Attempt at Artistic Photography

photo of wheelbarrow covered in snow I am not a professional photographer. I have never worked in a studio with a proper light setup, I've never worked with models, I've never sold a photo, etc. I am a strict amateur who at best has taken some acceptable pictures of flowers and birds. Tonight I decided to add a new subject to my portfolio: a wheelbarrow. Why a wheelbarrow? This afternoon there was a fresh snowfall which nicely covered the backyard, including the aforementioned. When I went outside with an insane cat who wanted enjoy the great, freezing, unbearable outdoors, I noticed that the snow-covered wheelbarrow was nicely illuminated by the outdoor and kitchen lights. I decided then and there I would take a picture of the scene. Since it was dark out I knew the exposure setting would be lengthy and I would need a tripod to keep the camera (a mid-range Canon DSLR) steady. After some taking pictures at different settings I settled on an exposure of 3.2 seconds, F-stop at f/20, and an ISO of 1600. Here is the raw image of the wheelbarrow. Read More

Tutorial: Simulating Global Illumination in Cinema 4D v.11

Comparing Cinema 4D 11 Global Illumination against Lighting Rig that mimics the effect

Real Global Illumination vs. Simulated Global Illumination

For the purposes of this tutorial all we need to know about Global Illumination is that it's a lighting effect that makes your 3D models look great while massively increasing render times. This is fine when you’re rendering a single frame but aggravating when you need a lengthier animation. I am using an older version of Cinema 4D (version 11), in which animations that use global illumination have an annoying flicker effect, which compounds the issue. I believe the flickering effect has been fixed in newer versions of Cinema 4D but that is not applicable to my situation (3D software is very expensive except for Blender, which I am currently teaching myself). Read More

Having fun with an iconic Sci-Fi Design: An alternate USS Enterprise – Part 4

USS Enterprise thumbnailWith the release of the Star Trek: Into Darkness in just a couple of months I thought I would post the updates made to my alternate USS Enterprise. I’ve also been working on my lighting techniques in Cinema 4D to make this collection of computer generated polygons look like a physical object and a gallery at the end of the article showcases my best renders. I've made some big changes to the Enterprise because I couldn’t wrap my head around two of the design elements. These two areas were the engine supports and the open/flared area around the front that looks like it would collect all sorts of space “garbage” for lack of a better term. I also made alterations to the saucer near the neck and straightened the engine supports. The curved supports are my main annoyance of both the official 2009 design of the Enterprise and my alternate design. In fact the new design of USS Enterprise might be my favourite if it weren’t for those idiotic supports. Maybe after all the carnage the ship goes through in the movie they’ll be fixed (though I doubt it)*. I decided to do some before and after renders to show the big changes I’ve made to the design. Read More

Having fun with an iconic Sci-Fi Design: An alternate USS Enterprise – Part 3

USS Enterprise thumbnailWhile I'm still tinkering with the texturing and smaller details of the mesh of my alternate USS Enterprise, I thought it was time to create a space scene. The majority of sci-fi renders of spaceships incorporate of combination of nebulas, clouds, suns, stars and planets, and unfortunately I did not strain from these conventions. In my defence these cliched elements provide a physical source of exterior illumination rather then an invisible light.* First I rendered out a view of the Enterprise to bring into Photoshop. I made sure to make the render a TIFF file and included an alpha channel. In Photoshop the alpha channel masks/eliminates the space around the Enterprise, making the lower photoshop layers visible. I decided to use a nebula and a planet as background objects, with the nebula being the main light source. The next step was creating these objects in Photoshop. Read More

Having fun with an iconic Sci-Fi Design: An alternate USS Enterprise – Part 2

USS Enterprise thumbnailSince my last post I've been playing around with the textures, lighting and composting of my alternate Enterprise in order to make it look "real". I'm using Cinema 4D v.11 and the multi-pass settings to get different layers/passes of the mesh, such as a specular pass, a lighting pass, a global illumination pass, etc. I take these passes into Photoshop and create a more dynamic, realistic, render of the Enterprise using filters, opacity settings and layer settings such as Multiply or Soft Light. Instead of having one main light I am using two, one for illumination and one for specularity. I keep the illumination light low, at around 30% and bump up the specular light to 120%. This seems to work quite well. This also gives the mesh a metallic sheen and reflective quality without actually using a reflective map, which helps keep render times down. I've also added textures resembling peeling paint and small dents (from space debris) to suggest the Enterprise isn't new and has been in the far reaches of unexplored space for a while. Click continue to see a slideshow of my alternate USS Enterprise Read More