[Interview] Mulga X Samsung Art Store Partnership Brings Unlimited Potential to Artists of the Digital EraBy Samsung Newsroom
Samsung Art Store is the epitome of the digital-physical blend, taking over today’s art experiences. It allows widely acclaimed galleries, museums and artists to showcase their masterpieces to users around the world through The Frame’s immaculate digital display. Since its launch in 2017, Samsung Art Store allows extraordinary, one-of-a-kind art selections to be accessible to consumers from the comfort of their own homes.
Mulga is the embodiment of the cool “art dude” persona. The Sydney-based Australian artist is a freelance illustrator, published author and muralist, whose style is vibrant, intricate and just fun. With a career beginning in finance, he transitioned to making a living through art when he decided he wanted to do something he was truly passionate about.
Now, Mulga makes a living doing what he loves. His art is inspired by animals, summer and the ocean, which is brought to life through Samsung’s Art Store. Samsung Newsroom sat down with Mulga to hear more about his artistic process and how he sees digital transformation affecting the art world.
Q: Your work is described by others as intricate, vibrant and unique. In your own words, how would you describe your art style?
I’d say it has a lot of summer vibes and humor to it. It also has real Australian vibes. There are always the black lines and details with an element of fun that tie it all together. You could say that it is art that brings a smile to your face and makes you feel good.
Q: You’ve worked on a variety of projects — collaborations with big brands, murals, smaller original paintings and snowboards. What has been one of your recent favorites?
Last month, I painted a 100-meter-long mural on the beach at Port Macquarie, and that was an awesome one to do. I love the beach, summer and surfing; so, it was the perfect location. At one stage, the waves were washing up against the wall while I was painting, and I had to time it with the tides. This made it a bit more exciting.
Q: How did you start working with Samsung and the Art Store? What excites you the most about this partnership?
I’ve worked with Samsung on a bunch of different campaigns over the years, usually creating art using Samsung products. One time, I even created over 19 mobile phone wallpapers. Samsung is a great partner to work with because they have cool products and do a lot of collaborations with creatives.
I got involved with the Art Store when The Frame was first launched. Samsung licensed one of my gorilla artworks to display on the TVs and to use for printed ads. I painted live at the launch in Sydney and worked a big mural in Melbourne promoting The Frame.
Having my work in the Art Store means that people all around the world are discovering my art. Once someone has seen my piece in the Art Store, they are more likely to find my website, in search for the original painting that they have displayed on their TV. Also, there are royalties based on how long my art is on display on all the TVs around the world.
Q: Much of your work is done in a real, physical way — painting. How do you find your paintings translate to digital display on The Frame? Do you have plans to work with other mediums in the future?
It works great. I scan all my artworks into a high-resolution digital format for The Frame, and it looks close to a real-life painting. While I have no plans to change the way I paint, I would love to turn my paintings into 3D works of art — really big public ones — in the future.
Q: How has your own artwork evolved as technology advanced? Are there any notable changes to your work that were deeply impacted by innovations in technology?
With the rise in blockchain technology and the new thing of being able to ‘own’ digital art now via NFTs, digital art is really having its heyday. As an artist, it is a great thing. I’ve been creating digital art a lot more and particularly when working on my own NFT collection “MulgaKongz.” By creating art on a tablet, I can work anywhere — at the beach, on a boat or in a motor vehicle. It’s very convenient.
In terms of displaying the artwork, digital displays like The Frame provide colors that are super vibrant with all the details on full display. The colors can sometimes even be more vibrant than the real-life paintings so that they appear supercharged. A lot of the times when the artworks are displayed on The Frame, they are larger than the real-life version, and a lot of the details are more noticeable too, which can be more impactful than the real-life smaller versions.
Q: What three pieces of yours would you recommend for users to display on The Frame?
It really comes down to personal preference, but I can tell you that last month, my most popular artwork in the Art Store was the Clifford King of the Point. It’s a painting of a big, bearded dude, standing with his surfboard on my local beach, and he is surrounded by goofy looking seagulls. It’s summery, fun and colorful.
▲ Clifford King of the Point (2020)
The second most viewed artwork of mine last month was a colorful collage style artwork titled Under the Sea. It features coral, fish with moustaches, bearded pineapples and octopus tentacles. I originally drew this artwork for a chain of Poke Bowl restaurants in my hometown of Sydney.
▲ Under the Sea (2018)
Another one of my favorite artworks in the Art Store is titled Cactus Brothers. It’s a painting of two cactus characters wearing sombreros under a starry night sky. They are in the desert surrounded by cacti and palm trees, and an oasis style lake is in the background. It was an artwork, which I was commissioned to paint for a cactus-loving collector of my art.
▲ Cactus Brothers (2021)
To see more of Mulga’s artwork, head to the Samsung Art Store in The Frame.
