Scott Olson works as a web engineer right here at FiftyThree. When he’s not making tools for our community, he's using them to create digital masterpieces, like pixel portraits of celebrities and vignettes from the cult film, The Big Lebowski – the subject of Scott's 100-Day Project.
Scott's carefully crafted grids have been remixed hundreds of times on Mix. (Click here to make your own with one of his templates!)
Fascinated with pixel art since childhood, Scott spent much of math class pushing pixels on his TI graphing calculator. Since then, his pixel art-making tools have evolved considerably.
What inspired you to create grid sketches in Paper?
When I started playing with the Diagram and Fill tools (as part of the Paper Think Kit release), I saw so many possibilities. I started subdividing shapes and filling them in with color. Once I realized how to make consistently sized squares, the goal quickly became: make the coolest pixel art possible.
How do you get your pixel creations to look so realistic?
I developed a process that is very much like paint-by-numbers. I take a photo and make a color map out of it. The key is choose an image with good contrast and that looks reasonable with only 16 colors (base-16). Once I have the color map, I transfer the image by hand to Paper. It’s like an elaborate crossword puzzle of colors.
Among the hundred Big Lebowski sketches you made for the 100-Day Project, which ones stand out the most?
Day 7: In-N-Out
With this piece I truly felt like my project had legs. I'd made enough sketches to find my tempo, but I was still worried about lasting for 100 days. I started thinking about items that evoked the “spirit” of the movie. Even though you never see this exact sign in the film, it’s still part of the ecosystem.
Day 17: Shadow
I kept asking myself, “How do I represent the texture and lighting of a cave?” With some experimentation, I arrived at these wavy bands of color.
Day 23: X-Ray
This was a personal challenge: draw a lifelike x-ray. Again, not a scene in the movie, but definitely in the spirit of the film.
Day 50: Ladies of Gutterballs
Last but not least, who are some of your favorite Mixers?
Some of my favorite Mixologists are: