Monday, 26 December 2011

Explaining Aperture for my Aunt, Caroline

Aunt Caroline is doing a filmography course, and she recently decided to get a DSLR Camera (Digital Single-Lens Reflex Camera) as a way of learning about the technical side of photography and filming. So she asked me the other day to explain what the aperture is. I'm no expert but I've read up enough and experienced enough to at least know the basics. So here I made a small crappy tutorial (left click it, then right click, view image to save):

About Bokeh
More information about Aperture

Video comparing Auto Focus and Manual Focus when video recording:
This is using the 18-55mm kit lens with my Canon 550D. Set at the lowest f/n (f/3.5-f/5.6).

While it requires more effort, you can clearly see and hear the benefits of manually focusing your camera when filming. This is when you can also take Aperture into consideration. If you set your aperture to a high f/n (so there is a wider depth of field) you will get less blur in your capture than you see in the above video. And therefore have less problems with focusing.

Video Mode

To do this with your Canon 550D or 600D, look for the video setting 'Movie Exposure' and set it to Manual. Then it will follow your manual settings. You can change your ISO and Aperture like usual. To preview your settings when in Video Mode, gently hold down the snap shot button.

This of course entirely depends on the capability of your lens and the conditions you are shooting in. If it's very dark, you probably won't be able to widen the aperture all that much. Also recently I discovered (since I don't film much with my DSLR) that the camera will stop your video if the conditions are really too bad to film in (aka you've set it so that the film is too dark). I suggest taking a bit of time to fiddle and experiment in the area you are filming. I hope it's in sunny weather!

For good Camera and Lens reviews, I recommend this!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas! Hot Pot?

Every Christmas, we gather our friends and family at our take away shop to set up something called Hot Pot. My friends keep asking me what it is. So this year I decided to film it and explain in a short video. This usually happens at around 12midnight of Christmas Eve, so we eat well into Christmas Day and pack up by 2AM, to play Mahjong. Well, my parent's friends play mahjong not me.

We had two cool special guests this Christmas; Christian and Peilin came to join us.
From left to right, here is Christian, Andrew (my small cousin), Peilin (my brother’s online friend from Holland) and Darren (my brother). My dad is at the back enjoying his Hot Pot meal!

Around 2AM, Peilin and Darren were ready to go, but we stuck around a little since Christian wanted to view the ‘pros’ playing Mahjong- he was pretty impressed and even thought that the moves they were making seemed accidental, but was just their way of moving tiles quickly.

My parents' friends playing Mahjong, well until early morning.

On the same night, my pretty Aunt Caroline asked me to teach her a little bit about the DSLR. This is probably a post I will make for the next day on a different blog.
Finally another post, for our dinner on Christmas night, I’ll be showing what our special Chinese dinners are like.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


Today, I tried out a Cintiq 21UX at my university (which quite ironically do not let students use). And I was amazed beyond amazed. This stuff costs almost £2000 if you can get it somewhere else, it can even be £1500 but still... Jesus. I felt skeptic towards the Cintiq, now I see why it's such a big deal.

When I came back home, I went straight onto my Intuos4 tablet (medium size), to try to quickly compare. And obviously it completely dominated it. However I have not too much trouble with my current tablet, I notice whatever I draw on the Cintiq is quicker, and comes out correctly. Unlike trying to draw without seeing, or when your monitor is a different widthXheight ratio as your tablet. I realise.... Cintiq is totally the way to go.

12WX is a smaller and cheaper Cintiq, and I was considering saving for that but the 21UX was so bloody impressive, I don't know what to think.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Barn Owls

The power of procrastination. I was supposed to be doing character concept work, instead I draw barn owls. Will to draw is obviously not the problem.... xD

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Starting back on my Final Year

The semester has just started and already I'm going a little CooCoo from anticipation of thinking up a really bad game idea. Yes, this year us third year Games Design students need to concept and make a game. While I love the idea of painting out concepts, I am also given the task of 'designing' the actual gameplay. Tsk, this is my fault for wanting to work alone.

