23 November 2007

New: March of Man Collages

I've just uploaded a new version of March of Man. The primary new feature is a tab called "Collage", which contains a first attempt at the doing what the project is all about: creating an image that uses multiple figures to show to story of hominin phylogeny and geographic dispersal.

An auto-generated March of Man collage.

Okay, so there's still a lot to be done. There are only 13 images in the database so far (all mine, although some are heavily based on others' photos), so there are plenty of gaps to fill in.

Collage features planned for the future:
  • Better backgrounds.
  • Different algorithms for generating the collages. (This will only become important once the database has many, many more images.)
  • The ability to move, rotate, and scale images in the collage.
  • The ability to add filters to images (adjusting the color, contrast, etc.).
  • The ability to save collages.
(I'd also like to figure out a way to have it spit out PSD files, but since that's not an open format....)

As I further refine this tool, and as the database of images continues to grow, the collages will become more and more like I first envisioned. (Or maybe some other ideas will become apparent later on ... this isn't a rigorously planned-out project.)

Some other things I intend to add to the site:
  • The ability to attribute more than one artist per image.
  • "Starter" PSD files that can be downloaded, including tiled isometric backgrounds and scale indications.
  • A scale widget that's easier to use.
  • Illustrated instructions for exporting the right kind of file.
  • An administration tool, so I can update data on the various taxa more readily.
  • More illustrations (and better ones) for the "About" and "F.A.Q." sections.
  • Thumbnail images for browsing.
That should keep me plenty busy for a while. Anyone have any other ideas?

Qayin wa-Habel
(Cain and Abel)
Ardipithecus ramidus juveniles


  1. You may not be able to generate PSD files, but the XCF format (native format of the free PhotoShop-like GIMP application) is similarly functional, and open. If you generate XCF files, it's then possible to open them in GIMP and export them as PSDs -- in fact you can even make a GIMP batch script to do this non-interactively. So you can make PSD files, so long as you're prepared to go around the houses.

  2. Interesting idea. I was going to try exporting a PNG sequence and opening it as layers in Photoshop, but if that doesn't work (or maybe even if it does), I should try your idea. (Assuming I can get GIMP installed on my server.)