When one thing leads to another…

I bought a super dooper video editor from a trusted brand, and it’s turned into my bΓͺte noire. But I paid for it, right? So I set about learning it and finding workarounds for its…idiosyncracies.

To learn the features I most needed to use, I began a project in which I had to weave bits of video with still photos that I could pan and zoom. How in heck can a simple zoom be so hard? But I digress. One of the still photos I wanted to use was a pic of an iVokh except…you guessed it. The more I looked at that pic in unfamiliar surroundings, the less ‘right’ it looked.

The perspective was the problem. 😦 For reasons known only to my subconscious, I began work on the iVokh body from a three-quarter perspective. At that kind of angle, the bits furthest from your line of sight appear smaller. Or at least, they’re meant to.

Now, I don’t know about you, my friends, but I tend to create images by feel. I keep tweaking them until they feel right. The one thing I don’t do is set up a vanishing point with lines to show where the tricky bits are meant to go.

Sadly, there’s a first time for everything:

So I managed to get the perspective more or less right, but then I faced another huge problem – how to represent light and shade. In the previous iteration of the iVokh, I’d cobbled together scraps of images to get both the texture and lighting effects I needed to create something approaching 3D. Now I had to do most of that again.

Digital collage is complicated by the fact that every piece has to blend in to the pieces around it. Trust me, that’s hard because even in what amounts to black and white, there are almost infinite shades of grey:

There’s no real explanation for what happened next though. Once I had all the shades of grey playing nicely, I thought, “Hmm…maybe it’s time to finally create the cilia!” So I did:

I did hunt for images I could use for ‘cilia’…

…but none of them worked, so I ended up creating a vector ‘cilia’ that I could resize, deform, and orient however I pleased. One by one….

I must admit I’m rather proud of the cilia I created. When your alien doesn’t have eyebrows to frown with, or nostrils to flare, or a mouth that smiles, smirks [hate that word], pouts, and droops etc., you really need some way of describing emotive facial expressions, so the cilia do a heck of a lot of work. Kahti peers through the ‘fringe of its cilia’, and sometimes its cilia ‘go rigid with dread’ or shrink, or droop, or wave around… You get the idea. πŸ™‚

Oh, and while I was at it, I realised that the image needed to tell a story, so I changed the figure’s posture and gave it a starrock bead to stare at. Oddly enough, the bead and its leather thong were the easiest objects to create:

An acolyte’s starrock bead with a slight pinkish tinge

In the story, only metal objects made in the south of Vokhtah have a pinkish colour. This becomes a rather important plot point so I added the bead to the image as well.

The one thing I have not done is finish that video. Maybe tomorrow. πŸ˜€

cheers
Meeks

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

43 responses to “When one thing leads to another…

  • Jacqui Murray

    There was a time long ago when I would have become lost in doing just what you’re doing. I fell in love with Photoshop and then video editors and then fell out of love! I’m impressed with what you’re trying to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      lol – ‘becoming lost’ is a great description. I’ve used Corel Draw for more years than I care to remember, but it’s only recently that I worked out how to use it for ‘fiction’ graphics. The video editing is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but couldn’t see a ‘purpose’ to it. Seems I need to fool myself that my obsession is also useful before I let myself get lost. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  • CarolCooks2

    It is fun they said…not for me but for you..well done… a step at a time sounds good sense… my steps will be steps in the opposite direction…lol

    Liked by 1 person

  • DawnGillDesigns

    Sorry that software turned out to be less of a fabulous find than we thought. I’m very impressed by your latest creation though.

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      I didn’t end up buying Videopad! As I was trying it out, the price went up and up. Like a dope I didn’t realise that it was on a countdown deal. So I turned to a brand I’ve trusted for 20 years – Corel. Their VideoStudio ended up being slightly cheaper, but the implementation is…not great.
      I /will/ tame the beast though. I will. 😦

      Liked by 2 people

  • chucklitka

    Lordy, it looks frighteningly complicated. Looking forward to what you’re up to with this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      -giggles- thank you! Working out the ‘biology’ was easy. Getting this image out of my head and into space time has been hard. And the hardest part is yet to come: the face. May take a few more years for that though. πŸ™‚

      Like

  • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    Hope this work all has the desired result. I only learn things when I need them – I learned Pixelmator 2 for the first cover, and have the upgrade for 3 which I will use for the cover of 2 and on. Software is a constantly moving target, and I am a snail at keeping up. I get there eventually, only to find everyone else moved on long ago!

    Have fun. There is a sense of satisfaction at mastering recalcitrant inanimate objects – software qualifies.

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      -grin- we’re no different, Alicia. I learn on a need-to-know basis too, and I only upgrade software when it stops meeting those needs! My Corel Draw is the X8 version dates back to 2016. And it still suits my needs.
      High Five!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

        Ha! I still have Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac, working.

