Finally Free WiFi at Starbucks

Finally free wifi at Starbucks!
I know it started over a month ago, but I am just now publishing this article because at first I couldn’t believe what they were finally it giving away. But going to Starbucks is now much more enjoyable. It may have taken McDonald’s getting free Internet first, along with their cheaper coffee, but wifi should be free. Especially if the coffee costs $5!

iPhone 4 vs. iMac from 2000

2000 iMac
Operating System – Mac OS 9.0.4
Processor – 500 MHz PowerPC G3 CPU, 128MB Memory
Graphics – ATI Rage 128 Pro, 8MB of memory (8 million triangles)
Screen – 786K pixels
Data Transfer Speeds – 1.3-12.5 MB/s (DVD-ROM-1/100 Ethernet)
Storage – 30GB Hard Drive
Dimensions – 15.0 x 15.0 x 17.1 inches
Weight – 34.7 pounds

2010 iPhone 4
Operating System – iOS 4.0
Processor – 1 Ghz ARM A4 CPU, 512MB Memory
Graphics – PowerVR SGX 535, uses system memory (28 million triangles)
Screen – 614K pixels
Data Transfer Speeds – .04-20MB/s (3G-WiFi)
Storage – 32GB Flash Drive
Dimensions – 4.5 x 2.31 x .31 inches
Weight – 4.8 ounces

What will the device be like in 2020?

About the July/August 2010 Header

I hope you like the header for July/August!

I’m just going to list some info on where it came from.

It may look a little familiar to some people. It was inspired by the Discovery Channel’s re-brand they did a few months ago. Then Nick Campbell over at greyscalegorilla.com picked it up and tried to replicate it the re-brand. So I went off of that and made a cool header graphic.

Also, the words in the header and the glass composite was also based on things from greyscalegorilla.com

Hope you enjoyed it and I might make all the files available soon for download to accompany the tutorials they were based on!

Nice!

July/August 2010 Header

MOTION 2010 Cloth Concept

While I was coming up with ideas on how to animate the MOTION logo, here is the other idea I pursued. The feel I was going for was something like a sports team running through the paper at the beginning of the game. It is a good idea…. but the glass animation idea was a better one for this project.

Hope you still like this idea! Let me know if you want to have your logo with something similar to this!

Let me know if you liked it!

The Making of Motion 2010 #C4D #Ps #Ai

This piece of work is one of my favorites. For one thing, I love doing media for Youth Camp…. especially for my very own youth camp in North Georgia. I was very (surprised) honored when my friend Phillip Medlin down in Atlanta called me that night and asked if I could do some animating on a logo the state office had gotten designed. So here is that back story. Hope everyone in GA enjoys. I’ll try to keep it not-so-much technical and more realistic…. I mean short.

So here is the original design I was sent….

Original Motion Camp Logo

Original Motion Camp Logo

I had to keep the original design as much as I can. So that is no problem. I actually do like the swirl in the back.

So the first thing I had to do is to separate the swirl from the rest of the picture. Easy enough since both sides are identical and one side doesn’t have anything meshing with it. Then I just had to guess the font. Being on a mac this was kinda hard to do. However, I thought to myself, “This was probably done on a windows.” So, my first guess was the default font for Windows XP…. Arial!

My next step was to trace the paths of the swirl and export it to Illustrator. From there I finally was able to get into my program of choice, Cinema4D.

After editing the spline points, extruding and adding text (also extruding) and a few other polishing tasks I had a wire-frame draft of the 3D version of the logo.

Basic Wireframe

Basic Wire-frame

You would think the hard part was done, but this hour of work was only the beginning! What did I have left to do? Well, since this wasn’t just a still logo reconditioning, I had some animating to do. You would think that a 5-10 second animation wouldn’t be that much work for just a few objects. But believe me, I only got the basic animation how it was going to be after about 4 days of work.

So, after a few more days of getting the materials (colors) on everything and adding a little glass here is the final product and a few of the stills we used for print and other places.

Hope you enjoyed this first look into my workflow. And if you have a flat logo you would like me to work on, I am still young and cheap. Let me know if you have anything you want turned into a good graphic or animation!

draft_0_0002

draft_0_0002

Frame_0094

Frame_0094- Yes, it is actual glass

Next Week, I will unveil the concepts the client didn’t like. But the draft renders might inspire mine or your next project!

