I live in a camper van with a West Highland Terrier for company.
My passion is creating images 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

Thursday 25 February 2016

A COUPLE OF FLAKES. (25/02/16)

Yesterday we had a couple of snow flakes but it looked for a time as if it was going to be a whole lot worse. 
To honour another fine day I decided to make a time lapse. I forgot to set the camera to small RAW so ended up with 1200 images at 5616 x 3744 pixels, over 27GB. I popped them into Photoshop and batch processed them in the RAW editor to adjust colour balance and get rid of all or most of the pesky little grease marks, I then converted them to Jpeg files but stupidly left them at their original resolution. I thought things were running a bit slowly and it wasn’t until I popped them into Blender to convert the sequence into a video that I realised how big the damn project size was.  This prompted me to clean up my disc drives. I got rid of 16GB of Temp files and about 6GB of redundant Windows update files. I decided that I’d defragmentate the drives whilst I was in the mood so set it all going and went to bed. I woke early this morning and waited ten minutes for Windows to configure all my cleaning up. Great ……Things are quicker but then I had a little box pop up saying did I want Yahoo Chromium. I never get anything from Yahoo as their security always seems a bit lax. I didn’t do anything and couldn’t delete the little box or shut it down. Before I knew it I had lost Chrome as my browser and purportedly had a Yahoo browser on my Chrome button. I shut down and restarted. It was still the same. Another fifteen minutes disappeared whilst I found the little sod, deleted it and Chrome. I then reinstalled Chrome. What a palaver and what a way to start the day.
Here is a video of it not raining or snowing.

 I decided that the water flow simulation that I posted the other day was not any good so set about doing another that didn't involve a surface material, fluid or particle systems. I'm pleased with this and if I place it strategically then it looks subtle and realistic. It's easy to animate and saves me having to learn to Bake. I always get in a mess with Baking and don't seem to be able to get my head round the job. If I don't bake then render times are in days and possibly weeks. This is a cube on the left slimmed down with volumetric shaders in and a noise texture, the one on the right is a cylinder. I think it looks fine in the shed but a bit crude out of it. It is infinitely variable so I'll get it animated on the next wet day and try and finish the shed video.
If anyone wants the node composition for this then feel free to drop me an email.
We are going out for another wander now as it is fine but not sunny. 

Tuesday 23 February 2016

THE BIRDS. (23/02/16)

I recognise that the coming referendum is a very serious business for folk years younger than me but I very much doubt I will be alive to be affected. It will take the dozy beggars years, probably decades to unravel our commitments…….Reminds me I must read ‘The Commitments’  again………….It is already bringing out the best and worst in our nation.  Here are the first few comments from a post on GUIDO FAWKES. I am not the only one that thinks it is a farce worthy of the accolade entertainment. These comments were just grabbed in order not selected on the basis of religion, class or nationality.

sandy winder • 16 hours ago
Chicken Little Dave says EU exit is a leap into the dark. So how many who stayed on the Titanic actually survived, Dave? Do we really want to stay and be dragged under in this sinking ship?

Bill Quango MP  sandy winder • 15 hours ago
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away........
We never used to give a shit about taking a risk.

NorthAngry  Bill Quango MP • 15 hours ago
Leaping out of a landing-craft into the sea during Operation Overlord wasn't exactly risk-free was it?

Bill Quango MP  NorthAngry • 15 hours ago
Don't mention ze war.
It upsets the Germans, through guilt.
And the French, through shame.

James Bolivar DiGriz  Bill Quango MP • 15 hours ago
No, the French have no shame. They liberated France all on their own with no help of any sort from anyone else. At least that is what a Frenchman told me!

Grumpy  James Bolivar DiGriz • 15 hours ago
What about the bloody ungrateful Poles, Belgians and Greeks--at least the Norwegians send us a Christmas tree every year.

James Bolivar DiGriz  Grumpy • 15 hours ago
And we didn't even liberate Norway, we just waited for the end of the war and the Germans surrendered!

