Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"Da Vinci's Challenge" App Concept

 As a graphic design student at Rowan University, in 2001, I created a strategy game for my senior project.

Rowan Today:

The game was based on an ancient symbol I had learned about, called "The Flower of Life". This pattern of interlocking circles has been used in art & architecture all over the world. It has been found on the walls of the Temple of Osiris in Egypt and was studied in depth by Leonardo da Vinci.

The classic game I designed came to be known as "Da Vinci's Challenge" and has won some of the top awards in the toy industry.

Monkey Buddha Archives:

I am now looking for a new publisher, and also for a way to get an electronic version of the game developed. I created the animation below to demonstrate the way I envision an app or video game to look & play. I know that experienced game developers would have many ways to make it look even better.

For more info, ideas, or licensing opportunities, please email 3amoebas_@_comcast.net (delete the spaces) or visit the official Facebook page. Thank you.

This animation shows concept art for a "Da Vinci's Challenge" app or video game.

"Da Vinci's Challenge" is an award-winning, classic strategy game, based on the ancient wisdom of sacred geometry. The game board is 'The Flower of Life' symbol, used in the art and architecture of many cultures around the world for thousands of years.

The game play is simple, yet full of strategy:
• Use the triangle & oval pieces of your color to form the 'Secret Symbols' on the score sheet.
• You can block a Symbol being made by your opponent to play defensively & prevent them from forming a pattern in their color.
• A player can strategically place a piece to form a 'combo pattern'- where two or more Secret Symbols are formed in a single move.
• The player who scores the most points by the end of the game- WINS!

Game Inventor & Graphic Designer:
Paul Micarelli
Patent #7114721
All material © 3 Amoebas, Inc.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Nihilisa Frank

In addition to my fondness for ridiculously crappy design, I also enjoy art that celebrates absurdity.

On several websites, I've seen links to this amusing Tumblr blog. It features images that combine the rainbow colors & cutesy animals seen on artwork by "rainbow-gulag" founder Lisa Frank- with nihilistic quotes that reflect despair, emptiness, and a sense of existential crisis. It's a great mashup of contrasting elements, on par with Nietzsche Family Circus.

Look upon these images, and feel the sense of a happy, bright brand of nihilism.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Horrible Knockoff Transfomer Toy Design

Despite being a graphic artist who takes pride in creating pleasing designs, I also have a great love for really, really bad design, which never stops amusing me.

I saw this abomination on The Chive, in a post about bad toy knockoffs. It looks like it's supposed to be a Transformer-style toy, but the colors and packaging are hilariously crappy.

The name says, in Mexican/Italian colors, "Knight Rider Becames Robert" instead of what I believe should be, "Knight Rider Becomes Robot". This, along with the crazy overall neon color scheme and primitive graphics, makes for a memorably bad example of graphic design.

After a little research and reading comments on other blog posts, it seems to be a ripoff of Super Gobots Zeemon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Deciphering the Mayan Language

For many years, I have been fascinated with the art & culture of the ancient Maya people of Mexico.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

On The Daily Grail, I came across this informative history of the decipherment of the Mayan language & glyphs.

Ancient Explorers:

It is a very interesting look at all the brilliant minds & fortuitous events throughout the 20th century that led to the rediscovery of the Mayan language.

During the Spanish Conquest, much of the heritage of the Maya was systematically destroyed by the conquistadors like Cortes and friars like Diego de Landa. The combination of greed and religious fervor, along with a sense of ethnic superiority, led the Europeans to wipe out a culture rich with art and knowledge of nature, mathematics, and astronomy. Of course, the Maya were human and had many brutal aspects to their society, as well. However, the loss of knowledge and life was horrific and inexcusable.

It is amazing that certain geniuses from around the world were able to slowly reconstruct the lost language & ideas of these ancient people, centuries later. Of course, the pattern-detecting abilities of the human brain played a huge part in this, but I also wonder if there is a kind of all-pervasive information field on some level, that our minds can tap into to unlock or access information. Maybe once something is created or thought on a mass scale, it can be pulled back up within a certain time or under certain conditions.

