Saturday, 30 April 2011


This morning I cut out some pogs in Photoshop and prepared the new pages for my pog website update tomorrow. I did some more work on a blog post for my photo tips website as well.

In the afternoon myself, Bo, and Brian helped the new youth worker for our church move in their new furniture, though by the time we'd got there most of the items had already been moved in.

After that I went in the garden for a bit and must of done something else as well, but I can't remember what.

In the evening I went out for a walk to East Farndon, hoping for a nice sunset. Unfortunately it was a bald sky. There was light cloud in front of the sun, but rather than getting lit up nicely by the sun it seemed to just reduce the amount of sunlight that reached the landscape. It was also very windy and cold. When the sun finally did get near setting, it just disappeared behind a bank of cloud.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Various stuff

Today I was mainly writing a blog post for my photo tips website. I also processed and meta-datared some photos. I took some more photos to use to illustrate my blog post as well.

In the evening I finished watching King Kong 1977 version with Mauser and Bo. It was on HD-DVD and had some amazing extras:

HD-DVD trailer
This is the full version of the standard HD-DVD trailer that they seem to have at the start of every HD-DVD (i.e. it is not a King Kong trailer). I have seen it before (probably as an extra on a different HD-DVD), but most(?) HD-DVDs have a shorter version of the trailer.
Video configuration
This is just a screen with some white to grey and black to grey squares
Sound configuration
This is an image of some surround sound speakers. It plays static out of each speaker in turn and indicates what speaker the sound should be coming from on the screen.
Makes a checkbox next to it be ticked.

Probably the best extras of any DVD.

After that I kind of watched the football (Real Madrid vs. Barcelona) while making a Blinky-il figure from plasticine. I didn't finish the figure yet, but I'm sleepy and so going to bed now.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Getting annoyed by computer stuff

Today I was mainly getting annoyed by computer stuff.

I also went to Church and watched Cool Hand Luke with Mauser and Bo. Not much happens in the film, but it is well directed, shot, and acted. If only Star Trek TNG could be like this. While I like TNG in general, most of the episodes are bad to awful when you watch them.

I also went out on a walk in the afternoon, it was overcast, which was dimmer than I wanted (really I wanted thin cloud cover). Looking at the photos on the camera's LCD, they looked much better than the photos I was taking in the harsh light yesterday (I tried to take the same photos today). If the light is better in the next few days (not harsh but not dim either), then I'll probably try and take the same photos yet again.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Enjoying nice weather

This morning I wrote up yesterday's and Thursday's blog posts. Then I went in the garden for quite a bit as it was nice and warm but not too hot.

The rest of the morning and part of the afternoon I cut out some pogs in Photoshop, then added the new entries to my pog website, ready to update it tomorrow.

In the afternoon I went out on a walk down the old railway line to try and get some photos as they said on HFM that the weather will be getting worse. But the afternoon light (3pm-4pm) light was very harsh, and the photos looked like the flowers were blown out and the backgrounds were really dark. The 450D's auto exposure also seemed to pick exposures that were far too bright. When I switched Auto ISO on, it used ISO400 for some shots, when ISO100 would have given the correct exposure.

Now I look at some of the photos on my PC though, the ones exposed more or less correctly don't look like there is such a large difference between the bright flowers and darker background than they did on the camera's LCD.

In the evening I watched an episode of Star Trek TNG about a genderless race and how if they fall in love with someone with a gender (Riker obviously), they get sent for re-conditioning. (Obviously meant to be about acceptance of gays). But it was just so awful, probably the worst thing I have ever seen, worse even than Manos The Hands of Fate and Abar The First Black Superman.

After that I went on Animal Crossing for a bit.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Accidentally going on a long walk

Today I was mainly metadataring and uploading some photos to my photo website. I didn't actually get that many done all day, maybe 30-40. And although I thought it would clear some space on my hard drive (the 'to process' images I store on a different drive than the processed images), it doesn't seem to have made much difference.

In the evening I watched Sands of Iwo Jima, a John Wayne WWII film with Mausy. It was quite good, the green screening wasn't well done, but it seemed they mixed in lots of real stock footage, which made the film much more realistic and provided scenes that couldn't be done without a large budget.

I also went on a walk in the evening. I went up to East Farndon, then I followed the Jurassic way footpath, which I thought would take me back towards Lubenham. Unfortunately it didn't, and I ended up near Sibbertoft. So I then had to walk down the road towards Marston Trussell, it was now getting quite dark. By the time I reached Marston Trussell it was dark. I then carried on down the road to Lubenham, stepping onto the grass verge whenever a car came (I wasn't expecting to be out in the dark, so I didn't have any lights with me).