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[Interview] Creativity in the Digital Age: How Melanie Mikecz and The Frame Inspire Artists and Enthusiasts of All AgesBy Samsung Newsroom
The Art Store of Samsung Electronics’ The Frame is the epitome of the digital-physical blend taking over today’s art experiences, allowing widely acclaimed galleries, museums and artists to showcase their masterpieces to users around the world by harnessing The Frame’s immaculate digital display to emulate the experience of a physical exhibition.
Melanie Mikecz, a mixed-media artist and illustrator based in San Francisco, U.S., is taking these experiences to new heights with her combinations of naturally-occurring patterns with hyperbolic expressions to masterfully blend the worlds of painting and graphic design for art fans of all ages.
In order to learn more about how technology is helping Mikecz create art that inspires artists and enthusiasts alike, Samsung Newsroom sat down with her to learn more about her creative journey.
▲ Melanie Mikecz
Q: You specialize in a digital mixed media style that charms children and adults alike. What inspires your work?
I have a background in both painting and graphic design. I found that combining painted elements and new technology gives me the most artistic freedom. I am not limited by the constraints of traditional media, but at the same time, my work has more texture and depth than digital media alone.
I have always been inspired by naturally-occurring patterns and vibrant color palettes. However, I do always like to add a twist to my work. Whether that is by exaggerating the color or by creating an imperfect pattern. Now that I have children, I am also influenced by their interests and aesthetics.
Q: Was your original intention when creating art to appeal to all ages? Or has that been a natural, organic reaction to your work?
I don’t know that I consciously sought to create art for all ages. Rather I enjoyed making art that was vibrant and a little funky. I’ve always liked drawing animals and creatures, so that tends to appeal to children. My more abstract work is geared more towards adults. However, I think there is a lot of crossover between the two styles.
My Art Store collection for The Frame has bright palettes and imaginative creatures that charm children. At the same time, I think many adults will enjoy adding some color and energy to their living spaces through my work.
Q: What do you think of the Art Store as a piece of technology to include within the households of children?
I would imagine that the Art Store positively affects children’s development as it introduces them to a rotating gallery of art. By periodically swapping out the art on The Frame, children are presented with a variety of artists, styles and subjects. I think this can both inspire children’s own creativity and start bigger conversations.
Q: As you said, your illustrations are known for their vibrant color expression. How does The Frame display that aspect of your art?
The Frame displays color better than traditional print media, so my artwork is much more vibrant on its screen than on paper or canvas. The texture of my work also comes through nicely on The Frame. Furthermore, its function as a digital display allows for my work to get in front of a wider audience.
Q: What made you decide to work with digital art platforms, such as Etsy and The Frame’s Art Store?
I have been marketing my work on Etsy for years since it is a great way to sell my art directly to the consumer. When I first heard about The Frame, I thought it was such an innovative concept. So, when Etsy and Samsung approached me to share my work this way, I was eager to get involved.
Q: What has been your favorite piece of your own to be displayed on The Frame? Why?
My piece Enchanted Sea is one of my favorites because it bridges the gap between abstract art and illustration. The cool color palette of this piece has a modern, beachy vibe.
▲ “Enchanted Sea”, Melanie Mikecz
Q: How does showcasing your work on a digital platform like the Art Store mutually benefit art enthusiasts and consumers alike?
First of all, using The Frame to display art when not watching television is so much nicer than simply having an empty black box on the wall. I also think that it is super fun to be able to swap out the art being displayed depending on your current mood, the season, your vibe or another reason. For example, my piece Sea Turtle Swim might be displayed during warm weather or when you are dreaming of a beach vacation.
▲ “Sea Turtle Swim”, Melanie Mikecz
However, my piece called Mountain Adventure by the Sea might be more fittingly displayed during winter.
▲ “Mountain Adventure by the Sea”, Melanie Mikecz
This collaboration with Samsung and the Art Store is also the first time that I have worked with a partner to display my work only digitally. I appreciate the time taken to curate the collections on the Art Store and how diligently credit is given to the artist. The way art is carefully selected and displayed means that the Art Store has the sophistication of a museum collection.
Q: Ultimately, where do you see the future of art exhibition headed?
In the future, protecting the artist’s intellectual property will continue to be a focus. I also envision that we will see smaller displays much like The Frame all throughout the home, as well as more prominent digital-based displays in the broader world as digital art exhibitions become more popular.
To see more of Mikecz’s art pieces, including Enchanted Sea, be sure to head to the Art Store on Samsung’s The Frame.
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By Samsung Newsroom
The Samsung Developers team works with many companies in the mobile and gaming ecosystems. We're excited to support our friends, Arm, as they bring timely and relevant content to developers looking to build games and high-performance experiences. This Best Practices series will help developers get the most out of the 3D hardware on Samsung mobile devices.
Developing games is a true cross-disciplinary experience for developers, requiring both technical and creative skills to bring their gaming project to life. But all too often, the performance and visual needs of a project can be at odds.
