Garstor's World, My realm of 3D art, LEGO and atheism

New Toys!

Posted on Thursday, August 17th, 2017 at 7:34 PM in Lego, Photoshop by Garstor

I’ve been on quite the Lego kick lately. After finishing the Chicago Skyline model I only waited a few days to buy the re-designed Burj Khalifa model and the Buckingham Palace model.

I have the first Burj Khalifa model. It is rather tiny and uses the 1×1 cylinder pieces primarily. It captures the essence of the structure – which is what I love about the Lego Architecture series. This new model is the tallest Lego Architecture and uses pieces that more accurately reflect the look of the real building.

After work today, I rushed over to Henry’s to see if they had any Lume Cubes. They had the lights but none of the accessories. So I bought a two-pack – they are charging up now.

I’ll have to get a proper hot-shoe flash kit for the camera eventually. I hope these Lume Cubes tide me over in the mean time and let me get a little more creative with lighting.

Chicago Skyline Model Finished

Posted on Thursday, August 10th, 2017 at 6:12 AM in Lego by Garstor

This marks the completion of all my Lego Architecture models. Some of my earlier models are still boxed away since I moved from Texas.

Chicago & NYC skylinesHere is the Chicago and New York City skyline models together. I cannot think of two more iconic American cities – indeed, these are the only two American cities in the skyline series.

The model showcases Big Red, the Willis Tower, the Wrigley Building and the John Hancock Tower. Also featured is the Cloud Gate (aka The Chicago Bean) and the Michigan Avenue bridge – I’ll guarantee that you have seen that bridge in movies.

I am not sure if Lego is going to release more skyline models. I hope that they do. Maybe they could re-create Toronto?

The newest Architecture model is the Arc De Triomphe. But I have older models to acquire first.

Photowalk August 7, 2017–Toronto Sunrise

Posted on Tuesday, August 8th, 2017 at 6:05 PM in Photoshop by Garstor

After an extended – and stressfully busier than usual – on-call rotation; I was extremely grateful for yesterday being a provincial holiday. Yay socialism!

There was not much walking involved here. I woke up at 4:20am and caught the Islington bus to the end of the line at Lake Shore Boulevard. From there, I walked a few blocks to The Prince Of Wales park.

imageI doubt that there will be any details visible in the screen scrap to the left. The red arrow is pointing to Prince Of Wales park.

I found a decent spot that let me shoot across Humber Bay toward downtown Toronto. I reached the park at about 5:30am and quickly setup my tripod and cable release.

This photowalk was to be a series of firsts for me. This was the first serious use of the cable release – I know, that’s not very exciting. It was also my first attempt at capturing a sunrise and a decent cityscape. Even though the sun was not due to rise for another 45 minutes, I was surprised at how much light there was. The camera was still kicking up the ISO to 6400.

I took a lot of photos. Maybe it is just me, but it felt like the cable release made me want to take more pictures. In spite of that, only a few shots were really worth sharing out on Flickr since so many were near duplicates or me experimenting with settings.

First Photo Of The MorningThe very first photo turned out surprisingly well. More firsts for this photowalk is how much I used the Topaz Labs tools during my post-processing. Because of the high ISO noise, Topaz DeNoise was essential – I used it on every single photo. Topaz Clarity was also heavily used to sharpen details.

I really wanted to show off the pre-dawn pink in the sky and the city lights reflecting off the water. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the other edits that I made to this image.

One thing that I want to point out is the larger-than-life starburst to the left of the CN Tower. That is not enhanced – it came off the camera that way. It is the green “TD” light on the Toronto-Dominion bank building. The f/22 aperture created the starburst effect.

SeagullsThe last photo that I took once the sun was fully risen also turned out rather nicely. Straight off the camera; it was rather a meh shot of seagulls starting their day.

I used the Nik Collection Silver Efex on this photo to give it a grungy black & white pop. Topaz Labs also produce a black & white tool but I have not used it yet.

 

To the see the other photos – including the sunrise – please visit my Toronto, Ontario album on Flickr. The newer photos in an album are towards the bottom.

Game Of Thrones Season 7 Episode 4

Posted on Sunday, August 6th, 2017 at 9:55 PM in Entertainment by Garstor

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London Skyline Model Finished

Posted on Saturday, August 5th, 2017 at 12:18 PM in Lego by Garstor

I’ve been on-call at work this past week. Normally that ends on Friday at noon; however, I am covering my colleague until Sunday at noon. And a lot of stuff has been breaking at work…after hours…

Ah well. It’s what I signed up for. At least I was able to finish the London skyline Lego model!

