Friday, December 31, 2010

24 Hrs. Operation

So this one day me and my friend were sitting staring at a laptop waiting for this compilation to finish which takes hours even on a core i7. This plate with the message "24-Hrs Operation" is generally used at office to keep the systems that are compiling ON all night 'cause the energy conscious security team shuts them down or something. In a boring situation like this we let our minds drift away totally ragging the sign plate and creating new manifestations of the same. An empty mind truly is a devil's workshop, which in this case used photoshop.

[ Click to enlarge ]


All other manifestations 
RULE - Use existing letters ONLY

Friday, December 24, 2010

Matte Painting EP - 1

A matte painting is a painted representation of a landscape, set, or distant location that allows filmmakers to create the illusion of an environment that would otherwise be too expensive or impossible to build or visit .  -  Wikipedia.

Well in this case it ain't no set, but impossible to build. Below is a set of image composites to create a totally new scene from an existing one by merging different elements from various image sets. Done entirely in PS CS5.

This is my first attempt in basic matte painting. A point to note while integrating photographic elements into a scene is the distance of the elements from the user or the camera. Objects closer to camera have a higher contrast than those far away from the camera. They appear more vivid and vibrant whereas distant objects appear faded or in a haze. So by changing the levels and contrast in a scene can create an illusion of depth and add a certain amount of realism to the scene.

The best way to work with color images in HSL mode (Hue, Saturation, Lightness) is to kill all the Hue information (temporarily by creating an adjustment layer). The images therefore appear gray and then can be merged based on the value (pixel intensity) information rather than the color.

Photoshop toolset used:
- Selection [Magic Wand, Color Range, Lasso, Magnetic Lasso, Polygonal Lasso]
- Color [Hue / Saturation, Levels, Brightness / Contrast]
- Layer [Layer Styles - Blending]
- Paint - [Clone Stamp]

Wacom Bamboo Touch-Pen tablet.

[ Original image ]

[ Mountain range stock ]

[ Sailboat ]

[Final Render ]

So there it is, the completed image. Looks neat enough but there are some minor "bugs" that i will leave it to the user to figure out. Please do not zoom in too much, you might get a headache....

..kidding... :-D

Until next time...

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Some more pics that i drew on getting bored sitting in office. Didn't know that Microsoft Paint can be so resourceful. LoL..

Monday, December 20, 2010

Death Star

Hello there, this is another weekend composite i did in AfterEffects. Yes, i know we've seen many Death Stars hovering over cities before (and YouTube is full of them), but not over mine. So i put one there. The galactic empire reaches earth in search of some "missing droids", with the entire armada of star destroyer cruise ships and the death star.

The only new thing about this composite is the use of expressions in After Effects a.k.a scripts. Cannot escape from coding, can anyone. So the clock seen at the bottom of the video is a scripted one. Here is how to do it:

1. Create a new text layer.
2. Pre-compose the layer and open it.
3. Expand the text layer parameters in the layers panel.
4. Alt + Click on the Source Text's stopwatch icon. This brings up the expression editor for that property.
5. Write in the below code.

var sec = Math.floor(time);

// Mod sec by 60 else it will keep counting.
var secM = Math.floor(sec % 60);

// Function to get a double digit for numbers less than 10
function appendZeros(Number)
     var finNum;
     if(Number < 10)
         finNum = "0" + Number;
        finNum = Number;
    return finNum;

// Replace "14" as per your choice
"14" + ":" + appendZeros(secM)

[ script editing ]

As you scrub through the timeline you will observe that the second value in the pre-comp is changing as per the second value of the footage. The changes get reflected in the main comp.

[ a frame from the composite ]

Here is the link for the empire strikes back......again...
Yup, no more direct views here. GOTO YouTube and watch.

Until next time...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fire & Smoke

The ruins of the Tridib building experienced a major explosion and fire in the early hours of the morning. The cause of the explosion remains a mystery but experts suspect that it definitly was an overloaded build machine that could not take it anymore. In an earlier incident the building had been reduced to ruins by a similar phenomenon leaving the exterior of the building intact. It seemed that all the employees within the building had imploded. This, to day, remains a mystery...

Sounds like a promising story ? Well check it out yourself...

Well this infact is just another weekend VFX composite. Created using the usual after effects and photoshop CS5, which has a great tool - the content aware fill that was used to reduce the Tridib building to ruins. The other elements are from action essentials by video copilot. All composited with various matte layers, a little color correction and motion tracking. That looks something like the snapshot below...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Creative Crash

I guess we all have seen this before, some point in our lives, maybe not everyone but mostly the ones who spend hours in front of a "PC" have experienced that at times the windows display freezes, any attempt to click any buttons or the start menu are useless and moreover if you get the task manager running you can drag it around and its previous position does not go off the screen, so what you get is a pattern of windows all over the screen as you drag 'em around. Now i am not quite sure what this phenomenon is called but i bet its the display driver getting messed up. Since the only way to recover is by a cold reset, you can call it a crash.

