I’m pretty good at finding on-line time-sinks, especially those that make you feel as though you are at least doing something vaguely creative. And those are the most dangerous of all…
The Shape Shifter is a free on-line animation machine for creating frame by frame animations. The challenge is that you can use only four basic geometric shapes.
You can use a square, a triangle, a circle and a half circle to build up your characters, and then animate them frame by frame. You would be surprised what complex images you can create. Its just difficult enough to be satisfying. And you can always justify the hours spent fiddling with it, because you are honing your animation skills!
Once you have exhausted yourself trying to create your own animations, you may wish to sit back and watch some of the classics.
The Film Board of Canada have created an on-line collection of animations for you to browse through at their “play film” site.
OK so I’m stretching the concept of a time-sink a bit, but I could not leave out this collection of animations by Jossie Malis.
Have a look at his Zumbakamera site, where you can see his latest work. I particularly enjoyed the magnificent “Benditomachine” with its crisp silhouettes and crazy story, and the light hearted stop frame “Sopa”.
A true time-sink has the deadly combination instant gratification and human contact. Colourlovers has that, plus the chance to justify your time spent there as productive. After all, you are creating colour combinations and palettes that you will be using in future projects, are you not? At this site, you get to create your own colours, name them and combine them in colour palettes that your fellow colour lovers can vote for and comment on. I’ve written a more extensive description here. Besides the allure of the colours themselves, this is by far the nicest on-line community out there.
If you have spent sufficient time on ColourLovers honing your colour combination skills, maybe you are ready for the more free form version.
This is sand belongs to the strictly meditative school of time-sinks. You use your mouse pointer to “pour” different coloured streams of digital sand, and create your own sand painting. It takes a very long time to complete one of these images, so play some appropriate chill out music. To start, click on the little grey square at the top left of the site.
For pure visual inspiration, I have found nothing better than searching my “watch list” on Visualizeus.
This is like a delicious for images. You can gather and organise your imges with tags, and what is better, search other people’s collections to discover new world of ideas. Visualizeus has helped me find many artists, photographers and illustrators that I had no idea existed. I’ve written a more extensive post on Visualize us here
But what about searching images by colour, rather than by topic?
This little app lets you search through the Flickr image database by colour. Its a lot better than the new Google colour search tools, as you can pick from a far wider variety of colours and colour combinations. Its also quite mesmirizing to see which images turn up for which combinations of colours.
And if you are still feeling in need of killing an hour or so, sneak off to “Watch the Titles” for a huge collection of all the best title sequences.
I found new appreciation for the art of the title sequence, particularly the collection of animation based sequences. You will find quite contemporary movies featured here, as well as the old classics.