ABOUT ME

I live in a camper van with a couple of West Highland Terriers for company.
My passion is photography but it is a work in progress.
I am always willing to share what knowledge I have and can be contacted through the comments on this post or e-mail ADRIAN
ALL IMAGES WILL ENLARGE WITH A LEFT CLICK

Sunday, 31 January 2016

CALM. (31/01/16)

Yesterday consisted of a series of snow showers. The snow is still around today and I have some video from yesterday that needs editing. The editing takes no time at all but I enjoy making the titles which takes me hours.
This morning we have enjoyed a long walk and came back through the swamp. It does look a bit depressing and it is, no sunshine and a low cloud base making for very flat light. Tomorrow we have another storm forecast. They name our storms and I wish they would stop as it seems to encourage them._MG_2608
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Let us hope for some good crisp weather during February.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

SUNSHINE AND SHOWERS. (28/01/16)

I am being a little economical with the truth titeling this post with showers. We have enjoyed torrential rain again but the sun has appeared from time to time.
I have had a trip to the supermarket and have managed to get one Daily Telegraph whilst there and another I asked to be fetched up from the town. I have noticed that the cyptic crossword is getting easier, dumbing down I think it’s called. They do have a very difficult one inside the paper but that is impossible for me.
There is plenty to rant about but I can’t be bothered as half of it is smoke and the other fifty percent mirrors. The Piggy Poking Porky Pie telling procrastinator is still much the same. Standing in Parliament blaming everyone but himself. What a plonker to put in charge of anything let alone a country.
Earlier in the week I fell in lust, it could be serious this time. Though considering the thirty year age gap I suspect I worry needlessly. Blender is still amusing and confusing me; I have found an interesting feature or two and one of them, the Cast Modifier, may even be useful. I have been playing with the waterfall again but it looks silly unless I also use the same system for the stream head and tail. This is possible but not practical as it’s render takes eight minutes a frame so three hours twenty minutes for every second of video. I will have to fake it somehow or get rid of the water. I could mask in some video of this small stream and sculpt the landscape around it. I’ll give it a whirl.
Here are a few snaps.
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It’s nice when the sun shines but not so nice when the rain catches me before I get home.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

NO LING. (24/01/16)

I thought I'd post this just to show I haven't been slacking. I am still plodding away with the Starlings but couldn't get the camera to track them. I decided to take 'LING' out of the title and make a spiral galaxy for the camera to fly around. It isn't a very professional job and is only rendered at 50% but you can at least guess what I was aiming for. It seems for every part I master I find I have to learn two more operations, this is without me forgetting bits that I already know like putting indirect clamp on to stop the stars flickering too much. 
This is the basic scene for the animation. The camera is out of scene bottom left. 
Here is the video. 
Have a good week.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

AFTER THE SNOW. (23/01/16)

After the snow we had rain and what a lot of rain we had, over three quarters of an inch in six hours. Yesterday afternoon the sun came out and a wonderous sight it was.
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I am still spending an inordinate amount of time Blendering. I really should be less ambitious as I now have lots of bits of scenes to composite into two or three. It would help if I could remember where things are and what I called them, if anything. I am both frustrated and pleased. I’m frustrated that I have nothing new to show; nothing new that works properly and I’m delighted with how much I’ve learnt or at least half remembered.
Have a great weekend.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

NOT A LOT GOING ON. (17/01/16)

The weather is perfect or almost so. We have had some good walks in calm cool conditions. It's not really photography weather though. The snow is sparse and the frosts aren't hard enough for interesting ice to form.
I was very impressed by this post last week...MONICA....did a great job with some macro work and I decided to have a go.
Mine didn't turn out very well at all but it is worth further investigation.

I am spending a ridiculous amount of time playing in Blender and at long last can now get text to follow a curve reliably and without crunching letters up or sending them off into oblivion. I have just a few details like texturing and lighting to sort out and can then start to put a short video together.
More snow is forecast and the dogs have a friend arriving on Tuesday. That will cheer them up.
Have a good week.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

THE DREAM. (14/01/15)

I was awake during the early hours as is my want. I would have been awake anyway as the dogs realised it was snowing and wanted to get out to roll in the white stuff. I managed to curtail their enthusiasm until around 0745h when they considered it light enough for their first walk.
Yesterday I got to the shops in the truck on very slippery roads and got within  a hundred metres of home before I was brought to a slithery slidey halt. I walked up to the farm, borrowed a wheelbarrow and a shovel and raided the councils grit bin. It got me home and warmed me up.
These pictures are from our second walk today.
Snow,  not a lot but I love it.
The dogs are partial to a drop of the white stuff as well. They are ready for a hair cut but as long as the snow stays cold they don't collect too much to bring back home.
The road home not bad but borderline for a silly heavy front wheel drive van. I got tobacco but forgot beer. I haven't had a drink from New Year until now. I could have made a resolution. I could become a Methodist or a Wee Free.
The Blendering is coming on but the more I get to know the more I want to do, I dream the problems it creates. The little bird is okay but trying to get it to sit in the middle of the circle in the above clip and speak is proving a challenge. Trying to get Bezier curves to do what I want is yet another of my many problems. In my darkest moments I suspect I have bitten off a project too great for my brain to cope with. The waterfall is crap. The Starlings are not as good as DOUGLAS'S but are getting there. My opening needs further attention, excuse the expression, I just get happy with text and materials then I notice my lighting is anyhow and animation leaves much to be desired. So much to do and so much to learn. So little time.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

RUN OUT. (12/01/16)

Today was supposed to be cold, clear and sparkling bright but it has been raining again for a change.  I have run out of milk, tobacco and am getting very short of coffee. I’ll have to go to the shops tomorrow, I ought to have gone today but I was so wet after the morning wander I couldn’t face packing the van up for a run down to town and it was too wet to walk.
Yesterday afternoon turned out quite pleasant just before the sun dipped under the southwest horizon. I found a couple of flowers and a quick burst of very pleasing light.
A confused Perrywinkle.
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Early Gorse Flower.
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A Splash of Sunlight.
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That is all for today, it looks as if it will be a cheese and onion omlette for my supper. Roll on tomorrow and plenty of food and an orgy of tobacco smoke. I’ll be able to concentrate on things again.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

STRIVING. (10/01/16)

The rain is here again. Yesterday afternoon I did some more work on the murmaration animation. The birds swooping about are getting much better and the basic landscape is done; it still needs a waterfall, some trees and a hundred or so rocks.  I got in a mess with my camera flying across the landscape but I am getting there. It flys very smoothly but although it is set to focus on an empty which I can place where I want it either doesn’t or it looks for a target that isn’t there.
I decided that an MGM type opening sequence would look good but with a bird instead of a lion. I can do the light beams but am having the devils own job with the bird though I have got a little roar for it to say.bird-3 Here is the bird. It’s no good I’ll have to start again as it won’t animate properly. All I want it to do is tuck it’s tongue in and out, swivel it’s eyes, open and shut it’s beak. It does have nostrils so I could have a bit of breath coming out of them. This one is a mess. I’ll start again with a cube and do some more reading in WIKIBlender.
untitled This is the landscape the starlings will fly over and hopefully the camera will do the same. I’ve not done the waterfall yet and you can ignore the black bits as it’s a minutes job to scale the cliff when I have some boulders in the scene.
All this is very silly but I find it a challenge and much harder than I would have believed possible. What else is there to do whilst the rain pours down?

Saturday, 9 January 2016

CRISP. (09/01/16)

It’s a beautiful, windless and frosty morning. There is cloud covering the sky but it is high cloud.  I didn’t take a camera on our walk as it was still almost dark at 0830h. We got two walks this morning as I had to go out again with the camera. Fortunately the subject was only half to threequarters of a mile from the van.
The first good examples of hair ice this winter and they were even better before naughty Molly sniffed them and broke a load off.
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It’s fascinating stuff; it occurs on Beech twigs and is caused by cool windless weather with a bit of help from some sort of fungus. It tastes quite bitter but that may be Beech sap.
It looks as if we are due yet more rain by lunchtime. Oh what joy.