HINT: Cloth

Basic Intro to Global Illumination

A while back when I was just starting to get into the 3D scene, and trying to get good looking renders from my application, I had a hard time getting started. I had no idea what I was doing, and rendering was no exception. My preferred application (right now) is Cinema 4D R11.5 from Maxon. Getting images and sequences out of that program was totally a different monster than Compressor or After Effects.

But this isn’t an article on rendering. It is about Global Illumination or for short “GI.” I posted a few weeks ago an article on some good GI presets, but I didn’t go into what GI was or how it is successfully used. Well, this is everything I should have already posted weeks ago.

I can’t even begin to explain what GI is without showing exactly what it does and looks like. To the people close to me, you know how big something is when I call it my “easy button.” and this sure is one of them!

With GI

With GI

Just notice how much better the picture with GI looks than the one without.

No GI

No GI

I call GI my easy button because it basically lights my scenes for me! Now that doesn’t exactly reflect what the feature actually does, but it sure does seem that way most of the time. Lights still have to be placed in the near-right places; the GI just adds the realistic shadows, reflections and the light depth.

Hopefully later I will be able to go deeper into explaining GI. But for now, I’ll just leave this intro article at my simple illustration!

My iMac Mini

iMac Mini

Hopefully the search engines will pick the title up very nicely.
I don’t really have an Apple product called “iMac Mini” even if that is a nice name.
What I actually have is an iPad with dock and wireless bluetooth keyboard!

This seriously feels like an iMac, but smaller. I constantly reach for the mouse or trackpad that doesn’t exist!

So I guess I will throw in my few comments with the pile of other iPad comments. First of all, I literally just got my iPad and the accessories I am using. So I will probably give my opinions a few months down the road on what I think after using the device for a while.
And here are my first thoughts:

Wordpress

It is literally too easy to use! I mean, I have used the iPhone OS for almost three years this June, and the iPad really is just a BIG and faster iPod Touch (and way way faster iPhone!). But, that shouldn’t make you not want it any less. In fact, I am beginning to think just the opposite! With this device, I don’t need an iPod Touch or iPhone. I would probably now be just fine with a regular cheap phone. However, I am very use to having a constant internet connection, so things like instant email or browsing the web or whatever else I am use top doing on the iPhone would have to stop or be replaced somehow. Yes, right now I only have the WiFi iPad and not the 3G version. I have two reasons for that: to avoid the temptation of activating the $30/month cellular fee and the other….. a slightly geekier one…. to have the iPad a few weeks sooner. But, also I didn’t have to spend the extra $129 for the extra connectivity. My next thing I would replace since I have iPad, is my laptop. I currently own the 2.8 Ghz Unibody MacBook Pro. Now why do I need a laptop when I have the iPad? My roommate, Chris, and I were talking about this the other day, but if you have an iPad that can do all your mobile browsing and typing and everything on the go, why even have a laptop? So I am considering selling my brand new laptop, and getting a cheaper and just as powerful small iMac desktop! Now, I don’t know about you, but the sound of $1200 difference in the price and money in the bank instead sounds pretty good to me! So please, leave your comments and let me know what you think about that one!

So I will leave this as a short post. But I will put stuff about the iPad and how I use it in posts often in the coming weeks!

By the way, this whole post was written directly on the iPad in the WordPress app. So those of you who think it is hard to type on the iPad, you should actually try it yourself.

Setting Up My Mac

You get home from the computer store, hastily open the box and plastic and endless twistie-ties, and turn on your new computer! Now what?

Well, for me this is a BIG process. I have the Adobe Suite to install, Final Cut Studio, Cinema 4D, and countless other small applications to set up along with updates galore for all! But I get all this done in around 3 hours or less. How do I do it?

The answer is kinda simple and right to the point: an external hard drive.

You may be thinking now about Time Machine or Carbon Copy or some other backup system, but I’m not talking about this at all. Ok, maybe for my user folders and iTunes library and preferences (what DropBox and MobileMe don’t sync) I use Time Machine, but I’m talking about something even bigger! I’m talking about all my applications!