Immigrant from order order  James Bolivar DiGriz • 14 hours ago
And the Faithful Poles were abandoned to Common Purpose .

Bill Quango MP  Grumpy • 14 hours ago
The Poles we can forgive. We never liberated them.

Cassandrina  Grumpy • 12 hours ago
The Poles helped us fight WW2 don't forget.

Grumpy  Cassandrina • 11 hours ago
Sucked us into it two years early too.

Grumpy  sandy winder • 16 hours ago
If EU regulations hadn't insisted on those dim light-bulbs, it would be a leap into the light.

It seems years since there was anything in the world to laugh about. I still have to catch up with Call me Dave’s rant about  Boris’s conduct. I did hear he got quite personal and invoked Boris’s marital troubles. I thought that a bit rich coming from a bloke who enjoys unmentionable practices with dead pigs. The mind set of Public School boys is something of a mystery.

Here is a bit of video, at long last I have got to the end of an edit using Blender. Now all I have to do is keep editing away until I become proficient. The thing I really like about it is it’s flexibility, the ability to create a proxy file to show in the view window allows editing in real time and the fact that sound stays in sync. Transitions are hard but much easier since I noticed that frame numbers are displayed whilst editing them. Fade ins and outs are intuitive it’s as simple as key framing opacity. I will keep plugging away and next time attempt some complicated audio.
 This would have been more accurately titled Moll and Alf Birding but I'd already got the title before I went out to shoot the video. The music credit is a new feature called text over, it needs a few more features but maybe on the next release. Blender usually has new stuff every twelve weeks or so. The downside is that they move things about so it's a bit of a treasure hunt for a day.
I have yet to decide which way to vote but suspect personality will play a small part. 

Monday 22 February 2016


I have had quite a good weekend and the sun is shining brightly today. We had a grand walk this morning though without much to show for it.
This is the sun, a rare sight but I am promised more of it throughout the week.
The ground is drying out and I can see some ploughing being done by the weekend. I’ll see if I can get a bit of video and some pictures if by a miracle it doesn’t pour down before then.
Yesterday mornng I called at Polly’s to ask if she knew where the owls are living. I can hear the little devils most evenings and early mornings but cannot find the trees they are living in.
Whilst there I had a coffee and watched a bit of the Andrew Marr Show. He had as one of his guests Dithery Dave, he of forked tongue and a total lack of empathy or respect for the folk that pay his wages. I thought it impossible for him to drop further in my esteem but he really excelled himself.
He continually spoke in sound bites that must have sounded impressive in Downing Street but came over as simplistic and rehearsed. He got worse. He explained to us all how tough the negotiations with his European counterparts  had been and stated I got us this. We won’t be part of the Euro nor will we be part of the Schengen agreement.
Err…..Porky Poker. That is indeed good news or would be were it news. We aren’t part of either and never have been. I am glad your negotiation clarified matters but what are you taking……Has your boy George being sharing his nose candy with you? He repeated this stunning example of his tough stance twice, his nanny must have told him that if something is repeated often enough folk will believe it and hence regard him in high esteem. There was much waffle about sovereignty, he has drawn a line……….has he buggery. Every time the European Parliament passes another law then it is adopted here without so much as an explanation in Westminster. The poor man is delusional and should resign immediately. Andrew Marr was his sycophantic self and never once pulled the spoon faced idiot up for lying. Marr may enjoy being told porkies but most folk find such deliberate duplicity condescending. Those that don’t will be misled.
Not to worry, he will be fine after he gets some treatment; assuming he can find a doctor to think him worth treating. Who thought it a good idea to send him to negotiate? If someone sounds like an idiot, looks like an idiot, and acts like an idiot one would expect the rest of our government to recognise that he is an idiot. I can only assume he is the best and if so then we are really in the excrement.


