Digital Matte Painting: haunted house

March 26, 2014 at 6:31 am (School) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This is super fun. Find a picture of a really nice house…


…and totally creepify it. Break things like siding and windows. Add grunge and grime. Overgrow the foliage. Remove the surroundings and add dead trees and forbidding clouds. Enhance the lighting effects to be eerie.

haunted house5

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Digital Matte Painting: lavarrific

March 18, 2014 at 6:01 am (School) (, , , , , , , , )

So this shot also involved a day to night transition, but mostly as a device to best showcase the glowing lava. Still have to put in the work, though. Basically, I took this rocky scene:


I went through the rigamarole of making the transition to night, then scoured the internet for lava assets. Using multiple layers, painting and a fair amount of warp and liquify I added the lava into the scene. To make the lava really set into the scene, I painted in the cracks and ravines made by the flow. Using Vivid Light and overlay, I painted in texture and glow on the rocks. Like so:


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Digital Matte Painting: day to night

March 11, 2014 at 6:01 am (School) (, , , , , , , , , )

So much time goes into a transformation like this. First you have to block everything out. Group things categorically so you can grab them as selections quickly later. It takes so long, but it is totally worth it later. Next you have to remove all harsh shadows and shading, because that nonsense doesn’t happen at night, and paint out people and other things that shouldn’t be holding a freeze-frame in your background. Next, you overlay a dark blue to cast night, but mask out areas that will be flooded with light from any source. Drop in a layer of you light source and mask the whole thing, then paint in your light. Take a look at night scenes and how light behaves, because nothing will ruin this shot faster than light misbehaving. Finally, add in details like glowing windows and light sources. So you start with this…


and many hours later, you end up with something like this…

Bath Abbey_day to nightUPDATE

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backlog of updates: image manipulation and compositing

January 28, 2014 at 9:12 pm (School) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Back into Photoshop!

Create a still life in photoshop. I started with a picture of a window, a bumpy texture for the table surface, and a dimpled texture to use as the base for the orange. The image was created using effects, adjustment layers, masks and hours and hours of painting.


The final project required me to find a black and white concept line art of a fictional vehicle. Using a combination of painting and integrating found images, I created a realistic rendering of what this vehicle might look like. I started off masking out all of the sections of the vehicle and assigning grayscale values to each section. and painting in the details.

Line Art from Free Patents Online:


Final render:


*mic drop*

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After Effects. love it.

July 20, 2012 at 9:31 am (School) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

First assignment with Adobe After Effects: make a self-portrait (or a portrait of whatever…), 30 seconds – 2 minutes long. This took FOREVER. Why did I pick so much stuff!!! It was fun, though. Definitely room for improvement, but overall I really like it. Anyone who knows me will get the references.

The second assignment for After Effects was to find a comic and animate using specific features in After Effects. Art from the online comic Lackadaisy by Tracy J. Butler. She is AH-mazing.

Also, the amount of time this 1 minute short took (about 30 hours)… MAD RESPECT for all animators. Seriously.

Motion graphics with typography assignment: Animate song lyrics in Adobe After Effects. I picked (with the encouragement of others) “8 Mile Wide” by Storm Large. Because it is awesome. It is not safe for work. Or children…

If you want to see her official music video… and you should, because it is pretty great.

Next, make an identity video for a real or imagined film company. The cheesier, the better as far as the instructor was concerned.

Use 3D (or 2.5D, as some say) and camera features in After Effects. Length: 10+ seconds. Concept: a nod to Kamelot (yes, I meant to spell it that way): My friends asked me – the resident expert on special effects – how they made the Game of Thrones intro title sequence. Well, GoT titles were definitely done in Maya or some other actual 3D modeling software, but I was taking After Effects, so… I made this for them. AE doesn’t really have 3D, per se. You can manipulate flat planes in 3D space. So to build a 3D object, you have to construct it like a house of cards, using flat pieces… It was a fun experiment.

There were a lot of assignments… next we learned to use the rotoscoping tools (roto) – you trace around something to replace it with something else or replace everything around it with something else. Tedious, but oddly calming. I chose to torture Ripley… as though she hasn’t had enough already.

Now motion tracking… where you track 1 to 4 points of motion to match movement. You’re welcome, nerds. And, uh, I totally jacked this song clip from MrVoletron’s channel. Because it is awesome and it fit the mood… I wish this clip were longer. Not sure what I did?


I replaced the license plate. Added color effects and blur effects to match look of clip.

