Revisiting The Photoshop World 2018 Images

Many months ago, one of the highly-respected denizens of the KelbyOne Community had commented that my photos appeared too dark to him. He uses a calibrated monitor and definitely knows his stuff. Although I have a Datacolor Spyder Elite calibrator, I found that getting my monitors set properly was a real challenge.

With my new monitor calibrated, I could finally see his point. What a massive difference!

Live Model - Viking 02With that in mind, I wanted to re-edit some of the photos that I took at Photoshop World 2018 this year. The fabulous Wyrd Brothers Productions had an excellent live model Viking set. I could finally do some justice to those images.

I really like the intense stare in this newer version of the photo. Filter Forge helped me create a suitable background replacement.

Live Model - Viking 04This image is a new upload to my Flickr Photoshop World 2018 album.

I kept the same background replacement texture and made good use of the Topaz Labs toolset to tweak the colours and sharpening. The three original images of the Vikings were cleaned-up and improved and two new images were added.

My hope is that Wyrd Brothers return to Photoshop World 2019. I’ll be sure to take more photos this time and pay more attention to the camera settings. I don’t want to waste creative opportunities like these in the future.

World Machine – Mount Daniel Release

After a very long development hiatus, Stephen Schmitt is back to seriously developing World Machine. He has opted to stop using version numbers in favour of naming the releases. I think this is a silly and confusing idea but the newest release is called Mount Daniel.

My preferences to using version numbers aside, I am impressed with the new World Machine. There are a lot of performance enhancements and improved multi-threading. This Mount Daniel release offers a re-built snow device, support for OpenEXR and numerous bug fixes.

The major disappointment with all this work is that the Programmer’s Development Kit keeps getting breaking changes. This doesn’t impact most users directly; however, third-party developers like Quadspinner keep getting punched in the face. Quadspinner’s GeoGlyph is an absolutely essential plug-in for World Machine.

This weekend, I hope to sit down and build a new digital terrain. It has been so long since I have created one.

Photowalk – Return To Mimico Creek

Yesterday, after clicking my personal odometer up a notch, I went on a photowalk. It was a short one but I wanted to try out a few things.

Yours Truly – Sir Dumb-Ass here – forgot to bring along the cable to connect the Pluto Trigger to my camera. So that cut my try out list down a bit.

Kipling Station 01I started out with a quick hop over to Kipling Subway station. I figured that the Sigma 10-20mm lens and the Platypod could still create some interesting images.

The lighting in the subway station sucks. I find that the fluorescents always blow out. But I walked as far on the of the platform as I could and set the Platypod near the edge. The 10mm focal length nicely captured the flooring in front of me along with the waiting train. The colours were all over the place; so I made it a B&W image.

I also experimented with shutter priority to get blurred trains. The aforementioned fluorescent blow out made that extra tricky. I don’t have a neutral density filter that will fit on the Sigma lens.

My other plan was to get a self-portrait in front a blurred train. But not having the Pluto Trigger hooked up keeps that idea on the To-Do list.

Mimico Creek 03After the subway, I wandered back to Tom Riley Park and Mimico Creek. This was where I took my first photowalk when my Canon 80D was brand-new.

This time, the Platypod let me get down low to the water’s surface. That change in perspective can make a big difference.

Mimico Creek is only a few centimeters deep through the park – I’m sure it gets deeper elsewhere and I should more of the creek in the future. Some shutter priority work when the water is flowing faster would be cool too.

I think my mojo is nearly back. This week, I have to make the return to 3D work. I feel like I’ve forgotten everything about modeling and rendering…

Canadian International Air Show 2018

The Labour Day weekend traditionally marks the end of the Canadian National Exhibition – known locally as The Ex. It also means the Canadian International Air Show plays out over Lake Ontario.

I haven’t been to an air show in over 30 years. With a passion for photography, I ended that too-long dry spell on Saturday.

USAF Thunderbirds - flyby 2It was a hot, humid day and the haze was heavy all morning. Only the noon sun was able to burn that away for the aerial displays overhead.

The show opened with the jaw-dropping performance of the USAF Thunderbirds in their F-16 Fighting Falcons. This weekend is their only performance outside of the United States. All I can say is, “Wow!”

CF-18 about to climbThe Canadian Forces showed off their own prowess with the CF-18 Hornet demonstrator. She was painted in the colours of NORAD to mark the 60th anniversary of that partnership.

