Beginnings of a glitch typeface

I was speaking with Jon earlier about my work and he’s noted that a lot of it has been text based and then asked if I was working towards making a typeface in the same style. I must admit, my recent text based work has mostly been an excuse to use the awesome Kawoszeh typeface, but I feel he’s onto something.

Whilst I’m quite far from a complete typeface I’ve been doing a few experiments:

Believe it or not that is the letter A glitched in the same way (replaced 9 with 15), but under different conditions. The reason for the above experiment is wanting to find the best environment in which to make the typeface. For example, the more nodes you have on a shape the more variance you get. The type of nodes that you have also has a major effect.

I’m also thinking about what typeface to use as a base. Being mostly Brummie I’m drawn towards hacking Open Baskerville although using just Arial Black provided some good results, as can be seen in my short glitch animation

I’ll have something produced next year and, should I finally do some coding, actually have a script to databend for me and make the whole process a bit more random!

Hello Glitch

Using the same svg glitching techniques that I’ve come to love, today, with the help of Twitter folk, I created this rather short animation that compliments my new deviantART ID

My initial aim was glitch the video file itself but then I figured it’d be quite different to glitch each frame individually. To do this I created the original text in Inkscape and then created 52 copies of it. I then opened up the file in a text editor and began messing around with the numbers!

After the 17th or so version of the file it became hard to try and randomly replace numbers, so I turned to Twitter for some help.

I asked people to give me two random numbers, each between 0 and 99. I’d then modify an image using only those two numbers. Within minutes of asking I already was given quite a lot of numbers, so I began work on glitching. In the end I sporadically used the numbers that were given on each image. All of the results can be seen below:

Hello Glitch (by hellocatfood)

All but two of the frames from the animation in no particular order

The amount of variation you can get by just replacing a few numbers or changing a number from a negative to a positive is quite amazing.

For the sound I ran an mp3 file through MPeg Fucker, which is a nifty little script for warping sounds.

New deviantART ID

I’ve been a part of the deviantART community for a lot longer than I have had a blog or website. I used to be very active but then drifted slightly away ’cause of the whole blogging thing though recently found myself at one of the devMeets. It’s a great way to meet other amateur, hobbyist and even professional artists, photographers and creative types. In an attempt to get back into the swing of things I created myself a new ID image:

Find me on dA:

You probably will recognise some of the styles used in there from previous tutorials that I’ve written. Well, they’ve finally been of use to me! Expect more stuff like this from me in the future.

If you’re on deviantART too why not stop by my page

Family Build Up

One of the most common questions I, and possibly any other digital artist gets when they present their work is how they do it. I occasionally reveal some of my methods in my tutorials but otherwise I like to show screenshots taken at various stages. I came across this build up script a few months back and have now finally got it to work! Here’s my previous family portrait being reconstructed:

This script isn’t a true reflection of how I drew it but gives a good idea about the amount of detail I go into with my work. The reason I didn’t finish it is that I had already had the script running for ten hours and it was only half finished! Luckily there’s options to resume, but at this rate I’ll be doing it until February!

I think I may do this a lot more with my work.

Changing Room at Eastside Projects

My part in the Changing Room exhibition ended on 6th December. For the benefit of those wishing to build in Second Life here’s my experiences working in such an environment.


I was feeling ill so didn’t do any building in world but I did discover the joys of working collaboratively using Skype.


I was working in Eastside Projects as usual so decided to look around to see what inspiration I could draw from it. Although there’s less barriers when creating work in Second Life I wanted to create something that worked with the space or at least reflected the current show in some way. I began by documenting recurring themes throughout the current exhibition. I noticed that there were a lot of vertical lines and this could also be seen in initial work in the virtual space.

My current body of work is gearing towards visual projections and manipulation of images and data/databending so I wanted to do something that reflected this. At the same time, I wanted to move away from the viewer simply looking at the work and more towards them experiencing and being immersed in it. To that extent I wanted to see what could be done with a VJ set, but within Second Life. There are already art exhibitions within Second Life, but I have found very few examples of performances, with the following being the best example:

Drawing inspiration from this video I wanted to see if I could take it further and create something more interactive.


I had a vague idea of what I was going to build. I wanted to create pod-like changing rooms that the view would climb into and then be treated to a visual experience.



I’m not that familiar with advanced functions of the building tools available in Second Life, so this was very much a day of trial and error. I discovered that maths plays a big part in plotting out shapes as there are, as far as I’m aware, no tools for snapping objects. Also, stacking objects sometimes proved difficult. One possible trick, which involved changing the object type to Physical occasionally resulted in my shapes falling through the ground!

Objects disappearing through the floor

Objects disappearing through the floor


Some people had been trying to get into the exhibition but soon discovered that their avatars were too big This seems to be a problem with the way Second Life allows you to specify the size of your avatar. The Eastside Projects in-world building is (apparently) built to scale. Looking at the size and shape of some avatars it’s not hard to see why the door size could be a problem!

As part of trying to link the two pieces together I also went to perform in Two Short Plays by Liam Gillick at Eastside Projects.