Saturday 20 February 2016

I WISH. (20/02/16)

I wish I had something more interesting to post but I would appreciate a bit of help. I have been trying to add a trickle of water from the condenser in the still I made. This is appalling quality as it’s a Gif file but I think with a bit of fine tuning it will do the job.
The advantages it has are two fold, it’s quick and easy to construct as it’s just a cube stretched out, sub divided and twisted then animated to rotate; it also renders in a fraction of the time that a proper fluid simulation would take.
I have spent ages learning to edit video using Blender as it is very powerful and unlike Photoshop gives a real time preview. Like all these things before you can use them for anything sensible you have to plug away until muscle memory takes over and my real memory can recall where stuff is hidden.
This is a bit of the interface, I can’t find a bin where I can pop all the elements of the video but apart from that it seems to have everything that I could need or desire. I have been using it for a few months as a sequence editor but have decided to use it for everything. It accepts QuickTime and AVI formats which are the only ones I use. It appears to accept lots more with the corresponding plethora of codecs. The video world is awash with dozens of different formats. I don’t know why. It is much more versatile than Adobe but I don’t have AfterEffects just CS6 Extended. It is also free; Fusion is also free and available from BlackMagic the Australian camera folk. I did have a play but as I use Blender for other things it seems daft to learn yet another workflow. I’ll try and get a few minutes edited and post in a day or two. Hopefully with some special effects or VFX as the professionals call them.
I have begged a new desktop.  I have also cleaned it up. I realy admired the painting and MARTY gave me permission to use it. Thanks Marty it’s great.
That’s all for today.

Friday 19 February 2016

HOME BREW. (19/02/16)

It's been a busy week with little to show for it. I'm still building my shed in Blender and have solved many of the problems. 
I have spent several hours trying to speed up render times and have now settled on settings for video. YouTube video that is, were I to go for a big screen then I suspect it would be back to square one. The first still is 2000 samples and fine, at eight minutes a frame it isn't very practical.  I render out a series of stills as this allows me to stop the render and restart it whenever I feel the need.
The window bars are better but still not perfect. I make these from a curve and then change to a mesh but can see me having to construct them from a cube or cylinder which will be a pain.
I'm pleased with the spirit still, there is room for improvement but I'm getting better. I celebrated by doing turning cartwheel.
The weather is not looking very good for the weekend. I hope it's better where you are. Have fun.
Ps. I notice that the texture is animated on the firebox under the still. I have checked and the mapping node isn't key framed. It is a free bit of entertainment. Annoying but free. Thanks Blender.

Monday 15 February 2016

IT'S FREEZING. (15/02/16)

It has been a grand, sunny couple of days and today looks as if it will be similar. yesterday I found some more Hair Ice and also a few flowers for Valentines day. It was great out but very slippery.
I found a tiny pine tree growing on the stump of an old one.
Here are some flowers for Valentines Day, the first Snowdrops I have seen this year.

I am still playing in Blender but I'm afraid I got distracted once again. I started playing with visual effects in video or VFX as it's called. To say I got in a tangle is an understatement. The new shed is coming along and the walls look okay to me, they are stone and distressed plaster, the ceiling I'm half happy with. Here is a very quick render and a look round the empty shed. I'm thinking of modelling a whisky still and fire to pop in it along with a few barrels.
This is a very quick render as to do it properly would take a day. Eight minutes a frame it is running at but I'll go through it all and try and reduce the vertices. This is a single frame rendered at 50% and 500 samples. It is my best effort yet.

Enjoy your week.

Saturday 13 February 2016

I WONDER. (13/02/16)