Friday, 8 January 2016

RAIN AWAY. (08/01/16)

The rain has stopped and the temperatures dropped from the high units to -3°C last night. We had a good walk this morning, it is still very wet and boggy underfoot but at Least we got back dry.
I see these are the first photographs I've taken for a month, I had to think about the workflow and forgot to adjust colour temperature.
This bit of the forest path is blocked by newly fallen trees and a small lake.
A dry bit.
Do we have to swim through this?......'Fraid So.
Blue sky, this is the first I've seen since Christmas Day. I'd forgotten what it looks like.
I'm still spending a good four hours a day with Blender. I have a story line for a four minute video but it is a challenge and a half. The waterfall is now going to flow with virtual water but when I used a fluid with the same S.G. as water it looked awful when I baked and rendered it so I am now experimenting with thick smoke or high mass smoke. Lots to do. I will have to move files from file to file and I'm having problems. I can open a file to append but then have to select the object, material and anything else I want one bit at a time. It's still quicker than re-doing them but is a real pain.
Here is a bit of bird video that I did whilst learning the system. It is supposed to wink at you as it goes along but I got it's eyes going the wrong way. The sky imported perfectly and is going in the right direction. All these little things can take an hour to work out.


You will see it's beak also has a bulge, I missed that bit when weight painting vertices out.
I would have made this a Gif file but with the sky it was far too big.
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

BIRDS. (06/01/16)

I have almost sorted the Starlings. The video is self explanatory as I did a voice over or commentary.
I cheated a bit and made one set of birds as particles then triplicated them, I will do them again but with three individual sets which should provide a good pattern or so.
I am determined to get to grips with Blender this winter so that I can make a few minutes of video with a landscape; a stream, hopefully with a waterfall if the computer can stand the pain of multiple particle systems and fluids. It would be good to have the sky with a cloud or two slowly turning from day to dusk. I would like the birds to stop swirling and just drop into my reeds as proper ones do when the light fades. It will take days at the speed I go.
Here is a bit of low resolution video, the birds are getting there.
Boids is not a spelling mistake it is an algorithm designed in 1986 to mimic herding, flocking and shoaling in nature. It is pretty good I think. I also think it makes my head ache, the person that wrote the software must have worn a helmet to keep their brains in.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

THE BIRD. (05/01/16)

Before you read this go and make yourself comfortable. I don’t want to be responsible for any accidents.

I have sorted the stream reeds out or am well on the way so yesterday evening I decided to have another go at the Starling. I am not very good at modeling Starlings I need a birder to do one for me or better still send me a picture of one in plan view and one in side view. I can then sketch round it and things might improve. I hope you are ready for this. William Steig eat your heart out; I suspect he would were he still with us.04-01-2016 21-02-13

I know the beak is a bit long but Starlings have long beaks. I know, I know, it doesn’t look much like a bird but when there are a thousand or so murmarating I doubt anyone will be able to tell. I may re-do it with a shorter beak and more rounded wings, perhaps the tail is a bit big. Not much right with it but I do think it’s neck is a work of art.

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Here it is with it’s bones, the reason it’s beak is off to starboard is because I can’t deselect it as I never have any luck with weight painting and the mesh is as simple as I could make it.

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This is what makes it fly. The two orange things are called empties, empty spheres in this case. They are linked to the yellow cube which could be anything, it’s usually a cube as that is at the top of the ADD list. (It will render and show unless you remember to select it and turn the camera off…….a little point that is easily forgotten but a bird and a brick don’t look very realistic.) To flap the wings I move the cube up and down………..Perfect.

04-01-2016 20-43-11 Here it is all ready to go.

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Here it is doing what birds do best. I think you will be more than impressed with this. It has taken ages to learn how to do it but now I know I can knock them out every hour. I will do another one as this needs making a bit fatter espiecially underneath.

That’s all for today.