Then when I got to Lubenham I could finally walk along the pavement, and walked back home to Harborough. Checking the GPS tracklog length in Google Earth, it gives 3.5 and 6.1 miles (the tracklog is split in two as the batteries ran out while I was walking through a field). So I think I did quite well to do nearly 10 miles walking in about 3 hours (7pm - 10pm).

My feet and legs ached quite a bit by the time I got back home though. But I didn't get any blisters, which was a nice surprise. Obviously the insoles I bought are quite good in that aspect. When I used to walk home from work (which was about 10 miles) every Friday for a while when we lived in Sussex, I would always get really big blisters across my feet that I'd have to cut open with a knife / scissors.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

DPRK I love Egg Easter video finishing

Today I metadatared and uploaded a few more photos to my photo website, and finally finished the DPRK I love Egg video:

All the eggs except the singing eggs were made from sculpey and fimo polymer clay. The white sculpey that most of the eggs were made from was Sculpey original, but this is actually very hard to work with as it is so soft. We also used some Sculpey Studio for the egg yolk colour, again this was very soft. Although okay for making the egg yolks, I wouldn't want to do any modelling with Studio Sculpey.

The problem with soft polymer clay is that it's very difficult to mould. You can accidentally squash your creation very easily, and it is also difficult to make small details as the whole lot of sculpey moves together when you try and mould only a small area of it.

Sculpey III, Sculpey Premo!, Super Sculpey, and Fimo Classic all are reasonably hard and work well for modelling though.

The good thing about making the eggs out of sculpey / fimo as opposed to plasticine is that they don't get their features squashed while you're handling them. Unfortunately, adding accessories to sculpey eggs is more difficult though. What I did was to use a small piece of plasticine to stick accessories on the sculpey eggs. This didn't work that well though - the accessory was hard to keep stuck on, and you can see the plasticine 'glue' in many of the shots.

If the eggs were made of plasticine, the accessories could just be pushed into the plasticine directly. The accessories could also be built with wire sticking out the handle, so you just pus the wire into the plasticine egg to attach the accessory.

The bit where Kim Jong-il is riding on a horse would also have been much easier if the Kim Jong-il egg was made of plasticine (the horse was already made of plasticine). This would have allowed just sticking a wire in the bottom of the Kim Jong-il egg, and then pushing this into the horse to attach him. As it was with the egg being made from sculpey, I had to use bits of extra plasticine to try and stick him to the horse, which was very difficult, and he kept falling off.

For the things that were made of plasticine, I used Newplast plasticine, and as I said in an earlier post, this is very nice, firm plasticine.

For making the MiG-21 aeroplane, I made it out of pieces cooked separately, then glued them together using UHU glue.

This didn't work that well, as there is lots of glue visible along the edges of the wings, and they are still quite hinged where they are glued to the plane body. What would have been better was to cook the wings first, then push the wings into the plane body to create indents where the wings should go. Then remove the wings and cook the body. Put glue in the indents and push the wings in. This would stop the wings hinging, and you can wipe off any excess glue as the glue only needs be inside the indent, which you can't see.

For photographing the eggs I used my Canon 450D set to High Quality Medium JPEG. I wanted good enough quality for 1080p, no point shooting Large JPEG or RAW as it would take much longer to arrange and create the animations in Photoshop.

I used the 18-55 Canon kit lens on the camera, and mounted it on a tripod with a Manfrotto geared head. For lighting I used an ebay radio trigger and a Nikon SB800 on a lightstand with white shoot-thru umbrella. A cheap tripod, camera and natural light would work nearly as well as the more expensive equipment I used. The benefit of using flash though is that you don't have to worry about the light changing as you take the photos.

For the moving clouds background during the dogfight scene, I took this using natural light. The light changed while I was taking the photos, it was quite an annoying job to try and equalise the exposure between all the images in Photoshop. I couldn't find any way to do automatic exposure adjustment (I even tried PTGUI), so I had to manually adjust the brightness of each image / layer.

Most of the animation in the video was done in the standard stop-motion way, though for some of it, (e.g. dogfight scene, Egg moving towards singing Kims, Kims eating eggs, Missiles at the end) we used images of the eggs. For these scenes I photographed the eggs / planes with a white background, then cut them out using Topaz Remask 3 or Magic wand tool or the Magnetic Lasso tool in Photoshop. I saved the cut out image as a 32bit PNG (24bit PNG with 8bit alpha transparency).

The PNG image was then animated in Photoshop or using Sony Vegas. Sony Vegas was used to put the video together, and L did most of the work with that as I'm not very good with Vegas.

For the animated sequences in Vegas, we had to make sure to check 'No resample' on the clip's properties in Vegas. Otherwise Vegas seems to try and improve the video by merging each frame into the next frame. This would probably give a more fluid look if you shot enough images to use a high frame rate. But our clips were shot at about 5fps, and the resampling just made the clips look weird and ghosty.

Creating this video has taken quite a long time. Probably most of the time was spent making the eggs as we only did this in the evenings and sometimes at the weekends.

I think that about covers the making of this video and my thoughts on what I'd do different next time.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Article writing

Most of today I was writing an article for my photo tips website, and then finding relevant flickr photos to illustrate it and two other articles I got from ezine articles.

In the morning I also did some vacuuming, and in the evening I made some eccles cakes.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

What I've been doing lately

Lately I have been taking and processing some photos / panos, doing DPRK egg stuff, and writing a couple of blog posts for my photo site and photo tips site. I also watched a couple of films with Mauser over the past few days as well.

Sunday, 10 April 2011


Today I was mostly updating my pog website. Although I had already got most of the images ready, I had to re-organise a lot of them, including researching German names for DuckTales characters.

I also went to Church in the morning and did some DPRK egg video work in the evening.

Saturday, 9 April 2011


Today I was mainly taking photos for the DPRK iloveegg animation. Only managed to get the first two scenes done though.

Friday, 8 April 2011


Today I mainly just processing and metadataring some photos I've taken lately. I didn't manage to get them all done though, and it's quite annoying staying in doing boring things when the weather's nice outside. Not much point in taking photos though if they're just going to sit on my hard-drive, so metadataring and uploading must be done.

Thursday, 7 April 2011


This morning I went out in the garden to see if a small butterfly I had seen there yesterday evening was still there. It was so I took some photos of it. It was quite difficult as it was a bit windy and the wind blew it around.

After that I was adding some more metadata to the photos I was processing yesterday. Unfortunately I kept getting an error message in Adobe Bridge like Error writing metadata to _MG_6140.CR2. I had to make a note of what files this error came up with, close Bridge, then open it again, and apply the metadata changes to files that failed. If I just tried again without first closing Bridge, I'd still get the same error.

Googling I couldn't find much info other than to reset Bridge by holding down Ctrl when you open it. I did this, and then realised what the problem was. Some of my CR2 files I had converted into TIFFs and then opened in Capture NX 2 (Capture NX is a much more fully featured image editor than Canon's Digital Photo Professional, and I like the U-point technology). I then saved the filed edited in Capture NX 2 as a NEF as well as a JPG. This meant I now had 2 raw files with the same name but different file extension (e.g. _MG_6140.CR2 and _MG_6140.NEF).

For RAW files, Bridge writes an XMP sidecar with the same filename as the RAW file, e.g. _MG_6140.XMP. This meant that only one XMP sidecar file could exist, and could only apply to one RAW file, when I had two RAW files. The simple solution was to rename all my NEF files, so I now had _MG_6140.CR2 and _MG_6140a.NEF.

This fixed the metadata writing problem, though I still had to go through the files, exporting the metadata from the JPGs and then importing into the affected NEFs and CR2s.

Most of the morning and part of the afternoon I was keywording the photos.

I photographed a DPRK I love egg model in 360° (i.e. I took photos while rotating the egg), similar to the photos you'd take for a QTVR object movie. Then I cut out the egg in each image in Photoshop. This meant you could produce an animation with the egg moving in any direction you wanted. Mauser and Bo then made a short animation, though they only 2 of the angles:

It takes ages to cut out all the different angles of each egg, and with all the different eggs that would need to be photographed and cut out in PS, I think it will be much easier to animate them in the traditional way. I will use the rolling motion as opposed to jumping though.

In the evening I watched an episode of Star Trek TNG, with Mauser and Bo, it was pretty bad again. I also watched some of Bo's youtube videos and sorted two ezine articles for my photo tips website.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Photo processing and metadataring

Today I was mainly processing photos from our walk on Saturday, and then writing / researching descriptions for them.

In the afternoon I also spent quite a while in the back garden taking photos of the plants and insects. There were quite a few of a small orangey bee around, but I didn't get any photos of them. There were loads of ladybirds everywhere as well. I also saw a small white, comma, brimstone, and orange tip butterflies.

In the evening I also watched a James Cagney gangster film with Mauser.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011


This morning I looked a bit more at the the Juche Songun blog. I liked this pro-Gaddafi propaganda image that they linked to:

Nice to see some modern propaganda, though the British bloke looks more like Gordon Brown than David Cameron. This is fan propaganda rather than official propaganda though.

I found a post quite amusing, about how Kim Jong-il stayed up all night arranging for a delivery of perfume for a group of women in time for International Women's day. This comment on the article, which is obviously in jest, unlike the article itself, I also found quite funny:
Personally, I often dream of lips commander. and I often worried about catching himself on his warm fatherly look with prints on my wall. In solidarity with the Korean comrades, I did not eat, rarely leave their city and use electricity only for two hours a day. But when night comes, I'm wrapped in a warm plaid, woven from the hair revolutionaries, represented by his gentle, calloused hands, though, terebyaschie my nape. Unexplained love poured into my heart, I begin to moan and wiggle, imagining that someday will be the day when He will stand before me in his famous jacket and glasses, like Martin Scorsese. His strong legs, powerful, strong-willed torso and tired of the sight of concern to me. I'm starting to softly sing "Glory, My Korea, lightly press down the throat strap and long, stormy finish, dreaming of a commander.
Alas, you relativists, would not understand. How not to understand and love all women free of Songun Korea to the President.

Most of the rest of the day I processed some photos. In the evening I watched an episode of Trek with Bo and Mauser, and did some I love egg movement testing.

1st two had plasticine placed under them and then removed to try and make it look like they were jumping. Last one had plasticine stuck behind it to try and make look like it was rolling. Seems rolling works best.

Will try with photographing egg by itself and creating movement in Photoshop tomorrow.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Searching for North Korean countryside images

I spent the large majority of today trying to find images to use as backdrops for my DPRK I love egg video. Although some of the DPRK websites have countryside paintings on them, they are only very small thumbnails, and don't seem to have larger versions. I think they are meant to be previews of images you can buy as postcards.

While searching I came across this blog which has North Korean anti US propaganda paintings. From what I understand of the Korean War, the soldiers in those paintings could equally be replaced with North Korean or South Korean soldiers, all sides killed civilians.

In the evening I also finished watching 'Willow' with Mauser and Bo.

Sunday, 3 April 2011


This morning I updated my pog website, then went to Church.

In the afternoon I did more DPRK egg making, and watched an episode of Life on Earth.

In the evening I started watching a film called 'Willow' with Mauser and Bo.

Saturday, 2 April 2011


This morning I made some Melonpans with L, and we also started planning the DPRK I love egg video.

In the afternoon I went out on a walk with McRad, Boeo, and Mauser. I tried using my 450D with Liveview and manual focus, which wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, maybe I just need more practice.

In the afternoon and evening we did more I love egg making, as our plan called for an aeroplane dogfight, and we didn't have any aeroplanes.

To finish off the day, me, Mause, and L all visited KK.

Friday, 1 April 2011


This morning I was trying to get the latest version of FPP to work on my Ubuntu VM. Eventually I got it working (had the wrong URLs in my javascript and xml files), but the navigation buttons weren't appearing. Then I tried it on Windows, both Firefox and Chrome and it worked fine. So it seems to be some weird problem in Ubuntu Firefox that prevents the hotspots.swf from loading properly.

Today was April Fools, on Harborough FM they had a news report about a Meerkat sanctuary being built here, which did sound quite believable. However, if you'd seen the excellent image of how the sanctuary might look on their website, then it was quite obvious that it was an April Fool.

Also, Moley had an April Fools brain teaser, which was something like What happened on June 31st 1946? (The answer is that June only has 30 days, so nothing). But since his show is in the afternoon, I thought April Fools was only valid in the morning? I'm sure Moley would admit that he is a fool.

In the evening I watched an episode of Star Trek TNG with Mauser and Bo, then did some work for the North Korea I love Egg video. I tried green-screening and grey-screening an egg to put in a background in Photoshop, but neither worked very well. So I think it is going to be a case of printing off the backgrounds I want.

Mauser showed me this Muslamic Ray Guns video, which is great.