Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Strange Teapot

I've been learning how to use Pixar's Renderman for shading, lighting, and rendering. I was trying to get a handle on setting up different shading networks, so I decided to go a bit crazy while I figured out how to use various nodes. This was the rather unfortunate result.

I used the Official RenderMan Swatch (aka the renderman teapot) to  play around with. I learned how to work with displacement, bump, blend, and facing ratio nodes, various noise textures, and the layered shader.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Science Photography EdX Course - Week 5

Though this is the penultimate week in the online course I've been taking, I believe this is the final assignment. Choosing one (or more) of the images we captured during the course, we were to create an educational figure from it. This was up my alley, so to speak, and I broke out the leader-lines and orientation images. I'm fairly happy with how this turned out. I think the leader-lines are a bit thicker than necessary, and though I like that everything is neatly aligned, I don't think the text sticking out to the left works as well. 

It's also not a complete educational figure, since it only shows some of the mechanisms in the watch, but these were the images I had available, and I'm not quite ready to completely deconstruct the pocket watch.

I've really had an excellent time with this course and been exposed to many ideas that will serve me well not only in my photography, but also in the computer graphics I'll be doing in the future. And I've been inspired to do more macro photography, so if you're at all interested in that, perhaps keep an eye on this space and we'll see what turns up.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Science Photography EdX Course - Week 4

This week's assignment had two components relating to mobile phone cameras and video.

The first part asked the students to spend a day taking photos around the house or at work with one's smartphone. I'm not too enthused with my phone's camera, but it was an interesting assignment to think about where photographic subjects might be. It was easy to grab a quick snap of an interesting texture, the way light fell on a mundane object, or how this item looked at a different angle. I'll consider using my phone as a brainstorming tool, then perhaps go in with my better camera and explore the subject further.
Here are the two images I thought were most interesting:

The second part of the assignment was to explore video and to create a short (< 1 min) recording of a process. Since I've been having fun with my macro lens, I decided to use the video functionality on my Canon T2i to capture the "process". I think the video should speak for itself.

And the obligatory setup snap. Yes, that's a plastic horse (pegasys [sic]) with a flashlight taped to it.

Thank you for reading and watching!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Maya Course - 10 videos so far

So far I've uploaded 10 videos from the Maya course I taught this spring. If you're interested in learning a variety of Maya topics, I highly recommend subscribing as I upload the remainder of the course. A few selected vids:

A shorter segment on animating cameras in Maya

A fun overview of how driven keys can be helpful in rigging

And an introduction to the MEL scripting language


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Science Photography EdX Course - Week 3

Week 3 of the science photography course has come and gone, and the assignment this time was about different lights and light positioning.

I started out with some limited daylight from the front. There is a bit of a gleam, but fairly uninteresting in terms of light.

Then I added another light, in the above image it is bouncing off an umbrella from the front right. Still pretty similar to the daylight only, just mainly some color differences. Below you can see the setup I was using for these initial photos.

Then I tried the bare light (without the umbrella bounce) and I think this is much more interesting. The watch interior has more of a gleam to it.

This series really demonstrates how drastic an effect simply changing the light position can have. I hope I have the descriptions correct; it was a bit hard to remember exactly where the bulb was in each. Check if my analysis makes sense.

It was very interesting how a low light (the bulb was just an inch or two from the watch and my lens) casts the etching/engraving in sharp contrast and gives a graininess to the flat surfaces.

Whereas a higher light makes things appear more glossy with lots of specular highlights.

This final one might be my favorite from the shoot, in terms of composition and lighting.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Science Photography EdX Course - Week 2

Week 2 of my EdX Science Photography Course involved an exploration of aperture and depth of field. Here are three images from the series. Not a tremendous difference between them, but I think you can get the idea of the depth of field changing.

Does it bother you that the f and 1 aren't visually aligned? I suppose it does now. I should have noticed that and tweaked it.

To create the images, I decided to build a DIY lightbox out of a cardboard box, parchment paper, white duct tape, and some sticky drawer liner and printer paper.

Then using my cheap studio lights, I was able to flood the interior of the box with nice diffuse light. I look forward to using the box in some other projects too. I'm using my Canon Rebel T2i and 100mm f/2.8 Macro here.