So here i am surfing facebook, checking mail - the usual time kiiling stuff when everything freezes. Nothing works, so i bring up the task manager to kill some running processes, killed them, no use, i move the task manager only to see the phenomenon described above. I am bored, i am pissed.....

CLICK TO ENLARGE THE PICS BELOW ( 4000 x 3000 pixels)

Snapshot of a PC disaster

And so i just kept dragggin the windows till eternity hoping for a complete system crash, but that does'nt happen. Well, this kind of stuff is unpredictable and rare, so what you gonna do when you get this crash - get Creative, after all how many operating systems have a feature like this ;)

The text below was made by dragging many notepad windows in the desired patttern....

Look !!! Its the Untitled Notepad Express

A small video of nothingness and boredom

Well that was the end of it, had to restart the PC to get back "online". Will cook up more ideas when / "if" this happens next time, might carve a face or something....i suck at MS Paint :-P

P.S - For the over-inquisitive, nothing here is photoshopped. I am betting Microsoft on it...

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Wheel

[ Click to enlarge ]

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Today's Pics

Something i found on my terrace. Something left behind by someone, long forgotten, lost...

Another surprise at Planet M. Never expected to see Armin Van Buuren's latest album Mirage stacked here. Price Rs. 399. Got mine pre-ordered on the day of its release for $ 46.95, priceless ;-D

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dark Energy II : VFX Breakdown

Today was the day i  was not supposed to mess with After Effects at all, but alas !! i had to do this breakdown video just to show the non sci-fi public that the video is not any Diwali cracker or a rocket or a nuclear explosion on a runway and god knows what else. This video quickly describes the entire process layer by layer till the final composition. In a nutshell *ahem* what you see is a crude representation of an alien mother ship shrouded by bright light hovering at 50K feet & sucking the life off this planet through energy blobs transported via a light bridge. And it happens right here in Bangalore city. Thats it !! Simple as cake. The soundtrack is from Pirates of the Carribean at Worlds End, What shall we die for by Hans Zimmer  (for the copyright infringement man).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dark Energy II

As i mentioned earlier, the previous composite (Dark energy) lacked a few elements and some extra sfx. So this time i added an additional flare, moving along the perpendicular beam path as though the anomaly in the sky was sucking out the life force (or Gaia - as Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within so eloquently put it) of our planet. Having done this it was time to add some sound to the composite. For this i used sound from the original clip and mixed it with one of the scores from the movie 300 - Xerxes' Final Offer by Tyler Bates. In a nutshell this was accomplished using After Effects, Optical Flares for video & SFX and Cool Edit Pro for audio. With all the elements in place, here is the final movie Dark Energy II ( P.S - This is the last one & no more sequels to this :-P ). Channel link -

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dark Energy...

Here we go again, another of my crusades in After Effects. This time using Optical flares from video co-pilot i was able to mesh together elements representing a dark energy source far off in the distance. I wonder if Gordon Freeman was there, hmmmm. Neways as shown below the actual footage was shot in broad daylight from my terrace, so i had to convert a day scene to a night scene and an environment that would have an impact from the anomaly hovering in the sky. The original footage was actually not meant for a staging of this type but i used it neways. With help of matte layers, masks and color correction i was able to construct the necessary environment to some extent. Motion tracked a point to determine the position of  the glow element and applied the tracking data to a matte layer. Being a programmer i would say its got a few bugs if examined closely but hey i bet its pretty decent composit on a beginners basis ;).. As usual the rendering was done as an AVI file with ffdshow codec. This is the first version of a series to come. Got to add a little more eye candy to the composit.

This is a frame from the original footage

This is frame from the composit

And here is the world premier of the video (Heh..)

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Biped...

This is a small version of a biped integrated with live footage from my lighthouse composition which i had posted earlier. Added a little special effect at the end ,as though the biped is weilding a powerful weapon that goes off at the end of the sequence destroying the entire human race and giving me enough time to write this post (LoL i am so full of shit). As usual it involved the use of 3DS Max for adding the biped system to an imported camera solve from Boujou and then integrating all in After Effects using Optical Flares from Video Co-Pilot for the glow effect. It does however have some inconsistencies like absence of shadows and no interaction of the glow with the surrounding environment..hmmmmm got to work on that. Spent three days going through all the material at Video CoPilot by Andrew Kramer. These tutorials by Andrew Kramer are the very best i have ever seen. Neways here is the video posted to my channel. Reviews are welcome as there is always a chance to improve with evolving techniques. This roughly took 4 hours to create on an iCore 3 machine (..will make you realize that an iCore 3 is not worth to handle these applications when they are pushed to the limit).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Lighthouse

Finally after 3 days of mind bending i was able to successfully merge my first 3D rendered object into live video footage. No slippage (i.e. when the object appers to slip in 3ds max) observed and is just perfect. Created using Boujou - for camera solving and matchmoving, 3DS Max  - for a basic lighthouse design and Aftereffects - for compositing. This was the first attempt at basic compositing. Will be trying more complex composits soon or as much as my computer can bear. Here is the attempt history for this project.

