Diligence

Hey there,

At one point a few posts ago, I said I will be writing a new blog every day. Wow, I do admire those who stick to that task!  Some blog writers admit that they have nothing to say when they sit down to write sometimes, and some how the words just flow eventually.

I read a book about 20 yrs ago called, “If You Can Talk, You Can Write” and I still believe in the philosophy.  The book said, that you should just sit and write whatever is on your mind and would illustrate the following: “blah, blah, blah, blah… Gold!”  Meaning, eventually you will meander to an interesting story and then just focus upon that, and write about it.

What I have basically learned is, a writer is a storyteller. That’s all, nothing intimidating about that. What’s really intimidating (at least, to me) is that what you write and publish, is there forever in print. So you start thinking more seriously on what it is you want to share… thinking of your audience.  I like to do this for myself, to see my own progress but I have to admit that if you have anyone else reading you start to feel accountable and set goals to put something out there, consistently.

Which I think is a good thing, if you want to see any progress. So in other words, I do see the benefit in sticking with this blog- writing.

I thought about also including some stories about my past adventures, just for fun. Just to get them out there.  My rule for myself is that they have to be interesting or funny stories. That’s all.

Alright, with that said, I’m going back to my main theme of posting artistic and creative progress.

Here, I have a clip from the movie “Her”, where I was told to remove all of the Chinese writing on the buildings, since they shot this particular scene in Shanghai.  I asked if I could replace the sign on the left with the words “Rose”. I was given permission to do this, to my excitement. My usual job in visual effects is to remove things that the filmmaker doesn’t want shown, such as removing wires from stuntmen’s bodies, etc., and someone else replaces it if necessary to the shot.  I was thrilled I had a chance to replace it with something I created! “ROSE” is mine, yay!! The visual effects supervisor had me add the extra flair to the plain block letters I originally created.

I was working at Digital Domain and then, the facility was about to move from the Venice location to Playa Vista, CA. I thought “Rose” was fitting because it was located on Rose Ave. at that time.

Rough first attempt

Hi again,

I have been going back over some of my lessons on matte painting, taught by someone from fxPhd, a few years ago.  I had previously needed to stop attending my online class because I realized I was totally lost when it came to using Photoshop.

Then, I bought an online remedial Photoshop training class that I never had time to finish all the way through.

About a year ago or so, I decided I wanted to do a projection of a sky using photos that I took of the sky near my house, then stitched together using PTGui. Then I brought it into Nuke and attached it to a sphere, to simulate the dome of a sky appearance. But I never put it into a scene, so that idea also had been put aside when I got busier at work.

Fast forward to now, where I do have some time off again. I have all these ambitious dreams of creating 5 really awesome, spectacular matte paintings so I finally got started today to resume my matte paint class.  I now feel like I am right back at square one again! I still can’t easily perform well in Photoshop so I will need to get back to that remedial PS class again, sigh.  It’s frustrating when you have ideas in your head, and know what you want to do, but the tools are not working for you.

Well, as with anything, you need to know the basics before advancing onto greater things!

I did at least go back today and try to finish that sky replacement piece I started in Nuke. That was going okay until I realized there is a technical issue with that technique as well, and needed to put that aside too.

Which leaves me to… my rough simple matte painting that I projected onto a card and then rotoscoped buildings and other objects over top of it. Voila … this is (sort of) my first attempt at a matte painting, put inside a moving sequence!  I am using the non-commercial license for Nuke so they won’t allow me to key anything so I rotoscoped everything in front – so time consuming.  It’s not perfect, but I wanted to demonstrate my simplest first step into matte painting. I will progress from here, for sure. I guess I also cannot submit the entire sequence I did, so I will post a few photos from it instead:

 

Here is a pic from the original footage:

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It’s not spectacular, but at least I got something to show here on my progress so far. I was busy last week doing personal stuff and now I’m dedicating more time on advancing my skills.

Thanks for reading!

 

A Few of my recent Landscape Paintings

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Hey there,

I’m making a point of it to write here every day, at least every day that I am not working my long hours. Maybe this will become a habit and I’ll want to write every day anyway. Or at least a few days a week.

So, a few months ago (maybe it’s been a year already! Time sure does fly..!) I created 3 little landscape paintings and then I framed them and put them up on a wall inside my home. I have felt inspired for a while now, to fill up my blank walls with paintings that I made.

Today, I plan on continuing with my matte painting online class. Soon, I will have something to show here… always a work in progress!

Keep painting and creating!

 

Work In Progress

Hello there,

Working as a VFX artist tends to make me slink away for sections of time, due to work deadlines and such.  It really bothers me when I cannot keep up with all of the stuff I’d like to do, when crunch time happens. But, it’s my chosen field of work and I do love it very much!

