Cinematic Chromatics: Color Palettes in Famous Films

It’s family film night in our home this evening. We’re watching Walt Disney’s 1940 masterpiece, Fantasia. The movie is a feast for the eyes, ears, and mind. Watching the action, I’m fascinated by stunning use of color. As such, I’ve been searching for more information about other films and their respective cinematic chromatic catalogues. Here are a few intriguing resources I’ve uncovered:

A Blast From the Past: The Rocket Book

Drop by the Library of Congress and explore its Center for the Book site. Why? The site hosts quite a bit of exciting and free books that are sure to please readers of all ages. Need proof? If so, flip through The Rocket Book (1912) by Peter Sheaf Hersey Newell. Delightful verse and humorous images propel eager readers through a madcap story that as fresh now as it was when it first appeared 102 years ago.

Image from The Rocket Book by American artist and author, Peter Newell (1862-1924). A naughty boy playing in a basement finds and ignites a rocket that blasts upward in an apartment building. In this image, a family meal is explosively upset as the rocket races ever upward.

The Steiners on the floor above
Of breakfast were partaking;
Crash! came the rocket, unannounced,
And set them all a-quaking!
It smote a catsup bottle, fair,
And bang! the thing exploded!
And now these people all declare
That catsup flask was loaded.

Related resources:



Old Book Illustrations, New Ideas

Old Book Illustration Blog

The images at Old Book Illustrations Scrapbook Blog are a treat to explore. Poring over this collection of vintage illustrations (mostly wood engravings/woodcuts, etchings or metal engravings) taken from books published between the 1700s through the early 1900s, is an exciting endeavor. One of my favorite pastimes is grabbing an illustration, dropping it into an image-editing program and overlaying colors.

Forget Adobe CS2, Get GIMP Instead

When I awoke yesterday morning there was a rumor bouncing around the internet that Adobe was giving away Creative Suite 2. Well, according to Adrian Kingsley-Hughes from Forbes, all that speculation was unfounded. I hope there aren’t a lot of people upset about this turn of events. If folks are heartbroken, they shouldn’t be. Although Adobe makes killer graphics software, there’s a great alternative to Adobe’s product that works on all computer platforms.

GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software.


GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) does amazing work. This versatile application is powerful, has a consistently helpful community of users, and is FREE. In fact, GIMP has been free from the beginning. Rather than moping about Adobe CS2. Download and install GIMP and get started making and editing graphics with the satisfaction of knowing you can do it without spending a cent.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki

Today, Hayao Miyazaki, director, animator extraordinaire, and beloved guardian of imagination, celebrates 72 years of making the world a happier place. His works and the colorful characters that populate them are absolutely endearing. Watching a Miyazaki movie is like being allowed to step outside of (if only briefly) the chaotic reality where we usually reside. Our respite takes us to an alternate universe where beauty reigns supreme. During our visit in Miyazaki’s constructed world, we generally meet a strong female protagonist and explore themes such as the wonder of flight, the importance of nature, and the transition from childhood to maturity, and the power of kindness.

Miyazaki’s stunning works of cinematic art include:

Happy Birthday, Mr. Miyazaki!

Note: The image used in this post was a derivative of the original photograph composed by Natasha Baucas on July 28, 2009 at the San Diego Comic-Con.

Picozu: Flashy Without Flash

I just started tinkering with Picozu. It’s a drawing and photo retouching application that’s built on Javascript, HTML 5 and CSS3. Since Picozu doesn’t run on any Flash or ActionScript, I’m predicting that mobile phone developers will enjoy playing around with it. As for me, I want to see how well it works on a Google Chromebook and an iPad as well as an old laptop where I’ve installed Wubi.

Up until now, I’ve been steering my students to Aviary and its rich assortment of tools. I am eager to see what they make of Picozu. I’m always on the lookout for tools and resources that don’t lock my learners into one way of doing things. Today’s students shouldn’t be dependent on vendor-specific plugins (like Flash) or tied to a particular machine.