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Ted Nelson He Did More Than Share a Patty

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Assignment: DS106 listed a “Patty Pioneers” assignment that required students to place a fast food item in the hands of a computer pioneer.

The Process: I used GIMP to combine two pictures, one of Ted Nelson (original here, by Mark Bernstein) and one of a burger (original here, Le Parker Meridien Hotel’s Burger Joint). After making a custom selection that traced his fingers (so that the burger would be behind them) I used the ‘Paste Into’ function so that he would appear to be holding the food.  The effect could’ve probably been improved by making a tighter selection along his fingers, but I don’t think the end result was horrible.

The most annoying thing was probably scaling the burger after I pasted it in because I didn’t know the size I wanted in pixels so I had to just make it a little smaller, then look, then smaller, then look, etc until I got it to a realistic size. Also had wanted to rotate the burger but ran into issues with GIMP’s rotation tool when working with a pasted image.

I ultimately chose to completely de-saturate the image as well so that the colors from the burger picture and the colors from Ted Nelson’s picture wouldn’t clash.

The Story: The title is taken from Nick’s blog post in which he did the same assignment :) I chose Ted Nelson because of my research about him and his Xanadu project.  The burger doesn’t have any symbolic significance, but the picture seemed to lend itself to a nice burger in his hand.

Perhaps Mr. Nelson’s upward stare is him thinking about how his ideas about burgers are so far from the reality of them today.

– Paul

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