Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 CandyNJuice Retrospective

- CandyNJuice 2015 Retrospective on YouTube -
The annual CandyNJuice Retrospective is a good way to look back on personal creative growth over the course of 12 months. Last year the retrospective was a series of collages but I thought it better if the envelope gets pushed as each year passes. It makes sense considering the upgrades in hardware, software and creative technique made as the year progressed. I'm happy to share this video with it all said and done for 2015. I took out my Fantom G6 to write the song for this as well as to work on some other projects and it was like seeing an old, dear friend. The ending of the song in the video would be a great musical representation of how much I love using Roland gear. Even with the steep learning curves ha!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Bruce Lee Undercover *WIP - ArtRage - Surface Pro 3

12-22-2015 With the arrival of Street Fighter V on Steam, it caused a lot of conversation on various message boards. As I mentioned in a previous post, it made me ask the question "What if Chun Li was actually Bruce Lee in drag going undercover to infiltrate Shadowloo?" It could be Enter the (Pink) Dragon II!
Chun Li is always illustrated with a ridiculous body that I've never been a fan of and I've never liked her character or fighting style in the Street Fighter series. So I started sketching this idea. I've been able to work on it a bit more recently, hopefully it will be done before the end of the year (Nope, didn't happen). I also started pushing custom tools a bit more in ArtRage. It's really easy to come up with custom sets when the need arises. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hate Subscription Based Software? So Do I. Anti-Adobe Creative Suite starting with Photo Director 7 on Surface Pro 3

"Great Landing" 1/1250 sec. f/2 4.67mm ISO 60 ProShot Camera - Nexus 6P 
I saw that Cyberlink has a sale on their creative apps for the holidays. I'm familiar with their Android version of Power Director which has potential but a couple of hangups kept it from greatness. I tried out Photo Director for Windows 10 (Mobile version) and liked it for its ease of use. But after taking a few moments to think on it, I came to the conclusion that supporting mobile apps when I have a Surface Pro 3 running Windows 10 is stupid. Why am I not using the full versions that my device was built to run? So I checked out Cyberlink's website and saw the sale. I decided to buy Power Director 14 Ultra (which comes with Audio Director 6) and Photo Director 7 Ultimate (which comes with Color Director and YouCam).

 The photos in this collection were all shot using a Nexus 6P (manual settings with the ProShot camera app) but were processed using Photo Director 7 on a Surface Pro 3. Of course, if Adobe actually sold their software as opposed to renting it, I would have bought PhotoShop CC and Indesign CC outright. But renting software through a subscription is one of the biggest rip offs of the last decade. Thanks to the Creative Cloud, I'm finding some great alternatives to throw money at. Thanks Adobe, I never knew how much I didn't need you until now. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Heroes!* Update - Sketchbook Pro 7 - Surface Pro 3

Work in Progress! 12/11/2015 I'm still working through this piece between photography projects. I decided to go back to an old classic comicbook style of shadowing and details. Sketchbook Pro works really well for this because of the way it handles virtual pencils. The higher the resolution the better and I believe this is a custom canvas I made at 2560x1600. The difference between the gray lines and the black lines weren't a change in tools or settings for the pencil but simply a difference in pressure applied. 256 levels of sensitivity may not be as impressive as the 1024 in the Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 4, but it can still work really well. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Photos, Time Lapse Photography and 120 FPS slow motion testing/Nexus 6p

Serene Morning_ProShot Camera - 1/4000 sec. f/2 4.67mm ISO 60 - Although today's focus was time lapse photography with a bit of 120FPS slow motion, I found a few things to still photograph that caught my eye. I went for wider angles and a few vertical shots for some variety, which I almost never shoot. The clouds didn't work with me today, I wasn't able to capture my original idea for time lapse so I stuck with the tried and true bike path (I love that place) to catch the sun set. Ironically, it was overcast between 4 - 4:30 P.M. but as the sun broke through the clouds between 4:45 - 5  P.M. it made the sudden cast and reflection of sunlight look like day break.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Using Pro Shot Camera app (because Camera FV-5 is a hot mess) with Manual Camera and Marshmallow Camera/Nexus 6P

Bike Path (because I love that stretch of Philly) 1/5000 sec. f/2 4.67mm ISO 60/Marshmallow Camera app. Camera FV-5 updated with a number of bug fixes, improvements and a work around for the bust exposure compensation in Android 6.0's Camera API. Well, the bug fixes didn't fix anything, the improvements didn't work and exposure compensation is still MIA (to be fair, I didn't expect a solution to exposure compensation). To make it worst, Camera FV-5 has a glitch where it won't focus leaving the app unresponsive. Total fail. So Camera FV-5 is out, Pro Shot is in. Yesterday the app performed beautifully, once I learn a couple of things in the unconventional UI. I also recorded time lapse videos using Pro Shot and testing out a new tripod and the quality is fantastic. I want to capture a couple more before I post those though. So...if you're using an Android device to take photos and want a better photo app, DO NOT use Camera FV-5. Do yourself a solid and go with Manual Camera or Pro Camera instead. If Camera FV-5 is updated to actually work properly in the future, I'll revisit it, but as of right now, it's terrible on the Nexus 6P/Android 6.0. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Using Camera FV-5 for Android with a bit of Manual Camera and a dash of Stock. Nexus 6P

11-25-15 - "Red" 1/200 sec. f/2 4.67mm ISO 100/macro - Camera FV-5.  I bought Camera FV-5 because an Android user made a comment in a thread on one of Google's support pages for the busted exposure compensation that the developer of Camera FV-5 was working on a workaround for the lack of the function. I tried out the free version and it was impression although limited, as free versions of apps tend to be. I bought the pro version and it was very good. Very easy to see that the developer(s) are photographers or have good knowledge of photography. The macro function works incredibly well but for some odd reason I was never able to get macro to work correctly with Manual Camera.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Google Screwed Us (Again) - Busted Exposure Compensation is a Android 6.0 failing, not your camera app.

"Classic" 1/200 sec. f/2.6 3.7mm ISO 80 - This was captured with a Galaxy S3 that I rooted to run a stock Android ROM. The standard Android 4.x camera app was used as well with no post processing applied. I was of the impression that the lack of exposure compensation in Manual Camera currently was due to the apps not being updated to fully support Android 6.0. I have since found out that this is not the case at all. Android 6.0 launched without supporting exposure compensation. Call it an omission, a glitch, matter how you slice it this is so not good. How did Google allow this to happen when trying to convince us to take their cameras on Nexus devices seriously is beyond me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Nexus 6P Camera test: Round 3 with Manual Camera

"The Fire at Washington Square" - 1/80 sec. f/2 4.67mm ISO 700 Shot using Manual Camera in low light. I tried something a bit different tonight. I manually set the shutter speed and ISO but let Manual Camera automatically set the White Balance and Focus Distance. I was able to get better results faster than manually setting all parameters. I can't recommend this method for every occasion as conditions vary wildly from project to project. But it's an option to consider for some situations. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Nexus 6P Camera test: Day 3 and 4. Lens Blur, Manual Camera, Low Light/Capturing fast moving objects in focus and out of focus. No Post Processing.

11-16-15 Crowded Bus1/100 sec. f/2 4.67mm ISO 1000 I used Manual Camera for two of the new additions. Manual Camera's F-stop dial (Exposure Compensation) isn't working so I had to use other means to try and get more light into the aperture and control the shot. As a result some of the shots came out grainy. Unfortunately, my own inexperience with using Manual Camera is to blame also. I'll give it another shot later to see if I can get better results. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Sketches, Sketches, Sketches! 1115. Sketchbook Pro 7 and ArtRage - Surface Pro 3.

11-25-15 What if Chun Li was Bruce Lee in drag? This is a test of a custom pencil I made in ArtRage. It started as a quick sketch that I initially wasn't going to finish but it grew on me. I ran with it and came up with this so far. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Nexus 6P Camera Tests - Day One, No post edits, Stock Android 6.0 Camera App

Philly_01 Day 2 of the Nexus 6P camera test. Same criteria as yesterday, shoot from the hip with the stock Marshmallow camera app with no post edits. Simple shots in good lighting are still in effect to see how easy it is to get good results, under ridiculously good circumstances (conclusion: it's very easy). 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"Make Me Laugh" - Sketchbook Pro 7 - Surface Pro 3

Final. I really took my time with this piece. Learning the nuances of SketchBook Pro 7 for Windows. Amazingly, I learned that the Android version of Sketchbook Pro isn't all that different from the Windows version. The biggest benefit of using the application on Windows is Surface Pro 3 has a bigger screen with a better stylus, more RAM, a real OS and a more capable CPU/GPU combo. Well, that's not insignificant but the mobile application itself is very close to the desktop counterpart. If only Adobe would take note. Finishing this piece was a incredibly positive experience. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

More Sketches, in paint! - ArtRage - Surface Pro 3

This is a really quick paint sketch using the palette knife and acrylics in ArtRage. The textures worked out really well and I can't stress enough how amazing ArtRage is in handling paint, canvas and brushes. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Misty Copeland Version 3 WIP - ArtRage - Surface Pro 3

09/21/2015 - I ran out of steam on this piece. I'm taking a break from it to work on some other things. But I learned a lot about ArtRage while drawing Misty. It's a phenomenal application that forces you to think in a more traditional sense of creation even though you're working digitally. The workflow is better than what I'm used to because my Android tablets didn't have such realistic depictions of mediums and pressure sensitivity. The alternatives on some Android devices were to simplify the project to a degree and to control the opacity in the tool you're currently using. It's extra steps that works but not as good as what's provided in ArtRage. I'll come back to this eventually but for now, after spending a little over a week working on this, I'm ready to move on. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Misty Copeland Version 2 WIP - ArtRage - Surface Pro 3

09/09/2015 Misty Copeland version 2 - Final. As I mentioned earlier in this entry, the pencils work much better in this version of Misty after changing a key setting and using a better canvas in ArtRage. I kept this a bit looser than I usually work because pen use on the Surface feels really good. I also focused a bit more on pressure sensitivity while sketching to see how much control was available. That worked out pretty well too.

 The Surface Pro 2 uses Wacom technology for pressure sensitivity of up to 1024 levels. The Surface Pro 3 uses N-Trig technology for up to 256 levels of pressure sensitivity. I didn't feel like I needed the 1024 levels while using my Surface Pro 3, although the extra depth would have been nice. N-trig works pretty good. Microsoft made the switch to N-Trig because their technology allowed for a thinner form factor with the Surface Pro 3 whereas Wacom technology did not at the time. Either way, it works for me!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Misty Copeland - ArtRage test - Surface Pro 3

Misty Copeland, Principle at the American Ballet Theater.  I want to do a series of these featuring Black ballerinas. Black women are making great strides in a lot of areas except now, they are starting to get recognition. At the moment though, I'm trying to figure out which program has the best tools for the series. ArtRage is interesting because it handles textures differently than any other application I've used with some spectacular results. The ArtRage pencil takes some getting used to though because it's very different from Sketchbook Pro 7 and ArtFlow putting it more in line with Sketchable and Graphiter. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sketches, Sketches, Sketches - Anything but Photoshop. Sketchbook Pro 7, ArtRage, Graphiter, Sketchable

09/12/2015 - This is the latest version of the psycho hoverboard guy sketch. Created using Sketchbook Pro 7, Surface Pro 3. 

09/07/2015 "CandyNJuice" A quick color sketch created using ArtRage. The way the program handles paper, canvas, brush and paint texture is absolutely phenomenal. It's giving me ideas and allowing me to use techniques I haven't used in many years. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"Relax" quick sketch using Graphiter - Surface Pro 3 -

First sketch completed using Graphiter for Windows/Surface Pro 3.

I spent the last week and a half using a Surface Pro 3 (Core i7, 8GBs of RAM, 256GB SSD with the type cover and a 128GB mSD card) with a fresh install of Windows 10. I really dogged the hell out of the device just to see how it would hold up with so many X factors involved (new OS update, possible software compatibility problems, possible hardware glitches etc). A quick Google search will show that many people that updated to Windows 10 have some issues both large and small. Fortunately for me, updating the Surface Pro 3 to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1 was painless. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

"Die the Hero or Live Long Enough to Become the Villain" - Various Stuffs - ArtFlow

These images are a combination of ideas that never made it into the blog prior to this entry or ideas that have been reworked. All of the characters in this entry are heroes in their stories, unless you are looking at their story from a different perspective. A hero can easily be a villain depending on who you talk to. Good and evil, right and wrong are a matter of perspective. The motivation to post this now isn't a coincidence and reflects the times.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

"Dusk" - 2560x1600 - Sketchbook for Android (Supports 64 Bit FINALLY! YAY!) - Nexus 9

"Dusk" Final. I made this specifically with Android phone or 7 to 8 inch Android tablets in mind. 

I used Sketchbook for Android with this project to celebrate the update that enables the app to support 64bit Android devices (like the Nexus 9). Earlier in this blog I complained about that which made it easier to use ArtFlow for creative works instead, unless I was working from the Nexus 7. Now that Sketchbook has been updated, I immediately installed it on my Nexus 9 and got to work creating this. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Kingdoms of Heaven and Earth* - 2560x1600 - ArtFlow

With this design, I was trying to go for the awesome glow effect that Japanese anime studios use so often. I used this character for the test because of the muscles and shadows along with the simple but powerful pose.

This is a character for another story idea I worked on a long time ago. I missed the days of the Dragon Quest anime, Record of Lodoss War, Vampire Princess Miyu and Five Star Stories. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

ArtFlow/Sketchbook Pro Remixes Pt. 2 - Nexus 7 2013

"Shattered Reflections of Our Past" I took this in a more drastic direction adding a lot of texture and cooling the image down a bit to project a feeling of sadness and isolation. The original project was a test to push the brush tools in Artflow to see if the results were as good as Sketchbook Pro. I used a reference photo for the original digital painting as well. 

ArtFlow Remixes - Nexus 7 2013 - Pixlr - Snapseed.

"Sociopathology_Remix." I always had a B horror movie in mind when I created this. The project is a result of an article on the violence against women presented in 50 Shades of Grey. Maybe I should have called it "Kink Kills." Same difference really.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Selfie Love - 2560x1600 - ArtFlow - Nexus 9 - Stop being lazy, Practice!

06/11/2015 - The final. This was definitely a challenge. Of all the things about this that could have been a problem, it was her right breast that gave me the most headaches lol. But we won't improve if we don't challenge ourselves. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sketches Sketches Sketches 0615

06/04/2015 - Line Art. Still cleaning it up a bit. This is starting to remind of me of Aeon Flux (The animation. Not the craptastic film).

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Grrr Monster Series "Water Dragon God*" - 2560x1600 - ArtFlow - Nexus 9

Final for my Water Dragon design. I tried a few new things with this design but kept it within the context of the world in which he resides. This dragon is very old and is known by many different names. I'm having a really good time coming up with his story as it reflects some views of spirituality, faith, Gods and punishment that I've had since I was much younger. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

"What Should Have Been...Instead of..." 2560x1600 - ArtFlow - Nexus 9

05/24/2015 - Final...kinda. I may tweak this a bit later but for now, I'm done with it. I struggled on parts of it but overall I'm happy with the results I learned a lot in the process. If you're not worried that the creative process may not work, then you're not pushing your talent hard enough. Comfort zones are for cowards. Push for the next plateau even when you can't always see the road in front of you. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

"Grrr Monster Series - Flame Dragon*" 2560x1600 - ArtFlow - Nexus 9

05/16/2015 - Final design. I wanted to do something a bit different for this concept. The first thing I changed that you can see from the "Sketches 0515" is I took away the plates on the dragon's back and replaced those with silky red fur. There's a specific reason for this that I'll go into depth later. But I will way it's tied into the idea that this dragon has 3 different forms. The third form being the most dangerous. What's illustrated is the second form.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

AA Illustrators - Android and ChromeOS - ArtFlow, Sketchbook Pro, Nexus 7 (2012 and 2013)

A magazine cover mock up I created using Android and Chrome OS. Specifically, the illustrations were creating using Sketchbook Pro and the layout was created using LucidPress Layout and Design on a Chromebook. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sketches, Sketches Sketches - 0515 - Why it's imperative to expose your child to many positive things early.

05/29/2015 - The line art is almost done. Simply need to clean up and add a few things. I added to this particular dragon's story. He's bigger and older than I originally planned. He's also worshiped by a tribe that lives on the shore and sea. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015