I've started a new blog for that (yay, I must have zillions by now) and called it something rather boring like Final Year Project...

I'll at least say that my game idea is Horror themed- and by 'themed', I mean it's not necessarily the type that will creep and scare, it may thrill people though. I'm pretty excited/scared this year :) the busy-ness might cause me to not blog so much (except for the blog meant for the project).

Any-who. Just thought I'd make a post explaining future absence and lack of blogging. Here's also a caricature I  just finished for fun (it's me by the way).

I'll be linking my Project blog on the side.. and here-

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Victoria's Abstract Art

Victoria Richards, a good friend of mine, decided a while ago she would blog her hobby, which is painting abstract canvases. She studies Medical Sciences and will be in her second year soon, she's very smart and witty!
Recently she has also decided to set up shop, and asked me to help make her banners, please check her blog and shop out! She never painted so much before, so I'm fully supporting her! It's ironic that she makes more money in art than I do hahaha.

Perhaps I should make myself a nice banner too, my blog is looking a bit plain! I never got around to doing it since I thought it was better being plain, but now that I've seen what I can do with Vikky's banners, it's got me thinking. How very silly indeed.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Work In Progress'

I have SO much work that I can't show. It really sucks when you're creative energy is spent but you have nothing to show for it. Luckily I've had some time (and by that I mean when I get home feeling really tired and have an ounce of will left to draw something) to work on my 4K Kiriban image(s). I have also been working on an image for a friend's novel, I'll probably update the work in progress, but here's what I have so far...

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Babylon sucks!

It sucks so much I actually have to post about it.
Guys, if you're ever after a translation program, NEVER go to Bablyon (at least if you're not planning to buy it). It's a giant virus/spyware of it's own. It attaches itself to your browser (in my case it was firefox), and ceases to let go even after uninstalling.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Puddle Puzzles, mobile game released!

Great news! The mobile game I helped work on during my internship at ChaosTrend (ended May 2011) has just been released in the iphone/ipad/itouch app store. ^^ It's the first ever game I helped make being released... even though I only did some artwork, I'm still quite excited about it. I think it will only work on 3GS and above, the HD versions are for retna screens (in other words higher resolution screens).

Full Game HD
Full Game non-HD

Free Game HD
Free Game non-HD

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Puddles Puzzles release date!!

On 18th August, Puddle Puzzles will be released for the iphone! I contributed a small amount of work to it, and while it may be a small mobile game, I'm still quite proud. It feels silly to say this since I only really did the promotional work and influenced the image of the game by a very small amount. It was during my first ever work experience with a games company, in this case for small mobile games called Chaos Trend Ltd. The Chos Trend Blog gives more information:

Friday, 29 July 2011

Games Design 2nd Yr Results- so close to an overall 1st!!

Just got notified by a friend of my module results, I did very well! Got two 1st's and three 2nds. I'm a bit bummed at the overall since it came to about 69.4 (70 is a 1st overall) D:!!!! Oh the woes....

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Norway: Stavanger

Been busy with travels, I'm in Norway at Stavanger. Recently there's been a terror attack at Oslo (capital of Norway), but where I'm staying, everything seems fine. It's very unfortunate what has happened, I wish the best for those who were involved.

Visit my Travel Blog, to see how my travels in Norway are.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

I Won My First Competition

On DeviantART. That's a journal entry to announce the winners. Just found out half an hour ago, and I'm so bloody happy!

Among many other prizes I received this wonderful image from SiegeRedWolf: -

It will be coloured, printed and sent to me eventually :D

Monday, 4 July 2011

Friday, 1 July 2011

Inertia's Rebellion

This was made for a contest being held on DeviantART. The character does not belong to me.

Work in Progress

Saturday, 25 June 2011

My Great Family

Leon (deceased at 3), Katie (7), Saki (6) and Bobby (1). 

