Make a tiny film in a weekend, sure!

I’m part of a team of improv friends who regularly take part in an annual New Zealand 48hr film competition.  This year’s event was cancelled, but then the organisers did a big “wait, hey” and decided to run a version where everyone is confined to filming in their own houses.  Starting point is a random genre (we got SciFi) and some elements that need to be included, the result has to be between 1 minute and 3 minutes long.  It was, as always, silly stressful mostly fun.   After some distributed filming, shonkily edited together with some bad sci-fi effects, we ended up with a 2 1/2 minutes of weird fly-point of view story.  The “flycam” view totally justifies the shaky camera work.   The actual film can’t be shared anywhere until after the judging in a couple of weeks (there are over 2,000 entries to be officially watched!), but here’s the poster, reusing an old macro photo of mine.

Not my style, but sure I’ll give it a go #2

I foolishly/recklessly signed up to a ‘one week challenge’ for digital portrait painting, via @paintable.cc . I call this finished for now, if not really finished-finished (luckily, digital paint never dries). Following someone else’s process made me explore some bits of my drawing programmes that I’ve never used before, and it was all very frustrating at times, but good to do.

Tools: Autodesk Sketchbook on a Surface Pro for the sketching and most of the painting parts, and Photoshop with an elderly Wacom tablet on my desktop for the Photoshop finishing and detail parts.

#digitalart #portrait #portraitpainting #oneweekchallenge

Another Thursday, another profile

The casual portrait group I go to more-or-less weekly is quite popular, and unless you get there very early, chances are good that the only seats left will be on the outer edges – but happily, I really like drawing an interesting profile!   2 hours or so on the Surface Pro, using Autodesk Sketch.   And, so bold, I even tried a little colour this time around.

Digital painting of an older man

Digital Painting – Gill

More digital painting on the Surface Pro, working from a live model over 2 hours or so, and using Autodesk Sketch.

finished 2hr sketch

 

Most of the work (and what really decides if a portrait works or not) is the first 10 minutes, drawing as quick and as fast as I can to get the features in place, before I get distracted by details.  And if I’d been working for longer, I might have tried to capture the model’s amazing multi-coloured dreads

 

Learning curves and painting with the pixels

When I bought a Surface Pro I romantically imagined drawing directly to the screen as I traveled; drinking in cafes by the Seine, jet-setting through airports and all that.  And, this will be feasible eventually, digital sketching turns out to be just as much hard work as any other way of drawing.  Just a little less messy.

Working in a new medium is always a mix of lovely and awful.  I’ve been taking the tablet to a weekly drawing portrait group I attend for a couple of months now. While still mild torture (I miss you charcoal) the processing is slowly becoming fun-ish.

After much practicing with different programmes, I settled on Autodesk’s Sketchbook as having the best interface for drawing live.  Photoshop is just too fiddly for quick brush changes and such with out a keyboard, and Sketchbook lets you work in layers (so an under sketch to paint over is possible), as well as having a interface easy to manage with just a pen, a nice selection of so-called natural media brushes available anda fair amount of control over how they perform.

Here’s a couple of examples, each about 1 1/2 hours drawing time, from live models.

Emperors of Newtown

Snapshots of Nero, Julius Caesar and the rest, after they decided to ditch the regal togas and move to a more informal neighbourhood.

The goal was to bring statues somewhat to life, but still keep their essential statue-ness apparent.  The original Greek statues, which the Romans copied, were brightly painted in lifelike colours.  The pale marble ideal as we know it now was all a misunderstanding . . . .

This short project was undertaken as part of a photography course, but it’s an idea I may go back to and explore further.  These faces are from ancient Roman portrait busts, and along with the backgrounds are all pictures I’ve taken.

 

 

My first wedding shoot, sort of!

One of my favourite NZ Improv Festival 2015 shows was Nelson group Body in Space’s “Do I“.   The groom plucked from the crowd turned out to already have an actual wife, who spoke up at the “has anyone got a reason . . . ” part of the ceremony, so the bride married the priest.  A happy ending for all.   The show was delightful, and I got a chance to take some weddingesque photographs.

 

 

One crying eye . . .

Manipulating photographically acquired pixels is a fine and useful pastime.  However, this week a Photoshop paper (part of a photography course) made me take up a digital paintbrush and actually paint with it for the first time in a long long while.  Satisfying, and an effective way to encourage time to vanish down deep rabbit holes.   Did I really spend half an afternoon trying to figure out a vaguely plausible ‘crying’ effect?   Oh yes.

Shoutout to the ever helpful Obsidian Dawn (aka   Stephanie Shimerdla), whose skin texture brushes and matching tutorial was a especially useful resource among the many useful resources out there.

206-09 Ali-Little

Failing to catch a frisbee

Me ineptly playing with the fast shutter speed on my camera, while my dog ineptly plays catch-the-flying-thing.  And yet we’re both happy with the afternoon!

This is every-other photo from a one second burst, stacked in Photoshop, with the pup and toy masked for each layer.  Shot in glare-y bright summer sunlight, and I’m not sure if I’ve quite figured out the focus for this sort of shot, but hey, it nearly all works.  Much like the dog’s attempt to catch the Frisbee.

If I can figure out how to make the strobe function work properly in the speedlights I got for Xmas, I might try this shot again at night, using long exposure instead.

dog at play

 

Or, three dog version

three dogs

 

Technically: f7.1, 1/1250sec iso 640 focal length 24mm (36 in 35mm terms).  Weird looking fur because a) she’s half curly coat retriever, and b) she’d just been swimming in the river.