Monday, 4 January 2016

HORIZON. (04/01/16)

Ever since I started with a world sky and clouds I have had endless frustration locating the horizon where I wanted it. I woke this morning at 0430h and the solution had occurred to me whilst I slept. This is both exciting and a little depressing, I can remember a time when my dreams were full of salacious scenarios involving Uma Thurman. Every cloud is silver lined.
This is the Node Tree that generates and controls the clouds and also applies the sky or atmosphere. All I had to do was add the bits in red highlighter. This  job is now perfect and I can clean up the Tree. The bits lit up yellow are supposed to be there, they are keyframes.
There is still an awful lot wrong with this but I am reasonably happy. The water is now much better as I used Bump and Noise instead of the Wave Texture. You will see in the second scene that the flag is a bit droopy. I use a wind force and it has to be at about 400 thingies to make a flag blow whereas the reeds only need 1 or 2 thingies, they just get blown under the water at higher forces as they flatten against the disc they are modelled on. In the last scene I popped the flag on a different layer and now I can have two wind speeds; it transpires that I can't parent forces to objects on the same layer, the virtual fan affects everything. The reeds are not very good I'll have another go at them. I am pleased with the land but still not happy with the texture. The grass and rock are supposed to be tileable but you can see banding. I'll see if I can dream a solution to the problem.
I have several things to do/learn and the other day noticed something called Boids. I looked it up and it is a particle control system that mimics flocking, targeting and other things. I don't understand all it can do, to be honest I don't understand half the words. I am considering having two or three flocks of a thousand birds or maybe fish and making them swirl about by animating a target for them.
It's still raining hard so after I have walked the dogs, I'll try and make my bird flap properly and if I can't I'll make a fish as they only have to wriggle a bit.
Have fun.
PS. I forgot to mention that scenes 1 and 3 are test renders at 50% resolution so a bit blurry. The little fireflies in scenes 1&2 are caused by my forgetting to add some clamp. Please pretend they are midges.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

OH DEAR. (03/01/16)


You are going to love this post. I suspect you will find it as interesting as macro shots of insects.
Whilst everyone around me was drinking the New Year in I settled down to some more Blendering. I made a wonderful sky which is a full 360° image it is very controllable it can be animated and made to go from dawn till dusk, the clouds get thicker towards the horizon and appear to dissolve and reform just like real ones I can have clouds any colour I like……. Brilliant it is. The controls are very sensitive so it is easy to lose the clouds as they are just noise with a mask on. I did try using volumetrics like thin smoke but I got in a muddle. In the second bit of this video I tried to make an animated haggis to run over the hill but it looked like a hairy rugby ball and not all it’s legs worked. I gave up. To be honest only one leg worked and then only it’s thigh and calf, it’s foot refused to function. I could have made it’s hairs longer to hide this discrepancy, I ought to have saved it for posterity.
I am really enjoying this 3D malarkey and will animate a camera to pan and zoom over the terrain now that I am getting slightly better at UV unwrapping the sculpted landscape. I did manage to get the camera to follow a Bezier curve but I didn’t manage to get it to point in the right direction. It pointed in any direction but where I wanted it to.
I found another exciting stunt. If you press CTRL+ALT+ the right arrow key your monitor display flips through 90°. I use CTRL+ALT+0 on the number pad to align my camera to view in Blender. I must have missed the zero key. That was twenty minutes of free entertainment getting everything the right way up and the right way round. I must try it again sometime as I’m not sure how I got things back on the straight and level. I did use some nasty words but as I haven’t got speech recognition on the computer couldn't hear me.

I notice that I got my flags looking better, I made the mesh they sit on much smaller but there is always a downside……..the clouds have gone away and I know not where.
I probably know half what I need to know to make a short film. The problem is that learning is an exponential process and I will just have to keep plugging away till it all sinks in.
This shows the state of my competence as of yesterday. I have another video rendering which I will post tomorrow. It is a vast improvement but still I am finding more questions than answers.
Have fun, I am as the rain pours down.