Not Going to be a Dinosaur Anymore.

dinosaur

Work is getting more and more scarce as a roto/paint artist living in Los Angeles these days. It’s kind of scary, with all the competition from using outsourced and subsidized work that really is cheaper and faster, and now it is also better quality. Why not pay a cheaper price for your rotoscoping and 2D paint, when you are running a business? I can understand that decision.

So… my job is becoming obsolete. It doesn’t matter that I really love it, or that I know things from experience that I can do by hand, that cannot be done procedurally. I’ve made the decision to finally move up into compositing for a living. I would hope that I am a valuable asset if I can do my own roto/paint work. I am already performing at a junior compositor level now, why not take on the challenge of being one of the compositors that are responsible for bringing the shots to the screen?

I think I have been intimidated all along, with all the things you need to know how to do. But when I think about it, I already know so much already! I already have a fantastic foundation. And I also want to be able to have more creative input with my shots instead of just with absolute results. I’m ready to expand now. Well, I’m kind of forced to, because I need to bring in some income!

OK. So for the past month or so I’ve been studying keying and creating my own composites. I also want to expand this website so that I can have a page dedicated to my portfolio and works in progress.

Here is an example of a lovely green park scene that I changed into a winter scene. It is still a WIP but so far, so good! I will make sure I keep on posting more and more examples of any fun projects I’m doing, as always. But now that I’ve got a fire under my ass (and more free time) I will continue to learn and grow, and post what I’m doing here. This is what I’ve been wanting to do with this blog all along anyway!

In this example, I had to find a dark cloudy background, then graded it down, and keyed the tree tops, and then created a bump map so that the tree leaves get “snow” on them, and then added a thicker layer of snow on the surfaces. Then I had to punch through the tree trunks and parts of the bench. I still would like to keep working on the edges, but I think this is a good WIP for now.

before:
GreenTrees_2snowyPark_v02<img

Another book recommendation

Howdy!
I just finished reading “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy and it is truly inspiring and motivating. So much so, that I wanted to share it here. I am going to read it again, just to reinforce anything that I may have missed.

The idea is that if you are determined to change your habits and behavior, or improve your skills, or want to get physically fit or see any kind of improvement in your life, you need to be consistent. That’s all. Just keep making that effort to improve and stay consistent, and when you hit a plateau, just push the effort a little harder, and you will become that dream person you’ve always wanted to be!

You can reduce your own bad habits with this method, too. If you decide to, every day, cut your calorie intake by 250 cal., after a year you will see a significant change! It’s the effect that compounding brings. I’ve heard of this idea when it comes to finance and investing, but never really thought of the concept of how it can apply to every day life.

Just like that video I shared here, probably a year ago, that I found to be so inspiring. The guy said that he would draw every day. It didn’t have to be a good drawing, and to get himself started on the days he didn’t feel like drawing he would tell himself to just draw one line, but he did it every day. At the end of the video, his drawing improved by so much!! Can you imagine the improvement over a year, or 5 years, or 20 years?? It’s the compound effect of working at something consistently.

Anyway, this is the book, hope you feel inspired to read it too:

Clean Slate, and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Here we are, now it’s 2018. Hopefully you are all feeling inspired to get some creative ideas out there on paper, canvas, computer, on a recording, or any other creative expression!

I believe that we, as humans, are meant to create things. We are supposed to create. Do you believe this too? It makes sense, if you look at all the different forms of life here on Earth. So, why aren’t you creating something now??? And if you already are doing something, are you working to make it better and better?

I only ask this, because I struggle with this question for myself all the time. And still, I procrastinate getting anything done. The only way to get really good at something is to just do it, and get some practice, so what does it matter that it is shitty? (this is exactly what I struggle with myself. Of course, I want everything I create to be perfect right off the bat, LOL)

I keep looking at a blank wall in our kitchen at home and every time I see it, I am reminded that I haven’t done anything to begin my ‘great work of art’ to go on that wall. The thing is, whenever I go to places like Urban Home I see wall coverings that to me, looks like I can do it, but better. And I can personalize it too! But I still procrastinate and put it low in my priority list. But, why? If I know I can do this, why don’t I do it??? I’m hoping I’m not alone with this. Sigh.

