Pye Parr – Bato Logo

Original source

Pye Parr is probably, inadvertently, the droid who inspired this blog. It is he who has the unenviable task of covering all that glorious artwork with logos, barcodes and other necessary evils! However, the logo and branding, as this article will point out, is an art form in itself. An art form that must be recognisable, functional and adapt to any and every cover image on which it sits, a damn near impossible task!
I asked Pye to give us an insight into his creative process behind the extremely daunting task of changing such a beloved icon and he certainly didn’t disappoint! Over to Pye-01 to tell us more. 
“I’ve been thinking (and worrying) about changing the 2000 AD masthead for quite a while now (I was sick of looking at the old one). A couple of years ago I did some cover type for Prog 2013 which I was kinda pleased with, so I made a vague stab at turning it into a full font, creating a file on my desktop I went back to every so often and tinkered with…”

The logo for the cancelled Prog ZOIB
“That file evolved into a terrifying sprawl of crap, as I dropped the idea of a font and started trying out stuff for the 2000 AD logo. These are the first couple of ideas, in various states of completion. I still quite like the shape of the 2 here…”

A terrifying sprawl of crap.
“Even as I was doing these I knew they weren’t going to work. The characters were just too complicated to be useful, but I finished some versions off anyway just for my own satisfaction. I wanted to see if I could ape some of the bends and shadows of the old logos. Not sure it adds anything really. Plus, I wanted to do something new, not hark back to an older version.”

The 2000AD Turkish Delight Special
“I started simplifying the letters, tweaking height and weight, and ended up with something I tested on the 2000AD sci-fi special that came out this Summer. I also started thinking about ways to use the 2000 AD badge as a kind of catch-all publishers thing, like marvel or DC use their logos on batman comics as I’d done this on the US-style Dredd and Brass Sun comics and quite liked it.”

What’s that comic called again?

“After a bit of feedback on the sci-fi special, and some time to stare at it, I went back and changed the characters again. The Sci-Fi Special logo was ok, just not elegant enough somehow, so I went back to it again and changed all sorts of minor details, like the angle/size of the corners and crossbars, and adding serifs on the characters. The first time I felt I was getting somewhere was the bottom version in this pic.”

10,000AD, easy!

“First tests on logo placement. I went back over the last 10ish progs and redid the covers exactly as they were but with the latest version of the banner. It doesn’t look like much, but slight changes in the boldness or width of the type really affect how much space is left for the 2000AD badge, so I did quite a lot of mucking about here. At this point though I was still quite set on having the badge much smaller and sticking the prog number underneath it, all within a box so you could flick through a pile of issues quickly and find the Prog you want.”

The creation of each of those covers is on this blog – just sayin’!
“After a meeting with Matt, Ben and Jason we decided to drop the prog number from the banner. The badge was too small, and no matter how I laid it out it was needlessly fussy. The small type interfered with the overall look of the masthead, plus I couldn’t decide what text from the barcode info to split off from the barcode box. Prog number? Date? Price? All of it? Here’s some of the options I came up with. The problem with most of these is being sure they’d be legible on some of the more mental pieces of cover art we get. I think its ok to bash/cover the logo about a bit, it can take it, but things like price and issue number you can’t.”

“I also changed the ‘AD’ bit on these, as Jason felt the original A looked like an R. At the time I thought that was rubbish, but looking back he was right – as the AD is sideways it needs to be as legible as possible.”

Warhol’s futuristic phase

“With these things in mind I made some more changes and got the final logo! Having all the silliness bashed off it makes it much stronger. If it was a logo that had to stand alone you could afford to make it more ornate or technical, but the cover art for the Prog does the hard work, so I think the masthead works if it stands out without dominating, or is so stylised it only suits certain pieces of cover art.”

Sniff! S’beautiful!