Regardless of how this feat of archaeology has been performed, we are now the benefactors of all the research that has gone into the complex history of the Maya. There is a lot to learn from the limited information we have from them, and there will undoubtedly be more discoveries in the future.

On a related note, this summer at a flea market I came across this exquisite art book that replicates a Mayan codex-style book. It was about the Mayan calendar & their system of numbers. It's called Calendario Maya (1997) and came in a woven pouch. At first, I thought it was just a plaque because of the hard cover, until I opened it and saw the beautifully designed pages inside.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Wolf Spider Eating a Cricket

This is another post with more pictures added to my nature album... but these aren't as cute as the last ones.

by Paul Micarelli

I was coming home from work one day, and saw a large black critter run under the ledge of my front door.

It was dark, so I used the flashlight on my phone to look below the edge of the step. I saw that it was a very large spider holding & eating a big cricket.

I was like "Woah!" & obviously had to try to get some photos. I couldn't really see what I was doing because of the short ledge- which I put the phone right up against, so I could get as close to it as possible. I tried to tap the screen to focus, but it was too dark to see. I just took a bunch of pics with the flash to see what I got. Luckily, the spider was too busy eating the cricket it was holding to run away.

When I felt like I had some good images, I chased him into a small flower pot nearby and carried it to the woods. It kept jumping out, so I'd scoop it back in until I got it away from the house.

It was a pretty big spider, and afterward I confirmed my suspicion that it was a wolf spider. I got pretty close on it, so it looks even crazier in the photos.

Little Green Caterpillar

I've added a couple photos to my album of nature pics:

by Paul Micarelli

I saw this tiny green caterpillar with red spots & cool markings crawling on a leaf. I picked up the leaf and got in close with my iPhone to get some pics of it. 

My finger in the one photo to give an idea of its small size. It was about as long as my fingernail.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Mandelbrot Fast Zoom

by Paul Micarelli

Fractals have always been a subject of deep fascination for me. I've created fractal images & posted about the fractal-like qualities of reality here many times.

The Monkey Buddha Archive:

Fractals are mathematical formulas that result in infinitely complex images when plotted point by point. When calculated on a computer, it's possible to "zoom" in & out of the image to render the image at different resolutions. In fact, I like to think of fractals as being 2.5 dimensions, because there is a "virtual" dimension of depth when you zoom throughout the image.

The main feature of fractal geometry is the recursive nature of the visual elements. As you zoom into & out of the picture, there are self-similar features that continuously appear. I wouldn't go so far as to say the the Universe is a fractal, but it definitely contains fractal-like qualities & features.

On Awakening Our Truth, I saw this animation of a zoom into the Mandelbrot fractal, named after the discoverer of fractal geometry, Benoit Mandelbrot. It is 15 minute long & shows the endless continuum of features that a simple fractal formula can produce.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ape Making Fire

On fUSION Anomalog, I saw a sequence of animated GIFs that show an ape using matches to light a fire & roast marshmallows.

This is one of the many examples that demonstrate tool use among animals, especially primates. The perceived gap between human beings and other creatures is not as wide as traditionally believed. Primates, in particular, have most of the same senses & perceptions that people do. It's just a matter of degree when it comes to our respective cognitive abilities.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

The bonobo's name is Kanzi, and here is more info about ape intelligence & communication.


Here is a video showing Kanzi lighting the campfire.

I recently read a book about baboon communication & social hierarchies that was interesting. It was another reminder how close we humans are to animal behavior in so many ways.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Star Wars- Visual Poetry

Being a lifelong Star Wars fan, I've posted a lot about the movies over the years.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Like so many other people, I'm anticipating the next installment "Episode VII: The Force Awakens". It will be interesting to see how the series plays out after the events in "Return of the Jedi". From what I've seen so far, it looks like it could live up to the high expectations.

One of the reasons I think that the Star Wars saga is one of the greatest works of fiction of all time is the sheer artistic vision that went into them. The story & visuals draw from sources of history, myth, and art from around the world.

This video examines the visual poetry among the scenes. thematically linking the various movies together. There are many correlations that I've never noticed, even after seeing them so many times. It's really well done.