Day 1 - Shot footage, did camera solve in boujou, created lighthouse in 3DS Max, exported cam. solve in Max, observed mismatch of movements between ground plane and object.

Day 2 - Fixed frame rate issue as the frame rates were all set to different values in max, boujou and AE, observed mismatch of movements between ground plane and object.

Day 3 - Fixed frame indexing in boujou and max, as boujou was exporting frame sequence from 1 to N and max was reading it as 0 to N+1. Tadaaa !!!...problem solved. Finally output an AVI file with ffdshow used as the compression codec.

A few screenshots of work in progress...

Match moving and camera solve

3DS Max modelling and camera solve export

Final compositing

 The final output

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Inception Teddy

It was a boring Saturday afternoon, sitting in office surfing through the net i stumbled upon a video called - Inception Cat. This video was kinda funny, so i decided to do one of my own and since a teddy bear was the only prop i got, with a little help from me friend, inception teddy was born. So here is the first video produced and directed by me (LoL)

And here is the original Inception Cat....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Messing in Photoshop

Since i have a lot of free time on my hands. I went Photoshopping.. :-D
Location - Samsung Lakeview, Bangalore.

Original Image

Edited in photo-shop

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Super Ted...

 [Click to Maximize]

Super Ted here at the company is by far the most satisfied employee of all time. Moreover its part of the Emergency Response Team - that will give you hope by smiling at you while you burn to ashes and judging by all the bs that is coming to my mind i should better stop writing and play Grand Theft Auto IV for a change. Not quite a worthy post...but then the ted steals the show....

(P.S: The ted is not mine...)


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Darn Rats

My friend got a new seat location, so before leaving, he added this small message on his whiteboard for any unsuspecting soul who might get re-located to his seat. Clearly the rats here at SISO are a menace and seem unstoppable. As a picture is worth a thousand words i added an artistic critter to the warning message as i personally believe that the rats here have been to Hogwarts...

[Click To Maximize]

With the exception of the image, this entire post was edited and uploaded from my Nokia N8 (whose review i'll be posting soon)

Monday, October 11, 2010

NI Circuit Design Suite

The National Instruments Circuit Design Suite (a.k.a MultiSim) has a simulated Tektronix Oscilloscope. Pretty awesome stuff eh. Now i will never forget how to use this :-D

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Breaking the Rules...

I’ve always assumed that the requirement to turn off all electronic devices prior to takeoff (and landing), and not to transmit signals inflight, was silly and not based in science. That perhaps if you could pick up cell signals it would be problematic for your providers, hopping around as you are. But that the median electronic device carried by the average business traveler couldn’t possibly interfere with an aircraft’s navigation systems. But as with so many rules, once implemented they’re hard to dislodge. Ok, cell phones - Yes, these do interfere with the comm systems on board. But i bet Cameras DO NOT. I've heard this in 5 different languages:

Please turn off all electronic devices during take-off and landing. Photography is prohibited by law at certain airports.


이륙과 착륙 동안 모든 전자 장치를 해제하십시오. 사진은 특정 공항에서 법률에 의해 금지되어 있습니다.

take-kalkış ve iniş sırasında tüm elektronik cihazlar kapatınız. Fotoğrafçılık bazı havaalanlarında yasa ile yasaklanmıştır.

Proszę wyłączyć wszystkie urządzenia elektroniczne podczas startu i lądowania. Fotografia jest zakazane przez prawo w niektórych portach lotniczych.

Such are the rules. But its a pity that rules are meant to be broken. Without me breaking the rules this post would not exist :-P

Hong Kong International

Hong Kong Bay area


 Hong Kong city




 Ataturk International Airport



 City of Istanbul




Missed a few good shots at times because of getting caught while flashing....a camera while take-off.
Hong Kong pics - taken from my Nokia 3250
Istanbul pics - taken from my Sony TX-1

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finally !!!

Finally my pre-ordered copy of Mirage is in my hands. To tell the truth this is my very first music album that i actually "purchased", that makes it quite special. Now its time to wake up all the neighbours.. :-D