:

[code language=”bash”]./autogen.sh –prefix=/path/to/install/directory/
make -j4
make install[/code]

In the cairo directory run

[code language=”bash”]./autogen.sh –prefix=/path/to/install/directory/ –enable-xlib-xcb=yes
make -j4
make install[/code]
(this is the compile option that causes the glitches 😉 )

And finally, compile and install GIMP

[code language=”bash”]./autogen.sh –prefix=/path/to/install/directory/
make -j4
make install[/code]

In your install/bin directory you should now have a file called gimp-2.9. Run this and let the glitch begin.

Glitch GIMP

Glitch GIMP

Glitch GIMP

Glitch GIMP

One thing you will instantly notice is that you can’t directly export the glitch output to a file. This is for display only and, like true glitches, can’t be easily replicated or captured. The only way to do this is to take a screenshot, which is ideal for on-screen display but not so great if you want print quality output.

I’ve been told that I could produce some more reliable glitches by creating or hacking GEGL plugins. I haven’t delved into this yet but if anyone wants to assist please do get in touch.

Thanks

I never would have gained this knowledge had I not been able to attend Libre Graphics Meeting. As seen in the forum thread describing how I came across the databending in Audacity method, trying to ask developers how to creatively break your software can be a confusing task. However, being able to show the developers IRL what can be produced allowed the flow of information to be smoother and more productive than an e-mail exchange would have been.

Libre Graphics Meeting will be coming to London in 2016 and the aim is for it to be free for all to attend, and to cover travel costs of speakers, as it has done every year. If you want to help more stuff like this happen donate now.

Libre Graphics Meeting 2015 – Allowing Mistakes to Happen

The programme for Libre Graphics Meeting 2015 in Toronto has now been published and I’ll be featured twice at the meeting.

allowingmistakestohappen

Allowing Mistakes to Happen presentation

Wednesday 29th April

Glitch art is the aestheticisation of digital or analogue errors, such as artefacts and other “bugs”, by either corrupting digital code/data, misusing software, or by physically manipulating electronic devices. In cases where software is misused to create glitch art artists will work with software that allow mistakes and misuse to happen, for example, by importing image data into the Audacity audio editor.

GIMP, Inkscape Scribus and their proprietary counterparts are promoted as facilitating creativity. However, these programs and many others often return errors when dealing with the corrupted data made through the glitching process. Should the software be doing this? Does refusing to attempt to interpret this data limit the creative output of these artists?

In this presentation I will present my own work and experiences of creating art through errors. I will share commonly used techniques and discuss the relevance of glitch art in the wider design and art world. My intention is to present the case to developers to allow mistakes to happen and to artists to incorporate errors into their work.

Allowing Mistakes to Happen workshop

Saturday 2nd May

Following on from the Allowing Mistakes to Happen presentation, I will facilitate a workshop that focuses on the practical side of creating glitch art. The workshop will delve into the techniques utilised by glitch artists, such as hacking codecs, modifying hardware and repurposing software.

The workshop participants will need a laptop/computer (Mac/Windows/Linux) with the following software installed: GIMP, Audacity & a good text editor such as Notepad++, TextEdit or Gedit.

Depending on time and interest from participants, additional software can be covered. If possible, please have installed: Processing, Pure Data, ffmpeg/libav, Imagemagick, Inkscape & Blender.

Libre Graphics Meeting 2015

From 27th April – 3rd May I’ll be in Toronto for the 10th Libre Graphics Meeting. Details of what I’ll be doing will follow shortly.

lgm_gif

Libre Graphics Meeting

Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM) is the annual gathering of users and developpers of Free and Open Source software for graphics, design, and visual art. This unique event brings together different groups, usually gathering around specific projects, online, via their mailing-lists or forums. LGM has grown over the years to become an essential moment in the lives of these diverse but interconnected communities. The discussions, presentations and feedback available at LGM have had a positive impact on the developpment of both the tools and their respective communities. The event gives developers, contributors and users a chance to get together, get things done, and come up with new ways forward.

P1020111-P1020114.jpg

And more info on this year’s event:

Libre Graphics Meeting 2015 – Beyond the first decade

For its 10th edition, Libre Graphics Meeting is looking back at the achievements of Free/Libre and Open Source software for artists and designers. We’re also looking forward, at the developments coming in the next decade.

Since its first edition, held in Lyon, France, in 2006, Libre Graphics Meeting has been bringing together software developers, artists, designers, users and other contributors to Free/Libre and Open Source graphics software. For its tenth edition, Libre Graphics Meeting heads to Toronto for four days of talks, workshops, hack sessions and meetings.

Reclaim your tools

Developers and prominent users of software projects like Inkscape, Gimp, Scribus, Fontforge, My Paint, Blender, and Krita—among many others— come together to show off their projects and discuss them with the larger Libre Graphics community. Not only is Libre Graphics Meeting an exciting and motivating moment for developers and users of all kinds, from typographers to illustrators, designers and video artists, it’s is also a unique moment for users and developers of free software to collide and share ideas beyond the confined space of mailing-lists, bug trackers or forums.

2015 is going to be an exciting year for LGM. The program, available online now, is packed full of talks and workshops, from new methods of type design to animation, as well as plenty of time built in for informal collaboration and discussion. As well as the four scheduled days, LGM 2015 will also feature pre-event work sessions and hackathons, including the Inkscape Hackfest, which will allow developers of the popular vector graphics software to get together and do concentrated work.

LGM is open to the public, and registration is free. Even if you don’t plan to attend LGM, you can always help us fund the costs of bringing contributors to this invaluable meeting. Our annual fundraising campaign helps support the travel costs of contributors travelling to attend LGM. If you’re a user or just a fan of Free and Open Source Software, please consider donating as a way to say “Thank You!” to the developers of these projects. All contributions will be used to reimburse those who travel to Toronto to make our software better.

nomis in the machine

The tenth edition of Libre Graphics Meeting will offer a unique look at the achievements of the last ten years of the Libre Graphics world, and opens the door for more great things in the years to come. So if you are an artist or developer interested in Free and Open Source tools, don’t miss a chance to participate in this unique and itinirary event held this year in the beautiful city of Toronto. You will learn how those tools are reshaping the way artist work and have the opportunity to share your ideas with some of the most interseting people of this community.

Being given the opportunity to attend Lbire Graphics Meeting gives me a chance to influence the development of software, and also to show developers what art their tireless efforts are helping to create. For everyone else, though, I feel that the Libre Graphics Meeting is important to further the development of not only open source software but digital culture as a whole. Many libraries, programs and ideas have been formulated or accelerated thanks to these face-to-face meetings, and new ideas that challenge the status quo are developed here.

If any of this resonates to you and you want to help then donate to help make LGM happen! This money will help to cover expenses of the developers. Of course, they could start charging for registration, but by keeping it free they reduce the barriers for anyone interested to take part.

Click here to lend your support to: Libre Graphics Meeting 2015 - Toronto, Canada and make a donation at pledgie.com !