“The new barcode box. This might seem inconsequential, but its probably the thing I’m most proud of – there’s just something pleasing about it! Fitting a barcode round the art is one of the most annoying things about cover design. It HAS to be easily visible, but you don’t want to give it too much emphasis or it looks fugly on the artwork. This is partly why I wanted to move the date/number/price elsewhere, so I’d be able to cram the barcode off the edge of the page. Really glad I managed to find a way to make it look pretty cool, match the internal design/logo, and stay useful and flexible.”
NOTE: For some reason Blogger would not accept the graphic of Pye’s barcode, even when I didcked around with it in Photoshop. Drawing that big, ugly black box around the image worked for some reason, so apologies to Pye! – Pete

Very popular with Zebras this one
“Aaaaand the final cover in all it’s glory! It helps no end that the first cover with the new logo on it was an absolute stonker. Amazing bit of painting by Greg – so much so that hardly anyone mentioned the new logo on the forums I looked on, as everyone went gaga for the art! I’ll take that as a good thing!

Even Dredd wouldn’t mess with that logo…

Phew, that was exhausting! But wait! There’s more, lots more! Pye also told us about his redesign of the Nerve Centre Page. It is extremely important that he got this right as this is Tharg’s page, any error here, no matter how small, would result in a one way trip to see Mek-Quake!
“The New Nerve Centre. I’ve had an idea in my head for a little while about basing the nerve centre design around Tharg’s rosette of Sirius – having Tharg peer out the centre circle, with all these concentric techy looking rings radiating out from him. After making a rosette graphic I liked I started bashing things together in indesign. I tried for a LONG time to get the different page elements in all sorts of layouts, but annoyingly the main problem on each one was the rosette – it just made everything hard to read, so after trying it as a box, a background, squashed in the corner etc. etc. I had to kill the idea. It was driving me nuts and I was rapidly running out of time…”

Warning – If you stare at this image long enough you will get a taste for polystyrene.

“The main rosette graphic. The top ones are colour test that ended up being used as Prog 1900 countdown adverts.”

The Nerve Centre, they use everything but the soul.

“The final layout. I used the rosette as a header/footer instead. There’s so much info to get on The Nerve Centre it just had to have a plain background. Like with the logo: simpler is stronger.”

Oh that Tharg! He’s so Betelgeusean when he’s mad!
And finally, the good old Credit Chips:
“Again on that theme I redesigned the credit boxes to match the work I’d done so far. Plenty of opportunities to customise these for specific strips too, so I’ll be doing that more in future.”

We WILL see Pete Wells in one of those credits one day
“So that’s one off the bucket list, next up: A new Dredd logo…”
Wow, that’s a staggering amount of work with some real thought going into it. Next time you pick up your prog, take a good look at all these extra bits and spare a thought for Pye, unsung hero of the Galaxy’s Greatest!

D’Israeli – D’Sisters of D’Eath!

Original source

Fan favourite D’Emon D’raftsman D’Israeli is back with this haunting cover depicting three wicked witches that would gladly see the destruction of our world. Powerful stuff indeed, just in time for Halloween! As ever, Mr D’Israeli has given a gloriously detailed breakdown of his cover process, so as Stickleback himself would say, “Off we trot playmates, arseholes and elbows!”

Matt begins “Tharg’s usual concise brief went as follows, “how about (a cover) for (Stickleback) part 4 with the symbol in the background and in foreground the three sisters looking sinister?”

“The symbol” is a crop-circle-type sigil that’s a major element in the story and appears multiple times in the strip itself. I constructed it in the vector program Adobe Illustrator (which is really good for making geometric designs like this) and exported as a high-resolution bitmap (TIFF) file that could then be imported into Manga Studio.”

The schematics for the Nerve Centre Christmas tree…

“I used Manga Studio 5 to generate the three roughs which I submitted to Matt Smith. 01 was the closest to the brief, 02 added past and present versions of Black Bob (as seen in that episode), and 03 was a “wild card” design based on a Gustav Klimt painting. Matt Smith went for 01. In the case of 01 and 02, I imported the symbol into Manga Studio and used the transform setting to distort it into the correct perspective, as that was quicker, easier and more accurate than trying to draw the symbol by hand, even roughly.”

“Look out! Falling crop circles!”

