Don’t Be Creative, Be Passionate

Now, don’t take the title too literally but consider this. Don’t come up with ideas because they are different, nurture them because they matter.

Hey Guys,

I hope everyone is having a good Monday, I wanted to write a post today for people who work in creative fields. Followers of this blog will know I’m a student, and so perhaps speak with a certain sense of optimism, but I feel my point here today is applicable to anyone looking to develop any kind of creative work.

This idea came to me yesterday, when after spending the weekend working on a couple of separate projects, I ditched them. I realised that I didn’t really care about these ideas, and I was developing them as a priority above my other work because I thought they were pretty avant guarde. Except they weren’t, they were crap. One I will admit, just needs a lot more development if I’m ever even to consider picking it up again in the future, but the other one is my primary example for this post.

Flying horses. Nay. Flying Toy Horses. My idea was this: I picked up these plastic model horses about 6 months ago because I thought I could use them for a mini-project. What I eventually tried to do, was animate still images of them with the distortion pin tool on AAE; creating a super slo-mo sequence of them jumping off of stuff. I ran a couple of renders, still not 100% but prepared to keep an open mind. Yesterday I finished two test renders, they had immaculate masks and lighting effects so they look relatively believable. My animation was good too, the motion of the legs, head and neck being key to the movement of a horse. But then I watched them back, and yeah, technically they were ok, but I was hit with two thoughts. What does this mean? And Why am I doing this? 

I was doing it because no-one else had; I’d side-tracked projects that mean a lot to me because I was in a rush to stand out. That’s not how you create art, that’s how you create shite. I took a step back, saw what i was doing and abandoned the project. I’m now refocusing my efforts of two of my large projects. In particular, my dissertation project for my final year at university. It’s sometimes hard to work on because it reflects some personal memories and intimate relationships, but so far it’s coming out well and I have no doubt that when I finish it, it will be a triumph. The project is called ‘3 Hours’ and I will add a link here when I have finished rebuilding the promo page.

This post isn’t for self-promotion though, it’s a thought on how sometimes it is so tempting to try and stand out, we breach our own values of quality. Gimmicks aren’t respected and never deemed as classics. So take your time and create the fantastic, powerful work you’re capable of. Impress yourself.

Take it easy,

Matt  :)

The Most Beautiful Time-Lapse Videos EVER

So I have always loved time-lapse videos, I think they’re stunning and truly reflect that if you have a patience, you can create memorable pieces of art. I actually think I might have done this post before but who cares, the game has been changed by a release this year that blew everyone else out of the water. I’m going to keep this post very short as I am very busy today; but just watch the videos, it’s half and hour well spent.

The Mountain 

The best video online right now; stunning, haunting and moving. The best of the best in my opinion.

Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull

The first video I saw in like this, I love that there is motion in it too; it must have been so hard to calculate!

The Unseen Sea

A fantastic video that focuses on how clouds look during time-lapses; stunning.

Sorry this has been such a short post guys, but I’ve got stuff to do!

Take it easy,

Matt  :)

Good-bye Objectivity, Hello Me.

So, I started this blog to link people to awesome pieces of creative work online, be it videos, photography or whatever. But, I find that within a busy university schedule to tweet these things is much quicker than writing a summary of it. If anyone is reading this and still looking for that kind of content, perhaps you might want to follow me on twitter. If so, please check out my twitter profile.

But as I have just alluded to, I will be moving away from these kind of posts on this blog and instead aim to keeping anyone that is interested updated on my work; so here we go!

MY PROJECTS:

For anyone that visits my portfolio site you may be aware of some of my projects that I do and am interested in; but for those of you who haven’t seen yet, I will just quickly link you to a few things that are finished.

Pancakes and Apples (Diary of a Boy at Sea) 

So this is a short web-comic that has been doing the rounds online, I have been getting really positive feedback from my followers on twitter and would love to hear more from other people; there are no comments on the actual pages at the moment though and I’d love to get some hard-copy feedback!

Sense – Datum // Her Egg

So, I am a keen writer and I love trying to write short stories in between working on my larger projects (more below); here are two stories that I have finished that I have submitted to a short story contest and I would love to get some feedback if you guys have the time (Sense-Datum was a university assignment that I got a first for by the way! :D )

CURRENT PROJECTS:

So I am working on a couple of big things at the moment, but most significantly is my primary project: 3 Hours.