Finally… the AE FINAL.

Create title credits (open or close). I chose to make opening credits for the characters from my D&D game night.

The art assets were mainly acquired via deviant art using searches to find art that roughly matched each other and the characters I was trying to portray. Having said that, most of them were modified in Photoshop to adjust the background, add features that were missing, change weapons, etc… then put everything I wanted to move on layers and painted underneath to fill in holes, as needed. In AfterEffects I did all of the animations and effects.

Very sad update… Loki and Relic have died… Ok, Relic is not dead, but he was turned to stone and we have to leave him behind. What? We are in the middle of a forrest and he weighs, like, 300lbs… We can go back for him in a few levels… NOT THE POINT! DON’T JUDGE US! A moment of silence, please.

Thank you.

AE Final art & asset credits:
Ayrel by deviantArt user eliz7; I painted her some legs in Photoshop, so she would be standing, and gave her red eyes for the transition at the end of her sequence
Ayrel’s background by deviantArt user jermilex
Bobetta from flickr user twen5: I removed background and changed her two-handed war hammer into a one-handed mace and added a shield
Bobetta’s mace from a work by deviantArt user MarkWinters – I just needed the top of the mace, but it is a cool image so check it out…
Bobetta’s shield by deviantArt user ZombWill (Will Owen)
Bobetta’s background by deviantArt user ink-head
Loki by deviantArt user isriana; I removed background, added glow and wings, used bounce lightning in AE for his magicalness
Loki’s wings deviantArt user littlegoblet
Loki’s background wallpaper by user sasha2d; I painted out the little creatures
Relic by deviantArt user BenWootten; I painted out the flail and added an axe, replaced the rune on his forehead with an anvil
Relic’s axe by deviantArt user vielmond
Urs by deviantArt user Shikamaru-no-kage; I found some vampire teeth (I think I used Kate Beckinsale’s mouth as character Selene from Underworld) and gave her a second mouth for the transition at the end of her sequence
Urs’ background by deviantArt user jermilex (again… his art is pretty great, not gonna lie…)
Brim by deviantArt user NadrojWobrek; I just had to layer and fill in the background – the fire is on 3 separate layers to grow the flames and there are two layers of smoke around them that come in as the fire gets bigger, very subtle but adds something nice…
Minions by deviantArt user ZombWill (Will Owen again – I love his little dudes!)
Minions’ background by deviantArt user jermilex (YET AGAIN)
D&D Logo (a TM of Wizards of the Coast & Hasbro) found on this Adam Ryen Daniels nerdy wordpress review of the Facebook D&D game
Parchment texture image from Mitch Featherston’s blog The Public Domain

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March 22, 2012 at 5:07 am (School) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

SO. Finals….

My image manipulation class assignment was to find something to use as inspiration. Then, create my own art based on that. As open-ended as it sounds, yes. I mean, there were specs… 180 dpi; RGB; PSD file to turn in with layers labeled; printed version mounted on black matte board, but the other details were totally up to us as the artist.

As my inspiration, I finally landed on a contemporary surrealist, Vladimir Kush:

And here is what I came up with. Digital illustration is definitely not my deal, but it was fun to hone my photoshop skills some more and challenge myself with the illustration related aspects. The instructor actually said during the in-class review that it was her favorite one (and some of them were really good, too #notsohumblebrag)! WHOA.

UPDATE, assets:

I had the same instructor for my 3D modeling class, which was much more difficult. Not in a bad way as far as content goes; a good challenge and something very new. Yay for that! … BUT… she fell behind in material. Like, our final was to complete all of these renders from the scenes we created in Maya throughout the term, put them together in After Effects and make a QuickTime movie. The problem is that she still had stuff to show us… ON THE DAY OF THE FINAL. Sooooo, we had to come to class ready to learn how to turn in the final. As a result, I am not totally satisfied with this. If I had known more of the variables to a+b=c … I would have done things a little differently. With that disclaimer and under the circumstances, I felt pretty good about my output. Some of my textures are really nice. There are a few minor proportion issues that I would go back and fix now and I would definitely refine my ball animation for roll distance and perspective view. Anyway, for a first time with any 3D modeling, I call it a win and look forward to gaining more experience.

Also, if you need me to animate anything for you, let me know! It might be a few years before you see the results, but I TOTALLY WILL! HAHAHA!

PS: every time the instructor asked us to do anything with our balls, the 13 year old boy in my head would giggle. Sometimes out loud.

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