Thanksgiving is always a fun time, this year more than usually so for me. Despite all the retailers that started playing Christmas songs on Halloween, to me the season doesn’t kick off until the Black Friday sales start going crazy. In honor of that, a few seasonal images I wanted to share; hope you like them. And yes, that last shot is the cartoon me, standing in front of the sketch rendition of the second image.

Covent Garden Lights 2

Rudolph

Happy New Year
Happy New Year

SIGGRAPH 2016 is coming up on July 24th through the 28th in Anaheim, California this year, and one of mt favorite tracks is their Computer Animation Festival, so I had to post the trailer for it. The name is from their original newsgroup identifier from the Internet’s early days, Special Interest Group, GRAPHics. This gathering is the 43rd international conference and exhibition on
Computer Graphics & Interactive Techniques, in case you were wondering how long ago those early days were, and they didn’t hold these every year during the first decade. How important this event is to the creators of these excellent animations can be explained by saying it has been their version of the Academy Awards since the late 70s. How important it is to the rest of us is best expressed by this quote from their web site:

The Computer Animation Festival is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a qualifying festival. Since 1999, several works originally presented in the Computer Animation Festival have been nominated for or have received a Best Animated Short Academy Award.

It is not too late to make this year’s gathering; the deadline for registering and getting the discounted registration fees is July 1st. Entering your creations to the event is already over, though, but there is always next year!

If you aren’t an Astronaut, you probably haven’t seen the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis from Space. But luckily there are some serious camera fanatics in orbit these days, here is a glimpse of what they have been up to where the Auroras are concerned. If you pay attention, you will also get to see some far ranging lightning strikes from a gods-eye view, so you can take in how a single strike can hit 50 places across a continent at once. Also, here is the link for the full 4K version at YouTube, or you can go directly to NASA for the best possible quality. Visit the NASA TV Gateway to check what is coming up on each of their channels and link directly in. You need at least 13MBps down to watch 4K TV online even if nothing else is trying to use the internet from your house, but most broadband services these days give you 10 times that or better, on the theory that your whole family will be trying to do things at that resolution at the same time.

Merry Xmas Eve, ya’ll; hope you and yours are together and enjoying the holidays this year. For the final image of this set I am using the Impressionist tool, which gives you a very Vincent Van Gogh kind of virtual painting. I will no doubt be posting more about this type of software soon, or at least the variations of it I have been playing with, once I figure out a bit more about how it all works together.

Quiet Train Impressionist
Quiet Train Impressionist

As I said, when we were at Steampunk unLimited earlier this year we took a lot of photos, and this time the same two pictures are being modified using two different tools from Painter Essentials. While the results of these two processes look similar when you look at the images they created, the parts of the original pictures which were enhanced were quite different. I suspect it is going to take me a while to learn what kind of image requires which tool to bring it to its best advantage, especially considering what its best advantage is will change depending on what I want to use it for. Computer wallpaper, animation background, and 3D model textures each have different ways of presenting the results, for example, with the first a static screen image, the second being shadowed and moved by the characters in the foreground, and the third changing continuously with both the camera viewpoint and the orientation of the scene lighting.

Abney Park Train
Abney Park Train
Quiet Train Illustration
Quiet Train Illustration