Penny Red had spent a long time training her famous synchronised head lice team. 

Bah, I really, really like this one Tharg!

“Next the grey “pencil” drawing over the top of the chosen rough. I still think of them as “pencils” even though I do the whole shebang digitally. As ever, I do the “pencils” on a separate layer so they can be changed without affecting the underlying drawing.”

Dreadful Pennies

“Next the blocking. This breaks the drawing up into blocks of colour that I can select later and fill with texture. Since I did the last series of Stickleback, I discovered Manga Studio 5’s incredibly useful “Lasso Fill” tool, which for some silly reason is hidden away in a sub-menu. Lasso Fill allows you to draw a shape freehand, but instead of producing a selection, it automatically fills the just-drawn shape with your chosen colour as soon as you raise the stylus from the tablet (pro tip: Manga Studio lets you select “nothing” as a colour, and if you do that with the Lasso Fill tool it becomes a very quick and accurate eraser for large areas). The Lass Fill tool speeds up the blocking stage immeasurably, and acts in very much the same way as Illustrator’s Pencil tool did, back when I was using that program for drawing.”

When spray tan goes wrong…

“Here’s how to find the Lasso Tool in Manga Studio 5 (5 or EX5 but not earlier versions); there are a whole nest of sub tools hidden in the tool bar. Depending what sub-tool is selected, the icon will look different (to further complicate things, I’ve rearranged my toolbar, but try just below or above the Type Tool (A) on the toolbar (marked 1 in the illustration). A sub-menu will appear, divided into tabs. Click on the “Direct Draw” section (marked 2 in the illustration) and then on the Lasso Fill button (marked 3 in the illustration).”

Easy as one, two, three…

“My preferred settings for the Lasso Fill tool. If you’re working at resolutions below 400dpi, try playing with the anti-aliasing settings to avoid getting jagged edges.”

It’s all gobbledegook!

“At this point in the process, I export the cover to Photoshop format and open it in Photoshop (I use Photoshop CC but any version will do.) I add textures to the blocks of colour I’ve made previously (you can see a brilliant video tutorial of that here – Pete) I also put blocks of grey under the textures to make them more coherent and solid.”

“Cracking cover Gromet!”

“I then select all the textures (Select: Load Selection: pick “(name of layer) transparency” from the drop-down list and click OK) and, on a new layer, paint in blacks over the textures to deepen some of them further.” You can see D’Israeli’s incredibly useful video on this part of the process here.”

“I then close the file and re-open it in Manga Studio 5.”

This years’ trick or treaters were scarier than last years’!

“Finally, painting; I used to use Corel Painter for this stage of the process, but Manga Studio 5’s Watercolour Brushes are 90% as good as Painter’s, and Manga Studio is so much faster and more stable (in fact, Manga Studio runs faster with five pages open than Corel Painter can with one.) The upshot of this is that, after three upgrades which have actually brought declines in performance, I have with great relief been able to drop Corel Painter as a working tool.” 

“That bit of relationship-breakup schadenfreude over with, back to business*; I use the Transparent Watercolour brush in Manga Studio 5 to add bits of shading and modelling to the faces, I also  paint in dark areas on Penny Red’s long hair (left) and then scribble over them with a Pen Tool loaded with white to create hair strands.”

Photo found on Wayne Rooney’s phone… 

“Once this stage is complete, I close the file and re-open it in Photoshop and make a copy as a flat TIFF file for upload to the 2000AD FTP server. And that’s that!”

“* Yes, I’m over you, Corel Painter, over you, do you hear? I never think of you any more!” Yeah, you keep telling yourself that Matt, we all know you’re pining for just one last Coral Painting session…

And here’s how those harpies look on your newsstand, yikes! 

 The latest line up of the Sugababes

Great galloping thanks to Mr Brooker for another amazing cover breakdown, check out his stunning blog right here!