Yesterday morning I went out with a long lens as I wanted a snap of a Red Squirrel. Plenty of evidence in the form of chewed pine cones but as for the little beasts themselves there was not a sign.
I did bump into Marion on our walk and she was thrilled that the Duke of Cambridge had resurfaced. He was at Henry Worseley’s funeral, his first Royal duty in a couple of months. I did say he has a full time job flying an air ambulance but apparently even that isn’t a proper job as he is a co-pilot. I hadn’t given the matter any thought but when I did I realised that on the few occasions I’ve seen an Air Ambulance it only had one pilot. Poor lad must be knackered, it’s a bit late for that, he ought to have been done at birth.
It was a good walk, I found the largest example of hair Ice so far, it measured about 2000mm and was a good 75mm tall.
Impressive stuff.
There are lots of Deer around,  this is as close as I can get. I have managed to persuade the dogs not to chase them. After years they have realised that they have no chance of catching one and I suspect would have little idea what to do with one if they did.
I am still playing in Blender and finding new challenges. I really can’t think what use it all is but I am enjoying it. I have been concentrating on modelling and applying textures. It’s much harder than it looks and adjusting UV Maps is both time consuming and repetative.
This is the result of yesterdays labour. The upper middle hoop on the barrels is a bit thin and I never noticed at the time. The staves have mapped well, the floor needs a displacement map or the mesh deforming, the walls are just a quick job as is the sky. The window bars took me ages to work out how to do and could do with being much thicker. Not to worry I’ll keep working on this scene, make it look a bit more realistic. I now have to tackle the mysteries of the compositor to add grime and other stuff to try and make the scene look used. If I get little further then I have still learnt a fair bit and had hours of entertainment.
Have a good weekend.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

BRIGHTER. (09/02/16)

The weather is back to normal with much less rain. I didn't realise that I hadn't posted for a while, there hasn't been much to post about. The following photograph was taken the other morning but it is two images stuck together. One facing east for the sky and the other facing somewhere else.
I ought to have spent a bit more time on the selection but have been busy sorting this and that. 
Blender is still amusing me and I should really get down to it and stick a video together that tells a story. I have been trying to learn some of the basics that I have studiously ignored as they are difficult. My modelling skill needs serious practise but worse still is UV unwrapping. There will be other features that I haven't yet come across that will cause even bigger headaches but I'll see if I can stick with what I know and get a proper bit of video sorted.
I did find some alternative skins in preferences and quite like using this bright one.
Much more decorative than the default skin below.

I found a good half dozen alternatives whilst increasing the available RAM to 8GB, this means that I have almost real time animation whilst editing. I still have to keep a weather eye on the number of vertices in any scene but it is a vast improvement. The other thing I have been playing with is the ocean modifier. Very impressive it is so exciting that I think I will change my Starlings to Seagulls. I am trying to make the waves break on rocks but this is maybe a step too far.
Not a bad little shed, a shame that the texture didn't cover both sides of the doors but you can pretend they are MDF with a veneer on the outside. I don't know what happened to the roof, that is another hiccup.
Have fun with whatever you are up to. 

Wednesday 3 February 2016

A STEP FORWARDS. (03/02/16)

It is a beautiful day. We were out to watch the sunrise but it wasn't very exciting. The thrill factor was not helped by my walking the wrong way so I was still in amongst the trees when it rose.
You can just see a little bit of it.
What inspired Molly to go swimming I'm not sure as it was freezing. Where there is little sense there is little feeling.
Why bother flying anywhere on such a beautiful day?
Last Friday I started working out how to get a complex title on top of video footage. I looked on the internet and had all sorts of complex solutions thrust my way. I emailed Claire who is a proper camera person but doesn't know much about the editing. She asked an editor and he kindly sent me some screen grabs from FinalCut Pro. His solution was to render the video with an Alpha channel as separate frames then to pop them in the sequencer and piss about with chroma keying in the compositor. He then renders out into some esoteric format that would have filled my hard drive. I asked John at Midmarsh Jottings and as soon as I had sent the email I thought of a simple way of doing it. It works.
This is very rough, the smokey title was done as an exercise with something very difficult to mask. The video is not corrected for colour but it proves the workflow.
If anyone wants to know how to do it then feel free to email me. Like most things it is easy once you know. Easyish is perhaps more accurate. I can only do it in Blender as I don't have FinalCut or AfterEffects but they all work much the same as you can see from the screen grab below.

Something else I found out by chance is that you can hover over any of these windows press ShiftD and move them to another monitor....saves me squinting.