29 May 2021

Days of digital past: Sony Mavica camera 1990s




I started early in the digital revolution having been on the "internet" in the 80s with my Amiga computer. So when digital photography started up I was curious to try it out at our Boston studio. My studio partner and boyfriend bought us a Sony Mavica. 1.6 megapixels! Removable media in the form of floppy disks - many reading might not even know what they were but they held about 1 megabyte of data on a square flat disk inserted into the side of the camera.)


The image quality was AMAZING.... so we thought. I have to say I still have some images from photos sessions I used it on. Usually I would do some digital and a roll of traditional film as coverage and scan those negatives fro processing. We made some money by taking photos for dating apps (mostly Manhunt but not exclusively) and the digital images were perfect for the low-res photos needed to load onto the websites. We would do a full session, do a quick retouching and cropping and then the client would leave with a floppy disk to upload to their home computer. It literally went from weeks to get the photos to a client to them leaving after the shoot with them in hand. 

It wasn't long before Sony had a 5 megapixel camera with Zeiss-icon lens that we just HAD to upgrade to but this was the first in our hands and I guess it has some sentimental feeling attached to it. 


Below are a couple of the images I still have from that camera. Not too bad but I did need to use Topaz Gigapixel to get them to a decent size for today's browsers. 



28 May 2021

crapaud (illustration)


 I came across a toad on my bike route and the thing was just not going to move for anyone so I took some reference photos to draw from. I used the my new iPad Pro and Sketchbook Pro. I still like the pen brushes in Sketchbook - especially when doing stipple work which most of this is and it's the reason it took almost 2 weeks to draw. I used a grey background so I could use a white pencil brush to add highlights and a watercolour brush for the shadow. 

25 May 2021

iPad Pro 11 inch 2021

 I have had a 12.9 inch iPad Pro for over  year, it was my brother's old model and I really loved it. The large screen combined with the Apple Pencil was simply awesome for drawing and even though it was from 2015 it was still overpowered for any app I can think of for iPad. So why replace it? 

The problems I had with the device were definitely 1st world. The battery wasn't lasting as long because of it's age but it still was good for 5 hours of drawing which was more than enough. I did love the large screen but it was awkward for me to move around or take anywhere - it wasn't any more portable than my laptop. Portable enough, but heavy and took up too much space where I was using it. I also had really annoying layer limitation with Procreate, 4 layers at the size I usually draw on which is mostly a RAM limitation. 

So I decided to either sell or return it to Apple for credit and get the 11 inch new model that was just released. It arrived on release day and honestly I didn't expect much difference in how it worked with what I do. It has surprised me, though. My layers in Procreate went up to 9... OK not so much but better. This is because I went form 6 gigs of RAM (I think) to 16 and 256 gigs of storage to 1 terabyte. The new M1 processor and graphics card is noticeably faster. Loading programs, even heavy ones like Affinity Photo or Designer pretty much just pop open as did my copy of Real Myst. I started drawing on a regular base iPad with the Apple Pencil and since this is larger than that, the loss of screen space hasn't felt dramatic, but I am missing that extra space for tools a little bit. Manipulating the smaller tablet has made up for that and this is so light and portable it's easier to work on while sitting on the deck or moving around. I am working on a new pen and ink drawing using Sketchbook Pro and so far, it's pretty nice. 

The storage and RAM were good enough reasons to update but the M1 chip, but having the same chip set up as the mac mini, MacBook and new iMacs is hinting that more professional apps should be coming up. The hardware on the iPad has been ridiculously ahead of iPad IOS and I am hoping the next update will allow Affinity to finally have what it needs to port Publisher to the iPad and it should make it easier for developers to add an iPad version of their lineup. My hope is Blender will take the leap and eventually so I can dump my laptop completely and still have a backup system in case my desktop has some mishap. 

A friend bought himself an Apple Pencil 2.... and never opened it so I ended up with that upgrade free of charge. The pencil does seem more responsive but it has a nice feature where I can tap the end to change from my brush to the eraser and back again without thinking. It's really handy! Sometimes the small things count more than any big new feature. The fact is charts by magnetically attaching the the side instead of the super fragile was the original pen worked provides peace of mind of that very expensive accessory. 

Developers Conference update:

I will post about this again after the Mac Developers Conference makes it's announcements because the new hardware updates would be much less a reason to spend this cash without a substantial update to the iOS. I don't think I will regret buying it, but I could certainly use more reasons to love it. 

20 May 2021

poisson 2 - another fish illustration


 Third done with Krita and I think I got the scales much better as they look more defined and I didn't loose the "sheen" I've been working hard to get. I tried to use layers more to my advantage with this one and the atmosphere is a lot darker than the first two. I think that worked better with this type of fish. I have no idea what type of fish any of the three I've drawn are. by the way. 

15 May 2021

Another fish illustration


This one took longer and was harder to  figure out... I didn't really get the scales as defined as I would have liked. Something I still need to get my head around. Fish are hard, the skin is multi coloured and shimmers especially this kind of fish so it is a challenge to get it even close to looking right. The reference photos I used is below for comparison. The photo wasn't great, to be honest I don't know why I had not deleted it from my files - but it was a nice subject to practice with. I might have used it as cut in some animation project but I really do not remember. Adding the deep blue made the illustration look much more vibrant



09 May 2021

poisson - Berlin Aquarium


 Painted in Krita. I had this in the back of my mind as a something draw or paint for years but never did anything about it until I was on a "purge" of old files recently. It took about 3 days to paint andI think it shows some progress in my painting skills. I put the dark blue/black, the fin and the eye on separate layers so I could block out the main colours on the body and mix them easier. then I added details by slowly building them in on top, mixing them and doing it again until they looked OK. The transparency of the fin was a challenge and the fish eye was more complicated than I thought it would be. I thought about adding floating crap in the water but that looked distracting so I decided to keep it simple.  

click image to enlarge

08 May 2021

DAVC logo project

 


I close friend decided to take on more neighbourhood association duties and one was to make  logo for a new committee. He came up with an idea and put it together but he used text edit to do it... I can't even imagine how he got as fas as he did using that! Another issue was he used a copyrighted image in the background. So he asked me to work on it and make sure the end file was usable for their needs. 

Sometimes, a project like this can be nightmare but his original idea made it pretty clear what he was going after and what he wanted the look to be. I made my analysis as I always do, what is the main point of interest, how o make sure the text is readable and how to get the sale across in a way that is clear and reproducible at different sizes and with different mediums. The colour swatches on the bottom can easily be turned into greyscale for a black and white print ad and still read as switches for example. 

It came together pretty quickly and he liked it so I would say it was a success!