Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Power of Open

Some of you may remember this image from a previous post on copyright:

I created this image using only open source software and artwork available in the public domain.  In fact, I didn't draw anything myself -- it was entirely a remix.  Here's how I did it:

1) I use the Ubuntu distribution of the Linux operating system on my computer.  Ubuntu is free and you can download it to a USB drive to try it out before you install it.  It comes with lots of free software that you can download and install.  You can even install Ubuntu into a virtual machine or side-by-side with Windows so you can run both operating systems on one computer.

2) For vector graphics, I use Inkscape, which is similar to Adobe illustrator.  Inkscape runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux, so you should definitely check this out rather than assuming you need proprietary software to create great graphics.  Inkscape uses the scalable vector graphics (SVG) format, so that images can easily be scaled to any resolution without loss of quality.

3) For open art work I use the Open Clipart Library.  I grabbed these two images in SVG format:

4) I scaled the images to the sizes I wanted and placed the fist on top.  Then I colored the copyright symbol with the color c31313 and made the opacity of the fist equal to 48.9%, so that it faded into the copyright symbol.

5) I exported the SVG image to a PNG so that I could upload it to Blogger.

I was really happy with the result because it succinctly conveyed the opposition to current copyright laws that I was discussing in the piece.

This is pretty simple to do, all due to the power of open software and open artwork.