Sunday, April 15, 2012

Beginning with Adobe Illustrator

I've avoided a thorough study of Illustrator's many functions up until now because it is, of course, an art program, and visual art was never my forte. In Grade 1, my art teacher had a special conference with my parents to address my inability to draw even the most basic forms, and even by high school concepts like perspective were beyond me.

I was relieved to discover that creating art in Illustrator is not like creating art in the real world. Drawing a perfect circle, for example, is trivial, whereas I doubt if I could do it on paper unaided. Since the first thing you learn is creating shapes without any fill, I started practicing by creating a variety of cell shapes that may come in handy. Creating, for example, a yeast cell with a mother and bud that is symmetrical is not quite as trivial as drawing a circle, but the steps involved are technical (don't require hand-eye coordination), and I quickly figured out a few tricks (e.g., if you want a symmetrical shape, you can worry about getting one side just right, then cut the shape in half and duplicate a reflected version of it). Modifying, recoloring, rotating, shading, even adding a "membrane" (border of a different color) is all trivial once you have the basic shape.

Monday, April 2, 2012

New Directions

I’ll open this post by making three obvious statements, which might appear to be unrelated:

1. I haven’t posted on this blog much. I can see from my history I made three posts in July of 2010, and that it’s been largely dormant since then. This is, I believe, because my blog really lacks a purpose, and has drifted from the purpose I originally intended it to serve.

2. The job market for Ph.D.s right now, especially those who want to continue in academia, is simply terrible.

3. The inevitable change that comes with new parenthood is simply a change of perspective. No matter how many times you are told that it will happen to you, you never quite believe it.