Portfolio Noah Vawter. C64 Block Graphics

C64 Block Graphics

This guy is so groovy!

Hi! Welcome to my favorite section of this portfolio! It's all about transforming real-world images into kooky, nostalgic versions of them. That is, I render .jpg's using the block graphics set of the Commodore 64 (The most popular home computer, dating from 1982). Those characters look like this:

How did you get this idea?

It began with my Highlighter Colors Project , which you can read about elsewhere in this portfolio. After rendering pictures in the flourescent palettes of office highlighters, I wanted to see what they would look like in the palette of the Commodore 64. Once I saw thing in that palette, I wanted them to be in the graphics characters, too!

How far are you going to take it?

Once I got the program working in black and white (the C64 palette with C64 graphics came later), I really fell in love with the results! This is addicting and fascinating in the same way that playing with Photoshop filters can be. For example, look at this picture of one of my EE Professors, Denise Nicoletti. Notice how the graphics emphasize her pointy, East European nose and chin!

Because I feared the results would be too distorted, I had to transform some pictures that people would recognize...

Favorite images

One of the first pix I got working in color. Again, I was looking for familiar images, and I like the Beatles, too. If you look closely, you will be amazed at some of the details still present in his highly compressed/distorted version. I personally like the way the writing ("Rolling Stones") turned into checkerboard on the doll's stomach on the right. I also like the way you can see Paul's hands dangling down in front of him in despair upon witnessing his own grave (See the "old" Beatles on the left side of the pic). The bright yellow of John's suit is very well-suited to the C64 palette. And finally, it's interesting how some people's eyes were rendered as quotation marks in the back rows. Finally, the Commodore brown color matched the dirt around the plants nicely.

The astute 8-bit graphics afficiando will notice this isn't the C64 graphics set. That's because it features my buddy Steve, who was an Atari guy, so I made an Atari graphics set option for the program. (palette still C64, though.)

Speaking of my friends, here's Brian's new album cover!

The Old-School Section...

Gary and Michael....

This image was printed onto paper stickers and spread around the Cambridge area and Minute Man bike trail in the summer of 2002.

Rap Super-Heroes Run D.M.C. and Jam Master Jay. btw, as I was working on this web page on the evening of Oct. 31, 2002, Roy informed me that Jam Master Jay was lethally shot to death in a recording studio today :( This is very sad to me!

  • You can't get much more old school than a bottle of Absinthe rendered in the character set and palette of the VIC-20!

    Our Favorite Lady

    What graphics algorithm demo page would be complete without pictures of Lena?

    That's Lena made out of C64 graphic tiles.

    There she is again, using the original C64 palette! The C64 never did a very good job rendering flesh tones!

    A Variation

    At some point, I enhanced the program to not only use C64 tiles, but pieces of other pictures, similar to those "PhotoMosaic" programs you see. Here are some sample images:

    This is a picture of my mother, rendered out of little pieces of lena...

    These two pictures are Jesus made out of Lena and vice Versa.

    NOAM CHOMSKY, rendered out of pieces of Lena.

    Same guy, this time rendered out of pieces of another picture of Noam Chomsky.

    And again, only rendered out of pieces of Mr. Do, the video game.

    Noah Shoah (Hebrew word for "catastrophe")

    One of the cool things about working on graphics and sound algorithms is that, inevitably, while you're developing them, you'll come up with some mistake images that are fascinating and interesting. Here are some cool ones:

    Too Silly for Words...


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