Now that I’m on “funemployment” because the project I was previously working on just ended, I have so much I want to study and learn, to advance my work skills. I also want to just create art in general, which I will post here.  I will try to post daily progress, if I can. This way, it will hold me accountable to not get lazy or do all of my gazillion other house projects before taking a moment to post something here.

I decided to go back to my fxPhd class about Digital Matte Painting.  I signed up for this a few years ago, along with a couple of other digital paint/environments/compositing classes.  I found, at the time, that I could not keep up with this particular class, because I hardly knew how to use Photoshop.  I’ve since taken lots of online classes to teach me Photoshop and now as I go over the first fxPhd class again, I do have a much better understanding, phew!

Here is how far I got with my digital online training of Photoshop, so this was from a class and not an original:

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I did the elephant one several months ago, towards the end of 2016.  Lately, I have been sitting down with Photoshop and loading images from the internet and practicing layering them together, and manipulating it to create my first matte painting. This one, a work in progress, I did about a month ago:

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What I plan to do with this one is to add a nice beach on the right of the scene.  Also, blend that sailboat with the background a lot better. I’ll post this again once I have a finished product.

Here is another one I had been working on:

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File format came out tiny, so I see that this is another one of my rookie errors. But what I did was remove cars and telephone poles, etc from the landscape, and added a house to the lower right. It is not yet blended in.

OK, so that is my very beginning stage of learning how to create matte paintings. I also would love to learn how to work in Environments, which means that I’d get to attach my matte paintings to some geometry that I created, as well as possibly my own lighting and camera work. But I will begin with learning the basics first. 🙂

 

Looking through one of my old sketchbooks

Hey there, hello again!

I have this sketchbook that I carry around with me from time to time, but sadly, I don’t draw in nearly as much as I’d like.  I realized yesterday that it is time to retire it as there are only like 2 blank pages left.

Not that those blank pages couldn’t be filled! I just got uninspired with the content from the last few years of drawing in it. Basically, I think my work was starting to suck over the past maybe 8 yrs or so?  What’s interesting though, is that there was a window of time documented in the sketchbook where I was having a really good run and making some interesting art.

This was circa 2006. I remember I was working at Sony Imageworks at the time, living in Venice, CA., and what I think inspired me greatly was that my friend and coworker Len was getting an artists’ group together on a weeknight every week, to draw and talk about art. I learned so much back then! I also began to use these little art pens that have one fine tip at one end and the other end is like a paintbrush. It began this path of mine that led me to just let my mind wander and doodle and then refine my doodles until it made an interesting picture.

At that time in my life, since I lived in Venice, I decided to spend my weekends riding my bicycle down the beach bike path, bringing my sketchbook with me. So I’d ride along, exploring, and then make stops where I would draw, and comment on what I was drawing, and take in the scenery and then move on again. I spent a whole summer, maybe two, doing this and it was great!!!

Anyway.  I thought I’d share some of the best sketchbook entries from this time period. I thought it was fun to read some of the comments I’d made about people-watching and general observations on things at that time frame. (for instance, I had a crush on a guy at work that wasn’t panning out to what I wished it would be… if I only knew that only 4 years later I’d marry a wonderful guy that I hadn’t met yet!)  Also, it was REALLY fun to just scribble something down and then elaborate my artwork to whatever seemed fun to go with, as you will see in some of the color scans I’d made. It was fun to look at this stuff so I thought it might make a good inspirational post to want to create more art.

At some point after that, however, I just stopped drawing and creating as much interesting stuff, so when I returned to this sketchbook and drew anything, it discouraged me because it wasn’t coming out to be so interesting or even very good. So for years since, I drew in it from time to time but it wasn’t making me feel great about the content. That sucks! I resolve to start a new sketchbook and draw in it nearly every day that I can. Maybe even the stuff that sucks is okay. Just as long as I’m drawing/doodling/making art.

Okay, here goes… I’m posting many scans I just made tonight of my old sketchbook, for inspiration!

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Artists

I stumbled upon this YouTube video when I was researching tutorials on how to create matte paintings. I found it to be interesting, and I like what the Blender people are doing with making videos to help artists.

We are the creators and dreamers of the world, and if we just sit and do nothing, we don’t contribute anything.  If we just wish for spare time in our busy lives, in order to create original artwork, or music, or stories, or crafts, etc etc etc, we will most likely go to our graves feeling regret for not having accomplished anything we wished for.

I know I am speaking for myself, for sure!! But, I know that others are the same as me.

Anyway, here is the link to the video “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Artists”: