Saturday, 5 February 2011

United Colours of Clive

Whilst writing the previous pair of articles my mind began to wander; I remembered a video I had seen which had been translated into the grainy, blocky resolution of an old ZX Spectrum. I could feel my mind beginning to wander, and so I allowed it to go off, and it brought back Image to ZXSpec, a utility that takes pictures and videos and beats them out of recognisable shape, viz:

Seldom have you seen such a bizarre car-crash of different things. For the record I used Atkinson dithering with forced full brightness. The other dithering modes are either too grainy, or not grainy enough, and any colour map that includes both bright and dim colours tends to have ugly bright patches in it. I surmise that if there was an open source digital SLR - or if there was a way to hack an existing digital SLR so that it ran an open source operating system - you could somehow port ZXSpec to it, and do this kind of thing in-camera; over the last couple of years Olympus, in particular, have been big on crazy art filters. It would be super if Olympus could open up their art filter standard and let people create their own, and upload them to the camera. Are you listening, Olympus?

Here's a short video, which was converted frame-by-frame:

The pixel-level detail of the files doesn't scale very well, and so the images tend to turn into an ugly mass of moiré patterns at anything other than full-size or certain multiples of same. Here's what the effect looks like at 100% and then a smaller comparison:

And there you have it. These were of course rendered at a much higher resolution than the real-life Spectrum could manage, and with a different aspect ratio (the machine's sole graphics mode had a 256x192 pixel map with an 8x8 pixel colour map).