How Nigeria Stopped Ebola

Original source writes Pamela Engel writes that Americans need only look to Nigeria to calm their fears about an Ebola outbreak in the US. Nigeria is much closer to the West Africa outbreak than the US is, yet even after Ebola entered the country in the most terrifying way possible — via a visibly sick passenger on a commercial flight — officials successfully shut down the disease and prevented widespread transmission. If there are still no new cases on October 20, the World Health Organization will officially declare the country “Ebola-free.” Here’s how Nigeria did it. The first person to bring Ebola to Nigeria was Patrick Sawyer, who left a hospital in Liberia against the wishes of the medical staff and flew to Nigeria. Once Sawyer arrived, it became obvious that he was ill when he passed out in the Lagos airport, and he was taken to a hospital in the densely packed city of 20 million. Once the country’s first Ebola case was confirmed, Port Health Services in Nigeria started a process called contact tracing to limit the spread of the disease and created an emergency operations center to coordinate and oversee the national response. Health officials used a variety of resources, including phone records and flight manifests, to track down nearly 900 people who might have been exposed to the virus via Sawyer or the people he infected. As soon as people developed symptoms suggestive of Ebola, they were isolated in Ebola treatment facilities. Without waiting to see whether a “suspected” case tested positive, Nigeria’s contact tracing team tracked down everyone who had had contact with that patient since the onset of symptoms making a staggering 18,500 face-to-face visits. The US has many of these same procedures in place for containing Ebola, making the risk of an outbreak here very low. Contact tracing is exactly what is happening in Dallas right now; if any one of Thomas Eric Duncan’s contacts shows symptoms, that person will be immediately isolated and tested. “That experience shows us that even in the case in Nigeria, when we found out later in the timeline that this patient had Ebola, that Nigeria was able to identify contacts, institute strict infection control procedures and basically bring their outbreak to a close,” says Dr. Tom Inglesby. “They did a good job in and of themselves. They worked closely with the U.S. CDC. If we can succeed in Nigeria I do believe we will stop it here.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How Women Became Gamers Through D&D

Original source
An anonymous reader writes: To add some historical context to the currently controversy surrounding attitudes toward women in gaming, Jon Peterson provides an in-depth historical look at the unsurprisingly male origins of the “gamer” identity. It also examines how Dungeons & Dragons helped to open the door for women in gaming — overturning a sixty-year-old dogma that was born when Wells’s Little Wars first assumed the “disdain” of women for gaming.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Transport for London exclude board member over Cycle Superhighways conflict

Original source

TfL board member will be excluded from discussions about the proposed cross-city Cycle Superhighways because of his role as finance director at one of the companies opposing the idea


A board member of Transport for London (TfL) must step aside from discussions to prevent a conflict of interest with …Continue reading »

Did YOU support the Day of Dredd?

Original source

So, the Day of Dredd –  was it a success?

If you’re browsing this website there’s a good chance you’re a fan of 2000AD, and it’s most popular character, Judge Dredd. You’re also very likely to have seen the film, and want a sequel – right? RIGHT?!

Well, October 1st was ‘Day of Dredd’, where fans and Dredd-related alumni came together for another push to bring Dredd back under the spotlight. This has been chamioned by the Make a Dredd Sequel movement, supported by our very own 2000AD. If you haven’t joined the campaign yet, what are you waiting for? Go here and sign up:

cover picture

Was it a success? To try and determine this I’ve thrown together a handful of things occurring that day which caught my eye for one reason or another. I’m hoping they caught the eye of DNA and distributors around the world too. Before I begin, I know a load more folk did some really great stuff, and I’m really sorry if I’ve missed you.