Youtube Link

Friday, September 11, 2015

Drawing in 3D Virtual Space

I saw this cool video last night, and it brought forth many thoughts on the future of virtual reality & how we will use this technology to create new mental experiences.

Master Disney animator Glen Keane uses VR tools to create and explore virtual spaces, that only exist as abstract data and as experiences in the brain of the individual.

The merging of consciousness with the luminous world of digital information is another step in the evolution of what we know as the mind. There is a strange interplay of inner thought and external stimuli going on here, that could be a transition to an entirely new mode of thought & perception.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Barn Spider

I added a couple more spider pics to my gallery of nature photos.

This large spider had built a massive web across the entrance to the barn behind my house.

by Paul Micarelli

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Visualizing Magnetic Fields

 We have an invisible world around us. Energetic fields permeate our space, and humans have no biological way to detect these forces.  We are surrounded by magnetic fields, radiation, and the majority of the light spectrum that are hidden from our senses.

This video, called Magnetic Movie, explains magnetic fields and how they would "look" if we could see the lines of force they produce.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Spiral Motion of the Solar System

Anyone with some awareness of our cosmic situation knows that The Earth is a giant rock that is spinning & also orbiting around the Sun.

However most people don't realize that the Sun (& therefore the entire solar system) is also orbiting the center of our Milky Way galaxy.

I've posted before about the motion of our solar system and how the fact that the Sun is in motion relative to the galactic plane causes the planets to trace out helical paths through space.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

I recently came across another animation visualizing the dance of the planets around our closest star, as they travel around the center of the galaxy.

This led me to investigate how accurate these representations really are. I found this excellent article that explains what is right & wrong about these animations.

Universe Today:

There is another animated GIF in the article, by Rhys Taylor, that depicts the motion a bit more accurately. It turns out that the orbital plane of the planets is about 60ยบ relative to the motion of the sun. So, it looks more like this.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

"It's Not Worth It"

On Reddit, I recently came across a link to this article about Linds Redding, a designer & art director who died from esophageal cancer in 2012.

Business Insider:

Redding wrote an essay reflecting on the time & work he put in with his ad agency, in light of his terminal illness.

His conclusion was that personally connecting with people & family should be one's top priority. Some people are so fixated on success & their job that they don't make time to actually enjoy life.

Linds Redding:

This resonated with me, because I am a graphic artist and have posted many times here about art & design.

I don't feel like what I do is useless, but I also realize many of the products & packaging I create are ultimately disposable.  One quote in the essay, by his typography teacher, stood out to me: "We are fillers of landfills." That is a pretty cynical view, but to some extent, true.

Throughout my adult life I have been keenly aware of my own mortality and the transience of all human endeavor, including my own.

I have entertained the question, "Why bother with anything, if no trace of it will exist in a billion years, anyway?" The only answer I can come up with is, "Because I am here, and I feel compelled to do so."

Through the lens of impermanence, it's easy to question the relevancy of any commercial profession. I definitely don't think I'm "saving the world" with my professional work, as Redding put it. However, I truly enjoy it and can express a lot of creativity through the variety of projects we get. I've also spent time on plenty of my own art and other creative work, like this blog. I find any creative outlet immensely satisfying. I definitely try to keep a balance between my job, creating art, & my personal life.

I think each person should question their existence every day, on both the personal & cosmic level. Doing so makes you aware of how little precious time you actually have in this life, and gives you the "perspective" that Linds Redding was trying to convey.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Nature Photography- Summer 2015

I added a few more photos to my photo album of nature pics:

by Paul Micarelli

These pictures are from this summer, before I started the album online. I'll continue to add older photos from previous years & any new ones I take.

I love nature & being outdoors, and have been lucky to see many different creatures in my lifetime. I am endlessly fascinated by the endless diversity of Life.

This is one of the many rabbits around my house, blending in with the leaves:

This dragonfly was busy devouring another insect, so it was too busy to notice I was sneaking up close to it to get this picture:

I was outside my work one day & heard a loud rustling on the side of the building. This groundhog was trying to get past the gate to the yard: