Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Digital art - construction sites, diggers & big ass trucks

In my never ending quest to explore more challenging forms of digital art, I threw myself into the deep end yesterday.  How about trucks, diggers and mixer brushes? As readers are aware, the building across the road has been demolished and a new condo build has started. Every day I pop out to the balcony to take a couple snaps, keeping a record of progress. The building is gone and now they are digging a hole. I looked at a couple of photos yesterday and thought how great they'd look as line art.  Problem is, most filters make a clinical look. Too precise and I don't tend to like it.  So I tried using the pen tool, and again, just a bit too precise in the outline. I threw caution to the wind and simply traced, using a couple brushes, the outline freehand.

Much better. Much, much better. Then I knew what I wanted. Using a combination of brushes, blending and mixer brush tool, I set to work colouring in parts. I wanted the machinery popping out of the line art. I'm rather pleased with the results.  Here it is, in all it's glory:

Line Drawing of Digger and truck using Photoshop

 This is a great way to test out blending and brush techniques. The single hardest part is stopping and not ruining an effect. So this is now a completed image. I'll resist the urge to go in and "touch it up a bit".  You know what this means, don't you? You're about to be assaulted with a never ending stream of construction photos ...

Digital art Motion Project #6 - waiting for the subway

Trying some new techniques out. I've been mucking about with different styles, including different brush stokes. This worked out better than I had hoped:

 Motion Project - Waiting for Subway in Toronto

Waiting for the subway at Union - Nov 2 2016

It's a muck about of a photo I took a couple months ago but couldn't figure out what I wanted to do with it. The actual photo isn't much to look at, but the motion caught my eye and I kept it, in hopes I could salvage something intriguing from it. I tried at least 7 variations until this morning when I got a bit frisky with the brush tool. It's a hybrid - a brush outline, a bit of hand shadowing and a little cutout effect with some HDR thrown into the mix. I might mess about a bit more, but not sure.  I have a slightly different brush style I'm testing out, so if it works, I'll post it. If it does't .. you'll never know.

Digital art Motion Project #5 - hardhats & pipes

I've been busy working on more photos - spent a couple days taking hundreds of photos around the city. A couple have potential and I've set them aside for later.  Also working on a second series devoted to the demolition & build across the road. I have a perfect roost to watch & record the process. Some of the demolition has been impressive. Right now, there isn't much left of the old CHUM building, mostly rubble. Soon they'll start digging a deep hole for the parking space. I'm sorting the photos, trying to make a bit of chronolgical sense of it. I'll ruthlessly pare threw them and toss 90%. Most of the earliest shots, done with my phone aren't worth keeping, except to mark the start of the project.  In the meantime, I'll throw the occassional photo up, but have set the bulk of the project aside for winter work.

I've also been working on fine tuning my dodging & burning techniques. Using a slightly different method that gives me great control over how much contrast I get.  I finally have a system that allows me to get an exagerated, hyper real contrast that doesn't end up looking cartoonish or overblown. Very pleased with the results. It takes a lot longer, but satisfying. Here's one I worked on yesterday. Took hours to get the contrast between shadows and light the way I wanted. Digital Art: Yonge St Construction

 Construction Workers on Yonge - Oct 13 2016

There's a tremendous amount of construction going on in my area - you pretty much trip over the sites. This was shot on Yonge St north of Bloor at the huge new condo build. Not sure if the old store fronts will be kept or torn down. Be a shame if they disappear. Construction workers were strugging with some pipes out front and were having a hell of a time. Took a couple of snaps and thought yea, they'll do.

Anyway, this is a couple of different effects, including HDR Toning (Photorealistic High Contrast), NIK HDR Efex and a lot of dodging & burning the pipes and workers to over emphasis the details. Took hours to do ... partially because I sneezed at one point and destroyed some work. Had been so absorbed in some details, I forgot to save for awhile, something I rarely do. I'm a 'save save save" kind of computer person. A little pissed when I realised how much damage I'd done. 

I need a better name than Motion Project. It seems a bit ... silly at times. The point of the project is to look at everyday scenes in a large city and turn them into digital portraits of the city.  For the time I'll keep the name, but it will likely shift. Any suggestions are appreciated. 

Mother Nature's wall art - light bouncing off buildings

If you wander around any city long enough, and remember to look up periodically, occassionally you are treated to impressive light effects. That's one thing I like about Toronto. Light bounces off the skyscrappers to create special effects and give surrounding buildings a nifty textured look. The trick is, you have to be in the right spot at the right time. The sun moves just enough to change the effects and they vanish in a heart beat. I spent a bit of time stalking some of the neatest effects a few weeks ago. Here's one of my favourites: Toronto architecture - Reflection of light from buildings on No 1 Yorkville TorontoBrushed metal effect: Light bouncing off buildings at No 1 Yorkville, Toronto Oct 12 2016

Once the new condo build goes up, the effect will likely disappear forever because the sun will be blocked. For now, I enjoy walking by it. If you are near Bloor and Yonge street around noon, take a short hike north on Yonge along the east side. You can't miss the place, it's the new condo build going up at 1 Yorkville. There's a row of boarded up older buildings at Yorkville and Yonge, right across from the Reference Library. Just trot half a block north and turn south west to view the light display.  Not sure how long it lasts, but I've wandered by at 2pm and it's gone. The side of the building takes on a textured metal effect courtesy of the building across the road.

I have a number of others I've set aside so I'll work on them in the coming weeks. Drop a line down below if you wander by the spot and see the effect.

Digital art - Hole in the Wall

Been having fun with the new camera. The higher quality means I can really push the digital manipulation without fearing the photo will disintigrate into a mass of unviewable pixels. I wandered back across the road yesterday looking for more interesting photos of the building tear down. They had everything blocked off so I hoofed it around the lot looking for a spot. I found one on the backend, gates uncovered but a lot of tree coverage. I originally thought the view was ruined, but snagged a some anyway. When I got home I was surprised with a couple of them. I somehow managed to grab a spectacular shot that was ripe for HDR fun. I think I need to adjust the brightness on some of the leaves, but all in all, far better than anticipated:

Digital art - more on the CHUM demolition - Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Wall - Toronto site of the former CHUM building on Jackes Ave.
Oct 6, 2016

The leaf and fir needle definition is wonderful. However sometimes it's hard to know when to stop, so maybe I'll just leave this as is.  

 

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Catpaw with a pint & a typical bad haircutTime for a new look - the venerable cat on a postage stamp is now retired. As much as I loved him, it was time for a face lift - bad haircut & all. 

"The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself."

- Albert Camus

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