So, today, on Jan. 2, 2018, I have finally begun to paint a large canvas that hopefully will be good enough to go on our kitchen wall. I’ve been researching feng shui ideas for the position in our kitchen (southwest = yellow, orange, red… like fire) and since I’m fascinated with doing more landscapes, I am attempting to do a Fall scene. Doesn’t matter if I fail at this point. Why not just do it, and learn from any mistakes???

So, here I go!!

I hope that any of this has resonated with you, whether you are an artist or writer, or just venturing out into your desire, whatever it may be.

Happy New Year, I sincerely mean it!!!

Mastery

Hello again, I’m back!

I’ve been working on “A Star Is Born” for a small vfx company, since last September and wrapping up on it tomorrow. It’s on the Warner Brothers Lot in Burbank, and it’s been so fun getting to work at that location! I love how everything is different every day, when you walk around the different stages and backlot areas.

Anyway, I’ve been listening to a great audiobook that I wanted to share here: “Mastery” by Robert Greene. I’ve been meaning to read this for some time now, and only recently have been seeing some serendipitous reminders of it. It was coming up on my YouTube recommendations, for instance. So, I decided to give it a go.

It’s SUCH a great book, especially for aspiring artists! It doesn’t matter if you want to be an artist, a scientist, a businessperson, or musician or whatever… all of these (or whatever you wish to pursue) requires dedication and the courage to just dive in and do whatever it is you want to do! It talks about getting the necessary practice, finding mentors, believing in yourself, and sticking up for yourself too, when things get rough. I’m not finished with the book yet (only about 1/2 way so far) and I’m finding it to be so inspiring.
I know that I’ll be reading it a few more times.

What’s most interesting about the book is that there are many historical examples of famous people and what they went through to pursue their dreams, such as Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin and Leonardo da Vinci. I love biographies because I’ll remember that everyone is human and not some elevated amazing lucky person – everyone has to go through difficulties to become the master of their specialized skill.

I’ve been missing this blog, and thinking about how I can continue to write more consistently here. I feel strongly that I should just tell stories and when I have something new to share from my artwork, I’ll share that here as well.
I have a lot of stories, but what I really want is to share my progress as an artist.

Thank you for your time, and be sure to pick up “Mastery” as a truly inspirational book!

Mastery

Time off

Hey there,

I was so excited about getting time off about a month and a half ago, because I could finally have time to do all of the things I want to do, versus the things I have to do.

Well… I’ve spent most of that time enjoying sleeping in and when my husband also got the same time off, instead of going on vacation together we stayed home to work on projects. We also joined CrossFit together, which has proven to me to be a really really great thing and I know I want to stick with it- to get as fit and healthy as I possibly can.

Now, after all those weeks off so far, I am finally getting to working on some art. And once I got the ball rolling, I’m obsessed with it at this point, yay!

I want to share an excellent book, if you are a creative type who tends to procrastinate. Or, just someone who is looking for some inspiration with whatever you dream about making/creating/doing.  It’s called “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. I finished it a couple of days ago, and it’s inspired me tremendously!  Here is a picture:

I’ve also been working on painting a birdhouse, which is pretty fun!  I originally bought the unpainted birdhouse from Michael’s arts and crafts store, thinking I would paint it and put it up in our backyard. Then, as my lovely mother-in-law’s birthday is approaching, I decided she would love something like this as a present. I am really getting into working on this! I started applying things that I learned from the book such as: designing what I paint on it myself, from my heart/inspiration (as opposed to what I think she might like) which is fueling my creativity.  And, knowing that I’m doing this for someone I love, really inspires me to keep going with it and not stop until I think it is finished. So here is my WIP of this so far:

IMG_9827

Take care, everyone! Happy Summer to you, keep creating!

 

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:

MotorcycleGetaway_bg_v01.0023

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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IMG_9474.JPG

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:

Module6_ElephantWings.jpg

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:

MyFirstMattePainting.jpg

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:

TEST_mattepaint.jpg

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. 🙂