Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Lost World III: T-Rex Battle

For the third picture in the series, I wanted to do something a bit more dynamic. This is an area where I have a lot to learn, but I am working on it.

I am still not convinced that what I am doing is art. All I am doing is that I am putting pieces together, pieces created by other people. On the other hand, as a photographer, I am doing exactly the same thing, and that is considered art.

When in doubt, check definitions. It does not always help, but then again, quite often it does:

The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. - The Oxford dictionary
 Well, at least I am trying. I am recombining all sorts of different stuff, drawing on ideas from paintings, comics, movies, and books from several different genres. On top of that, I kit bash like crazy, using commercial 3D models, my own photos, and a suite of different software apps, to create these images. The purpose is to create works of beauty and emotional power, though, I admit, not always at the same time.

It doesn't have to be good to be art. It is making the effort that counts.

Here is the most important bit: If I can do it, so can you!

When I was seven years old, I loved to draw, like almost all children at that age. Then, something happened. When I was thirteen, I was utterly convinced I could not draw, and worse, I could not learn.

Through most of my life, I did not draw anything. Then, I started using simple diagrams, drawn on paper with squares, because I knew I could not draw a straight line, to make notes at work. I discovered I could use simple sketches to explain things.

That was a breakthrough for me. My sketches and diagrams looked awful, but that was okay, because they communicated what I needed to communicate. Mostly software design, at the time.

Later, I got into Systems Thinking, and management, and it became even more important to be able to express myself visually. I did a lot of presentations, paid presentations, so I needed visual aids, both to explain difficult concepts, and to keep the audience awake.

About six years ago, I decided to learn photography. The first year, I took more than 8,000 really, really boring pictures. Mostly of flowers. The second year, I took more than 13,000 pictures. I began varying my subjects more, and learned some basic rules of composition.

Despite this, the one thing almost all of my pictures had in common, was that they sucked. There were a couple of exceptions though, and I think that is what kept me going.

The third year, my skills took off. I learned to take fewer, but much better, photos. I began doing digital effects, and various kinds of trick photography. At first, I was back to sucking again, but I kept at it, and began to improve.

Now, I am still struggling. I am at a different level, but I am struggling more than ever. I used to think that only the results mattered. How I got there was unimportant. I still believe that, as a general principle, but I am starting to have doubts when it comes to my personal work.

I am not to worried though. That nagging doubt is part of the drive to explore, to learn, and to improve.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Lost World II: The Hunters

As I mentioned in my previous post, I went for extreme, Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell style body proportions. I think I overdid it a little, and ended up with a She-Hulk version of Cavewoman.

So, I can go back to the drawing board, so to speak, or I can go with it, and see whether I can come up with ideas for a series of pictures about her.

I guess it's back to the drawing board either way.

Lost World I: Dangerous Shadow

I have had the idea for this one in my head a couple of days. The idea is that sometimes, you have to knowingly walk into danger, and take on something that may be too big for you to handle.

This is one picture that I'd like to make a photographic version of. We'll see how that works out.

Where do you get inspiration for a picture like this? Well, I got it from several different sources. The Lost World theme is from books like Arthur Conan Doyle's book The Lost World, and Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park. Edgar R. Burrough's Tarzan and John Carter books are also strong influences.

In case you are wondering about the nudity: It's the norm on Barsoom, where John Carter had his adventures. Also, I budget my 3D projects carefully, and appropriate clothes weren't in the 3D budget for this month, and because I am still trying to figure out how to do nude art.

There are of course artists that have inspired too. The somewhat exaggerated proportions of the woman is inspired by the art of Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, and Frank Frazetta. The situation, with impending danger, owes more to Joe Jusko, and perhaps FrankCho. (Frank Cho would probably have turned the idea into slapstick comedy.)

Technically, I am a photographer, not a painter, so I take a photographer's approach to creating pictures. That is, I do not create stuff. I take existing stuff, and arrange it on a scene in front of a camera, and take a picture. It just so happens, this time I used 3D objects. and the scene was created in Daz Studio.

Oh, I did a bit of post processing in Affinity Studio and Dynamic Auto-Painter. Dynamic Auto-Painter is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.

I do have a couple of more ideas on the same theme, so this may well turn into a short series of pictures.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Fine Art Nude: Self-Constraints

It is amazing how we limit our own growth and success by self-imposed constraints: 
  • I can't do this. 
  • I don't dare do that. 
  • I'll never be able to learn. 
  • I don't want to learn.
There are ways around it though: 
  • Learn and experiment in small steps. 
  • Find others who want to learn, and learn with them. 
All the small steps you take will add up. Look back after a year, or two years, and you will see that all the small steps add up to giant strides.

I've had the idea for this picture for a long time. Making it was technically easy. 

I built the scene in DAZ 3D Studio.

I used a Genesis 8 Female 3D model as a base. I positioned the arms and hands, and then duplicated the model. Then I repositioned the arms and hands over the copy.

I bent the neck and tilted the head of the original model. When I did that, the models did not quite match up. Instead of matching the necks and heads precisely, I simply turned the head of the second model invisible.

I created a virtual studio consisting of two planes, a floor, and a back wall. Then I created a rather large third plane, made it a light emitter, and placed it high above, in front of the model, and angled at 45 degrees. This provided ambient lighting for the scene.

Finally, I added a spotlight to put a bit of extra light on the model. I made the spotlight a 2x2 metre square, to soften the shadows.

I rendered the scene with Daz built-in Iray renderer.

I did some post work in Affinity Photo, mostly to hide the intersections between the two 3D models at the shoulders. I used a combination of inpainting and patching.

I increased the contrast a little bit, and turned the picture black and white.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Monolith I and II

Monolith II

The Monolith series is very loosely inspired by the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

If you have seen my other Fine Art Nude work, you know that they are often rooted in some aspect of the human condition. The monolith series is more about form, that is, shape, and light.

I put Monolith II at the top of this blog post, mostly because it is social media safe. (Yes, I occasionally chicken out. Depends more on my current mood, than the pictures.) Reduces the risk of getting banned on Facebook.

Monolith I
Monolith I is more about the light than anything else. I wanted to see what happened when I put a very large light source directly behind the model. If that had been the only light source, you would see little more than a silhouette.

I added another light source in front of the model, angled 45 degrees, and high enoug to illuminate the entire monolith. Because of the distance between the light and the model, the model is evenly lit from head to toe.
I did add a bit of shadow in the genital area for modesty's sake. Not the model's modesty (she is a 3D model), or yours, but mine. I am still a bit shy about doing nude art.

Here are links to some of my earlier Fine Art Nude pictures:

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Social Media Bubbles

If you think you do not live inside the Matrix, it is because you are asleep inside your bubble.

We all live inside information bubbles shaped by the algorithms that choose what information to give us on social media.

Facebook, Youtube, Google, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Linkedin...They all use algorithms designed to provide us information we like, and filter out whatever we do not like.

The information we get, shape our perception of the world. Due to the design of the algorithms, the information keeps narrowing down.

The more it narrows down, the more difficult it becomes to understand other viewpoints than our own. Our points of view are whatever the masters of the algorithms design them to be.

If you think you do not live in the Matrix, it is because you are asleep in your bubble.