29 November 2010

Back to basics

I think drawing is still the most basic skill in all the visual arts. Nothing compares to learning about perspective, depth, form... you name it. It's something you can do anywhere and anytime with materials so cheap anyone can afford it... even me.

I often work from photos on complicated subjects like this guy. On vacation though I like to draw whatever is in front of me.

Since I am in the middle of some not very pleasant surgeries right now, drawing really makes things seem a little easier to deal with.

21 November 2010

Living for the Truth - revisited

I made this doc in 2001 and was never happy with it. So after upgrading to the new Final Cut Suite, I decided a severe cut was in order. 60 minutes to 7. The longer version is very dry. This is much more lively and helps hide the very bad video quality of the clips. The clips of her performing and lecturing were less integrated into the interview originally as well and I think this new treatment of them helps support and liven up the interview. She is still plugging away on Boston Neighborhood Network, claiming Obama is not really a citizen and that the Haitian earthquake was caused by an experimental bomb in a very "Tea party-ish" conspiratorial way. Disappointing, but since the interview was from 2001, I didn't find it fair to include things we didn't talk about back then.

* This might be better seen directly on Youtube as the blog seems to crop the video a bit.

19 November 2010

further along with the Whitman design

the front and back covers how they will look if the book was lying open on a table. (without the spine details for now. )

I like the "makes one face" concept, but I think keamy is leaning towards the same crop of each face.

18 November 2010

New Design Project

Just started working out a design for the printed version of a play written by Michael Z. Keamy about Walt Whitman. Working with Keamy is always great, and I thought I'd show some of the early design ideas. This will be available on Amazon's site sooner or later.

Still deciding on the right image and how much of it to show. Right now I'm going for a very "classic book collection" look.

07 November 2010

Hdr Options

I am not an HDR expert by any means, but in some ways I think that helps in deciding with software I want to use. I am very «results orientated» when it comes to work and usually the background tech doesn't interest me very much if the final product is what I was going after. So looking at these 3 options I was mostly looking at how easily I got to my goal.

Photomatix: as far as smoothnees went this one topped the others, at 100% there was very little noise to be seen and gave the most «photoreal» images. Options were limited and the interface out of date. It was the fastest processing the images of the 3. More painterly treatments of the image I found harder to control and get what I wanted.

Photoshop CS5: I huge step up from other version, I like the interface well enough and really liked the «details» slider for bringing out details in the images, something the other two was less straightforward about. The «photorealness» of the images was hard to accomplish and it takes quite a while playing around to get what you want. More illustrated looks are much easier to do.

HDR Efex Pro: Very nice interface, the best of the 3 with options to work on portions on the images and not globally all the time. Presets are fantastic starting points and there are lots of them. Images are much noisier than Photomatix, but less than Photoshop and that can be fixed with tweaking to a large extent. As slow or slower than Photoshop importing and processing the photos.

My recommendations...

All 3 are excellent choices, budget comes into play. HDR is included in CS5, the Photomatix plugin is 100$ while the HDR Efex Pro is 160$, a little steep. For a «1050’s postcard» look which I like, CS5 gave me more of what I wanted with HDR Efex a close second, Photomatix was a hands down winner in realistic treatment with HDR Efex a close second there. So a lot will come down to personal taste but I’d say, despite price a little too high, that HDR Efex Pro is the one I’ll go with. A big advantage is the speed of use. Getting what I wanted took less than 2 minutes while it took at least 30 in CS5 and never quite made it in Photomatix. (for this style of image). All 3 needed tweaking in Photoshop proper afterwards, which is to be expected I think.

HDR Efex and Photoshop : Glowing around edges much more noticeable in Photoshop

Photomatix: much more realistic, but falls short on illustrated look