Electric Zine Maker fuzzy update with ASCII, Power Goo-like tools, Displacement, Color Management, and more…

I did it! The update is out! This feels like a big deal because it’s a fairly substantial one. I’ve been meaning to make a more concise design writeup about it, and talk about influences and things that went into it, because I think that the design process that would be interesting…but I’m very exhausted so I’ll have to save that for another time.


So ok… this new update to the Electric Zine Maker brings a bunch of new tools. These are interesting because they’ll add dimension to your art, or give you the power to distort it beyond recognition for fun glitch art type stuff. I think this update is ideal for glitch art.
I’ve been posting some of what I made on Twitter, for example here’s a PDF, and this was all thrown together in a mater of minutes. You don’t need to know what you are doing. Just scribble something black and white, visit these new tool, button mash, and see interesting things happen.
I love that you really don’t need to know what you are doing, but you still end up with complicated looking effects.

The update introduces things like ASCII art conversion (that copies generated ascii to your clipboard so you can use it in a plain text file), a throwback to Kai’s Power Goo (called the SMOOSH Zone) where you can squish photos or use a water color type runny ink effect to blend everything together, Glass Stamps that let you distort your image like a magnifying lens (if you use a big version of this you get an effect of “flying into” your art), and more…

So here’s the feature list. The same can be found on the itch.io devlog here


* Keyboard shortcuts added for Undo, Redo, Save, and Exit:
ctrl+z = undo
ctrl+r = redo
ctrl+s = save zine (save your work without having to exit to menu)
ESCAPE key = close window
Note that shortcut keys only work when in the main interface. If you are inside of an editing tool (like the Color Factory) they will not work. This is for reasons.

* “START A NEW ZINE” button added in the main menu so you can start a new document.

* New Tool: The SMOOSH Zone
Smoosher is a throwback to Kai’s Power Goo. You can smoosh your images. This works best on photographs of people’s faces. There are options provided for controlling the smoosher. There is also an easter egg feature (RUNNY SMOOSH) that let’s your paint run when you hold down the button, to enables lots of colorful smushing and smooshing!

* New Tool: Glass Stamps
Stamp or draw customizable glass surfaces over your artwork. The stamps can be made large enough to cover the entire canvas allowing for unique glitch art & displacement effects. Useful for making distortions over parts of your art.
If the glass stamp is set to be huge, and the “draw” option is selected, you can fly around in your artwork. The randomize feature helps discover unique combinations of stamps to use on your art.

* New Tool: Blend & Displacer-izer
This tool lets you load images and layer them over your artwork. You have a number of basic options such as: add, darken, difference, hardlight, invert, lighten, multiply, overlay, screen, or subtract. These will blend the loaded image over your artwork creating interesting layer effects. You can also blur the loaded image for gentle effects.
The “Displacementmap” lets you use the loaded image as a displacement map. The effect you would get is kind of ghosting the image over the bottom image and making it kind of dimensional/bumpy/textured.

* New Tool: The Color Factory
This is the biggest tool. It’s mostly centered around color correction but there are extras here in the Special tab. If the numbers and mathy looking things are too much each tool has a RANDOM button that you can keep pressing to get interesting results. You don’t have to know what you are doing.
* Blur will blur your art.
* Color Matrix lets you adjust using a color matrix.
* Convolution is a convolution effect (can adjust sharpening or emboss…)
* RGB Shift shifts the RGB color values so you can make effects like it’s a broken CRT monitor, or VHS.
* Color Transform is very simple color transformation. Adjust RGB or Alpha values.
* Pixel Blast blasts your pixels to the left or right direction (like sand).
* Shuffle breaks up your image into squares and shuffles it a little. Can make for interesting glitch art effects.
* ASCII is the best!

It turns your art into ASCII art. When you use this feature the generated ASCII is automatically copied to clipboard. You can paste into a text editor to save your ASCII image as plain text.
* Mirror is something of an animated kaleidoscope.
* Perlin Texture overlays perlin noise over your art. You can adjust its values.
* Fuzzy is a scanner tool that gives your art hair. It makes it soft like it’s made of fur. You can adjust values and see what is interesting to maximize or minimize fuzziness. A “Bad Hairday” feature also exists.

* New Button: An “Export Panel” option has been added to the Drawing Tool menu, at the bottom, next to the drawing canvas. You can export individual panels directly from the drawing tool. This makes saving and printing individual things easier.

Bug Fixes:

There are some but I forgot to keep track. :(


So that’s it.
Going forward with the Zine Maker I’m going to focus more on actual art tools for drawing, and less on effects… bugs should also probably take priority at this point. I still have to make a website for it too. I have some ideas for that.
Ok there’s lots to do still, but look at it! It’s shaping up so substantially.

If you would like to support the development of The Electric Zine Maker please buy it. It’s made about $500 so far, and I’m grateful to everyone that payed. Anything made will go to supporting development.
Alternatively you can support me on Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/alienmelon