The Day of Dredd got off to a great start, even before it began! Just prior we had Adi Shankar, the producer of Dredd, weighing in, and noting how the film has gained cultural resonance. You can see exactly what he had to say here:

On the day itself he was active on Twitter, and even retweeted something from our very own UK Judges Forum!

uk judges forum adi shankar

uk judges forum adi shankar

He wasn’t the only Dredd-related person busy on Twitter though! Olivia Thirlby also retweeted from the UK Judges Forum too:

uk judges forum thirlby

uk judges forum thirlby

She didn’t stop there though! One very lucky 2000AD Forumite, ‘The Bissler’, tweeted her directly, and she responded to him, and ALL Dredd fans everywhere!

the bissler and missthirlby

Of course, Olivia didn’t stop at just tweeting about it. She also put up this fantastic little video thanking everyone for their continued support:

Next up on Twitter was a major coup for 2000AD and the Make a Dredd Sequel movement, when Simon Pegg retweeted in support, to over four and a half million followers!

simon pegg retweeted 2000AD

Things were hotting up on Facebook too, as Paul Leonard-Morgan reposted his awesome video of ‘Mini-Guns’, a very well known theme from his Dredd sountrack:

This great photo of Carols Ezquerra, artist and part-creator of Judge Dredd, also went pinging about:

carlos ezquerra weighs in

Plenty of media websites went into overdrive to mention the Day of Dredd. There are way too many to post here, but I will mention two. Firstly, Moviepilot told us exactly what we should do to get the focus on Dredd once again:

Geeksmash gave us 10 great reasons why there should be a sequel:

It goes without saying the loyal fans of the film and 2000AD joined in, each in their own inimitable style. As mentioned above, I expect I missed loads of people doing some great things, but here are a couple of stand-out moments for me.

You may remember me mentioning Judge Åberg in my article about the Lawgiver convention? He celebrated by bringing Justice to the household chores:

judge aberg about the house

…and arrested a perp for damage to property and urinating in a public place.

judge aberg and cat

Loads of folk posted up their own art in honour of the day, including this great Judge Death by Judda Fett of the 2000AD Forum:

judda fett death

…a cracking grayscale piece of Karl Urban goodness from Robert Gray:

robert gray dredd urba

…and a fantastic sketch of Dredd in film uniform from Stuart Tipples:

stuart tipples dredd

However, there was one stand-out picture for me. This was a great bit of photoshopping from Andy Lambert, in which he gives us an indication of what we could expect if a sequel did involve the Dark Judges!

andy lambert anderson death

So, what was the result of all this? Well, 2000AD had a very good day indeed. They posted up the results from their own ‘I’m supporting Day of Dredd’ tweet, which were staggering!

2000ad results are in

Fans also pushed Dredd back into the number nine spot on Amazon US, and the number one spot on Amazon UK:

best seller blu ray

Was it a success then? In terms of fan involvement, media attention, and social websites numbers, it most definitely was! Everyone really got into it, and my own personal Facebook and Twitter feeds were absolutely flooded with Dredd related goodness.

In terms of whether we’ll get a sequel or not though, the jury is still out. There’s no doubt these constant pushes to keep Dredd in the Blu Ray charts is going to be noticed, and at the end of the day that’s what potential financiers want to see. It’s all about the money, and keeping those sales high could give them the encouragement they need to stump up the dosh, and get us the greenlight.

We need to keep pushing though. If you know anyone that hasn’t seen it, get the Blu Ray or DVD as a little gift for them. Lend them some of your Dredd-related comics to read. Invite them round for beer and a good action film (which just happens to be Dredd). You know it makes sense, because we want DNA to:

give us a sequel creep now

<insert pic give us a dredd sequel now>

The Single Vigilante Behind Facebook’s ‘Real Name’ Crackdown

Original source
Molly McHugh sends this story from Daily Dot: When Facebook issued an apology this week for suspending user accounts that had what it alleged to be fake names, it pinned the whole debacle on one person. This “individual,” Facebook reasoned, sewed confusion into its flawed reporting system—intended to protect against bullying and online abuse. Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox explains that Facebook was caught “off guard” by a lone actor who reported “several hundred” accounts as fake. According to our source, who claims to have spent “hours and hours” systematically reporting Facebook users from the drag community and beyond, thousands of accounts were suspended—and they’ve been at it for weeks. … Given the timing and the accounts suspended, they believe that they are in fact the mystery “individual” who threw a wrench into Facebook’s system, noted in Facebook’s explanation of the events. “Considering the hours and hours I spent reporting accounts over the course of the past month, it is likely that I am.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.