Saturday, 27 August 2011

Armature making and photo descripting

For the past week or so I have mainly been researching descriptions for photos from Osaka Castle.

I also looked into how to be able to animate plasticine figures without them having to constantly be standing on both feet (as otherwise they fall over). I found that you need to use an armature skeleton and then you tie / screw one of the feet to the floor to stop it falling over.

So me and L tried making one, first we used untwisted 1/16" armature wire, and used sculpey for the bones. Unfortunately the wire was just too stiff and broke the sculpey when you tried to bend it instead of just bending at the joints.

Next we tried some 28 gauge florist wire but twisted to make it thicker / give it more strength, and sculpey again for the bones. This worked quite well in that it would bend at the joints rather than breaking the sculpey.

Unfortunately after covering it with plasticine, we found it wasn't strong enough to hold up the model and he would keep falling over. This is a photo of the model posed without falling over before we destroyed him (these are only tests so we didn't do much work on the body):

When taking the plasticine off the model, this broke the sculpey and it was quite annoying having to pick all the little bits of hard sculpey out of the soft plasticine.

I've now ordered some 1/32" approx armature wire from dougarts / craft mill on ebay and some Milliput epoxy putty and we will try those for the next armature test. Plumber's epoxy is one the suggested things you can use for doing the bones, Milliput seems to be similar but specially designed (or marketed) for craft purposes.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Writing tag descriptions

Most of today I was writing tag descriptions for some Japan photo blog posts. I only did about 10, but somehow it managed to take me ages. In the evening I watched Bouken rangers and Kamen rider black with L, processed a few more Japan photos, and painted some sculpey heads I made the other day.

This is what they looked like before painting.

And after painting (but without the pupils in the eyes) they looked like this.

This is a good face that L made the other day.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Sculpey painting is très difficile

Today I was writing another photo tips article. But unfortunately it was raining (which makes a change as we haven't had any proper rain for ages), and I needed a sunny day to take some photos to illustrate my article. I couldn't find any suitable CC licensed photos on flickr, so I will have to wait for a sunny day.

In the afternoon I did some more sculpey painting with L, though I forgot to paint the eyebrows. Doing the painting is even more tricky than doing the sculpting, and I did get a few bits of paint on the models where they shouldn't be.

The top row is capitalists - Adam Smith, Fred Goodwin, Donald Rumsfeld, Maggie Thatcher, and Ronald McDonald
The bottom two are Chairman Mao and Lenin (Lenin's head is leaning backwards so it looks a bit weird in the photo)

In the evening I watched Moomins with Mauser and Bo and re-filled the bird feeder. We get loads of sparrows visiting the garden at the moment. The main feeder with the seed they like best only has 4 holes in it though, so they squabble quite a bit. Since a lot of the time the sparrows aren't in the garden it would make much more sense if they visited the feeder in groups of 4 on a rotational basis throughout the day rather than all trying to use it at the same time. Silly birds.

A joke:
Q. What did the person say when his duck eggs he was going to eat for breakfast started to hatch so he wanted to get rid of them?
A. Scram billed eggs! (Scrambled eggs) (the ducks' bills were poking through the egg shells)

I wrote this blog post and tagged the photos in Picasa web album. I helped Lad take some photos of his Kirby sculpeys and background.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Photo tipping

Most of today I was writing a photo tips article, finding ones from articles base, and looking for CC photos on flickr to illustrate them.

In the evening I watched an episode of Moomins stop motion with Mauser and Bo and also painted some sculpey models with them.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Maggie or Afro dude?

Did some sculpey this evening.

Maggie Thatcher or 70s Afro dude?

Maggie and laughing Sir Fred Goodwin

Ronald with only his mouth done

Saturday, 13 August 2011


This morning we out on a family walk near Eyebrook reservoir. We saw quite a few different butterflies, damselflies, a baby toad, and Clare also saw a mouse.

In the afternoon we did some sculpey painting and more making. Also, McRad noticed a nice brown newt in the pond.

In the evening we watched some Michael Rosen videos and Moomins. I cut out some pogs in Photoshop, and went to see K.K. on Animal Crossing.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Windows commandline unicode lack of support annoyingness

Yesterday and part of today I was struggling with some problems where I had a typo in the hierarchical category metadata applied to a batch of photos, so I needed to correct the typo. Unfortunately Adobe Bridge re-orders all the keywords if you add / remove a hierarchical category. I didn't want my keywords re-ordered, so I tried using exiftool, but had some problems first with me missing a -, then with windows unicode / utf-8 support (and yes, I did change the code page).

If I was using Linux it would be much easier, but sadly Photoshop doesn't work on Linux. Maybe I should look at GIMP, though I'm 99% certain it won't do everything I need.

After fixing the problem with the metadata this morning I uploaded some photos to my website, and also processed a few more photos. In the evening I also watched the Moomins (stop motion animation, not the cartoon)

I made a Chairman Mao head from sculpey, which worked quite well. So I then made yet another Lenin head (I already made 2 the other day), and it turned out quite a bit better than the others I had made the other day.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Researching shrines

I spent most of today researching descriptions for two Japan photos that I processed yesterday.

I also made a carrot cake with L, watched an episode of Digger Rangers and Kamen rider black with L, went to see KK on animal crossing, and cut out some pogs in photoshop.

Thursday, 4 August 2011


Mauser wanted to go to Japan again, but the satellite imagery on Google Earth / maps wasn't very good, so I tried to find some better imagery. Unfortunately Yahoo maps is even worse than google! I also tried Naver, which is a big Korean internet portal and has good Korean maps. Apparently they are making in-roads into the Japanese internet market, so I thought maybe they had a good Japan map. But their Japanese website seems to use google maps.

Googling for Japan satellite map or Japan GPS, Japan satellite imagery etc. didn't bring up anything useful. Mostly just google maps imagery of the tsunami areas and forums posts asking whether a GPS would work in Japan.

Looking at garmin maps, I found they have something called Birdseye satellite imagery. I followed their instructions for downloading the demo of the imagery, but my GPS wasn't supported so I couldn't even preview what the coverage is like on the PC. I found a website that had some info about the Garmin Birdseye satellite imagery, and the comments from users mostly said that the coverage wasn't very good, and this was in the US, which you would expect to have been given the best coverage by Garmin.

That same website also mentioned a similar satellite imagery subscription service from a company called DeLorme. On their website they say their data comes from DigitalGlobe. I couldn't see any way to preview the coverage on the DeLorme website, so I checked the DigitalGlobe website.

The digital globe website does give preview images, but it isn't that easy to use. Go to the map page at then zoom in on the map to the location you want to check imagery of.
Click the Search button in the Search Filter Box.
Now on the menu near the top of the page you need to go to 'Catalog' and then choose 'View List'
This opens in a new page so make sure your pop-up blocker is disabled. You can then preview the different satellite imagery they have of that area. Each image in the list shows what area on the map it shows, and you can choose maximum size to view the imagery at full size.

Unfortunately for the area of Japan I was looking at, their imagery was still worse than that of Google Maps / Earth.