I’m always proud of our forces and their global reputation.

The amazing F-35 Lightning II followed the Canadian Forces and it darn near made the Hornet seem quiet. What a beast that plane is; with a roar to match!

I couldn’t stay for the entire three hours of the show unfortunately. I followed the Thunderbirds’ formation into the sun with my camera. My eyes still hurt from that – I hope I haven’t damaged them any more than they already are. Sadly, this means that I missed the Canadian Forces Snowbirds performance.

Next year!

My Flickr album for the air show is available here.

Keeping My Mind Busy

In an effort to keep my thinking away from the event of Friday afternoon, I am going to delve into building the long-procrastinated, big LEGO project I have here. Big Ben.

I am one of those pedantic types that rankles at this structure being called Big Ben. The bell is called “Big Ben,” while the tower is “The Elizabeth Tower.” I’m not sure why that annoys me so much…

Another major London landmark that is available in LEGO is the Tower Bridge. I will very likely acquire that one next.

Yesterday, I also went over to Henry’s Camera Store and bought the wide-angle Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 lens. This lens was highly recommended to me at Photoshop World. Even with the cropped sensor factor of my EOS 80D, this lens is wider than any of my other lenses.

I’m looking forward to finding some magnificent ceilings to photograph. Wide-angle lenses give the sense of epic grandeur to cathedrals and museums when the camera is angled upward. So that could be fun.

Over in the digital art world, I am very close to finishing up the unwrapping of my bell tower model.

I will probably make a video introducing RizomUV in the near future. I am not sure if I will aim for creating a tutorial series though.

UV Unwrap Of My Bell Tower

The slow and sometimes-not-steady progress on my Turin duomo inspired tower has continued. The end (of the UV mapping) is finally in sight!

rizomUV_progressI have steadily become accustomed to the RizomUV workflow. I am now working on mapping the spiral stairs to the belfry. Unfortunately, the automatic edge selection tools in RizomUV are having problems with these parts. So I am stuck with doing each piece manually.

It is slow and tedious work, but fairly straight forward. I have managed to get the stair support cut into four pieces that unwrap quite well. The tiresome bit is that there are about 60 stairs to work on…

I experimented with the mosaic automatic edge selection for the roof shingles. That was a disaster! I ended up going back and re-doing those by hand. I partly blame the way LWCAD creates shingles; there a lot of n-gons that needed cleaning up during modeling.

Currently, many of the UV islands are oriented at 90 or 180 degrees to how I want them. I’ll fix that up just before I call all of this work done.

After that, I’ll use Allegorithmic’s Substance Painter to do the texturing. I’ve owned the Substance products for a couple of years now but have never been able to use them thoroughly. I hope the model turns out as nicely as the vision in my head.

So my 3D knowledge will continue to expand!

Buying RizomUV

Friday marked the final day of my evaluation period for RizomUV. The application developer graciously doubled my time because most of the first period was spent looking at an older version of the program. I appreciated his generosity.

A full license will cost about $230. But given how much better RizomUV is over UV Layout, it is worth it.

That said, RizomUV is not without its quirks that one must get used to. But if you are aware of these idiosyncrasies and work carefully, you can avoid them. Truly, the biggest knock against the product is the lack of proper documentation.

Some users have started creating YouTube tutorials – I’m not yet sure if I’ll do the same. For now, the best learning resource is a Discord chat channel. You can text with other users and the developer directly.

What makes RizomUV superior to UV Layout? The selection ability. It is far easier to select edges for cutting in RizomUV. It has an edge loop selection. You can select individual polygons and RizomUV will cut them around their perimeter. The application also has several automatic selection features, such as box model and sharp edges.

I mentioned some quirks and the biggest one for me was that RizomUV includes the entire still-folded 3D mesh in the UV space. UV Layout used the metaphor of “rooms” to separate where you perform cutting from where you perform unwrapping. This means that in RizomUV, if you are not careful, you unwrap a part of your model but if there are other visible parts, those will become highly deformed. Basically, RizomUV is trying to unwrap a 3D mesh that does not have any edge cuts yet. The results can be bizarre and jolting.

But all in all, it is a great product. I’m glad to have bought it. Hopefully I will get my bell tower model unwrapped in the near future.