London Skyline ModelThe main features are obviously the Tower Bridge and The London Eye ferris wheel. But the National Gallery and Nelson’s Column are there, nestled behind and beside the Elizabeth Tower  – aka “Big Ben” which is actually the name of the main bell in the tower.

The London Eye isn’t quite a nice circle. The plastic tubing frame doesn’t play nicely with physics!

I used a shallow depth-of-field again; the 50mm prime lens at f/2.5. There was some minor straightening with Camera Raw and then I used Topaz Clarity for some final sharpening adjustments.

So the Chicago Skyline remains. That looks to be a fairly simple model to build. I’ll probably buy the Buckingham Palace and U.S. Capitol models soon as a birthday present to myself.

Now if the on-call system stays quiet for the next 24 hours…

Dad And Delys Are Visiting!

Posted on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017 at 7:38 AM in Personal, Photoshop by Garstor

It has been about seven years since I’ve seen my dad and his awesome wife, Delys.

Dad and DelysDue to health issues, this is very likely dad’s last trip back to North America. Fortunately, I am planning a trip back Down Under for 2018.

They are primarily here since dad’s mom is already 100 years old. I try to visit my grandmother on weekends when I am not working.

I took two photos of them on my balcony. These are in my Family Photos Flickr album. I played around with the Topaz tools and came up with some painterly versions of the images. I put those into my Photoshop album (along with a painted version of Mimico Creek).

Dad and Delys will be in Ontario until the end of August. So I will have the chance for more photos of them.

A Short Tour Of My Bell Tower Model (So Far)

Posted on Sunday, July 30th, 2017 at 7:58 AM in Ray-Tracing by Garstor

I have little doubt that this month is my record-setting month for posts! Considering how often I have let multiple months slip by, I am rather proud of this. I hope it is a momentum that I can maintain in August.

imageI have been working on a model of a bell tower that has been strongly influenced by the Turin Cathedral duomo (aka the bell tower).

It was many months ago when I first saw photos of the Turin bell tower. I kept think about how I would model it. Eventually – to get the idea out of my head – I sat down and started modeling.

There were a few abortive starts. My initial photo references were not good. Heck, as I state in the video, they still are not very good. But I finally got into a groove.

I didn’t want to make this video a full-blown tutorial. I had been showing off progress pictures to friends and colleagues; so this is meant to provide a closer view of the model.

Much work remains. There is the roof to build. I need to decide what the interior is going to be – will I keep the rooms that I have constructed or delete them and leave a hollow structure? I’d really like to get stairs modeled inside. Lastly, there is also the bells and their support structures.

I hope this turns out to be a respectable facsimile of the actual tower. There are some artistic liberties that I have taken already. I would be truer to life if I could actually visited Turin, Italy and take my own references photos!

Back to it. There are polygons to push around.

Skylines Together

Posted on Sunday, July 23rd, 2017 at 5:05 PM in Lego by Garstor

Sydney, Venice & Berline skylinesI put my three newest Lego skylines under my booze shelf. I finished the Sydney skyline a few days ago but the photos I had taken didn’t turn out as I wanted. So I opted for this.

My Lego Models Flickr group also includes the New York City skyline. That image is not properly white balanced though.

I bought the Chicago model. That completes the skylines series (so far anyway). I still need to get Buckingham Palace, the U.S. Capitol and the two re-designed Burj Khalifa and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum models.

The Louvre Museum Completed

Posted on Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 at 5:24 PM in Lego by Garstor

The_LouvreI finally built it!

I finished this model on Sunday evening, but waited until now to blog about it. Maybe I can set a personal record with blog posts this month!

The image was taken with the 50mm f/1.8 lens using f/2.0. I focused on the pyramid in manual mode – the first time that I have not used auto-focus actually.

As previously mentioned, the next builds will be the Sydney and London skylines. The Chicago skyline will be acquired in the near future.

Game Of Thrones Season 7 (No Spoilers Here!)

Posted on Monday, July 17th, 2017 at 4:06 PM in Entertainment by Garstor

Just…wow! No Spoilers. I promise. I won’t talk about anything that happened in last night’s episode.

I am glad that I added HBO to my cable package for this. I’m still cancelling it immediately after Thrones ends in 8 weeks. But…wow!

Winter is here at last and things are going to get very interesting. There is already some intriguing character development.

I can hardly wait to see more.