But what do I know? I'm just a twice clicken brown shirt teabaggin tjroll. Right? --PatP

Not now. There are dirty, swaying men at my door. They’re looking for Brian. I need to go deal with that. --Thor

If Joss Wedon was near me, I'd of kicked his ass. --PaulC

Friday, April 29, 2011

CL4P-TP video.

Not as funny as everyone is making it out to be, but funny. And super cool. I would totally do this for a fan if I ran a video game studio. It goes to 720p, so crank it up and fullscreen it.

Here’s the full story. I was going to post a link to the story on Steam, but their website really, really blows. You’d think with the amount of money they make (about $970 million in 2010) and the number of people they pay (13) they’d have a functioning website. Oh well.

PS Turns out, the story on the Steam site is a re-blog of the one I’m linking here anyway, so you’re not missing anything.

Also on Steam this week: check out Universe Sandbox. I’m downloading the demo as we speak.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Light Painting

I’m sure I’ll be publishing this entry more than once, since I’m trying to line-up text and photos, and somehow that never translates properly between Live Writer and blogspot. So if you get six or seven alerts that I’ve published a new blog entry, relax. Have some dip.

So today in… a place that is dark and may or may not be underground, we did some light painting. What’s that? You’re not familiar with light painting? Let me explain briefly, but the photos will explain it better. A light painting is a photo (typically a long exposure; 10-30 seconds) in which you use a bright light in a dark (preferably pitch black) place to “paint.” Let me get right into the photos and you’ll understand.

To set the stage, here’s where we were shooting. Big, wide-open basements are awesome for light painting because you can usually turn all the lights off and have nothing coming in through the windows. This particular basement doesn’t have any (those ones in the back are bricked up on the outside and don’t count).019

That light was the only one in the room. This is a ten second exposure. That green squiggly business over on the right is somebody playing with a laser pointer.020

Here’s another ten-second exposure with the light on. This time, Mia and I are walking around in the room during the exposure. This was just to see if that one flourescent was way too much to make an effective light painting. Long story short: it was.








007Next: Just some fooling around with a couple little flashers that Mia brought in. The girl in the photo (I’m embarrassed that I don’t know her name yet) was just kind of whirling them around for a minute, so I took a thirty second exposure and it looks like a swarm of multi-colored fireflies.











Here’s Mia with some rings around here. She stood still while Kyle walked around her and drew rings around her with what I think was a mini Maglite with the end taken off (to expose the bulb).










Here, Mia again (she’s didn’t shoot a lot today) stood while Kyle (he likes to shine the light) stood behind her with the light and traced her with the light.












Here’s Kyle. He had his flash set to burst. he stood in the middle of the room and whirled it around a little while he fired it off. Then he walked towards his camera (off-frame to the left) while he flashed his face. I bet the shot he got is a lot more interesting that mine, but mine’s still pretty cool.








017So I set my exposure to thirty seconds and used Mia’s green laser to write the letters. Up to now we’ve just been playing around. Now the real fun begins.









Here’s me. This is another thirty second shot. I took Kyle’s hot shoe flash, held it in my hand as I walked around during the shot. I posed a few different ways and flashed myself. So it looks like there are four ghostly Andys in the shot.












This one is my favorite. We all pushed our shutters and Kyle took the laser pointer and whipped it around the whole room. I love how you can see every little detail in the walls.












This one’s just a bit different than the last on. We all stood in the room while Kyle painted the room. Then when he was done, he flashed us. I think this would have looked better if he’d painted the room without us in it, then flashed us in.






This one’s for the Potter fans. I wrote this with the Maglite with the end taken off. I forget who initially had the idea for “Ruderman’s Army,” (Ruderman is our photography professor) but I think it’s beginning to take off. Stay tuned for shenanigans involving this meme. No, I didn’t make the “S” backwards on purpose, but it’s hard to write all your letters backwards when you’re on a thirty-second timer. Even when I did this backwards (as if I was writing on a blackboard in the air, with me between the camera and the light), I still made it backwards, still not on purposeEventually, we figured it would be a better idea to shoot on “bulb.” If you don’t know, “bulb” is a setting that holds the shutter open as long as you hold down the trigger. It’s great for light painting.


Okay. This one is sort of a light painting, in that it is actually two light paintings layered up in photoshop. There’s a shot of the group of us photographers, and a second shot of the words “Ruderman’s Army” done using a small keychain light. I think it was probably me who painted the latter shot, since the “S” is once again backwards. The group shot was taken by setting the timer on the camera (so everyone had time to get into place) and using the pop-up flash. First, I opened the shot of us in PRudermans Armyhotoshop. Then I added the other shot as layer 1. I set the opacity of layer 1 to 60%, so that the background layer (the group photo) would show through. Then I made a layer mask on layer 1, and used the brush tool to paint out everything except the letters (which mostly amounted to black space, with a few random reflections in the ceiling). This worked out okay, but didn’t really give me the effect I wanted. The group photo was clear, but the letters were a bit… weak. The background layer shone through the letters too much. So I scrapped layer 1 and began it again from scratch. Next, I made a copy of the background layer and made it layer 2, placing it above layer 1. Instead of changing the opacity, I changed layer 2’s mode from “normal” to “lighten.” That tells Photoshop to evaluate every pixel on the layer and decide if it is lighter or darker than the pixel on the layer directly beneath it. If the pixel below is lighter, it shines through the upper layer. If the pixel on top is lighter, it covers up the pixel below. For this particular project, that means that not only the letters shine through, but so do the sparkles in the corners of the letters.

Monday, April 4, 2011


color_spectrumHey! Anybody wanna know the REAL difference between RGB and CMYK? I mean really want a visually obvious example to etch the distinction into you psyche for the rest of your life? If you’re really unclear on this point, and you still think this “color management” stuff is all bullshit, try this.

1. Open up InDesign (or Quark, or MSPublisher, or whatever you want to use) and design a business card in sRGB (your monitor works in sRGB, so you’re doing that automatically). Use a lot of black and dark grey. Especially use a black background and black text with an "outer glow" effect to make it readable on a background of the same color.

2. Export that design to a PDF in sRGB (if you leave the settings alone, this is probably what they will default to, since most people don’t know anything about color management).

3. Search online for a printhouse. Look for a good deal. Find someplace a little cheaper than VistaPrint (like overnightprints.com).

4. Send them the PDF you created in step 2.

5. Receive two boxes of completely unreadable business cards.

6. Remove brick from pants.

7. Write a long, bitchy e-mail to the printhouse, in which you point out that you formatted your file exactly to their specifications and are entirely displeased with the results and expect them to overnight you two new boxes printed properly. Ask them to provide you with an ICC profile for their printers so that you can send them EXACTLY what they need.

7(a). Don’t click send just yet.

8. Go and read the specifications mentioned in step 7.

9. Realize that they specify not only that they want files in CMYK, but that they specifically note that their color management system uses the GRACoL 2006 color profile, and provides a link to an article about color management and how bloody important it is. It even provides a helpful bit at the bottom about how to convert from RGB to CMYK using several popular software products.

10. Delete unsent e-mail.

11. Place your face approximately 8” above your keyboard.

12. Swiftly lower your head approximately 8.5”.

13. Repeat steps 11 and 12 until the importance of color management becomes apparent.

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