Whilst at the moment I am trying to keep this project a little secretive, I want to raise a bit of awareness and develop an enigma around this project. However I will be updating the preview page soon as I feel at the moment it is a little too elusive. For now I will say this; 3 Hours is a digital narrative experience, it’s going to change the way you can read a story by blending multiple writing styles seamlessly. Stay posted, it’s going to be good. For now, please check out the preview page.

For anyone that has stuck through this post, thanks a lot, it’s really nice to get support when I receive some. But don’t worry, my posts will not continue to be this self-indulgent and promoting! Instead I will just aim to keep you guys up to date with stuff I am doing and stuff I think you should check out too; hopefully this should lead to more consistent blog posts.

Take it easy,

Matt  :)

Top 5 Videos of the Week [20/02/2011]

So as I have been away for a while this T5V has a few entries from further back but they are still as strong as ever; this week we have the video game trailer that has everyone talking, John Malkovich being… well, John Malkovich, a stunning piece of animation work and I bit of film relief in anticipation of the Oscars, so enjoy!

 

1) Dead Island: Official Announcement Trailer

We start this weeks list off with a biggy; this trailer has been buzzing around the internet ever since it was released, and rightly so. This cinematic trailer tells the story of a family of three who are under the attack of… well zombies. The hype has been so massive in fact that the movie rights have alreayd been sold… Crazy.

 

2) The Blackwater Gospel

 

This is one of my personal favorites from this weeks list; TBWG is an animation piece centring on the paranoia in a small isolated town after the undertaker arrives. The resulting piece of work is a visual masterpiece that must be seen; watch it NOW.

 

3) Niteo

Ok, I’ll put my hands up, this is a bit of self-promotion. This weeks number 3 video goes to… me. I made this video a couple of weeks back and I thought this may be a good way to get it out there a little more. The ffect was very simple and cheap to make; it just took a vase of water and some glitter paint. I mounted my camera close to the vase ful of water, and as I poured the glitter paint into the glass, the glitter and paint seperated in a really beautiful way. I like it guys, please don’t forget to ‘like’ if you have a vimeo account :)

 

4) Butterflies

 

WARNING: DO NOT CONSUME ILLEGAL STIMULANTS BEFORE WATCHING THIS CLIP. I mean, technically you shouldn’t anyway, but what I’m saying is, this video is VERY trippy. Somehow it has something to do with butterflies, but in reality, this is an exercise in heavy post-editing and freaking people out. You’ve got to appreciate the level of work this must have taken, but personally… I got scared.

 

5) The Final Chapter [CLICK HERE FOR WEBPAGE]

We finish this weeks list with a very special entry. Those of you who read my previous article may have already seen this, but in for those of you that haven’t, you’re in luck. I had to repost this because it really is a feat like no other; this vimeo project drew the community together on a collaborative piece of work like I have never seen before. The idea being that this whole video was filmed in segments by separate directors, each segment ends in a still, then the competition opens again and the next segment must start with the still image that the last segment ended with. It’s simpler than it sounds trust me; but that’s why I  have linked you to the blog instead of the video, so that you can read the background into the project and watch the separate clips should that be what you desire.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks list, click here to see last weeks T5V.

Light Painting: Post Editing Tips

Hey guys, it’s been a long break for me and I know the blog is pretty bare at the moment. But my exams are over and I hope to start posting regularly once again!

So I see that online there are a LOT of tutorials of home to do light painting; I think it’s a wonderful effect and you can read a couple of great tutorials of how to do it here, here and here. This tutorial is for intermediates and does assume some prior photo editing knowledge.

Now light painting is a fantastic medium to create stellar images, usually people like to write their name or super-impose something like a flower; personally I love the abstract patterns that can come from swirling your light around in the dark. However this is inconsequential to this tutorial, as there are plenty of resources to create your photo I’d like to show you the process I went through to get my shots looking a little more polished.

I am using a free programme called Paint.net which is a fantastic free alternative to Photoshop. The interface is very similar and only lacks a few of Photoshop features (Though as Photoshop advances, Paint.net does not). I strongly urge you to download this programme here.

Step 1. So you have your shots, but you might have som stuff in the background obscuring it, in this case, there is a computer screen. I am going to clone stamp it out, if you aren’t familiar with clone stamping I suggest you read this tutorial here. In light painting if you’re just looking to erase (which I recommend) look to set your anchor point in a dark patch that is near the object you want to get rid of, there may be darker patches on the photo but there will always be subtle balance differences and choosing an area near your object just makes it easier. See the photos below for a step by step example.

