Endless Instagram banner how-to

    A few people have asked me how I do an endless Instagram feed http://instagram.com/brainztain so I decided to put together a quick tutorial of my workflow. First of all, this is not an on-the-go type of project so you will need an actual computer loaded with the latest version of Inkscape (free, poor man's illustrator).

    Page Setup

    After you install Inkscape the first thing you want to do is set up your document and grids.  This will prevent you from going insane. Go to File --> Documents --> Document Properties (or press Shift+Ctrl+D) and under the Page tab make it look like this:

    Explanation: the height and width will be 3240 pixels because the maximum resolution of an Instagram square photo is 1080 pixels, and there are 3 columns of images on your feed, hence 3 x 1080 = 3240.  Don't forget to set the units and display units to px (pixels).

    Grids Setup

    Now go to the Grids tab, click "New" and make it look like this:

    Explanation: X and Y spacing will be 120px, which mans there will be a minor (red) grid line every 120 pixels.  A major (blue) grid line will appear every 9x120 pixels, or 1080px, which is the size of one Instagram post.  I like these colors and I make them somewhat transparent so they're not too annoying to the eye.

    Turn on Snapping

    Now you can close the Document Properties window and you should be able to see your page with grids. Make sure you turn on snapping so when you draw objects or insert images you can easily place them along the grid lines.  Do this by enabling the grid buttons, like this:

    Tips: turn grids on/off with this shortcut: Shift+# and experiment with different snapping settings, these are just some of the ones I use.  Also, the toolbars may appear in different locations or not at all--if you do not see them, enable them from the View --> Show/Hide menu.

    Render your square(s)

    Once you have created your design you will be ready to render.  Select the rectangle drawing tool and draw over the square you wish to render. Make sure you remove the fill and border of your rectangle after you draw it because you will only use it for the purpose of selecting the area you are going to render.  The rectangle should be fully transparent as illustrated below. Now go to File --> Export PNG Image, click on the Selection button to designate the area you have selected as the rendering area, and input the desired output file name.  When you're done click the Export button!

    Tips: when you are posting these images on Instagram post them in the order they are numbered!

    What about the endless part?

    What you have to do is always work ahead a few blocks. For example, I'll fully design blocks 1-6 and leave 7-9 unfinished.  I will then post 1-6 and when I have more time finish 7-9 and add a couple more rows, maybe 10-15. The secret is to never render the last row you are working on, this way you will always maintain continuity.  Things will start to slow down when your file gets too big, when this happens, simply start deleting from the bottom to free up resources.  I save as a new file every time I delete from the bottom... it's good practice for archiving.

    There you have it--now go and make an endless Instagram wall and tag me on it! @brainztain

    visual, art, design



VISION.VHS is a 2-volume concept album and experimental art project collaboration. As an art project VISION.VHS explores limitation, intuition, and interpretation. All artists were limited to the album titles and synopsis--they had no access to the music. This limitation added an unusual element of risk as there was no music to provide the additional guidance that is so common when creating album art. Removing musical influence from the creative process allowed for each artist to have a stronger personal influence in the work.

A beginner's guide to EURORACK


EURORACK!! The new trend is here and all the cool kids are doing it! Well, nope, nope, it’s not new, and hardly any kids are doing it, mostly middle-aged nerds that can afford.

Growing up in a computerized world with access to tons of free and mind-blowingly powerful open source plugins has been revolutionary and life-changing, but many people also feel that it has cursed them with overwhelmingly monotonous computer interactions.

Packing 6 VCAs + mixer in an 8HP DIY Eurorack module


The Zlob VnIcursal Vca is a 6 channel 8hp ota-based linear vca with an additional mix output that sums any of the 6 outputs when they are not patched.  The module is 35mm deep so it will most likely fit your skiff case. The panel is made of laser cut acrylic.

Traffic Dice: an all-in-wonder cable adapter box for your modular needs (DIY)


My first modular synth was a Kilpatrick Phenol, which uses banana plugs.  Soon enough I wanted to connect it to a Microbrute so I made a bunch of banana to 1/8" cables.  Then when I built my first eurorack synthesizer I wanted to connect it to the Elektron Analog 4's 1/4" CV outputs.  That's when I realized it would be cool to make an "all-in-wonder" converter box that did it all: 1/4" (stereo/mono), 1/8" (stereo/mono), and banana.

So I ended up with what I call the Traffic Dice: a swiss army knife adapter box for modular connections.

Phonewave EP Project


The Phonewave EP is an international music project consisting of 20 tracks (38min) made entirely from telephone-recorded voicemails collected via 1-818-649-WAVE.  The project was born on my instagram feed (@brainztain) and most of its contributors were part of the Instagram community connected through hashtags such as: #vaporwave #seapunk #webpunk #netpunk #cyber #cyberghetto #sadboys #glitchart #vhsglitch #bitwave #8bit #pixelart #phonewave etc.

Track List Comments

Official Drupal 8 version released TODAY


Very happy to announce that the fully supported Drupal 8 was finally released today after over 4 years of development and hard work from the open source community.

Drupal 8 features major improvements, including a new theme engine and a nice selection of API's that allow it to play competitively well with the outside world.  I'm very excited about this update and will soon be porting Synthmode.com to Drupal 8 to take advantage of all the new features.

But what are you waiting for? Go give it a test drive!


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The Kilpatrick Audio PHENOL is the 2nd semi-modular synthesizer I've owned (the first being the Korg MS-20), and it is also the closest thing to a modular.  Soon after getting my hands on it I started realizing what the modular fuzz was really all about.

The PHENOL packs a lot of modular features in a small package.  This includes a very simple but useful divider and powerful multi-mode envelopes--all things that are not very common outside the modular world.

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The MPC is THE icon of sample-based music--more specifically hip-hop. While there is an entire line of MPC's out there, what makes the MPC 1000... more


The Zoom Sampletrak ST-224... the poor man's MPC... the last of the 90's samplers... and there's a good chance you've never heard about it.

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I still remember when I won my first analog synth, the Korg MS-20, on an ebay auction for about $1000 in 2004.  The synth was still in its cult-... more