After the tragic death of my first cat (whom I found lying at the bottom of the staircase, dead and frothing at the mouth), we took a year before getting another, he was only 3. His name was Zampetto Barnabi Brio- but I just called him Leon, and he was a brown coated Burmese cat. His grave is high up in the mountains in the valleys. "May you rest well sir cat".

When we bought our second, my brother was given the chance to name her, and gave her the the most generic un-cat like name ever. Katie.
She used to be pretty loud, but these days will just focus on sitting around, and will grab at any chance to sit on YOU if you are static. 

Monday, 20 June 2011

Add a Reply Button to Your Comments

Just added a 'Reply' feature to my blog. This is very useful, if you have a blogger, definitely take a look:

Add A Unique Reply Button To Blogger Comments

Friday, 17 June 2011

Got RAM? - An Amazing Tweak

My 2 x '4GB Corsair XMS DDR3'sticks arrived today. I had used 2 x '2GB Crucial Ballistix DDR3', and had looked to upgrade them, but sadly my motherboard didn't like having another two that supported XMP (something almost all RAM sticks have), so I gave up and just decided to replace the current two with bigger memory sticks.

After installing I used a very clever tweak my friend Staeton suggested (only suitable if you have a lot of RAM, 8GB+, and a hard drive that's quite slow).
You can significantly decrease the size of Virtual Memory or completely disable it. Virtual Memory, is effectively fake RAM on the Hard Drive. So if you have at least 4GB chances are, when you switch between several open programs, the giant lags are due to a slow hard drive rather than 'not enough' RAM.

Virtual Memory is stored on a file called 'pagefile.sys'. It's a hidden file in your C drive (or whatever drive you're using for your Operating System). You can easily see it by altering folder viewing options: Uncheck 'Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)'.

My 'pagefile' took up a crazy 8GB, it was almost like having crappy RAM.

Here's where you find the settings for virtual memory
[Warning: if your computer is not suffering from lag and you have a fast hard drive or a Solid State  and decent RAM, then FABULOUS, you shouldn't have to do this. Also do not do this, if you have no idea what you are doing- I use Windows 7 x64, and my specs are found at the bottom of this post]

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Computer Curse

For the past two years, I have changed/swapped parts, dealt with silly software issues and hardware issues that were very uncommon (according to a Computer Tech friend). Today I received my third replacement of the Motherboard, and decided that from now if it does go bonkers again, I will just have to buy a new motherboard entirely. I won't go into detail, but in the past two years, I have never experienced such bad luck with my parts! Mainly the motherboard, honest to fricking Buddha!
The only parts that have been working very well are the PSU (power supply), GPU (graphics card) and the HDD's (Hard Drives), and the Tower: (Cooler Master) Mid Scout.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Small Game Collaborations

This was a while ago, back in January 2011. I collaborated in the making of two small games with a friend. I was the artist/modeller, so I didn't really play a big part. :) Still, it's nice to post it here.
Duck VS Flies
The music was taken from games like Bejewelled, I'm not entirely sure, so if you hear something familiar- that's the reason xD. In the end it was a university assignment, so as a Disclaimer: neither me or my coder buddy stole anything on purpose okay?

Space Match
The game we made before was a Pairs game called Space Match, it's downloadable only since it's 3D and uses openGL. To try out make sure to:
Download and install this first: Microsoft Visual C++ Re-distributable

Monday, 6 June 2011

Panorama- Mumbles

Today, I went to Swansea's collection of beaches with a bunch of my university friends and house mates. The area is called Mumbles, and it was probably the only time of the week we could enjoy the sun.
I took over 200 photos, but here are some of the best!

On our way to Mumbles Pier

On top of a mountain by Mumbles Pier

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Summer Break

Since it's summer, there won't be much work related content to post here... perhaps I'll post silly things. Here's an old drawing *throws in a random old drawing*
Wonderland 2009

Monday, 30 May 2011

Old 2- Flash animation

A few years ago when I was studying in an Art & Design Foundation course, I made a flash animation for my final project. Sadly it wasn't received very well because all the art lecturers were computer illiterate, and couldn't understand the process of creating the animation. It took a long time, put it that way. 

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Game Developement Venn Diagram

A good acquaintance found this randomly in photobucket:
I have to say, it speaks a lot of truths!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Learning a New Language

I woke up today, feeling the laziest I've ever felt for the past 6 months; today is the day of rest, since I only have one deadline left. I sat down on my PC and thought... 'I really wanted to learn a new language, maybe today I can dedicate some time!'

The only problem is, I don't know what to learn- and it seems really out of the blue, but I have been thinking about it for some time... preferably European or Asian, I've already narrowed it down to:
German, Mandarine/Cantonese, Japanese, Norwegian.

Rosetta Stone is great but I couldn't find a Norwegian course, and yes, because it's the one that's inconveniently unavailable I decided to pick it. Why? No idea, you always want what you can't easily get I suppose.

Group Work: Level Design

Today we had our last presentation of the academic year, showing our group level design. It wasn't meant to be finished, and just required us to make a game level that was playable. In the end I think we did well, although I regret not putting more time into it: I modelled a few assets and the character (textures and rigging too). Here are the concepts and video showing a demo of the level:
Concept of our level Asguard
Concept of main character Loki

Saturday, 30 April 2011

ORZ: Multiple channel complications and UDK

One UV map, two Separate textures placed on two sets of selected faces.....
...equals UDK to display it properly.... ORZ
Two days ago I asked for a lecturer's help on trying to get my textures to show correctly on UDK, the problem was that the material channels were never showing up, there would be one less, and one of the ones that did appear would be displaying the materials wrongly. For the pas two weeks I dibbled and dabbled with this problem, looking for tutorials and forums that had discussed problems that were on tangent with my own. I had wanted to use two textures on one model, and I figured have two separate uvs was the right way about it- and according to many sources it was. I just couldn't get it to work.

Today, I had finally given up, after trying to use 3Ds max and realising there was no time- I just merged the two uvs (outer part and inner part of the chapel) by first separating the model into two pieces and copying/pasting their uvs on 'map1' (original uv map). I combined and merged my two pieces back into one whole, and noticed that the materials were being displayed correctly still. This reminded me of what a friend had tried to explain to me, his methods of using two textures in udk. So I exported and re-imported the bastard into udk- low and behold : it was working fine, had two correctly displayed channels with the two very same textures i had tried to apply- nothing was ammiss.

So tell me- world-of-Maya-and-overly-complicated-software..... WTF?

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Madeleine Mccann

I did this for an assignment- it's obviously being posted on the actual blog for it.

Why did I choose these subjects? Because Gerhard Richter is the influence haha...

The blurred eyes are what Richter did a lot to his paintings- in fact it was a lot like fuzzy tapes that fuzzed out the whole thing (more than just eyes). But I don't like having to deform everything, otherwise the whole image would become incredibly boring- even if it reached the goal of being eerily ominous.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Something pretty cool

Firstly, Wheatly High-Poly Model. This is super cool. And I think it's a great idea to do things like this as a hobby in spare time.

I talking about hobby, I've been working on a sculpture in zbrush.

It's been posted on my other blog. But I keep it separate for a good reason.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Newbish Mistakes & UV sets

I have been working on a level on UDK for a while now, and not so long ago I had reformatted my computer. I had nearly lost 6hrs of work simply because my 'Incremental Saves' on Maya 2011 wasn't ticked- please people, always check your UI thoroughly (especially if it's something as spastic as Maya/UDK).

Anyhow here is what I have so far:

 I made a chapel with the insides included (since that's the way in an outdoor environment level that has no 'zoning'/'load screens'), and wanted to try to use two different UVsets so that I could assess my textures easily and keep them neat and tidy. I'm still learning and have never attempted it before.
So the first thing I do before UV unwrapping is that I split up all the pieces that would be otherwise be more inconvenient to select when trying to 'Planar Map' them. And use the 'Layer Display Editor' (to the right) to try to toggle pieces on and off easily.