        Liked by 2 people

        • acflory

          lmao – okay, you get me on that one. I have 2016 for the pc. But I refused to upgrade from Windows 7. πŸ˜€

          Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            I don’t want an online program in any case. And they constantly change what they have control of.

            Word is too complicated, and there is no way to turn off most of the stuff you don’t want – or if there is, I refuse to try. You don’t need most of the bells and whistles to format a novel.

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            I don’t mind using Inkarnate online because it’s not something I would do day in, day out. But core programs? I own them, and I decide when and how and if they get upgraded. So I complete agreement there. πŸ™‚
            As for Word, I taught people to use it for about five years. -rolls eyes- It’s an onion masquerading as a behemoth. Seriously, the devs never take anything out, they just keep adding more layers, most of which are just cosmetic. It is good at formatting some things but as an all purpose program it will never be as good as dedicated programs.
            That said, I still use it along side StoryBox. -shrug-

            Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            I could learn more html, but Scrivener ->Word (for the formatting niceties) ->Textedit (for the quote right hand margin) ->a pdf works for me so far. When I inquired of several ‘new and better’ formatting programs, the answer was that they didn’t have what I needed, so I’ll probably keep this up until the third one is finished.

            Will check out StoryBox – never heard of it.

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            If you use Scrivener then you have no need of StoryBox – they’re very similar. For ebooks I go straight from StoryBox to Kindlegen or whatever it’s called. Like you, I only use Word to format PDFs for print. I’m sure there are high end programs used by professional formatters, but…I’m not sure I could tell the difference. :/

            Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            InDesign is one; for a few formatting niceties, there’s no point. I like the way my first volume came out – I’d like them all to be of a piece. If you go to the Look Inside on the print version, you’ll see all the fancy formatting I needed, most of it by the first couple of pages of Chapter One. At the very end I had a Design page – that has nothing new, just a listing of what I’d used (more for me than anyone else, but some people actually care).

            I took a quick look at StoryBox – very simple compared to Scrivener, and nothing to buy it for when Scrivener is already mine and I know how to use it. I haven’t even gotten to v. 3, which I paid for – don’t want to get sidetracked.

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            lol – I still have a very old version of InDesign languishing on my shelf. It’s the CS version, about 20 years old. I didn’t even try to use it when I came to formatting my how-to books because, well, Word actually handles images rather well if you know what you’re doing. That said, I have no idea what a modern version of InDesign is like.
            Btw, I am soooo envious: 50 reviews is brilliant. Mine’s in there somewhere. :d

            Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            I am grateful for yours. I’m trying to expand my reach before launching Netherworld – every nice word helps.

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            Don’t worry. I’m sure there are stacks of readers like me who are looking forward to netherworld. πŸ™‚

            Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            Thanks for the encouragement, but I don’t know where they’d have read Purgatory, as it has not sold much, even when on sale. Almost every review has been the result of a personal appeal (or there wouldn’t be so many ‘I never read this genre’ comments).

            It’s very hard to recommend the first book of a trilogy, so this second book may help (shows she can finish one in fewer than seven years).

            Fortunately, after a month off for a minor reorganization of the race to the end, today I used all that and finished another crucial scene. 14 to go, and 5 chapter epigraph sets, and we’re out of there. And of those 14, the last nine are one long piece. Which I’m itching to write.

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            Oh my…you really are nearing the end! I remember that feeling from Nabatea. I finally knew exactly how the story would end but I was still stuck writing the foundations for it. Exciting and frustrating in equal measure.
            If it’s any consolation, most of my reviews are from people who aren’t really scifi fans. I know I should be reaching out to the true believers, but even after all this time, I don’t know how. Neither Innerscape nor Vokhtah fit into a neat sub-genre. I guess that’s a good thing in a way – I hate stories that are the ‘same old, same old’. Unfortunately, innovation isn’t really that good for sales. πŸ™‚

            Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            And one of the very good things is that when I’m done with a scene, I’m completely finished – polished, copy-edited, put through AutoCrit and every single thing I need to revise covered. None of this ‘draft n’ stuff for me.

            That it’s the result of a damaged compartmentalized brain is irrelevant. The point is that I can’t do long whole-book revisions, so I make sure I don’t have to.

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            I can’t say that my work is as ‘finished’ as yours, but the older I get the more I need to have it ‘right’. I still do full story edits, and I still find things I need to/want to improve, but my first drafts are usually about 95% ‘done’.
            lol – and I’m a slow writer too. Funny ’bout that. πŸ˜€

            Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            Legacy is on our minds. That’s not a bad thing.

            Liked by 1 person

  • Books & Bonsai

    I often wish I were more technologically minded… what fun I could have!

    Liked by 1 person

  • MELewis

    How fascinating! I am truly impressed by the amount of work you put into this, in addition to the writing! The result is very life-like, and the texture of the cilia really adds a ‘human’ element. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Audrey Driscoll

    That is certainly an alien being. Good job on the cilia!

    Liked by 1 person

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