Two Short Plays (by hellocatfood)

My idea was to film the performances, modify them and then project them into these pods. In that way, climbing into them was like climbing into a changing room where they would transform themselves. There would also be animated objects in the changing rooms, which I could control either via a set of controls within the space or by modifying the script on the objects


I also wanted objects to bounce around in the environment, but that would require making them Physical objects, which had already caused problems. I also was finding that I had far too many unused shapes in the space and not enough time to find a use for them.

The build was otherwise progressing rather well.



This time I had trouble with video encoding. Using Ubuntu has it’s benefit but I definitely had trouble encoding this video into a suitable format for Second Life to be able to stream it. Originally I had intended to reproduce the ogg export glitch that I had discovered but, as I feared, this glitch has been fixed in a recent update to Kdenlive. In the end Openshot was able to render my movie into a suitable format, but didn’t have the desired effect

Stills (by hellocatfood)

Screenshots from the video

There were also difficulties in adding this video as a texture in Second Life. Within the space only Michael and Drew had the option to add media, but then I had to have access to the texture that would be used for the video. In the end I had to create a new blank texture (which required buying Linden Dollars) and then upload it. An easy fix but just not an ideal situation, especially with 20 mins before the deadline!


Although my work was not completely finished I do not think that was the aim of the Changing Room exhibition. I think this is something that will evolve and I would very much like to revisit this work and add to it and explore new areas.

View of finished work

View of finished work

View of finished work

View of finished work

In many ways this exhibition does mirror real life exhibitions. Although there are obvious complexities in learning how to use a computer or a new program, this is mirrored in real life when presented with any new tools with which to work with. My liaising with Michael to see what was possible to build is very similar to liaising with the gallery directors to see what is possible in the space.


The production of Othello is going really well. We’re four performances in and have already received positive reviews from the Guardian, Telegraph and Times and generally positive reviews from friends and attendees.

opera-49 (by Katchooo)

Othello chorus. Photo by Fiona Cullinan

Unless you have bought a ticket unfortunately there’s no way to see it as all of the tickets have now sold out, but that only reiterates the popularity of the productions by the Birmingham Opera Company.

I’ve been to their last two productions (La Traviata and Idomeneo) and, after a bit of coaxing from friends and loved ones, I decided to take part in Othello. So, why am I doing it? I’ve been known to dabble in acting occasionally but this venture requires an additional set of skills that I’m not really known to have. There’s one main overriding reason why I’m doing it:

It’s fun.

Sure, it looks good to have Birmingham Opera Company on my CV, but in my overall goal to become more of a software/digital artist I feel being part of the opera only indirectly helps. If you’re an aspiring performer or singer then you should already know why you should be part of this 😉

My main point is that regardless of what background you’re from there’s a lot to be learnt and a lot of fun to be had. You’ll meet a great range of people, learn what goes into making a production and may discover a hidden singing or acting talent.

So, I’ll see you at rehearsals for the next production next year!

Changing Room virtual exhibition

This week I’m putting together a piece for an exhibition in Second Life and Eastside Projects:


Changing Room is an evolving mixed-reality installation that considers the inherent mutability and reusability of artefacts, concepts and situations in the Digital Age. Lead artist Michael Takeo Magruder will collaborate with Extra Special People artists Ana Benlloch, Iona Makiola, Antonio Roberts, Lee Scott, Zhao Wei and Selma Wong to develop a new collaborative space.

Blending the shared virtual environment of Second Life with the shared physical environment of Eastside Projects, the artwork will facilitate the realisation, curation and documentation of seven distinct – yet interrelated – art projects arising from a common pool of virtual and physical resources.

Experience the artwork’s physical component at Eastside Projects alongside Liam Gillick’s Two Short Plays, a new solo exhibition (27 November 2009 to 23 January 2010) and the virtual environment in Second Life (

Changing Room is an experimental prototype for EP:VV (Eastside Projects: Virtualised and Visualised) – a new space for imagining ideas about Art. EP:VV will develop online, multi-user virtual worlds that afford new models for participation and representation of the gallery’s artworks and initiatives. For more information about EP:VV and its ongoing development email:

I’ll be in world for a bit more of today (Wednesday) and most of Thursday and Friday if you want to see the development of the work

Bull Glitch

You may have noticed that in my previous post there was a nice little image of the Bull Ring Bull. I did that! Before I go on, it’s not an image that will be used for Birmingham’s City of Culture bid (though if you really like it monies plz). It’s more an image just to represent the work that we’re doing to collect opinions of Birmingham.

bull glitch

Although not a completely original concept (Andy Warhol anyone?) I have utilised a few newly found techniques to create it. Whilst the results, and indeed databending as a whole looks cool I have yet to use it in any real world situations. Until now that is.

To begin I found an image of the Bull and cut it out of the background. I then took it into Inkscape and used the Trace Bitmap function (Alt + Shift + B) and traced it several times using different settings. I saved svgs that scanned for several different colour values. After saving a copy of the original I basically databent it i.e. replaced some numbers with other numbers using a text editor. I’ve described this process in a lot more detail in this earlier tutorial.

I still did manipulate the image afterwards (a bit of shifting of layers and colour/opacity adjustments), but the overall random effect was achieved this way. Here’s how the others turned out:

Bull Glitch (by hellocatfood)

And now we wait to see if we actually become City Of Culture