Tag Archives: workflow

Pose and Compose

Are you ever in a situation with a model or subject and can’t get the perfect position out of them? If yes, then this is your luck day. I came across a great article that gives 10 top portrait tips to help you capture the uniqueness of your subject.

One that I found interesting is #9.“DO make sure to separate the arms from the waist. Arms flat against the side of your subject create the illusion of a very wide waist.” Or you can always adjust for that in Photoshop ;)

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Avatar technology… & philosophy?

If you pay attention to news sites covering digital graphics, there have been interesting articles surfacing about the the Avatar movie. There is quite a bit of talk about the philosophy and technology behind the movie, perhaps a tad on the over-analyzing side of things, but personally, I still find this topic more interesting than a rant about the new iPad.

In Post magazine — consistently a terrific source of film related news — there are two articles about how director James Cameron took motion capture into a new level of technology. The article ‘‘Avatar’ Introduces a New Era in Filmmaking‘ talks about his vision of a system that provides performance capture rather than motion capture. The article ‘Director’s Chair: James Cameron – Avator‘ goes into more detail about this new system, called the Simulcamera.

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Beauty Box model shoot.

Beauty Box has been a very fun product to develop. The best part of releasing our new Beauty Box product, I think, was working with the models who lent their beauty and time. After the photoshoot, we treated their skin with our Final Cut Pro plugin in post-production. This smoothed out their  blemishes, laugh lines and other issues with their skin quality.

Before the models arrived, Digital Anarchy spent the morning preparing the shoot area. We decided to convert the living room of our Chief Executive Anarchist, Jim Tierney, rather than renting a space. His purple velvet couch made a terrific rich backdrop and we hung black striped curtains to frame the shots. Some of the footage was shot outside; luckily the weather held. San Francisco in December can be very cold or very warm, often within the same three hour period.

Sitting in for the models before they arrive:

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Swine flu technology.

On Monday morning, I received a newsletter email from 3DScience.com. This is a stock graphics website that services the medical community. Sometimes I’ll start the day off at 9:00am with a fresh cup of coffee and a fresh digital image of heart surgery. Yum! This time, the company is serving up Swine Flu graphics, including a giveaway of 3D models of the virus.

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The mecca of NAB.

Our software company, Digital Anarchy, makes an annual mecca to NAB, which is the National Association of Broadcasters convention. The show is held in Las Vegas in late April, when it’s wonderful to stand outside at 2pm in the beating sun, then run back into the over-air conditioned show to dry off the small beads of sweat.

This was the first year since 2001 that Digital Anarchy was not a vendor at NAB. We sold our video/animation product line in August 2008 and are a Photoshop-only developer now. But we love the event and people, and it’s always cool to see new technology, so there we were. Drinking a little more than working, for once, often with colleagues from other plugin companies.

Representing below: Folks from ReVision FX, Digi Effects, Automatic Duck, Grid Iron, and Digital Anarchy.

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iLike iStock, mostly.

Digital Anarchy has long been a fan of Artbeats.com stock footage. We have used their footage for demoing our products many times over our seven years of business. Recently I have also used the website iStockphoto.com. Mainly this is because Artbeats focuses on video footage, which our company used to use a lot of when we had video products. Now we are a Photoshop-centric company and need still images, and lots of ’em, to show what our products can do.
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Gamma & other tough, chewy terms

Every time I write a manual for our company, I inevitably stumble upon the need to explain some basic terms. ‘Basic’ isn’t really the correct descriptor because it often implies that something is easy to understand.

For instance, this past week I was writing about a parameter in our ToonIt! Photo plugin. The control is called Lighter Type and the way to describe its Lighter1 option is to say that Lighter1 alters the ‘gamma’ of the source image. Well, I know that ‘gamma’ refers to colors but whew, I get completely lost after that.

A different kind of gamma.

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Toon the cat! (if she’ll stand still)

I’m doing some product development for our ToonIt! Photo plugin, and wound up playing with some personal photos as source material. Looking at my cat is typically more interesting than iStock and this is a great photo to cartoon. The subjects’ faces are aimed at the viewer and their facial details are very clear. I also like that the background is blurred out in the original. We were photographed in my kitchen and those kinds of environments often don’t look all that interesting, even as a cartoon.

Here’s the result with the ToonIt! defaults rendered out of Photoshop:

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4-Hour Workweek via Wired.com

Typically I try to blog about stuff related to photography, Photoshop, and all things graphical. But photography and graphics are all about workflow, and workflow is all about saving time and effort, so this article on Wired.com has peaked my interest. It’s called ‘Diary of a Self-Help Dropout: Flirting With the 4-Hour Workweek‘.

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(above, image from the article) Written in a very humorous style, this article is about a freelance writer who has difficulty and some mild schizophrenia about managing all of his jobs and tasks. Sounds like…all of us.

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