Computers on the Dots.

Lately, our computers have been misbehaving. My 2009 laptop sometimes doesn’t want to move the cursor. The 2005 Mac Mini with it’s 1.5 GB RAM is still in the game, pulling the weight of huge Photoshop files, but it’s attachable Belkin USB port died. The 2004 Mac G4 Tower doesn’t like to wake up after sleep so it has to be restarted. In the company of those old boys one would think the elegantly slim and shiny 2011 iMac would prove the strength and endurance of youth.

It IS good. It’s powerful insides are working reliably and fast. We love it. But it’s screen keeps failing us. Every 6 months left half of the screen goes dim and gets dimmer and dimmer till we can’t see anything and take it to Mac Repairs. The good thing is that it knows when to fail. Last time the screen went dim was right after we delivered the DVD for Toronto deadline. We promptly took it to repairs and rented another iMac so we wouldn’t lose time.  10 days later we took our iMac back to the studio, unwrapped it, plugged in and turned it on.

The colorful stripes came up as if the computer LCD screen had decided to do LSD:



We called the repair shop, told about the stripes and they screamed in horror bigger than ours:

– What?!

It was not very assuring, I couldn’t decide if it was better to faint or to puke to release my nervous condition. We needed the computer urgently, the next deadline was (and still is) August 1st when we have to deliver files for the DCP transfer. There is absolutely no time to shlep the computer with considerable effort between Brooklyn and Manhattan and back to Brooklyn.

While we were negotiating with the repair shop, the stripes snapped and turned into shimmering lines. Then in turn the lines snapped and the computer screen cleared.

The panic and the desire to puke subsided. We hung up on the repairs and Wendy got back to work while I went to a business meeting. I thought my nervous condition was resolved.

But strangely, it was not and it decided to manifest itself, unprovoked,  in the middle of the meeting with a fit of hysterical tears. I probably was never in a more humiliating situation. I only can compare it to shitting in one’s pants while giving a high brow lecture on importance of culture.

Instead of improving my nervous condition by resting up and seeing friends I suddenly got obsessed with dots. You know those specks of dust you scanned unwittingly with the drawings? they seem harmless until you realize that shown with the help of DCP on a big screen they are going to be blown HUMONGOUS.

The next day I got up at 4 AM and turned the iMac on. The stripes greeted me cheerfully by changing colors every few minutes. They are a pretty gay bunch. After 40 minutes of teasing me they turned horizontal and then disappeared. This was a greeting ritual that from now on the iMac performs on me every single morning. In hours so early one has no mind to scream or complain to United Nations.

The dots. When you don’t know they exist, you don’t see them. Once you are made aware of at least one, your eyes see them everywhere. I discovered that there are obnoxious white dots on digital photos of sets. Even worse, they are on the photos of pans and zooms. That looks especially bad because your eyes focus on the unmoving white dot and your camera moves lose believability.

I rolled up sleeves and got to work stamping out those dots in Photoshop. The problem is that I can only see the dots on the iMac big screen. All the other studio computer screens are too small or too old to serve the purpose. So I have to work on the iMac when Wendy is not working – from 4 or 5 AM till 10 AM and then – from 7 PM till 10 PM when I try to go to bed.

Can you spot the dots in this picture? They are there, all of them (approximately 11):

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 6.18.15 AM


To help you, I’ll zoom on some of them, Can you see them now?

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 6.18.42 AM


Oh well. Just don’t tell me that only I see them. They are there. Trust me. And they need to be erased.

When I was not cleaning dots, Wendy compiled a scene with a hand that wipes steam off the glass. It looks like fun:

Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 12.34.01 PM


And then Wendy made a nifty After Effects camera move through willow branches with the help of colorful boxes:

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 12.07.26 PM

Now you know how old are the computers that “Rocks” were made with.

Now you know that I can break down in a middle of a serious business meeting.

Now you know about the dots.

Is there a consolation?


About rocksinmypocketsthemovie

I was born in Latvia, educated in Moscow, live in New York. I have made about 14 animated shorts so far.
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6 Responses to Computers on the Dots.

  1. gnoonan says:

    So sorry to hear about the computer troubles. Mercury is in retrograde until about July 20 which will cause all kinds of computer and communication problems.

  2. Cecile Somers says:

    Darling Signe! You’ll be happy to learn that I have an iMac in the attic whose screen displays stripes too. One half is stripes, the other half is normal. No one can do anything about it. I like to think that only a chosen few possess Macs like these. After years and years of creating wicked art, that’s what we are rewarded with. A pretty gay bunch of stripes. More stuff to write and worry about!

    I’m sure you will finish on time. The Scriptwriters of the Universe just like to add conflict and obstacle, to make the ride to glory a more exciting one!

    p.s. A note from the Grammar Nazi: I don’t know if it’s your spellchecker that does it automatically, but possessive “its” does not get an apostrophe. “ITS powerful insides are working reliably and fast. We love it. But ITS screen keeps failing us.” The way you see dots, my obnoxious little Grammar Nazi sees apostrophes where there shouldn’t be any. It is = it’s, possessive = its. As in “It’s strange the iMac lost its immaculately gorgeous screen.” It’s called education continue: we learn, from each other, across Atlantics and gayly striped computer screens.

    Here’s to hoping Mercury will get out of your way soon and you and your wonderful team will make the August first deadline.

    Kisses! You’re awesome and I can’t wait to see the finished movie.

    • Thank you, Cecile! it may take a 274 reminders for me to pick up on where to use apostrophes and where not. : ) I just sprinkle them randomly, hoping that if I got it wrong no one would notice… The same way I treat articles – I have no idea where to put ‘the’ and ‘a’ and I dont understand why they matter at all…
      I am surprised that you got the same striped iMac. We are sisters in iMac!
      : )

  3. Matthew Koh says:

    Off Topic Question: Have you seen any of Priit Pärn’s work?

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