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Archive for October, 2009

Animating A Photo Mosaic

October 23rd, 2009

I am currently working on a photo presentation for the organization I work with and I wanted to jazz things up a bit.  Okay, I know it is pretty much a slideshow, but it is meant to celebrate the hard work of people in this non-profit organization.  Me being a tad OCD, I am going at it with guns blazing.  I think all they expect area power point slides with photos that I have taken this year for them along with some pertinent stats.

That’s much too pedestrian.  Here is the intro I made yesterday.  It uses a photomosaic of some 500+ photos arranged to depict their logo and animates it in 3D space.  Software used was (on a Mac):

MacOSaiX (mosaic building program)
Adobe After Effects
Apple Motion
Final Cut Pro
Sound Studio (to cut up/fit the music in line with the sequence)
Visual Hub (to convert final .mov file)
My noggin

This version took about a couple hours in getting things keyframed and set up.  The rest was letting the computer render the animation overnight.  I plan to do another version at DV/NTSC scale for viewing on a TV.  Maybe I’ll do a video tutorial of the process in case someone else wants to do the same.

Enjoy!

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

During one of my Del.icio.us adventures, I ran across a genre of photography called “Through The Viewfinder,” or TtV.  As a collector of old box, folding and other vintage cameras, I thought this was an interesting idea.  While I found it interesting, it also struck me odd that people are going through such machinations  in the digital age to capture “old tymey” images.  I guess you can get the instant gratification of the slightly edge warped image with lots of dirt, bits of hair along with some vignetting.  However, all these techniques can be easily replicated in PS.  The real skill is to actually use an old box camera, spool your own 620 film from a 120 reel and shoot away.  Then develop yourself in a tank and either scan the negs, or print in your darkroom.

This is also like another genre called “Free lensing” which basically gives you an aperture of ? ƒø creating lots of bokeh (pronounced bo-kay….even though I am more comfortable saying “Bo-kuh>”  The idea with that is you remove the lens from your DSLR and while it is detached, you move it manually around until you can get your subject in focus, then fire the shutter.  I have seen some great shots with this technique, but I would rather not subject the dust-free compartment of my camera to invasion.  Furthermore, I found it took attention away from composition and exposure–all to just get an effect achievable in PS using a plugin, or layered gradient lensblurs.  Enough about that.  Just wanted to bring it up as context to this project–The TtV Shot.

Being the lookie-loo I am, I decided to build one myself to see what the fuss was about.  I modified a design from Russ Morris’s “myContraption v2″ (http://www.russmorris.com/ttv/) to fix my version of the Kodak Duaflex Box Camera.  Took only about 2 hours since I had all the materials.  Here are a couple photos you you can understand what I mean.

You can see they do take some very artistic, yet niche photos.  I just found it quite a hassle to shoot down while trying to frame the shot.  If you really wanted to have a go at this, you should get an older dedicated DSLR with a 35mm macro lens and figure out a permanent mount for it.  That way with a cable release, you could just hold the box camera like you would normally and just shoot away.

Cool experiment though.

signature

Silver box fits over camera

Silver box fitting over Duaflex camera.

Peering into the box you can see the viewfinder.

In the box you can see the viewfinder.

Photo of my birdhouse showing the fall colors (finally) outdoors.

Photo of my birdhouse showing the fall colors (finally) outdoors.

helmet

I was thinking about some of the changes, outcomes and observations if Rush Limbaugh went through with his desire to purchase the Saint Louis Rams.  Here are a few:

  • Low attendance games will be called media “whiteouts” instead of the more familiar term “blackouts.”
  • Instead of Bobblehead giveaways, they will be known as “Dittoheads.”
  • Owning an NFL team makes it easy to launder his painkillers through the team doctor for his “Sports Related Injuries.”
  • Having had numerous academic issues and giving up on college, it makes sense to purchase a struggling team.
  • Since Marge Schott passed away, he felt there was a lack of racist sports owners.
  • Already a fan of “astroturfing,” might as well own a team with a lot of it.
  • Like his “Excellence In Broadcasting Network” is a pretend network (he made that up), his team will be a pretender.
  • In honor of their new owner, the stadium will sell many more salty nuts.
  • If the team is anything like Rush, it would be heavily offensive (which may appeal to fans).

“Medical” Waste

October 8th, 2009

Penis Pump

Oh…just watching a favorite movie of mine tonight before going to sleep and what appears before me in a commercial?  Precisely what is going wrong in this great land of large Boehners.  Behold the commercial for the Post-T-Vac with some “doctor” saying it is the only FDA approved way to improve the size of your penis AND…..get this….covered by MEDICARE and MOST INSURANCE PLANS?

WTF?  Uhm….so to begin with, there is a device that makes my penis bigger.  Great.  What does that add to society?  Does it make me more healthy?  No.  Could I get the same effect with a hoover attachment?  Most likely…although, I am getting off topic.  The real issue is this.

Why the hell is MEDICARE paying for penis enlargement schemes? (I say schemes because I’ve tried dragging a car with mine and that didn’t work)

Don’t tell me it is a “quality of life thing for seniors.”  Screw that.  I am 40 and my libido tells me I would rather find a better way to make Suntea, or a more optimal spot to plant my tomatoes than worry about size this late in the game.

As irritated as I am with all the drug companies shilling their pills on TV, I really flipped a lid when I saw that penis pumps are paid for by Medicare AND insurance companies.  It made me think of the legislation being discussed and hoped that all this kind of shit is going to be eliminated.  Please?  It also makes me wonder about all the things out there that aren’t as obvious as the Post-T-Vac that might save medical dollars.  I’m sure there is a Rascal model with “attachments” being sold by the Mobility Store.