Inland-Artist's Blog

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7:33 pm

 Digital Gaia and why GIMP is awesome!
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Hello everyone.

If anyone is really reading this then I'd be glad to share with you my work experience trying to create a "Digital Gaia."

This of course means the planet Earth, the few images I have up of our beloved planet. It has been such a pain to try and get them working correctly. My past few days spent trying to correct the errors of TIF images.... Although I will admit it has been great fun doodling in the affairs of others to try and find the perfect texture.

I in fact did find one heck of a treasure that's for sure! If you have not guessed by now I like space, and have liked it since I was a younger kid. Used to have a telescope and look up at the stars and whatnot. Those days seem kind of old, outta the window almost literally.

I still keep my fascination with space open however. I am an avid NERD, and want to become an astronomer, part time of course maybe? My real fascination is that I can create things I like of celestial bodies and planets and be able to show them to others.

Creativity is something humans are good at, and something I want to try and exploit; in a good way though.

Any who back on subject I had attained the high resolution images from an old NASA website. Unfortunately as they stood the higher resolution ones were of no use to me. I don't know what the heck DDS is nor how to use it and that's where Google came in you might say. No... Actually Google did a fine job in assisting me find the textures, but it was of no use to me trying to find the tools to convert the images. I already had these tools.

The images were originally in TIF format and presented some off balance problems with trying to convert them. The TIF images had to be converted but there was a transparency issue with the planet texture. Weird because the cloud map didn't have any transparency when it should have. Something about Alpha channel and the like. Anyhow I instead exported them as BMP, yeah dangerous right? Huge images megs, and megs, and megs in size into a bmp. After converting them to a bmp I had a bit more fun.

I was able to then convert the Earth texture map into a png and reduce it's size considerably. The real problem came with trying to get the cloud map to become transparent and hide the black background. I was frantic because I really wanted these darn things. They were the most awesome textures of the earth I had ever seen. Far from working with these small, and mid quality textures that were mere kilobytes.

So what I did was download this awesome little free program called GIMP. Which to my suprise allowed me to set the background of the clouds transparent and then I saved as a PNG.

So now I have the original TIF files and the converted equally high res PNG images.

I am going to upload a few more images, and I have an animation I am working on of the planet.

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