(If you’re worried that you can see the area affected by the clone stamp, it’s ok we’ll be addressing that next)

Step 2. Now we are going to balance our light and dark areas in the best possible way. There are two methods in doing this, you can use the brightness and contrast adjuster, or you can use the luminosity adjuster on the curves tool. I actually use both,because I find the curves tool better for fine tuning whilst the B+C effect is better in more general usage. You are only going to want to make very subtle changes so that they don’t look typically ‘edited’, this is a common problem among editors. There is an old saying that goes ‘If you can’t tell what the editor did, they did a great job’. I can’t really tell you how to adjust your own photo, but I will just show you the settings I used for my own.

Step 3. Now this photo is already looking pretty nice, I was lucky in this shot that the trail came out a nice gold, but your colours always won’t always pop this well and this photo can still use a little colour adjusting. You can do this by boosting the saturation slightly, however my prefered method is to use the curves tool again, by just booting the colours slightly you can really make those colours stand out, which just look great against the black background. For this shot I’m going to boost the yellows, but like the previous step have an experiment and see what looks best for you, I’ll post an example with some vivid greens that look great with an approximation of the settings I used.

You should be at a point where you are happy with your shots, personally to just give them that final, professional feel, I like to trim about 5 pixels or so off the top and bottom but that’s completely up to you. Here are two full resolution examples of my own shots, please leave a comment with any questions or links to your own light painting photo gallery.

[CLICK HERE TO VISIT MY FLICKR PAGE]

Peace,

Matt  :)

A Few Photos From November.

I may have not joined in with all the ‘movember’ antics, but November was a good for my camera, I got some ok shots of the student walkout and of the recent snowfall. Hope you like them guys, you can see more of my photo’s here.

Don’t Take Any Photos Until You Read This First!

3 Tutorials EVERY Photographer Needs to Read.

Hey guys,
So I’m a big fan of the ‘tuts+ range of sites (ranging from 3d design to sound mixing) and I came across 3 must read tutorials that I urge you to digest before you take any photographs. Personally when I bought my SLR camera I went to a local camera shop and asked the guy over the counter to explain everything to me, how it worked, what aperture means etc and I recommend you to do this too. However if you are in the position where this is not a viable option, everything I was told is covered in these three tutorials. I have also read through all of these and they are laid out very simply and I picked up a few new things as well. Whilst I may be new to SLR photography I do have a prior knowledge of composition due to my computer design work; yet these tutorials proved very useful even to myself and I urge you to read them.

  • The first is a tutorial on all the functions of your camera. Whilst personally you may not have all the functions listed, this tutorial covers eveything and though it’s long, it’s an essential read.
  • The second tutorial is almost worth more than the first, if you are in a rush (or just incredibly ignorant) you can probably still point and click an SLR, the chances are though is that you won’t understand how to adjust the exposure, or even know what it does. This is something I personally needed a little help understanding and I certainly would have benifited from reading this before my first ever SLR shoot where some of the shots came a little washed out. In a nutshell though, exposure controls the amount of light let into the lens of the camera; the more light there is, the more washed out it will look; the less light there is, the harder it is to see detail. Read the tutorial on exposure here.
  • Next is a tutorial that I wouldn’t have thought of off the top of my head, but when I read it a found absoloutley invaluable. This tutorial is about always choosing the best photo in a series. This tutorial outlines everything you should look to keep or exclude from a photo and goes into accute detail to define what is and is not the best. A surprising, but essential read.

Also, for those of you that don’t like reading, here is a video overview of all the topics covered. Click here.

I hope this tutorial helps you guys, I think anyone who takes the time to read this content will benifit greatly from it.

P.S: Just in case you’re interested, I shoot with a Pentax ME super finished in chrome. A sexy little camera I got second hand and half price because the aperture didn’t work. But luckily a guy fixed it for me for free! Woo Hoo!

Peace,

Matt :)

SLR Shoot

“The Camera can Photograph Thought.”

-Dirk Bogarde

These are a few shots I took last week to practice using an SLR camera for the first time, some of the shots came out well, others not so much. Plus I didn’t know how to adjust exporsure at the time but I do now! Hopefully the next shoot will come out better!