I keep a 500GB hard drive with all my CDs and DVDs as digital images. These are a combination of DMGs, .toast images and .iso images. So the logic behind this crazy theory is just this: I hate optical drives cause they are slow and the media is prone to scratches. So let’s convert them all to images and store them on an external HD.

As a result, the difference in install time from a FireWire 800 connection compared to a CD/DVD drive connection is SEVERAL hours, if not days, when the transfer load is about 200GB.

Details:

  • Made DVD/CD images with Roxio Toast
  • They mount with Disk Image Mounter if Toast isn’t installed
  • I also install Windows 7 on another partition and use the same process to install everything
  • On another note, I also partition part of my HD right off with a backup of the operating install disk.

An Overview of HDR Photography

Photography has been possessed by a new sensation in the past couple of years known as HDR. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. You’ll be wondering what this is and why photographers, both professionals and amateurs are so crazed by it. I’ll try explaining it as briefly as I can.

Photography in the past twenty or so years has progressed at an extraordinary pace with technological advancements being made so ever frequently. Lenses have come leaps and bounds so have the sensors and both these things along with the new age of processors have made photography uncomplicated. They provide the photographer with great control over what he does and wants, and his difficulties are eased with the cleverness and assistance of the inbuilt processors. But despite these great advancements modern day cameras, even the high end professional ones cannot always capture the true reality that our eyes can see. This is because the sensor in the camera acts like our eyes, but with limitations, it cannot capture all the lights and darks of an image, if you focus on a dark space then all of the scene will be captured with the darkness in mind and the picture will be underexposed (too dark) resulting in the brighter parts of the image lacking detail. Similarly Images can be overexposed when the picture has a very bright area as compared to the rest of the scene, this results in a loss of detail in the dark areas.

These two pictures can give you a general idea of the issues of underexposed and overexposed photos. The detail in the cabin is lost because the image was metered with the backdrop in mind. While in the second photo, the turtle was metered this resulted in the ground loosing detail

Now the question arises, what does HDR do? Well the DR in HDR means dynamic range; range is a term that refers to the amount of colors in an image, from the lightest (white) to the darkest (black). So to sum up, an average photograph has a limited dynamic range therefore it cannot capture all the detail in an image, what HDR does is that it enables us to capture photographs with a much wider dynamic range, giving the photograph much more depth and emotion.

This photograph does a great job of illustrating the power of HDR, despite being a bright day the sky hasn’t been able to underexpose the image, in fact HDR has given great depth to the sky which has really stood out. Then the ship has been captured in great detail, Overall this is a very balanced photograph with a wide dynamic range and attractive contrast.

Now another important question arises, where should a person use HDR instead of normal methods and what should the scene contain? Well the main prerequisite for shooting in HDR is that the scene should be a high contrast one with great variation in light to dark tones, this is because the power of HDR is to reveal as many colors as it can, so naturally the more colors you give it the better the outcome will be. Always try to present a story in the photograph, there must a theme and a emotion in the image that the viewer can refer to. HDR on a whole can be used in a variety of scenarios; I’ll show you some examples.

HDR in Landscapes

Landscape photography is one of the most commonly perused branches of photography and is very popular among amateurs. Landscapes usually provide the highest contrast ratio making them for the use of HDR .

The first picture of a landscape on the left is very dull and doesn’t seem very attractive, the photo was underexposed because the sky was bright with allot of clouds. The second shows the transformation that HDR generates. The photo has much more detail to it with dramatic clouds, shadows and sharpness which presents a sense of scale and beauty to the scenery.

HDR in Cityscapes

The following are photographs of two famous landmarks in Liverpool, England, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Canning Dock. Both have been taken in HDR and they have the potential to make any person an avid fan of HDR, they are both very inspiring examples to learn from. Cityscapes provide you with allot of subjects and you can narrate many stories.

HDR in Black and White

Black and White photography can be considered to be one the most powerful forms of art, it is ideal for expressing passion and details are heavily exposed. Black and white photography is normally used when colors aren’t expressing themselves correctly/meaningfully. These are two examples.

Hope you’ve got a sufficient overview, in part 2 I’ll be showing what you’ll need in order to capture HDR images and the techniques required. Thanks and Bye!