Leading technology provider of processor IP, Arm has developed artists’ best practices for mobile game development where game developers learn tips on creating performance-focused 3D assets, 2D assets, and scenes for mobile applications. Before you cut those stunning visuals, get maximum benefit from Arm's best practices by reviewing these four topics: geometry, texturing, materials and shaders, and lighting.
To get a project performing well on as many devices as possible, the geometry consideration of a game should be taken seriously and optimized as much as possible. This section identifies what you need to know about using geometry properly on mobile devices.
On mobile, how you use vertices matters more then almost any other platform. Tips around how to avoid micro triangles and long thin triangles are great first steps in gaining performance.
The next big step is to use Level of Details (LOD). An LOD system uses a lower-poly version of the model as an object moves further away from the camera. This helps keep the vertex count down and gives control over how objects look far away to the artist. This otherwise would be left to the GPU, trying its best to render a high number of vertices in only a few pixels, costing the performance of the project.
To learn more, check Real-time 3D Art Best Practices: Geometry.
Textures make up 2D UI and are also mapped to the surface of 3D objects. Learning about texturing best practices can bring big benefits to your game! Even a straightforward technique such as texture aliasing, where you build multiple smaller textures into one larger texture, can bring a major performance gain for a project.
You should understand what happens to a texture when the application runs. When the texture is exported, the common texture format is a PNG, JPG, or TGA file. However, when the application is running, each texture is converted to specific compression formats that are designed to be read faster on the GPU. Using the ASTC texture compression option not only helps your project’s performance, but also lets your textures look better.
To learn other texturing best practices, such as texture filtering and channel packing, check Real-time 3D Art Best Practices: Texturing.
Materials and shaders
Materials and shaders determine how 3D objects and visual effects appear on the screen. Become familiar with what they do and how to optimize them.
Pair materials with texture atlas’s, allowing multiple objects in the same scene to share textures and materials. The game engine batches this object when drawing them to screen, saving bandwidth and increasing performance.
When choosing shaders, use the simplest shader possible (like unlit) and avoid using unnecessary features. If you are authoring shaders, avoid complicated match operations (like sin, pow, cos, and noise). If you are in doubt about your shaders’ performance, Arm provides tools to perform profiling on your shaders with the Mali Offline Shader Compiler.
There is a lot more to learn, so check out Real-time 3D Art Best Practices: Materials and Shaders for more information.
In most games, lighting can be one of the most critical parts of a visual style. Lighting can set the mood, lead game play, and identify threats and objectives. This can make or break the visuals of a game. But lighting can quickly be at odds with the performance needs of the project. To help avoid this hard choice, learn about the difference between static and dynamic light, optimization of light, how to fake lighting, and the benefits of the different type and settings of lights.
Often on mobile, it is worth faking as much as possible when it comes to shadows. Real time shadows are expensive! Dynamic objects often try using a 3D mesh, plane, or quad with a dark shadow texture for a shadow rather than resorting to dynamic lights.
For dynamic game objects, where you cannot fake lighting, use light probes. These have the same benefits of light maps and can be calculated offline. A light probe stores the light that passes through empty space in your scene. This data can then be used to light dynamic objects, which helps integrate them visually with lightmapped objects throughout your scene.
Lighting is a large topic with lots of possible optimizations. Read more at Real-Time 3D Art Best Practices in Unity: Lighting.
Arm and Samsung devices
Arm’s Cortex-A CPUs and Mali GPUs power the world’s smartphones, with Mali GPUs powering mobile graphics. This means you can find Arm GPUs in an extensive list of popular Samsung devices, including the Samsung Galaxy A51 and Galaxy S21. Arm provides practical tips and advice for teams developing real time 3D or 2D content for Arm-based devices.
Mobile game performance analysis has never been more important
Every year mobile gaming grows! It is now worth 77.2 billion US dollars in revenue in 2020. Growth in this sector is expected to continue in 2021 and beyond. With more mobile devices coming out each year, it is important for your content to be able to run on as many devices as possible, while providing players with the best possible experience.
The Artist Best Practices is just one part of the educational materials from Arm. Alongside these best practices, you can explore the Unity Learn Course, Arm & Unity Presents: 3D Art Optimization for Mobile Applications. This course includes a downloadable project that shows off the many benefits of using the best practices.
For more advanced users, check out Arm’s Mali GPU Best Practices Guide and learn about performance analysis with Arm Mobile Studio.
Thanks to Joe Rozek and the team at Arm for bringing these great ideas to the Samsung Developers community. We hope you put these best practices into effect on your upcoming mobile games.
The Samsung Developers site has many resources for developers looking to build for and integrate with Samsung devices and services. Stay in touch with the latest news by creating a free account or by subscribing to our monthly newsletter. Visit the Marketing Resources page for information on promoting and distributing your apps and games. Finally, our developer forum is an excellent way to stay up-to-date on all things related to the Galaxy ecosystem.
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